Hold the Pickles (Orca Currents)
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Dan Hogg is thrilled when his uncle offers him some work at a food fair, because he wants money to hire a professional trainer to help him with his scrawny physique. His excitement vanishes when he learns that the job is dressing up in a hotdog costume and handing out samples. Every dark cloud has its silver lining, Dan discovers, when he, or rather Frank Lee Better, his mascot persona, gains the attention of a pretty girl named Brooke. The attention is great until Dan finds himself under attack from Cupcake Katie and a mysterious guy with a strange interest in Brooke. It's not until he's huddling in a bathroom in nothing but his tight white underwear that Dan begins to suspect Brooke's attention might be too good to be true.
in a sick sort of way. The hotdog must be raking in the money. Did you see the pile of people he had when we walked by just now?” “Yeah. I wouldn’t be surprised if the owner’s in on it too. He’s so hard up these days, he’d take money any way he can. Last week he tried to talk me into working for him, but I said no way. He only offered to pay ten bucks an hour! Can you believe it?” “Ten bucks an hour? You’re kidding! That’s highway robbery. I wouldn’t do it for anything less than twenty.” “Me
there too. She had her hand on his arm and was laughing. With all the trouble I was in and all the trouble I was going to be in, I should have been worrying about more important things than whether a girl liked me or not. But I wasn’t. All I could think was, Brooke’s laughing at one of Shane’s jokes. It broke my heart. As if on cue, the bit of toilet paper still clinging to my hips slid to the floor. Standing there in my underwear, I couldn’t deny it any longer. Shane really was more Brooke’s
pushed me onto the floor. “You could still be dizzy. You might hurt yourself.” The pink smile on its spongy face didn’t change, but the voice sure did. “Listen, meathead,” it whispered into an eyehole in a deep rumble. “Beat it. This is Cupcake Katie territory. Show your buns around here again, and I’ll shove each and every one of those sesame seeds down your high-fiber throat. Understand?” He yanked me onto my feet, and I heard my cape tear. The creep actually laughed. “Oops. How did that
I was starting to feel depressed about the whole situation when I spotted Shane cramming his pockets full of samples from Eat-o-Burrito’s. Half an hour earlier I’d been thrilled to get rid of the guy. Now he seemed like the only person who could help me find Brooke. I cleared my throat and headed over. “Excuse me, sir,” I said in a deep voice. “A little while ago, you were speaking with a dark-haired girl over by The Codfather Fish ’n Chips stand. I wonder if you might know where she is.”
all-around nerdy vibe. But I figured I might be able to do something about my scrawny physique—or at least a paid professional could. I did the math and took the job on the spot. If I worked the whole afternoon, I figured I could afford a couple of hours of training—maybe more. After all, Hammy had mentioned the possibility of tips. What he apparently forgot to mention—at least until I showed up at the Metro Center a week later, all ready to go—was that I had to wear a costume. “I didn’t