Lemony snicket the austere academy

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НазваниеLemony snicket the austere academy
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Дата публикации26.03.2014
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"We're flunking school because we're exhausted!" he squealed. "And we're exhausted because we're running laps every night! Galuka! I've had enough of your nonsense! Prufrock Preparatory School has promised you an excellent education, and an excellent education you will get-or, in Sunny's case, an excellent job as an administrative assistant! Now, I've instructed Mr. Remora and Mrs. Bass to give comprehensive exams tomorrow-large tests on absolutely everything you've learned so far. Violet, you'd better remember every detail of Mr. Remora's stories, and Klaus, you'd better remember the length, width, and depths of Mrs. Bass's objects, or I will expel you from school. Also, I've found a bunch of papers that need to be stapled tomorrow. Sunny, you will staple all of them, with homemade staples, or I will expel you from your job. First thing tomorrow morning we will have the test and the stapling, and if you don't get As and make enough staples, you'll leave Prufrock Preparatory School. Luckily for you, Coach Genghis has offered to home-school you. That means he'd be your coach, your teacher, and your guardian, all in one. It's a very generous offer, and if I were you I'd give him a tip, too, although I don't think earrings are appropriate in this case."
"We're not going to give Count Olaf a tip!" Violet blurted out.

Klaus looked at his older sister in horror. "Violet means Coach Genghis," Klaus said quickly to Nero.
"I do not!" Violet cried. "Klaus, our situation is too desperate to pretend not to recognize him any longer!"

"Hifijoo!" Sunny agreed.

"I guess you're right," Klaus said. "What have we got to lose?"

"What have we got to lose?" Nero mocked. "What are you talking about?"

"We're talking about Coach Genghis," Violet said. "He's not really named Genghis. He's not even a real coach. He's Count Olaf in disguise."
"Nonsense!" Nero said.

Klaus wanted to say "Nonsense!" right back at Nero, in Nero's own repulsive way, but he bit his exhausted tongue.

"It's true," he said. "He's put a turban over his eyebrow and expensive running shoes over his tattoo, but he's still Count Olaf."
"He has a turban for religious reasons," Nero said, "and running shoes because he's a coach. Look here." He strode over to the computer and pressed a button. The screen began to glow in its usual seasick way, and once again showed a picture of Count Olaf. "You see? Coach Genghis looks nothing like Count Olaf, and my advanced computer system proves it."


"Ushilo!" Sunny cried, which meant "That doesn't prove anything!"

"Ushilo!" Nero mocked. "Who am I going to believe, an advanced computer system or two children flunking school and a little baby too dumb to make her own staples? Now, stop wasting my time! I will personally oversee tomorrow's comprehensive exams, which will be given in the Orphans Shack! And you'd better do excellent work, or it's a free ride from Coach Genghis! Sayonara, Baudelaires!"


"Sayonara" is the Japanese word for goodbye, and I'm sure that each and every one of the millions of people who live in Japan would be ashamed to hear their language used by such a revolting person. But the Baudelaire orphans had no time to think such international thoughts. They were too busy giving the Quagmire triplets the latest news.

"This is awful!" Duncan cried as the five children trudged across the lawn so they could talk things over in peace. "There's no way you can get an A on those exams, particularly if you have to run laps tonight!"
"This is dreadful!" Isadora cried. "There's no way you can make all those staples, either! You'll be homeschooled before you know it!"

"Coach Genghis won't homeschool us," Violet said, looking out at the front lawn, where the luminous zero was waiting for them. "He'll do something much, much worse. Don't you see? That's why he's made us run all those laps! He knew we'd be exhausted. He knew we'd flunk our classes, or fail to perform our secretarial duties. He knew we'd be expelled from Prufrock Prep, and then he could get his hands on us."
Klaus groaned. "We've been waiting for his plan to be made clear, and now it is. But it might be too late."
"It's not too late," Violet insisted. "The comprehensive exams aren't until tomorrow morning. We must be able to figure out a plan by then."

"Plan!" Sunny agreed.

"It'll have to be a complicated plan," Duncan said. "We have to get Violet ready for Mr. Remora's test, and Klaus ready for Mrs. Bass's test."

"And we have to make staples," Isadora said. "And the Baudelaires still have to run laps."

"And we have to stay awake," Klaus said.
The children looked at one another, and then out at the front lawn. The afternoon sun was shining brightly, but the five youngsters knew that soon it would set behind the tombstone-shaped buildings, and that it would be time for S.O.R.E. They didn't have much time. Violet tied her hair up in a ribbon to keep it out of her eyes. Klaus polished his glasses and set them on his nose. Sunny scraped her teeth together, to make sure they were sharp enough for any task ahead. And the two triplets took their notebooks out of their sweater pockets. Coach Genghis's evil plan had become clear through the prism of the Baudelaire and Quagmire experiences, and now they had to use their experience to make a plan of their own.

^ CHAPTER TEN
The three Baudelaire orphans and the two Quagmire triplets sat in the Orphans Shack, which had never looked less unpleasant than it did now. All five children were wearing the noisy shoes Violet had invented, so the territorial crabs were nowhere to be seen. The salt had dried up the dripping tan fungus into a hard beige crust that was not particularly attractive but at least did not plop! drops of fungus juice on the youngsters. Because the arrival of Coach Genghis had focused their energies on defeating his treachery, the five orphans hadn't done anything about the green walls with the pink hearts on them, but otherwise the Orphans Shack had become quite a bit less mountainous and quite a bit more molehilly since the Baudelaires' arrival. It still had a long way to go to be attractive and comfortable living quarters, but for thinking of a plan, it would do in a pinch.


And the Baudelaire children were certainly in a pinch. If Violet, Klaus, and Sunny spent one more exhausting night running laps, they would flunk their comprehensive exams and secretarial assignment, and then Coach Genghis would whisk them away from Prufrock Prep, and as they thought of this they could almost feel Genghis's bony fingers pinching the life right out of them. The Quagmire triplets were so worried about their friends that they felt pinched as well, even though they were not directly in danger-or so they thought, anyway.
"I can't believe we didn't figure out Coach Genghis's plan earlier," Isadora said mournfully, paging through her notebook. "Duncan and I did all this research, and we still didn't figure it out."
"Don't feel badly," Klaus said. "My sisters and I have had many encounters with Olaf, and it's always difficult to figure out his scheme."

"We were trying to find out the history of Count Olaf," Duncan said. "The Prufrock Preparatory library has a pretty good collection of old newspapers, and we thought if we could find out some of his other schemes, we might figure out this one."
"That's a good idea," Klaus said thoughtfully. "I've never tried that."

"We figured that Olaf must have been an evil man even before he met you," Duncan continued, "so we looked up things in old newspapers. But it was difficult to find too many articles, because as you know he always uses a different name. But we found a person matching his description in the Bangkok Gazette, who was arrested for strangling a bishop but escaped from prison in just ten minutes."
"That sounds like him, all right," Klaus said.

"And then in the ^ Verona Daily News," Duncan said, "there was a man who had thrown a rich widow off of a cliff. He had a tattoo of an eye on his ankle, but he had eluded authorities. And then we found a newspaper from your hometown that said-"
"I don't mean to interrupt," Isadora said, "but we'd better stop thinking about the past and start thinking about the present. Lunchtime is more than half over, and we desperately need a plan."
"You're not napping, are you?" Klaus asked Violet, who had been silent for a very long time.

"Of course I'm not napping," Violet replied. "I'm concentrating. I think I can invent something to make all those staples Sunny needs. But I can't figure out how I can invent the device and study for the test at the same time. Since S.O.R.E. began, I haven't taken good notes in Mr. Remora's class, so I won't be able to remember his stories."
"Well, you don't have to worry about that," Duncan said, holding up his dark green notebook. "I've written down every one of Mr. Remora's stories. Every boring detail is recorded here in my notebook."

"And I've written down how long, wide, and deep all of Mrs. Bass's objects are," Isadora said, holding up her own notebook. "You can study from my notebook, Klaus, and Violet can study from Duncan's."

"Thank you," Klaus said, "but you're forgetting something. We're supposed to be running laps this evening. We don't have time to read anybody's notebook."

"Tarcour," Sunny said, which meant "You're right, of course. S.O.R.E. always lasts until dawn, and the tests are first thing in the morning."

"If only we had one of the world's great inventors to help us," Violet said. "I wonder what Nikola Tesla would do."

"Or one of the world's great journalists," Duncan said. "I wonder what Dorothy Parker would do in this situation."

"And I wonder what Hammurabi, the ancient Babylonian, would do to help us," Klaus said. "He was one of the world's greatest researchers."

"Or the great poet Lord Byron," Isadora said.
"Shark," Sunny said, rubbing her teeth thoughtfully.

"Who knows what any of those people or fish would do in our shoes?" Violet said. "It's impossible to know."

Duncan snapped his fingers, not to signal a waiter or because he was listening to catchy music but because he had an idea. "In our shoes!" he said. "That's it!"

"What's it?" Klaus asked. "How will our noisy shoes help?"

"No, no," Duncan said. "Not the noisy shoes. I'm thinking about Coach Genghis's expensive running shoes that he said he couldn't take off because his feet were smelly."

"And I bet they are smelly," Isadora said.

"I've noticed he doesn't bathe much."

"But that's not why he wears them," Violet said. "He wears them for a disguise."

"Exactly!" Duncan said. "When you said 'in your shoes,' it gave me an idea. I know you just meant 'in our shoes' as an expression meaning 'in our situation.' But what if someone else were actually in your shoes-what if we disguised ourselves as you? Then we could run laps, and you could study for the comprehensive exams."

"Disguise yourselves as us?" Klaus said. "You two look exactly like each other, but you don't look anything like us."

"So what?" Duncan said. "It'll be dark tonight. When we've watched you from the archway, all we could see were two shadowy figures running-and one crawling."

"That's true," Isadora said. "If I took the ribbon from your hair, Violet, and Duncan took Klaus's glasses, we'd look enough like you that I bet Coach Genghis couldn't tell."

"And we could switch shoes, so your running on the grass would sound exactly the same," Duncan said.
"But what about Sunny?" Violet asked. "There's no way two people could disguise themselves as three people."

The Quagmire triplets' faces fell. "If only Quigley were here," Duncan said. "I just know he'd be willing to dress up as a baby if it meant helping you."
"What about a bag of flour?" Isadora asked. "Sunny's only about as big as a bag of flour- nothing personal, Sunny."

"Denada," Sunny said, shrugging.

"We could snitch a bag from the cafeteria," Isadora said, "and drag it alongside us as we ran. From a distance, it would probably look enough like Sunny to avoid suspicion."

"Being in each other's shoes seems like an extremely risky plan," Violet said. "If it fails, not only are we in trouble but you are as well, and who knows what Coach Genghis will do to you?"
This, as it turns out, was a question that would haunt the Baudelaires for quite some time, but the Quagmires gave it barely a thought.
"Don't worry about that," Duncan said. "The important thing is to keep you out of his clutches. It may be a risky plan, but being in each other's shoes is the only thing we've been able to think of."

"And we don't have any time to waste thinking of anything else," Isadora added. "We'd better hurry if we want to snitch the bag of flour and not be late for class."
"And we'll need a string, or something, so we can drag it along and make it look like Sunny crawling," Duncan said.

"And I'll need to snitch some things, too," Violet said, "for my staple-making invention."
"Nidop," Sunny said, which meant something along the lines of "Then let's get moving."

The five children walked out of the Orphans Shack, taking off their noisy shoes and putting on their regular shoes so they wouldn't make a lot of noise as they walked nervously across the lawn to the cafeteria. They were nervous because they were not supposed to be sneaking into the cafeteria, or snitching things, and they were nervous because their plan was indeed a risky one. It is not a pleasant feeling, nervousness, and I would not wish for small children to be any more nervous than the Baudelaires and the Quagmires were as they walked toward the cafeteria in their regular shoes. But I must say that the children weren't nervous enough. They didn't need to be more nervous about sneaking into the cafeteria, even though it was against the rules, or snitching things, even though they didn't get caught. But they should have been more nervous about their plan, and about what would happen that evening when the sun set on the brown lawn and the luminous circle began to glow. They should have been nervous, now, in their regular shoes, about what would happen when they were in each other's.

^ CHAPTER ELEVEN
If you've ever dressed up for Halloween or attended a masquerade, you know that there is a certain thrill to wearing a disguise-a thrill that is half excitement and half danger. I once attended one of the famed masked balls hosted by the duchess of Winnipeg, and it was one of the most exciting and dangerous evenings of my life. I was disguised as a bullfighter and slipped into the party while being pursued by the palace guards, who were disguised as scorpions. The moment I entered the Grand Ballroom, I felt as if Lemony Snicket had disappeared. I was wearing clothes I had never worn before-a scarlet cape made of silk and a vest embroidered with gold thread and a skinny black mask-and it made me feel as if I were a different person. And because I felt like a different person, I dared to approach a woman I had been forbidden to approach for the rest of my life. She was alone on the veranda-the word "veranda" is a fancy term for a porch made of polished gray marble-and costumed as a dragonfly, with a glittering green mask and enormous silvery wings. As my pursuers scurried around the party, trying to guess which guest was me, I slipped out to the veranda and gave her the message I'd been trying to give her for fifteen long and lonely years.


"Beatrice," I cried, just as the scorpions spotted me, "Count Olaf is--"

I cannot go on. It makes me weep to think of that evening, and of the dark and desperate times that followed, and in the meantime I'm sure you are curious what happened to the Baudelaire orphans and the Quagmire triplets, after dinner that evening at Prufrock Prep.

"This is sort of exciting," Duncan said, putting Klaus's glasses on his face. "I know that we're doing this for serious reasons, but I'm excited anyway."

Isadora recited, tying Violet's ribbon in her hair,
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