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Mystery May
The Far Side of Weird



The Far Side of Weird
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   2.72

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    imagine, bygone, dealing, fairy-tale, gryphon, he-oops, instantly, keythong, keythongs, mean-I, midshriek, nutshell, rockford, sniggle, tenni-runners, until-but
     content words:    Weird History Class, King Kong, Mach Ten, Monroe Doctrine, Rusty Spike, Rocky Stone, Prunella Sweeny, Rockford Mountain Stone, Weird History


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The Far Side of Weird
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     Imagine your history teacher is a mad scientist type. He believes in the "hands on" approach to learning. He has come up with a new idea for your final exam. Your class will be beamed back in time to a "history mystery." (Maybe you thought of history as a cut-and-dried, who-cares-they're-all-dead-anyway kind of thing. I did, at least until-but I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to this pretend history class...)
 
2     Your job is to look into the mystery into which you've been plunked. You are to gather facts. You'll try to solve a puzzle that's been keeping history experts awake at night. Your grade will depend on how good a detective you are.
 
3     Soon the day arrives. Into the matter transporter (MTP) you go. The door closes. You feel tingly and a bit nervous. Soon you are spinning round and round...and where you will stop, nobody knows. Your teacher says that surviving the trip earns you bonus points. He's joking, you think...
 
4     It occurs to you that your teacher is brilliant but a little forgetful. Will he remember how to bring you back? Will he even remember that he sent you to some bygone era? Will he-oops!-zap you to another universe?
 
5     Then, plop! You have landed. You have a few moments of dizziness as your matter gets a grip on itself. Then, warily, you open the door of the MTP...
 
6     Could you imagine? No? Well, I can. I mean-I don't have to. I live it. It happens Tuesday and Thursday afternoons every week of my life. Lucky me. That's Mr. Sniggle's Weird History Class in a nutshell. And I do mean NUT. That much was clear on the first day of class.
 
7     Fifteen minutes into the hour, we all sat around wondering where our teacher was. Suddenly, there was a ruckus behind a curtain at the back of the room. (We found out later that it was the place where the MTP was hidden.) First we heard a loud CRASH! BANG! Then there was a howl. It sounded like someone stepped on the tail of a cat the size of King Kong. The wail lasted only a moment. It was cut off in midshriek. Next came the sound of running footsteps. It sounded like someone was trying for Mach Ten in his tenni-runners.
 
8     The class sat there stunned. Mr. Sniggle burst out of the curtain. He ran like something big and nasty was on his tail. Whatever it was had already gotten a bite or two. His coattails were in shreds. His tie was flapping out over his shoulder, the knot just under his left ear. His eyes were big and his legs were pumping. We all sat with our mouths open, watching him chug past.
 
9     "Gryphons!" he croaked as he flew past.

Paragraphs 10 to 19:
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