All Jeremy ‘IQ’ Wiggins wanted to do was impress Brittany Hope, a girl from school with ‘his’ home television studio. He did impress Brittany, but also inadvertently released a monster capable of consuming the hopes and dreams of every kid in the world. The television studio was actually an intricate cage Jeremy’s Uncle Walter used to keep the monster under control - - and the world safe. When Uncle Walter disappears (maybe eaten) it’s up to Jeremy to save the . . . world!


3. Chapter Three

I muttered darkly about rallies and public speaking as I made my way across the school sportsground. 

Physical effort was not my forte.  I stopped and rearranged the load on my back.  For a portable loudspeaker, the unit in my pack was very heavy.  I kneaded my aching neck muscles.  But this was suffering for a good cause.  Brittany’s lunchtime rally was important - - to Brittany.  And my support of Brittany was equally as important - - to me. 

‘Hey, Egghead.’ 

Mitchell Hayman.  This could be trouble.

‘What’s in your backpack?’

Tucking my chin onto my chest and lowering my eyes, I kept moving.  ‘Stuff.’

Mitchell dropped his school bag and guitar case on the ground and slipped around behind me.  ‘Stuff, eh?’   

I kept walking.  ‘Yeah, stuff.  For Brittany.’

‘For Brittany?’  Mitchell nodded knowingly.  ‘Ah, you mean the loudspeaker for the rally.’

‘Yes.’  I stopped.  ‘How-how do you know so much about what Brittany’s up to?’

Mitchell made a telephone sign with his hand.  ‘She called me last night.’ 

She called him?  I thought Brittany was on my side.  Why on earth would she call him?

‘The Hand of Doom are headlining Brittany’s rally.  She says we’re the drawcard.  We get the kids to come to the rally.  Entertain them, then she educates them.’  He hoisted up his bag and guitar case.  ‘Cool, eh?

‘Yes.  Very.’

‘So we won’t need your loudspeaker, Egghead. We can use our band’s P.A.’ Mitchell winked.  ‘In fact, I don’t think Brittany needs you at all.’  He laughed and went on his way.

I struggled on to the playground and was stunned to find the pre-assembly gossip consisted wholly of Brittany’s lunchtime Save Our School rally.   As the morning wore on I learned just how persuasive Brittany could be.  Everyone was going to the rally.  Between classes, I cornered Wade and Raymond, a couple of junior nerdish types.  ‘You guys won’t be going to the rally, will you?’ I growled.  It was the closest I could muster to a threat within a question. 

‘Of course we are,’ Wade gushed.  ‘This is a political hot potato by golly and Brittany Sumers has the asbestos gloves to handle it.’

Unbelievable.  ‘Why not just say she’s your hero and be done with it?’

Wade and Raymond exchanged knowing looks.  ‘Oh she is,’ they chorused. ‘She is.’

I left it at that.  A scream bubbled in my gut, clawing its way up my throat, but I bit down hard and suppressed the urge.  As I settled into my seat in English, I tried to figure out why I was feeling the way I did.  The obvious answer was jealousy.  But I was not a jealous person.  I could never be jealous of Brittany.  But what about her Cause . . .?

The classroom door clattered open and Mitchell, still lugging his guitar case, sauntered in.  Everyone applauded him. 

Did this mean Mitchell was the people’s hero? 

‘Never,’ I muttered to myself.  But there stood the root of my evil, grinning like a fool.  Mitchell Hayman, idiot savant (sans savant).   A tin-eared thug who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket! 

He flicked my ear as he passed by.  ‘Me and Brittany are gonna save this school.’

‘Brittany and I,’ I corrected.

‘You?’ Mitchell laughed.  ‘Oh no, no, no.  Brittany and me.  You’re not part of our . . .’  He paused for a moment, his brow crinkled in thought.  ‘. . . crusade.’

Before I could argue further, Mr Grogan bustled into the classroom and called for silence.  ‘Anyone caught discussing subjects other than the love poems of John Donne will be placed on lunchtime detention.’  He glared at the class.  ‘Clear?’

Normally John Donne would have greatly interested me.  Okay, so the language was old and creaky, but the feelings.  Hmm.  Johnny Boy knew how to connect with the chicks.  I wanted to connect with a chick.  I wanted to tell Brittany not to trust Mitchell.  His only motivation was not to save the school, but to impress her-  A fog horn blasted within my head – Hypocrite Alert!  Hypocrite Alert!

Okay, Mitchell was beating me at my own game.  We’re both suitors, but I had right on my side.  But, Mitchell had something Brittany wanted - - People Pulling Power.

Should I bad-mouth him?  Run him down?  Employ voodoo?  No.  What would that get me, other than a reputation as a jealous, poor loser.  No, I couldn’t tarnish Mitchell’s reputation.  So what then? 

‘Of course!’ I cried out.

Everyone turned and gawped at me. 

‘I’m glad you’ve discovered the significance of the imagery in Donne’s poetry, Jeremy,’ Mr Grogan said, ‘but perhaps you could keep it to yourself.’

‘Yes, sir,’ I said, feeling myself blush.  ‘Sorry, sir.’

After mutterings of ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’, the class returned to its task and I returned to my musing.  The plan was simple and it would work.  I had to continue supporting Brittany.  Whole-heartedly.  I had to be her Number One Supporter and show that I was behind The Cause.  With or without my intervention, Mitchell’s true colours would fly soon enough.  But time was running out and I needed to start my campaign of support now.  I was due in the Chemistry lab next period and Brittany would be just finishing Ancient History. 

I would engineer an Encounter. 

The moment the bell rang, I was out of the door.  I jogged down the corridor, mounted the stairs two at a time and rounded the corner just as Brittany emerged from her class.

‘IQ?’ she said. ‘Hi.’

‘G’day, Brittany.’  Gulping in air, I leaned forward and rested my hands on my knees. ‘I just wanted to- to say I hope everything goes really- really well.’

‘You do?’

‘Yes, of course.  I know how important this is for, well, everyone.  Even if they don’t know it yet.’

‘Thanks, IQ.’ Brittany smiled and patted me on the shoulder.  ‘I’m sorry if I was rude before.  But I want everyone to treat this issue with the proper severity’.

Wow, she’s started to talk like me.  Excellent!  In situations like this, good old Mitchell would be left scratching his name in the dirt with a stick. 

‘I was wondering if you needed any help today?  From me, I mean.’

Brittany frowned.  ‘Well, Mitchell’s got everything sorted out - - with the P.A. and all that stuff.  It’s pretty much under control.’  She shrugged.  ‘But thanks for offering.’

I decided not to mention the loudspeaker - - that would only sound like sour grapes.  I would let it sit in my locker and rust.  I shrugged nonchalantly. 

‘Yeah.  Cool.  Just thought I’d check.’  I glanced at my watch.  ‘Whoa.  I’d better get to Chemistry.  I’m helping Mr Bresciano with an experiment.’ 

‘See you at the rally?’ Brittany asked as I headed back down the corridor.

I would sooner witness a public execution, but I turned and gave the thumbs up.  ‘You bet.’

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