A very official inspector (Timothy Simons) arrives to make sure the Story Pirates’ ship is up to code. Featuring two new stories: “Maybelle’s Treats,” a mini-musical about a girl who has to fight for her right to eat sweets, by Brynne, a 10 year old from California, and “The Mystery of the Materializing Kitten,” a noir-style mystery about a feline who has mastered time and space, by 10 year old June.
Brynne, Age 10
Once there was a ambitious fourth grader named Maybelle. She LOVED treats. And loved earning them. Popsicles, ice cream, cookies, candy, you name it. She loved them all. She loved life in Redwood Town. Her peach tree in her backyard where all her friends gathered and did their homework after school, Mr. Yang’s chinese cuisine restaurant, her two close friends Eleanor and Dawn, and her local library. She loved, and was grateful for everything she had. But one day, she had to move to Eclect City because there was too much smoke from the wildfires near their town. A lot of her friends were moving, too, but not to Eclect City. Hopefully close, Maybelle hoped. She had tears down her face the whole week she was packing and saying goodbye to loved ones. And then she moved. Like, in one snap. She unpacked the first day, cried the second day, and went to her new public school on the third day. Everything was very weird. And everything was unusual. No cookies or candies in her classmates lunch, no treats after you finished a six paged math assessment, no talk about what chocolate bar they were going to get at the gas station after school. Finally she asked her classmate: “Are you allowed to have treats in this city?” The classmate replied: “Absolutely not.” I knew it, Maybelle thought. “They should really call this place Neglect City.” Maybelle said. The classmate laughed. The bell rang. “I’m going to do something about it!” From then on she talked with the mayor about this unfair law and worked everyday on this broken down shop to build up Maybelle’s Treats, a shop with crazy treat combinations. She gave donut ice cream to the girl’s volleyball team and they said: “This ice cream cools me down,” “And this donut revs me up!” She would sell lemon meringue + cherry pie and to the parents and they would say: “The citrus is exotic,” “And the cherry is sweet!” And she would offer, for free, cream-filled chocolate hearts to a nice old woman that would tell Maybelle: “ Thank you for the treats.”
The Mystery of the Materializing Kitten
June, Age 10
Poof! Plop. CRASH!!!
I jumped.“Pudding?! What are you doing here?!” I blurted, very surprised that there was a cat in our classroom. There she was, that little kitten, on the carpet of my fifth grade classroom, next to a chair that had suddenly toppled over loudly. Of course, she was a cat and could not talk, so she just meowed.
“Why is Pudding here?” I asked Mr Jacobson. “How did she get here?”
“That’s exactly what I was going to ask you, Benjamin,” said Mr. Jacobson.
I hated being called Benjamin. I much rather preferred to be called Ben but clearly he didn’t want to call me that. “How would I know?” I said. “I was in the bathroom!”
“Well, I don’t know how this could have happened. I was helping a student with their work and then I look over and there is your kitten sitting on your desk.” said Mr. Jacobson with curiosity. “Why don’t we ask Emily what she saw. She sits right next to you.”
Emily Bronstone is the smartest kid in the class, and the most serious. She never laughed. We walked over to table one where I sat. The people who sat at this table besides me were: Noah Kaufman (who is my best friend), Emily, and Olivia Martin.
“Emily” Mr. Jacobson said. “Did you see how this kitten got here?”
“No, I was doing my work.” she said.
“Well, that’s weird. Let’s not waste anymore class time on this. Get back to work,” Mr. Jacobson said.
“Oh, the kitten is so cute!” Olivia exclaimed. “Can’t we investigate more at lunch?”
“Sure, but until then you please keep the kitten in your backpack,” Mr. Jacobson instructed.
Later that day, we started investigating the mystery at lunch. We began by questioning some students. I’d watched enough old detective movies to know how to conduct a thorough investigation. Noah had too, so he made us both a police badge before lunch started.
We began by talking to Liam O’Hare, who was always bragging about he watches R-rated movies and went to bed at 12 AM (which we all knew wasn’t true). He was oftentimes really annoying, but his table was right next to ours, which made him a possible witness, so we had to talk to him.“Hey guys. Did you know that I saw that horror movie this weekend? Yeah, it was like so not scary. What do you want?”
I tried to sound cool as I talked to Liam, but my voice is pretty squeaky, so that didn’t really work out. All Liam wanted to talk about was how he had a thousand dollars in the bank and how he already knew how to drive. He wasn’t much help.
After that we went to someone we knew would be more logical: Jenny Hollis. Jenny had a good head on her shoulders, she was nice and read a lot, but was sometimes shy. She was also really pretty and I may have had a tiny crush on her. She gave us some valuable intel.
“I saw golden sparks above your desk, and then out of nowhere I saw that kitten!” Jenny told us.
“Thanks a lot Jenny,” I said. “Are you catching all this, Noah?”
“Sure am, Detective Kerrigan,” Noah said. Ah Noah, ever the faithful deputy.
My reflections were interrupted when we overheard Jack Anderson exclaim, “Look! It’s a little kitten on walkie-talkie! I think she’s saying something.”
“What?!” Noah and I both cried a little louder than we meant to. No one but us paid much attention to Jack, since he was always making crazy stuff up to get attention.(He was best friends with Liam, so they were like double trouble together) But today had been a weird day, so we were willing to believe anything. We ran over to where Jack was sitting.
Noah said, “Did you just say that you heard her saying something?”
“Yeah,” Jack said. “I think she said, ‘Agent Pudding, calling in. The new recruit messed up and sent me to a strange world. The kids call it school.’ I don’t know if I’m hearing things, but it sure was cute.”
“We better go talk to Pudding,” I said to Noah.
“Yeah,” he responded, “I’m just afraid she might talk back.”
When we made it over to Pudding, we saw her holding a miniature walkie talkie and say into it “Agent Pudding over and out.”
We gasped. Was my cat talking? Then, Pudding gasped, and uttered a string of very un-kittenlike words.
Noah gaped. He said exactly what I was thinking. “What. In. The. World.”
Pudding motioned us to come closer and whispered, “Shh, you’re gonna blow my cover.”
Noah and I both made a zipped-lips gesture and nodded.
Pudding began to explain in a hushed tone. “I’m an agent with the S.A.M.A, the Secret Agency of Magical Animals. I was sent here by mistake when I was training a new recruit, that pug of yours Bean. All the animals in this neighborhood are a part of the Agency, except for the fish. Bean is still learning how to use her magic and opened a portal that transported me here. We’re just lucky it was so close by. I’ll have to give the recruit a serious talk about not using her magic in unnecessary ways. I can’t say much more or I’d have to wipe your memories. But can I trust you gentlemen to keep this between us?”
We nodded. The bell rang with an obnoxious clanging and we turned around, startled. When we turned back, the kitten was gone and only a flicker of golden sparks remained.
“Did that really just happen?” I asked.
Noah pantomimed explosions coming out his head.
We walked back to classroom in silence. We were totally stunned. There was a secret agency of animals?
When we got back to the classroom, we expected everyone to be asking about the kitten, but they didn’t. Eventually, we approached Mr. Jacobson and said, “So… about the kitten.” Confused, Mr. Jacobson said, “What kitten? Is there a kitten?”
Noah and I exchanged a glance.
“Oh, nevermind,” I said. “It’s nothing.”
“So Pudding must have wiped their memories,” I whispered to Noah afterwards.
“I guess she really trusts us to keep the secret,” Noah whispered back.
“What if we started our own agency?” I wondered out loud.
“Maybe,” Noah said, “But we’re not magic, so we’d need some help from the pets.
We grinned at each other. This changed everything.
After school, Noah came home with me. We had a talk with Pudding, Bean, and my other dog Oreo about our possible agency and how they could help us with ours.
I thought to myself, This is gonna be great.
To Be Continued...
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