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By accident at an art show in which they are entered, Philip Felton and Emery Wyatt offend Johnny Visco, the toughest boy in sixth grade, and he promises to get even. When Johnny Visco’s attacks show no sign of stopping, Philip, Emery and Mr. Conway concoct a plan that finally puts Johnny Visco in his place and prevents him from tormenting the boys any more.
It all began when the Agora Gallery of Fine Art opened at the mall. Philip Felton and Emery Wyatt were fourth grade classmates at the Donovan Elementary School, which had just gotten a new art teacher that year. Somehow their class got scheduled for art three periods a week, more than any other class. Ever since September, the two best friends had been painting, cutting, pasting, drawing, coloring and making collages more than they ever had in their lives. For the most part, it was fun. Not as much fun as having three gym periods a week, but better than sitting, bored, in the classroom.
When, on one Saturday morning in late March, Philip’s father had to go to the mall to get some office supplies, Philip and Emery went with him. Each boy had saved a few quarters and planned to spend them on the video games at the arcade on the second floor of the mall.
“Want to go see that new art gallery?” Emery asked as the two boys left the arcade, poorer but satisfied they’d spent their money well.
That stopped Philip in his tracks. “What for?” he asked, frowning. “Don’t we get enough of that at school?”
Emery shrugged. “We might get homework that says we have to see some art or something dumb like that. You know Ms. Trinetti likes to give homework like that. Especially to us ’cause we have her so much.”
Philip nodded. He couldn’t argue that.
Ms. Trinetti was the new, young, chubby, enthusiastic art teacher, who had long blonde hair and wore sandals to school every day no matter the weather. She’d told her students how much she’d liked art when she was their age. How she’d won prizes in high school with her paintings. How she’d studied art in college for four years. How she’d studied art in graduate school for another two years. Both Philip and Emery were unsettled hearing how much school lay ahead even after fourth grade was over.
“If she does, then we can say we were already in an art gallery. We won’t have to do anything.”
Philip nodded. Emery’s idea made some sense. “You know where it is?”
“Down the end,” and Emery pointed.
The Agora Gallery of Fine Art was the size of two stores. Philip remembered that a sneaker store had once been in the end spot. What the other store had been, he couldn’t recall.
The walls of the gallery were bright white and covered with paintings. The room smelled new. When they entered, a pretty, young, Asian woman smiled at them. The woman had long black hair pulled into a ponytail and was seated behind a white plastic counter on their right. “Come to take a look around, boys? If you have any questions, my name is Tracy.”
Emery and Philip nodded and smiled in return.
“Be sure to take one of our contest flyers when you leave,” and she tapped a pile of red papers.
Philip and Emery walked up to the first painting on the wall opposite Tracy.
The painting was a square, two feet on a side, enclosed in a shiny, black plastic frame. Emery and Philip stared.
“What’s it look like to you?” Philip said thoughtfully.
Emery studied it. “It looks like feet,” he said.
Footprints of different sizes and colors pointed in all directions. Any space that wasn’t covered by a footprint was filled with either small bluebirds or small red devils. And any space that wasn’t covered with footprints, birds, or devils was painted green.
“Yeah, to me, too,” said Philip. “Why would anybody paint feet?”
Emery turned to Philip and smiled. “Maybe somebody ‘toed’ the artist to.”
Philip gave a snort of laughter and looked over his shoulder. Sure enough, Tracy had heard them and was coming their way, holding a piece of yellow paper in her hand.
John Paulits’s suspense, horror and science fiction stories have appeared in various magazines (The Mendocino Review, Crossroads, Labyrinth and others) over the past twenty-five years. His children’s novels, Philip Gets Even and Philip and the Case of Mistaken Identity have been published by Wingsepress. An additional Philip novel was published by Mayhaven Publishing. The first two volumes of his mystery series The Shakespeare Murders are available from Chippewa Publishing. Mr. Paulits lives in New York City and at the Jersey shore. His wife is a banker and his daughter, a social worker.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 120
Paper Weight (lb): 5.4
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