His eyes light up. "You want dance with me? My dancing better than my English."

I peer around him and take a peek at Avi, who is still dancing with his blond bimbo. Grabbing the guy's hand, I lead him to the middle of the dance floor.

I've taken classes at Julie's Dance Studio since I was four years old, so I'm not afraid to let loose. Listen, I wouldn't choose this guy to dance with, but at this point I can't be picky.

As I listen to the music, I pretend I'm dancing with my boyfriend. When the guy puts his hands around my waist, I want to think it's Mitch's hands holding me against him.

I close my eyes. The only problem is that in my imagination they're not Mitch's hands. They're Avis. The guy I hate is haunting pure thoughts of me and my boyfriend.

Wait a minute. I think the guy I'm dancing with is feeling my back as if he's trying to locate the clasp on my bra. I open my eyes and whip around to face the perv. Lucky for me my bra fastens in the front.

I stop dancing. The perv leans forward to talk to me-- it's too loud to hear unless the person is screaming in your ear. I think he's about to apologize, until I feel this slimy wet thing trying to climb into my ear canal.

What the hell is that?

When I realize Uncool Guy is trying to turn me on by sliding his Gene Simmons tongue around my ear and trying to shove it down my ear canal, I shriek and push him back. Anything to get his tongue as far away from my ear as possible.

Unfortunately, I've pushed him into some other people who were dancing. They're not too happy with me or the licker and push him back. This starts more pushing, and soon the place is out of control.

Oh, crap.

I'm lost in the crowd, unable to move because the crowd has turned into a mob. When someone grabs my hand and leads me out, I'm grateful.

Until I recognize Avis bracelet attached to that hand.

I stumble outside with Avi and the rest of the mob. They've cleared out the club. When I see a police car with its lights flashing, I panic. Because someone over by the police car is talking to the soldiers and policemen while pointing at me.

"Shit. Amy, don't say anything," Avi says. "Let me talk."

When the soldiers and policeman come up to us, I zip my mouth shut.

"Mah aseet," the soldier says.

When Avi starts to talk, the guy puts up a hand and points to me.

I wanted to keep my mouth shut, I really did. My intentions were to stand here and stay silent. "I speak English," I blurt out.

"Did you start pushing people on the dance floor?" the soldier guy asks gruffly.

"Only because of the ear licker. I mean, at first he tried to feel me up but then, well, I thought he was going to apologize. Instead, my ear starts getting slimy and I realize he's not apologizing, he's giving my ear a tongue bath."

I know I'm rambling. I'm scared, and I know I deserve to be punished for causing a whole club to clear out because of me. A cold knot is forming in my stomach and I clutch Avi's hand.

Then, suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of the guy with the tongue. "There he is!" I yell.

The licker just backs up and disappears behind a car.

The soldier barks out orders at Avi and storms off.

"What did he say?"

"To take you home now or else he'll arrest you. Come on," he says.

"Do you have a Q-tip?" I ask him.


Duh! "So I can wipe that guy's germs out of my ear. I bet I already have an ear infection because of that dude."

He's walking so fast I can hardly keep up with him.

"You don't blame me for what happened back there, do you?"

When we reach Avi's car, he turns to me. "You were turning that guy on with your dancing. What did you expect?"

I meet his accusing eyes without flinching. "He knew I was American. Maybe Israelis like wet tongues in their ear, but in America--"

"He knew you were American?"

"Yeah. I told him when he bought me the beer."

"Beer? You were drinking alcohol with that guy? No wonder he thought you were easy."

"For your information, I am not easy."

"American girls have a reputation around here."

"Stop using me as proof of your stereotypes, Avi. It's not fair. Besides, you were shakin' it plenty tonight. You're just jealous because your blond bimbo didn't want to suck y our ear off."

Snotty and friends are walking toward us. I cross my arms in front of my chest, waiting for them so we can go home.

"Someone started a fight inside the disco," Ofra says to me, offering her explanation of the commotion.

I bite my tongue and keep silent, but Avi glances sideways at me.

"You," Snotty says. "You started it, didn't you? I should have guessed. You can't do anything right."

"Leave her alone," Doo-Doo says. I want to kiss him right now for sticking up for me.

Feeling like I have support, I say to Snotty defiantly, "I can do anything you can do." And then, because adrenaline is flowing through my body I add, "And I can do it better."

The look on her face is priceless. She's thinking. I can almost hear her rusty, unused brain creaking as it's working. "Shear a sheep," she blurts out. "Tomorrow morning."

"No problem," I say with confidence, even though on the inside I'm shuddering at the thought of holding down a poor, defenseless sheep while I cut his fur off until he's naked.

But I'll do it, just to prove to everyone I don't screw everything up.

I just hope I don't make a fool out of myself.


can do anything you can do, and I can do it better. I think.

Just call me Amy the Sheep Shearer. That's what I've been trying to convince myself of all morning. After I found the note that Snotty wants to meet me after breakfast for our little challenge, that is.

Unfortunately, last night was not a nightmare. I really and truly challenged Snotty, and I hadn't even had any of that beer I was accused of consuming. Okay, I realize I'm the stupid one here, but I'm still determined to prove to her that I do not screw everything up.

I dress in jeans and a long-sleeve T-shirt for full protection. I don't have any protective goggles, so I put on my Coach sunglasses. Walking outside, I see Mutt bouncing toward me.

"You find my sandal yet?"

To answer me, he rolls onto his back. His tongue is hanging out of his mouth like a beggar.

"Don't grovel," I say. "It's not attractive."

I pick the mutt up and carry him with me. He might prove useful when I'm trying to corner the sheep. "Okay," I say. "Let's get a game plan. You make me look good, and I'll forget the sandal incident. Okay?"

Mutt's answer is a big fart.

This is not going to be my day.

When I reach the sheep pens, Ofra is the first person I see.

"You don't have to do this," she says.

Oh, yes I do. For me. For Mutt. For Americans all over the globe. Ofra's lack of confidence in me just furthers my resolve.

"That's okay. I want to do it," I assure her.

Doo-Doo comes over to me and gives me pointers. "Hold him down. Keep your eye on him. Don't drop the razor on your toe."

He's like a boxing coach, and in the ring is my opponent.

They've placed one sheep in the pen, along with a large razor hanging from the ceiling. Doo-Doo helps me strap the razor to my hand.

I survey my surroundings. Snotty is sitting on top of a railing with O'dead at her side. Ofra and Doo-Doo, my supporters, are beside me.

Avi is nowhere in sight. I'm surprised he didn't come to watch me get eaten alive by a sheep.

In the opposite pen is another sheep. Snotty's. I swear, it looks a lot smaller than mine.

Taking a deep breath, I enter the pen with the unsuspecting animal. He's even bigger than I thought. You'd think Snotty would have enough compassion to give me a lamb like the one in the nursery rhyme, but no.

This is definitely not Mary's little lamb. And its fleece is as dirty as Mutt's, not white as snow.

Snotty enters the other pen. She jumps right in, like she does this every day. Then she turns to me. "You're really going to go through with it?"

"Hell, yeah." I once saw a bumper sticker that showed a picture of an American flag and the caption below These Colors Don't Run. I'm not about to chicken out. Even though I really, really want to.

"Okay," she says, pure disbelief on her face. "On the count of three we'll start. Whoever finishes first, wins."

"Fair enough."

"One. Two. Three."

I put Mutt down and whisper, "Go do your thing."

Immediately, Mutt starts barking and the sheep scurries into the corner. I turn on the razor and head toward the menacing animal.

Until it looks at me with those big, gray eyes. I keep thinking that Ron told me it's too hot for them with their hair all bushy. I understand and sympathize. Okay, I'm trying to convince myself that I understand and sympathize.

It's not working.

I look down at Mutt, who's staring at me as if saying, Do it! He's right. There's no chickening out now. I have to face my fears and just do it. I hold up the razor like a sword and head into battle.

Except the stupid sheep runs away in fear. When it passes me, I hold out the razor like an idiot. Now the thing has a bald stripe down its back.

I try not to listen to or look at the progress in the other pen. I'm trying to concentrate solely on my mission. Mutt is barking up a storm, making the sheep nervous.

"Wrestle him to the ground and hold him there," I hear from my cheering section.

Should I break the news that I never had a brother to teach me to wrestle? Or a sister, for that matter.

"Mutt, you got to help me here."

Mutt is a great sheep herder. I realize this when the animal tries to move. Mutt expertly heads him off and gets him in the corner again.

With a swift move, I hold my weight against the wooly creature and start shearing. There's no rhyme or reason to it, I'm just so happy when the dirty, wooly fur starts flying off.

I hear lots of laughing, some cheering and various directions from Doo-Doo. I don't stop, I'm like a sheep shearing nut gone wild.

I step back and look at the poor animal. Okay, so I haven't done such a hot job. He has a Mohawk hairdo and his body looks like it's a road map. But I did it and I feel victorious.

Until I hear Ron's voice yell, "What the hell is going on here?"

Chapter 17

This roller coaster called life is making me dizzy.

"Amy, we need to talk."

I hate when parents think they can sit down and tell you what you've been doing wrong while they expect you to sit quiet and nod like a bobblehead figurine.

"What do you want?"

Right now I'm sitting outside the house petting Mutt. I'm proud of him, he's a great sheep herder. I can hear Uncle Chime yelling at Snotty inside the house. He didn't look too happy when Ron explained our little competition.

"I want to know what's going on with you," Ron says, sitting next to me.

"Nothing," I say.

He places one of his hands on my forearm. "Believe it or not, I want you to be happy. You don't have to shear sheep to prove anything to me."

I shrug his hand off me.

"If you want me to be happy, give me a ticket home right now. I don't belong here," I say. Then I add, "and I don't belong with you."