Well I came top of the class again. One hundred out of one hundred for Maths. And one hundred out of one hundred for English. There isnt one kid in the class who can come near me. Next to me they are all dumb. Even when I was a baby I was smart. Since then I have always been very advanced for my age. Every year I win a lot of prizes: top of the class, top of the school, stuff like that. I won a prize for spelling when I was only three years old. Some kids dont like me; I know that for a fact. They say Im a show – off. I dont care. They are just jealous because they are not as clever as me.
Last week something had happened. Another kid got one hundred out of one hundred for Maths too. That never happened before – no one had ever done as well as me. A kid called Jerome Dadian beat me. He must have cheated. I was sure he cheated. I decided to find out what was going on. It had something to do with that ice cream.
It all started with the ice cream man, Mr. Peppi. The old fool had a van which he parked outside the school. He sold ice cream, all different types. He had every flavour there is, and some that I had never heard of before. He didnt like me very much. He told me off once. Go to the back of the queue, he said. You pushed in. Mind your own business, Pop, I told him. Just hand over the ice cream. No, he said. I wont serve you unless you go to the back.
I went round to the back of the van, but I didnt get in the queue. I took out a nail and made a long scratch on his rotten old van. He had just had it painted. Peppi came and had a look. Tears came into his eyes. You are a bad boy, he said. One day you will get into trouble. You think that you are smart. One day you will be too smart. I just laughed and walked off. I knew he wouldnt do anything. He was too soft – hearted. He was always giving free ice creams to kids that had no money. The silly fool.
There were a lot of stories going round about that ice cream. People said that it was good for you. Some kids said that it made you better when you were sick. One of the teachers called it Happy Ice Cream. I didnt believe it; it never made me happy. All the same, there was something strange about it. Take Pimples Peterson for example. That wasnt his real name – I just called him that because he had a lot of pimples. One day Peppi heard me calling Pimples that name and gave Peterson a purple coloured ice cream. Here, eat this, he said. Im giving it to you for nothing. It will help you get rid of your pimples. I laughed and laughed. Ice cream doesnt get rid of pimples, it gives you pimples. Anyway, the next day when Peterson came to school he had no pimples. Not one. I couldnt believe it. The ice cream had cured his pimples.
I made up my mind to put a stop to this ice cream business. Jerome Dadian had been eating ice cream the day he got one hundred for Maths. It must have been the ice cream making him smart. I wasnt going to have anyone doing as well as me. I was the smartest kid in the school, and thats the way I wanted it to stay. I wanted to get a look inside that ice cream van to find out what was going on.
I knew where Peppi kept his van at night. So at about eleven oclock I crept out of the house. There was no one around when I reached the van. I opened the door with a crowbar and shone my torch around inside. I had never seen so many tubes of ice cream before. There was every kind of ice cream you could think of: tasting of apple and banana, cherry and mango, blackberry and watermelon, and about fifty other flavours. Right at the end of the van were four bins with locks on them. I went over and had a look. These were his special flavours. Each of them had writing on the top. This is what they said:
Happy Ice Cream for cheering people up. Nose Ice Cream for long noses. Pimple Ice Cream for removing pimples. Smart Ice Cream for smart alecks.
Now I knew his secret. I decided to fix Peppi up once and for all and put sand into every bin in the van. But first I ate some Smart ice cream. It couldnt do any harm. Not that I needed it – I was already about as smart as you could get. Anyway, I gave it a try. I left the van and went home to bed, but I couldnt sleep. To tell the truth, I didnt feel too good. So I decided to write this.
It iz the nekst day now. Somefing iz hapening to me. I dont feal quite az smart. I have bean trying to do a reel hard sum. It iz wun and wun. Wot duz wun and wun make? Iz it free or iz it for?