The Nutty Neigh­bour­hood Block Party

Chap­ter 5: Bake Sale Disas­ter

The Hamilton Spectator - - CLASSIFIED - STORY BY STACY TORNIO IL­LUS­TRA­TIONS BY ROEL WIELINGA

The story so far: The block party con­tin­ues. Corinna has just fran­ti­cally asked for help.

“What’s wrong?” I ask. “Some­thing is wrong with the cho­co­late chip cook­ies at the bake sale,” she says.

Cho­co­late chip cook­ies are my fa­vorite kind. If some­one says some­thing is wrong with them, I take that very se­ri­ously. First the miss­ing an­i­mal. Now the cho­co­late chip cook­ies. What could go wrong next?

“What are you talk­ing about?” I ask Corinna.

“There is some­thing wrong with Jenna’s cho­co­late chip cook­ies,” she says.

Sarah is still prac­tic­ing her spit­ting. The con­test hasn’t started yet. I might have time to check out the bake sale and come back.

“OK,” I tell Corinna. “But we have to hurry.”

Corinna takes off run­ning. Rox­anne and I fol­low. When we get to the bake sale, it doesn’t take us long to find Jenna. Her lit­tle brother, Mike, is stand­ing in front of her, shout­ing.

“Ter­ri­ble cook­ies,” he shouts. “Get your ter­ri­ble cook­ies right here.”

He gig­gles, and Jenna throws a cookie at him. He ducks and gig­gles again.

“You can’t even get me with one of your ter­ri­ble cook­ies,” he says. We run up to the ta­ble. “What’s wrong?” I ask Jenna. She bursts into tears. “I don’t know,” she blub­bers. “Some­one did some­thing to my cook­ies.” “Who has eaten one?” I ask. “Just me,” she says. “They tasted so ter­ri­ble. I knew there was some­thing wrong.”

“Did you make the cook­ies?” I ask. “Yes,” Jenna says. “Are you sick?” “No,” she says. “Have you had them with you the whole time?” “Yes,” Jenna says. I have a feel­ing that no one did any­thing to Jenna’s cook­ies. They might just be bad. There’s only one way to find out. “I would like to buy three cook­ies,” I tell Jenna.

She just stares at me. “Why?” she asks.

“We have to taste them,” I ex­plain.

Jenna hands me three cook­ies. “I’ll charge you only 10 cents each,” she says.

I hand over my money. Then I give one cookie to Rox­anne and one to Corinna.

“You don’t mean …?” Corinna asks.

“Yes,” I say. “It’s our duty as re­porters.”

I never thought it would be my duty to eat a cho­co­late chip cookie. We all bite into the cook­ies to­gether. I don’t even have to chew it to know that some­thing is wrong.

Jenna smiles at us. “How are they?” she asks, hope­ful.

Corinna forces a grin. “Mm­mmm,” she says, with­out chew­ing.

I’m not as nice as Corinna. I quickly chew and swal­low, but I’m not go­ing to lie to Jenna. “That was pretty aw­ful,” I say. “See, I told you,” Jenna says. Rox­anne is chew­ing the cookie slowly. It’s al­most as if she is sa­vor­ing the fla­vor. I watch her, but I’m not sure how to re­act.

“Hmmm,” Rox­anne mur­murs. “Mmmm, hmmm.” “What’s she do­ing?” Jenna asks. “I have no idea,” I say. Fi­nally, Rox­anne swal­lows. Then she takes an­other bite and starts chew­ing. When she’s fin­ished, she looks happy. “I thought so,” she says. “You thought what?” I ask. Rox­anne walks up to Jenna’s cookie plate. She picks up an­other one and takes a sniff.

“What did you put in these cook­ies?” she asks.

“All the usual stuff,” she says. “I fol­lowed the recipe.”

“Sure you did,” Rox­anne says. “Did you use sugar?” “Yeah,” Jenna says. “Nope. You didn’t,” Rox­anne says. “You used salt.” “Gross!” Corinna says. I have to agree. Salt in­stead of sugar. Gross!

“No, I didn’t,” Jenna in­sists. “I used sugar.”

Rox­anne bites into an­other cookie. “Are you sure?” she asks, her mouth full.

Jenna watches her. Then she starts cry­ing again.

“No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!” she wails. “I’m not sure.”

Rox­anne tries to calm Jenna down.

“It’s OK,” she says. “Salt looks just like sugar. If your mom keeps them in sim­i­lar con­tain­ers, it would be an easy mis­take to make.”

Jenna looks up at Rox­anne. She wipes a tear from her eye. “I do think Mom keeps them both in blue con­tain­ers,” she says, snif­fling.

Jenna takes one of her cook­ies and bites into it. She looks up at us and grins. “They are pretty aw­ful,” she says.

We all laugh with Jenna. Then she throws her cook­ies away.

“I think I’ll go buy a brownie,” she says. I turn to Rox­anne and Corinna. “Good work, girls,” I say. “Now, I need you two to go to the base­ball game. See if J.P. needs any help.”

They agree and run off to­ward the game. I run to Lo­gan’s house for the third time to­day.

The spit­ters are all up on the deck. I’ve ar­rived just in time.

Let the spit­ting be­gin! To be con­tin­ued Wed­nes­day. Next Time: Time to Spit

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