The Birds is the sixth chapter of Stranger in a Strange School. It introduces Basil Hagen's fear of birds.


The next morning, when Basil walked into school he was greeted by Lee and Tina. Basil gave them a look of disinterest and walked past them to his locker.

"What? No good morning?" Lee expected at least a 'hello'. "I know you tipped off Barrage and the cleaners so how about you tell me why?"

"Why should I tell you anything?" Basil worked at his lock, not turning to look at Lee. "Either you are a prankster or you're not, so what if I felt guilty about tipping you off?" Lee glared at Basil he still didn't turn to look at him. "The way I see it, since all of you think of me as freak the best I can do is suck up to the Principal, Vice Principal and Cleaners to ensure no mishaps on my part."

"Suck up?" Tina's voice cut deep into Basil. He cringed when she spoke. "You're sucking up to a man who has spy photos of the previous principal."

"Okay, that makes him crazier." Lee could only wonder about what Tina was talking about. "Oh, and you realize you're sucking up to a half-cybernetic, ex-military, black ops killing machine, right? On the day he started our old principal just kind of disappeared, okay now I suddenly realize Tina's point."

"Point, what point?" Basil continued trying to unlock his locker. "You two seem to think that Barrage is responsible for the old principal's disappearance. Maybe the old principal just became paranoid and left."

"How about the army of psycho cleaners at his command?" Lee watched as Basil struggled with his lock. This was embarrassing. "Totally normal, right?"

"I'll admit that the cleaners are bizarre but – Oh, I was one number off—what is it you really want to talk about?" Basil opened his locker and pulled two books out of it, one pink in color with the title 'Book of Quotations' and the other blue in color with the title 'Greek Mythology.' "You can't possibly want to talk about my alignment with the principal instead of the student body."

"Actually, we wanted to talk about-" A rumbling sound started to come from a nearby air vent. Lee and Tina watched as Basil started looking around with a nervous look on his face.

"The birds!" he cried. "They're coming after me!" Tina placed a hand on Basil's shoulder.

"Relax, it's probably just the Tatzelwurm, the school's mascot." Basil didn't relax at all. He just kept looking around. Lee sighed.

"Great, Holger has a blinding fear of primates and you have a blinding fear of birds." Basil didn't even hear Lee's comment, Tina heard it clearly and she looked at the scar behind Basil's ear. She only wondered what kind of a bird it was that got him to cause this big a fear of birds. An eagle? A raven? An owl? A vulture?

"Don't you lump me with the freakazoid from mars!" Lee rolled his eyes. Basil hadn't even been there a week an already he knew what Holger was being called. What did Basil have to be afraid of, it was just the Tatzelwurm going through the vents… okay, so that thing had threatened bodily harm very often for a school mascot but it definitely wasn't birds. The sound stopped and Basil and gave a sigh of relief. "Okay, what were you saying?"

"We just wanted to talk about what you meant by no one liking you." Tina took her hand off of Basil's shoulder now that he had relaxed. "I like you, I think you're a nice guy."

"Well, gee thanks." The obvious tone of sarcasm did not make Tina convinced that Basil actually was thankful. Basil's voice changed to a tone that could only be described a being cold. "Unfortunately, you don't count for anything with a school this big."

"You know you could easily fix that problem of yours if you weren't such a jerk." Basil turned around and looked at Lee angrily.

"Don't you dare lump me together with the principal, that wannabe gangsta friend of yours and the school bully." Lee laughed at Basil, not because of what he had called Cam and Biffy but because of what he called Barrage.

"Dude, you just admitted to sucking up to a jerk." Tina started to laugh a bit, too. The look on Basil's face as he realized what he had just said was so priceless it was funny. "What's the matter? No witty come back?" Basil just shook his head.

"We'll talk, later." Basil's voice was showing emotion that was something that seemed impossible for him before. "I've gotta wrap my head around this." With that, Basil walked away. Lee would have walked with him but he understood that Basil needed his space they could always talk in class.

Lee then turned his head to look at Tina. He loved her but he was being blackmailed into being Brandy's boyfriend. He only wondered about how she felt about him. He hoped Tina felt the same way but he was afraid that she didn't.

Now Basil was here as a wildcard. He seemed to be one at least. Lee liked Basil just like Tina did. He didn't seem him as being trouble, just confused. The realization that Barrage was a jerk and that he had been sucking up to him seemed to have gotten to Basil and that only made Lee wonder what Basil was thinking.

As Lee looked at Tina, he noticed that Basil's locker door was still open. Closing it, he heard fast footsteps, footsteps in heels. Oh, no.

"Lee Ping!" Lee sighed. He knew it. It was Brandy it was too obvious. "What are you doing talking to-"

"Actually, we were talking to Basil-"

"Don't you tell me you were talking to that new guy!" Brandy was angry, but then again she seemed to be angry ninety percent of the time. "Just take a look at this picture that was e-mailed to the entire school!" Brandy held out her phone, it showed a picture of her with snakes for hair. Tina giggled at the sight of this. "The school is laughing at me!"

"Better work than Irwin." Muttered Lee. "You must have really ticked someone off." Lee knew who it was. Tina probably did, too.

"If you know who did this then tell me so I can make their life miserable." Lee thought about what Brandy had said. Wouldn't help if she started persecuting Basil then that would not help Basil's view of no one liking him.

"Can't say I know." Lee shook his head and watched ad Brandy walked away angrily. He knew the same thing Tina did, this would be making the school news.