I woke up and took a look at my hands. Still pink. I groaned. Not light pink, but bright pink. My Valentine’s Day was doomed.
I looked across my room at the culprits: a bowl of red dye and two of the coolest red-and-white shirts ever tie-dyed. I looked back at the victims: two of the pinkest hands anybody’s ever seen. And everybody at Dwight Middle School would see them. Unless . . .
I jumped out of bed and called my best friend, Iggy.
“Hellooo.” He sounded sleepy.
“Iggy, this is Chance. You’ll have to do my card tricks in the Valentine Talent Show today.”
That woke him up. “What are you talking about, Chance? I don’t know those tricks, and they’re the best part of the act.”
I explained the horrible color of my hands. “I’ll teach you the tricks in the gym during lunch.”
“Why not just wear your white magician’s gloves?” Iggy asked.
“The cards are too slick!”
All he said was, “We’re doomed.”
No kidding. Iggy’s rope routine was cool, and so was my bunny-and-hat illusion. But the card tricks were our ticket to television. Whoever won the talent show got to compete on local TV with the winners from other schools in the district. My career as an illusionist was on the line . . . and my hands were pink!
At least it was cold out, so I could wear mittens to school. If anybody saw my skin, I’d be “Pink-Hands Chance” forever.
Mom handed me a pink stuffed bunny as I left. Sometimes I think she forgets how old I am.
“Thanks, Mom. But . . . pink?”
“For Valentine’s Day. Good luck!”
I was going to need it.
At school, V-Day went from bad to worse.
First period was science.
Have you ever tried to dissect an earthworm while wearing mittens? Don’t. Iggy was my lab partner, and he did most of the actual probing and pinning. Mrs. Rice headed our way to make sure things were going all right. I stuffed my hands in my pockets and hoped I wouldn’t have to demonstrate anything.
Luckily (for me, anyway), Lucinda took one look at her worm and fainted right before Mrs. Rice got to us. Mrs. Rice carried Lucinda to the nurse.
Second period was band.
“Tests today,” Mr. Cooper announced. “We’ll start with you, Chance.”
I picked up my sax and tried to play “Heart and Soul.” My mittened fingers kept slipping off the keys. It sounded awful.
Mr. Cooper stopped me. “What’s the problem, Chance? Fingers cold?”
“He had a kitchen accident!” Iggy proclaimed from the percussion section.
I nodded and lifted a mitten a little. Mr. Cooper sent me straight to the nurse.
Lucinda was in the nurse’s room, lying on a couch. “What’s that smell?” she moaned. “It smells like that worm.”
Miss Mackish, the nurse, came over to me and sniffed. “It’s the mittens,” she said as she yanked them off and tossed them into a plastic bag. Then she saw my hands.
“Gracious! What happened?”
After I explained the tie-dye disaster, Miss Mackish nearly scrubbed the skin off my hands trying to de-pink them. They looked even pinker. She shook her head. “Sorry, Chance.”
At lunchtime, I tried to teach Iggy the card tricks, but he couldn’t get them straight. I even tried doing them myself wearing the white gloves. The slick cards slid all over the place.
Iggy groaned. “Too bad you can’t magically change the color of your hands.”
I thought about this for a minute. “Iggy, you’re a genius!” He’d given me an idea. I took the pink bunny out of my backpack. It was about the size of the white one in my hat illusion.
I told him my idea as we pulled on our tie-dyed shirts. Then we headed to the auditorium.
Finally, we went onstage. While Iggy performed his rope routine, I positioned my props.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” I said, grandly waving my white-gloved hands, “in honor of Valentine’s Day, whatever I put into this hat will turn pink.”
I put in the white bunny and pulled out the pink one . . . with my amazing pink hands!
My card tricks went off like magic, but the judges said it was the pink hands that won us the prize.
“Iggy and Chance will represent Dwight Middle School on the televised St. Patrick’s Day Talent Show!” Principal Dodd announced as he handed us the trophy.
“St. Patrick’s Day?!” whispered Iggy. “You know what that means . . .”
“Yeah.” I knew: GREEN!
From Highlights magazine