The Nutty Neighbourhood Block Party
Chapter 2: Rowdy Roxanne
STORY BY STACY TORNIO ILLUSTRATIONS BY ROEL WIELINGA
The story so far: Desperate to get a great mark on her social studies presentation on the 150 year anniversary of Ottawa, Gauri tries to convince Ben to go back to 1867 in her dad’s time machine. The only problem is, Ben doesn’t like her.
“Here I am, at your service,” Roxanne says.
For a minute, I can’t speak. I’m still in shock that Rowdy Roxanne Roberts is standing in my basement. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, Roxanne has been bugging me for weeks. She wants to do a story for The Robyn Report.
Or so she says. I have a feeling she has something else in mind. I just haven’t figured it out yet. But I will. I know she’s up to something. “What are you doing here?” I ask. “I’m here to help with the block party,” she explains.
It’s not that I never use new reporters. It’s just that Roxanne is so … well … rowdy. “We don’t need help,” I say. “Fine,” Roxanne says. She turns to leave. “By the way, I can get you an interview with Sarah.”
This makes me stop. “Sarah the seed-spitter?” I quickly ask.
Roxanne turns around, smiling. “That’s right,” she says slyly. “How can you do that?” I ask. Sarah is the watermelon seedspitting champion of the neighbourhood, for three years running. I’ve asked her for an interview at least a dozen times. She always tells me no.
Today, Sarah is trying to defend her crown. The neighbourhood seed-spitting contest starts at 9:30 a.m.
“If you let me help, you can have the interview,” Roxanne says. “Is it a deal?”
I do not need or want Roxanne’s help. But I do want that interview with Sarah. Badly.
I hear another set of footsteps pounding down the stairs. Logan bursts into the room, out of breath. “Where have you been?” I ask. “I … we … the neighbors …” “What?” I ask. “Here,” J.P. says, handing Logan a cup of orange juice.
Logan takes a drink. “We have to go,” he says. “Now!” “Why?” I ask. “There’s chaos at the bake sale. Something fishy is going on at the baseball field. And the whole neighbourhood is throwing spaghetti.” “What?! Where?” I ask. “The library,” Logan says. I grab my backpack and race up the stairs. Logan, J.P., Corinna and Roxanne follow me. We run all the way to the library. When we get there, I see that Logan is right. The neighbourhood is throwing spaghetti. It’s a food fight! J.P. picks up a handful of spaghetti and throws it at Logan. Corinna and Roxanne join in, too. I write in my notebook as fast as I can.
This is why I love the neighbourhood block party. You never know what’s going to happen. Everyone is laughing and having fun. This is a great story. I pull out my camera and take a few photos. They will be perfect to put in The Robyn Report.
My mom says reporters should expect the unexpected. I guess she’s right. Some of the best stories are not planned.
Soon, the food fight begins to wind down. I start pulling spaghetti out of my hair.
I look at my watch. It’s 9 a.m. The neighbourhood block party has officially begun. I have to get my reporters together.
J.P., Logan, Corinna and Roxanne are all sitting on the library steps. I walk up to them. “We have to get started,” I say. J.P., Logan and Corinna are watching me. They know how important this day is. But I notice that Roxanne is watching J.P. She does not know how important this day is.
“J.P., I need you to cover the softball game. Find out what’s fishy at the field.” “You got it,” J.P. says. “Corinna, I need you to investigate the bake sale,” I say. “Sure thing,” she says. “Logan, you’ve got the talent show.” “All right!” Logan says. I look down at my list. There are two more things on it. I think about the interview with Sarah the seedspitter.
“OK, Roxanne,” I say. “You can do a story on the petting zoo.” “Yes!” she says in her loud voice. That leaves the seed-spitting contest for me.
“Are we ready for the block party now?” I ask. “Yes,” my reporters say together. “Now, what’s The Robyn Report motto?” I ask.
“Day or night, we’ll get it right,” J.P., Logan and Corinna say.
“What’s that?” I ask again. “I couldn’t hear you.”
“Day or night, we’ll get it right,” they say louder.
I head over to Logan’s house. His mom, Mrs. Rogers, is hosting the seed-spitting contest in their back yard. Before I can open the gate into the back yard, I hear a loud voice behind me. “ROBYN!” There are only two people who say my name that loudly – my mom when I’m in trouble and Rowdy Roxanne. It isn’t my mom. I turn around and come face to face with Roxanne. She looks worried.
“You have to come with me,” she says.
“I can’t,” I say. “I have to cover the seed-spitting contest.”
“But there’s a huge problem at the petting zoo,” Roxanne says. “What kind of problem?” I ask. “There’s an animal missing!”