Chapters 1–11

John Coogan, better known as Crash, is a bully — but new experiences and unexpected friendships challenge to Crash to reevaluate the ways he interacts with others.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. stance
    standing posture
    I don’t really remember this happening, but they say that when my uncle Herm’s family came over to see our presents, as they were coming through the front door I got down into a four-point stance, growled, “Hut! Hut! Hut!” and charged ahead with my brand-new helmet.
  2. bawl
    cry loudly
    They say she bawled bloody murder and refused to come into the house, so Uncle Herm finally had to drag his whole family away before they even had a chance to take their coats off.
  3. gawk
    look with amazement
    He was walking like he owned the place, both hands in his pockets, sort of swaying lah-dee-dah with each step. Strollllll-ing. Strolling and gawking at the houses and whistling a happy little dorky tune like some Sneezy or Snoozy or whatever their names are.
  4. scrawny
    being very thin
    And he wore a button, a big one. It covered about half his chest. Which wasn’t that hard since his chest was so scrawny.
  5. prairie
    a treeless grassy plain
    "...My dad’s an artist. He makes birds out of glass and ceramics and wood and metal. He can make any kind of bird you can name, but he’s the best in the world at prairie chickens.”
  6. ceramic
    an artifact made of clay baked at a high temperature
    "...My dad’s an artist. He makes birds out of glass and ceramics and wood and metal. He can make any kind of bird you can name, but he’s the best in the world at prairie chickens.”
  7. snicker
    laugh quietly
    “Peace?” I snickered. “What kind of junk is that to say on a button?”
  8. dinky
    small and insignificant
    I still couldn’t believe it. It was no bigger than a garage. In fact, I found out since then that it really was a garage once, until somebody changed it into the world’s dinkiest house.
  9. stagger
    walk with great difficulty
    He staggered backward across his front yard, which was the size of a bathroom mat, and flopped onto his back.
  10. bamboozle
    conceal one's true motives from
    I had him so bamboozled he didn’t know which way was up.
  11. stall
    postpone doing what one should be doing
    “We do what we want,” I said. I was stalling for time.
  12. screech
    utter a harsh abrupt scream
    “A Quaker?” I screeched. “What’s a Quaker?” The only Quaker I had ever heard of was Quaker Oats cereal.
  13. sneer
    express through a scornful smile
    He still didn’t move. This was crazy. Whoever heard of a kid who didn’t shoot back? Then all of a sudden I got it. “Hah!” I sneered. “Now I know what you’re doing. You’re trying to trick me.”
  14. crouch
    the act of bending low with the limbs close to the body
    I backed up a couple of steps, went into a crouch, swung my gun arm up, straight out stiff, left hand clamping right wrist, like I saw on TV.
  15. glum
    moody and melancholic
    “That’s not it,” he said. He had on the glum monkey face again.
  16. rut
    a groove or furrow
    “A Conestoga wagon. It’s just like the one my great-great-great-grandfather Webb went out to North Dakota in. My great-grandfather made it for me. He said there’s a place in North Dakota where you can still see the ruts in the ground from all the wagon trains.”
  17. squawk
    make a harsh, abrupt noise
    “Wait!” he squawked.
  18. pry
    move or force in an effort to get something open
    He ran to a bookcase filled with books and grabbed an old pretzel tin. He pried off the lid.
  19. pitiful
    deserving or inciting compassion
    How pitiful could you get?
  20. bulge
    swell or protrude outwards
    Webb gawked at his mother. His eyes bulged.
  21. sheepish
    showing a sense of shame
    “You didn’t really forget, did you, son?” the father said.
    Webb looked sheepish. “I guess not.”
  22. infantry
    an army unit consisting of soldiers who fight on foot
    “I just remembered my Mazooka. It’s a combination machine gun and bazooka. First you wipe out all the infantry with the machine gun, then you go after the tanks. It has an armor-piercing shell. Sets the tank on fire. Roasts the guys inside like they’re marshmallows.”
  23. chime in
    break into a conversation
    “And we go places,” the father chimed in.
  24. pester
    annoy persistently
    Along around third grade they finally stopped pestering me, so I could stop pestering my dad.
  25. shudder
    tremble convulsively, as from fear or excitement
    Sometimes, when I went past the garage-house, I almost shuddered.
  26. stampede
    run away in a headlong rush
    The bell rang. The door opened. The cattle stampeded.
  27. uproar
    a state of commotion and noise and confusion
    By now the whole place was in an uproar.
  28. flinch
    draw back, as with fear or pain
    He looked at me. “I’m not surprised you’re the first one to show up here this year, Coogan. I hear you’re a loose cannon.” He leaned forward, his hand smacked the desk, we flinched, he smiled.
  29. scrimmage
    practice play between two teams
    And then the quarterback, Brill, showed up with a football, and you know we had to get a scrimmage going right there in the hallway.
  30. jab
    poke or thrust abruptly
    All of a sudden Deluca jabs me hard with his elbow.
Created on August 23, 2019 (updated September 9, 2019)

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