B obby Quinn put a few finishing touches on his drawing of his superhero. “Looks great, huh, Lucy?”
He didn’t really expect an answer from Lucy, his pet beagle. She might be the smartest, cutest dog ever, but she couldn’t talk. At least not yet.
Bobby was sprawled on the floor of his bedroom. Lucy was sprawled next to him.Lucy was brown and white with a few black spots. Her brown eyes reminded Bobby of chocolate candy.
“This is Planet Man,” Bobby informed Lucy. “He’s absolutely the best superhero ever.” “Absolutely” was one of Bobby’s favorite words.
Planet Man had big muscles, feet like flippers, and hands like claws. He wore a bright yellow suit with PM on the front. Bobby was drawing Planet Man for art class. The assignment was to draw something about the environment. “Planet Man’s job is to save the Earth,” Bobby added.
Maybe Lucy couldn’t speak, but she could bark. She barked a lot. She also liked to howl. She raised her head and glanced at Planet Man.
Then she gave Bobby’s arm a sloppy lick.
Bobby sat up and stretched. “Yep. You like Planet Man, too.”
Bobby had been on a roll lately. Things were absolutely going his way.
He used to be so shy he would barely look at people when he spoke to them. Thanks to Lucy, he had made new friends, some young, some old. He was having lots of fun now. The more fun he had, the less shy he was. He hadn’t even minded—too much—giving a report in front of his class.
“You’re sure a good girl,” Bobby said. He patted Lucy on the head.
“I wish that was always true.” Mrs. Quinn, Bobby’s mother, walked into his bedroom. She held a chewed-up slipper in her hand.
Bobby knew who was responsible. “Lucy!”
“I’m afraid she’s up to her old tricks,” Mrs. Quinn said with a sigh.
Lucy liked to chew things. She had gotten better for a while. But lately she seemed to remember how much she enjoyed tearing up shoes and socks—and slippers.
“We’re going to have to do something about Lucy’s chewing,” Mrs. Quinn said.
Lucy gave another little howl. Then she got up and walked away. Both Bobby and his mother laughed.
“Well, I guess Lucy didn’t think much of that idea,” Mrs. Quinn said.
“Can I go over to Shawn’s house?” Bobby asked. Shawn was one of Bobby’s new friends. “I want to show him my drawing of Planet Man.”
Mrs. Quinn nodded. She walked Bobby to the front door. “Don’t be too long. It’s almost time for lunch.”
“Okay,” Bobby said. He opened the door.To his surprise, there stood Shawn. He was about to ring Bobby’s doorbell.
“Hey, I was just coming to see you,” Bobby told Shawn. He held up the picture of Planet Man.
Shawn didn’t seem to notice it. Instead, he said, “We’ve got to get over to the park.”
“Why?” Bobby asked.
“They’re having sign-ups for the soccer league,” Shawn explained. “It only goes until two o’clock, so we have to hurry.”
“Soccer?” Bobby asked. He had never played soccer. He had never played any sport except T-ball.
Bobby liked to watch sports on television with his dad. He especially liked rooting for his favorite team, the Chicago Cubs. He wasn’t very interested in playing sports, though. He didn’t think he’d be very good.
“I played soccer before we moved here,” Shawn told him happily. “My mom just found out that the park district has a soccer league. Let’s go sign up.”
Bobby glanced at his mother. His look said “Help!”
“Do you want to play soccer?” Mrs. Quinn asked him.
“I never thought about it,” Bobby said.
“It’s great!” Shawn told him. “Running up and down the field. Kicking the ball. Making goals.”
Bobby wasn’t sure he could see himself doing any of those things. Especially making goals.
“I don’t know …” Bobby’s voice trailed off.
Shawn looked disappointed. “C’mon, Bobby. I don’t want to join a team by myself.”