Game over pete watson, p.1

Game Over, Pete Watson, page 1


Game Over, Pete Watson

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Game Over, Pete Watson

  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Table of Contents



  I’m Sorry, Okay?

  Video Games: The Only Things That Matter

  Wesley Midwood and the Spitty Mouth Banjo of Doom

  The Sticky Note That Destroyed Everything

  The Sign

  The Money Does Not Roll In

  The Return of Wesley Midwood

  The Embarrassing Chapter

  Never Trust a Guy with a Giant Bug on His Car

  Hooray! Everything’s Great! Until It Isn’t.

  However . . .

  I Make Wet-Wet in My Nug-Nugs

  the Return of the return of Wesley Midwood

  The Bug Man Returns

  More Bad News

  Things Get Stupid

  Things Get Stupider

  My Eight-Bit Dad

  I Go for a Little Spin

  Old Lady Blah-Blah

  How Much Do I Stink?

  Help Pete Find Wesley’s House!

  Into the Mouth of Madness

  Where Babies Don’t Come From Or, How I Ruined Everything (Again)

  We Do This Thing

  Knock-Knock. Who’s There? Interrupting End of the World. Interrupting End of the World Wh—? BOOM!

  Wesley’s Not-So-Awesome Plan of Not-So-Awesomeness

  The Great Awakening

  The Crack-Up

  In the Lair of the Bug Man


  What the iPhone Said

  Oh Yes, There’s More

  Hail to the Chief

  The Presidential String Theory

  The Cockroach in the Mirror

  Armed and Dangerous

  Smile, Stupid

  One Killion Dollars

  My Big Chance

  Mask Confusion

  Mrs. Wertley and the Bug Man, Sitting in a Tree?

  A Hero Will Shrink

  My Eight-Bit Dad Returns

  The Greatest Chapter in the Whole Book

  Weapon Test

  Boss Battle


  I Said I Was Sorry, Okay?

  The Skinny


  Sample Chapter from LENNY CYRUS, SCHOOL VIRUS

  Buy the Book

  About the Author

  About the Illustrator


  Text copyright © 2014 by Joe Schreiber

  Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Andy Rash

  All rights reserved. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10003.

  The Library of Congress has cataloged the print edition as follows:

  Schreiber, Joe, 1969–

  Game over, Pete Watson / by Joe Schreiber.

  p. cm.

  Summary: “When videogame obsessed Pete Watson discovers his dad is not only a super-spy but has been kidnapped and is now trapped inside a video game, he has to use his super gaming skills and enter the game to rescue him. And if he succeeds, who will save Pete from his massive crush on Callie Midwood?” —Provided by publisher.

  ISBN 978-0-544-15756-9 (hardback)

  [1. Video games—Fiction. 2. Spies—Fiction. 3. Humorous stories.] I. Title.

  PZ7.S37913Gam 2014



  eISBN 978-0-544-30649-3


  To my kids, who sat at the dining room table reading this book off my laptop and laughing out loud.


  I’m Sorry, Okay?

  On the Saturday morning that I almost triggered the end of the world, I woke up early. I was excited for three reasons:

  1) No school.

  2) Mom and Dad would be at Dad’s company softball game, which meant that I would have the house to myself all day.

  3) BRAWL-A-THON 3000 XL!!!!

  The original Brawl-A-Thon 3000 is my favorite video game of all time. If you asked me to rank my top ten games, it would go something like this:

  1) Brawl-A-Thon 3000

  2) Santa’s Go-Kart Apocalypse

  3) Galactic Sheep-Sheep

  4) Galactic Sheep-Sheep Returns

  5) Maynard GermQuake’s Return to ToxiCity

  6) Ninja Geeks: Fist of Algebra

  7) Doctor Dragon’s Dojo of Doom

  8) Unicorn Zombies

  9) Tomb of the Penguin Warlord

  10) Mr. Thumb Goes to Market (it’s better than it sounds)

  The exact order might change based on how I’m feeling that day, but trust me, Brawl-A-Thon 3000 is always at the top of the list.

  Now I know there’s more to life than video games. You have to have laptops and iPhones too, so you can download apps and watch videos and take pictures and write books like this one, which I couldn’t even type up without my mom’s laptop. I’m also going to use the drawing program, because a picture is worth a thousand words, and I want this book to be at least fifty thousand words long, so I figure fifty pictures ought to do it.

  The point is, I’m not one of those guys who’s just going to sit here and tell you that video games are the only things that matter.


  Video Games: The Only Things That Matter

  The original Brawl-A-Thon 3000 is the single greatest video game in history. In fact, the experts all agree that it’s pretty much the reason that video games were invented in the first place. Yes, it’s that good.

  First of all, imagine parachuting down onto this half-destroyed island where packs of vicious half- mechanical animals have taken over. You have to build a character out of all these leftover machines and animal parts and fight an army of mutant machine beasts called MechReatures.

  Also, on this island time flows backwards and forward so that one minute you might be tearing a MechReature apart and the next minute you’re accidentally building it up again. There are all kinds of mini games along the way where you have to shoot poison weeds and play speed chess against superintelligent monkey MechReatures. At the end of every level you have to battle a Mega-MechReature who is made up of all the worst parts of the guys you just fought. And that’s just the beginning.

  Dad says there’s more to life than video games and nobody ever made the world a better place by battling mechanical wolves and laser-eyed hyenas all day, and I guess everybody’s entitled to their opinion.

  But I have been playing Brawl-A-Thon 3000 for three years and I have gotten farther than anybody else I know, except for Wesley Midwood, who used to be my best friend.

  What happened?

  It’s a long and tragic story.


  Wesley Midwood and the Spitty Mouth Banjo of Doom

  Wesley’s a little weird. He’s a little overweight and has huge teeth. He’s the kind of kid who not only has rubber bands in his braces but has learned how to play them with his tongue, like a banjo. Sometimes in the cafeteria he’ll say, really loud, “How about a little ‘Dueling Tonsils’?” and open his mouth and start wiggling his tongue, just strumming those rubber bands. It sounds a little like this:

  In the deluxe digital edition of this book* you’ll be able to click on the picture and hear the sound it made. For now, just imagine banjos but with a lot more spit. You get the idea.

  That’s not what ruined the friendship, though. If you want the embarrassing truth about that, you’re going to have to keep reading.

  Those days, Mom was always asking me why I didn’t invite Wesley over, and I had to keep making up excuses like Wesley was busy or he had the mumps or something. The fact is, I was r
unning out of reasons, and I kept hoping Wesley and his family might just move away, but that didn’t seem like it was going to happen any time soon either. See, Wesley’s dad was my dad’s boss at Health Solutions Inc., the company where he worked, and I guess Mr. Midwood had just gotten a big promotion. Dad kept talking about it at dinner while he was cutting his steak into too many little pieces and squeaking his fork on the plate from pushing on it too hard or something.

  I tried not to ask questions.

  Like I said, I stick to video games.


  The Sticky Note That Destroyed Everything

  By the way, if I didn’t already mention it, Brawl-A-Thon 3000 XL was coming out today.

  I could spend all day telling you why it’s so cool, but basically the quick version is that it features whole new mutant strains and weapons and levels that take place on different planets and it looks totally amazing. Also, in this version time doesn’t just move backwards and forward; it also moves sideways, which means if you’re not careful, you might just erase yourself from existence.

  Plus, like the title implies, all the creatures are extra large.

  It cost $49.99, and I had been saving up for it for the past two months. My plan this morning was to wait for Mom and Dad to leave, then ride my bike down to Ready Player One, which is the video game store by the mall, and buy the game, then on the way back “lose” the receipt so I couldn’t return it. It wasn’t that Mom and Dad disapproved of it, exactly, but they were always asking me if I thought video games were a “wise use of my money.” They also talk a lot about buyer’s remorse, which I’ve had only once, when I spent my money on a pair of binoculars for Boy Scouts, and I definitely wasn’t going to repeat that mistake.

  I waited until the house was quiet and went downstairs. Mom had left three pieces of french toast for me, and I ate them while I checked my Brawl-A-Thon jar, counting out the cash into piles. So far, so good. But before I could finish counting, I found a little yellow sticky note tucked in the bottom. It said:

  For a second I just sat there with the note in my hand. I couldn’t believe this was actually happening.

  I mean, okay, Mom occasionally “borrows” money from my jar when she needs cash to tip the paper boy or pay for the Girl Scout cookies that she forgot she ordered. She always pays me back as soon as she gets to the bank. But today was the worst possible time for that to happen.

  I needed an idea, fast.

  First I checked under all the couch cushions, because sometimes you can find spare change inside there, but all I got was an old pen, some baseball cards that I thought I’d lost, three nickels, and a thick black Magic Marker. I thought about going out to see if anybody had lost a dog or a cat and trying to bring it back for a reward, but that was going to take too much time, and I didn’t think anybody in our neighborhood had lost a pet lately anyway.

  I picked up the Magic Marker, turned around, and practically tripped over the leftover pizza box from last night sitting next to the trash can.

  That’s when it hit me.

  The Magic Marker. The pizza box.

  It was a sign.


  The Sign

  It was just four words written on the torn-off flap of the pizza box, but right away I knew it was the answer.

  I carried it outside and taped it to our mailbox. Then I went back into the house and started looking for things to sell. That would give people time to notice the sign and build anticipation. Like they say in the business world, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.”

  Our basement didn’t have much in the way of sizzle or steak, but it was full of stuff that nobody ever used anymore, like an old treadmill, a guinea pig cage, and the home soda-making machine we’d gotten Dad for Christmas two years ago. He’d only used it once and made us all try “Dad’s Old-Time Homemade Root Beer.” After I had three glasses and got sick, Dad put it away in the corner and covered it up with a blanket. If all the parts were still there, I figured that alone was worth at least twenty bucks, easy.

  In the end, the basement turned out to be a gold mine. I grabbed an old pair of skis, along with some clothes and coats and stuff, a Hot Wheels set with almost all the pieces, and six boxes of dusty books. I rounded out the selection with some collectible Rocket Lad cups and souvenir mugs from our last trip to Florida. It took me about twenty minutes to get it all up to the garage and set it out on two card tables and a blanket spread out in the driveway.

  I really didn’t think Mom and Dad would mind if I got rid of some of this stuff. Mom had wanted to participate in the big neighborhood yard sale last spring, but Dad had said the last thing he felt like doing on his day off was watch a bunch of strangers paw through our stuff and make comments about it.

  The way I saw it, I was doing everybody a favor.

  I waited for the money to start rolling in.


  The Money Does Not Roll In

  An hour later, the only person that had even stopped to look was our neighbor Mrs. Wertley, who was walking her dog, Mr. Yappers. Mrs. Wertley is a retired English teacher, and she stood there looking at the souvenir coffee mugs that I put out and telling me about her trip to the Everglades last year to see her grandchildren. I think she was scaring my other customers away. She didn’t even buy anything.

  “If you really want to earn some money,” she said, “you could come and mow my lawn. I’ll pay you five dollars and all the iced tea you can drink.”

  I said no thanks. I’d made that mistake once before, when I’d really needed cash for Galactic Sheep-Sheep Returns and offered to clean out her garage for five dollars. It was the hardest five dollars I’d ever made. The entire time that I was cleaning, Mrs. Wertley kept asking me questions and correcting my grammar. She brought out a copy of Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition, and she said it was the most valuable thing that she owned.

  “If I had to be stranded on a desert island with just one book, it would be this one,” she said. “I never leave home without it, and neither should you.”

  I thought that if I had to be stranded on a desert island with just one book, it would be a giant inflatable waterproof bath book that I could use as a raft to float away on, but I didn’t say anything.

  “Uh-huh,” I said.

  “That’s the trouble with youth these days,” she said. “They all think they deserve a free ride. Don’t you pay any attention to what’s happening in the world today?”

  “Not really,” I said.

  “Of course not,” she said. “You’re the iPod generation, and you just want to keep your heads in the iClouds.”

  “Uh-huh,” I said.

  “‘Uh-huh,’” she said. “That’s one word that you won’t find in Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition.”

  “Right,” I said.

  On the way down the driveway, she turned around and said, “Oh, and you spelled ‘huge’ wrong, Pete.”

  Meanwhile it was almost eleven o’clock already and I hadn’t made a single sale.

  I was getting desperate. I went back inside to see if there was anything else worth selling. When I got down to the basement, I moved some stuff around and pulled another box from out of the corner. It was old and dusty, and it took me a second to even realize what was in it.

  Written in faded red letters across the box was COMMANDROID 85 VIDEO ARCADE SYSTEM.

  It was the old game console that Dad had had when he was a kid. He never took it out, and I knew he’d never even miss it. He probably didn’t even remember it was here. I’d be doing him a favor getting rid of it.

  I also found an old TV that we never used anymore. I carried it upstairs along with the CommandRoid and set the TV up in the driveway. There was a long extension cord in the garage, and I plugged the TV in. I figured this way at least I wouldn’t get bored while I waited. Without cable, though, it didn’t work out so well.

  I was about to hook up the CommandRoid when everything changed.

  The Return of Wesley Midwood

  It all started when a van pulled up in front of my driveway. At first I was excited that I actually had a customer, until I realized who it was.

  Wesley Midwood jumped out of the back and ran over to me while his mom sat behind the wheel.

  “Hey, Pete!” He looked around at all the stuff, and then stared right at the sign that said GARAGE SALE.

  “Yeah,” I said. “That’s the idea.”

  “Whoa, these are cool!” He picked up a pair of x-ray specs and put them on. “Do they really work?”

  “Sure they do. Take them home and see. Two bucks.”

  “Really? I’ll go ask my mom.” He started to run back to the van, and I got nervous, because all of a sudden I remembered that the x-ray specs actually belonged to him and he’d left them at my house a couple of years ago. If his mom figured that out, it would be no sale, and I might have to give them back for free.

  Then I saw something that made me forget all about the x-ray specs.

  Wesley’s older sister, Callie, was sitting in the passenger seat of the van, staring straight at me.

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