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The 411: Youth

Robyn Reports: The Nutty Neighborhood Block Party

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July 24, 2013 | 1,693 views | Post a comment

Story By Stacy Tornio
Illustrations By Roel Wielinga

Teacher guides available upon request.

Chapter 5:
Bake Sale Disaster

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!

A Hot Topics Hot Serials Story. Copyright © 2006 Stacy Tornio

Watch for Chapter 6: “Time to Spit” next week.

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