After a big fight with his wife, Rupert's grandfather, known to everyone as Gump, packs up and moves into Gentle Breezes Nudist Community for Active Seniors.Thirteen-year-old Rupert is sent in to talk some sense into him. While he's there, Rupert accidentally lets Gump's dog, Wayne, escape. Gump is frantic. Wayne is blind and tends to panic. Rupert and his grandfather set out to search the woods, and soon they are lost too. Aside from an apron, Gump is butt naked, and without his phone, Rupert feels naked too. The only way they are going to get out of this mess is by working together.
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Copyright © 2018 Vicki Grant
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Grant, Vicki, author In the buff / Vicki Grant. (Orca currents)
Issued in print and electronic formats. ISBN 978-1-4598-1882-8 (softcover).—ISBN 978-1-4598-1883-5 (PDF).—ISBN 978-1-4598-1884-2 (EPUB)
I. Title. II. Series: Orca currentsPS8613.R367I5 2018 jC813'.6C2017-907700-7C2017-907701-5
First published in the United States, 2018 Library of Congress Control Number: 2018933743
Summary: In this high-interest novel for middle readers, Rupert visits his grandfather, Gump, at a nudist colony, and the two of them get lost in the woods while searching for Gump’s beloved dog. A free teacher guide for this title is available at orcabook.com.
Orca Book Publishers is dedicated to preserving the environment and has printed this book on Forest Stewardship Council®certified paper.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Edited By Tanya Trafford Cover photography by iStock.com/PeopleImages Author photo by Megan Tansey Whitton
ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERSorcabook.com
Printed and bound in Canada.
21 20 19 18 • 4 3 2 1
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For my younger brother, D.A. Grant, AB, LLB, MD and most of all, FLK. In memory of his many attempts to flee naked from our clutches.
An Excerpt from “Hold the Pickles”
My grandfather’s name is Alan J. Smithers, but everyone calls him Gump. He’s old and he’s skinny and he’s really cranky.
He’s also naked.
Like, totally butt naked.
And not just at bath time. I’m talking 24/7.
I’m used to the old, skinny, cranky part of him. I’m even kind of okay with it. He’s been like that for as long as I can remember. The butt-naked part is new, though, and I don’t like it.
I don’t even get it. Gump used to be quite a “snappy dresser,” at least in his humble opinion. His clothes were always super colorful and tucked in nice and tight. He was a big fan of matching socks and golf shirts, usually striped. I guess if you’re seventy-five that’s pretty snazzy, but to me he just looked kind of like the world’s oldest preschooler, all ready for picture day.
Not that I cared. If it made him happy, fine by me. In fact, if it made him even slightly less unhappy, that worked too.
When I was little, I used to have a lot of fun with Gump. Back then we spent all our time together. We mostly did old-guy stuff like fishing or bowling or screaming at the TV during the hockey playoffs, but I liked it. Gump is old, but he was never boring. He liked to break rules. We always went fishing at the pond with the No Fishing sign or tried to see how hard we could lob the balls at the bowling alley. He’d get pretty mouthy if we ever got caught, but nobody seemed to mind. When you’re that age, people let you get away with stuff. They even think it’s cute.
Well, it’s not cute anymore.
Trust me. There is nothing cute about a nude senior citizen.
I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong. Gump hasn’t gone senile. The guy’s still smart as a whip. He’s just gone bananas.
It happened about a month ago. Mom’s cell rang right in the middle of dinner. No one’s allowed to even touch their phones during meals, but Mom could see it was Donna, so she took it.
Donna is Gump’s fourth wife. The first one was Sandra. She was Mom’s mother. She died before I was born. Then there was Nikki, who Mom calls Quickie, because she only lasted a few months. Then there was Misty, who Mom calls Mistake, because I guess she was.
And then there’s Donna. Mom calls her The Saint, and she’s not even joking. We all love Donna. Gump’s not the easiest guy to get along with, but Donna always managed to do it. At least, until right then, that is.
Mom put down her fork and picked up her phone. All I could hear was Donna wailing away. My mouth was full of mashed potatoes. I gulped them down in one big blob and stared at Mom. My heart was going crazy. I thought Gump must have died. I could tell by the way Mom was clutching her shirt that she did too.
I was supposed to see Gump the weekend before, but I’d canceled because I wanted to hang out with my friends. I looked at Mom with her phone in her hand and her face gone white. I had the horrible feeling I’d never see him again.
“Donna,” Mom said. “Take a breath, honey. I can’t understand you.” She looked across the table at Dad, who was smiling the way parents do when their kid is spurting blood all over the place and they’re trying to act like everything is going to be fine.
Donna said something. I couldn’t make out the words. All I could hear was the squeak of her voice.
Mom went, “Gump did what?”
Donna said something else.
Mom went, “Seriously?...Why?”
More squeaking from Donna.
Then Mom cracked up. She had her hand over her mouth so Donna wouldn’t hear, but we all knew that look. Gump had done something ridiculous. In other words, the usual.
Phew, I thought.
I mean, like GIANT phew. I’d never been so relieved to hear that Gump was causing trouble again. I chuckled, shook my head and went back to eating my dinner. I’d call him when I had the chance.
Mom was doing her best to sound concerned, but it wasn’t working. She had to do a lot of fake coughing to cover up her laughing. “Oh, you poor thing! Really?...That old goat. I don’t know how you’ve put up with him as long as you have. But don’t worry. The cops will pick him up soon. Get them to drop him off at our place. We’ll have a word with him. He’ll come around.”
There was a little more talk and a little more fake coughing, then Mom said, “Love you” and hung up. She leaned back in her chair and wiped the tears off her face with the back of her hand.
“So?” Dad said.
“Gump and Donna had a fight about Wayne.”
Lena went, “Big deal,” and started picking the mushrooms out of her salad. I don’t usually agree with Lena—she’s my sister and a bit of a pain—but she was right this time. Gump and Donna fought about Wayne every day.
Dad said, “What did he pee on this time?”
Wayne was always peeing on something, and Donna was always going nuts about it. It was the only thing she couldn’t handle.
Which reminds me. In case you haven’t guessed, Wayne is a dog. A purebred Shih Tzu. If you don’t know what a Shih Tzu looks like, just picture a fur ball with a squished face and a bow on top. Now imagine a lot of yapping coming out of the squished face. That’s basically Wayne, only he’s old too. He’s blind and he smells and he snores even when he’s wide awake, but Gump loves him. Donna does not.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Mom said. “Doesn’t really matter what he peed on. Donna just finally had enough, and I don’t blame her. She said, Either that dog goes, or I do. Gump didn’t answer in time, so Donna told him she wanted a divorce.”
Lena said, “Not another divorce!”
I thought the same thing. Gump nearly drove us crazy when he and Misty broke up. He went from cranky to cantankerous and stayed that way for months. Wayne was the only living thing that could stand to be around him until Donna came along.
“Donna didn’t really mean it,” Mom said and piled some more salad on her plate. “She just wanted to shock him into being reasonable for a change. But you know Gump. You poke him, and he’ll just poke back harder. He said, Fine. Don’t bother getting yourself a fancy divorce lawyer. You want the shirt off my back? Well, take it! Take it all, in fact! Then he stripped off his clothes right then and there and walked out the front door, completely naked.”
Lena shuddered. “Eww. Gross!” She pushed her plate away.
Dad said, “Your father,” and rolled his eyes. “This is a new low, even for him.”
Mom grinned. “Yeah, well, bad relatives make good stories.” She’s a freelance journalist. Gump’s always doing something she can turn into an award-winning article.
We were having chicken that night, and Dad had overcooked it. The skin was wrinkled and the meat had shrunk up so you could see the bare bones. I held up a drumstick.
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Mikka liest das Leben...
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