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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fruit (10/10/05)

TITLE: Johnathan Spencer for Hire
By Joanne Malley


Johnathan Spencer for Hire

Hi. Iím Johnathan Spencer. Iím eleven. You can call me Johnny.

My alias is Northern Spy since I live on North Avenue. Iím like James Bond, but without the ladies. Give me time; Iím still a kid.

My street is boring without any boys, so I make my own fun spying on Isabella Cardonna, alias Granny Smith, who lives across the street in the yellow Victorian house with the crabapple tree smack dab in the front yard.

My mom loves that houseóespecially the wrap around porch. She thinks itís charming like Granny Smith. Sheís originally from Rome and left behind an empire to be with Mr. Cardonna, the love of her life.

Heís not around any more; he died ten years ago. But, I think Mr. Cortland, her next-door neighbor, may be making his move. Thatís what my detective brain tells me, anyway. I heard him call her his Little Kumquat several times.

Sheís like a hundred and fifty or something, but still kind of pretty. Mom calls her the Rome Beauty. My dad says she must have been some looker long ago. I think that means she was hot.

My secret lookout is from our attic window seat. Itís perfect for my detective work. Peaches, my dog, and me are a team. We have fun spying on Granny Smith and the neighborhood oldies on her front porch.

Granny Smith holds meetings on her front porch every Wednesday when the ďFruits of LoveĒ club members meet. They gather to finalize their details for the week. They visit other old cronies at nursing homes to play games or share meals with them.

The members are Mr. Cortland, (whoís bananas for Granny Smith), Mrs. Craventsteinóthe church secretary, Mrs. Walker, the town gossip who overdresses like she were going to a gala event, and Mr. McIntosh, the retired mailman, whoís forever munching on grapes. Theyíre all thankful Mr. Cortland is part of their group since he was a baker in his day and always brings one of his desserts. His awesome strawberry shortcake oozes with the most red, delicious fruit ever!

Too bad my binoculars donít pick up sound, although, sometimes Mrs. Walker yaps loud enough for me to hear bits of the latest juice. Even though I donít usually hear much, itís fun enough to watch them. Granny talks a lot with her hands. Itís a shame I canít figure out what sheís saying.

Iím quite good at concealing clues and facts, so you better swear to keep things under wraps. If anything gets out, Iíll know you blabbed. My work is top secret and nobody knows Iím undercover. If you blow the lid, Iíll have to kill you.

When Granny Smith comes for dinner, she sometimes brings Mr. Cortland. Dessert is always on him. When they leave, her perfume lingers around for a long time, just like that fruitcake Mr. Cortland once brought.

Iíll take the smell of her sickening-sweet raspberry body splash over that fruitcake any day. Actually, I could do without that disgusting fruitcake altogether, but I bet it would bounce high enough for me to score a basket. I asked Mr. Cortland to bring his famous apple pie or cherry torte next time. Now, those I can get into!

My mother said Granny Smithís the grandmother she never had. She calls my mom ďRed,Ē just like her hair and calls me ďThe Little Whippersnapper.Ē I think thatís a good thing. It must mean Iím smart. I bet sheíd think I was a genius if she knew I was a spy.

My secret better be safe with you or else. Granted, the least of my problems will be when Mr. Cortland cuts me off as far as his fruit-filled goodies. I canít say Iíd blame him. Who wants a nosy body for a neighbor? But, I really donít want to have to knock you off. Thatís a problem Iíd rather not deal with.

Well, the fruits of my investigations have taught me a thing or two. For oneóspying on the old cronies has proven I donít need other boys to have fun and, twoóGranny Smith may be a little sour at times, but sheís all right in my book.

Thanks to she and her cronies, Iíve developed my skill. Iíll have to thank her when Iím asked to play the next James Bond in what just might be called, ďPink Lady With the Golden Finger.Ē

I think I smell a blockbuster!

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This article has been read 893 times
Member Comments
Member Date
janet rubin10/17/05
Clever and amusing from title to end. Fun!
Helga Doermer10/17/05
A fun and fruity tale. :-)
Pat Guy 10/19/05
'If anything gets out, Iíll know you blabbed. My work is top secret and nobody knows Iím undercover. If you blow the lid, Iíll have to kill you.' Favorite part! I had a blast reading this. This is clever, creative, and 'Delicious' to read! Loved it!
Alexandra Wilkin10/20/05
You got right under the skin of your character and had me transfixed from start to finish. Wonderful. God bless.
Suzanne R10/20/05
Fun! Very clever!
Anita Neuman10/20/05
Funny, funny, funny!
Linda Watson Owen10/20/05
So cute!! A really fun read!
Laurie Glass 10/21/05
This is too cute. Definitely enjoyed reading this one. And your secrets are safe with me. lol
Brandi Roberts10/21/05
I love the hint of James Bond titles at the end that mixes with apples. "007 Apple Crisp" LOL That's what I should call my husband's apple crisp! Highly enjoyable and EXTREMELY cute. You got it just right!
Garnet Miller 10/21/05
I had so much fun reading this piece. What a coincidence, when I was growing up in Maryland I lived on North street and there was a yellow Victorian house on the corner with a wrap around porch. The tree outside didn't contain fruit but a nest of angry bees that chased us home every time we passed that yard after school. Oh, the fun we had! Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I needed that.
Kristin Slavik10/22/05
Great entry! I love fresh points of view and this one has it big time!
Good luck and God Bless.
Joanne Malley10/23/05
I wonder if anyone found all 22 names of apples/fruits? :) Here they are:
Johnathan, Spencer, Northern Spy, Granny Smith, Crabapple, Rome, Empire, Cortland, Kumquat, Rome Beauty, Peaches, Bananas, Cravenstein, Gala, McIntosh, Grapes, Strawberry, Red Delicious, Raspberry, Apple, Cherry, Pink Lady.
Lynda Lee Schab 10/24/05
Oh, too fun! I loved it - the humor is great and the storyline and perspective is priceless.
Bursting with originality and creativity!
Jan Ackerson 10/24/05
Joanne, this was so good! My dad used to have an orchard, so I had a blast picking out all of the names of fruit. And you managed to fit them in while still having a fully plotted, entertaining story. Bravo!
Deborah Porter 10/24/05
Jo, this was delighful and clever. Well done. I just wanted to stop by and let you know that you ranked 12th in the Level 3 list, and 20th overall (out of 135 entries). So well done! There really wasn't much separating the entries in the top 30. Love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)