Once upon a time, there was a twelve-year-old boy named Thurston Pickering who, through his own innocence, nearly destroyed the world. But, fortunately for us all, he ended up saving it instead, and this is the story of what happened.
It all started one weekend in June not long before the school year was about to end. Now, while everyone looks forward to summer vacation, Thurston looked forward to it more than most. In fact, probably more than anyone alive. And no one who knew poor Thurston could blame him for wanting to forget about school for a few months, for he had a terrible time of it.
It wasn’t that Thurston wasn’t smart. Actually, he was quite bright. And it wasn’t because he didn’t want any friends or was mean-spirited. Thurston wanted to be liked and was very kind. It just seemed that, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t get along with anybody. And the harder he tried, the worse things got and the less the other kids wanted to be around him. The boys rarely invited him to play with them, and the girls all made faces whenever he came near.
Even the teachers seemed to ignore him. This bothered him not only because he really wanted to do well in his classes, but also because, in Thurston’s mind at least, grown-ups should know better.
Well, maybe most do, but not Thurston’s teachers. Whenever one of them asked a question of the class, Thurston was never called upon unless no one else raised a hand. If teams were being put together for a special project, Thurston was always the last one to be assigned to a group, and often only after he reminded the teacher he’d been forgotten.
He thought at first that perhaps it was only because he was so much smaller than the other students, but even after he grew a few more inches, nothing changed. Maybe it was because he had a funny name or because he was from a different town. Whatever the reason, he hated it. It was almost like he was invisible. Sometimes Thurston felt like a ghost haunting the halls of the miserable school he’d attended since he first moved to the town two years ago, and he often thought it would be better to be shipwrecked on an island all by himself. It’s hard enough being lonely, but it’s even harder when you’re surrounded by other people.
Worst of all were the bullies. Unfortunately, they didn’t find him invisible at all. It seemed he couldn’t get by any of them without being noticed, which was exactly what happened before that first weekend in June I was just telling you about even got started.
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