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Mickey and the Tired Purple Dragon ©

Joseph lived with his mother, father and his little brother Mickey. Mickey was a pest. Joseph was ten years old and Mickey was five. Every day in the summer when Joseph went out to play his mother told him he had to take Mickey. Not only did Joseph not want Mickey to tag along, but his friends didn’t want Mickey either. And Joseph especially hated it that Mickey dragged along his stuffed purple dragon that was missing two eyes.

Today was no different. Joseph got one foot out the door and his mother yelled, “Take Mickey with you.” Joseph yelled back, “I don’t want to.”

“Do you want me to call your father?”

“Gee mom. Why do I always have to take him?

His mom didn’t answer. Mickey came running out, dragging his purple dragon with him. He was always very happy to tag along after Joseph.

Today Joseph was playing with four of his friends on the block, Pete, Billy, Howard and Marty. Billy said, “Again we have to play with Mickey?” “And why is he dragging that eyeless purple monstrosity with him. Joseph just made a face. Mickey stood up for his dragon, “His eyes aren’t missing. They’re closed. He’s tired.”

Billy said to Joseph, “I have an idea. Let’s play hide and seek. They played for a while and then it was Mickey’s turn. Billy whispered to all the boys, “Let’s go visit Johnny around the block. When Mickey is counting, we’ll just disappear.”

Mickey started counting, “One, two you better hide quickly ‘cause I’m going to find you. Two, three, four, I am going to find all of you no matter how good you hide. Five, six, I’m coming soon. Then real quick, Mickey screamed “Eight, nine ten.”

He uncovered his eyes, turned around and didn’t see anyone. When they had played last week he saw part of Pete’s shirt from his hiding place behind a tree, and heard noises in the bushes where Marty hid. Today, everything was totally quiet—as though he were all alone.

Mickey looked under the porch in the front of the house. Then he looked under the deck in the back of the house. He opened the shed door, even though he was afraid there would be spiders in the shed. He stuck his head in the bushes. Still he found no one.

Mickey decided to look in the neighbor’s yard. When he didn’t see them there he continued going to other neighbors.

In the meanwhile, Joseph and his friends were playing ball a block away. They didn’t give even a thought about Mickey. They played for about two hours and then they all decided they were hungry and should go home. When Joseph got home, his mother asked, “Where is Mickey?”

“Isn’t he home?”


“Are you sure? Of course, I’m sure. He was supposed to be with you.”

“Gee mom, my friends were sick of him and when he was counting to ten for hide and seek, we ran off. I was sure he would just come back in the house.”

Joseph’s mother screamed, “That means he’s been missing for hours. I am going to run to that corner and yell for Mickey. I want you to run towards the other corner and yell for him.”

Joseph and his mom ran up and down the block yelling Mickey’s name. The only sound they heard in answer was each other yelling Mickey’s name. Then his mom ran in the house and called Joseph’s father.

Joseph’s father worked very close to home.

”Ellen, what is happening? You sound panicked.”

When she told him, he answered, “I am going home right away. In the meanwhile, call the police.

Joseph’s father got home just as the police drove into the driveway. Joseph watched as two huge men came out of the car. He had to hold his head way back to look up to their faces. One was a white guy and he wore a name tag on his shirt that read “Ryan O’Donnell.” The other was a very, dark man with a moustache. The name on his pocket read “Keith Brown.”

Officer O’Donnell asked, “Who was the last person to see Mickey?”

Joseph suddenly felt terrible. Mickey was missing and it was his fault. He thought about last night when it was thundering and lightening and Mickey was scared. He had run into Joseph’s bed and said, “Joey, please hug me.” Suddenly Mickey didn’t seem like a pest. He was his cute little brother that he loved.

“What does Mickey look like? What was he wearing?” Joseph had a picture in his mind of his brother. Today he was wearing a red and white striped shirt. The front was tucked in and the back was hanging out.

Joseph’s mom ran to get a picture of Mickey. In the picture he was smiling his crooked grin, and he had one tooth missing on the top and one on the bottom, not directly over each other. His red hair stood up straight and his green eyes looked right at Joseph.

Officer Brown said, “I want you to stay here so we can call you as soon as we hear something and in case he comes home by himself. We are going to call out his description on our car radio so that all of the policemen in the area will be looking for him.

Joseph’s dad had his arm around his mom, Ellen, who was crying in big loud sobs. Then his mom went to sit on the couch and his dad started pacing back and forth. He was speaking softly, asking God for help. “Please, please, return our little Mickey safe and sound.”

Joseph edged out the back door. The policemen had told his mom and dad to stay home, but not him. He was going to see if he could find Mickey.

First he went into their own back yard, and looked in all the places that Mickey hid when they played hide and seek. They he went to the neighbor on the right. He looked under their porch and in their shed. Then he went to the neighbor on the left and looked under their deck and in their pool house. Then he went two doors down on the right. He looked under their porch and then in their shed. They had a lot of lawn chairs and chaise lounges in their shed. Most of them were folded up, but one wasn’t. Mickey was sleeping on the one that wasn’t folded up, curled up and sucking his thumb. His other arm held his worn out eyeless dragon.

Joseph went over to him and shook his shoulder gently.  He suddenly felt his heart open wide and felt Mickey walk right inside. “Wake up Mickey. Everyone is looking for you. Why are you in here?”

“I got tired of looking for you, Joey, and, besides, my dragon was tired so we decided to lie down for a minute. Where were you?”

“Don’t worry about that now, Mickey, Let’s go home.”

Mickey rubbed his eyes and stretched his arms and then stood up. “I’m hungry. It must be time for lunch.”

Joseph took Mickey’s hand and together they hurried home.

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Nathan and Mr. Grotsky

By: Joan Gross

Rover was barking very loudly. Daniel and Nathan turned just in time to see Rover squeeze his big furry, red body through a hole in the fence and chase Mr. Grotsky down the street. Daniel and Nathan were laughing loudly. They tried to cover their mouths so no one would hear them.

They didn’t like Mr. Grotsky. He never said “hello,” and sometimes he yelled at them for making noise when they were playing outside.

Mr. Grotsky turned his head and yelled, “Darn dog. Get lost.” The dog growled at him and then jumped up and bit Mr. Grotsky’s behind.

Just then Rover’s owner came and whistled for Rover. Rover went running back to him. Mr. Grotsky’s face was covered with big red splotches and he yelled, shaking his finger, “Keep your dangerous dog locked up. Look what he did to my trousers.”

Rover’s owner said, “I am truly sorry. I will pay the cleaners to fix your pants.”

Mr. Grotsky muttered to himself and went back into his house.

Daniel said to Nathan, “I am going to be Rover and chase after you.” Nathan ran and Daniel scurried after him grabbing his belt, shaking it and making a growling noise.

Suddenly they both saw something peeking out of the bushes at the edge of the sidewalk. It was a wallet. Nathan picked it up. “It must belong to Mr. Grotsky.”

Daniel grabbed the wallet. “Let’s go to my house and see what’s in it.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” said Nathan. “I think we should ring his doorbell and give it back to him.”

“Aw, come on. As soon as we ring his bell he is going to yell at us. Let’s just see what Mr. Grotsky carries in his wallet. We can give it to him later.”

Daniel raced to his room with Nathan following slowly behind him. “Hurry up Nathan,” Daniel whispered, pulling him into his room and closing the door behind him.

They opened the wallet and saw a picture of a woman holding a baby. The baby stared straight ahead and wasn’t smiling. The woman looked very sad. Nathan said, “I think we should return the wallet right now. My parents will be very angry with me for doing this. They told me never to take what doesn’t belong to me.”

“Stop being a worry wart,” answered Daniel. “I want to see what else is in here.”

Daniel opened the wallet wide and saw two one hundred dollar bills.

“Hey, look at all this money! We could buy new bicycles. And lots of ice cream. Marbles too.”

Nathan said, “Are you crazy? Stop saying that. We have to give it back. Now!”

“Nope. I don’t want to. I want a new bicycle. I am going to tell mom and dad that I found this hundred dollar bill in the street.” He put one of the hundred dollar bills into Nathan’s hand.

Nathan put the money in his picket and went back to his house. He quickly went into his bedroom and hid the money in his pillow case.

When it got dark, Nathan wrapped the money in a tissue. He looked around and saw no one. He ran across the street and slipped the tissue-wrapped money through Mr. Grotsky’s mailbox slot.

The next morning, Daniel rang Nathan’s doorbell. When Nathan’s mom told him to come to the front door he said, “I don’t feel well. I don’t want to play outside.”

She told him to go to bed, took his temperature and made him some chicken soup. Nathan felt very sad.

Lying in his bed he had nothing to do and fell asleep. When he woke up, it was very dark. He wanted a drink of water and started to walk into the kitchen. He could hear his parents speaking.

“Mr. Grotsky lost his wallet today when Rover bit him,” said Nathan’s mom.

“Really! Did he have much money in there?” asked Nathan’s dad.

“Yes,” replied his mom.

“Who do you think took his wallet?

“Probably some children in the neighborhood,” answered Nathan’s mom.

“Well, I hope it wasn’t Nathan. We should ask him if he knows anything about it.”

“He’s sleeping now. We’ll ask him in the morning.”

Nathan hurried back into his room and pulled the covers over his head.

The next morning Nathan went to Daniel’s house and told him what he heard his parents say.

“Well, I don’t care. I am going to buy a bicycle today. My parents said I could. So there,” said Daniel.

“Then I’m not going to be your friend anymore,” replied Nathan. “I will play with Michael.”

Daniel said, “I don’t care. I would rather have a bicycle than be your friend.”

Nathan went home. He wanted to tell his parents but he didn’t know what to do. He stayed in the house all day and watched television. He could that his mother was worried about him. “Why aren’t you playing with Daniel,” she asked.

“I don’t like Daniel any more.”

“Oh, I guess you two had a fight. Don’t worry. Tomorrow you’ll probably be friends again.”

“Never,” said Nathan.

That afternoon Nathan watched as Daniel rode up and down the block on his brand new bicycle. Daniel’s mom called him and he ran into the house, leaving his bike on the sidewalk. Fifteen minutes later Nathan’s doorbell rang. Daniel was at the door crying, “My bike is gone.”

“Good. You didn’t deserve a new bike. You bought it with stolen money,” said Nathan. “Go away. I don’t like you.”

All week Nathan stayed in the house watching television and asking his mom to play checkers and Monopoly with him.

On Friday, Daniel knocked again.

Nathan said, “Go away.”

“But I want to be friends again,” pled Daniel.

“Then you had better tell your parents that you stole the money and the wallet,” said Nathan. “My parents even think I had something to do with it!”

Daniel turned and went home.

The next day he came again. “Why are you here? I told you to go away,” said Nathan.

“Wait,” said Daniel. I told my parents. I got permission to come here for just five minutes. I have to stay in my room for the whole week. My parents gave Mr. Grotsky some money and his wallet. Please be my friend again.”

“Maybe,” answered Nathan.

That night Nathan was thirsty again and headed towards the kitchen. He heard his parents talking and quietly listened.

“Yesterday Daniel’s parents returned Mr. Grotsky’s wallet and the other one hundred dollars. Mr. Grotsky visits his daughter every week, you know, the one with the sick little boy. Each time he visits he gives her $200 towards a special operation for her son. They have almost enough. Mr. Grotsky was so upset. The night the wallet was missing someone slipped one of the hundreds under his door, but the wallet and the rest of the money were still missing. He was so happy to get the other $100 back,” said Nathan’s mom. “And I think it was Nathan who returned the first half of the money.”
“Why do you think that?”

“Well, he’s been acting very strangely lately. He was angry with Daniel and wouldn’t play with him. It seems like we have a son that we can really be proud of.”

Nathan grinned so much, his cheeks hurt. And then he rushed back to bed, burying his head in the pillow. Maybe, he thought, just maybe, next week I will be friends with Daniel again. If, he promises me that he will never take anyone’s money ever again.”