The Possum Always Rings Twice

by Bruce Hale and Brad Weinman

This is the eleventh book in the Chet Gecko series.

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780152052331
  • ISBN-10: 015205233X
  • Pages: 128
  • Publication Date: 04/01/2007
  • Carton Quantity: 48

About the book

Get ready for muckraking time at Emerson Hicky Elementary. The race is on for student council president, but it's quickly getting fishier than the bottom of a pelican's lunch box. Someone is sending candidates ominous threats and posting signs with messages like FIR IS FIRST! and DOWN WITH FEATHERS. Could someone be trying to rig the election? Good thing Chet and Natalie are around to expose the filthy frauds!

About the author
Bruce Hale

BRUCE HALE is the author of Snoring Beauty, illustrated by Howard Fine, as well as the fifteen Chet Gecko mysteries. A popular speaker, teacher, and storyteller for children and adults, he lives in Santa Barbara, California.

The Boy Who Cried ­Wolverine


Let’s face it: Elementary school is a jungle. Want to survive? Know your beasts. The herds of nerds, the packs of bullies, the rich kids, the jocks—each creature in this jungle has its own identifying ­marks.


Take Ben Dova, ­wolverine.


           One look told the tale. Dagger claws, check. Furry boulders that passed for shoulders, check. B.O. strong enough to make a stinkbug cry, ­check.


           Ben Dova might just as well have had bully stamped across his ­forehead.


           He was ­big.


           He was ­bad.


           And he’d been hogging the tetherball for ten ­minutes.


           Wolverine or no wolverine, I wanted to ­play.


           “’Scuse me, bub,” I said. “You almost ­finished?”


           “Grrr,” he ­replied.


           Did I mention that Ben was also a brilliant ­conversationalist?

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           He planted a pair of hamlike fists on his hips, snorkeled some air through his nose, and scanned the ­scene.


           “Pee-yew,” he said. “What ­stinks?”


           I gazed up at Ben. “Your armpits come to mind,” I said. “As does your breath, your sister, and your grades. Pick ­one.”


           Ben’s lip curled, flashing fangs that a great white shark would’ve ­envied.


           I reached for the tetherball. “Hey, if you’re not going to play . . .”


           The wolverine hoisted the ball out of my reach. “Smells like barf,” he said. “Smells like a pukey little ­lizard.”


           This brought some girlish giggles. A weasel and a rabbit stood nearby ­watching.


           Sheesh. It’s always worse with an ­audience.


           My jaw tightened. “Look, pal. Why don’t you give someone else a turn, and get back to practicing your tough­-­guy ­talk?”


           Ben’s bullet­-­hole eyes burned yellow. “You gonna make me, ­punk?”


           Normally, I try to deal with bullies the Rodney Rodent way. (You know, the star of Rodney Rodent’s House of Cartoons?) Rodney always says: Don’t show fear; speak firmly but politely; and just walk ­away.


           I didn’t show fear. Speaking firmly, I said, “I don’t make beanheads, I bake ­them.”


           I’ve always had problems with the polite ­part.


           Turning to go, I nodded to the girls. A paw like a catcher’s mitt swung at my ­head.

I ­ducked.


           The gleam in Ben’s eyes went from yellow to red. That was my ­cue.




           I pelted across the blacktop, straight for the nearest portable classroom. Mere steps ahead of the wolverine, I reached ­it.


           Fa­-­zzup! I scuttled up the ­wall.


           Whether you’re a PI like me or just a fourth grader trapped in a sixth­-­grade world, it pays to have serious climbing skills. In three shakes, I made the ­roof.


           “Come back here, Gecko!” yelled Ben ­Dova.


           I laughed. “If you think I’m coming down to get creamed, you’re so dumb you put lipstick on your forehead to make up your ­mind.”


           A snarl below told me the joke had found its mark. I savored the ­moment.


           “Verrry funny,” came an oily voice from behind me. “You should try stand­-­up.”


           A huge brown bat hovered in ­midair.


           “I did,” I said, “but I kept falling ­down.”


           “Too bad you didn’t fall farther,” she ­crooned.


           Swell. Another bully. Even for Emerson Hicky, this was ­excessive.


           “What is this, Let’s Pick on a PI ­Week?”


           The bat wore a dorky pink hair ribbon and a savage sneer. Her smooshed­-­in nostrils twitched as if she smelled something ­stenchy.


           As if that something was ­me.


           She opened her mouth to ­speak.


           I held up a hand. “I know, I know,” I said. “I’m a smelly little lizard and blah­-­blah­-­blah.”


           “Verrry perceptive,” said the ­bat.


           “Look, Flappy, can we just skip to the part where I run away? It takes me a while to come up with new ­insults.”


           The bat smiled, baring fangs as yellow as a stale harvest ­moon.


           “But of course,” she said. Miss Flappy flexed her ­wings.


           I sprinted for the nearest ­treetop.


           Flump­-­flump­-­flump! The thrumming of bat wings gre...


Praise for books in the Chet Gecko series:

"Zesty and entertaining . . . Young readers . . . will want to scuttle along with this schoolyard sleuth."--The Bulletin


"Those who haven't read a 'Chet Gecko' mystery don't know what they're missing."--School Library Journal