Chapter 1: Profound Thoughts from the Monkey Bars Nothingappearedto happen on the day I began sixth grade at Pepperdine Elementary School that pointed to the extraordinary, and I have to adddangerous,events about to take place in my life. It's as amazing that I'm still here to record them as it was for me to be around to record two similar events that happened earlier. Some of you may choose not to believe what I'm writing on these pages. But as a great and dedicated scientist, which I became in the summer following my year in the fourth grade, I feel I must make this report. I'll be as accurate and truthful as I know how.The only noticeably different thing about the beginning of this first day of school from every other was the new sixth-grade cool-guy greetings my friends and I exchanged as I sauntered up to where they all sat hunched over on top of the monkey bars of the Pepperdine playground."Hey, it's the Broomster! Yay! Yay! Yay!"The Broomster -- that was me, Rupert P. Brown III, also known as Broomstick."Hey, it's the Peatmeister! Hey, it's the Creamer! Hey, it's the Bananapeeler! Yay! Yay! Yay!" I said right back, losing no time in joining them.Peatmeister, of course, was Peatmouse, otherwise Wayne Partlow. Creamer was Creampuff, otherwise Tommy Conrad. Bananapeeler was plain Banana, otherwise Harvey Robert Fanna. Now, once we'd gotten all this cool-guy stuff over with, we'd go back to being good old Peatmouse, Creampuff, Banana, and Broomstick, which we'd called each other since about the third grade. I was just as long and skinny then as I am now, which is how I got my name.But who could have known back there in the thirdgrade how prophetic that nickname would turn out to be!"Where's the Spookster?" Peatmouse asked as soon as I'd settled myself down beside them all on the top rung."She left," I replied. "Her father got transferred. She's about a thousand miles away from here now.""That's too bad," said Creampuff."Yeah," I said, and let it go at that. I didn't see any point in going into how "too bad" it was.Spookster was Spook, otherwise Amelia Matilda Daley. I'm the one who gave her the name Spookin the fifth grade because of the way she always breathed, "Boy, that's spooky!" when she looked into a microscope. As you may gather, Spook is a fellow scientist as well as a friend. She is the only one who knows the true details of the two earlier events I've mentioned. In order for you to have a better understanding of the report I'm about to make, I'll reveal the most important of those details here.In the first of the two events, I was introduced to a real, honest-to-goodness, card-carrying witch, Miss Switch. She arrived at Pepperdine Elementary School as our fifth-grade teacher, seeking the help of my great scientific brain to suggest some original witchcraft ideas that would satisfy the command of a goofy contraption called a computowitch. It belonged to a really nasty brand of witch named Saturna. Luckily, I came up with the idea of feeding it the information about what a great teacher Miss Switch was. The computowitch got so excited it practically blew itself up, and thus we got rid of Saturna. Or so I thought.But back she came, now determined to get rid of the one who had put her computowitch out of commission. That, of course, was me. Saturna tried to have me kidnapped, but it was Amelia who got kidnapped instead. Fortunately, Miss Switch came to the rescue. After some pretty scary events, all ended up well, and once again we got rid of Saturna. Or so I thought!At any rate, I now return to the conversation I was having with my friends on the top rung of the Pepperdine monkey bars. After the greetings were over with, the first topic of conversation, as it always had been, was noteworthy events of that summer. My contribution was that I got another pet, a cockatiel, named Fred. I said "another" because he was in addition to myWallace, Barbara Brooks is the author of 'Miss Switch Online', published 2002 under ISBN 9780689843761 and ISBN 0689843763.