'No! No! Kissletoe!'

"I called you guys over here today because Neil told me something he overheard," said Nate. "Tell 'em, Neil."

"Tomorrow, on Valentine's Day, Melissa is going to bring to class some ?" and Neil spit out the word "? kissletoe!"

"Kissletoe?" asked Mark. "What's that?"

"Kissletoe is like mistletoe, but it's for Valentine's Day instead of Christmas. If you catch someone under kissletoe, you're supposed to kiss them!"

"Yeeeccchh!!" Every one of the 12 boys gagged.

"Those girls will use any excuse to kiss us. What can we do?" asked Mark.

"Call a strike," said Jed. "We just won't go to school tomorrow!"

"I tried to call a strike once," said Alec. "Now my mom says I've got to go to school every single day till I graduate from medical school, no matter what!"

" know what we can do," said Nate. "We can wear Halloween masks and scare the girls so bad they won't want to kiss us."

"Some of those girls will kiss anything. I saw Ella kissing her banged up knee once," said Chris.

"Well, I'm going to wear my scuba diving mask," said Mark. "No one can kiss me through that!"

"Good idea. I'll wear my football helmet and pads."

"I'll wear my goalie mask and bring my stick!"

"Where will she put the kissletoe?" asked Nate.

"Melissa will probably have it hanging from the ceiling like they do mistletoe," said Neil.

"Well, I can lasso it down," said Juan. "I'll bring my rope tomorrow."

"That should do it. Juan's good at roping things," said Nate. The boys all breathed a sigh of relief and waited for school the next day.

"Happy Valentine's Day!" said Mr. O'Connor as he greeted everyone as he opened the door to the classroom.

All the boys, who had met before class, were so terrified by what they saw, they didn't want to go in.

"Look, there are kissletoes hanging everywhere!" said Luke.

"Over every single desk!" yelled Alec.

"I can't lasso all of those!" yelled Juan.

"I'm not going in there!" yelled Jed and Ralphie, and they turned around and ran away.

"Boys! Boys!" yelled Mr. O'Connor after them. "Why can't you boys come inside?!"

"Because of those kissletoe!" said Nate. "They're like mistletoe! Any boy who is caught under kissletoe will get kissed by a girl on Valentine's Day!"

"Yeeeeccchh!" said all the girls in the room, including Melissa.

"But you brought them, Melissa," said Mark.

"No!" said Melissa. "I brought my grandma's favorite recipe, 'Kissable Donuts' for Valentine's Day!"

"Oh,? whispered Neil. ?Kissledos."

"So what's that hanging?" asked Juan.

"Those are origami cranes," said Mr. O'Connor.

"What?s origami?" asked Neil.

"It is the Japanese art of folding paper into shapes ? like flowers or birds. I hung theses origami cranes. I figured I would teach you how to make origami that you can exchange for Valentine's Day."

"The one over my desk looks neat!" said Nate. "How did you make it?"

"I'd like to learn, too," said Neil. "While I'm having one of those yummy donuts."

"These donuts are for girls only," said Melissa.

"Nah, that's not right," said Mr. O'Connor. "Valentine's Day is all about friendships. Let's all share a Happy Valentine's Day!"

And they did.

Special thanks to the author for her illustration.

Monday, Feb. 14 is Valentine's Day.

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