Middle Grade Fiction, Short Story Middle Grade

SHORT FICTION: A Week in the Life of Ginger Wilde by Sophie Crockett

This week has not been a very good week, mammy said it was because of the full moon, I guess werewolves have this problem which I thought was pretty cool but still, I wish this week had gone better!

The first thing that happened was the mashed potatoes at school, were again dished out using an ice cream scoop (yuck!) I use this as a way to determine how my week is going to be and it turned out to be a true prediction.

– Monday –

Monday started with me sleeping late and  as usual not wanting  to go to school because I was so tired and I was having the most wonderful dream, I was a superhero saving the town from evil monsters, well they weren’t monsters exactly they were giant pastries but they were pretty nasty.

Being tired is my fault though because I always stay up late reading, I was reading about a fantastic woman, a scientist called Marie Curie and I couldn’t put the book down so she should have the blame and not me, but daddy didn’t see it that way and came up and tipped water on my head which was not the best way to wake someone up in my opinion but it seems to be dad’s favourite, I put this down to him being a plumber and liking water.

I then had to rush to get dressed and could only find odd socks which I knew was a bad omen, I nearly missed the school bus but luckily I managed to catch it.

When I got to school I got out of going to assembly and could go straight to doing my art project, I love getting all sticky with glue and sticking all the art materials I can find onto a piece of A4 paper, I call myself a modern artist and imagine myself showing exhibitions at the Tate Gallery in London one day.

I went into the art room and found a pink bubble gum in my jeans pocket I don’t know how long it had been there, but it had been through the washing machine quite a few times but still it was very tempting so I thought it would be a shame to waste it, so I peeled the wrapper off secretly because eating sweets is not allowed in school, I put it in my mouth and started chewing.

I decided I wanted to make the biggest bubble I could and beat my own record which would be hard because I have made some pretty big gum bubbles in my time if I may say so myself, so I started blowing and I made a huge pink bubble when Natalie noticed me.

Now Natalie is a tell-tale she said “I am going to tell” so before she had a chance to go tell Miss. Jones, I popped the bubble but because it had gotten so big it did a very strange thing and flew out of my mouth,  flew across the room straight into Natalie’s hair!

She went totally hysterical and started crying and shouting, Miss. Jones came running in and seen the bubble gum she took Natalie out of the room and I waited for my fate, I knew Natalie would tell all so I just carried on playing with the arts and crafts until I was called into the head-mistresses office.

Finally Miss. Jones came back into the art room and said that the head-teacher wanted to see me I got up slowly like one condemned to death and went to her office.

I knocked on the door and was told to “enter” now I will tell you a bit about Mrs.Nayo she is very scary, she is like a dinosaur! Every kid in school is scared of her, she has eyes that can pierce right into you and she makes you wish that you could just fall through the floor, I always try to imagine her with pink cake all over her face as that makes her look less scary.

I go into her office and she tells me to sit down, I flop down on the massive chair that she has opposite her desk and wait for her to tell me off, I look at the floor trying to look as guilty as possible for my crime.

She looks down at me and says how disappointed she is to hear what I have done, how Natalie will have to have her hair cut, how I should know that the school does not allow sweets, she says that if I  apologise to Natalie then she wont phone my parents but will still have to write them a note, telling them about my naughtiness, I agree to apologise to Natalie.

I find Natalie and tell her that I am sorry for putting gum in her hair but I also tell her that 1. it was an accident and 2. if she wasn’t such a tell-tale then this wouldn’t have happened, I then walk away feeling that I have done my duty.

I go and tell Miss. Jones that I have said sorry to Natalie and she tells me to sit down, I sit at my desk and then Miss. Jones tells the class that we are going to be doing a Mental Math test, I now really wish that I had practised my times-tables last night instead of reading about Marie Curie. The papers are handed out and we have one hour to complete it I look at the clock,11.00am we have got until 12.00pm I look at the first question, it doesn’t make sense so I go to question 2 again I don’t get it, I try to concentrate but my mind keeps wandering I can’t help thinking about all sorts of things, I think of what it must be like to be a bird, I imagine myself wearing a  giant cake costume and I think about how I can open up my own flea or lice circus.

When I look at the clock again its 11.45am and I haven’t done one question! This is not good! I try to concentrate again but my mind just wont focus and before I know it, the clock has struck 12.00pm.

Well could today have gotten any worse?

It turns out that yes it can and yes it did first of all it started raining and I didn’t bring a coat, and then of course I had the letter to give mum and dad and I also missed the school bus because I was looking for my lunch box which I am convinced someone had stolen because is such a good lunch box, I have put so many fruit stickers on it that’s it practically a collectable.

So I missed the school bus and had to walk home getting soaking wet which I didn’t really mind but it is a long walk home and my legs started to hurt.

I got home and gave the letter from Mrs. Nayo to mammy and daddy they get mad at me first for getting so wet and then for the bubble gum, I try to explain but they don’t listen, I am always to blame and nobody ever listens to me!

Mammy tells me to go and have a bath and then go straight to my room and do some homework.

What a terrible day! Although the bubble gum was nice while it lasted.

– Tuesday –

Today started better I got up early and had time for breakfast, mammy made eggs on toast which wasn’t my ideal meal but mammy said I should start eating better, I would have preferred chocolate coated cereal, but you can’t have everything I suppose.

I managed to catch the bus and my best friend Polly is back in school after being away for a week because she had nits but nobody knows that was the reason she was off school but me. I sit next to Polly and tell her what happened yesterday, I look around the bus and Natalie isn’t on it maybe she is at the hairdressers?

Polly tells me that I was wrong, she can be such a goody-too-shoes sometimes, she also tells me that my hair hasn’t been brushed as well as it could have and my shoes are muddy, its not my fault that she is always Miss. Perfect, and my hair is always wild it just does it own thing, I sometimes imagine that it has a mind of its own, I sometimes think maybe little animals could live in there, I could look after them and take them everywhere with me.

We arrive at school and today is swimming day and I have forgotten my swimming costume, Miss. Jones calls me a scatter-brain and born-idle and goes to look for a spare costume that I could use.

She brings some bathers back and YUCK! They are horrible, they are bright pink and must have been stuffed in a box for a hundred years.

“Miss. Jones, I don’t like them” I say

“Now Ginger you don’t have a choice because you forgot your own, you must wear these, now I want to hear no more about it”

I see Polly is going to laugh, she always laughs at my misfortunes just because she remembers everything and is always such a good girl she thinks that she can laugh at me because I like to imagine things and hate bright pink bathers.

We arrive at the swimming pool and I change into those horrible, disgusting bathers, Polly laughs at me because I look like an idiot and she has on a lovely white, frilly swimsuit, I wish that I had remembered mine. We get into the swimming pool and start having our swimming lesson, our swimming instructor is teaching everyone to float and to kick our legs but I already know how to swim and so I find this so boring!

So I decide to do my own thing and start to do some back-stroking, I am looking up at the ceiling and I am picturing myself as a beautiful mermaid swimming in the pacific ocean when my head hits a ladies butt she is so startled that she screams and goes under the water, she comes back up and her make-up has run all down her face and she is looking at me in anger, the only thing I can think of is my head hit someone’s butt EWWW!

“What a naughty girl you are” says the woman

I quickly swim back to my class who hasn’t even realise that I had gone, I pretend that I had been there the entire time and I float and start kicking my legs.

Schools over and I decide to walk home to get some air, I pick some wild flowers on my way home to give to mammy as she has a performance tonight and I knew she would  be nervous. I get home and give the flowers to mammy she makes a big fuss over them and gives me a hug, I can see that she is flustered and she keeps going over and over her lines. I go into the living room, Richard is in there practising his dancing, I ask him to show me some moves, he always hates trying to teach me because I don’t get the French words and I want to jump about he says that I am “undisciplined”  he’s so intelligent, sometimes I wish I were more like him.

Mammy leaves to go to her performance, daddy sits down to watch the rugby, I go outside to play in the rain and mud and try to get Alfie to move but he wont and Richard is still practising his dancing.

– Wednesday –

It’s Polly’s birthday today! I am very excited I have made her a friendship bracelet it took me all night and I am quite proud of how it turned out apart from the fact that I spelt friend wrong but it’s the thought that counts well that’s what mammy says anyway.

Polly’s parents wont let her have a party so she is coming over to my house and we’re going to go for some food and then play in the park, Richard can’t come as he has class which I am a little sorry about but he’s happier there. I run down stairs to get breakfast and mammy is looking sad,

“What’s wrong?” I ask

Mammy says that the performance last night went horribly wrong and she forgot her lines on stage! The director was so mad that he wont let her perform on stage any more, she says that means she is going to have to look for another job. I know this is bad and I give mammy a hug and wish I could make her feel better, but I know there is nothing I can do as I don’t run my own theatre company, I tell her that if I were a director I would give her the lead role, she kisses me on the cheek and I run off to catch the school bus.

Polly is on there and I dive over to her

“Happy Birthday to you, you live in a zoo, you look like a monkey and you smell like one too!” I sing in my wonderful voice and then I give the bracelet to her.

“you spelt friend wrong” she said

“don’t be ungrateful” I reply

She gives me a hug and we start talking about the fun we are going to have later on at my house, well at least that’s what we thought.

All we talked about all day at school was the fun we were going to have but then disaster struck, me and Polly were playing football out in the playground, I run at her to get the ball and she falls to the floor and starts screaming, I panic and call for Miss. Jones, she takes Polly to the school nurse but they have to phone an ambulance they think she has broken her ankle.

I feel awful, it was an accident, I can’t stop crying so Miss. Jones phones daddy to come and get me, he hugs me and tells me it was not my fault but I still feel awful, my stomach starts to hurt and I am sick everywhere in the car, all the pizza I had for lunch is now all over the car seat, tomato and cheese crust everywhere.

Daddy carries me into the house and I ask mammy to phone Polly’s mother to see if Polly is okay, she puts me to bed first with a glass of water, I can’t stop crying, what if Polly has broken her ankle? Its all my fault, I cry myself to sleep, clutching teddy.

After a few hours I run downstairs and beg mammy to phone Polly’s mother she does and looks quite upset after the phone call

“Hows Polly?” I ask

She tells me to sit down “Ginger, Polly has broken her ankle and her mother thinks it is best that you don’t play with her any more.”

I feel so sad, but me and Polly are best friends, what will I do without her telling me off? I will be even worse than I am now!

Mammy says that she will speak to Polly’s mother again tomorrow but tells me not to worry too much, she says its just because Polly’s mother is upset at the moment but hopefully she will calm down soon.

Its okay for her to say that and that’s how my plans for Polly’s birthday were ruined.

– Thursday –

I went to school very sad, I couldn’t stop thinking of Polly and her mother, I had to try to improve myself so that Polly’s mum will let me play with her again. I will try to be a better person and not moan so much, I wont even complain about the mashed potatoes being picked up by an ice-cream scoop, I decide that I will become a new person.

Natalie was back at school with her new haircut it wasn’t that bad actually, I thought she looked better but she still scowled at me as she walked passed, I shall never mention the word “bubble gum” again.

In class today we had to write a story about what has happened to us recently I decided to write about Polly and her ankle and her mother being nasty, I wrote and wrote and even when we could stop I carried on writing I really enjoy writing stories.

I did make a lot of stuff up like I made Polly’s mother an ogre and I made my mother a famous actress who performs in movies, I make myself an innocent bystander whilst Polly was attacked by a troll.

We were sent to lunch and I was sitting all alone, thinking, I really wasn’t hungry, I was picking off the crusts of my sandwiches when Natalie comes over with her friends they start picking on me, and making fun of my jumper which granny had knitted for me, okay, granny is short-sighted and the cat on my jumper does look a little weird but it doesn’t give them the right to say it!

I start getting very angry and before I know what I was doing I threw my cup of squash right in Natalie’s face! She starts crying and the dinner lady comes running over.

“GINGER!” she shouts “to the head-mistress this instant!”

So off I go again to the head-mistresses office, I may as well live there, I get told off again and get giving a warning, which is a big deal because if you get three warnings then you are expelled.

Its not fair, no-one said anything to Natalie and it was totally her fault but no-one here ever listens to me.

I start feeling sad again because what if Polly’s mother finds out about the “warning” she definitely wont let me be friends with Polly again, I find a place in the playground on my own and start to read, pretty soon I get engrossed in my book and I start imaging things again, I imagine that the cat on my jumper is real, I imagine that I am dressed in a knights armour and I go to Polly’s house and I rescue her from her mother.

I walk home from school feeling sad when I get home mammy and daddy see how sad I am and they come over and give me a big hug, I then got to get ready because we are going to visit Granny.

– Friday –

It was nice seeing Granny, she is so funny and she played on the piano for us even though her eyesight is going she can still play the piano beautifully, mammy and daddy says that Richard gets his talents from Granny and I think their right.

I start feeling really ill at school, I start feeling very hot and I start to look as red as a tomato, my throat starts to really hurt and all my body starts to ache.

Miss. Jones sent me to the school nurse and she says that I have the flu so the nurse has to phone mammy to come and take me home.

I am feeling really down, mammy makes up a little bed for me on the sofa, I have a nice cold cloth on my head and cartoons are on the television but I keep thinking of all the things that have happened this week, especially Polly, I miss her so much.

The suddenly there is a knock at the door, I don’t pay any attention but in walks Polly on crutches and her foot is all in plaster.

I quickly jump up from the sofa, mammy tells me that I need to lay back down, Polly comes and sits by me

“Your cast looks so cool” I say

“I know, do you want to sign it?” Polly says

I sign my name on Polly’s cast and sign it with a love heart,

Ginger is the best ❤

mammy comes in with cookies and milk and says that Polly wont be able to stay long because she may catch my virus. I don’t want Polly to be unwell so I agree, I cough and all phlegm comes up from my chest its all on my hands and I go to rub it on Polly.

“EWWW, don’t” laughs Polly

“Don’t do that Ginger” mammy says and she wipes my hands with a handkerchief.

Polly lays next to me and we watch cartoons together and laugh and tell each other everything that has happened since the last time we saw each other, I tell her about throwing the squash in Natalie’s face and how I got  a warning from school and Polly tells me that her Auntie was the one who finally managed to convince her mother to let her play with me again, I make a mental note to make a nice picture to thank Polly Aunt.

After eating all nice things, laughing at the cartoons on the TV we finally fall asleep next to each other on the sofa, mammy wakes Polly up and takes her home, I don’t wake up I carry on sleeping and smiling. I am having the best dream, me and Polly are living in medieval times we are riding on horseback through the beautiful fields as the sun sets behind us.

– Saturday –

Because I haven’t been well grandpa has bought me and Richard new bikes, he bought them from the market and had them cheap because they are “seconds” I think that means that they can’t be sold in proper shops because they have little defects but they are still in working order.

This is really great because I have wanted a new bike for what seems like forever and I can’t wait to  get out to try it, mammy is a little weary of letting me go out because I wasn’t well yesterday but I manage to convince her that the fresh air will do me good so I take out my new bike, I ride it around the park and am having a really fun time when suddenly the handle-bars feel wobbly and the brakes don’t work. I start to panic and then the handle-bars completely come off I am riding a bike with no handle-bars and it seems like I am going to ride it straight into the duck pond.

I have to jump off the bike onto the concrete path, I scrape my knees and elbows and I am still holding the handle-bars. My new bike goes straight into the duck pond, luckily nobody is around because there is nothing worse than when you fall over for everyone to gather around you and ask if your alright, I just want to cry and run away on my own. I quickly get up and the tears start flowing down my face, nothing ever goes right! I make my way home and mammy and daddy are shocked to see what I look like, I am dirty and have scrapes and cuts everywhere.

Mammy takes my upstairs to the bathroom and cleans me all up, by the time she has finished I look like an Egyptian mummy. Richard comes home and his bike is fine, he says its because I “worked it to hard” what else are you supposed to do with a bike I would like to know? Little brothers, who would have them?

Mammy promises to buy me a new bike one that isn’t a “second” I think I am going to go play in the garden, nothing can happen out there right?

I find a stick and start digging holes in the dirt, Alfie sleepily comes outside and I go and pick him up because its rare to see him actually awake but I can’t hold him because he is so heavy so I quickly drop him much to his anger, he hisses at me and runs off. Even Alfie is mad at me! Oh well, I go back to digging holes and imagine that I am an archaeologist in Egypt this goes very well  because I already look like an Egyptian mummy.

I am engrossed in this thinking when I realise that its getting dark so I go back into the house, mammy sees how dirty I am

“Oh, Ginger getting you clean is a never ending battle”

“flowers grow in dirt mammy” I say

She laughs and says she can’t disagree with that fact, she tickles me and tells me to go have a bath, I run upstairs and start feeling really tired, I go into my room and decide to lay down just for five minutes before I go to bathe but before I know it I am fast asleep.

I dream of being in charge of my own archaeological expedition we dig and dig and after feeling very weary we finally find something very interesting….. we find dinosaur bones!

****

After thinking of it maybe this week hasn’t been so bad after all, I can’t wait to see what next week has to bring!

But whatever happens I know as long as I got my family with me and my friends then everything will be okay.

___________________

Sophie Crockett

Sophie lives in an ex-mining village in the South Wales valleys, she suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome and other mental illness; despite this she is a qualified counsellor, children’s counsellor, cognitive behavioural therapist and mindfulness therapist.

Sophie loves writing whimsical, delightful stories for children to increase the child’s imagination and always encourages them to step into a magical world where she hopes a love of reading will be installed in them forever.

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