Saturday 26 December 2020

Winner of 2020 Buzz Words Short Story Prize Competition

Do Not Print This Out                                                                                                        © Andy Segal (Vic)

DO NOT PRINT THIS OUT! Even if you’re reading this on an iPad and the screen is totally cracked and your mum is like, you should really print that out, darling – JUST DON’T.

Vacuum your whole house and earn some pocket money to fix your screen. Just NEVER, EVER, EVER print this out. Better still, don’t let ANYONE print out ANYTHING. Especially your teachers. And especially homework. The fate of the world depends on it.

If you have to, sneak into the teachers’ lounge at school and pour some Coca Cola into the printer. It’ll totally ruin it! You know how grown ups are always saying how bad Coke is for your teeth. It’s a bajillion times worse for printers!

Oh, and if you have any magazines or books lying around, lock them away somewhere safe. Like in a safe. That’s the safest. Otherwise, why would they call it a safe?

Okay, now, you’re probably thinking, who is this weirdo telling me what to do? Good point. And, the thing is, I kinda don’t want to tell you who I am. I mean my parents might be reading this and I’ll get into all sorts of trouble if they find out what I’ve done.

Just call me J-Man Supercool. That’s my YouTube name. Go search me up and watch my Minecraft vids. You’ll hear I sound a lot like a regular 8 year old girl. Yeah, I get that a lot. I’m actually in Grade 6. And I’m a boy. But I don’t care about that.

All I ever cared about – my ULTIMATE SUPER GOAL – was to one day reach ONE HUNDRED YouTube subscribers. Now I’ll be stuck on five for the rest of my life, which by the looks of things, won’t be very long. That is, if my dog gets his way.

Yeah, my own dog is hunting me. Okay, so he’s a fluffy white pooch that looks like he couldn’t scratch a flea off his backside. But Scruffles is not alone.

He’s got a gang of massive mutts with him. Now, I don’t have a Degree in Dogology, so I don’t know what kind of dogs they are exactly. But if I was a Dogologist, I’d call them Drooling Fangus Beasticus.

Seriously, they’re scary. They came out from behind a bush and blocked the footpath on my way home from school today. Six of them. Scruffles told me to give them my homework. So what did I do? I turned and ran like the future of humankind depends on it! Because it does!


I was not about to hang around to find out what limb a ‘metatarsal’ is connected to. All I knew was Scruffles was getting too smart. Luckily I was too fast.

Unluckily, my iPad fell out of my bag, and I had to sprint back and get it. But they didn’t catch me. I’m J-Man Supercool, and I am always as cool as a cucumber. Sure, cucumbers don’t have legs, but then again dogs aren’t supposed to talk. Or use words that make them sound like they just swallowed a medical book. Come to think of it, I think Scruffles did.

So now I’m hiding out inside the little red cubby house, back in the school playground. Normally, I’d never be anywhere near school after dark, but if I go home, they’ll find me. I’m sure of it. And I need to finish typing this out on my iPad, because the world needs to know what’s happening.

Okay, so I was watching a movie last week where a kid lied to his teacher and said, my dog ate my homework. Well, that gave me an idea. Not to lie. I would never lie. Mostly because my face goes as red as the YouTube Home Button when I lie, and my mum always says, liars lose their iPad privileges.

I actually fed my homework to my dog Scruffles. That way I could get on with making some super-cool Minecraft vids. Genius plan, right? My parents and teachers can’t get angry if it really happened.

Thing is, Scruffles wouldn’t eat a single page at first, but once I rubbed some sausages over the pages, he was totally into it.

He chomped through the times table for entree, a spelling list of synonyms for main course, and for dessert, French comprehension, which was excellente. Okay, that’s not French, because I don’t know any French. And with my brilliant plan, I would never have to learn.

I was worried the little flea bag would get a tummy ache, but after a while, I couldn’t rip the pages out of my school books fast enough. Then Scruffles started licking his lips and sniffing my book shelf for more. Soon, I didn’t even have to rub meat over any pages! I’d just scrunch a page up into a ball, throw it in the air, and he’d jump up and swallow it whole.

Then it happened. After he ate the last page in the dictionary, he burped louder than a Drink Tester in a Coca Cola factory. And that’s when he said his first words; “Oh, pardon me.”

The more information I fed Scruffles, the smarter he grew. Which was totally AWESOME! I high-fived myself, which may have looked like me just doing a weird clap, but it was a total selfie high-five.

For a couple of days, Scruffles didn’t just eat my homework, HE DID MY HOMEWORK. Life was A+ and I was on TWENTY YouTube Subscribers! I thought things couldn’t get any better. And I was right. They couldn’t. But they did get worse.

Slowly, slowly, Scruffles ate his way through every book on my bookshelf. By the end of the week, all that was left was the dusty World War Two collection my grandpa had given me for my ninth birthday. I mean, I didn’t really care if he ate those. And I figured it would come in handy if I ever got any history homework. Unfortunately, it gave him ideas. Bad ideas. Like war, and world domination.


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