Space Brat 3: The Wrath of Squat
Blork was mad at his desk. The math problem it had just given him was so hard it made his antennae ache.
Before he could even figure out how to start, the problem vanished. In its place glowed the face of the school secretary.
“Blork!” she said loudly. “Report to the office at once! The principal wants to see you!”
The other kids began to snicker. Their teacher, Modra Ploogsik, rolled her eyes and sighed.
Blork groaned. He had spent half his life being sent to the office—first for things he hadn’t even done, later for rotten things that he had done. Now that everyone had decided he was a hero instead of the worst brat on the Planet Splat, he had hoped the office visits would stop.
“Blork’s in trouble, Blork’s in trouble,” sang Appus Meko, as Blork trudged out of the room.
This made Blork even more nervous. Appus Meko had a talent for making mischief and getting Blork blamed for it. Had his enemy struck again?
“I hope I don’t get sent to the Big Black Pit,” Blork muttered, as he trudged along the hall. “I hate it when that happens.” He paused. “Maybe they wouldn’t do that to someone who saved the city from getting shrunk,” he said, feeling more hopeful.
The secretary smiled as Blork came through the door.
He flinched. That smile was not a good sign. Back in his brat days, Blork had given the secretary some candy that turned her teeth blue for two days. After that, she hardly ever smiled when she saw him—unless he was about to get in trouble. Then she always looked very happy.
“He’s waiting for you,” said the secretary, pointing to the principal’s door.
Then she smiled again.
Blork’s antennae drooped. He trudged through the office door.
The principal was standing by his desk. He was playing with an atomic yo-yo he had taken away from one of the kids earlier that day. “Glad to see you, Space Brat,” he said happily.
“Space Brat” was the name the newsies had given Blork after his first adventure. The principal liked the attention the story had brought to the school, and now he always called Blork by that name.
“Sit down, sit down!” he said, pointing to a chair.
“Am I in trouble?” Blork asked, feeling confused.
“Trouble? Hardly! Wait until I tell you the news!”
School was over by the time Blork left the office. He couldn’t wait to tell the others his news.
He ran to his space scooter, which the Big Boss of Splat had given him as a reward for saving the city.
“Space Brat and away!” he cried, firing up the engine. Then he zoomed into the sky and headed for the Block 78 Child House.
Moomie Peevik was standing out front when he landed. Blork was glad. Moomie Peevik was sort of his best friend, even if she was a girl.
The first thing Blork heard when he got out of the space scooter was a squeaky voice crying, “Aroonga Boonga Boonga!”
The voice belonged to Blabber, Moomie Peevik’s pet fuzzygrumper. Blabber was running in circles around a giant purple animal. The purple animal was a poodnoobie. It was named Lunk, and it was Blork’s pet. Lunk had six legs and three tongues. He was very sweet, and very stupid.
“Aroonga Boonga Boonga!” cried Blabber again, running even faster.
Lunk twirled around, trying to keep the fuzzygrumper in sight.
Blork frowned. Lunk was trying to keep Blabber in sight because he was afraid the fuzzygrumper might bite him in a tender place. Soon Lunk would be dizzy from trying to keep up with him. The fuzzygrumper knew this. He thought it was fun to watch Lunk stagger around with his eyes going in circles.
“Make Blabber stop!” said Blork. “Lunk might throw up.”
Poodnoobies weigh about three hundred and fifty pounds and eat lots of strange stuff, so making them barf is a bad idea.
Moomie Peevik wiggled her antennae in annoyance. “Blabber is just having fun!”
“He’s having fun like Appus Meko has fun,” replied Blork. He was surprised Moomie Peevik would think it was all right for Blabber to pick on Lunk. She was usually very sensitive to animals.
Moomie Peevik frowned. She didn’t like having her pet compared to someone who made trouble just for the fun of it. But she knew Blork was right. “Come here, Blabber,” she said.
Squawking with delight, the fuzzygrumper ran to Moomie Peevik and leaped into her arms.
Lunk burped with relief. Then his eyes went around in circles and he fell over. He was drooling, but that didn’t mean anything. He drooled a lot.
“Are you all right, boy?” asked Blork, squatting down to pat the poodnoobie’s head.
Lunk stuck out his middle tongue—poodnoobies have three—and licked Blork’s face.
“He’s fine,” said Blork, wiping away the slobber. Turning to Moomie Peevik, he said, “Guess what? I’m going to the Galactic Celebration!”
The Galactic Celebration was the biggest party in history. All the kids were dying to go, but none of them ever actually thought they would.
“Don’t lie, Blork,” said Moomie Peevik. “It’s not nice.”
“I’m not lying!” shouted Blork. “I’m really going! The Grand High Fimbul wants to give me a medal for stopping my evil twin from shrinking the city.”
“Blork!” she cried. “That’s wonderful! Everyone in the galaxy will know who you are.”
Suddenly her face got very serious. Her brow wrinkled and her antennae drooped.
“What’s the matter?” asked Blork.
Moomie Peevik sighed. “What will Appus Meko do when he hears about this?”
“When I hear about what?” asked Appus Meko, who had just come out of the Child House.
“I’m getting a medal!” said Blork happily.
“For what? Being the biggest jerk on the planet?”
Blork started to tremble. He started to shake. He could feel the old tantrum feelings starting to bubble inside him.
Stop! he told himself. That’s just what Appus Meko wants.
Blork was right about that much. Appus Meko had loved driving Blork into the tantrums that had earned him the title “Biggest Brat on the Planet Splat.” When Blork had learned to stop having tantrums it drove Appus Meko crazy. He was always trying to make Blork blow up again.
Appus Meko wasn’t the only one upset about Blork’s good news. Thousands of light years away, on the Planet of Cranky People, someone else had heard that Blork was getting a medal—someone who was still so mad at Blork that the very mention of his name made smoke come out of his ears.
“I can’t stand it!” shrieked Squat. He threw himself out of his chair and began to roll around on the floor, kicking and screaming.
Blork himself had taught Squat how to throw a tantrum, so he was very good at it. (Though not as good as Blork, of course).
When Squat had finished his tantrum, he lay on his back, staring at the ceiling.
Then he began to laugh—a cruel, wicked laugh.
If Blork had known what Squat was thinking, he would have stopped worrying about Appus Meko. But he didn’t know, of course.
So he had no idea of the terrible thing Squat had decided to do.
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