The Dirty Rotten Grandma!
Next to Christmas, birthdays are one of the best days of the year; not because it was the day you were born, but because you get presents! Two days ago was Gordon's birthday, and his Uncle Ivan gave him $100.00 to take Paulo and me to a football game in the city. My dad agreed to drive us, and early Saturday morning we piled into the back of the car, full of excitement.
"The tickets are $30.00 each," said Gordon, "which leaves us $10.00 left over for drinks."
"They'll be cheaper at the grocery store," said Paulo. "That's where we should head as soon as we're dropped off."
"Good idea," agreed Gordon.
It was a two hour ride to the city, and unfortunately for us, my dad spent an hour and fifty nine minutes of the ride warning us all about the dangers of the city. We were told to stick together at all times, (even when going to the bathroom), avoid strangers, watch out for pickpockets, thieves and muggers, keep our money hidden and about one hundred other things our parents had been telling us since we were little. Sometimes I really wish parents came with an On/Off button. After all, we aren't babies. We know how to take care of ourselves. Gordon had the $100.00 safely hidden in the back pocket of his jeans, where no pickpocket, thief or mugger could possibly get it. We were way too smart for any city criminals.
We finally arrived in the city and my dad dropped us off in front of the stadium.
"I'll be back in three hours," my dad reminded us. "Meet me right here after the game."
"Thanks for the ride," said Paulo.
"Bye, dad!" I shouted, slamming the door before he could add anything else to his list of warnings about crime in the big city.
"We still have some time before the game starts," said Gordon. "Let's head to the nearest grocery store and get some cold drinks."
We walked about three blocks until we found a grocery store and entered the huge building. It was at least twice the size of anything in our town, and we wandered around for a few minutes before we finally found the beverage aisle.|
"Pssst!" whispered Gordon. "Don't look, but I think we're being followed!"
Paulo and I immediately turned around.
"I don't see anyone following us," I said. "You're just paranoid because of my dad's lecture in the car."
"No, I'm sure we're being followed," insisted Gordon. "I'll prove it. Come with me." Gordon ducked into the frozen food aisle. A minute later he stole a glance over his shoulder.
"There she is again! Don't look!" he warned.
"Who? That old lady?" I asked, turning around.
"Yes," hissed Gordon. "She followed us into the store, and then she was behind us in the beverage aisle, and now she's coming toward us again!"
"Gordon, that old lady's not a mugger," said Paulo. "We're supposed to watch out for thieves and pickpockets, not old ladies!! What harm can she do?"
"Excuse me," the old lady said in a shaky voice, causing the three of us to practically jump out of our skins.
"I noticed you boys when you first came into the store," she said. Gordon shot us a look that said, See? I told you!
"I'm sorry for following you around. It's just that you remind me so much of my poor grandson," she continued, pointing to Gordon.
"Me?" said Gordon.
"Yes. He looks just like you. The same hair colour, the same height, even the same haircut," she sighed. "He moved away last year and I never get to see him anymore." She looked at us with watery eyes.
"That's awful," said Gordon. "You must miss a great kid like that."
"Yes, I do. I was wondering…if it wouldn't be too much trouble, do you think you could say good-bye to me when I'm leaving the store, and maybe call me 'grandma' so I can pretend it's really him?"
"Sure," said Gordon. "If it will make you feel better."
"Oh, I know it will," said the old lady.|
We got our drinks and then followed the old lady to the line up at the check-out counter. She went first, slowly putting her groceries on the counter to be rung in. Gordon, Paulo and I picked out some candy while we waited our turn. The old lady scooped up her bags and started to walk away. Then she turned and waved to Gordon.
"Good-bye, dear!" she called out sweetly.
Gordon waved and called out in a loud, clear voice,
"Good-bye, grandma!" and the old lady left the store. Through the front window of the store we could see her get into a taxicab. She slammed the door shut and it quickly sped away.
The cashier rung in our three drinks and chocolate bars and then it happened. "That'll be ninety-eight dollars and sixty-three cents, boys," she said.
"What? For three drinks and three chocolate bars? I think you've made a mistake," protested Gordon.
"No," said the cashier. "Your sweet old grandmother said you'd be paying for her groceries today, too."
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Book 1 - The Dead Bird Collection
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