Week 19: This Week’s Winning Stories
An Abnormal First Day
Oh, fizzle sticks! Today is my first day being a secret agent. I can’t believe this day has come. It feels like it was only a couple days ago I was just meeting the applicant; oh wait, it was. The SSAS (Super Secret Agent Society) make you come super quickly to get more people on the program. Right after I signed the papers, I had to start packing up.
I drive to the address I got from communicating with my new boss. I get to the location, but all I see is a big, grand brick wall. I’m so confused, I’m starting to think Siri brought me to the wrong place, so I check the map. It says I’m in the right place. I start getting suspicious so I step out of my car and look around. I first go to the wall. It looks like a normal brick wall. I think maybe there is a door or something to let me in, but there isn’t. After a while investigating, I am tired so I lean against the wall, and as if the wall has disappeared, I fall backwards. Now things are starting to get trippy. How on Earth did that happen? I get up and turn around. In front of me, there is a tall building that has four big letters on it: SSAS.
What I thought was a wall was actually a projector. This was probably to keep other people out. It is a secret after all. I have already wasted ten minutes so I sprint in the building. I first race to the front desk to ask where I have to be. The receptionist at the front desk has a nice blouse on and is wearing a name tag: Jamie Cullen SSAS Secretary. She has vibrant blonde hair and green eyes with speckles of gold.
“Hello, I’m May Patton, the new intern,” I say, trying to sound confident even though I am certainly not.
“Oh, hi! I am Jamie; you’ll see me here every day you come to work. It looks like you are in room 10. That’s right down the hall. Good luck!” Jamie says very energetically.
“Thanks!” I reply, now feeling a lot better. I do a little jog to the room because I’m still late. I get to the door. I’m actually excited to see what’s on the other side. So I turn the knob and see tables of men and women getting assigned jobs. I try to find a seat, but before I can take a step, I’m stopped.
“Well, if it isn’t May Patton. Late on your first day, huh,” the women in the front of the room says.
“Yes, I’m very sorry. I had some trouble–”
The lady cuts me off. “I don’t care why or how you’re late,” she states as she starts walking towards me, “just never let it happen AGAIN!” Now she is right in my face.
“Yes, ma’am!” I say. I’m hoping that the conversation is over, and it is because she starts walking back to the front of the room. I spot a seat, and I’m not hesitant to sprint over to it.
That has to be one of the worst ways to start a job. Still, I don’t let my stupid mistake get in my way. I learn that woman is actually my boss, Angela Morgan. She is way meaner than I thought she was going to be. It looks like Angela has an assistant, who is very short and extremely pretty. She seems very nice, though she doesn’t talk the whole time.
Finally, it is time for break. Everyone is headed to the vending machine, but I brought my own lunch and sit at the tables. It seems like I am the only one that has brought a lunch and I feel really dumb for bringing one. No one sits with me at lunch and everyone is pretty ignorant to me, which I personally thought was unadult-like.
It is almost the end of break when I am finishing up my sandwich. Then, out of nowhere, there is a loud noise that is not pleasant and could kill my ear drums accompanied by a red radiant light coming. I practically fall out of my chair because of how unprepared I am for this. I see everyone running back to the room so I get up and follow. When we get to the room, we find Angela’s assistant and Angela fighting. Half the people are helping Angela, while the other half are fighting the assistant. Okay, hold up. So the sweet pretty assistant is now the villain! How? I can’t believe this, but I am scared, really scared. I hide behind the door. I can see through the little crack. The assistant has zapped everybody with a cold gun except Angela.
“Oh, Angela, I’ve been working with you for 22 years! And all you’ve ever done is treat me like I’m trash. And I’m sick of all of it. So the only reason why I didn’t zap you yet is because I’m gonna keep you in my lab to suffer!” the assistant rants very angrily.
I have to stop hiding; this was urgent. I have to go fight. I can’t let the villain win. I look for a weapon and right behind me I find a gun, but not a normal gun. It looks like it does something unusual. So I just go for it. I creep up behind the villain and shoot her with the gun. Nine-tenth of a second later, she was is now a pile of slime.
Angela is shocked and surprised. However, I am even more surprised. Number one, because I have just saved my boss’s life, and two, because I have just fought my first bad guy, and last, I have turned the bad guy into a pile of slime!,
“You just saved my life!” Angela says out of breath.
“I did!” I exclaim, shocked.
The Dog Photo-Shoot Attempt
It was a Saturday morning around 10:30 am. My friend Emma and I were currently getting back from a dog walk. Emma and I had decided to make a confident and bold move. We decided that we were going to try to do a dog photo shoot. Emma had only gotten her dog like two weeks ago. However, we had already seen both dogs enough to know that they constantly had an urgent need to move. So, we knew this was going to be a challenge.
The first thing that Emma and I did was look for a spot in my backyard that would be a cute background for our “pleasant” dogs. We agreed on the edge of my picnic table. Although, that did not go as planned. It started off when we finally had our dogs lying down together. It would have been the perfect picture, but we had to turn around for literally half a second to grab our cameras. As soon as Emma’s dog, Carson saw the camera, he started barking and squirming around. So, instead of a cute picture of two adorable dogs we had what looked like a dog version of Jaws–a very angry version. Honestly, Emma and I didn’t expect our dogs to be amazing, well-behaved dogs, but at least I was expecting a different reaction from them.
The second time around, Emma and I chose a spot under the big heart sign that I have in my backyard. We decided to let the dogs choose their own poses. Unfortunately, our dogs thought they could go eat a plant so that’s what they did. I ran over to the plant that they were munching and took some pictures anyway. We called these pictures “cow faces” because they were pictures of our dogs eating grass: hilarious! And yes, this really happened. For the next ten minutes, Emma and I continued to attempt to get our not so independent dogs to stop eating this plant. We didn’t succeed for a while, but it finally happened when I put a radiant dress on my dog, Coco. This worked because Coco was too busy trying to get the dress off to eat the plant.
It had been an hour already, and Emma and I were getting frustrated. Nevertheless, the photo-shoot was not over yet. We were hesitant to try again, but we did. First, we let the dogs take a break to get some water and go to the bathroom. You might have expected that something happened right here, and if so, well, you are right. Coco and Carson were just sniffing around when this whole photo-shoot attempt turned into–well, I don’t even know how to describe it. Emma and I were just watching the dogs until we ignorantly realized that we were being watched.
We noticed when we spotted a pale face behind the tree in my backyard. We were being watched by Herb, who is the tenant of the golf course. (I live on a golf course, for real.)
“Herb, what are you doing in my backyard spying on us?” I questioned with a surprised tone.
“I, uh, am here to tell you, that, that, umm, your tree looks nice,” Herb said unconfidently.
“Thanks, but, umm, what are you really doing here?” I responded with sass.
Speaking like a little kid, Herb replied, “Actually, I’ve got to go, like right now; byeeee!”
What a strange photo-shoot that turned out to be!
The one-hundredth applicant
For the secret agent spot.
I can do this!
I’m hesitant now.
The current agent on duty
I can’t do this!
The assistant manager
is on my side.
It makes me feel
an urgent need to succeed.
I can do this!
Now, my opponent
As he fills out the application.
I can’t do this!
of agent school comes out.
I hope to be a resident
of the agency.
I made it.
I did do this!
My Best Friend
My current best friend is different from everyone else; however, we are similar individuals. When she first came into my swim team, I was very hesitant to get to know her. However with her consistent willingness to swim next to me in my lane, she became a very significant figure in my life. We started to make the best out of every swim practice with her vibrant character, playfully jumping on each other to drown one another creating a very urgent desire to come up for a breath. At first her harassment of pulling on my foot to stop me from swimming in order to be ahead of me came off as a ignorant characteristic, I became fond of my new teammate. Her independent personality was only one of the amazing traits she posses. The other qualities that make her so pleasant is her sense of confidence.
“Please, I won’t get in your way,” the young zebra pleaded to his anxious mother.
“You’ve gotten into enough trouble as it is,” the zebra’s mother spoke with a sour voice. She rose her head away from her son as if to say “this conversation is over”, her son continued on though.
“Please!” her young sounded urgent.
“No Basil! It’s too dangerous.” She was insistent.
Basil grunted and stomped off. He kicked up some dust while he walked. He felt his mothers presence drift away and he sighed. Maybe his father would let him go on a scout into the lion territory. Basil bounded off to his father.
After a minute of pushing through the herd, Basil reached his father. “Hi dad,” Basil tried to act cool.
“Hello Basil. What brings you here?” Basil’s father stared down Basil.
“Uh, uh, I was wondering…” Basil suddenly became extremely self-conscious.
“Uh, if I could scout in the lion territory with mother,” Basil finished and awkwardly looked up at his dad.
Basil accepted the response and backed away into the herd. Quickly, another zebra rammed into Basil by accident. This is going to be a long day, thought Basil.
“Lions! Lions are here!” a terrified zebra shouted. She had a patrol of four lionesses chasing her.
The herd started to scatter, sounds of zebra hooves stomping the ground filled the air with clouds of dust rising up. Basil was left in the middle of chaos; he whinnied and tried to find the herd’s current. The young zebra spotted his dad battling off a small sized lioness. Her great paws swung rapidly at the strong zebra’s hind legs. It was amazing to watch but Basil realized he had more important things to do.
Basil bolted in between the fury of claws and hooves. He made his way to the edge of the herd only to find that three lionesses had cut him off. Basil gave a shrill bark and scrambled to get away. The lionesses ran after him with menacing growls and roars. Basil focused on where he was going and swiftly galloped at full speed across the plain. Without knowing it, Basil’s instincts led him to another zebra. The zebra was lying in the grass, hurt. Basil sprinted over to the zebra, hoping to change the lioness’s target. It worked. The zebra’s eyes opened wide as she struggled with bolting away, she got up only to fall back down, the lionesses clawed at her and growled with glee.
Basil fell back and watched the scene, regret filled his insides, and he jumped over and bucked a lioness in the ribs. The sudden attack served well, the only problem though, was that the lioness’s friend jumped at Basil. Her claw tore down Basil’s back; he bit back the urge to call for his mother and raced away.
Basil developed a plan as he ran, the lioness tore persistently after him but he kept running. If he could find a group of hyenas, maybe he could lead them to the lionesses and confuse them and the herd could get away. It was a bad plan but Basil had no other ideas. With hesitant hooves, he bounded into hyena territory. When it felt like he had run a long time, Basil looked around and found that he was alone. No lioness.
“Hello?” he called, “hyenas?”
A shrieking cackle filled the air. Basil looked around nervously. A hyena jumped through the brush and tackled Basil onto the grass. More hyenas filed around Basil. The zebra just hit the hyena in the face and ran. They followed after him, Good, thought Basil. He just hoped the zebra he left there was still attendant in the place he left her.
Basil reached the herd with the hyenas still chasing after him; he dashed over to a nearby lioness. Basil’s opponent looked up and gave a small whimper as the giant group of hyenas ran at her. Basil spotted the zebra on the ground, “Get up!”
The zebra hobbled to Basil with a vacant expression and Basil trumpeted a confident call to the herd. The call was of dominance, it was a call a leader would sound to their herd. Suddenly cheetahs started showing up and sprinting around the herd. In the distance he heard thumping feet of elephants, the elephants dove in the chaos with full power.
“Ayden! What’s going on in there? Time to go we’re going to be late for your guitar lesson,” sounded an angry voice.
Ayden reluctantly picked up his toys and threw them into a box; he didn’t like how the scenario was playing out anyway.
Past Years’ Winning Stories
The superintendent walked down the hallway of the school going from classroom to classroom. He walked into the first classroom to observe. However, secretly the whole school was having a party day. So when the superintendent walked into the classroom, the students and teacher covered it up. “Okay, kids! Today we are going to learn about trees!” the teacher said happily.
“Uggghhh!” the kids sighed.
Seems simple, the superintendent thought when he walked out of the classroom. Then the class went crazy with the party. The superintendent turned back around and went to peek into the classroom. The students were still learning about trees. He turned back around, and the class resumed their party.
Next, the superintendent went to the sixth grade class to see what they were doing. He walked in and saw the kids working on a writing assignment. But secretly they were having a pool party! Right when he walked out, he heard something! He turned around as he was about to leave, and he saw a huge pool that was in the middle of the room.
“AH HA!” he yelled as he watched the kids in the pool. One of the students walked up to him and knocked him out while saying, “You must not know–”
The superintendent woke up in a room, tied up in a chair, in an urgent and anxious mood. “Where am I?!?!” he said ignorantly. No one answered. “I’m a resident of America, and I have rights! Let me out of here!” demanded the superintendent. “I’m currently an opponent of yours!” he yelled into the darkness.
A kid walked into the room with a pleasant smile on his face. A different kid walked in, too. “What should we do with him?” the second kid said, also smiling.
“Let’s leave him for now and deal with him later,” the first kid suggested.
“Deal,” he said giggling. They both walked out of the room.
“I’ll get out of here; I’ll show you,” the superintendent said hesitantly. He was being super observant, looking around because he had a feeling that they had a camera watching him. “Just watch,” he said grinning.
Nerves of First Employment
“Eliza James?” The woman with the tall, slim dress, stepped into the room, a blue clipboard in her hand.
“Yes?” Eliza answered, standing up from her seat in the waiting area.
“We’re ready for you,” the woman told her, still holding the large door open.
Eliza followed the lady into an echoing hallway. The woman’s heels made a loud clicking sound as she walked. Between every doorway, on either side of the hall, were tall, small, glass tables, each with a different, beautiful work of Chihuly art.
“I am the superintendent’s assistant,” she informed Eliza. “I usually handle the more urgent matters. I also handle each resident in our local hotels.” She looked down at Eliza as if she was supposed to reply.
“Well,” Eliza started, “I am the definite that I shall be your best current agent.” Eliza had already embarrassed herself encountering her first day! “I will do my best work productively. I will prove to you that you have selected the best applicant for this position,” she added.
“I am happy to hear such things,” the assistant advised her, “as we often get some ignorant attendants, which simply will not do.”
Eliza was not hesitant to answer, “I am excited to start my work with such wonderful colleagues. I won’ let you down.”
“Ahhhh!” someone yelled. I quickly got out of my sleeping bag to see what was going on. My family was camping for the weekend, and we set up next to a few other people, who, I guess, were pretty loud.
I unzipped my tent and put on my boots. I saw everyone who set up in Campground Four standing out there.
“I’m sorry if I woke ya’ll, but this is urgent!” said a fellow resident, who was an older looking women. “I heard a BEAR near the garbage!”
“Um the current time is 1:03 in the morning,” I said yawning.
The woman continued. “I know it’s a bear because I’m a resident attendant here at the campground, and I know a bear when I hear a bear!” she yelled back looking somewhat ignorant.
I felt indifferent. Everyone looked exhausted, and already bored of this conversation.
When I was about to go back to my tent and sleep, something moved and shook the trash can. Everyone was hesitant to make any noise.
“Could it be?” said a young man, wearing a shirt that said superintendent of Tenant Academy.
“What a weird name.” I thought to myself.
“Wait,” said the older looking lady. “AGENT TICKLES!” exclaimed the old lady, running to the trash picking up an orange cat. “I found ya! I’ll never lose you again!”
“All right everybody, listen up!” yelled assistant Coach Watson, blowing his whistle. “You guys are doing really well. I just wanted to remind you this now—as I forget things easily and might not remember at the end of practice—but the current soccer season will be ending soon.”
“Boo!” yelled my friend Kylie from behind me.
“Now now,” explained Coach Watson, “I know you all might not like this, but the good news is that there will be another season starting soon, and we have our last game in a week.
Now, because of this, I am going to have you do something a little different…one on one games. You haven’t done these in a while, but because we just had a short break, I want you all to get back into the groove of things. There are cones outlining each goal, and now Coach Jamie will give you your partners. Thank you,” he said, stepping aside.
“All right, everybody, here are your teams! Abbie and Grace, Addison and Danielle, Kylie and…” I crossed my fingers, hoping my name would come next, “Mackenzie,” I sighed, of course it wouldn’t be me, “Faith and Sammie, and Emily and Amber. First one to five wins! OK now, are you ready? Go!”
I practically fell over when I heard who I was paired with. Amber? Really? She is super good, and she has a lot of confidence, something that I lack. This is not going to go well, I thought.
When we first started the game, I was hesitant, but soon I grew stronger and started observing her moves to see what she did as a reaction to a move of mine. After she got three goals in a row, I started to feel helpless again, but I was very insistent, telling myself that I could do it.
Soon, with me consistently reminding myself of this, I scored four goals, and needed one more to win.
I stole the ball from her and dribbled it to her goal. In the next moment, I was aware of everything. I watched my opponent’s vibrant cleats flash by, narrowly missing stealing the ball from me. There was no one blocking the goal, it was open. I took a chance and kicked the ball, and it flew neatly in between the two orange cones. I had won.
Although it was only a practice, I was really proud of me taking a chance, and I was glad that it worked in my favor. After doing such a good job, I knew I could do the same tomorrow during the game, and I knew I would remember that game for a long time to come.
My Average Wednesday
Stepping out of Mom’s car, I gaze at the kid-filled blacktop. Lower grade kids chase each other until they get warned by one of the teachers, parents converse with others, and then I see my small but significant group of friends talking and laughing.I start to make my way over to them, but my teacher, Ms.McClure, is calling everyone in to start class, so I then make my way towards the classroom instead.I am confident that nothing will go wrong today. Ms.McClure seems extra observant of the class this morning to make sure no one is talking.
“Okay, class, today we’re going to start IXL for this math period,so please go get your Chromebooks, sign in, and start 0.4 on 6th grade, please,”Ms.McClure says with a small grin.
IXL is all right in my book. It’s not like some kind of malignant disease or something,as long as we’re not doing any algebra or something. Time passes and soon enough we go out to recess for what seems like a short twenty minutes. After, we head back in for teddy bear mummies.We study some more stuff on Egypt and finally go back out for lunch. (Yes,we are now in the current timeline again.)
“Hey, Jacob; hey, Juan,” I say as soon as we all sit down to eat.
“Hey,” they both reply back in an instant.
“So…..” Jacob starts but then trails off.
“Hey, Jackson, since you finally got that game I was talking about let me tell you EVERY SINGLE THING there is to know about it,”Jacob finishes after a couple nibbles on his burrito.
I nod, signaling him to continue as I pull out a Z-Bar and start eating.It’s like he’s some kind of secret agent who spies on the developers of the game and eavesdrops on them every single day to uncover a game’s secrets.
“Okay ,where to begin….oh, so there are five tiers of–”Jacob begins.
I stop listening after “okay” because persistent nonsense about this game is sure to make me drowsy, so I starti thinking about other things.
“Wednesday means that the story is due tomorrow ,the full body of my rough draft for my report is due, I am going to a friend’s house because mom is sick…I need to start homework ASAP,” I think to myself.
My thought process is interrupted by the bell as we head out for recess. Jacob talks more about small facts of the game and surprise,surprise, I’m listening this time.The bell rings once more as we head inside for Straight-A Conspiracy reading and writing for the rest of our time in class. It is all basically teaching you how to be the dominant alpha of your brain and something about a “RESET” button.
After we fill out our planners, we head home because it is an early-release day. I am totally not looking forward to going to someone’s house to watch T.V or do homework the entire time, but if I don’t have sufficient time at my friend’s house before heading home, I might start thinking I’m an immigrant since I have to move from one place to another. Maybe there is something to this idea of mastering your brain. Time for a RESET.
Escape from the Castle of Doom: The Glaciers of Death!
“Okay, stop here,” he says out of breath. I halt and kneel on one knee. Gerald does the same. He continues, “So I have a key to the door over there-” he points to the giant oak wood doors. “They lead straight out of the castle. Then we will have to cross the glaciers of death, swim across the river of mutant flesh eating salmon, and then we’ll be home. Okay?”
“Okay,” I say, having no idea of the adventure I just got myself in.
We silently stand up from the hard floor of the Castle of Doom’s floor. Gerald, still wearing his guard disguise, approaches the door guards.
“This is my sister—I mean, this is a prisoner that I have been instructed to take out to the castle prison yard.” Gerald says to the guard.
The guard grunts, then starts to crank open the castle doors. Gerald shoots me a small smile. The guard finishes opening the door, then beckons us outside. As soon as the doors close behind us, we take off running.
Half an hour later, we stop under a tree to take a break.
“So, tell me everything that I missed while I was gone.” I say.
“Well, mom and dad are missing you. And your attendants, assistants and servants. Even your personal superintendent is missing you!” he says.
“Awwww!” I say
“You missing has torn a significant whole in all of all of our lives. I know this may sound surprising, but I even missed you!” he teased. “Well, I wouldn’t say that you are a pleasant person to be around. You’re defiant and independent, but at least you are my favorite little sister!”
“I’m your only little sister, Gerald,” I snap.
“Come on. We should get going. The glaciers are right up ahead,” he said as he stood up.
We start walking and very soon we emerge in a clearing. I just begin to realize how cold it is.
“Here we are!” exclaims Gerald, “The Glaciers of Death!”
I look up and gasp. Towering above us is a ginormous glacier. But there is one problem…
“Gerald…The entire face of the glacier is flat…”
“I know! That’s why I brought climbing gear!” he says, gesturing to his satchel. He walks over to the base of the glacier and pulls out two ice axes and a rope. He ties the rope to his ankle and starts climbing the glacier.
“Okay (huff), just grab onto the rope (huff) and all you’ll have to do (huff) is (huff) hang on (huff).”
“Gerald, I don’t think that ice climbing works how you think that it works,” I say
“Sure it does! (Huff)”
“Fine!” I moan
I grab onto the rope and I watch the ground slowly get farther and farther away until I can barely see it through the clouds. I look up and see that we still have a lot farther to go. What was Gerald thinking?
Fifteen Minutes Later…
We finally reach the top after about an hour of climbing.
“Okay! Now we have to cross the River of Mutant Flesh Eating Salmon!” he says, gesturing to the river a few yards away.
As we slowly approach it, the first thing I notice is the fish. Bright, neon pink scales and a set of razor sharp teeth. Instead of soothing my fear, Gerald just makes it worse.
“Each bite from one of these guys has enough to kill five-hundred unicorns in thirty seconds. Aren’t they adorable?” he exclaims. “And the current in this river is fast enough to sweep a fully grown troll downstream!”
Oh, great. Just great.
Hello, my name is Mrs. Joll, and I am the superintendent of Kerball District. Today, I had to get my current assistant, Javier, to help me with a water leak in the storage room. As usual, when I asked Javier help, he was very very hesitant; fortunately, after a while, he started to understand the problem and how to make the repair so he became more confident. His work was sufficient so I paid him extra.
Unfortunately, a week later, the leak started again, so we again had to pay for repairs, but we spent more than we had budgeted so we had to hire an accountant. When she arrived to the office, I could tell she was an immigrant from Italy because of her accent. She was very insistent that we get a new roof for the room.
After two weeks of installation, we finally noticed a significant improvement, and to this day, it is perfect.
It all started about two months ago. It was a hot summer, and I was sitting in my living room watching T.V. My mother had just fired my most recent babysitter because she was constantly eating, and she didn’t even have time for me! My mother, an assistant superintendent, was late for work, but she didn’t want to leave me home alone. Because of this, my mom had already called a bunch of babysitters, but they were all busy at the current time. Despite this, my mother seemed hesitant to call the last applicant on her list to see if this person could be my babysitter for the day.
“Ring, Ring, Ring!” I heard the phone ringing through the receiver after my mother dialed.
“Hello, this is Katherine,”said the potential babysitter.
“Hello? Hello! This is Mrs. Montgomery. Please say you are free today for babysitting. I need you urgently. I am already, late for work,” Mother stated.
“Yes, I am free; I will be there in ten,” Katherine answered.
My mom rushed out of the room as fast as she could. Not long after, Katherine came in. She had really red hair and bold blue eyes. What I thought was weird was that she was wearing fancy pants, but her t-shirt said, “Don’t judge me; I’m an agent,” whatever that meant.
“So what you want to do? By the way, my name is Katherine,” said Katherine.
“My name is um….Megan, and we don’t have anything to play with; everything is boring,” I insisted
Katherine stood up and went into the kitchen. About ten minutes later, she came out wearing a bedsheet over her clothes, and she held a brush in her hand.
“Welcome to Ultimate Fitness,” Katherine announced in a loud voice. Today our contestant is Megan!” She pulled me out to the back yard.
“You have to do a backflip on the trampoline, and then run over to your opponent, the ignorant punching dummy; do a couple of kicks, and then run back to me. If you punch the red button in under a minute and a half, you win!” Katherine said.
I started the clock. Then I began running. I did a flip on the trampoline, and all in under a minute. Then I walked over to the dummy. The first time I kicked him, I fell, but I managed to do a couple more kicks, and then I ran to the button. Three…two…I punched the button! I won. Katherine and I yelled and screamed joyously.
Just then, I heard my mother’s voice, saying, “Are you guys all right? It is time for Katherine to go.”
Katherine gave me a hug then she lifted me in the air. She was the best babysitter ever!
I Hear and I See
I see the crystal blue current of water rushing downstream.
I see the agent running as he tries not to be late for work.
I hear the birds singing their melodious songs in the morning breeze.
I hear the ignorant kid fighting insistently with his mom.
I hear the significant church bells clanging back and forth.
I see the hesitant immigrant and migrant cross paths with the resident.
I see they are different and indifferent.
I am observant.
My eyes and ears are dominant.
I see and hear.
All Messed Up
I’m Amy Smith. My life was so ordinary; I would have fallen asleep if it was a movie. My dad is an accountant; my mom was the superintendent’s assistant. My sister, Tessie, was hesitant to do anything fun, but I was a different story. I was kind of the black sheep of the family. I loved adventure, being creative, and doing things no one else did. I was actually confident in myself. Well, until the incident anyway….
I woke up the morning of my thirteenth birthday, my sister pretty insistent that I wake up.
“Mom and Dad are acting weird,” Tessie said. I raised an eyebrow at her. “Weirder than usual.” I jumped out of bed. We both sneaked downstairs and peeked through a crack in the doorway to the kitchen. Mom and Dad were there making breakfast.
“Hank, I think we should let Amy plan her own party; she’s thirteen already!” Mom exclaimed to Dad. Mom wanted to let me do something on MY OWN?
“Julie, I don’t want anything crazy. I think we should just have a nice party at home,” Dad replied. Dad actually CARES? Something is up. My mom and dad started arguing while I thought about this. Last time this happened, I had suddenly become very observant, so much so that I took one look at the packet of sponges we got, and I could still remember what it said on there: Flungies! Now twice as absorbent!
Tessie and I walked into the kitchen and sat down. Breakfast was sufficient, but the level of weirdness was significant.
“So, Amy, what do you want to do for your birthday party?” my mom asked.
“I’d like just a nice party at home,” I answered.
“Aw, come on, Sis! What about laser tagging or sky diving?”
I looked at Tessie in horror. Wait a minute. ME not wanting to do anything fun or adventurous? Something was definitely wrong. Perhaps I was gaining maturity as I headed into my teenage years. No, that couldn’t be it. Something was definitely all messed up if Tessie wanted fun and adventure, and I wanted something nice and calm!
“Boo!” I had just scared this kid to death! I heard screaming in the next room, and I knew we were doing a great job. We were in the sixth grade haunted house, and we were doing a sufficient job of haunting. The superintendent of schools was letting us use the science lab, which we had transformed into the haunted house.
A group came in at level two, a medium scare level, and we gave them a significant scare. One group that came in was very observant, and they didn’t appear to be really scared. They were more interested in how we made the decorations. The next group that came in felt confident that they were not going to be scared, but before long, they were screaming their heads off. We got them!
The next group that came into the haunted house requested a level one, the gentlest scare level, and they were hesitant to walk in the room. They ended up freaking out at the end, though, even though we were barely trying to scare them. We were consistently frightening people, one after another. There was currently a level three, the scariest of levels, group coming in, and we had to give them the biggest scare possible. I jumped behind the curtain, and when I jumped out, the people I was scaring jumped back and almost hit the table! I was cracking up! A lot of people were insistent that we scared them, and they got what they wanted. I felt like we were pretty dominant haunters. We ended up making tons of money at this fund-raising event, and we all had lots of fun.
Sun and Moon
Under the pleasant, vacant sky
I transition to the wet, green grass, confident.
I look up with curiosity and awe
At the bright, independent sun,
Which evokes memories of the exquisite,
Radiant, silver moon.
It was just a normal, grueling day in class. Routinely, I flowed in a current of people. I insisted nothing was out of the ordinary until my last class of the day. “In 1787, the Constitution was written and signed,” continued my persistent history teacher.
I’m not a significantly observant person, so when I was staring out the window, I didn’t see the small craft float down from the sky and tiny little creatures jump out. Apparently, I wasn’t the only person staring out the window because hesitantly, a student yelled, “Look! Over there!” and pointed to the small creatures. When my teacher was confident that he wasn’t imagining the scene, he called the superintendent and her assistant over to investigate the odd happening.
The small animals hobbled along. A bigger, supposedly dominant little creature barked orders to the others. We all watched in fascination. Then, one being saw us looking at it. It started making little, high-pitched shrieking noises and pointed at us, jumping up and down all the while. Then, pandemonium broke out among them. All of the little creatures bustled back to their flying crafts, which had gathered outside, and as if they had never been there, they were gone, leaving us dumbfounded and gaping out the window in confusion.
I currently am a resident of Petaluma, California. I go to a school district where the superintendent, Ms. Schoolhouse, is really nice. When she ran for the superintendent position, her opponent, Mr. Silly, was really mean. He knew that he was going to lose. So he started a mean rumor, which was really ignorant. He tried to say that Ms. Schoolhouse was indifferent to kids learning and she could care less about education. Mr. Silly said the only reason that Ms. Schoolhouse was an applicant for the superintendent position was because she wanted to be good friends with all the people in the school district. Mr. Silly said that her son was accused of stealing school computers and was a defendant in a criminal case about stealing tests to cheat with in school. People were really shocked because Ms. Schoolhouse was so nice and so was her son. Besides, his grades were not very good; he couldn’t have stolen the tests to cheat because his grades would be better.
Ms. Schoolhouse knew all about Mr. Silly and his plans to get everyone to vote for him. She was really nice and hesitant to tell everyone about the rumors he started. She decided to beat him at his own game instead of making a total fool out of him. His name was already bad enough. She called the attendant of the school and told her to check who went into the computer to steal the tests, by finding out who logged on at the time they were stolen. It turned out the computer was logged into by Mr. Silly. Instead of ruining his reputation forever, Ms. Schoolhouse sent an urgent message to Mr. Silly. All it had on it was the computer log-in screen. Mr. Silly told everyone he had made a mistake and that he had heard the rumor, and he should not have believed it. I guess you know who won the election.
From Ruby Bridge’s Perspective
Ruby Bridges’ mom said, “My God, what have I done?”
She spoke her heart
She did her part
We were affected
That little child
That world beguiled
By a little child
Who changed the course of history
No longer a memory
But a reality
who? “Ruby Bridges”
~ Rose Marie Roybal
Why? Why was all I could ask myself. Why, do human beings have to be so ferociously ignorant?
I was shuffling to school, praying, and most importantly, thinking. It was the year of 1960, and the National Association for the Advancement of Color (NAACP) was volunteering me to participate in the integration of the New Orleans School System. I was going to be the first African American person to attend an all-white school in the south. The school was named William Franz Elementary School, and I would be the one only two black applicants and attendees of the school. Was I exited? Of course I was; I was six. Being black and all, I didn’t get to interact with white kids. I was also hesitant. Was the process of attending an all-white school stressful? Yes, it was. I could remember taking a test to determine which children would be the first to attend integrated schools. My mama said six children were chosen; however, two children chose to stay, which was kind of sad. Mama said they probably didn’t transfer because those parents were afraid their children would be discriminated against because of the color of their skin. Those mamas were right; they would likely be discriminated against just like me. Being discriminated against was very frustrating, and I was not indifferent to it. I was pretty young, but even then, I could tell when kids, and even adults, didn’t like me.
Sometimes, I would ask myself, Why did my parents send me to an all-white school when they knew I would be discriminated against? My mama and papa had very different opinions. My papa was initially hesitant. He knew I would be bullied and teased because of my race. On the other hand, my mama felt very strongly about the move; not only would I receive a finer education, and she would also say, “take this step forward…for all African American children.”
“Ruby, c’mon down; it’s time for your first day of school,” bellowed my mama in a vivacious voice. “All right, Mama, just gotta get dressed,” I retorted. Hmmm, what should I wear? I wondered to myself. I slipped on a white dress with small white flats. “So, Mama, what are we eating for breakfast,? I gaily spoke.
“Stop being in such a hurry, Miss Urgent,” giggled Mama.
“Sorry, I’m just so exited!” I spoke in a very fast tone.
“I know you are,” said Mama while dishing me bright yellow eggs on a ruby red dish.
Back then women wore their hair in big beehives and bouffants. They were hairstyles that made you look really tall and important. I always dreamed of looking just like my mama, but being strong like my papa. I couldn’t wait; since white children never interacted with black kids, maybe they’d all want to play with me! Boy, was I misguided! Instead of playing with me, the kids started not attending the school anymore. At first, I thought they were sick and all, but as the days went by and they didn’t show up, I soon learned from the superintendent that it was because I was black, and families didn’t want their kids interacting with black people. Soon, not only kids not like me left the school, but some teachers also refused to work under “the circumstances”: a black child enrolled in the school. It seemed like everyone was an opponent of black kids in a white school. Some of these teachers were not even teaching me, but still refused to teach at the school while a black child was enrolled there.
Soon, the school hired Barbara Henry, and for a whole year Barbara taught me all alone, “as if she were teaching a whole class.” Every morning, some lady would threaten to poison me. After that incident, an assistant that had to accompany me told mama about the occasion, so mama had to send me to school with food from home. Another woman at school put a black doll inside of a wooden coffin, protesting outside the school. I was six, so most of the cruel remarks I didn’t understand. But I still knew that something was up, and it wasn’t good at all. I would tell my mama about the inappropriate remarks, and she would suggest that I pray as I walked to school. For a long time, the praying worked; it was as if all the rude remarks that were yelled at me, on my daily walks to school, were blocked out by the safety of God.
Eventually, some families chose to send their children back to Franz Elementary school, despite the protests. As for my childhood, I was miserable when the protesters screeched cruel words at me, but as for now, I still live in New Orleans. For fifteen years, I worked as a travel agent. I am currently a full-time parent. I am now chair of the Ruby Bridges Foundation, which I formed in 1999 to promote “the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences.” Childhood may have been rough, but if you fight through the evil, happiness will always prevail.
Note: All of the quotes in the above story were from Ruby Bridges herself, Ruby’s mother, and Ruby’s teacher as quoted on rubybridges.com.
A Magic Dream
There are shadows everywhere, evil, lurking shadows, obscuring the things I most desperately want to see. My eyelids are droopy, heavy like ten pounds of wet sand. Everything seems to be against me, the polished floorboards squeak under the pressure of guilt and deception that’s set upon my wiry frame. And yet, despite all of this, I feel confident for the first time, like I’m actually going to do it! I draw near to the door, and when I reach it, I don’t hesitate for a split second as I cross the threshold.
I feel like an immigrant entering into another’s country, a stranger. It’s musty in the room, and the usual clutter of the house does not inhabit this space. Instead, there is order: neat stacks of paper, scrolls, and maps. I make haste to scurry over to the filing cabinet and pull out an old battered file labeled “Restricted, Private Property.” Just before I get a peek at the contents, the ropes are cut, and the sand bags drop, sealing away my vision…
I wake up with a scowl. It’s one of those dreams, the same kind every night consistently. Only, I keep getting closer and closer to opening that blasted file, and this night I was so close! I let go a scream of frustration. Then, out of pure persistence, I scale the stairs to the fourth floor and tug at the door. It’s the door from my dreams, which in reality is the door to my father’s study. Whenever he is home—he travels the world looking for magical devices—he always confines himself in there staring at that wretched folder like its some kind of God. But, alas, the door is locked as always; go figure. I guess you could call me observant, but I’m really only just a probing child trying to find an answer to her father’s queer actions. And since I’m practically the dominant one of the house, I guess I have the right to do some poking and prodding, right?
The eerie shadows are back, only this time, I feel compressed amid the flock of them. My senses tell me that they aren’t necessarily malignant beings, but could also do some serious damage, as they possess the build and wits to do so. I’m being rushed along, as they seem insistent that we make steady progress toward the door. Finally, I give myself to them, allowing my body to go along with it, reasoning that I have no choice, and I want to see what was in the dire file anyhow. But, as I find myself at the door, I feel my burning desire has diminished to an undersized flicker. The door moans open, and on weak legs, I journey over to the cabinet and remove the folder that has been the cause of my fire, my piece of family when Father is yet to return from one of his escapades. I trace the words of warning, fingering the worn corners, lingering, hesitant to reveal the file’s secrets. What will be awaiting me inside? Accountant work, treasure maps, or a photo? Then, hesitating no longer, I fling wide the cover!
What I see inside almost stops my heart. It is so…not what I expected. An old coal sketch of a beautiful young woman is portrayed on one side of the file; a silver locket adorns her slim neck. On the opposite side are the locket, and a petite key. In curvy lettering it says, The Key to My Heart. I’m always with you. Love, Juliet. I’m shell-shocked, but I try to be absorbent and take it all in. I have a mother!
I jerk awake. This time I don’t take any time, I slam up the stairs and try the door. To my surprise, the knob turns willingly in my grasp, and the door opens. In a bit in a dazed state, I walk to the cabinet and remove the file once again. I take in a deep breath and flip it open. It’s the same as in my dream. Oh, my. I must have a serious talk with my dad about this. There are some secrets that must be revealed.
The Perfect School
Dear Prospective Parents and Students,
Hi, I’m Mrs. Anne Banks, and I am currently the superintendent of a school called Cherry Mount High School for Girls. I am very against and hesitant about having boys at my institute of learning because I think segregation between lads and lassies is quite needed for precise, indifferent education. Some call me ignorant and strict, but I am a kind, noble-hearted tenant of this school.
Today, I will be sharing with you our contestant-winning lunch area. In this delightfully tasty place, we serve astounding delicacies: sushi (made by our migrant Japanese chefs), freshly made pasta (with the choice of having pesto sauce or marinara sauce), and many, many other exquisite entrees of the students’ choices. Another award-winning thing about our cafeteria is the splendid waiters and severs here. One of my many great assistants is named Mr. Smith. He is one of the only male workers at Cherry High, and he is quite a delightful and a good opponent for the other female headwaiters as they compete to determine who will provide the highest quality service.
Our classes at this time are rather fabulous in a way no other school has beaten. For instance, the teachers are highly-trained instructors who have been qualified to educate children as well as amusing them. One well-known applicant for a job at our school this year is named Dr. Kelly Monroe, and she is a very clever twenty-three year old indeed. She now works in our marine biology lab with a joyous class of eleven, angel-like teens. The classrooms here are very well set up as well. My favorite chamber is the art classroom; this room is full of astounding artwork made by many sweet, young artists; another beautiful thing about this area in particular is the color of the walls and floors. The walls are in a rainbow pattern that glides across the color-filled room dividers; the floor is butter-yellow, fluffy, divine carpeting.
I hope that was enough to instill in you a feeling of wishing to be here. This school is, in fact, a perfect learning environment for girls between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. If you are interested in sending your child to this fine institution of education, please come and register now!
Mrs. Anne Banks
Phone number: (456)-555-4151
Address: 924 Albert Avenue
I once knew a friendly ACCOUNTANT, Tom. His sweet personality was ABSORBENT to new clients! He was CONFIDENT about his job and received good pay. The accountant CONSISTENTLY helped his clients. Though his boss was utterly DOMINANT, he kept at his job with a smile on his face—whatever happened, Tom still smiled.
He was my best friend when we were young. His great, great grandfather was an IMMIGRANT from Italy, and as a child, Tom’s mother would always tell him he got his INSISTENT attitude from his great, great grandfather. As a child, his parents were MALIGNANT, but Tom’s friends had always kept him going. As a teenager, Tom was very PERSISTENT. He once walked in a cornfield, and would not give up till he got out—which was three hours later. Tom was not trusting and shy at first, but once you got to know him, he was a sweet, but OBSERVANT, gentle man.
The Friendly Competition
“Mom, I am ready to go to school,” said Lizzy in a rush.
“Why do we have to go so early to school today?” asked Cindy,Lizzy’s mom.
Cindy was the type of mom who wanted to go late both to pick up and drop off Lizzy. What Cindy did not know was that Lizzy was a contestant in one of her school’s contests. Lizzy entered this contest because her enemy, Sue, would be her opponent.
The superintendent of the Apple Valley School District would hold this friendly competition for the kids. The contest was based on their current grades and pop quizzes the students received. The contestants must also compete in a spelling bee.
Lizzy was studying day and night for these tests. The hardest one for her was studying for the spelling bee, she had trouble on three words: migrant, defendant, and ignore.
After staying up all night and studying, Lizzy felt indifferent about the competition the next day; may the best person win. All of a sudden, an urgent voice came over the intercom, “Student and teachers, in five minutes we will start our academic competition. All students and teacher’s report to the gymnasium.”
Lizzy’s heart began to pound. She began to feel hesitant and did not want to seem ignorant when she was asked a question.
Five minutes later, when the contestants were all assembled, the spelling bee began.
“The first word is for Sue; your word is migrant,” said the first judge.
“Migrant, m-i-g-r-e-n-t,” said Sue.
Lizzy knew that was wrong. Lizzy felt her heart pounding and her ears ringing.
“Sorry, that is not correct,” said the three judges at the same time.
“Next it is Lizzy. You are going to get the same word and if you spell it correctly, you are the winner,” said the third judge with a grin that spread across her face.
“Your word is migrant,” repeated the first judge.
“Migrant, m-i-g-r-a-n-t,” said Lizzy with her heart still pounding.
“That is correct,” whispered the second judge.
A loud applause filled the gymnasium.
The competition was finally over. Lizzy loved the flowers that the superintendent had given her, but she knew that Sue wanted this achievement even more than Lizzy did. So, Lizzy grabbed the microphone and calmed everyone down.
“Classmates and teachers of Apple Valley School District, I am delighted to have these flowers, but truly they belong to someone else,” said Lizzy.
The whole gymnasium grew quiet.
“Sue, you really deserve these,” said the loud scratchy voice coming from Lizzy.
Lizzy made her way over to Sue who was with her parents in the front row.
“Here you go. You should have these. You were brave, and you have a lot of courage. Those are the qualities that every person should want and need,” said Lizzy, as tears ran down her eyes.
“Thank you; thank you very much…friend,” said Sue.
Welcome to Tara Firma Farms. My name is Gracie, and I’m the pet pig. I’m an immigrant and will always be a tenant here at the farm. I’m confident I will never be turned into bacon because I am a pet. The accountant’s daughter, Rose, persistently visits my home. I am currently pen-mates with some goats. I was very observant of their behavior, so much so that I started to act like a goat, too. I’m not like other pigs. When any of the humans call my name, I consistently reply by oinking and snorting. If you would ever like to visit me at the farm, you can contact my agent, Tara, to set up a tour of the farm. Tara is the dominant human, so she is the one in charge. You don’t want to mess with her or else you will end up like my cousin did! Last night’s dinner was pork chops, and I’m pretty sure poor cousin was dinner!
What a Day!
The words, “That’s the one,” started it all.
It was the Fourth of July, and my mom and I were on our way to get a new dog, who was a current resident of the animal shelter. We already had five dogs, and I hadn’t chosen any of the five. However, this time it was my turn to choose one! I was so urgent in my need to pick a dog, but even so I closed my eyes and went to sleep in the car.
“Erica, wake up! We’re here.” I opened my eyes as my mom got out of the car. I got out right after her, and she noticed me mumbling names for the dog we were there to choose. She chuckled to herself as she walked into the shelter. I laughed and walked in, too. When I entered, there was a young lady, and she said, “What can I do for you today?”
I replied with a happy expression on my face, saying, “We want to adopt a dog.”
She smiled and said, “Right this way.”
When we got to the back room where the dogs were, I saw all kinds of dogs: little dogs, big dogs, dogs with long hair, and dogs with short hair. Some were so scary that I became hesitant to go over near them, but then I saw the coolest dog ever. It was a Great Dane. I said, “That’s the one.”
My mom asked young lady if we could adopt the dog, but the worker was warning us about the dog’s personality. I decided to be the first applicant anyway. Although she had warned us, she told us that every potential adopter saw something in him. However, two days later, the poor Dane was returned. I didn’t listen that well, so chose him anyway, and we were allowed to take him home. When we got there, I brought him in my room and said, “I’ll name you Rover!”
At first everyone loved Rover and the name, but then he started to change. I knew he was hyper and all, but I didn’t know he was as bad as he was. When we got home, he rearranged the house, pushing around furniture, and he slobbered everywhere he would go. Besides that, once he went to my soccer game, and my opponent paid attention to Rover when he ran across the field, and at the same time, I stole the ball and made a goal. My mom talked to my coach after, and my coach said that Rover wasn’t allowed to attend another game until he was trained because Rover was ignorant when it came to soccer regulations.
My dad couldn’t take the situation anymore so he took Rover back to the shelter without my permission. When I found out, I roared and cried because I missed Rover and didn’t want to be just another person who returned him to the shelter. I knew at that moment that I loved Rover with all my heart. So I packed my stuff and walked out of the house to get Rover to live on our own.
My dad didn’t care and just let me run away. However, my mom was yelling for me and screaming at him, too. My dad was indifferent and couldn’t have cared less. I would always hate my dad. I started to tear up.
“What’s wrong?” I heard. I looked up and saw this boy who looked eighteen, just like me.
“My dad’s a jerk,” I answered. The boy stared at me for a while and didn’t say anything until I said, “Where are my manners? What’s your name?”
He said, “Zack.”
I laughed a little as we talked for about a couple hours. I saw my mom drive by in her car crying. I ran as I said, “Sorry, I have to go.”
He ran after me, yelling, “Why do you have to go?”
“It’s complicated,” I replied.
I heard him say, “I like you.”
I stopped running with a smile, turned around, ran back, and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “I like you too,” I whispered in his ear.
I ran really far and stopped to breathe, only to notice I was getting nowhere. So I gave up and just sat on the ground. I realized I was in front of the animal shelter. It was about to close, but I got there just in time. I ran to the back to Rover’s cage. He wasn’t there! “He ran away a couple days ago,” said a guy sweeping the floor. Tears came down my face as I ran outside and tripped.
I was crying on the ground for ten minutes when I heard a bark! It sounded like a bark Rover would make. I called his name, but he was nowhere to be seen. At last I spotted him in the parking lot. I frolicked over. When I got there, the parking attendant said, “Have a nice day.”
I mumbled, “You, too.”
When I finally reached Rover, he licked my face. I was so happy to see him, and he was just as happy to see me. I remembered Zack so I took Rover’s leash and was jogging around everywhere. I finally found Zack as he was buying ice cream. I ran so hard and fast, you couldn’t see me. When I got nearer, I saw he was with this girl. I stood still as he looked over and saw me. I ran away, and he followed after, yelling, “Erica!”
I wouldn’t stop running, but he caught up and said he could explain. He froze when I said, “Have fun with your life,” and then walked away.
After that, I had to find a hotel that would take dogs, but the superintendent of the building said I had to pay more if I brought a dog. I took a room only for a couple of days. I started to unpack and then I heard DING DONG! The bell rang, and it was Zack at the door, explaining, “That girl is my sister’s friend. Her boyfriend dumped her, and my mom made me hang out with her.”
I froze for a long time. “Say something,” Zack said, but instead I leaned in to kiss him, and he kissed me back.
A couple hours later, Zack called his parents to ask if Rover and I could move in with them. His mom said it was fine. Before moving in, I called my parents to tell them. My mom said, “I was worried about you. I’m glad you and Rover found a place to live.”
That night, Zack, Rover, and I went to watch fireworks. As I was looking up at the sky, Zack and I both exclaimed,“What a day!!”