Sewer Rats

Sewer Rats by Sigmund Brouwer

Book: Sewer Rats by Sigmund Brouwer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sigmund Brouwer
Tags: JUV000000
chapter one
    If you ever visit a sewage lagoon, you’ll discover what I did. It only takes one good sniff to know it’s better to be on the outside, looking in. Sewage lagoons are worse than nasty.
    Put it this way. Everything you flush down your toilet goes to the sewage lagoon. That should explain enough.
    If you think the contents of one flush is bad, imagine all the toilets in your cityfilling a pond. If you look close—and you don’t want to, trust me—you can even see wads of mushy toilet paper floating in all the brown goop.
    Of course, kids aren’t supposed to be near the lagoons. There are high steel-link fences to keep people out. On both sides of the lagoon are holding tanks as big as houses. And between those tanks, walkways with guardrails cross over the lagoons.
    The new kid, Carter Saylor, was ready to walk above a sewage pond. He wasn’t going to use the walkway. His plan was to balance on the guardrail with all the brown goopy stuff right below.
    I was happy to be on the outside with my friends, Micky and Lisa. We leaned against the fence, and it bent inward with our weight. I had my fingers wrapped around the linked steel. The sun felt good on my back.
    â€œHe’s nuts,” I said. This was so obvious that Micky and Lisa didn’t reply.
    Carter pushed off the walkway and onto the rail. He had ragged blond hair almost tohis shoulders. He wore black jeans, a black T-shirt and black Nikes.
    â€œCarter must want to be a Sewer Rat real bad,” Micky said. “I never thought he would agree to this.”
    We weren’t an official club. But we were known as the Sewer Rats, along with a couple of other kids at school. We fought paintball wars against kids from other schools. But we call them tunnel wars, because we have our paintball fights in the huge pipes of the city storm drain system. Micky takes challenges from kids at other schools who have heard about us and sets up each new war. In the six months since we began, we haven’t lost once. It helps that the Sewer Rats know the tunnels better than anyone else.
    â€œHe’s stupid,” Lisa said, staring at Carter. Her voice was angry. “Ugly and stupid.”
    I half turned my head to look at her.
    â€œGet your eyes off me,” Lisa told me. “If I want to think he’s stupid, I can. And I can say it too. Unless you want to make something of it.”
    I’ve seen Lisa punch guys full in the mouth.
    â€œNope,” I said. “He might be stupid. But I’m not.”
    Her frown told me it would also be stupid to ask why she hated the new kid so much. All Carter had done was ask us if he could join the Sewer Rats.
    Normally we’d let kids try a tunnel war. If a kid wasn’t scared to be alone in the darkness below the streets, they could join.
    But Lisa had told Carter that all Sewer Rats passed a test at the lagoons. This test: sneaking in and walking the guardrail above the toilet stuff below.
    â€œStupid or not,” Micky said, watching Carter carefully, “you’ve got to admit he’s got guts.”
    Carter was in plain view on the guardrail. A security guard might notice him any second. His arms were stretched wide as he balanced himself, taking one careful step at a time.
    â€œGuts? I hope he gets caught,” Lisa said. “Or falls in.”
    Her tone made me wonder if there was something I didn’t know about Lisa and Carter. Maybe Carter had made the mistake of asking her out. Maybe he wanted to join the Sewer Rats because he wanted to impress her. That would have been dumb. Lisa didn’t like guys in that way. Everyone in school knew that. Except for maybe the new kid.
    He was now halfway across, walking the guardrail like it was a tightrope.
    I thought of the brown toilet stuff in the pond below him. I thought of what might happen if a security guard came by. I started to get a scared feeling in my stomach, a ball of spiders that makes me

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