THE SAMPLING: The Short But Brilliant Career
The Short but Brilliant Career of Lucas Weed by debut author Chrissie Walker won the 2017 Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award for an Unpublished Writer. It's now been published by Scholastic NZ.
The book tells the story of Lucas Weed. He hasn’t really made any friends at his new school, so when the ‘cool kids’ suggest he carry out a prank in class, Lucas thinks it might be his path to being accepted. And when the pranks keep getting more and more outrageous – and with videos uploaded to YouTube – Lucas Weed’s popularity soars! But soon things start to go out of control ...
from Chapter One
I didn’t set out to be the most FAMOUS KID at Fernwood School. You might find that hard to believe, but it’s true. It just happened. Things started out small, then they got away on me until everything had got so big I didn’t have a chance of controlling it. And really, I’ve got to admit it was all my fault.
But I guess I should start at the beginning. I’ll give you all the gory details so you can make sure you never find yourself in the same position I did. Here goes . . .
* * *
It all started like any other day. It was a Monday morning, and even though my weekend hadn’t exactly been EXCITEMENT CENTRAL, I still didn’t want to go to school. For starters, I knew I’d done a STINK job of my homework and I also knew my teacher was onto me, big time. I could just see the look she was going to give me. You know the one – that whole, I’m-a-bit-disappointed-in-you-Lucas-because-I-know-this-isn’t-your-best-work kind of look.
I also knew I was going to be sent off to school with a RUBBISH LUNCH. I knew that because, a) when I went to steal a packet of chips yesterday there was already none left, even though Mum is always harping on about “saving them for lunches,” and, b) I heard Mum complaining to Dad last night that she had “run out of time to get the groceries” and she didn’t know what she was going to give the kids for lunch. Then she said, “And thanks very much for all your help too,” to my dad, which I knew was SARCASTIC. How did I know that? Because, according to Mum, Dad is allergic to the kitchen. I don’t exactly know what that means, but basically, from what I can figure out, it means everything he tries to make tastes like POO, so Mum has to do all the work.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, GET OVER YOURSELF LUCAS WEED.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, GET OVER YOURSELF LUCAS WEED. Sounds like every other kid’s Monday morning, right? That’s what I said to myself as I d r a g g e d my bones out of bed. Enough with the pity party. Could be worse, it wasn’t like I was at the bottom of the scrapheap at school or anything. I wasn’t some social outcast.
You know what? Maybe I’ll stop here and give you a bit of a rundown on me, LUCAS WEED. Yup, that’s right. WEED. What kind of surname is that? I don’t think I have to tell you what my nickname is at school.
Anyway, I’m an average kind of kid – or at least I was, until all of this happened and I became famous. I’ve got brown hair that always seems to stick up just a little bit at the back, brown eyes and freckles. HATE THE FRECKLES! I’d like to be a bit taller,and have at least the possibility of muscles someday, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I’ve apparently got what my dad calls his lean, wiry build. My mum says I look like a runner– and I do run, by the way – but I think I just look like a typical kid. My sister says I look like a MONKEY’S BUM, but I’m pretty sure she’s exaggerating. I’ve never had people run away laughing when they see me, so I figure I’m not very memorable. That can be a good thing actually. It turns out people never expect anything of the kid who blends in, and that really works to my advantage, as it turns out. But I’m getting ahead of myself again. Where was I?
That’s right. Monday morning.
It turns out people never expect anything of the kid who blends in, and that really works to my advantage, as it turns out.
I knew somebody was out to get me when I sat down to breakfast and found my sister, Maddie, slurping up the last of the Chocolate Puffs with that EVIL GRIN on her face. Of course, when I complained, Mum said it served me right for being so late, and then I had to eat cornflakes, plus hear the lecture about how lucky I was to have good food on the table, blah, blah, blah.
I gave Woof (that’s my dog) my milky bowl of mush to eat when I’d had enough, and he only went and spilt it when the cat tried to nick it. And then I got in TROUBLE of course, and I had to clean it up . . . and it wasn’t even 8 o’clock yet. By the time I left the house,Mum had that look on her face – you know the one. The look that tells you it would only take one more word to make her blow. Sometimes it’s fun to send her over the edge, but that morning I just didn’t need any more DRAMA. I got out of there fast, with the rubbish lunch I’d expected crammed into my lunchbox, then took my time getting to school.
I walk to school, which is actually kinda nice. It only takes about five minutes if I don’t muck around, but I usually spin it out. Mum kicks us out at quarter past 8 anyway, since she has to leave for her job at the florist, and we aren’t allowed to actually be at school until 8.30, so that gives me plenty of time to kill. Usually I walk the long way, past the playground where I sit on the swings for a bit, j u s t k i l l i n g t i m e. I’ve got getting to school at exactly the right minute down to a fine art, and that Monday was no exception.
Are you thinking I’m a bit ODD? I know most kids like to go and hang out with their friends before school, but that’s the thing with me. I don’t really have anyone I’d call an actual friend. I’m not a LOSER or anything, I’m just not one of those kids who has a big group of mates all around him. I’m more of an under-the-radar kind of guy. And I’m not making excuses, but we just shifted here at the end of last year and, before I knew it, it was the school holidays and I kind of hadn’t clicked with anyone. By the time we went back to school in February, I was hoping there would be a few more newbies, but I’m still the only FRESH BAIT. You can see why I wasn’t exactly keen to get up and start another week that Monday morning.
I’m not a LOSER or anything, I’m just not one of those kids who has a big group of mates all around him. I’m more of an under-the-radar kind of guy.
When the bell rang, I could see Thomas, Hunter and Oscar hanging out near the classroom door, just out of sight of Mrs Fox. She’s one of our teachers, but she’s okay. She’s old and she’s kind of fat, but she has a really nice, kind face. Don’t tell anyone I said that though. That makes me sound weird. She has a mole on her arm that has hair coming out of it. I’m kind of FASCINATED and REPULSED by it, all at the same time. Sometimes I just catch myself staring at it, then she catches me staring, then I feel really bad. If I were her, I’d just cut the hairs off. But anyway, that’s not part of my story. I just threw that in there in case you were fascinated by gross things like that too.
Anyway, I could see that Thomas and the others were up to something. They were all laughing and carrying on like they had some big joke no one else knew about, and as I got closer I could hear them ARGUING about something. I knew I should have kept on walking, but my feet seemed to slow down of their own accord, and I kept hearing snatches of their conversation. It went a bit like this:
“You do it!”
“They’ll suspect me.”
“You wuss . . . haven’t got the—”
“Eugh . . . it’s so slimy and—”
“Don’t drop it!”
“I think it just did wees on me!”
“Ew, get away from me!”
“Quick! We haven’t got time for . . .”
As you can imagine, I was intrigued. And that was when I made my first mistake.
“What are you looking at, Weed?”
Reproduced from The Short but Brilliant Career of Lucas Weed by Chrissie Walker, published by Scholastic NZ 2018
The Short but Brilliant Career of Lucas Weed
by Chrissie Walker
Published by Scholastic NZ