Clutter-Free Competition. Our team scored really well on that, thanks to Robert. In the Clean Desk category, he blew the judges away by bringing in a mini-vac and sucking up all those little pencil shavings that fall out of the pencil sharpener and collect in the corners of your desk. We got bonus points for that.
That Robert, he does come in handy sometimes.
You wonât believe what lost it for the Blue Team. Picture this. The judges are at the Blue Teamâs desks and they come to Luke Whitmanâs. While theyâre checking his desk to see if itâs orderly and uncluttered, he reaches into his back pocket where he keeps a half of peanut butter and jelly sandwich because he never wants to be without a snack. Luke had to sneeze and couldnât find a tissue, so he took his sandwich out, unwrapped it, and get this, blew his nose in wax paper.
If that wasnât bad enough, when he took the wax paper away from his honker, there was a mixture of chunky peanut butter and boogers spread like silly putty across his face.
If youâre going to lose a Clean and Clutter-Free Competition, thatâs the way to do it. If it were up to me, I would have given Old Luke extra points for grossness, but the judging committee didnât see it that way. Which I guess is good, because in case I didnât mention it before, I am wearing a Yellow Team gold medal around my neck.
AFTER THE MEDAL PRESENTATIONS, Papa Pete offered to take everyone out for a celebration. We walked over to McKeltyâs Roll âN Bowl, where Papa Pete is a regular at the coffee shop. We were a big groupâFrankie and his parents, Ashley and her parents, Robert and his mom, Emily and me and our parents, Papa Pete, and, of course, Cheerio.
Papa Pete ordered root-beer floats for everyone except Cheerio. He had his favoriteâan order of chili fries. Light on the chili, though, because it gives him gas. Believe me, you donât want to be around Cheerio when heâs got gas.
Papa Pete made a toast to all the kids, not just for winning, but for participating in the Olympiad. Then I clinked my spoon on my glass to get everyoneâs attention, and stood up.
âI want to thank the two best friends any winning pitcher could have,â I began. âFirst of all, my manager, Ashley, who wouldnât take no for an answer.â I turned to Ashley. âAsh, I donât know how you knew that I could do this, but because you did, I feel better than Iâve ever felt in my whole life.â
âBetter than when we got that stink bomb and threw it down the elevator shaft while Mrs. Fink was in the elevator?â
âAshley,â I whispered. âWhat are you, nuts?â
I turned to my mom and tried really hard to laugh. âThat Ashley,â I said. âShe has such a wacky imagination.â
My mom gave me another one of her âwe need to talk about thisâ looks. I thought I had better go on with my speech really quickly, before there was time for any questions from the parent section.
âFrankie, you are the man,â I said. âItâs amazing how you talked me through that last inning. Without you, I would never have been able to do what Ashley knew I could do but I thought I couldnât do.â
âZip, if I understood one word of what you just said, I think I would be deeply touched,â said Frankie.
Everyone at the table laughed.
âTo the good Doctors Wong, and to Dr. and Mrs. Townsend, and to Mrs. Upchurch, thank you for having great kids,â I went on. âAnd to Papa Pete, who has been playing catch with me for as long as I can remember, Iâd like to make you the honorary inventor of the Zippity Zinger.â
âHankie,â said Papa Pete, wiping some whipped cream off his mustache. âOf all my inventions, and that includes the Knockwurst with Baked Beans and Sauerkraut on Corn Rye with Only Yellow Mustard Special Sandwich, the Zippity
Pamela A. Popper, Glen Merzer