A bell rang and the lights went out. Pat O'Sullivan Pinkerton undressed and went to bed. Slowly his brain pondered the problem in arithmetic. It wasn't exactly his best subject; he had no best subjects. He finally figured out President Coolidge had lost 10-0—ten to zero!
And the school hoped to win this year?
What a dumb school!
And who cared anyway?
A year at President Coolidge School was like a year at any other school. It opened with football and soccer, moved on to hockey and basketball, and closed after tennis, track and baseball. That year the football team won two games and lost six. The soccer team won eight and lost none. The hockey players all played soccer, using the game to strengthen their legs, improve their wind and work out plays that they thought might be useful on ice.
Jim Finger held daily practice beanbag sessions with Pat O'Sullivan Pinkerton in their room. Pat found them boring, but he was now totally under Jim Finger's thumb—his fat slave. Jim was two years older than Pat but shorter. Jim Finger also had the second-highest marks in the school, which did not seem to make him more amiable.
Pat didn't eat very much in the dining hall, but he managed cleverly to eat plenty elsewhere and stay huge. When one puts all one's thoughts into one idea, one can accomplish great things. Mademoiselle R�gime was at a loss to explain him. All the other fat boys at her table had thinned down and left to join the regulars. Pat O'Sullivan Pinkerton alone remained at her table-just three chairs.
If he claimed to have no nicknames his first day at school, he now had the biggest collection on the campus. Porko von Popbutton was the most used. Mademoiselle R�gime called him Ben Appetite or Freddy Fromage, depending on her mood. His English teacher, who happened to be English, called him Sir Cumference Girth. Some boys tried on Ample Andy for size—the name lasted two weeks. It was followed by Blimpy Splitseam, Mack O'Roany, Fatty Unbuckle, John Swillerton Hogwash and Oink-Oink Morchow.
Late one afternoon—feeling sad and fed up, walking alone, kicking the devil out of some poor stone in his path—he heard a soft voice call out, "Pat."
He had become so unused to hearing his own name, he didn't even think to turn around.