Calvin was frantically looking up at the clock in hopes that the class would be over soon. History was the last class of the day, and Calvin was looking forward to the latest issue of Captain Napalm when he got home. So far, no homework had been assigned, and it looked like the weekend would be clear.
His hopes were dashed when Miss Wormwood uttered those faithful words: "Now here's your assignment."
There was a loud WHUMP from the middle of the room. It was Calvin's head crashing into the desk.
"You will have to write a page long report about the Byzantine Empire. It must be spell-checked, neatly written in pen and your sources must be cited. It is due this Monday."
With the exception of Susie, everyone in the classroom groaned.
The bell rang, indicating it was time to start working on it.
Calvin zipped out of the room.
Calvin sat angrily on his seat at the bus. Susie was sitting next to him because there was nowhere else to sit.
"I hate Miss Wormwood. Why does she give us homework at the most inopportune times? This is supposed to be a gorgeous weekend! It's not fair."
"The world isn't fair," said Susie.
"No, the world is arbitrary. You're either with it, or you're not. Which side are you on?"
Susie sat there, trying to figure out what had just been said here.
"Calvin, this report is worth forty percent of our history grade. If we don't get at least a B on it, we'll flunk and go back to Kindergarten." A smug look crossed her face. "Of course, I won't have to worry. I always get the best grades."
Calvin snorted. "I'll have you know that I'm way better at this than you are. I just take a few creative liberties that tend to be misunderstood."
"And get you sent to the principal's office," Susie added.
"Nobody asked you. You'll see. I'll get an A on this paper or my name's not Calvin."
At the end of the ride home, Calvin ran for the door. He yanked it open and yelled, "I'M HOME!"
Hobbes naturally went in for the kill, but Calvin bent over before he could be pounced. He stood up straight again and walked up the stairs. He entered his room.
Suddenly, Hobbes burst through the open window and pounced him. They rolled out of the bedroom, down the stairs and out the door. They crashed where they would've landed if Calvin hadn't have bent over.
"HA!" Hobbes shouted. "You thought you could mess with me, did you? Well, I THINK NOT!"
"Get off of me, you big galoot!" Calvin shouted. "Get off and stay off! My day is ruined enough as it is."
"How exactly is it?" asked Hobbes, getting up.
"I have to do the toughest history report by Monday, or I'm gonna flunk big time! I absolutely can not blow this one off."
Hobbes clapped. "Finally, you're showing a little initiative. That's a good thing for you."
"Come on. We're gonna finish this thing as soon as possible. We need Saturday for my extreme water balloon attack. Let's break out the pencils."
They entered the house.
Of course, Mom was there with the third degree. "How was school?"
"Okay," Calvin said, carrying his things towards the stairs.
"No, Mom. It was spectacularly okay. A skyrockets-and-brass-bands-playing-John-Philip-Sousa-marches kind of okay that gives wings to the soul!"
"Fine, if you're going to be sarcastic about it…"
"You want sarcastic? Ask me about the cafeteria food."
That was the end of that, and they went up into the bedroom.
Once they were back in Calvin's room, Calvin sat at his desk.
"Okay, I'll need a pen and some paper."
Hobbes dug through the backpack.
"Man, do you know how much junk you have in this thing?"
"What have you found?"
"Old packs of bubble gum, a candy bar, an old soda can, peanut shells, the remnants of an ice cube, wadded up cartoons of Wormwood monsters, month old homework, a stale piece of cheese…"
"Yeah, I'm always losing things in there. Just pull out the binder and hand me the paper. I'm sure I've got a pen up here somewhere."
Hobbes pulled out a big, white binder and opened it. A load of paper fell into the backpack. He reached down and pulled out the least tarnished sheet.
"There's something to be said for closing the rings on the binder," he said.
"Shut up and hand me a book."
Hobbes dug around the backpack, searching for the history book. He pulled out the math, science, spelling and literature, but he could not find the history book.
"Gee, the work load at that school is ridiculous," Hobbes said.
"You're telling me."
After two minutes, Hobbes was finally able to find the book.
"Man, you need to do some excavating in here."
Calvin opened the book and turned to the page about the Byzantine Empire.
"There's only three paragraphs of information in here!" Calvin cried. "I can't write a page-long report about something if they don't give me enough information!"
"Take what you can get out of it, and we'll break out an encyclopedia later."
"Better get the one out of my backpack now so we don't have go through a hectic search later."
Hobbes stuck his head into the backpack and searched it. There were several more books in there, but no sign of an encyclopedia.
"Are you sure there's one in here?"
"I've been putting it in there for months now."
Hobbes dug a little more.
"I'm sorry. I just don't see it in here."
Calvin rolled his eyes and joined him.
"It's gotta be in there somewhere. It's probably near the gym socks."
"Okay, that shouldn't be hard to find. Just follow that smell."
"Which one? The old cheese smell or the old gummi bear smell?"
"I think it should be the Scotland Bagpipes smell."
"Hey, there's that marble I was looking for."
"Is it me, or is there a roll of Mentos in here?"
"I've never seen those before."
"Oh, cool, fifteen cents."
After about half an hour of searching, they had found the encyclopedia.
Calvin just copied everything in there, but he was smart to replace some words with smaller words that you'd expect from a first grader. He put it in his binder and jammed it into his backpack, along with all his other stuff.
"Well, that wasn't so hard," said Calvin. "Now it's dinner time."
At dinner, Calvin looked quite confident.
"How is that history report coming?" asked Mom.
"I'm already finished."
Dad looked up. "Oh really?"
"How well did you do?"
"I did great! It's probably the best thing ever written in pen. I wouldn't be surprised if it were put on display somewhere."
"Well, I'd like to look over it after dinner," said Mom.
"No problem. It's in my backpack."
Mom and Dad got up and started doing a few chores. Calvin, however, hadn't finished his whatever-it-is, so he had to sit there.
As he poked at it with his fork with a bored expression on his face, he noticed it was wiggling. It squirmed closer to him. Calvin scooted back. The green glop started to shift until it stood up like a long pole. It formed a mouth. Calvin covered his head, fearing that it would jump him like last time.
Then the disgusting substance, jumped up and down on the plate. This was a new technique, but Calvin wasn't going to fall for it. He held up a knife just in case.
Then the whole thing jumped up and back flipped into the empty glass. It tipped the glass over and it rolled over onto the fork. Stopping it on the handle, it squirmed out and wriggled over onto the prongs. It jumped them, flinging the glass at Calvin, who ducked. He turned around and watched the glass shatter against the wall.
Then his dinner jumped up and splatted into the back of his head.
"CALVIN!" Mom shouted.
Calvin looked up and saw his mom glaring at him angrily.
Calvin groaned and walked out of the kitchen. He walked past Dad, who was filling out a few papers.
"I don't want to know, do I?" he asked.
"No, you don't."
Later, Calvin was up in his room. He had gotten the gunk out of his hair, and he was waiting for Mom to come to look over his report.
"Okay, hide the encyclopedia, and we're in business."
Hobbes threw the encyclopedia in the closet and gave him a thumbs-up.
"Okay, let's see this report you're so proud of," she said.
Calvin opened his backpack and started the great dig. He dug through each bag and binder in it, but there was no sign of it.
"I know it's in here somewhere! I spent a whole hour writing it!"
"You didn't do it, did you?" Mom asked bitterly.
"I did! Hobbes and I worked really hard on it and—"
"Get to work kid. You can not come out of this room until it's finished."
She left without another word.
Calvin looked frantically at Hobbes. "What are we gonna do?"
"'We'?" Hobbes asked. "I'm not the one who gets grades. This is your problem."
"Oh, come on! You've gotta help me find it! If I don't find it, who knows what'll happen?"
"You'll flunk the first grade and be sent to pre-k. That's what."
"Thanks, Hobbes. Your reassurances work wonders on my soul."
"It's what I'm here for."
It was then they noticed that the whole backpack was beginning to shudder.
"D-d-did you see that?" Calvin stuttered.
"I think that mold in the bottom is alive!"
Calvin looked deeper into the backpack. He spotted something wiggle, and then grab onto a lose sheet of paper.
"Hey, I see the report again! It's being dragged into the backpack!"
Hobbes peered over his shoulder. "I'm befuddled."
"What else is new? Besides your vocabulary."
They peered further down into the backpack.
"There's only one thing to do," Calvin decided, "and don't say start over the report. No one has the kind of time."
"Then what do you propose we do?"
Calvin opened the backpack a little more and began to climb into it. Surprisingly, he was able to push the binders aside and slowly squeezed in.
Hobbes stood there, unable to fully understand what was happening.
"We're going in after it!" He reached out for Hobbes. "Come on!"
Hobbes groaned, and then he followed Calvin in, but with much difficulty. After several grunts and squeezes, he and Calvin had disappeared from view.