Beware the Fish

From the book:

"Listen!" cried Sidney "Butterfingers" Rampulsky indignantly across the lunch table. "Everyone drops a clock now and then!"
"But you dropped my clock!" protested Larry Wilson, his new roommate. "And you broke it!"
"Well, I cut my finger on the glass," protested Sidney. "Don't I get any sympathy for that?" He held up a bandaged finger to support his claim.
"No," said Larry, sourly. "If Macdonald Hall didn't have to keep a klutz like you in bandages it wouldn't be in such a pickle now."
"That pickle," Bruno Walton cut in, "is what we're here to discuss."
"They cut out pickles five weeks ago," sighed Wilbur Hackenschleimer.
"I thought we were here to eat." Boots looked with distaste at a dainty cucumber sandwich. "But I guess I was wrong about that."
Ignoring them, Bruno got up and surveyed the table. Larry and Sidney were still glaring at each other. Big Wilbur Hackenschleimer sat dreaming of a triple-decker hamburger with the works. Pete Anderson, who was now rooming with Wilbur, Elmer Drimsdale, Boots and himself made up the rest of the committee.
"Macdonald Hall is in trouble," Bruno announced dramatically, "and the responsibility of saving it lies with us, the Macdonald Hall Preservation Society."
The boys looked at him uneasily -- Bruno's causes were notorious.
"I'm having enough trouble saving myself," said Wilbur. "Besides the fact that they're not feeding us, what's wrong with Macdonald Hall?"
"I'll tell you what's wrong," exclaimed Bruno. "It's going down the tube! They may even put it up for sale."
"That's ridiculous," snapped Pete. "The Fish would never allow it!"
"The Fish is only Headmaster," Bruno reminded him. "He doesn't own the place; he just works here. He's a victim, like the rest of us."
"I don't believe it," said Sidney, flatly.
"Believe it," said Larry. "I'm the Fish's messenger. I'm around to hear what goes on in his office, and it's true!"
"What do you think all these economy measures are for?" added Boots.
"That's right," agreed Bruno. "It's a bad situation, and we've --"
The salt shaker in Elmer's hand slipped from his fingers and clattered to the table. He raised astounded, owl-like eyes to Bruno. "Do you mean that Macdonald Hall is going bankrupt?"
"We just finished saying that, Elmer," said Bruno, patiently. Although Elmer was the school's genius, he was not known for his quick grasp of everyday matters. "Pay attention. This is very important if we're going to save the school."

Copyright © 1980 Gordon Korman, used by permission

School shop expert and eating machine Wilbur Hackenschleimer is unhappy that Macdonald Hall has cut out his evening snack, and science nerd Elmer Drimsdale is disgusted by the damaged science equipment that isn't being replaced, but when Bruno Walton and Boots O' Neal learn that the Hall is going broke, they are determined to save their school.

But enrollment is down, costs are through the roof, and there seems to be little the students can do to save the embattled Canadian boarding school. Enter Bruno Walton's publicity campaign ... He is convinced that if Macdonald Hall can get enough publicity, parents will rush to enroll their children.

World records, scientific advancements, radical health cures -- no matter how good his ideas seem to be, Bruno racks up one spectacular failure after another. The Fish (Headmaster Sturgeon) is down on him, Miss Scrimmage is angry with him, and even some of the students are starting to turn. Rumor has it a land developer is trying to sell the school land right out from under him.

But when one of Elmer's brilliant inventions and a brightly coloured diagram of the Pacific salmon lead rival law enforcement agencies to the Hall, searching for a ruthless master criminal, you have to wonder. Is this the end of Macdonald Hall? Has Bruno Walton gone too far this time?