The Wizzle War
From the book:
a corner table in the dining hall, Bruno Walton was holding a council
"All right, you guys, who knows anything about this dress code?"
"Well," began studious Elmer Drimsdale, "starting tomorrow morning with the opening assembly, everyone must wear a jacket and tie for all school functions, including classes and meals --"
"Yeah, yeah, we all know that," said Bruno impatiently. "What I want to know is why The Fish would do this to us! We've never had a dress code here before. And it's not as though any of us ever go around dressed in real rags. What's going on?"
"I don't know if this has anything to do with it," put in Larry Wilson, who was Mr. Sturgeon's office messenger, "but I checked in at the office half an hour ago and they've got a Magnetronic computer installed in there. A big one."
"Yes," said Elmer, his eyes lighting up behind his thick glasses. "A 515, the latest model of the Magnetronic line. An improvement on their 415, it's one of the most modern computers available to an institution like Macdonald Hall. We're very fortunate to have such a machine."
"No, that can't be it," said Bruno with characteristic single-mindedness. "A computer wouldn't care what we wear. Haven't you guys heard anything at all about the dress code?"
"Maybe they'll explain it at the assembly tomorrow morning," suggested Mark Davies, the editor of the school newspaper.
"But we'll be in our ties by then!" protested Bruno. "I want to knock this thing off before it gets started!"
"I don't understand what all the fuss is about," said Elmer, who habitually sported a white shirt and neat black tie. "There's nothing wrong with wearing a tie. "
"It's uncomfortable," complained Chris Talbot.
"And you can't eat," added Wilbur, lifting his head out of the huge casserole he was tackling.
"I can't move in a tie!" put in Sidney Rampulsky.
"That's good," grinned Boots. "That's a plus. If Sidney can't move, he won't be falling down and breaking things."
"Aw, lay off!" Sidney gestured in annoyance and accidentally thrust his hand into the hot mashed potatoes. "Ow!"
A roar of laughter rocked the dining hall.
Bruno stood up and pounded the table. "How can you laugh when our world is crumbling around us? The sanctity of Macdonald Hall is being threatened! You guys don't seem to realize the seriousness of this situation! Tomorrow morning you'll have to put your necks in a noose! Now, as chairman of the Anti-DressCode Committee, I'm going to lead the delegation to The Fish's house tonight. Who's coming with me?"
There was dead silence, broken only by the sound of Wilbur slurping at his dinner.
"Come on!" groaned Bruno, annoyed. "You can't expect Boots and me to go alone!"
"Me? Why me?" squealed Boots. "I didn't volunteer for anything!"
"You're vice-chairman of the committee," explained Bruno. "You have to go. Come on, I need some volunteers. Wilbur, Elmer, Sidney, Chris, Larry, Mark -- there, that's enough. That should do it."
"I don't want to go," said Sidney plaintively.
"It's all arranged," said Bruno. "We'll go right after dinner and settle this once and for all."
"Bruno, you're crazy!" Boots exploded. "Do you really think that if you walk up to The Fish and tell him you don't like wearing a tie, he'll just say, 'Oh, well, then the dress code is off'?"
"Maybe. Come on, eat up. We've got to get going on this."
Copyright © 1980 Gordon korman, used by permission
Bruno Walton has declared war. Macdonald Hall has a new administrative assistant who is determined to bring the aging school up to date. Bruno doesn't like Mr. Wizzle, he isn't fond of Wizzle's Magnetronic 515 computer, and he utterly detests Wizzle's new jacket-and-tie dress code. But when he is the first to start collecting Wizzle's demerits, and is the first to be assigned to write lines (Boy, that Mr. Wizzle sure is up-to-date), the kid gloves are off!
Unfortunately, Bruno may have to work alone. After their first brush with Wizzle's authority, most of his friends (even Boots) have decided the only way to deal with Wizzle is to toe the line. Even Scrimmage's seems to be out-of-bounds, since the arrival of its own new assistant, Miss Gloria Peabody, a former marine who is dedicated to the idea of teaching war games in a girls' finishing school.
But when Wizzle takes Wilbur's food from him, confiscates Elmer's experiments, bans Chris from the school newspaper and makes Sidney "Butterfingers" Rampulsky start taking ballet lessons at Scrimmage's, one by one the boys return to Bruno's side, and soon Bruno will have the entire school organized around the not-so-simple goal of evicting Wizzle from the school. Cathy and Diane are embarked on the same task at Scrimmage's, and both schools' regular instructors and staff are caught in the middle of a war zone.
In this book, I believe we've got the first appearance of the name G. Gavin Gunhold, a fictitious student Bruno decides to program into Wizzle's computer, as a practical joke on the administrator. The name would show up in some context in almost every book Korman writes from here on out. According to Gordon, further mention of Gunhold was added for the amusement of his fans, a chance to say there's that name again. I wonder what it means?