Wedgie & GizmoSuzanne Selfors
To Faith Kerrigan
and her guinea pig, Spot—
both geniuses, but not
of the Evil variety.
Excerpt from Wedgie & Gizmo vs. The Toof
About the Author and Illustrator
About the Publisher
GREETINGS TO YOU, DEAR READER. MY NAME is Gizmo. As you’ve probably heard, I am a genius. However, I am not a regular sort of genius, the kind who solves math problems or wins spelling bees. I am an Evil Genius, with an Evil Plan. Oh yes, it’s true. A dastardly Evil Plan. But for now, my Evil Plan must wait, because I find myself in a most unpleasant situation.
No, I am not wedged in a drain. That happened once. One of my beloved marsh-mallows fell into the bathtub and I needed to get it. There was plenty of room in the pipe for my front half, but my back half is much rounder. Fortunately, my servant, Elliot, freed me. But alas, the marshmallow was never seen again.
No, I am not cornered by a hungry feline, or, as you might say, a cat. That also happened once. The cat crept in through a window and woke me from my mid-afternoon nap. Elliot was at school, so I had to save myself. I bonked the cat on the head with a toilet paper tube, then bit its nose. It never bothered me again.
So, though I am pleased to report that I am not stuck in a drain and not facing a hungry cat, what I face, at this very moment, is worse. Much worse!
I was forced to move to a new home! And it’s pink!
How did this happen? I shall tell you. But be warned—it is not a nice story.
Yesterday, whilst enjoying an after-breakfast snack of carrot sticks, I was plucked from my Eco Habitat. Despite my squeals of protest, I was placed in a shoe box. After a lengthy journey, with neither a crumb to eat nor stick to chew, I awoke to find myself in a strange place.
No one asked my opinion about moving. No one gave me time to pack. And thus, all my hard work has been left behind. My tunnels. My treasures. My secret stash of marshmallows! I am irked, I tell you! Flustered! One day, when my Evil Plan is finished, all humans will feel my wrath!
But until that day, you may send your letters and care packages to my new address:
Gizmo the Evil Genius
The Barbie Playhouse
Atop the Bookcase in Jasmine’s Room
Nowhere Near the Andes Mountains
Even though I have only been inside this horrid pink house for a few hours, I have gathered the following intelligence:
1. Barbie moved out of the playhouse and went to a land called Goodwill.
2. Though she left many pairs of plastic shoes, she will not be returning.
3. I am alone in this fiendish fortress.
Barbie’s decision to move is understandable. There is no nest in the playhouse. No cave or laboratory. The plastic oven and plastic refrigerator do not work. And the plastic toilet does not flush. The only place for the elimination of waste is a container on the top floor.
JASMINE: Gross. Gizmo pooped in Barbie’s bathtub.
ELLIOT: That’s because you forgot to give him a litter box.
JASMINE: I’m so glad I get to take care of him.
ELLIOT: You only get to take care of him because his cage broke during the move. And because Dad said I’m supposed to be nice to you.
JASMINE: You have to be nice to me because I’m your new sister.
Don’t worry. He’ll be safe in my room.
ELLIOT: It’s only for a little while. Just until we buy him a new cage. Remember, Gizmo belongs to me.
Until three days ago, Elliot was a loyal servant. He provided clean shredded newspaper, fresh water, and alfalfa pellets that were bland but contained a balanced ratio of vitamins to minerals. In addition, Elliot oiled my exercise wheel so it did not squeak and washed the windows in my Eco Habitat so I could enjoy the view. He gave me a pair of glasses so I could watch the nightly news from the comfort of my nest.
Elliot never tried to squeeze me into a tutu.
JASMINE: Doesn’t he look cute?
ELLIOT: No, he doesn’t look cute. He looks ridiculous. Stop doing that.
JASMINE: But you said I could take care of him.
ELLIOT: I never said you could put doll clothes on him. Besides, they’re way too tight.
JASMINE: Well, it’s not my fault he’s shaped like a potato.
JACKSON: Ha-ha. He’s a furry potato.
The new girl’s name is Jasmine. I am not fond of her. I do not understand why she must pick me up and kiss me whenever she walks into the room. It is most unpleasant. And why must she carry me around in her pocket and sing songs to me? My time is valuable. I am an Evil Genius with important Evil Work to do!
MOM: Sweetie, don’t you think you should put the guinea pig down?
JASMINE: Gizmo likes being carried.
MOM: But he’s grunting and biting your finger.
JASMINE: That means he loves me. And I love him sooooo much. He’s the sweetest guinea pig ever. I’m so happy Elliot’s letting Gizmo stay in my room.
How many times must I tell these humans that the term guinea pig is incorrect? I am not from the pig family. I am a proud species of rodent belonging to the Caviidae family, and the genus Cavia. My species comes from the Andes Mountains, not from Guinea. But the humans insist on referring to me as a pig. Do I have a snout? No! Do I wallow in mud? No! How long must I bear these insults? Once I unleash my Evil Plan, they will never call me a pig again!
Which brings me to my updated list.
MY EVIL PLAN
1. Escape the pink prison and build an Evil Genius Lair.
2. Return Elliot to his rightful role as my servant.
3. Become the king of all cavies, create a cavy uprising, and take over the world!
Alas, Jasmine is sticking me into her pocket again. Why must I suffer such humiliation?
WHAT A GREAT DAY. I LOVE THIS DAY! I WISH every day could be like this day. I got half a waffle. And some toast crust. And a cup of kibble. I drank all the water from my bowl, I licked the shower floor, and I ate a dead fly. Now I’m standing at the door.
It’s time to go on patrol. Hello? Let’s go, people. Let’s go outside!
MOM: Wedgie, stop barking!
My name’s Wedgie, but my full name’s Super Wedgie. I got that name because one night, a long time ago, Jasmine tied a red cape around my neck and took me to all the houses in the neighborhood. At each house I got a pat on the head, and Jasmine got treats that she put in a bag. There were lots of scary people wearing masks, but I barked at all of them and kept Jasmine safe. And when we got back home, I chased all the mask-wearing people out of our yard. The cape gave me superpowers! Now I wear it all the time. It helps me protect Jasmine and the rest of my pack.
There used to be three people in my pack—Mom and her two pups, Jasmine and Jackson. But my new dad and his pup, Elliot, moved in so now there are five people in my pack. It’s my job to guard them from en
emies and invaders. It’s also my job to herd them so they don’t get lost. It’s a big job, but someone’s gotta do it. And I’m that someone. Me. Super Wedgie!
What a great day. Let’s go, people. Let’s go outside!
DAD: Wedgie, stop scratching at the door!
Super Wedgie has superpowers. If I run in a circle, again and again, with my cape flapping, I create an energized force field that opens the door. Ten times usually does the trick.
MOM: Oh for the love of Pete, will someone take the dog for a walk?
JACKSON: I’ll take him.
MOM: You’re too little to take him. Elliot, would you do it?
ELLIOT: Do I have to?
DAD: This is your chance to get to know your new dog.
ELLIOT: But he’s not my dog. He belongs to . . . them.
DAD: He belongs to all of us. We’re a family.
The force field is activated. The door opens!
I stand on the porch, my nose sniffing the air, my cape proudly displayed for all to see. Super Wedgie reporting for duty.
Elliot stands next to me. He smells like socks and syrup. I LOVE socks and syrup! And even though Elliot is new to my pack, I LOVE Elliot. He puts on the leash so I can take him for a walk. Elliot needs the leash so he won’t get lost. I gotta tug real hard to get Elliot moving. Come on, boy, let’s go mark our territory!
Everyone in the neighborhood knows me. I’m real important around here. They all wave and talk to me as I pass by.
NEIGHBOR: Hey, don’t pee on my roses!
DIFFERENT NEIGHBOR: Hey, stop chasing my cat!
DIFFERENT NEIGHBOR: Hey, you better scoop that poop!
Elliot puts my poop in a bag and carries it around. He must like the smell of poop as much as I do. And because I’m a superhero, my poop smells super poopy. I LOVE Elliot!
I lead Elliot around the block. I stop to smell Squirrel Tree. I stop to smell Raccoon Trail. I stop to smell Duck Pond. I know all the smells. That mushroom smells mushroomy. That pinecone smells pineconey. And that slime smells sluggy. We get close to home. I’m pulling as hard as I can. Jasmine is standing in our yard. I LOVE Jasmine! She smells like bubble gum and applesauce. But today she smells like something new. Hey! What’s in Jasmine’s pocket? I stick my nose inside. Oh wow, it’s that Furry Potato. I LOVE the Furry Potato! I met him yesterday when he moved into Jasmine’s room and that means he’s under my protection, just like the rest of my pack. He’s very nice and very squeaky. I’m standing on my hind legs. I’m wagging my stubby tail. Please oh please oh please let me smell the Furry Potato.
ELLIOT: Why did you bring Gizmo outside?
JASMINE: I’m showing him around the neighborhood. Look, Gizmo, here’s your new driveway and your new mailbox. And your new dog.
ELLIOT: Watch out! It looks like Wedgie wants to eat him.
JASMINE: Wedgie would never eat Gizmo. Wedgie just wants to be friends.
I sniff him all over. I smell his face, his ears, his paws, and his rump. Furry Potato smells like the inside of Jasmine’s pocket. I get fur in my nose. I sneeze. The Furry Potato grunts and squeaks at me. I don’t speak potato, but I know he’s telling me that he LOVES me as much as I LOVE him. He’s my new friend.
Never worry, Furry Potato. Super Wedgie’s on duty, day and night, night and day, to protect the pack, come what—
ELLIOT: Wedgie, come back!
YESTERDAY, WHEN WE ARRIVED AT THIS house, I made a shocking discovery. These new humans own a canine, or, as you might say, a dog. And they allow him to live inside. He is a four-legged, drooling beast of questionable intelligence. He wears a cape and sticks his nose everywhere, including my backside. How rude! If he continues this behavior, he shall feel my wrath. But until then, I have important matters to deal with.
My goal today is to explore the world outside the Barbie Playhouse. It is well known that every Evil Genius has an Evil Lair, so if I am to build one, then I will need to find the perfect location. This pink playhouse simply will not do.
But the human girl named Jasmine continues to bother me, so I burrow deep in my nest. Does she not see the appointment calendar taped to the front door? It clearly states that I am busy.
Sign up here if you want an appointment
with Gizmo the Evil Genius.
When Jasmine tries to pet me, I let her know that I am not in the mood for cuddling!
JASMINE: Ow! Gizmo bit me again. How come he bit me?
MOM: He’s not used to you yet. Give him time. Let’s go get a bandage.
As soon as the humans leave the room, I collect a Polar Expedition Rucksack, another item Barbie left behind. She must be an explorer. I fill the rucksack with the necessary survival items—a bottle of water and some carrot sticks. I open the front door of the playhouse, step out, and gaze upon my surroundings.
The Barbie Playhouse is perched atop a bookcase, giving me a sweeping view. Beneath the window is the girl’s nest—a jumbled mountain of blankets and pillows. Though this room offers many nooks and crannies, it would not be a good location for my Evil Lair. Too many interruptions. Believe me, that Jasmine is trouble. Earlier, she pulled me from my second morning nap for some kind of strange ritual.
JASMINE: Would you like a cup of tea?
You’re just the cutest thing ever!
I need to explore the rest of this human house, but the exit lies on the opposite end of the room. To reach it, I must cross a landscape littered with plastic building blocks, terrible-tasting wax crayons, and large furry creatures with eyes that never blink.
Though I know how to build a lever and pulley system that would lower me to the ground, there is no time to waste. Those humans could return at any moment. So, with great risk to myself, I close my eyes and leap. I am happy to report a safe landing in a basket of human clothing.
After climbing out of the basket, I make sure my Polar Expedition Rucksack is secure. Then I look around. The terrain is not for the faint of heart. I make my way through a maze of limbs and frozen faces. I am almost crushed by a tower of blocks and nearly overcome by a smelly sock. Fortunately, I find a treat along the way. It is a circular item known as a Cheerio and is quite crunchy. I decide to take a short break to refuel. Then I find a freeze-ray gun and some clever disguises. I stuff these items into my rucksack.
Alas, to my dismay, my ears catch the sound of footsteps. The human girl child is returning! You may have heard, dear reader, that I am a master of disguise. Back in my youth, when I lived at Swampy’s Pet Shop, my cage neighbor was a chameleon who taught me everything she knew. “Blend in,” she told me. “That’s the trick.” So, as the footsteps grew closer, I hid. Jasmine would never find me!
JASMINE: Gizmo! What are you doing?
Uh-oh, he’s stuck. I can’t get him out. Help!
WHAT’S THAT? SOMEONE’S CALLING FOR HELP! Help is a very important word that every superhero must pay attention to. Other important words are stay and sit. Get is also important, like “Get off the couch,” or “Get outta the pantry.” There’s stop, like “Stop chewing on that shoe” or “Stop rolling on that stinky thing.” Another big word is don’t—“Don’t eat that garbage,” “Don’t chase that cat,” and “Don’t drink out of the toilet.”
But right now the word is help and it’s Jasmine who needs me. I stop chewing on the new boy’s sock and I race down the hall. The floor’s super slippery. I bonk into the wall. Maybe if I skid on my belly, I can get there faster. Super Wedgie to the rescue!
I hurry into Jasmine’s bedroom. Super Wedgie is here! Ready to save the day! Jasmine’s shaking something up and down. She shakes and shakes and the something flies through the air and lands on Jasmine’s bed. I’ll get it! Her bed’s much taller than me, but I use my special doggy stairs. Oh, how I LOVE Jasmine’s bed. It’s soft and it smells like Cheerios and shampoo. I find one Cheerio, then another Cheerio. She’s left them for me. She’s so nice.
I crawl through the blankets, sniffing for more Cheerios. Then I find
something else. It’s furry and it’s grunting.
Why, it’s the Furry Potato. What are you doing in Jasmine’s bed, Furry Potato? You aren’t supposed to be here. Did you fall out of your house? That’s not very smart. I sniff him all over. He sure makes funny noises. He must LOVE me as much as I LOVE him. Using my nose, I push him across the bed. Jasmine, look what I found!
JASMINE: There you are, you silly little guinea pig. I’d better put you back where you belong.
Thanks for finding him, Wedgie.
I jump off the bed and watch while Jasmine puts the Furry Potato in his house. Then she scratches behind my ear. And my other ear. That feels so good. She scratches my rump. I LOVE it when she scratches my rump. I’m a very happy dog.
ELLIOT: What’s that?
JASMINE: It’s the Biju Ting Ting Scalp Massager.
ELLIOT: It’s for your scalp? So why are you using it on Wedgie’s rump?
JASMINE: He likes it.
ELLIOT: Why does he always wear that cape?
JASMINE: I gave it to him for Halloween last year. He looks so cute in it.
MOM: Wedgie? Do you want a bone?
Bone? Oh, that’s another very important word. Yes, I want a bone! I want a bone real bad! I run out of Jasmine’s room. My legs are moving as fast as they can. I slip and slide around the corner, then bound across the kitchen floor. I can smell it. It smells good. I lick my lips. I start to drool. Gimme that bone! Oh please oh please oh please gimme that bone!
Mom gives it to me. It’s a good bone, with marrow in the middle. I LOVE this bone!
Using my superpowers, I run in five circles. Force field activated! The front door opens. I’m outside with my bone. There’s only one thing to do. I must bury it and wait until it is ripe.