They were waiting for Chris Mauger.

"Are you the dude from Carmel?" asked one of a knot of older Juniper Elementary School girls.

"Yes, that's right," Mauger said. "That's my official title: the dude from Carmel."

In fact, his actual title is principal of Carmel Elementary School.

"They're going to wax his legs," one girl told another.

"They're not waxing anything!" Mauger protested.

After eight months, Mauger's students had beaten the Juniper students in a reading contest, and won the bet between him and Juniper's principal, Stephanie Poindexter. Poindexter had spent her lunch period the week before duct-taped to a door in Carmel's cafeteria.

Each school earned Accelerated Reading points for books read by the students. The points were based on the difficulty of the book, from half a point for the simplest below-reading-level books up to 26 points for the thickest Harry Potter novels. Students input the books they read into computers at each site.

Carmel students had run up 22,422 points, while Juniper students had put 18,002 points on the board. Both groups of students had broken their schools' records for number of books read, so now, Mauger was paying up on his half of the bet. Sort of.

"Shave his legs! Shave his legs! Shave his legs!" the Juniper Jaguars, sitting cross-legged on the blacktop, chanted in unison.

Instead of getting his legs waxed -- a bet that Mauger had been told was ill-advised by a number of people -- Juniper's students were getting the consolation prize of seeing his legs get shaved by Poindexter.

"Now, boys and girls," she said, putting down the razor and turning back to the crowd. "You know Mr. Mauger did not have to do this, right?"

"Yes!"

"He was a good sport, so let's give him a big round of applause."

Meanwhile, Mauger picked up the razor and proceeded to give his newly shorn calf another going-over with the razor. Poindexter had missed a few spots.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.