Tuesday, April 19, 2011

30 Days: "Rooster Tail" by Lana Krumwiede

By Lana Krumwiede

Danny Oldham had a rooster tail, which would have been fine if he were a rooster. But for a ten-year-old boy, a rooster tail was a bad thing. It was what Danny’s mom called the hair that stuck straight up at the top of his head.

Today was picture day and Mom was fussing with Danny’s hair in front of the bathroom mirror.

“What’s that smell?” Danny said.

“Special hair gel,” Mom said. “We’re going to fix that rooster tail and get a great school picture this year.”

“Smells like coconut.” Danny scrunched his nose. “I hate coconut.”

“We’ll send it out in all the Christmas cards.” Mom said.

“Coconut?” Danny asked.

“No, silly. Your school picture.”

Danny’s shoulders slumped. He picked up the bottle and read out loud. “Ultra Strength Hair Gel. Cool Tropical Scent.” Geez Louise. This coconut gunk had better work.

At school, Danny’s teacher gathered the school-picture order forms. “We’ll go to the photographer right after lunch,” she said.

Hopefully Ultra Strength meant after-lunch strength.

When Danny went to the restroom during Science, he checked his hair in the mirror. So far, so good.

When he passed the library, Danny glanced in the big glass window. Rooster tail under control.

At lunch, Danny sat with his best friend, Mayank.

“I’ll be glad when school pictures are over,” Danny said.

        “I know what you mean,” said Mayank. “The girls are checking their hair every minute. It’s driving me crazy.”

Danny frowned and swallowed his milk.

Mayank handed him a pudding cup. “This will cheer you up. Isn’t butterscotch your favorite?”

“Thanks,” Danny said. Before he could even open the pudding, the lunch monitor dismissed their table. Danny stuck the pudding cup in his pocket. He’d eat it after school.

Danny’s teacher took the class straight to the photographer. All the girls crowded around the mirror. The boys got in line.

Finally Danny had a chance to take a quick look in the mirror. Hooray! Hair gel had conquered rooster tail!

       Just to make sure, he touched the place where his hair usually stuck up.

       BOI-OI-OING! Rooster tail was back.

Danny tried to smooth it down, but the gel made his hair stiffer than ever. Now he had an Ultra Strength Rooster Tail.

“Next?” said the photographer.

Only three kids stood in the line ahead of Danny. He checked his pockets. He had no comb. He had no brush. He had no Ultra Strength gel. All he had was butterscotch pudding.

“Next?” said the photographer.

Danny lifted the corner of the pudding cup’s foil lid, scooped out a butterscotch glob and smeared it thick on the rooster tail. It was almost the same color as his hair.

“Next?” said the photographer.

Danny checked in the mirror. No rooster tail. Now just stay that way for about ten seconds.

“Next?” said the photographer, nodding to Danny.

        He eased himself onto the stool.

“What’s that smell?” said the photographer.

That’s Ultra Strength Hair Pudding, Danny thought. Cool Butterscotch scent. Danny smiled and laughed at his own joke.


Three weeks later, Danny took home the best school picture ever.


Anonymous said...

We can all relate . . .
as the child, parent, teacher, and even the one who clicks the picture.
Marion Steiger

Julie Daines said...

Loved it. Especially after fighting with -- and losing to -- my own kid's rooster tail!

smoki2 said...

Super-cute story. In 34 years worth of Picture Days with 7, 8, and 9 year olds, I sure could've used that Pudding-Gel tip!

Nice job!


Taffy said...

Cute story! Pudding for the hair, clever!