Title: From Inside the Damp Drawers of Rupert P. Spittleton: Who cut the cheese?
Word count: 21K
Genre: MG Humorous Adventure
Wilbur “Reekie” Strange isn’t your typical paranoid, delusional Michigan fifth-grader. Under that tattered CIA t-shirt beats the heart of the next Sam Spade, a boy using his superhuman nose to be the greatest detective the world has ever seen, cracking cases and jokes with equal ease. In short, somebody who can even find the dad who walked out seven years ago.
When a necklace of ancient Carthaginian coins prove to be cheesy(smelling) fakes, Reekie’s on the trail and off to Sardinia over spring break. The one hitch in the plan: his homeroom nemesis Camila, a girl who spends far too much time worrying about “facts” and is as hard to shake as a bad habit.
Off the plane the kids walk into a scene right out of The Godfather. Reekie knows something fishy is going on. The catch is figuring if it’s the dollar-store Romeo trying to net Camila, their art-expert host, or the maggot-filled cheese squirming on the dinner table.
Some people say I have a nose for trouble. The problem is, trouble doesn't smell. Well not most of the time anyway. I guess this all started as soon as Mrs. Huey's art class was over. I shoved my planner into my locker, slammed the door and raced for the lunch line. You snooze you lose on chicken chunk day. Lefty and Hondo were there already and let me cut in ahead of the Mary Jane Mafia.
“Reekie Strange! Cheaters never prosper!” the glittery minions sang on cue. They might have been right though because when we finally got our trays the chicken chunks were sold out. Grilled cheese, sold out. Damp clods of tuna surprise, the lunch of last resort, fell onto our trays like huge spitballs - but without the fresh paper taste. Worse yet, there was more on the way judging by the cases stacked to the ceiling marked Treasure of the Sea Prime Tuna.
After cracking an art forgery ring and flooding the playground with new kickballs you'd think a guy would get some props around here. But no, not so much as a pudding cup. I made do with an apple as I dumped my tuna surprise, adding to the grayish glob taking over the trash can. My stomach was growling already.
“Later dudes!” I said, swinging my backpack over my shoulder and heading out the door. I'd only gone about five steps when I heard a loud hissing sound, like a balloon somebody couldn't knot. I stopped, it stopped.
Entry Nickname: Trailer Trap
Title: Experiment in Progress
Word Count: 40,000
Genre: MG Contemporary
Determined to get back in the main building, Alexis designs an experiment for her school science fair to prove that the trailer is dangerous. She and her partner Jaelynn demolish a model of the trailer with a leaf blower to show what would happen if a tornado hit Glenwood Elementary. The project wins the girls a third-place ribbon, an appearance on the local T.V. news, and an invitation to speak at the next school board meeting. Alexis thinks she’s won—until she learns that the school board plans to empty the trailer by transferring a busload of kids out of Glenwood. A busload made up of low-income students from the “wrong” side of town. A busload that includes Jaelynn.
Caught between her brother and her friend, Alexis must decide if she still wants out of the trailer at any cost.
If you ever run across one of the newspaper stories about my science project, don’t believe a word of it. Every single reporter got the story wrong.
Take The Canlaston Chronicle. That reporter asked why I decided to work with my partner, Jaelynn. He scribbled notes while I talked, but I don’t know why he bothered, because he must not have believed my answer. His article began, “A pair of rebel fifth graders, Alexis Reed and Jaelynn Moore, teamed up to create a controversial project for the annual Glenwood Elementary Science Fair.” But I wasn’t being a rebel when I asked Jaelynn to be my partner. I mean, I wasn’t thrilled with the start of the school year. Glenwood was more crowded than it had ever been before, so the fifth grade classes had been stuck in a portable building across the soccer field. My principal called it the “learning cottage.” Most people called it the trailer. Its classrooms had streaky dry erase boards with dried-out markers, while the classrooms in the main building had Smartboards. The air conditioner had broken down twice, and we’d only been in school for three weeks. And when I thought of my brother Lucas, left in the main building without me... well, I was trying very hard not to think about Lucas. But I wasn’t planning a rebellion. Not then.
I told the reporter the real story. The truth is, I became Jaelynn’s partner because of a boy band.