Chapter 1 Inspiration Strikes Jared juggled the remote controls for the TV and DVD player, watching them spin in the air between his hands. He was standing on the back of the couch, balanced above his sister's head. "Would it kill you to sit still?" Daphne growled. Jared didn't answer. Sometimes he thought it would kill him to sit still. His energy might build up inside him until he exploded. But mostly, he thought it was more fun to annoy Daphne than it would be to sit on the couch. Suddenly, he spotted something interesting in the background of Daphne's princess movie. There was a guy standing in the middle of the crowd and juggling, and he was juggling even better than Jared could. Jared jumped down from the couch, narrowly missing Daphne's head. "Who is that?" he said. "Get out of the way. I can't see," Daphne said. "But who is that guy?" "He's the court jester. Now move!" Sometimes sisters could be so rude, Jared thought. Then he sat down to watch the movie. Well, he sat upside down on the couch with his hair brushing the floor. But he was watching the movie seriously this time. The jester was acting crazy. He was dressed in a bright apple green and purple costume. His hat had two points, each decorated with a jingling bell. As Jared watched, the jester juggled, told a joke, and did a perfect back flip. Wow! He could do everything Jared did, except better! He even looked a little like Jared-lean and lanky with reddish brown hair and a scattering of freckles. But of course, Jared didn't generally wear bells on his head. "Why is he doing that stuff?" Jared asked. After all, the jester didn't seem to be a big part of the story. "It's his job," Daphne said. Jared's eyes opened wide. "That's his job?" he repeated. Daphne ignored him, but Jared was used to that. He just kept talking. "Daphne, how can it be his job? He gets paid to juggle?" Jared had a lot of experience with juggling. Some people (okay, mostly his mom) yelled at him, some people laughed, but no one had ever, ever paid him. He poked Daphne's shoulder again and again until she finally looked at him. "It's his job to entertain the king and the queen," she said, swatting his hand away. "He tells jokes and stuff." Jared peered closely at Daphne to make sure she was telling the truth. Her eyebrows always wiggled when she lied. But no-her eyebrows were completely still. "You're telling me that this guy gets paid to juggle and tell jokes," he said. "And he does flips, and plays tricks on people, and stuff like that. Now go away," she said. Jared didn't go away, but he did stop talking. He needed to think things over. People were always asking Jared what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he always said whatever popped into his head. Firefighter, or police officer, or doctor. Every kid in his class wanted to be the same things. But a court jester! That was something completely different. And he already had the skills. He ticked them off in his head: He could juggle. He could even throw his mom's plates in the air and catch them before they fell. Usually. He could do flips. He'd been taking gymnastics since he was five. (Some theory of his mother's about burning up his extra energy.) He could tell jokes. Even if Daphne didn't think they were funny. It was possibNewbigging, Martha is the author of 'Jared Lester, Fifth Grade Jester', published 2006 under ISBN 9781554510252 and ISBN 1554510252.