My name's Nolan Byrd, but I have another name, too. A secret name.
Everyone at school has been to shredderman.com, but no one knows that Shredderman is me. And maybe a lot of kids at school call me Nerd, but Shredderman they call cool.
Okay, not everyone thinks Shredderman is cool. Alvin "Bubba" Bixby hates Shredderman.
Bubba's the reason I built the Shredderman Web site. He's a big bully with killer breath and rocky knuckles. Bubba used to flip over lunch trays.
Pound money out of little kids!
And since Bubba's sly--and a really good liar--no one could ever prove anything.
I converted my backpack into a spy-pack.
I hid my digital camera inside it!
And I started catching Bubba in the act--on camera!
Which is how Bubba's Big Butt--and a lot of his other dirty deeds--got posted on the Web for the whole world to see.
Serves him right for underestimating underdogs!
And it sure got teachers--and even Dr. Voss, our principal--to watch Bubba's every move. Cedar Valley Elementary is a much safer place since Shredderman came to town!
There is one person who knows that I'm Shredderman.
My sidekick isn't younger than me.
Or smaller than me.
Or weaker than me.
Actually, he's got a lot more power than I do.
He's my . . . shhhh . . . teacher!
Everyone calls Mr. Green a hippie because he has long hair and drives an old Volkswagen van with dolphins painted all over it.
Mr. Green also plays the guitar. He loves his guitar! He plays it like crazy for music and then for all sorts of other reasons during the day.
He "punctuates" his points.
"Interludes" his lessons.
"Segues" his subjects.
"Crescendos" his comments.
What he really does is make tons of noise! Man, you should see his fingers fly! When Mr. Green plays, even Bubba Bixby listens.
People may make fun of Mr. Green and call him the Happy Hippie, but I think he's the coolest teacher ever. He's funny and smart and nice. And while everyone else may think I'm nerdy or geeky or dweeby, Mr. Green thinks I shred.
Which is what gave me the idea--and the courage--to become a secret cyber-superhero.
Everything was going great, too! Shredderman had exposed Bubba for the bully he is and no one had a clue that I was Shredderman. Not even my mom or dad! Well, Mr. Green figured it out, but instead of turning me over to Dr. Voss, he begged to be my sidekick.
"I'm going to be the best sidekick ever, Nolan!" he said.
"But, Mr. Green..." It seemed too weird. Like I should be his sidekick.
"And I've come up with a great name, too!"
"Yeah! The Bouncer!"
"The Bouncer?" I asked him. "Why the Bouncer?"
"Don't mess with Shredderman, man, or the Bouncer'll getcha!"
"Oh," I said, trying to picture it. "So what do you look like? A big ball?"
"No, man!" he laughed. "I look like a bouncer! Like one of those big cats that stands at the door to keep troublemakers out? Big muscles. Thick neck. Like a pro wrestler with tattoos."
"The Bouncer has tattoos?"
He shook his head. "Skip the tattoos. But you've got the idea, right?"
"You'd better draw me with short hair." He snapped his fingers. "Hey, why don't you make me bald all over." He grinned. "No one'll ever suspect it's me!"
I went with the strong urge to rub my chin. "But why does Shredderman need a bouncer? He's Shredderman!"
He leaned in close and whispered, "You need a bouncer, Nolan, and I'm your man."
I shrugged. "Whatever you say, Mr. Green."
"Hey! What if I come up with a theme song?"
"A theme song? But that'll give away that it's you, won't it?"
"Nah . . . I'll write something electric. Distort it . . . pitch-shift it . . . add special effects. . . . I promise-it'll be outtasight!" He eyed me. "You can load song clips on your computer, can't you?"
"Uh-huh . . ."
"So let me see what I can do. You're the boss, though. If you don't dig it, I'll trash the idea." He grinned at me. "Or write something better."
So that's how I got myself a sidekick.
And a theme song.
The song's only about fifteen seconds when you boot up shredderman.com, but I like it.
Mr. Green has also helped me do new things with the site. It used to be "All Bubba, All the Time," but now it's got other stuff, too. Like a new Mystery Student every week, and joke contests, and riddles, and crossword puzzles. I keep Bubba's Big Butt posted for insurance, and I told Bubba in a Shredderman e-mail that it stays there until he starts being nice to people.
Shredderman also gets e-mails from kids wanting me to add a joke to the Jokes link, or just asking, Who ARE you? Sometimes I even get messages from kids who want Shredderman to watch out for someone that's causing them trouble at school. Usually girls do this, which can get a little embarrassing.
They always sign off, LOVE.
So for a while everything was going great. Only kids from school knew about the site, which was fine with me. It kept me plenty busy, and besides, I didn't want all of Cedar Valley wondering who Shredderman was.
But then something happened. Something that cried out, "Shredderman, we need your help!" And in the name of truth and justice I couldn't just stand by and watch.
I had to do something!
Excerpted from ATTACK OF THE TAGGER (Shredderman #2) © Copyright 2004 by Wendelin Van Draanen; illustrated by Brian Biggs. Excerpted by permission of Knopf Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
Attack of the Tagger: Shredderman #2