“AUGH!” Tuna augh-ed.

“Shh,” Herby shh-ed. “This is my favorite part.”

“Down came the rain
and washed the spider—”

“Not only will you hand over your keys,” Bruce shouted again, “but you will give me those giant foam dice hanging from your rearview mirror.”

“Oh no!” Tuna cried. “Not the foam dice!”

“Guys?” a female voice suddenly called from below.

Another bomb struck:

“Are you sleeping, are you sleeping?
Brother John? Brother—?”

“Guys!” The female creature stuck her head up through the spaceship’s floor. She had dark hair, wore glasses, and was incredibly smoot (at least according to Herby—well, all right, according to Tuna, too). “What are you two doing?” she shouted.

Immediately Tuna grabbed his Swiss Army Knife (sold at 23rd-century time-travel stores everywhere) and closed the blade. The holographic video game disappeared. No more spacecraft, no more Bruce Bruiseabone, and no more irritating music. The fancy starship had changed back into a dusty attic.

“Hey,” Herby complained, “I was really getting into that song.”

He got a frown from the female—a seventh-grade girl better known as Thelma Jean Finkelstein (TJ to her friends—all four of them, if you count her goldfish and hamster). She’d just moved from Missouri to Malibu, California (which explains why she had only four friends). If that wasn’t bad enough, she had become the history project of Herby and Tuna, a couple of goofball teenagers from the 23rd century who’d traveled back in time to do a school report on her. Apparently she was going to grow up to become somebody important (if she survived junior high).

Unfortunately, the guys’ time-travel pod had run out of fuel and they were stuck here.

Unfortunatelier (don’t try that word in English class), TJ was the only one who could see them.

Unfortunateliest (the same goes for that word), people could still hear them.

“I told you,” she whispered, “no video games after nine o’clock.”

“We were just practicing.” Herby flipped aside his surfer bangs and flexed his muscles. (He was always flexing his muscles to try to impress TJ.)

Tuna explained, “We need to be prepared in case Bruce Bruiseabone reappears.”

“I thought he went back to the 23rd century,” TJ said.

“He did,” Herby agreed as he spotted a tiny fly buzzing around the room.

Tuna continued. “However, there’s no telling when he’ll show up again to torment us.”

“Or—” Herby lowered his voice and watched the fly buzz toward the attic window—“what form he’ll take when he does.”

“Listen, guys,” TJ said. “You can practice all you want when I’m at school and nobody’s home.”

“How can we protect you at school if we’re practicing at home?” Tuna asked.

“My point exactly,” TJ said. “I’ve told you a hundred times I don’t want you following me.” She paused to watch Herby tiptoe toward the window.

“Understood,” Tuna said. “However—”

“AHHHHHHH!”

He was interrupted by the sound of Herby leaping at the fly. But Herby’s leaper was a little lame and he was unable to stop at the window. Instead, he sort of

CRASH! BREAK!

tinkle-tinkle-tinkle

leaped through the glass and

roll, roll, roll

“Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!”

tumbled down the roof until he

THUD

“OOOFF!”

landed in the flower bed.