My name is Spritle Racer—and that means I have a lot to live up to. Or live down, depending on how you look at it.
First, there's the name. Spritle.
No one ever in the history of the world, has been named Spritle. Still, I guess that beats my real name, which is Henry John Racer. I mean, OK, so I was named after my uncle, but the name's like 100 years old! Speed likes to tease me and say I got named that because Mom and Pops were big John Denver fans when I was born. Could have been worse, he says.
I could have been named Elvis. Elvis Racer. Uh huh. Yeah. Right.
Then there's the rest of it. Racer.
My father's a world-famous race car engineer, my oldest brother ran away from home long before I was even born, and my other brother—well, everybody knows about him. He's so famous, people know him just by his first name. 'Course, only the family and the WRL knows his real first name is Gregory. Even when he was younger than me, people called him Speed, even the teachers.
He had a reputation for being dumb as a kid, but that's not true. He taught me everything I know about cars and racing history—and that's a lot. . And man, can he draw! The cars he does—they look like they can burn rubber and win races, just sitting there on the page.
One more thing for me to live down. Old Ms. Waterstraat was Speed's teacher when he was 8. Now she's my math teacher. She didn't expect much of me, either. Until I starting ace-ing every math test she put in front of me. 'Course, that kinda backfired, 'cause at this school you don't get props for being a brain. From the guys anyway. But what am I gonna do? Play dumb to be popular? That's like cheating.
Gotta look at the facts. I'm the youngest in a really famous family. No good at sports. My best bud is a chimp. And boy, have I been teased about that.
At first, I just ignored it, 'cause I know better than to get into a fight I can't win.
Malcolm Marx started in on me again.
"Hey, Spriiitle.. When Chim Chim's bad, do you spank your monkey?"
And then he laughed like it was some joke only he knew the punchline to. Well, duh. Of course he knows the punchline. It's the only joke he knows.
This went on for a while. I did my best to ignore it, but as time went by, I knew he wasn't gonna quit until he got a reaction out of me and I wasn't gonna quit until I found a way to shut him up.
I had to find out what that meant. I didn't dare ask Pops. He'd probably have a coronary, thinking that I was old enough to need....THE TALK.
And it's not the kind of thing you can ask your mom. At least, not mine.
So I asked Speed. I cornered him while he was raiding the fridge, taking a swig straight out of the milk carton.
Don't ever do that. OMG. I nearly killed him.
"Go look it up." was all he managed to choke out.
So I did. And that search led to other sites, where I'm not old enough to go. So I logged in as Speed, and looked for about 5.2 seconds. Holy TMI—that's all I gotta say. Makes me want to scrub out my brain.
But I had my answer.
Hey, monkey-lover...lemme copy your test or I'll kick your ass." Danny Stratton hissed behind me.
"Cheaters never prosper." I muttered back, head down, eyes on paper, quoting the Racer family saying.
Malcolm Marx, smelling blood, moved in for the kill. He and Danny are so dumb, they don't know that I know what they're up to. They cause a ruckus—I get the blame.
"Hey, Spriiitle.. When Chim Chim's bad, do you spank your monkey?" he asked.
"No, your mother does it for me." There. That should shut him up.
Score: Racer 1, Marx 0.
I heard him choking, but didn't look up to check. The whole back end of the room erupted in snickers, snorts and ooooohs.
Principal? Why am I being sent to the principal?
Oh, right. My name is Spritle Racer.
I am toast.