The bus hit a small bump and the guard sat up, instantly alert.
Stanleys father was an inventor. To be a successful inventor you need
three things: intelligence, perseverance, and just a little bit of luck.
Stanleys father was smart and had a lot of perseverance. Once he
started a project he would work on it for years, often going days
without sleep. He just never had any luck.
Every time an experiment failed, Stanley could hear him cursing his
Stanleys father was also named Stanley Yelnats. Stanleys fathers full
name was Stanley Yelnats III. Our Stanley is Stanley Yelnats IV.
Everyone in his family had always liked the fact that Stanley Yelnats
was spelled the same frontward and backward. So they kept naming their
sons Stanley. Stanley was an only child, as was every other Stanley
Yelnats before him.
All of them had something else in common. Despite their awful luck, they
always remained hopeful. As Stanleys father liked to say, I learned
But perhaps that was part of the curse as well. If Stanley and his
father werent always hopeful, then it wouldnt hurt so much every time
their hopes were crushed.
Not every Stanley Yelnats has been a failure, Stanleys mother often
pointed out, whenever Stanley or his father became so discouraged that
they actually started to believe in the curse. The first Stanley Yelnats,
Stanleys great-grandfather, had made a fortune in the stock market. He
couldnt have been too unlucky.
At such times she neglected to mention the bad luck that befell the
first Stanley Yelnats. He lost his entire fortune when he was moving
from New York to California. His stagecoach was robbed by the outlaw
Kissin' Kate Barlow.
If it werent for that, Stanleys family would now be living in a
mansion on a beach in California. Instead, they were crammed in a tiny
apartment that smelled of burning rubber and foot odor.
If only, if only .
The apartment smelled the way it did because Stanleys father was trying
to invent a way to recycle old sneakers. The first person who finds a
use for old sneakers, he said, will be a very rich man.
It was this lastest project that led to Stanleys arrest.
The bus ride became increasingly bumpy because the road was no longer
Actually, Stanley had been impressed when he first found out that is
great-grandfather was robbed by Kissin Kate Barlow. True, he would have
preferred living on the beach in California, but it was still kind of
cool to have someone in your family robbed by a famous outlaw.
Kate Barlow didnt actually kiss Stanleys great-grandfather. That would
have been really cool, but she only kissed the men she killed. Instead,
she robbed him and left him stranded in the middle of the desert.
He was lucky to have survived, Stanleys mother was quick to
The bus was slowing down. The guard grunted as he stretched out his
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