Offbeat tale of a teenage chef and his younger brother who befriend an assortment of oddly likable thieves, including a former Mexican baseball scout who speaks only in anagrams made from the names of famous baseball players.
“Where’ve you been? You almost missed the bus.”
Stevie dropped into the seat next to me. Normally I don’t let him sit beside me, but I could tell something was really eating him.
“I was looking for my Flying Zork card,” he said. “I stuck it inside my science book. Now it’s gone.”
I gathered that the Flying Zork was one of my brother’s Mystic Zeltoid cards. Zeltoid cards are a big fad in Stevie’s class right now. Practically every twerp has a deck of them.
“I bet Kenny swiped it,” he said. Then he whipped around and glared in the general direction of the back of the bus. That’s where Kenny usually sits.
Kenny Cravetz is this yob that lives down the street from us. He’s got this wimpy nasal voice, and his nose is always running, even during the summer.
Coincidentally, the guy driving our bus is Kenny’s next door neighbor. He isn’t our regular bus driver, but he substitutes all the time. We all call him Uncle Rico, even though he’s not our uncle. I noticed that Kenny didn’t even say hi to him when he got on the bus. He’s such a twit.
“I thought Kenny was into baseball cards,” I said. Everyone knows about Kenny Cravetz’s unbelievable baseball card collection. He brags about it all the time. How he has a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card that belonged to his uncle, along with a mint Cal Ripkin, Jr. (who doesn’t?), two Brooks Robinsons, and a ripped Hank Aaron. What he brags about the most, though, is his Sandy Koufax, which he got from – get this – the Tooth Fairy.
The Tooth Fairy! Unbelievable.
The thing is, none of the kids Kenny’s age give a crap about baseball cards. Most of them don’t even know who Sandy Koufax is.
The Sandy Koufax card started a bunch of rumors around Stevie’s class that the Tooth Fairy was actually their mothers. Kenny’s card probably came from eBay, the kids said. Trouble was, none of the twerps who were spreading this rumor could prove anything.
Stevie decided he would be a big hero if he could somehow expose the Tooth Fairy for the fraud she was. He took the last five dollars she’d left him and used it to buy a fingerprinting kit. When the next tooth popped out two months later, he dusted TF’s bill for fingerprints. To his astonishment, Stevie discovered that he was his own Tooth Fairy.
Stevie stopped glaring at the back of the bus and was now transfixed on the seat in front of us. On the back of it someone had scribbled KOJAK SUCKS AN EGG with a blue marker.