Fourteen-year-old Scott Mitchell was a tall, awkward boy with blond, slightly wavy hair and golf course green eyes. Today, like every other day, Scott walked home from school with his next door neighbor and pal, ten-year-old Jimmy Floyd Morristein.  (Don’t worry you won’t be tested on his name since everyone who calls him anything just calls him 002—pronounced Double-Oh-Two.)

It had been an average day. Scott struggled to stay interested and awake…while somehow, Jimmy managed to love every minute of it.

“Well another day, another swift kick in the head,” said Scott.

“Yeah, I’ll say,” said Jimmy (002). He quickly followed with, “Wait, no. It was a great day. I didn’t end up in a garbage can and I learned something new in every class. It was a very great day. Why it very well may have been the best day of my life. High five to myself.” 002 jumped up and clapped his hands over his head.

“Ah, Jimmy if only I could grasp the thrill of learning like you do. I mean, like so what that a spider’s butt is called an abdomen. A butt is a butt by any other name.”

“Wait Scott. Look at that, you learned something today. Everyone thought you were asleep, but you were learning. Abdomen.”

          “Abdomen. Oh my,” replied Scott, “I guess I did.”

“Maybe you didn’t mean to and maybe you didn’t want to, but now you know something that will stick with you for the rest of your life.”

“Maybe you’re right, a spider’s butt . . .”

“Abdomen.”

“Yeah abdomen. A spider’s abdomen has changed my entire view. Wait, it’s more. It has changed my heart and has given me a whole new love for school.”

“Scott, you’re weird.”

“I know. I’ll see you tomorrow,” said Scott as he cut across the lawn and headed towards his house.

“Yeah, see you, then,” said Jimmy as he walked towards his home, three houses away.

Scott walked up the stairs of his porch, opened his front door and yelled, “Hey, Mom, I'm home!” Which actually means, “Mom, I missed you, I’m glad to be back and I need some sort of acknowledgment that you’re here and still love me.” This he had done and said nearly every day of his life when he came home from school. “Hey, Mom, I’m home!”

“You went off to school and forgot to feed your rabbit. I'm sure it's starving!” was her answer from another room. This was his mother's way of saying, “I love you, too, but you have got to be more responsible. Now go feed your rabbit.” (I’m sorry for having to translate some of these common Earth phrases, but this book you are holding happens to be one of the most widely read works throughout the universe. Many cultures on many planets would not completely understand these simple phrases—not to mention mothers and boys sometimes don’t really understand either)—however, in order to expedite this story, I will try to avoid translations where the statements aren’t dramatically changed from their spoken meaning.

          “No Mom, I’m sure I fed him before I left.” Which is a boy’s way of saying exactly that. Scott went to the refrigerator and took out a carrot, which was also something he had done nearly every day. Crazy? Yes, but Scott liked carrots.

          “It didn't have any food or water when I went out there,” his mother called from another room.

          “He must have knocked over the bowls. I'll get him some more.”

          Scott took another bite of the carrot and headed out the door. He went to a bag of Faulty's Scientific Rabbit Chow, took from it a cupful of green pellets speckled with pink dots and walked to the rabbit’s cage. In the cage was a rabbit—not just any rabbit, but a big-fluffy, black and white rabbit with one black ear, one white ear and pink eyes. All right, it was a lot like any other rabbit, except this rabbit had once won a red ribbon in the county fair.

Not only was this an award-winning rabbit, the rabbit was named after Scott's favorite grandfather (the one on his mother’s side): Jumpy. No one really had an explanation why Grandpa Jumpy was called Grandpa Jumpy, except that maybe it was because of a nervous condition he had. That was his name and Scott named his rabbit after him and loved his rabbit enough to feed it Faulty's Scientific Rabbit Chow, which was “guaranteed to make a rabbit jump higher, run faster and always have a sparkle in its eye.”

          “Hey, Jumpy, don't eat your food so fast. Try to make it last for the whole day,” Scott said as he scratched the rabbit behind the ears. “If you’ll space it out, then I won’t have to come out here to feed you twice a day—and maybe my mom would mellow out.”

          The rabbit just stared at him. Scott petted the rabbit’s head.

          “You're still a good rabbit.” Scott poured the pellets into a bowl and walked away. He returned with the garden hose and filled up the water dish. Scott took two more bites of his carrot and gave the rest to Jumpy.

          Jumpy nibbled at the carrot.

          Now, you probably believe this is where this amazing and mesmerizing story started, but it isn't. The story actually started many light years away from Scott and his hungry rabbit. You see, many light years away, there is a planet of beings called Verblockians.

          Verblockians are more advanced than Earthlings in nearly every way. The Verblockians have spaceships that can fly so fast that they can actually arrive at destinations hours before they leave. They have buildings with no mounted foundations, which just hover in the air. Instead of vacuuming the carpets, they simply turn the buildings upside down, shake them hard, then turn the buildings on their sides and pour all the dirt out the windows. It only takes one person thirty- minutes to clean an average two-hundred story building.

          For breakfast, the highly advanced Verblockians eat one small green pill a month, for lunch they eat one small blue pill every other month and for dinner they have pizza and ice-cream with chocolate toppings—or whatever else they could possibly want. This they eat every night. Yes indeed, Verblockians truly have an advanced civilization in every single way—every single way, that is, but one: their language.

          Verblockianese, to us on Earth, wouldn’t seem advanced at all. You see, their verbal communication is achieved by sticking their tongue out, closing their lips around it and blowing air from their mouth. To the untrained ear, their words sound like an Earthling giving another Earthling a “Raspberry”. Now that I mention it, even to the trained ear it sounds exactly like that, too.

          When speaking Verblockianese correctly, one must, as they say on Verblock, “Let the spit fly.” Of course, on Earth, if we spit when we talk, it's embarrassing. Also on Earth, when you or I make the Verblockian sounds in our speech, or in any other way, we should always say, “Excuse me” or promptly blame someone else. But again, that same sound on Verblock, in a restaurant, will promptly cause the waiter to bring out a pizza and a large bowl of ice cream with chocolate topping.

          I may sound somewhat critical of this language, but I don’t mean to be. You must realize that this method of communication has served them well for centuries. Many wonderful and powerful speeches that inspired the Verblockians to greatness were delivered in this language. Of course, after such a speech, the speaker would always have to change his shirt because of the amount of slobber on it.

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: On Earth we sometimes call someone who talks a lot “long-winded”. In Verblockianese they refer to someone who talks a lot as being “Pllbbpbppblbl,” which, roughly translated, means “well-spitted,” a very high and well-received compliment.)

          Yes, this language had served them well—until they met representatives of the planet Sleesloock (pronounced with a major lisp). The Sleesloockians had perfected donuts and wanted to open up trade with the Verblockians, so a trade meeting was arranged. The Sleesloocks, who brought cases and cases and cases of their perfect donuts, were greeted by the Verblocks in their raspberry-blowing language. The Sleesloocks were offended. On planet Sleesloock, the second most offensive thing one could do is to give a Sleesloockian a raspberry. (The most offensive thing to do is to throw dog droppings in his hair. Much ruder. But still, a raspberry is extremely rude.)

          Sleesloockianese was equally offensive to the Verblocks, for Sleesloocks do not use a verbal language at all (since they have no vocal cords), but instead communicate totally by wiggling their fingers while placing their thumbs onto different areas of their body, like ears, noses, chins, cheeks, foreheads, elbows and (for special emphasis) rear ends. Every single word in their language happened to be a very rude gesture to a Verblockian.

          The donut negotiation lasted three days. The Verblocks stood on one side of the crates of perfect donuts and presented their best, most dignified and respectable raspberries. While on the other side of the donuts, the Sleesloocks were silent, with their thumbs planted on various areas of their anatomies while they wiggled their fingers. When the negotiations were over, the           Verblockians not only didn’t get any donuts, but found they were at war and had dog doodies in their hair.

As you may have already guessed, this war is widely known throughout the Universe as the Great Donut War.