Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Fruit (10/10/05)
TITLE: Johnathan Spencer for Hire
By Joanne Malley
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Hi. I’m Johnathan Spencer. I’m eleven. You can call me Johnny.
My alias is Northern Spy since I live on North Avenue. I’m like James Bond, but without the ladies. Give me time; I’m 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 house—especially the wrap around porch. She thinks it’s charming like Granny Smith. She’s originally from Rome and left behind an empire to be with Mr. Cardonna, the love of her life.
He’s not around any more; he died ten years ago. But, I think Mr. Cortland, her next-door neighbor, may be making his move. That’s what my detective brain tells me, anyway. I heard him call her his Little Kumquat several times.
She’s 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. It’s 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 “Fruits of Love” 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, (who’s bananas for Granny Smith), Mrs. Craventstein—the church secretary, Mrs. Walker, the town gossip who overdresses like she were going to a gala event, and Mr. McIntosh, the retired mailman, who’s forever munching on grapes. They’re 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 don’t pick up sound, although, sometimes Mrs. Walker yaps loud enough for me to hear bits of the latest juice. Even though I don’t usually hear much, it’s fun enough to watch them. Granny talks a lot with her hands. It’s a shame I can’t figure out what she’s saying.
I’m quite good at concealing clues and facts, so you better swear to keep things under wraps. If anything gets out, I’ll know you blabbed. My work is top secret and nobody knows I’m undercover. If you blow the lid, I’ll 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.
I’ll 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 Smith’s the grandmother she never had. She calls my mom “Red,” just like her hair and calls me “The Little Whippersnapper.” I think that’s a good thing. It must mean I’m smart. I bet she’d 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 can’t say I’d blame him. Who wants a nosy body for a neighbor? But, I really don’t want to have to knock you off. That’s a problem I’d rather not deal with.
Well, the fruits of my investigations have taught me a thing or two. For one—spying on the old cronies has proven I don’t need other boys to have fun and, two—Granny Smith may be a little sour at times, but she’s all right in my book.
Thanks to she and her cronies, I’ve developed my skill. I’ll have to thank her when I’m asked to play the next James Bond in what just might be called, “Pink Lady With the Golden Finger.”
I think I smell a blockbuster!
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