Iggy has scorched nearly all my socks since school started. He doesn’t like being home alone all day. I only got him a week after school let out for the summer. I won him at a Memorial Day carnival. The guy working the bean bag toss said he found him while fishing at the lake. He thought he was a common lizard, just funny colored. We all thought he was just a lizard. I was surprised and excited when he grew wings a began to breathe fire. My mom was a little freaked out and for good reason. He’s eaten most of her house plants and terrorizes the cat.

Now, Iggy and I are in a tug-of-war over my school belt. He’s no bigger than an iguana. I wonder if I could sneak him into school with me. I quickly dump my books and binders from my backpack. Iggy quickly forgets the belt and goes after a red folder as it slides across the floor. I throw Iggy’s favorite blanket and a handful of dried mealworms into the bag.

“C’mon Iggy! Want to go to school with me today?” He cocks his head to one side, studying me as if I’m the weirdo. I guess he finally understood what I’d asked, because he bounded across the room and jumped into my bag. I zipped it shut before he could change his mind, gathered my books in my arms and headed for the bus stop. I made it to the stop just as the bus rounded the corner. My best friend, Kenny, gave me a weird look as I flopped down in the seat next to him.

“Okay. Do you want to explain why you’re carrying your books in your arms when you’re wearing a perfectly good backpack?” he questioned.

“Not really, but since I know you won’t let it go I’ll just show you.” I opened the zipper just enough for Iggy to blow a small cloud of smoke at Kenny.

“You have got to be kidding me! How are you going to keep him in that bag all day? Am I only the one that remembers last Saturday? He nearly burned your entire house down!”

“Shh! I remember that. It’s just… my mom is getting fed up with him. She hasn’t exactly said it, but I can tell. It’s just for one day. Maybe if she doesn’t have to worry about him for one day she won’t be so annoyed by him.” The idea sounded as crazy as the look Kenny gave me, but what other choice did I have?

We made it to school before Kenny could protest. As I struggled to open my locker my locker-neighbor, Madison, snuck up on me.

“BOO! Hey Goobert. How was your weekend? I thought I’d see you at the rink, but I guess you had other plans.”

Iggy still hadn’t gotten past “BOO” and was growling something fierce when I tried to answer.

“What’s that sound?” Madison asked.

“I-I was in bed all weekend,” I lied as I clutched my stomach. “24-hour stomach virus. I guess I’m still not back to normal.”

“That’s pretty gross,” she replied.

“Yeah.”

After she walked away, I turned my backpack to the front and peeped in on Iggy.

“Dude, you can’t just randomly growl at people at school. No one can know that you’re here with me, okay?”

“Check it out. The dweeb is talking to himself now,” said a voice to my left.

“Maybe it’s his imaginary friend. I bet he still sleeps with a teddy and believes in the Tooth Fairy, too!” chuckled another.

It was Chris and Tyrone. I forgot how hard it would be to get anything past those two.

“So, which one is it? The Tooth Fairy or your imaginary friend?” asked Tyrone as he shoved me against the lockers.

Iggy growled again, and I clutched my stomach. “You two better stay away,” I warned. “I caught a stomach virus over the weekend and I’m not afraid to use it!”

The two bullies backed away, covering their mouths and noses with their shirts.

“That’s gross you little shit!” Chris called out as they walked down the hall.

I turned my attention back to Iggy. “I amend my previous statement to say that it is perfectly fine for you to growl at bullies. Just don’t growl at friends or teachers. Got it?” Iggy just yawned and curled up into a blue-gray ball on his blanket. I hope he sleeps the entire school day.

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