Given that I'll probably not be published anytime soon and that I'm going to read this in my daughter's class tomorrow--I'm publishing this here and now. Critiques are most welcome.
Can you keep a secret? You’ve got to promise not to tell anyone. OK, here, look in my closet. Creepy, huh? Well, it all started when…
“Rhonwyn, have you cleaned up after Jasper yet?” my mommy asked me.
“Of course, Mommy.”
“Really?” Her left eyebrow always looked bent like a caterpillar when she didn’t believe me.
“Yes, the yard doesn’t even look like a dog lives there. Except for the dog house with the red roof.”
“All right,” she smiled, “Go on and play.”
I ran up to my bedroom. The truth was I hadn’t picked up after Jasper. I didn’t want to do it then, I’d do it later.
So I opened my closet and reached up to get a game off of the top shelf when something hard fell on my head. “Ouch!” I cried. I looked down and picked up a long white object. The thing looked strangely familiar—I was holding a bone! Ewww! Jasper was not tall enough to reach my closet shelves so how did that get in my closet? Well, I didn’t know what else to do with it so I opened my window and threw it in the backyard. Jasper would know what to do with a bone.
A few days later I strolled through the kitchen and saw some dollar bills on the floor. I picked them up and counted them—a ten, a five, and a one—sixteen dollars. I know money doesn’t grow on trees (my daddy tells me that often) but it also doesn’t sprout from the kitchen floor.
I probably should have put the money on the counter because it wasn’t mine, but sixteen dollars will buy a lot of ice cream. I put the money in my pocket and rushed out of the house over to my friend Cordelia’s house. Well, we bought sixteen dollars of ice cream, candy, and a hair scrunchy for her and one for me.
I came home and while my family and I were eating dinner my daddy asked, “Rhonwyn, I’ve asked your mother and your brothers if they’ve seen some money I had laying on the kitchen counter. They haven’t, have you?”
I slowly swallowed my mashed potatoes and replied, “No, Daddy.”
“Hmmm,” Daddy said. “I’m sure I left it on the counter.”
I hurriedly finished my dinner, asked to be excused, and ran up to my bedroom.
Walking in, I saw the clothes my mommy had folded and placed on my bed, so I carried them to my closet to hang up. I opened the door and looked down for a moment and saw something that made me drop the clothes. It looked like—yes, it was. A pile of bones on my closet floor! They were too clean to have been played with by Jasper. Still, they were a little icky green or yellow colored. Some looked like ribs and others like leg or arm bones: eight of them in all. Maybe my little brothers had put them there, like when they would put plastic bugs in my clothes drawer. Bugs don’t scare me and these bones don’t either.
I would deal with my pesky brothers later, so I did what I did before—I tossed the bones out of my window and left them to Jasper’s care.
The next day my two brothers, Cai and Logan, asked if I wanted to play a game with them. We all had fun but somehow Cai pulled ahead of me by $500 and not long after Logan earned $200 more than me on his turn. I wasn’t used to losing to my kid brothers—I had to do something and I wanted to get back at them for the bones.
“Here, boy,” I called Jasper over, who was napping next to the couch, and rubbed the top of his head and his feet which always gets him excited. When Jasper was jumping up and down I sent him over to my brothers. They were so busy trying to keep Jasper from knocking over the board, their money, and their cards that Cai and Logan didn’t see me take $700 from the bank. That was just enough to put me back in the lead again. Not much later, the game was over. I had won! Cai and Logan never knew how I pulled ahead, but then seven and eight-year-olds are easy to fool.
That evening when I went into my closet to get my bathrobe—you guessed it—more bones. This time there were nineteen-and one was a skull. That was very creepy. I thought about telling my mom and dad but they would just think it was Jasper. I sat eating popcorn in the living room with my family while they watched a movie, but I kept thinking about what was in my closet.
Some time had passed without any bones hiding you know where, but then one Tuesday there was an entire skeleton, at least I thought it was, but I didn’t stay to count the bones. Why were they here? I thought back on all the previous times the bones showed up in my closet. Then I remembered what happened during lunch at school today.
A new girl arrived in our class; Mr. Withers introduced Colleen. “Class, I’m sure you’ll make her feel welcome.”
“Sure we will,” whispered Megan, who sits on my right, “If we hold our breath—she smells.” The girls and boys around us giggled, and I have to admit I did too. Nothing much happened until lunch. Colleen took an empty seat and Mr. Withers continued teaching us multiplying fractions.
During lunch I was sitting at a table eating lunch with Cordelia and some other girls, including Megan. Colleen, looking a little uncomfortable came near our table, and Megan who was sitting on the end stuck out her leg just enough. Colleen, who was looking for an empty space somewhere, tripped over Megan’s leg. Splat went Colleen’s tray up onto her head. Just about everyone in the cafeteria laughed at Colleen as gravy and mashed potatoes slowly slid down her face. I was laughing too but Colleen started to cry and I thought maybe I should help her get cleaned up. But Megan and the others were still laughing, even Cordelia. So I kept laughing too until a lunch lady helped Colleen off to clean up.
Without thinking this afternoon I opened my closet to get some candy from my secret Halloween leftover stash and that’s when I saw the skeleton. After I caught my breath that little voice inside that everyone hears said, “Think about what you’ve done lately.” I peered at the skeleton but he, or she, only smiled back. I couldn’t keep this to myself anymore.
I rushed down the stairs, “Mom, Dad, come quick,” I shouted.
“What? What is it, honey?” They hurried into the living room.
I took a deep breath and… ”Ihaven’tbeenpickingupafterJasper, Itookthesixteendollarsinthekitchen, IcheatedwhenIwasplayingwithCaiandLogan, andIlaughedatanewgirlinschooltodaywhenMegantrippedherandnowthereisaskeletoninmyclosetandI’m-“
“Hold on, Baby. What?” my dad asked. “Say that again only slower, and breathe.”
I told my mom and dad all the things that I had done that I shouldn’t have and about all the bones in my closet.
“Well, we’re glad you’re admitting this to us, but what is all this business about skeletons?” My mom gave me a funny smile, like she wasn’t quite sure if I was telling the truth. She put her hand on my shoulder but I grabbed hold of it and pulled her to the stairs.
“C’mon, look.” Dad followed as I took Mom by the hand to my room.
“I don’t see anything, Baby,” Dad said as he scouted my closet for anything resembling bones.
“Let’s talk about those other issues after dinner,” smiled my mom. I think I was in trouble but it couldn’t have been too much because she was smiling.
I can’t say that I’ve been perfectly good since those weird things in my closet, and Mom and Dad made me do something called “restitution” which involved apologizing and extra chores. Like I said, I still do things I shouldn’t do, but I try not to hide them when I do. And you know what? The only bones I’ve seen have been on our dinner table after a meal, which, of course, we give to Jasper.