Chapter Excerpt

Chapter One

"It was Marie Kazinski who asked how to stop a boy if he wants to go all the way," Maggie whispered. Liz dragged her trig book along the wall tiles so it clicked at every crack.

"I'll bet she didn't ask it like that," Liz said.

"'Sexually stimulated' was how she said it, if you must know the sordid details."

"Go on."

"She simply raised her hand," Maggie said, "and asked Miss Fanuzzi in front of the whole class."

"What'd she say?"


"Miss Fanuzzi."

Maggie shifted her books from one arm to the other. "Oh, something dumb. Miss Fanuzzi knows a lot about puberty and mitosis, but I think she needs a little more experience with men."

They moved down the center aisle of the auditorium. Maggie watched Liz scan the crowd. How she envied the way Liz was so conscious of everything that was going on! She could walk into a party and instantly know who was doing what to whom and what they were wearing. Maggie had to look at one thing at a time, and it was always something minuscule, like fingers. She always looked at people's fingers.

"Come to order. I want it quiet in the auditorium!" Mr. Zamborsky, the grade advisor, called out as Maggie took a seat. She jumped when he blew his loud, shrill whistle, Wrrrrrrrrrr! Liz calmly unwrapped a piece of bubble gum and stuffed it in her mouth. She was still looking over the gathering of seniors that continued to churn and buzz while she lowered herself into the seat next to Maggie.

Wrrrrrrrrrr! "We have many important decisions to make at this meeting: Senior Day, the prom, and graduation in June," Mr. Zamborsky started.

"Yahoooooooooo!" everyone yelled.

"Quiet! I want it quiet!" Mr. Zamborsky screamed.

Liz passed the bubble-gum wrapper to Maggie and watched her read the joke on it: "At school she was voted the girl with whom you are most likely to succeed." Mr. Zamborsky fumbled with a batch of papers, then cleared his throat. "Now I'll turn the meeting over to the class president, Pierre Jefferson."

A young man walked up to the podium. He straightened his tie and smoothed down his hair. "God, Pierre loves himself," Maggie whispered. Liz had slumped down in her seat to read an astrology magazine.

"A big brownie," Liz said.

"I think he's cute," Maggie said.

"The first item on the agenda," Pierre started, "is whether we want the prom formal or semi-formal."

Maggie suddenly felt depressed. She knew it wouldn't matter if everyone were going nude to the senior prom because nobody was going to ask her.

"You think my hair looks OK today?" Maggie asked.

"It looks like thin fungus."

"At least my eyebrows are better, aren't they?"

Liz sat up and turned Maggie's face toward her.

"They're cockeyed." She slumped back down.

Maggie sat quietly for a minute. "You're always telling me I need more confidence, and then you tell me I've got cockeyed eyebrows." "They are cockeyed."

Maggie took a hand mirror out of her pocketbook. Liz was right. Everything Maggie did to make herself look better never worked. "Oh, Liz," she wailed, "why didn't you tell me my hair was so messed?"

"I told you it looked like fungus."

"It didn't look bad before I was a wheelbarrow."

"A what?"

"A wheelbarrow. In gym." Maggie stared at herself in the mirror. "Don't you do wheelbarrows?"


"We've got that new instructor—the sadistic-looking one. Every day she's got half of us lying on the floor, and a squad-mate picks up our legs. We have to walk around on our hands."

Liz yawned and closed the astrology magazine. "She sounds demented." She leaned on the back of the seat in front of her and surveyed the auditorium again. "Is Sean here?" Maggie asked.

"Front row."



The class president's voice intruded. "The principal suggested we spend Senior Day at Bear Mountain, as opposed to the customary practice of taking over the school for the day. There were complaints about beer drinking and ungentlemanly behavior . . ."

"What a schnook," Liz sighed.

"Who is that sitting next to Sean? He's with him a lot lately." Maggie sat forward.

"Dennis Holowitz."


Liz smiled strangely. "Sean and I decided we're going to get him to ask you out."

"Oh, Liz, I thought you were my friend! I wouldn't go anywhere with him. He looks weird." He actually was weird-looking, Maggie thought, studying him closely. How skinny! A face like an undernourished zucchini. She chuckled to herself. And always wearing the same baggy green sweater. He must love that sweater. Any time she ever passed him in the halls, there it was, baggy as ever. He wouldn't ask her out anyway.

Liz lowered herself again. She opened her looseleaf notebook and started reading a love comic hidden inside.

"Miss Fanuzzi said we're going to discuss masturbation tomorrow." Maggie put the mirror back in her pocketbook.

"That's nice." Liz waited a moment, then asked, "What advice did she give for stopping a guy on the make?"


"Miss Fanuzzi," Liz snapped.

"You mean about what to do when things get out of control?" Maggie could tell when Liz Carstensen really wanted to know something because she would start tapping her fingers.

"Yes, stupid."

"Well"—Maggie lowered her voice—"Miss Fanuzzi's advice was that you're supposed to suggest going to get a hamburger."

The foregoing is excerpted from My Darling, My Hamburger by Paul Zindel. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022


ISBN: 0060757361; Imprint: HarperTrophy; Format: Paperback; Trimsize: 4 3/16 x 6 3/4; Pages: 176