Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Adventures of Peggy Quigley

The Adventures of Peggy Quigley is a book that my granddaughter and I are writing together. This is the first chapter.

Chapter 1
A New Planet
Copyright Linda Goodman and Morgan Deal

Mrs. Quinn stood at the front of the classroom reviewing the material that would be on the next day’s American History test. Peggy Quigley tried to be quiet, but her coughing and wheezing would not be controlled. One loud, rough cough after another was hurled from her raw, scratched throat. She felt like she had swallowed sandpaper.

“Be quiet, Piggy Quigley,” growled Fleming Poole, the obnoxious boy who sat in front of her. “You might not need this test review, but the rest of us do. “

“That’s right, Piggley Wiggley!” taunted Tyra Snelling. “Not all of us make straight A’s, like you. Not all of us have photographic memories.”

Peggy was tired of being called names like “Piggy Quigley” and “Piggley Wiggley.” How would they feel if someone made fun of their names? She decided to find out.

“You’re stupid, Swimming Poole!” she wheezed between coughs. “Anybody knows that a cough drop does not help asthma. And you, Tired of Smelling, you don’t need a photographic memory to make straight A’s. You just need to study once in a while. Try it some time!”

“Did you hear her, Flem?” Tyra sneered. “With a name like Piggley Wiggley, she’s got a lot of nerve making fun of us!”

“Flem?” asked Peggy, “Isn’t that something that I cough up when I have a cold? Isn’t it yucky and full of germs that make everyone sick? Hey - come to think of it, that name fits you even better than Swimming Poole, Flem.”

“Peggy! Fleming! Tyra!” shouted Mrs. Quinn, “What is going on? Why are you disrupting my class?”

“Gee, Mrs. Quinn,” Fleming whined, “We just want to be able to hear your review. I really want to do well on this test. But I can’t hear you with Piggy…uh, I mean Peggy, coughing in my ear.”

“Piggy…uh, I mean Peggy, Fleming has a point,” said Mrs. Quinn. “Where is your inhaler?”

“It’s in the nurse’s office,” Peggy replied. “I have a new kind that can be used only under trained supervision.”

“Well, go see the nurse, then,” Mrs. Quinn instructed her. “Based on your part in the discussions we have had, you probably don’t need this review anyway.”

Peggy was glad to have an excuse to leave the classroom. Listening to a review of material that she already knew was boring. On her way to the nurse’s office she saw her friend, Mr. Squiggy, the school janitor. She waved, “Hi, Mr. Squiggy. “ A spasm of coughs came over her before she could say anything else.

“Hi, Peggy” smiled Mr. Squiggy. “Are you okay? That cough sounds pretty rough.”

“I know,” Peggy answered. “I’m on my way to the nurse’s office now to use my inhaler.”

Mr. Squiggy shook his head. “Here we are in the year 2075, and we haven’t even come up with a cure for asthma. Or course, even people without asthma are coughing. This air pollution is terrible! Why, the smoke in the air is like a heavy fog. Just about everybody has itchy skin rashes and burning, runny eyes. But your asthma is so bad, Peggy, you suffer a great deal more than most people do.”

“I know,” Peggy agreed. “Last weekend I was asked to leave the movie theater because I was coughing so badly. It’s hard to have any fun.”

Mr. Squiggy thought a minute. “You know, Peggy, I heard on the news this morning that a new planet had been discovered. Its atmosphere is similar to what earth’s atmosphere was one thousand years ago – almost pollution free! The scientists who discovered the planet have gotten a government grant to send 12 families to settle the planet. I sure wish that I could go! I would feel like one of the settlers in Jamestown, Virginia in the 1600’s, taming a new world.”

“Then why don’t you go?” asked Peggy.

“Like I already said, Peggy, the grant is for families, “ Mr. Squiggy explained. “One person does not make a family.”

“Then why don’t you just get married, “ Peggy suggested. “You would be part of a family then.”

“The spaceship is leaving in two weeks,” Mr. Squiggy told her. “I don’t think I could find a wife that quickly.”

Suddenly Peggy got an idea. “Who says a family had to be a husband and a wife? A grandfather and a grandchild could be a family, too – an alternative family!”

Mr. Squiggy looked confused. “Peggy, you know that I don’t have any grandchildren.”

Just then, Barry Flat walked by on his way to the boys’ bathroom. “Well, if it isn’t Piggy and Squiggy? How are things on the farm, eggheads?”

“Things are great on the farm, Very Fat,” shot back Peggy. “We have a mule whose butt looks just like your face. People pay us a dollar a piece to take a picture of it. We’re getting rich!”

Barry made an obnoxious face and sulked away. Peggy returned her attention to Mr. Squiggy. “I know that you don’t have any grandchildren. But the government doesn’t know that. Their data banks imploded years ago, after identity theft became such a problem. You could say that I was your grandchild.”

Mr. Squiggy looked skeptical. “Your parents would never go along with that, Peggy.”

“They would not only go along with it, they would welcome the opportunity for me to take part in this great venture,“ Peggy assured him.

“Are you sure?” asked Mr. Squiggy.

“I have never been more sure of anything in my life!” Peggy assured him. “My parents are forward thinking people. Call my house tonight. My mother will tell you herself that it’s okay.”

“I’ll do that,” said Mr. Squiggy. “Won’t it be something if he says yes? What a great adventure we will have!”

After Peggy had visited the nurse’s office and used her inhaler, she went to the girl’s bathroom. She looked at herself in the mirror. Her mousey brown hair was thin and scraggly. Dark freckles covered her thin face. Her buck teeth protruded like a bottle cap opener. Tall and skinny, she looked like a scarecrow.

I am not pretty, she thought to herself, but I am smart! I will tell my mom and dad that there is a new planet with a non-polluted atmosphere. I will tell them that scientists think that the atmosphere would be really good for people who have asthma. Plus, I will be able to get away from all the people that make fun of me. I know my parents will agree to let me go!

The plan was made, and Peggy was certain that it would work. She was so excited that she didn’t even notice when Fleming Poole called her Piggy later in the day. She even wished him a nice evening.


  1. Oh, this is going to be good! I can't wait to read the updates.

  2. What fun! Thank you for posting this.

  3. I love it, Linda. Please let us know when you post future chapters.

  4. Morgan hooked me! I can't wait to find out what happens next! Mimi