The Nutty Neigh­bour­hood Block Party

Chap­ter 2: Rowdy Rox­anne

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING -

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!”

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