Lucky Thirteen

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story is crossed over with one of my favorite Disney cartoons, "Darkwing Duck." The idea came to me while working on something for my other website, which I use the GAG characters from time to time, but it's a completely different universe on that page than the GAG Cannon.

It was a bright day in Green Meadow. A moving van had pulled up to the curb of a house on Main Street. The house had been for sale for two months before someone bought it. Now it looked like someone was finally moving in. A blue station wagon pulled into the driveway shortly after the moving truck pulled up to the curb. As the moving men were unloading the truck, the occupants of the station wagon came out and looked at the house. They were Drake Mallard and his daughter Gosalyn, two ducks from the city of St. Canard. Drake took a deep breath and stretched.

"Aahhh, there's nothing like fresh air!" he shouted. "This is the life! No smog, no pollution, no traffic, no noise . . . ."

"No nothing," Gosalyn grumbled. "Dad, why did we have to move all the way from St. Canard to the middle of nowhere?"

"I told you, Gosalyn," Drake said, as he was unloading the car. "My doctor told me I needed a safer line of work, and I needed to get out of the city."

"I think we were fine where we were. Besides, last time you gave up crime fighting, it was a disaster!"

In St. Canard, Drake was a crime fighter, going under the name Darkwing Duck. But he never revealed his secret identity. Gosalyn knew it, of course, but she was sworn to secrecy. In any case, the last time Drake had been to a doctor for a physical, his doctor had advised him to get out of "law enforcement" (as Drake had told him was his occupation), and switch to a safer career. That, and crime fighting didn't pay much, and Drake needed a better job to pay his bills on time.

Gosalyn was not looking forward to moving. She liked the city of St. Canard. When she and Drake were living there, they lived in a suburban home, which was fine enough for her. She didn't care much for small town life. It wasn’t exciting enough for her. Another reason she figured why her dad was giving up on crime fighting was that he was sick and tired of having Gosalyn tag along with him on his cases. Drake (when he was Darkwing Duck) didn't like it when Gosalyn tagged along, because it was usually too dangerous. Not that it mattered to Gosalyn. She liked the excitement of the job. She felt a small town like Green Meadow was going to be extremely boring.

"You know, Gos, there are a lot of perks to a town as small as this," Drake said.

"Like what?" Gosalyn grumbled, as she dragged her skateboard out of the back of the car.

"You can ride that skateboard of yours all around town without worrying about traffic," Drake said. "And you can walk around town by yourself. I'd hardly let you do that in the city, due to all the traffic and stuff like that."

"Hot dog," Gosalyn said, sarcastically. She put her skateboard on the ground, and sped off to look around, just to see if there was anything to do around town.

Gosalyn rolled around town, taking in the sights of Green Meadow. It wasn't very impressive to her. The town was smaller than she thought it was. There were only a few shops around, as well as the police station, fire station, and City Hall. It wasn't much.

"I wonder if there's a video arcade around here somewhere?" she said. "Probably not."

Gosalyn looked around and spotted Hoofnagel's Ice Cream Emporium across the street. She heaved a sigh, and started rolling across the street for it.

"Might as well check that out," she said.

Gosalyn rolled across the street, and into the store. It was looking pretty empty. Hardly anyone was in there. Gosalyn rolled her skateboard up to the counter, and climbed onto the stool.

"Hey, aren't there any people in this town?" she asked. "Or is it too small?"

"Plenty of people in town," the old goat behind the counter (Mr. Hoofnagel) said as he was cleaning a glass.

"Then how come this place is empty?" Gosalyn asked.

"Give the local kids some time," Mr. Hoofnagel replied. "They'll be in soon."

Gosalyn nodded, and sighed. She decided just to hang out at Hoofnagel's, since she didn't have anything better to do. As she was standing there, a group of kids walked into the store, all talking at once. All six of them went up to the counter, and climbed onto the stools. Gosalyn found herself sitting next to a moose. She couldn't keep her eyes off his antlers. They were pretty big, and this kid couldn't be too much older than she was.

"Hey, Montgomery!" someone called from the doorway. The moose whirled around, and accidentally hit Gosalyn with his antlers.

WHACK!

The force of being hit with the antlers knocked Gosalyn off her stool, and onto her skateboard. She rolled across the floor, and banged right into a table, knocking it over, as well as the chairs.

"Whoa, what a wipe out," she said.

"Sorry about that," the moose said, walking over. "I didn't see you. Need some help?"

"No thanks," Gosalyn said, pulling herself to her feet. "You ought to put a warning sign on those antlers."

"That's what everybody tells me. My name's Montgomery Moose. What's yours?"

"Gosalyn Mallard. I just moved here."

Gosalyn and Montgomery shook hands. Then they climbed back onto the stools for some ice cream.

"These are my friends," Montgomery said, indicating the other kids at the counter. "Dotty Dog, Zipper Cat, Woolma Lamb, Bingo Beaver, and Portia Porcupine. Gang, this is Gosalyn Mallard. She just moved here."

"Hi," Dotty said. "Welcome to Green Meadow."

"Gang?" Gosalyn asked. "You're like a group or something?"

"Yeah," Montgomery said. "We're the Get Along Gang."

"Oh," Gosalyn said. And that was all she said. The kids hit a lull just then.

"I think you'll like it here," Zipper said finally. "I moved here from the Waterfront awhile back, and I don't regret it."

"I don't know," Gosalyn said. "I just don't think I could get used to small town life."

"Hey, if I can do it, you can do it," Zipper said.

Gosalyn didn't believe Zipper for a minute, but she didn't say anything. Shortly afterwards, the Gang decided to give Gosalyn the grand tour of Green Meadow. She wasn't looking forward to that, but she figured she'd check out the town anyway.

"Hey, is there a video arcade around here somewhere?" she asked.

"No," Bingo said. "I wish there was, though. That'd be really great."

"No video arcade?" Gosalyn asked. "What kind of town is this?!"

"Green Meadow is a nice town," Portia said.

"You just have to get used to it," Zipper said. "It takes some time."

Gosalyn nodded again. She followed the Gang around the town, and they showed her all the sites around town. The places that interested Gosalyn the most were Hoofnagel's, Schneider Squirrel's Sweets Factory (which was owned by the father of fellow Get Along Gang member Lolly Squirrel), and the ball field. She liked sports and she had an incurable sweet tooth.

"Maybe this town won't be as bad as I thought," she said.

"Wait until you see the swamp," Dotty said. "We like to go swimming there."

"Are there any swamp monsters in there?" Gosalyn asked, excitedly.

"No," Montgomery said. "But there are rumors about the old Badger Mansion being haunted."

"Cool!" Gosalyn shouted.

It was obvious to the gang that Gosalyn was not a typical girl. Gosalyn looked around the swamp when she and the gang got there. She looked at the water, picked up a stick, and stuck it in, stirring the water around.

"Not as gooey as I thought," she said.

"Parts of the swamp are yuckier than others," Woolma said. "We just swim around in the clear water, and not in the messy muddy water."

"Sounds like a blast," Gosalyn said. "I can see it now. Go swimming in the swamp muck, get covered in it, and tell my dad I'm a swamp monster. I'd like to see the look on his face! He'd be so freaked! I love freaking out my dad."

"Who doesn't like freaking out their parents?" Bingo asked.

"I don't," Portia said, but nobody really paid any attention to her (as usual).

"So what do you think of Green Meadow now?" Zipper asked.

"Pretty cool," Gosalyn replied. "Better than I thought, but I'd like it even better if there was a video arcade."

The kids started laughing over that, but their laughter stopped abruptly when something came shooting by them at high speed, spraying mud all over them.

"Clear the deck! I'm comin' through!" someone shouted.

"Hey!" Zipper shouted. "What's the big idea?!"

"Oh just look at my dress!" Woolma shouted, looking at her dress. "It's ruined!"

Once again, the streak came by again, spraying even more mud all over the gang. It skidded to a halt, and laughed at the mud covered gang. It turned out to be Catchum Crocodile on a bicycle.

"I always knew your gang was all wet!" he laughed. "And this just proves it!"

"Very funny, Catchum," Montgomery said, sarcastically, wiping the worst of the mud off his shirt.

"You're a million laughs," Dotty said.

Gosalyn wiped mud off her shirt, and then looked at Catchum. He was just standing there leaning against his bike, and giving the gang a smug look.

"Who is this guy, anyway?" she asked.

"This is Catchum Crocodile," Portia said. "The town bully."

"And number one creep," Dotty said.

Gosalyn didn't say anything. She just glared at Catchum. Catchum just stood there, polishing the handlebars of his bicycle with the sleeve of his jacket. Bingo kept staring at it.

"Where'd you get the bike, Catchum?" he asked. "It looks brand new."

"What did you do?" Dotty asked. "Steal it?"

"Ha, ha," Catchum said, sarcastically. "For your information, my uncle sent it."

"Did he steal it?" Portia asked.

Catchum rolled his eyes, and said nothing. Gosalyn looked it over. She kneeled down to check the tires, when Catchum blocked her off.

"Hands off!" he shouted. "I don't want any of you guys messing up my wheels."

"You'd better watch it, fella," Gosalyn said. "Nobody messes with me."

"Oh yeah? Just who do you think you are?"

"Gosalyn Mallard. I can be your best friend, or I can be your worst nightmare."

"Oooohhh, I'm really scared of a girl!"

Gosalyn put her skateboard on the ground, and sped off, rolling circles around Catchum and his bicycle. Catchum watched her, and just leaned against his bike. He looked at Montgomery and gave him a look that plainly said "is she for real?" Gosalyn went around and around, faster and faster. Catchum was trying to watch her, but he was getting extremely dizzy. He got so dizzy, he lost his balance, and fell backwards, crashing into his bike, and both ended up right into the water. SPLASH! The gang began to laugh.

"Now who's all wet, Catchum?" Bingo asked, laughing.

The gang left the swamp, laughing all the way. Catchum climbed out of the swamp, and dragged his bike out. Both of them were covered in weeds, mud, and muck. As he was pulling weeds out of the spokes, his sidekick, Leland Lizard, came along, and stopped when he saw Catchum pulling weeds out of his wheels.

"Hey, Catchum, what happened to your new bike?" he asked.

"That stupid Get Along Gang's got a new kid with them," Catchum replied. "And to top it off, it's a girl! She went on this spin cycle on a skateboard and I got knocked into the swamp along with my bike."

"Boy, your bike really got trashed," Leland said, swiping his finger along the handlebars. "How are you going to get all the mud off of it?"

"Oh, I'll think of something," Catchum replied. "I've got to think of a way to get even with that new girl. While I'm thinking about that, you can help me clean off my bike."

Of course what Catchum meant by Leland can help him clean his bike was that Leland can clean the whole thing, while Catchum just sat there and thought about how to get even with Gosalyn.

The next day, Montgomery brought Gosalyn to the Get Along Gang's clubhouse, which was a red caboose on the edge of town. She met the other six members of the gang there. They were Braker Turtle, Bernice Bear, Rocco Rabbit, Flora Fox, Rudyard Lion, and Lolly Squirrel. Bingo was telling them Gosalyn's encounter with Catchum in the swamp.

"She went into this fast spin," Bingo said. "Catchum could barely keep his eyes on her!"

"Nobody messes with me," Gosalyn said.

"You must be a really good skateboarder to go that fast," Bernice said.

"I'm a champion," Gosalyn said. "Not to brag, but I won a skateboarding contest once."

"No way," Rocco said. "Girls don't know anything about skateboarding! I'd like to see you try and beat me in a skateboard challenge!"

"No problem," Gosalyn said. "You got a ramp around here anywhere?"

"I can set one up for you," Braker said.

The gang left the caboose and watched as Montgomery and Braker built a skate ramp. Rocco got his skateboard and practiced a little on it. Gosalyn was doing the same thing.

"Anyone want to make any bets on who's going to win this?" Bingo asked.

"Bingo . . . ." Zipper said, warningly.

About ten minutes later, Braker and Montgomery had the ramp ready. Both Gosalyn and Rocco skated up to it. Rocco looked at Gosalyn and gestured to the ramp.

"Ladies first," he said.

"I have news for you," Gosalyn said. "I'm no lady. You think you're hot stuff, so you go first."

"My pleasure. Here's the challenge. We'll launch off the ramp, and Bernice, Dotty, and Woolma will judge the landing. Whoever makes the best score wins."

Gosalyn nodded. Rocco backed up and pushed off on his skateboard, going faster and faster until he got to the ramp. He launched right off it, and landed. He rolled down the way, and whizzed around a nearby tree. Bernice held up a sign that said 9.3, Dotty held one up that said 8.7, and Woolma held one up that said 7.0.

"Top that," Rocco said.

"Sure," Gosalyn said. "Everybody stand back. I'm going to need a little room."

The entire gang stood back while Gosalyn rolled her skateboard back aways, farther back than Rocco moved back. She gave herself a great push off, and launched off the ramp at an extremely fast pace. She flew into the air, and crouched down and grabbed the edge of her skateboard. When she landed, she spun around on it in a circle, and then sped around the tree. She used a nearby rock as a launch ramp, and flew into the air again.

"Wow," Portia said.

Bernice held up a sign that read 9.9, Dotty's read 10, and Woolma's read 9.2. Even Rocco was impressed.

"Not bad," he said. "For a girl."

Gosalyn came down for a landing, skid around the tree, and stopped in front of the gang. Rocco nodded and walked over.

"I gotta admit," he said. "That was impressive. You're okay."

"Thanks," Gosalyn said, giving Rocco a high five.

"Think you could show me how to do that trick?"

"Sure thing."

Gosalyn skated for the ramp and launched off it again. As she was doing that, Catchum and Leland came around, ready to spy on the Get Along Gang, trying to see what they could do to get even with Gosalyn for messing up his bike. As a matter of fact, Catchum was riding his bike on his way to the caboose. Leland was running along side, trying to keep up.

"So have you gotten any ideas about how to get even with that new girl?" he asked.

"Not yet," Catchum said. "But I will. I'm sure of it."

Leland nodded, and stopped for a minute to catch his breath.

"Hey, Catchum, slow down a little," he said. "I can't keep up!"

"Oh brother," Catchum groaned, but he didn't slow down. "Hurry it up, will you?!"

Leland ran faster to catch up. Catchum rolled his eyes. In any case, the two reptiles hid behind the bushes by the Clubhouse Caboose and watched the gang launch off the ramp Braker set up. Gosalyn was showing Rocco all her skateboard tricks.

"There she is," Catchum said, pointing.

"Wow," Leland said, as he watched Gosalyn jump off her skateboard and did a summersault in mid air.

"Show off," Catchum mumbled. "Come on."

Catchum and Leland rolled around over to the caboose, just as Gosalyn was coming in for a landing. Unfortunately, she wasn't paying too much attention to where she was landing, and she was heading in the direct path of Catchum and Leland. However, only Leland noticed.

"Uh oh," he said. "Uhh, Catchum . . . . you might want to move."

"Why?" Catchum asked.

Before Leland could say anything else, Gosalyn came down for a landing, and she smacked right into Catchum. That created somewhat of a domino effect, and Catchum smacked into his bike, and the bike hit Leland. The three of the kids fell to the ground with a loud CRASH! The Get Along Gang raced over to the scene.

"Are you guys okay?" Montgomery asked.

Nobody said anything. Gosalyn and Catchum got up, and looked over their vehicles. Catchum pulled his bike off of his sidekick, and inspected it thoroughly. The reflector was cracked, and the front fender was dented slightly.

"Hey, you wrecked my bike!" he shouted.

"Well, you busted by skateboard!" Gosalyn yelled. The axles of her skateboard was dented, and both front wheels had popped off. The back wheels were bent.

"I think I dented my tail," Leland said, standing up, and he began inspecting his tail.

"Shut up, Leland!" Catchum shouted, smacking Leland in the arm. "This is more important."

Braker came forward, and inspected Gosalyn's skateboard, and Catchum's bicycle. He made some calculations, and turned to the others.

"I'll be able to fix your skateboard easily, Gosalyn," he said. "And I can probably take that dent out of your fender, Catchum, but you might have to get a new reflector."

"Forget it," Catchum said. "I'll fix it myself. Come on, Leland. Let's get out of here."

Catchum climbed on his bike, and pedaled off. Leland shrugged and ran after him. Gosalyn rolled her eyes, and handed her skateboard to Braker.

"What a creep," she said.

"That's the understatement of the year," Woolma replied, as she picked up one of Gosalyn's stray wheels.

The next day, the Gang was sitting at Hoofnagel's. Montgomery was planning something for the meeting that afternoon. He wrote down a few things the notebook he was carrying.

"What are you writing, Montgomery?" Zipper asked.

"Just a speech I'm planning to give," Montgomery replied.

"What kind of speech?" Dotty asked.

"A welcoming speech," Montgomery replied. "I'm thinking of asking Gosalyn to join the gang. We'll talk it over with the others at the meeting today."

The others nodded. They all offered to help Montgomery with his speech. Although they didn't realize that they had an eavesdropper in their midst. Leland had been walking by Hoofnagel's when he saw the Gang inside. He dropped inside to hear what they were talking about, thinking maybe he could help Catchum in his revenge against Gosalyn.

"Boy, wait 'till Catchum hears this!" he shouted, and ran off.

Leland caught up with Catchum on his way to Riverside Park. He was riding his bike. Leland came running towards him.

"Hey, Catchum!" he called out. "Wait up! I've got something to tell you!"

Catchum stopped, and turned towards his sidekick.

"What is it?" he asked.

"The Get Along Gang's going to ask that new girl to join up with them," Leland replied.

"You stopped me from breaking a speed record to tell me that?!" Catchum shouted.

"Well, I thought it would help you with your revenge."

"Well it doesn't. Now scram! I've got a speed record to break."

Catchum started to pedal off, but Leland followed him.

"Good thing nobody in the Get Along Gang is superstitious," he said. "If that new girl joins the gang, she'll be the thirteenth member. Everybody knows thirteen is an unlucky number."

With that, Catchum screeched to a halt, and backed up, running over Leland's tail in the process.

"Yeeeoww!" Leland shouted.

"That's it!" Catchum shouted, excitedly. "I know just how to get even with that new girl!"

"How are you going to do it Catchum?" Leland asked.

"You'll see," Catchum replied, and he started pedaling towards the Clubhouse Caboose, rolling over Leland's tail a second time. "Come on! And hurry up!"

Leland grabbed his tail, and ran after Catchum, trying to avoid having Catchum run over it again. The two of them reached the Clubhouse Caboose. Catchum stashed his bike behind a tree, and climbed up to a branch.

"Leland, come on!" he shouted. "What are you waiting on, Christmas?"

"Uhh, Catchum, you know what happens every time we climb on a tree branch and spy on the Get Along Gang," Leland said, staying right where he was. "It always breaks, and the gang always finds us out."

"It doesn't happen all the time," Catchum said. "Now get up here!"

Leland shrugged, and climbed up along with Catchum, and listened in to the Gang's conversation.

As usual, the gang was all talking at once. Flora was showing Lolly some photos she took of some butterflies she found in the field. Bernice and Portia were helping Woolma with her hair. Rocco was telling Rudyard about the skateboarding tricks Gosalyn was teaching him. Bingo was leafing through a comic book. Zipper was doing push ups. He would have normally been running laps on the table, but Braker and Dotty were trying to fix it. Montgomery was trying to call the meeting to order.

"Gang?" he said. "Come on, you guys! Can I have a little order here?! Come on, you guys!"

Montgomery sighed, took off his shoe, and banged it on the box he was standing behind to get the gang's attention. That usually did the trick. Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at Montgomery.

"Well, I'm glad I finally got your attention," he said. "We have a very important issue to discuss today."

"What's up, Montgomery?" Rocco asked.

"We've been thinking about adding a new member to the gang," Montgomery replied. "I mean, Gosalyn's really great."

"I like the way she handles Catchum," Bingo said.

"Yeah, she's tough," Rocco said. "She doesn't take any lip from anyone."

The others nodded. Montgomery decided to make it official.

"Okay, all in favor of making Gosalyn a member of the Get Along Gang, say aye!" he shouted.

"AYE!" eleven voices rang out from every square inch of the caboose. Catchum and Leland nearly fell out of the tree they were spying from! They climbed down, retrieved Catchum's bike, and headed towards the swamp.

"What do we do now, Catchum?" Leland asked.

"Convince the gang that the new girl is bad luck," Catchum said. "That ought to be a piece of cake!"

"How are you going to do that? Nobody in the gang is superstitious."

"We'll just make them superstitious, that's all."

Leland was about to ask again, but then he decided to just wait and see what Catchum had in mind.

The next day, Gosalyn was teaching Rocco some more skateboard tricks. The Gang had decided not to tell Gosalyn that they wanted her to join the gang just yet. They wanted it to be a surprise. Montgomery was making plans for an "After Induction" party (as he called it) when Catchum came up to him.

"Hey Montgomery," he said. "I heard you were letting a new member into the gang."

"Where did you hear that?" Montgomery asked.

"I have my ways. This will make your thirteenth member, won't it? Well, I hope you know what you're getting into."

"What do you mean?"

"Come on, Montgomery. Everybody knows thirteen is an unlucky number!"

"That's just a silly superstition, Catchum. Nobody actually believes that thirteen is an unlucky number."

"You never know. I'd watch it around that new girl if I were you."

And with that, Catchum walked away. Montgomery rolled his eyes. There was no way in the world he was going to believe that silly superstition. In the meantime, Catchum and Leland walked over to Rocco and Gosalyn, and watched them skateboard for awhile.

"Hey, Rocco, come here," Catchum said.

"What do you want, Catchum?" Rocco asked, skating over.

"Listen, I heard you and the rest of the gang is going to invite that new girl into your gang," Catchum replied. "You do realize she's going to be your thirteenth member, don't you? And you do know that thirteen is an unlucky number, don't you?"

"Nobody believes that! You're crazy, Catchum!"

"Fine. But don't blame me when bad luck starts happening because of her."

Rocco didn't believe it for a second. But what he didn't know was that while Catchum was talking to Rocco, Leland was tampering with his skateboard. He loosened some of the wheels while Catchum was keeping him busy. He dropped it to the ground when he saw Rocco coming back, and he ran off. Rocco picked up his skateboard and walked up to Gosalyn.

"So what was that all about?" Gosalyn asked.

"Nothing, really," Rocco replied. "Just Catchum being Catchum, that's all."

"Oh. Come on, let's go race down the hill."

"You're on!"

Gosalyn and Rocco got on their skateboards and rolled down the hill as fast as they could. As they were rolling, the front wheels of Rocco's skateboard popped off, and Rocco skid into the ground, and rolled down the hill. He stopped rolling when he crashed into a rock. Gosalyn skated down as fast as she could.

"Are you okay?" she asked, helping him up.

"Yeah, I'm okay," Rocco said, shaking his head out to regain his senses. "The wheels just popped off of my skateboard."

"Oh man, that's too bad. We'll go find the wheels and get Braker to put them back on. Man, that's some bad luck, though, huh?"

"Yeah, bad luck."

Rocco picked up his skateboard while Gosalyn started looking for the wheels. He was glad he didn't believe in bad luck. Or else he might have blamed the accident on the gang inviting Gosalyn to be the thirteenth member of the gang, since thirteen was an unlucky number.

A little while later, Gosalyn was in the caboose with Woolma. Woolma was fixing her hair, admiring her new dress, and also trying to talk Gosalyn into a new hairstyle.

"You know, you should try something different," she said.

"Clothes, fashion, and stuff like that isn't my thing," Gosalyn replied, leafing through a comic book.

"Just thought it would be a nice change. You have really nice hair, Gosalyn. I don't think I've ever seen hair that red before."

Gosalyn shrugged, and just continued to flip through her comic book while Woolma admired herself in her mirror, admiring her curls, and her new dress. After awhile, Gosalyn got up to get another comic book. Woolma was still admiring herself when she heard a knock on the wall of the caboose. She leaned out the window and saw Catchum standing there.

"Hiya, Woolma," he said.

"What are you doing here?" Woolma asked.

"Oh nothing much. Just passing through."

"Yeah, sure you are. What are you really doing here, Catchum?"

"Well, I just wanted to see if you experienced any bad luck lately, what with your soon-to-be new member being number thirteen and all."

"I don't believe in silly superstitions. I can't believe you do, Catchum!"

"Well, you don't know these things. Leland actually had an uncle who didn't believe it either. Until he keeled over on Friday the thirteenth."

"Very funny, Catchum."

"Fine. Believe what you want, Woolma. But don't say I didn't warn you."

Catchum walked away. Woolma glared at him, and began checking her curls again. Gosalyn walked over and leaned out the other window.

"What's up?" she asked.

"Oh Catchum's being his usual pain in the neck self again," Woolma replied.

"Doesn't he have anything better to do than bug you guys?"

"Probably not. Come on. Let's go get some ice cream."

"You're speaking my language."

Woolma and Gosalyn left the caboose. As they were walking along, Woolma tripped over something. She flew directly into a mud puddle, splattering her hair and her new dress. Gosalyn ran over and pulled her up.

"Whoa, are you okay?" she asked.

"Oh no!" Woolma shouted. "My dress and my hair! They're ruined!"

"Boy, you're a mess. Better go clean up."

Woolma nodded, and started towards her house to clean up. She started to wonder if Catchum had a point about Gosalyn being the thirteenth member of the Get Along Gang had anything to do with her bad luck of tripping. What she didn't know, it was Catchum who had tripped her, causing her to fall into the mud puddle.

For the couple of days, the Gang had run-ins with bad luck, courtesy of Catchum and Leland. And, to top it all off, Catchum had the gang believing that Gosalyn was the cause of the gang's bad luck, because she was the soon-to-be thirteenth member. Catchum had cornered Bingo outside of Hoofnagel's, ready to rub the gang's "bad luck" in his face.

"How's the bad luck going?" he asked.

"Very funny, Catchum," Bingo said. "There's no such thing as bad luck!"

"I don't know, I've seen you and the rest of the gang lately. There's a lot of that stuff going on over here, you know."

"Just because you think Gosalyn's bad luck because she's the thirteenth member, and thirteen is an unlucky number . . . . ."

"Okay, don't believe me. But you know I'm right, Bingo!"

Bingo walked away, completely ignoring Catchum, although he was starting to think Catchum was right about Gosalyn. Most of the others were thinking that to. In one day, Bernice's brooms snapped in half while she was sweeping the floor of the caboose. Braker had tripped and broken his glasses. Flora had been taking pictures one day when the back of her camera suddenly popped opened, and her film had been exposed. Portia had been riding her tricycle, and ended up with three flat tires. Lolly was bringing some lollipops from her father's sweets factory for the gang, when she bumped into a doorway that suddenly opened while she was walking, and broke every last one of the lollipops she was carrying. Rudyard had been riding his bicycle, and the chain broke. And Gosalyn had been with each member of the gang when that happened. The gang was having a meeting that afternoon. The entire gang brought it up with Montgomery. Only he, Dotty, and Zipper didn't believe this silly superstition.

"Montgomery, we can't invite Gosalyn to join the gang!" Rocco shouted. "She's bad luck!"

"Every time we've been around here, something bad happens," Woolma said.

"You guys are being ridiculous," Montgomery said. "There's no such thing as bad luck."

"Right," Dotty agreed. "Gosalyn wasn't bad luck when we first met her."

"But she is bad luck," Bingo said. "Every time I'm around here, I trip over things!"

"Bingo, you always trip over things!" Zipper shouted.

"Oh yeah," Bingo said, sheepishly.

"But what about all those other times we told you about?" Bernice asked. "Like my brooms. And Flora's exposed film . . . ."

"Rocco's skateboard," Lolly put in. "Portia's tricycle, Rudyard's bike chain . . . ."

"Not to mention my new dress being covered in mud," Woolma said. "Gosalyn was with us when all of those things happened."

"Yeah, explain that, Montgomery!" Rocco shouted.

Montgomery was sort of at a loss for words. He didn't believe in bad luck, or that thirteen was an unlucky number. But the rest of the gang was sure of this, due to circumstantial evidence.

"Maybe we should take a vote on this," Montgomery said. "All those in favor of having Gosalyn join the gang, raise your hand."

Zipper and Dotty raised their hands, as did Montgomery. The others didn't. Montgomery heaved a sigh.

"All opposed of Gosalyn joining the gang, raise your hand," he said.

The others raised their hands. Montgomery sighed again. The vote was nine to three. Montgomery took off his shoe (his make-shift gavel) and raised it into the air.

"Well . . . . I guess then . . . ." he said. "By a nine to three vote, three for Gosalyn becoming a member of the gang, and nine against, I guess . . . ."

Before Montgomery could go on, the door to the caboose opened, and Gosalyn came in. She didn't look to happy with the gang.

"Gosalyn, what are you doing here?" Montgomery asked.

"I heard everything, you guys," Gosalyn said. "First, you want me to join the gang, then you change your mind because you all think thirteen is an unlucky number?! I can't believe you guys believe in bad luck!"

"Only some of us do," Zipper said, giving the gang a Look.

Gosalyn was about to go on about that, when she and the rest of the gang heard snickering coming from outside the caboose.

"What's that?" Woolma asked.

"I have a pretty good idea," Montgomery said. "Come on, gang."

The gang climbed out of the caboose and headed towards the laughter, which was coming from behind a nearby bush. There they found Catchum and Leland, laughing over their dirty trick.

"I can't believe that actually worked," Leland said.

"When are you going to learn, Leland?" Catchum asked. "All my plans work!"

"What about that time when you cheating at the scavenger hunt, and the time you cheated at the rowboat race, and the science fair, and the time you tried to kick the Get Along Gang out of Riverside Park, and the time you trashed the swamp to sell all of that trash, and the time you . . . . ."

"I get the point, Leland!" Catchum shouted, konking Leland on the head. "Sheesh! So I've had some setbacks. But this plan was perfect. It worked didn't it? The gang is all against that new girl, and she's mad at them, and pretty soon, the rest of the gang will be arguing with each other!"

Upon hearing that, Gosalyn jumped out, and glared at the two reptiles, ready to tear them apart.

"You no-good, dirty, rotten, overgrown suitcase!" she yelled.

"I knew you were up to something, Catchum," Montgomery said.

"I bet you were the one who caused all our bad luck!" Bingo shouted.

"Wait'll I get my hands on you!" Gosalyn shouted.

"We'd better get out of here!" Leland shouted, and he took off.

Catchum had the very same idea. He shoved Leland out of the way, jumped on his bicycle, and pedaled off as fast as he could. Gosalyn jumped on her skateboard and chased after him. Bingo ran after both of them.

"Bingo, where are you going?" Zipper asked.

"To catch the massacre," Bingo replied. "I want to see what happens when Gosalyn catches Catchum!"

The rest of the gang groaned, and ran after Bingo. Truth be known, they were all curious to see what was going to happen if Gosalyn caught up with Catchum. Both of them were going pretty fast. But Gosalyn managed to catch up with Catchum, and she blocked him off. Catchum screeched to a halt just as Gosalyn grabbed the handlebars of his bike.

"Going somewhere?" she asked.

"Actually, I was just leaving," Catchum replied.

"I oughta massacre you," Gosalyn said.

"That's the problem with some people in this town. They can't take a joke!"

"Some joke, Catchum," Montgomery said, as he and the others walked over.

"Yeah, what you did was really mean," Portia replied.

"So what?" Catchum asked with a shrug. "No new kid's gonna get the best of me!"

"You think you're hot stuff," Gosalyn said, putting her hands on her hips.

"Well, you're nothing but a show off on that skateboard!" Catchum shouted. "You only got lucky that you caught up with me! I could've out run you in an instant!"

"No way!" Gosalyn shouted. "I can go faster than you! Much faster!"

"Yeah!" Bingo shouted, excitedly. "I'd bet anything that Gosalyn can beat you in a race!"

"BINGO!" the entire gang screamed in unison.

"Uhh, anything, except the clubhouse, that is," Bingo said, quickly.

"Sounds good to me," Gosalyn said. "My skateboard against your bike. If I win, I get your bike."

"I'll go for that," Catchum replied. "And when I win, I get your skateboard!"

"And the loser has to buy the winner all the ice cream sodas they can drink," Bingo said. "For her and her friends!"

"So sure she's gonna win, huh?" Catchum asked. "We'll just see about that!"

"You're on!" Gosalyn shouted. "Tomorrow at noon, we'll start at the caboose, and race around town, and end at the caboose."

"Fine with me," Catchum said, and he, Gosalyn, and Bingo did a three way handshake to seal the deal. "Come on, Leland! We've got a race to prepare for!"

Catchum pedaled off on his bicycle, and Leland ran after him, trying to keep up. They ran into the swamp. Catchum climbed off his bicycle, and walked into his hideout. Leland followed, and began to rummage around. He pulled out an old stopwatch and hung it around his neck while he continued looking around, digging things out of boxes.

"Leland, what are you doing?" Catchum asked, looking at Leland as if he were crazy.

"Helping you prepare for the race tomorrow," Leland replied, pulling out a bicycle pump. "You've got a lot of training to do. You've seen Gosalyn on that skateboard. She's really fast on that thing. Faster than you on your bike. So we'd better get started."

"Hold it, hold it, hold it. There is no need for all this. I'm going to win this race."

"How?"

"How? You ask how?! How I always do everything, you lunkhead!"

"Oh, by cheating."

"Exactly. Now come on! We've got some preparations to make!"

Catchum began rummaging through boxes, and pulling things out of them. Leland began looking through the boxes as well. They pulled out a couple of shovels, and an oil can.

"This ought to do it," Catchum said. "Come on, Leland. Let's get to work."

That night, Catchum and Leland went around town, looking for a good spot to put Catchum's plan into action. He and Leland found a spot in between Hoofnagel's, and the park. They poured oil around the area. Then, they walked further into the park, and used the shovels to dig a hole in the ground. Then they covered it with leaves and branches. It wasn't a very deep hole, just deep enough for a skateboard to get stuck in, and fling it's rider off.

"Okay, there's one more thing to do," Catchum said. "Then we'll be ready for the race. I'm a cinch to win tomorrow."

"What do we have to do?" Leland asked.

"Come with me."

Leland followed Catchum to Gosalyn's house, and looked around for Gosalyn's skateboard. They found it outside on the porch (Gosalyn rarely put her toys where they belonged). Catchum picked it up, and looked at it.

"This is a nice skateboard," he said. "I can't wait to try it out."

"You're not going to steal it, are you?" Leland asked.

"I should, but I won't. We're just going to fix it up a little. Hand me the wrench."

Leland handed Catchum a wrench. Catchum immediately loosened some of the bolts on the skateboard. Then he put it down, and laughed.

"The minute she goes fast enough, those wheels will fly off," he said. "Come on, Leland. Let's get out of here before someone sees us."

Catchum jumped on his bike, and pedaled off. Leland ran after him.

"One of these days, I'm going to have to get a bicycle," he said. "Then maybe I'll be able to keep up with Catchum."

At noon on the dot the next day, Catchum and Leland arrived at the caboose. The Get Along Gang was there, with Gosalyn. She was strapping on her helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads.

"Ready to lose the race?" she asked.

"Funny, I was just about to ask you the same thing," Catchum said. "Heh, heh."

"Okay, you guys, are you ready to start?" Montgomery asked, holding a checkered flag.

"Ready," both Gosalyn and Catchum said in unison.

"Good luck, Gosalyn," Braker said.

"Yeah, she's gonna need it!" Catchum shouted. The others ignored him. Montgomery held up the flag.

"On your mark, get set, go!" he shouted, waving the flag down.

Gosalyn and Catchum took off down the race course. The gang began jumping up and down cheering as loudly as they possibly could. Braker was watching the action from on top of the caboose, using a pair of binoculars.

"Who's in the lead, Braker?" Montgomery asked.

"It's hard to tell," Braker replied. "They're pretty close."

"I hope Gosalyn wins the race," Portia said, excitedly.

The rest of the gang hoped so, too. Gosalyn gave herself a big push off with her foot, and sailed into the lead. Catchum began pedaling faster. He wasn't about to lose this race to a girl! They were nearing Hoofnagel's, almost neck and neck. They were nearing the oil spot. Catchum swerved to avoid it. Gosalyn didn't even notice it. She was too intent on winning the race. As she approached the oil slick, she pushed her foot against the ground to give herself a push off, but ended up coming in direct contact with the oil. Her skateboard skidded on the oil, and she spun out of control.

"Uh oh," Braker said. "Gosalyn just wiped out. Catchum pulled ahead."

"Come on, you guys!" Dotty shouted. "We have to help Gosalyn!"

"We can't help her win, Dotty," Montgomery said. "That wouldn't be fair."

"Montgomery, we're talking about a race against Catchum Crocodile," Rocco said. "Since when does he play fair?"

"Besides, I just meant that we go see if she's okay," Dotty said.

Montgomery nodded, and he, Zipper, Bingo, Dotty, Woolma, and Portia ran off towards Hoofnagel's. Gosalyn was just getting up, wiping the oil off her wheels.

"Need a hand?" Zipper asked.

"What are you guys doing here?" Gosalyn asked.

"We're your pit crew," Portia replied.

Together, Gosalyn and the gang cleaned the oil off her skateboard, and she was off again. The gang went back to the clubhouse to check out the action.

While Gosalyn had made a pit stop, Catchum had pulled into the lead. He looked behind him to see if Gosalyn was anywhere close behind him, and to his complete surprise, Gosalyn was coming up behind him at an extremely fast pace. Catchum pedaled faster, but he wasn't worried. He knew Gosalyn's wheels would be popping off that skateboard soon. She was going so fast, and her wheels were beginning to wobble. Gosalyn didn't notice, not until one of the front wheels popped off, and then a back one fell off. The skateboard skidded against the ground, and she tumbled to the ground. Catchum stopped long enough to look back and smirk, and then pedaled off again. Gosalyn stifled the urge to pick up a rock and hurl it at Catchum. She gathered the two wheels, and started to stick them back on her skateboard, but she had a problem with that. She didn't have the right tools for the job. Luckily, Braker had seen the whole thing through the binoculars.

"The wheels just came off Gosalyn's skateboard!" he shouted.

"Oh disaster!" Woolma yelled. "Catchum is sure to win now!"

"Not unless we get out there and be Gosalyn's pit crew again," Zipper said.

"Let's roll, gang!" Montgomery shouted, putting on his roller skates. The others grabbed their own wheels and got going. Before Zipper went, he grabbed Braker's tool box. Then he jumped on his own skateboard and rolled off after the others.

"We'll have that skateboard fixed in no time, Gosalyn," Montgomery said, as he and the others rolled up.

"We'd better hurry," Dotty said. "Or else Catchum is going to win the race!"

"He's already so far ahead," Portia said.

"Don't worry about that," Gosalyn said. "Once we get my skateboard fixed, I'll be able to catch up with Catchum."

Montgomery held the wheels in place while Zipper put them back on, using a wrench. Dotty oiled them (only slightly, though). Gosalyn adjusted her helmet and pads, jumped on her skateboard, and was off once again.

"Thanks, guys!" she called to the gang as she sped off.

The gang waved, and went back to the caboose.

Meanwhile, Catchum slowed down a little. He was sure that Gosalyn was out of the race completely now, since the wheels had come off the skateboard. He figured he could slow down a little, and still win the race. He stopped for a minute, and glanced over his shoulder, and to his complete surprise, Gosalyn was coming up behind him.

"What?!" he shouted. "How'd she . . . ."

"It's amazing what you can do with the right pit crew," Gosalyn said. "See you at the finish line, slowpoke!"

"We'll just see about that!"

Catchum began pedaling at top speed. He was determined to win this race. He caught up to Gosalyn in a short time, and the two of them were neck and neck as they rounded the corner to the caboose. The others were jumping up and down, practically screaming their heads off.

"Come on, Gosalyn!" Portia cheered.

"It's hard to tell who’s going to win," Braker said. "They're practically neck and neck."

Catchum began pedaling as hard as he possibly could. He managed to pull far ahead of Gosalyn. It looked like he was about to win the race, until Leland remembered something. The hole! And Catchum was heading right for it. Catchum was so intent on winning the race, he had completely forgotten about the hole entirely. Leland began jumping up and down, yelling, trying to get Catchum's attention.

"Catchum! Catchum!" he yelled. "Watch out for the hole!"

Catchum couldn't hear his sidekick. He was too far away, and the Get Along Gang's cheering was too loud. Leland noticed, and jumped around some more, yelling louder.

"CATCHUM! WATCH OUT FOR THE HOLE!!!"

Catchum still couldn't hear Leland. Gosalyn was beginning to pull up closer, and Catchum was doing his best to stay ahead. Leland couldn't take it. He took a deep breath, and screamed at the top of his lungs.

"CATCHUM! WATCH OUT FOR THE . . . ."

Unfortunately, it was too late. Just as Catchum realized Leland was trying to get his attention, he drove his bike directly into the hole, and was flung from it.

"Hole," Leland groaned, finishing his sentence.

"Whooooaaaa!" Catchum shouted, as he flew through the air, and landed directly into a thorn bush. Immediately, he was airborne again.

"YEEEEOOOOWWWW!" he yelled, shooting straight into the air.

Gosalyn stopped long enough to watch Catchum, and then sped off again. Catchum landed, and raced to his bike to get back in the race. Unfortunately, the front wheel was smashed, due to the collision with the hole, so he had trouble keeping it under control as he pedaled. But by then, it was too late, Gosalyn crossed the finish line. The gang started cheering loudly just then. Catchum finally crossed the finish line, and groaned.

"I lost," he groaned. "I lost bad. I lost to a girl!"

"I tried to warn you, Catchum," Leland said, shrugging.

Catchum glared at his sidekick, and smacked him in the arm as hard as he could. A few minutes later, the entire Get Along Gang, Gosalyn, Catchum, and Leland were at Hoofnagel's, celebrating. Well the gang and Gosalyn were celebrating. Catchum was grousing. The entire gang was drinking one ice cream soda after another.

"How much money do you have on you, Leland?" Catchum asked.

"I think I might have to ask for an increase in my allowance," Leland said, glancing at the gang's collection of empty ice cream soda glasses.

"Well, who's going to pay for all these ice cream sodas?" Mr. Hoofnagel asked, serving another round to Gosalyn and the gang.

"They are," Gosalyn said, indicating Catchum and Leland, and giving Catchum a smug look while he was at it.

Mr. Hoofnagel handed Catchum and Leland the tab, and the two of them nearly dropped dead on the floor!

"No way," Catchum said. "No way in the world can it be this much!"

"Besides, we don't have any money," Leland said.

"No money, eh?" Mr. Hoofnagel asked. "Well, I'm sure we can work out something."

Catchum and Leland looked at each other. The next thing they knew, they were in the kitchen of Hoofnagel's Ice Cream Emporium, washing, bowls, glasses, and spoons, in order to pay their bill.

"Here's another fine mess you've gotten me into, Leland," Catchum groaned.

"Well," Leland replied. "Maybe next time you shouldn't cheat."

"Leland, shut up!"

With that, Catchum whapped Leland in the face with the wet dishcloth, and continued washing out the dishes.

Elsewhere, the Get Along Gang went back to the Clubhouse Caboose. Gosalyn went with them.

"We're sorry we thought you were bad luck, Gosalyn," Woolma said. "We should learn never to listen to Catchum."

"That's cool," Gosalyn said, shrugging. "No big deal. We've got a new bike out of the deal, anyway."

"Yeah, too bad Catchum had to wreck it when he hit that hole," Bingo said. Everyone laughed over that.

"Well, with that said and done," Montgomery said, taking off his shoe, for a moment. "As the unofficial leader of the Get Along Gang, by a unanimous vote, I'd like to take this opportunity to induct Gosalyn Mallard into the Get Along Gang."

"Yaaaayyyyy!" the rest of the gang cheered.

Gosalyn smiled. She had a feeling she was going to feel right at home in Green Meadow after all.

 

The End