Wonder 14

Charlie

I had a big adventure today. Mom said I could go to the park, all by myself.

First I had to pass the phone test.

What do you press in an emergency? Star Red.

What do you press to call or text home? Star Green.

When do you press Star Red? Whenthereisdangertolifelimborproperty.

Is it an emergency if a squirrel runs in front of a car? It is, but not to the emergency people. Only to the squirrel, to us, and maybe to other friendly people. So if that happens, you can ask other friendly people to help, but you don’t press Star Red.

When do you press Star Green? Any time you feel like it ’cause it’s home! You can press Star Green if a squirrel runs in front of a car because we’re friendly people and we care about that. And I would press Star Green then because Mae and Tia Berry would for reals know what to do.

So, Mae gave me money for the train, and I got on the train that said W. S. Park, for Windenburg Super Park, but when I got off, it was a different park.

It was a park I’d never seen before.

I saw this gardener guy. He had a big smile. So I asked him, “Hey, what would you do if a squirrel ran in front of a car?”

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“First I’d yell to try to get the squirrel to stop,” he said. “Then I’d wave to try to get the driver to stop or swerve. Then, if I had to, I’d jump out into the street! But don’t you do that, OK?”

That’s how I knew this was a good guy, because he cared about the squirrels. So I asked him, “Where am I?”

“Why, you’re in Willow Springs Park!” he said. “Don’t you live around here?”

He was surprised when I told him I lived in Windenburg.

This girl came over. “My grandma lives in Windenburg,” she said. “It’s very far away.”

So that’s why the train ride was so long!

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“Oh, good luck getting home,” said this mustache-guy. “The last train to Windenburg left ten minutes ago.”

I thought that was pretty cool! I mean, isn’t that how all adventures start? I figured I could sleep in an old log over that I saw over in the distance. I’d make a fort and sleep there all night, and then I’d even get to miss school the next day!

“Lucky for you I’m headed that way,” said the gardener. “I spend Sunday afternoons in the Windenburg Park, so as soon as I finish up here, I’ll give you a lift back to your park.”

I guess I’ll have to sleep in a log another day.

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It was fun riding in the gardener’s truck. It was all bumpy and he put on loud music and we rolled down the windows and sang at the top of our lungs about Genghis Khan.

When we got to the Windenburg Super Park, he made sure I had train fare for home and that I knew where the train stop was and that I knew when the train was coming and how to find out what time it was, and then he got to work picking radishes and I saw Max from school.

I was a little worried to see Max at first. He was on the kickball team that lost and he was the one that made Pierce cry for calling him a crybaby loser.

But when I told Max about my adventure, he said it was really cool.

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He’s got a low voice like a toad down in the gravel, and he croaked, “Alors!  I have never been to Willow Springs! You just won King of Adventure!”

“Ta da!” I shouted.

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“I tell you what,” he said. “We’ll form a gang. Park Raiders! We’ll go to all the parks and eat all the hot dogs and tofu dogs and grilled fruit and hamburgers and veggie burgers! Raiders of the Lost Park!”

Oh, man! I think me and Max are gonna be great friends.

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Getting home was so boring: six-thirty the train came and I got on and I found my money and I paid it and I got home and I got off on the right stop. But along the way, we saw a squirrel run out into a street and everybody rolled down their window and said “Run, little squirrel!” and so the squirrel stopped and gave that puzzled squirrel look and then it ran right up into this big giant tree so we all clapped and everybody got home safe and sound.

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