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Nobody wants to adopt the Shluffmuffin twins. Wally's feet stink something awful, and Cheyenne is allergic toeverything.Then why are the Mandible sisters so eager to take them home? And what sort of old maids would choose to live in a place called Dripping Fang Forest, where zombies wander the woods singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and ten-foot-long glowing slugs want to suck the feet right off your ankles? Would it seem ungrateful of Wally to point out the Mandible sisters' extra arms? Or to question their all-chocolate, all-the-time menu? Or, um, to venture into the cellar, where the twins have been told to NEVER, EVER, EVER go? Yeah, perhaps that last bit was a mistake. Now there's nothing left for the Shluffmuffins to do but runrun for their lives!
DAN GREENBURG is the creator of the enormously popular Zack Files series of middle grade novels as well as the author of a number of bestselling adult books, the most well-known of which is How to Be a Jewish Mother. He lives in New York.
Table of Contents
|The Jolly Days Orphanage|
|A Warm Jolly Days|
|Welcome for Sniffles and Stinkfoot Orphans|
|Are Not Vacuum Cleaners Cincinnati, City of Mystery Mandible House Rules Breaking Rule Number Two|
|The Badness Beneath the Stairs|
|The Truth About the Onts Bad News and Worse|
|News Wally's Disobedience Is Discovered|
|A Desperate Bid for Freedom Please Don't Eat the Feet Conversations with Wolves|
|We Wolves Are Used to Somewhat Better Treatment|
|Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.|
The Jolly Days OrphanageThe first thing Wally Shluffmuffin heard was the familiar crackle of the loudspeaker in the darkness. Next he heard the too-loud, too-cheery voice yell:"Five a.m., orphans! Rise and shine!"Wally couldn't believe it was five already. He didn't think he'd been asleep for more than an hour or two. Next he heard the too-loud tape of the rooster crowing."When the rooster crows, jump into your clothes!" yelled the voice on the loudspeaker.Next he heard the too-loud bugle call that wakes soldiers in the army."Out of your sacks, troops!" yelled the voice on the loudspeaker. "Chow in the mess hall in six minutes!"This was the way Wally had to wake up every morning. He couldn't decide what he hated more-the stupid rooster, the stupid bugle, or the stupid yelling voice of stupid Hortense Jolly, owner of the stupid Jolly Days Orphanage of Cincinnati.Thirty-eight orphans fell all over each other in the dark dorm, pulling on clothes. Still half asleep, Wally started dressing, stubbing his toes and putting his jeans on backward.The dorm was a long room with mattresses on the floor. A rope divided the dorm. A scuzzy blanket hung from the rope, separating the boys' area from the girls'. Like most things at Jolly Days, the dorm smelled of hospital soap and the rotting carcasses of rats that had crawled into the walls, seeking better food than was being served in the orphanage, and died terrible deaths.Wally knew he had just six minutes to dress, make his bed, race the other kids to the john, throw cold water on his face, drag a comb through his hair, squirt toothpaste in his mouth, and scramble to his place at the breakfast table.Hortense Jolly waited in the dining hall with a stopwatch. Precisely six minutes after the bugle blew, she bonged a heavy brass bell with her soup ladle-BONNNGGG!If you weren't in your seat when the bell bonged, you had to do extra chores.Wet orphans with unbuttoned shirts and toothpaste smears on their faces tumbled into the dining room.The bell bonged.Wally ran in, tripped, and skidded across the dining room floor on his belly."Wally Shluffmuffin, you are precisely seven seconds late," Hortense Jolly announced. "As your reward you get to clean all the toilets!"Wally groaned. He took the seat his sister, Cheyenne, had saved right next to her.Wally and Cheyenne Shluffmuffin looked almost exactly alike. Both were ten years old. Both had rust-colored hair, freckles on their cheeks and noses, and identical salami-shaped birthmarks on their left shoulders."I hate cleaning the toilets," whispered Wally to his sister."Why? The toilets are the cleanest things at Jolly Days," whispered Cheyenne.Cheyenne saw only the good side of life, Wally only the bad. Cheyenne always saw a glass as half full, not half empty. Wally was sure a half-full glass had a leak that would ruin everything underneath it.The Shluffmuffin twins had two flaws:(1) Cheyenne was allergic to ragweed and roses
Excerpted from The Onts by Dan Greenburg
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