“Aunt Lenore was a small old woman with a wobbly bun perched on her head. She had an owl named Agatha who was always perched on her shoulder. Aunt Lenore spent her days sewing and embroidering new clothes, which she sent to my family in big, bright pink boxes. Nobody knew what her house looked like.”
Aunt Lenore was a small old woman with a wobbly bun perched on her head. She had an owl named Agatha who was always perched on her shoulder. Aunt Lenore spent her days sewing and embroidering new clothes, which she sent to my family in big, bright pink boxes. Nobody knew what her house looked like. She hadn’t had visitors in 47 years, and her only electronic device was a phone bolted to the wall. Enough about her though. Let’s get to me.
“Miss Meadow! Miss Meadow!” the postman yelled. I looked up from my book, confused. Meadow was my rabbit. “You have a package from Miss Lenore!”
Why would my rabbit have a package? I ran down the stairs and opened the door. The postman was standing behind a huge box, red-faced and sweaty, probably from carrying that box all the way here.
“Thanks, Mr. Postman, but I’ll take it from here,” I said.
I lugged the box inside and got out some kitchen scissors. But when I tried to cut it open, the scissors bounced off the tape. It was like rubber. I examined the box from all angles. The only clue I found was a small label on one corner of the box. It read: xxxmailersxxx has sponsored this delivery. I peeled the label off and grabbed my bike out of the garage. Wheeling it out, I realized something. Wouldn’t my parents freak out if I wasn’t at home? I left a hastily scribbled note: gone out to mailers. Then, I hopped on my bike and began the 4-hour ride to the offices of the mailers who had sponsored the delivery of the package from my odd Aunt Lenore.
“Name?” a grumpy old man asked when I walked through the door. “And business?”
I sighed. I had ridden all this way just to be interrogated by an old man. “My name is Nora Almentine, and I’m here to talk to the person who sponsored the delivery from Miss Lenore Almentine.”
“Eh? Related, are you?”
“Yes, now can I talk to the person who sponsored the delivery of Miss Lenore A?”
He chuckled. “I got us off track, didn’t I? Now, yes, I’ll take you to the office of Mr. Harold Druchins.”
He led me to a small room made entirely of glass. There was a table in the corner with a black swivel chair and a computer on top. Harold turned out to be a tall man with slicked black hair and a tuxedo. His eyes were ice blue, and his gaze made me want to run away and hide somewhere. But I couldn’t do that. He was my only chance of finding out how to open that box from Aunt Lenore, and then I could finally figure out what was in it!
“Hello Nora, I am Mister Harold L. Druchins. I have helped one thousand people with your situation, so I guarantee that I will not fail,” he said, sounding out all the syllables clearly.
“Ok,” I peeped. But I believed him. If he couldn’t open the box, I didn’t know who could.
I told Harold everything. I told him about the box, how it was addressed to my rabbit, and how it wouldn’t open.
“Do you have a sample of the tape?” he asked. I shook my head. “All right then,” he sighed. “Meet me tomorrow at my office with a sample of the cardboard and of the tape. If you can’t get it off, just lug the whole box behind you.”
That night, I chopped and stabbed at the tape as hard as I could, but I couldn’t get the tape off. The cardboard, however, was easy. So the next day, I hopped on my bike and began the familiar ride to xxxmailersxxx. Harold was waiting for me there.
“Well?” he gruffed. I guess he wasn’t done with his coffee. Grown-ups are always grumpy until they finish their coffee.
“Um, I could cut the cardboard, but not the tape,” I murmured, my old nervousness under his gaze returning.
“Well? Why did you visit, you fool! Just slice off a side! Then the box is open! Boom, magic, and THEN YOU CAN LEAVE ME ALONE TO DRINK MY COFFEE!” he yelled.
Knew it. He hadn’t finished his coffee. He turned and left me there. Alone. I shrugged it off, too excited to care that I was yelled at by an office worker.
When I got home, I immediately sliced off the side of the box. Inside was…
“Aunt Lenore!?” I gasped.
“Yes,” she said in a sly voice. “And don’t get all piffywiddles, I just came here to tell you a story.”
“What story?” I asked, suddenly wondering if everything I was told was a lie. Was the Earth really round? Were there really 50 states?
“My story,” she said.
“But– you can’t remember enough to tell stories!” I blurted.
“Yes I can,” she said.
“Why’d you address the package to my bunny?” I asked. Where were these questions even coming from?
“Well, Meadow was the only name that I could remember in this household! Funny, right?” She chuckled.
“Just tell the story. And stop stalling,” I growled.
She took a breath. “Ok. Here it is…”
“So, when I was little, I played video games all the time. When I was older, I bought a cottage. Now, they wanna demolish my cottage, and someone’s gotta stop them!!! THE END!” she said.
“That wasn’t much of a story…” I sighed.
“Well, does a story need to be long to be effective?” she asked sassily. “And next time, speak up! My ears aren’t in tip-top shape, y’know.”
I groaned. No one told me Aunt Lenore was so… well… sassy.
“Lady, did you just groan? Wow, you sure are a hard one to impress. Are you always a cloud like that on sunny days?” she snootily interrogated me.
I turned my nose away, to tell her that she wasn’t the only sassy one.
“All right, sassy niece, just tell me if you are gonna help me,” she smirked.
“What do you expect, Aunty L?” I asked her.
“Maybe… YES?” she pleaded.
“NO,” I snapped. “I’m sorry for what is going to happen to your house, but I really am not the person you want for this job. I’m clueless about clues, you see.”
“Oh, Nora,” Aunt Lenore snickered. “The only thing you need in this case is sass. There’s no clue finding, investigating, or any of that fifflesnorf. I’m only asking you to come to a hearing.”
“NO!” I yelled. “WHY CAN’T YOU HEAR ME THE FIRST TIME!? Look, I’m so, so sorry for what’s happening to your house, but I can’t!”
“Why? Is it that you just don’t want to help me? You’d rather just side with the public because it’d be too embarrassing to be on the side of your ol’ Aunt L?” she pressed.
Wow. This lady excels in sass. I knew there would only be one way out of this. Be on her side. “So, here’s the deal. I’m not siding with the public, because I think what they’re doing is awful. But I’m not siding with you, either. I didn’t even know this was happening until a couple of minutes ago! Do you expect me to just choose your side without information? How do I know you didn’t sign a contract and then turn on your word? But I’ll still be one of your biggest supporters, and I bet a lot of other kids will, even if we’re not in the room with you. The public made the wrong choice, and I fully disagree with that choice. So, I don’t know enough to fight in your favor, but I do know enough to side with you. So, if the public ever hears this: a citizen’s home is more important than a mall! Sure, a mall serves more people, but if you demolish a home, you’re making the citizen who lived there turn on you. I may not know why this is happening, but I do know it’s wrong. EXTREMELY wrong. So, if you make this decision, I will turn on you as well. Goodbye, government. I hope you make the right choice.” I said.
Aunt Lenore smirked. “Ha!” she laughed.
“What do you mean ‘ha’?” I asked.
But Aunt Lenore just kept on smirking, and then, FINALLY, she strolled right out of the door.
“Welcome to the morning news station! Today, we will be showing a LIVE hearing!” a way-too-cheery news reporter said gleefully into the screen. “Here we are, 9:35 AM, at the city’s town hall!”
The cameras showed a large, very fancy room, with one chair in the middle for my aunt Lenore. She walked in, with her gray hair half up, half down, little pink glasses perched on her nose, a pink tape recorder, pink jeans, and a white t-shirt.
“Hello, court,” she said, without a hint of sass. I was surprised. I didn’t know the lady could even breathe without sass.
“Hello,” the judge said. “Please sit in that chair, and state your argument.”
“People are on my side,” she simply said back. Hello again, Aunty L’s sass.
Then, she hit play on her tape recorder, and the speech I made yesterday was playing! ON TV! By the end, the judge was wiping her glassy eyes, and the court was flat-out bawling.
“Well, in — er by the order of the court, we demand people leave this lady’s house ALONE!” the judge yelled, her voice still wobbly.
I lept off of the couch and cheered. Everyone had been watching the hearing and had heard my voice. And my dad was bragging about it endlessly. He put together a parade barbecue party, all to celebrate how I stopped the demolition of the house. And “houses are more important than malls” became the town’s new motto. It was a day to remember.