The Team of Esmond Street
Sheyloni, Age 12, USA

As the gleaming glorious midsummer afternoon came to a close, neighborhood buddies David, John, Emily, and Janet called each other and decided to play a game of soccer at a nearby park. David was the first one there. While waiting for the others to show up, he heard huge screams coming from a nearby baseball field. He turned to find out that it was a little league baseball game. He jogged a few feet to get a good look. A warm breeze delivered the delicious smells of ice cream sandwiches, and “Bomb Pops,” and “Crybabies” sour ice creams. He almost forgot about playing soccer with his friends, but soon realized that he forgot his soccer ball at home.

“Well, someone else will get it,” he thought.

David impatiently stood there waiting for the others. Then he saw Janet walking towards him with the soccer goals. No one else in town was as excited as Janet: she grinned from ear to ear. Janet was a tall, skinny thirteen-year-old girl wearing long braided red hair, a T-shirt as green as freshly cut grass, blue jeans, and big brown eyes that seemed to be saying, “I’m ready to play some soccer!”

“Where is everyone?” Janet asked with a bit of sadness in her voice. She realized that she couldn’t start playing a soccer game as quickly as she wanted.

“I don’t know. I thought you knew,” David replied.

“Well, maybe they’ll beam down from a spaceship,” Janet said. (Although she was trying to be funny, her stale jokes never really made her friends laugh. But her friends still liked her, anyway.)

Moments later, Janet looked towards the horizon and saw Emily and John jogging towards her wearing uniforms with sky blue and white vertical stripes.

“Finally, you guys showed up! Hey John, where’s the ball?” David asked.

“Doesn’t Emily have it?” John asked.

“Janet, you have the soccer ball, right?” Emily asked Janet.

“Didn’t David bring it?”

“Oh no,” they all said at the same time.

“Now what will we do?” John asked.

“Hey, David, doesn’t your neighbor have a couple of balls we can use?” Emily asked David. “Doesn’t he live only two houses away from the park?”

“I can ask Mr. Bubbles for a ball, but he’s very mean,” David replied.

“Other kids on the block say he’s a witch,” John said, just to scare them.

“Yep. I’ve heard that before,” said Emily.

“If Mr. Bubbles was a witch, wouldn’t we see him flying in the air on a broom, which we don’t, right?” Janet protested. “So let’s just go ask him for a soccer ball…he’ll probably say yes.”

After a long chat, the four friends finally agreed to ask Mr. Bubbles for a soccer ball. As they walked towards Mr. Bubbles’ house, they all got an eerie feeling. They didn’t even want to knock on the door! After they all got a grip on themselves, Janet said, “Alright. Alright. I’ll knock on the door for you scared little chicken cats.”

“Don’t do it!” John yelled before she knocked the door.

“Why not?”

“Wouldn’t it be better it we just ‘borrowed’ a ball?

“You mean steal a ball from him?”

“Or how about we just borrow one from his back yard, and when we are done, kick it over his backyard fence. He’ll never know we used it.”

“Well, alright,” Janet said, not wanting to do it. “But we will put it back once we are done, right?”

“Right,” the other three friends agreed.

So that’s exactly what they did. Emily, John, and David helped Janet climb over the side fence that leads to the backyard. When she finally got over the fence, Janet looked for the perfect ball to play soccer with. She eventually found the right ball on the backyard porch. As she grabbed the ball and started walking towards the gate, an old creaky wooden board broke, leaving Janet’s foot stuck between two creaky wooden boards.

Janet was stuck.

“Guys, I'm stuck! Help me!” Janet’s deafening scream was so loud that almost the whole neighborhood could hear her.

Mr. Bubbles came outside to see what all the commotion was about. He had a shiny bald head that glimmered in the sun and a grouchy ancient face and elderly clothes and huge hazelnut eyes that seemed to be saying, “WHY ARE YOU IN MY YARD?”

“What are you lousy kids doing in my yard?” Mr. Bubbles asked as David, Emily and John ran away, leaving Janet all alone in fear. “Well, before you tell me, let me help your foot out of the floorboard,” he said.

“Well…I…um… you see I wanted to…” Janet sputtered nervously.

Then, as she got her grip, she said, “See, my friends and I didn’t have a ball to play soccer with, and David said you had plenty of soccer balls we could use. We were first going to ask whether you would loan us one, but Emily, John, and David were too scared to knock on your door. So, David said to ‘borrow it’ and then return it,” Janet explained.

“Well, why didn’t you just say so! Here you go! You can use it and here have some juice packets. Just make sure that you ask me next time, alright?”, Mr. Bubbles said nicely.
So Janet grabbed the soccer ball and the juice packets, said goodbye and thanked him as she walked towards the park to her friends.

“Wow! I’m surprised he didn’t boil you in his weird wicked witches’ brew,” John said.

“No, he didn’t. I also don’t know why you are all afraid of him. He’s actually a very compassionate man,” Janet said.

“We weren’t afraid of him.”

“Isn’t that Mr. Bubbles right behind you all,” Janet lied.

“Where?”

They all yelled in fear. Then they realized that Janet fooled them.

“Oh ha-ha-ha! Very funny, you got all of us! Can we just start playing an awesome game of soccer?’’ Emily said.

“Yeah. Let’s get to it,” John said.

“We are soccer champions,” David exclaimed as they played until all street lights were on. And as for Janet, she told everyone about the kindness of Mr. Bubbles, and then all the children of the block were not afraid anymore. Although sometimes you can hear a creepy witch-like laugh coming from his house!! 

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