TITLE: Baby Shazam And The Black Puppy
By Janice Cartwright
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"What's that? Ouch!" Daddy yelped; something sharp and pointed, then damp and wooly touched his foot. "Well! Well! Where did you come from?"
"Yap. Yap-yap. Woof! Yap. Yap-yap. Woof! A black puppy was tugging at Daddy's pant leg.
"Hey, fella!" Daddy said as he lifted the puppy, holding it at armís length "Now what have you been up to this morning?"
Daddy put the puppy down and looked at his watch, noting both hands were near the 7. "Just seven thirty-five? Whew! I sure thought it was much later than that." It had been a long morning for Daddy; so much had happened. Daddy could hardly wait to tell Honey all about it. . .
At a much earlier hour that same morning Baby Shazam opened his eyes. Everything in his room looked gray and he didn't hear any of the sounds that would mean his parents were awake. He listened for the buzz-buzz of Daddy's razor or the clok-ety clatter of his mommy making breakfast in the kitchen, but the house was silent. His tummy told him; "It's time to eat!"
"H-U-U-U-N-N-Y!" called Baby Shazam, pulling up in his crib. But no one answered - no one came. It was too early.
Up went one leg, then the other. Over the top and down the side of the crib slid Baby. Shazam! He was out. "Pit-pat, pit-pat!" whispered his feet across the tile floor. "Da-da?" asked Baby Shazam, peeking around a corner.
"Honk-shu, Honk-shu!" was all Daddy had to say. He was lying in bed with his back turned toward the door.
"Sn-sn-sn! Sn-sn-sn!" went Honey. Honey's eyes were closed. But that was okay. Baby Shazam knew just where to find breakfast. Whoosh! Down the hall he scampered.
He saw something that made him skid suddenly to a stop, one of his favorite objects, round and black, at the closet door. It was Daddy's bowling ball! He liked to play with it and roll it.
But this morning a new idea came to him. He wondered if he could do what he had seen Daddy do with the ball. He would try.
First he squatted over the ball; then he wrapped both arms around it. He heaved with all his might and then he stood up. Shazam! He could do it! He could pick up the heavy ball! He even walked a few steps, but then he began to lose his grip. The ball slid from his arms, rolled down his body, and dropped to the floor, just missing his toes.
The ball kept turning - bump, bump, bump down the hallway, coming to stop beneath a window. Baby Shazam followed it but when he looked out the window he forgot everything, even his tummy. He saw something wonderful. It was something he liked, but something that would mean BIG trouble - big trouble for Daddy - and a big fright. Through the window Baby Shazam had seen the outdoors.
Baby Shazam raced to the kitchen door, pant legs sailing. He knew if he twisted the handle, it would open and he could go out. The knob made a "chk-chk!" sound but nothing happened. He pushed, but it didn't help.
Then he remembered what would work. He found what he wanted where Honey always kept it. It was a broom with a long handle. "Uhn-uhn-uhn," puffed Baby Shazam. He pushed at the latch at the top of the door but it wouldn't budge. Daddy must have fixed it.
Now the harder a thing was to do, the more Baby Shazam wanted to do it. He ran to the window again and looked outside. He breathed in the fresh sweet air. He raised one arm and moved it in the soft breeze coming through the window. He could see interesting things out there. There must be a way.
Baby Shazam pushed at the screen. It moved. So he pushed harder and the screen moved more. A small opening showed at the corner, just big enough for him to squeeze through. Baby Shazamís bare feet were touching the cool concrete of the patio. Shazam! He was out.
The first thing Baby Shazam noticed was Daddy's very long, dark blue car parked on the driveway -and there, beyond was the sidewalk. Across the street Baby Shazam saw a house and toys scattered on the front lawn.
He liked toys very much - but on this side he saw another house where his friend lived. Baby Shazam wanted to play with his friend, so he started in that direction. But when he got to his friend's house and didn't see anyone, he felt sad.
"Yap. Yap-yap. Woof! Yap. Yap-yap. Woof! When Baby Shazam saw the puppy he forgot about his friend. Behind a wire fence a black puppy was jumping and barking and wagging its tail. He thought it must have been trying to tell him something. So he unlatched the gate for the puppy. Shazam! The puppy was out.
Baby Shazam waddled along with the puppy at his heels. He liked the feel of the damp grass when it tickled his feet. Once he paused, squatting down to pick a weed with a yellow flower. After that he stopped to try a little boy's tricycle left in the yard. But he couldn't reach the pedals, and so he got off and continued on.
At the next stop Baby Shazam came upon a lawn sprinkler attached to the end of a garden hose. But someone had forgotten to turn on the water. Baby Shazam wanted to help - and he knew just where to find the faucet. "S-s-z-z-zip, s-s-z-z--zip," went the sprinkler as it started to turn.
Slowly - then faster - and faster - it whirled, spinning round and round. The water whooshed out in a great wide circle. It ker-splatted, "Plop - Plop - Plop!" against the side of the house.
Baby Shazam scooted behind a thick bush growing near the house. Just then a manís head appeared at a window. The noise of water hitting the man's house had woken him in a cross mood. The man couldnít see Baby Shazam, though he did see a very wet puppy. He started to shout at it, but decided it wouldn't do any good.
Baby Shazam was finished in that yard now and started in the direction of the one next to it. Just as the puppy caught up with him he heard a loud "H-h-m-h-m, H-m-m-m" sound that caused him to stop and look up. It was an airplane high in the sky and it reminded him of the one on his penny bank.
Baby Shazam thought about how it worked. First you placed a penny on the nose of the Airplane. Then you pulled back on the Airplane as hard as you could and let go. "SNAP!" the Airplane would rush forward toward the World at the other end, shooting the penny "Plip!' into the slot. "Klink!' it would fall to the bottom with the other pennies. It was fun!
Baby Shazam followed the real airplane with his eyes until it grew too small to see, a hazy dark blur, lost in the pale sky. Airplanes were interesting. He wondered what it would feel like to be so high in the air and go so fast. But then Baby Shazam's tummy reminded him once again that he was hungry. By this time he and the puppy were many houses away.
Back at home Daddy was awake now. He stood at the bathroom mirror, buzz-buzz buzzing with his razor. "Oh, a-fishing I will go, a-fishing I will go, hi-ho I'm merry-o, Oh a-fishing I will go!"
Suddenly Daddy switched off the razor and laid it down. Something was wrong. Honey was still sleeping, but what about Baby Shazam? He should be awake by now. Daddy should be hearing Baby Shazam noises. "Uh-oh!" thought Daddy.
In another house someone else was up making breakfast. It was a lady in a yellow-flowered apron. She lived on Mary Lane, the next street over from Baby Shazam's house on Lavender Street.
"I think it's going to be a very warm day," the lady in the apron said to herself, looking out her kitchen window.
"Probably just like yesterday. Nothing new ever happens around here!"
Back of the lady, beyond the table, a door opened. Noiselessly, a baby entered her kitchen.
Baby Shazam saw the lady, but she did not see him. Then he saw what was on the table. It was a bright shiny round red apple sitting atop a bunch of yellow bananas. For a strong baby like Baby Shazam it was easy to climb up onto the chair; easy to reach the apple. Shazam! He took a bite. "Crunch!" It tasted good.
Meanwhile back at Daddy's house he was getting worried. First he looked in Baby Shazam's bed and found it empty! Empty? Daddy was sure that Baby Shazam could not get out of his crib all by himself. Walking down the hallway he almost fell over his bowling ball.
"I wonder how that got there?" Daddy said, louder than he meant to. He wanted to keep his voice low so as not to frighten Honey. After that he went from room to room checking every corner of the house for Baby Shazam.
"H-m-m-m!" Was the front door still locked? "Yes!" And the back door, too? It was locked. Then he saw it. A window screen was bent and pushed out.
"Ah-ha!" thought Daddy. When he reached the door he noticed Honey's broom lying on the floor nearby. He pulled back the latch at the top of the door, pushed it open and ran outside.
Which way would Baby Shazam have gone? First Daddy took a long look down Lavender Street. But he couldn't see Baby Shazam ANYWHERE. Then he thought of Mary Lane. Baby Shazam's friend lived there; maybe that was the right way.
At the very moment when Daddy ran out of his house on Lavender Street, the lady in the apron turned from looking out the window.
She was so startled her mouth flew open and she jumped back, bumping into the counter. There at her table sat a baby she had never seen before.
The baby had light-blonde, curly hair and round brown eyes. He was dressed in pajamas. In one hand it was holding an apple - her apple. The apple had a bite taken out of it, a circle of white in the red, red apple.
"Oh my goodness, where did you come from?" the lady choked out - when at last she could, "and how in the world did you get here?"
Baby Shazam looked at the lady and pointed.
"Honey?" he asked.
At the bottom of Mary Lane, Daddy stood gazing up the street. The lady in the apron was standing at the other end of the block. She saw Daddy and waived her arms.
As loud as she could, she shouted, "ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A B-A-A-B-Y?" But the wind blew her words away.
At last Daddy saw the lady; he waved back and started walking fast in her direction. The lady waved again and walked toward Daddy. Baby Shazam still had the apple when Daddy took him.
The lady said, "It's okay, he can keep the apple."
When Daddy and Baby Shazam got home, Daddy went straight to the garage and got out his toolbox. Soon the sound of hammering could be heard through the neighborhood. Tap. Tap-tap. Bam! It was a loud sound and Honey, who had still been sleeping, woke up.
"Whoever would be building anything this time of morning," she wondered, sitting up and rubbing her eyes. She didn't know yet it was Daddy doing the hammering. Then she saw Baby Shazam standing at the foot of the bed. She said, "Good Morning, sweetheart. Where's Daddy?'
The hammering sound came closer, "Tap. Tap-tap. Bam! Tap. Tap-tap. Bam!'
Baby Shazam pointed toward the bedroom window. "Da-da?" he said.
Now Daddy was feeling GREAT! Maybe he could go fishing. He eyed his work with satisfaction. All around the outside, he had nailed each window screen tightly to the house.
"NO MORE ESCAPES!" Daddy announced in a clear, firm voice. Just then something sharp and pointed, then damp and wooly, touched his foot.
What could it be?
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