Excerpts for Trouble Magnet
Prob'ly an Idiot
Maybe you know the feeling of how junk it is when summer ends. The good times are over. You start thinking about school, homework. Getting up early again.
And there's nothing you can do about it.
But I say, forget that. Get out there and squeeze the last drop of fun out of summer.
Which is why I was down at the beach with my friends Julio Reyes and Maya Medeiros. We were watching a kiteboarder zip over the ocean. I couldn't believe how fast he was going. "Ho, man, look at that guy go!"
Julio whistled. "Like a rocket."
The hot sun sparkled on the blue-green bay. The kiteboarder topped a small wave and let his kite pull him high into the sky. He did a flip and came back down. Perfect.
"Holy moley," I whispered.
All three of us lived a couple blocks from the beach on the same dead-end street, in a town called Kailua, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Across from our small one-story houses, patches of jungle blocked our neighborhood from a fancy golf course. High above the jungle, green mountains sat under hats of white clouds.
Julio elbowed me. "That guy's a famous kiteboarder."
"No joke? What's his name?"
Julio pinched his chin. "I forget. Something."
Maya laughed. She was cool, and really good at sports. Better than me and Julio. She had a skateboard and a brown belt in tae kwon do. She was born somewhere in China. The Medeiros family adopted her.
We were sitting on a sandy rise under a stand of ironwood trees just above the beach. It was a breezy Thursday morning, and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
The kiteboarder swung around and raced toward shore. When he got as close as he could before hitting sand, he slowed and sank to his knees. His kite settled down onto the water like a small parachute. He stepped out of his wakeboard and pulled his kite in, then spread it out on the sand.
"Hey," he said. "You kids mind watching my gear? I need to run over to the pavilion."
"Sure!" I sprang to my feet.
"Thanks. Be right back."
The guy dropped his wakeboard, harness, and control bar and headed up over the rise.
The wakeboard was black with red stripes. It had foot grips and looked new. Nice. I glanced over my shoulder to see if the guy was coming back. Nope. I waggled my eyebrows at Julio and Maya. "Watch this."
I stepped into the foot straps. "Bring on the wind!"
"You better get off that, Calvin," Maya said.
I picked up the control bar, which was attached by cables to the kite spread out on the beach. "Yee-hah!" I gave the cables a flip. The kite caught a puff of wind, rose a foot, and settled back down. Ho, man, this was so cool!
I grinned at Maya and Julio.
Just then a strong gust whooshed down the beach and caught the kite. The kite blossomed and snapped up off the sand.
"Calvin!" Maya pointed.
I was still grinning at them when the wind grabbed the kite and whoomped it out like a sail. It shot down the beach, ripping the control bar right out of my hands.
"Grab it!" Julio shouted.
I leaped off the wakeboard and stumbled after it, Maya yelling, "Get it! Get it! It's flying away!"
The control bar bounced along the sand, just out of reach. It skipped out over the water, came back over the sand, and skipped out again. I dove for it and landed on my belly. But I managed to grab the bar and hang on.
The wind was strong! I couldn't slow the escaping kite. It dragged me over the shallow water on my stomach. It fishtailed me up onto the sand, then back into the water again.
"Calvin!" Maya shouted, racing down the beach with Julio.
I bounced and banged over the water, swallowing salty gulps of ocean.
"Calvin! Let go!" Julio called. "You'll drown!"
But I would never let go.
A quarter mile down the beach the wind finally let up. The kite sank onto the sand. I sank into the water, gripping the control bar with white knuckles.
Julio grabbed the kite. Maya waded into the waves. "You all right?"
I staggered up, coughing.
Maya grinned when she saw that I was okay. Just soaked, bruised, scratched, and covered with sand. "You look like you fell into a cement mixer."
"Uh-oh." Julio nodded toward the pavilion.
The kiteboard guy was racing toward us, shouting, "Hey! What's going on?"
He ran up, breathing hard.
"The wind grabbed your kite, mister." I handed him the control bar. "We, uh . . . we saved it."
The guy looked at me, then at Julio with the kite bunched and overflowing in his arms. "I must have been careless. Hey, thanks for running it down for me."
"Yeah, no problem."
He laughed. "No problem? You look like roadkill."
He gathered up his equipment and started back up the beach.
"Hey!" I called.
The guy stopped and turned back.
"Are you a famous kiteboarder?"
"Pshh. I wish."
I frowned at Julio. "You idiot."
Maya pointed at my arms and chest. "Yikes! Blood."
I looked down. Cuts and scratches ran across me like spiderwebs. "Cool."
Maya stared at me. "I think you might be the idiot, Calvin."
"And I think you're prob'ly right." I grinned.
Julio slapped my back. "You sure know how to end summer with a bang, bro."
From the Hardcover edition.