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The 411: Youth

Robyn Reports: The Nutty Neighborhood Block Party

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August 7, 2013 | 1,559 views | Post a comment

Teacher guides available upon request.

Story By Stacy Tornio
Illustrations By Roel Wielinga

Chapter 7:

A Spitting Dispute

Chapter 7: A Spitting Dispute

The story so far: During the block party’s seed-spitting contest, Henry has just accused Sarah of cheating.

The crowd starts buzzing with whispers.

“Sarah the seed-spitting champion is a cheater?”

“I always thought she looked suspicious.”

“So that’s how she did it all those years!”

Mrs. Rogers walks up to Henry. Everyone is watching.

“What are you talking about?” she asks him.

“This!” Henry says.

He picks up Sarah’s glass of water. Each spitter is allowed to drink water between spits.

“You’d better tell me what’s going on, Henry,” Mrs. Rogers says.

“This isn’t water,” Henry says. “This is soda. Sarah’s been drinking soda to build up more saliva. She’s a cheater!”

The crowd starts buzzing again. Sarah is a tough competitor, but I don’t believe she’s a cheater.

“Wait a minute,” I say. “There’s one way to find out.”

“How?” Mrs. Rogers asks.

“Taste it,” I say.

“Yeah,” Sarah says. “Taste it.”

Mrs. Rogers takes a drink. Then she looks at Henry.

“No,” she says. “Sarah is not a cheater. This is water.”

“But ... I thought ... I ...” Henry stammers.

He knows he’s lost the battle.

The second round begins. Sarah spits even farther. So does Henry. They are clearly the top two spitters in the neighborhood.

They flip a coin at the beginning of the third round. Sarah loses the toss. She has to spit first. I look around the back yard. The crowd is really big now.

Mrs. Rogers gives Sarah her first seed. Sarah swishes it around in her mouth. After one minute, she spits it through the air. It lands on the far edge of the blue tarp. The crowd cheers.

“We’d better get another tarp,” Mrs. Rogers says. “Someone might set a new record.”

They mark Sarah’s seed and add another tarp. When Henry gets his seed, he rolls it around in his mouth. I can see him biting it with his teeth. He looks mad.

“SPIT,” Mrs. Rogers says.

Henry’s seed soars across the back yard. It lands just outside of Sarah’s. The crowd cheers again. When Sarah spits her second seed, it barely goes 5 feet, far short of the first seed.

“Awww,” the crowd says in unison.

Henry laughs. “Ha!” he says.

Sarah looks worried. Henry spit his second seed even farther than the first.

“How do you like that?” he asks.

Sarah looks out at the crowd. Then she looks over at her sister.

“You’ve got this, Sarah,” Madison says. “Just pretend we’re practicing at home.”

Sarah puts the seed in her mouth. She closes her eyes.

“That’s right, Sarah,” her sister says under her breath.

After a minute, Sarah opens her eyes.

“SPIT!” Mrs. Rogers says.

Sarah doesn’t even hesitate. She grabs onto the deck railing and lunges forward. The seed flies past Henry’s first two seeds. The crowd goes wild.

Henry takes his third seed and grinds it with his teeth. When it’s time, he throws his head sideways and the seed takes off.

It lands inches behind Sarah’s. Or was that inches in front of Sarah’s? Which seed belongs to which spitter? The crowd doesn’t know how to react. No one is sure.

“I WIN, I WIN, I WIN!” Henry shouts.

“Wait a minute,” Mrs. Rogers says. “We’re going to have to take a closer look at this.”

She walks up to the seeds. She turns back to Mr. Allen. He is the official judge.

“Who won?” she asks him. He shrugs his shoulders. Mrs. Rogers looks back at Sarah and Henry.

“Maybe we should do one more round,” Sarah says.

“No way,” Henry says, grinding his teeth. “I’m the winner. That’s my seed,” he insists, pointing to the farthest seed.

“Wait a minute,” I say to Mrs. Rogers. “I don’t think we need to do another round.”

“You don’t know anything,” Henry says to me.

Now I don’t feel bad that Sarah is my favorite spitter. I walk up to the two seeds and examine them. Yep, just what I thought.

“I know exactly who the winner is,” I announce.

A Hot Topics Hot Serials Story
Copyright © 2006 Stacy Tornio

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