Kayla Bobsburger dashed out of the cafeteria, huge wet tears coming down the sides of her freckled nose, dozens at a time. She rushed out the school door and onto the playground where her best friend, Julia, sat on a bench. Kayla wiped her red, runny nose with the sleeve of her sweater and sat next to Julia.
Julia was the kind of friend who was really down to earth. In fact, most of the time she was down in the earth! She liked to discover the wonders of nature everywhere-in the dirt, up a tree, or in a flower. Julia was always very quiet and usually would talk only to Kayla. ÃÂWhat happened?ÃÂ Julia askedÃÂThey were so awful. I wish theyÃÂd stop teasing me about my name. I canÃÂt take it anymore! I hate them, Julia! I hate them!ÃÂJulia gave a very kind, knowing look to Kayla. ÃÂI hate them, too,ÃÂ she said quietly.
She reached into her hoodieÃÂs kangaroo pocket and pulled out a small tin full of Junior Mints candies. They were KaylaÃÂs favorite. ÃÂCheer up,ÃÂ Julia said, passing Kayla the candy. ÃÂIn a few days weÃÂll be headed to snowboarding camp, and youÃÂll forget all about these bullies.ÃÂ Kayla couldnÃÂt help but smile, and soon they were giggling and talking about the adventures they were going to have at camp.
On a cloudy, freezing Sunday morning, Kayla and Julia were being driven up to Crystal Top Mountain by JuliaÃÂs mom in a shiny green electric-hybrid car. They were singing ÃÂThe Lion Sleeps Tonight.ÃÂ Aaaheee-ee-ee-ee-ee, um-bum-bawayy! A weem-ba-weh, a weem-ba-weh, a weem-ba-weh,ÃÂ all three sang in joyful harmony.
When the song was over, JuliaÃÂs mom said, ÃÂNow remember, girls, at camp you have to be open to trying new thing. You got it?ÃÂÃÂSure, Mom,ÃÂ Julia said, and Kayla nodded.
ÃÂAll right,ÃÂ JuliaÃÂs mom said, laughing. ÃÂLetÃÂs rock and roll!ÃÂÃÂWoo hoo!ÃÂ they al yelled. They pulled into the campus, and the camp day began.
A college-age counselor wearing a blue sweater that read ÃÂCrystal Top Mountain StaffÃÂ stood in front of a line of kids. ÃÂWhen I call your name, step forward and I will tell you your cabin number,ÃÂ he said. ÃÂBut before I do, IÃÂd like to remind you that you will be using nicknames of your own choosing, so think about picking one today. Any questions?ÃÂ No one spoke. ÃÂO.K. Tony Hall?ÃÂThe names swept by quickly, but Kayla was worried. It was likely that everyone would laugh at her last name, just like the bullies at school. So when the counselor said, ÃÂKayla-ooh, this nameÃÂs a good one!ÃÂ she knew she was in for it.
ÃÂI apologize if I say this incorrectly: Kayla Bobsburger?!ÃÂ Everyone instantly began cracking up like a pack of hyenas. Kayla hung her head and trudged to the front.
ÃÂHere, Miz Bobsburger!ÃÂ The counselor pointed straight ahead to cabin number 13. More bad luck, she thought as the snickers and teasing disappeared behind her.
Kayla opened the door to the cabin and went inside. She plopped her stuff down on a bed and looked around.
Just at that moment, the door opened and Julia emerged. ÃÂSo, youÃÂre here, too?ÃÂ she said. ÃÂThatÃÂs good. At least weÃÂll be together after-ÃÂ she lowered her voice, ÃÂ-what happened outside. But I figured out a plan,ÃÂ Julia said. ÃÂWeÃÂll find a nickname thatÃÂs perfect, just for you, and everyone will forget about your old name. Now letÃÂs go get some dinner. Whadya say?ÃÂÃÂDinner,ÃÂ Kayla said, and they began their hike to the dining hall.
ÃÂSnickerdoodle? WhatÃÂs a snickerdoodle?ÃÂ Kayla inquired, reading the dessert sign. ÃÂIÃÂve never even heard of it!ÃÂÃÂMe, either,ÃÂ Julia shrugged, ÃÂbut you should at least try it.ÃÂÃÂOh, Julia, of course IÃÂll try it!ÃÂ Kayla laughed. She picked up a pair of tongs, grabbed a snickerdoodle, and put it on her plate.
ÃÂYou know what?ÃÂ Julia said. ÃÂYou can never have cookies without milk.ÃÂ Kayla gave her a look. ÃÂItÃÂs true,ÃÂ Julia laughed.
ÃÂOh, all right,ÃÂ Kayla said and poured herself a glass. They sat down and began to eat their dinner. Kayla took a bite of the cookie. It was buttery and cinnamony. She took another bite. And another. It was delicious. She went back for more. Minutes later, she had eaten three snickerdoodle cookies. ÃÂI LOVE these!ÃÂ she cried. ÃÂTheyÃÂre heavenly.ÃÂÃÂKayla, thatÃÂs it!ÃÂ Julia yelled. Several heads turned. A counselor murmured something and shook her head.
ÃÂShush, Julia,ÃÂ Kayla whispered. ÃÂWhatÃÂs ÃÂitÃÂ?ÃÂÃÂYour nickname! It really fits! A well-rounded person with a funny name and a spicy side. Think of it, Kayla, your nickname-Snickerdoodle!ÃÂÃÂWell, O.K.,ÃÂ Kayla decided. ÃÂI like it.ÃÂ But that night, she had nightmares about a snickerdoodle cookie being eaten by bullies.
The next morning, Kayla fell out of bed and banged her head badly. She winced and put her hand on the hurt spot, but quickly pulled it back when she realized what she was toughing. ÃÂIs thisÃÂ KETCHUP?ÃÂ Kayla roared in anger, as she smelled the red substance on her fingertips. ÃÂIt canÃÂt beÃÂ ÃÂÃÂBlood,ÃÂ came a boyÃÂs voice from the doorway.
ÃÂIt canÃÂt be salsa, either,ÃÂ snickered another.
ÃÂSo youÃÂd be right!ÃÂ laughed yet another boy as they ran away.
Kayla took a shortcut to the restroom building to see just what was on her head. ÃÂYou little jerks, you little creeps,ÃÂ she muttered all the way.
Kayla entered the girlsÃÂ restroom. When she looked in the mirror, she couldnÃÂt believe what they had done to her hair. On one half of her head was ketchup, on the other was mustard, and sprinkled all over were relish, onions, and pickles. As a bonus, her freckled face looked just like a sesame seed bun. She was completely speechless/Kayla took a shower and shampooed three times. But the dark cloud of anger was still hovering over her head, and she wished dearly that the bullies would suffer.
Just then Julia came in, out of breath. Her smile faded when she saw her friendÃÂs face. Julia took a breath and said, ÃÂBelieve it or not, I know everything about your terrible mess.ÃÂKayla didnÃÂt say anything. Julia knew she wanted her to say more. ÃÂThe counselors caught those boys and made them confess to the whole thing. You donÃÂt have to worry, because they were sentenced to community service.ÃÂÃÂWhat kind?ÃÂ Kayla asked.
ÃÂShoveling snow all day and a note home. And missing out on campfires and hot chocolate.ÃÂ Julia added for a grin, ÃÂFollow me, Snickerdoodle.ÃÂThe two girls sat outside in front of a fire pit singing songs and drinking cocoa. Kayla smiled because she knew she was not a hamburger-she was a snickerdoodle. And as a bonus, her freckles looked just like a pinch of cinnamon sugar.