Risa, Age 12, Sherwood Park, AB

Have you ever read the story “ The Perfect Present?”  Well, I know of a girl who once read the story because she got money for it, but never understood the meaning of it until she traveled back in time.


“Hahahahaha!  We really got her this time.  She’s never going to want to come back!”

“Oh yeah!  Up high.”  Shibee and Joee were standing outside of Mrs. Ostermyer’s class.  Every day they pulled a prank on her.  Today it was worms covered in ketchup instead of her spaghetti and meat sauce.  Shibee and Joee HATED teachers.  It wasn’t that Mrs. Ostermyer was a bad teacher.  It was just that they hated all teachers.

Shibee and Joee scurried along the grass, out the back gate, and onto the empty streets of Hunkeydory.  They didn’t get far because, Mrs. Ostermyer was waiting for them at Hawk’s grocery store.  She grabbed them by their ears and dragged them all the way back to Juicy Fruit School for Krazy Kids.  She sat them down in the chairs of doom.  That’s what the kids called the chairs, because every time someone got in trouble, teachers would sit them down in the chairs and give them a big lecture.  It didn’t matter to Shibee.  To her, the chairs were just another way of telling them that they were horrible kids.  Besides, she’d been in the chair enough times to figure out that it didn’t matter where she sat.  She still got in trouble.

“Detention!”  Mrs. Ostermyer screamed at the kids.

“Yup!  See you later.”  And Shibee was off.  She never even bothered to look or wait for Joee.  She just ran out the school, down the street and back home.


“Wake up, wake up!  It’s a beautiful day!”  Shibee’s mom said as she pulled back the curtains.

“Yippee!”  Shibee said, as she always did.  She didn’t want her mom to know that she was a bad kid at school.  At home, things were a different story.  Shibee hopped out of bed, ran downstairs, grabbed a chocolate chip muffin, and headed down the street to Funky Foods and More.  She was going there for a very specific reason.  Food colouring.  A magical food colouring.  It was a fantastical creation and just the thing for Shibee.  What it did was change the flavour of your food to whatever flavour that you wanted.  Shibee was going to change the flavour of Mrs. Ostermyer’s food into a disgusting flavour of black licorice, liver, worms and dirt, and Tabasco sauce.  Shibee grinned with satisfaction as this thought crossed her mind.  Mrs. Ostermyer would get so sick that she wouldn’t be ABLE to come back.  Shibee walked down the aisle, daydreaming about what it would be like to not even have a teacher.  There would be no school!  Just think of that.  No school.  Beautiful, Shibee thought. Shibee’s thoughts were broken into, when she ran into the exact stand that she was looking for.  Her nose started to bleed and her eyes got all watery.  The salesperson came down the aisle looking for the person that had made such a racket.

“May I help you?”

“Oof!”  Shibee grunted.  “Uhh, actually, yeah.  I’m looking for that magical food colouring.  I know I’ve seen it here before.”

“Sure!”  The salesperson said.  “Follow me.  It’s pretty simple to use.  Just put it on the food, and tell it in a very, very, very loud voice, what kind of flavour you want.  Oh, but be careful.  If you don’t read the instructions very carefully, it will backfire.”

“Sure.”  Shibee answered.  Whatever, she thought.  She never, ever read instructions.  Who needed them anyways, she thought.  I can figure it out all by myself.  Shibee paid the salesperson and skipped off down the road.  When she got to Razzle-Dazzle Park, she snuck into her secret hideout.  She slipped the food colouring out of the bag, and carefully opened it up.  Swirls of colour flew out.  Shibee shut the package and snuck into the schoolyard.  She scurried across the yard and in through the caretaker’s window.  She slipped into Mrs. Ostermyer’s class, just as she left the room.  Shibee snatched Mrs. Ostermyer’s bag and took her lunch.  As quick as you can say “food colouring,” she was back at her hideout, with the food colouring on the food.  All of a sudden, Shibee was lifted off of the ground, and her hair was whipping at her back.  A flash of light hit her in the face, and Shibee could see.  She looked around and realized that she was out trick-or-treating tw  o years before. It was the exact minute and place that she had been, exactly two years before.  Shibee could see her friend, Alice, up ahead.

“Alice!  Alice wait up!”  Shibee called.  “ALLIIIIIICCCCE!”  Alice made no sign that Shibee was even there.  Oh well.  Shibee thought.  I never DID like her anyways.  Besides, who needs friends?  They just slow you down.  Shibee ran from house to house, collecting candy.  After a while, Shibee realized that she was getting bored.  She needed something to stir things up a bit.  “What I need is a prank.  A REAL trick.”  She ran up to a house and knocked on the door.  No one answered, so she rang the doorbell six times.  The door started to open and Shibee ran away.  Shibee laughed.  Trick-or-treating was so much fun!  Halfway down the block, Shibee could hear the people at the door yelling after her.  She giggled.  She had missed out on this fun two years ago.  Shibee stopped running.  Now she was confused.  A minute ago she had been at Razzle-Dazzle Park.  Now she was out trick-or-treating?  How did that work?  Shibee decided that it didn’t matter because there was nothing that she could do about it.  That was one good thing about her.  She never took too long worrying about anything.  Come to think about it, she never DID worry about anything!  “Worrying is overrated,” she always said.

Shibee ran up to some kids and tripped them.  They dropped their bags of candy and Shibee tried to grab as much candy as she could, but before she knew it, she was at her house a year before, getting ready for bed.  Her mom was yelling at her because she had spilt ketchup on their new carpet.  Before, Shibee had started yelling at her mom.  This time, she was determined not to yell at her, so instead, she picked up the bottle of ketchup, and squirted it at her mom.  POOF!  Shibee was back another three years.  Which meant that she was now, supposed to be, four years old.  She was sitting up late with her mom, trying to explain to her a game that she had learned in playschool.  She finished explaining it to her, but her mom had not even looked at Shibee.  Shibee yelled at her mom to listen to her, but her mom acted as if Shibee weren’t even there.  Shibee was still ten years old, but her mom looked younger.  The way that she had when Shibee HAD been four years old.  Shibee got up and slowly walked to her room.  She pulled open her drawers and tried to decide on a pair of pajamas.  Finally she decided on her firefighter ones.  She had always wanted to become a firefighter when she grew up.

Unfortunately, the pajamas didn’t fit her.  She slept in her clothes.  The next morning, she decided that she would try to figure out why people weren’t hearing and seeing her.  She made herself a scrambled egg, but it exploded because she didn’t stir it up before putting it in the microwave.  She took it out of the microwave, but it was so hot that she dropped it on the floor and the glass container broke and the egg splattered all over the floor.  She just laughed and got out another egg.  All of a sudden, stars began to twinkle around her and soon, she could see again.  She was outside playing with her friend, Bop.  Bop had a toy that Shibee wanted.  She was now supposed to be two years old.

Why do I keep going back in time?  Shibee kept thinking.  Before she could think, She had grabbed the toy out of Bop’s hand.  Bop stared at her as if she had seen a ghost.  Shibee was pushed back another year.

Now, you might think that because Shibee always skipped school, she wasn’t smart.  Well if you DO, then you are one hundred percent WRONG.  Shibee was incredibly smart.  It was probably the reason why she never DID go to school: because she was bored.  Shibee was thinking about this and it really did bother her this time.  Now she was supposed to be one year old, and soon, if she didn’t do something, she wouldn’t be alive at all.  At first, it was fun.  She thought.  But now, it’s just annoying.  No one sees or hears me and I do all the regular things that I do, and I keep getting put back in time.  Shibee was now almost in hysterics.  Calm down.  She told herself.  Three two one, one two three, what the heck is bothering me?  She sat down beside a tree.  She thought and thought and thought.  She thought about all of the events that had happened in the past day.  In real life it was only one day, but to Shibee, it seemed like she had been going back in time for years.

She went through everything that she had done.  She thought about how on earth and why on earth, was she going back in time?  Finally she sat up.  She had been thinking about what had happened the day when she had bought the magic food colouring.  She realized that she had gone back in time when she had put the food colouring on the food.  For one, she hadn’t read the instructions like the lady at the store had said.  For two, she was being incredibly mean to her teacher.

“That’s it!”  She yelled.  “Every time I do something mean or something that I’m not supposed to do, I go back in time!  Wow! That’s amazing!”  Shibee was completely enthralled by the whole idea.  “Wow!  I’ve actually used MAGIC!”  She breathed.  She was even too happy to think about what she would do now that she had only a little bit more time to be alive.  She ran around in circles, jumped up and down and shouted happy cries.  She was so incredibly happy.  I have never ever seen someone happier in my entire life.  She ran up and down streets and told every person that she saw that she had it figured out.  Obviously they passed her like she was crazy.  Well she was, but not as crazy as they were.  She had just figured out the most important thing in her life.  Not many people can do that.  She was so happy that she ran right out of town.

“Wait a second.”  Shibee stopped her shouting and dancing and sat down on the side of the road.  “What am I supposed to do now that I’ve figured out the reason why I’ve been going back in time?  I mean, I can’t go on forever without being bad.  That’s so… boring!”  Shibee sat there for forty-five minutes trying desperately to figure out what she was supposed to do.  After a while, Shibee got tired of being worried.  She got up and skipped off down the road.

Shibee stopped at the side of the road when she spotted something silver lying in the ditch.  She carefully, well I guess it wasn’t carefully, but slowly and quietly, Shibee approached the object.  It was a bottle, and inside of it was a bubbling, green liquid.  A paper was attached to the outside of it.  “Dangerous.  Hmmm.  Sounds fun.”  Before Shibee had the time to think, she had already pulled the cork off of the bottle and was sent inside of it.  Now you might think that this is completely crazy, but to Shibee, this was the greatest adventure there was.  You see, Shibee never worried about her marks in school or how boring something was, or why this was happening, she just did it.  She always found a way to have fun.

She opened her eyes and found herself swimming in the bubbling, green liquid.  She also saw and tiny old man.  He was wearing a cape with stars and moons on it and a tiny pair of brown shoes.  He had a loooooong beard and a wand behind his right ear.  He was gathering up the green liquid, and putting it in glass bottles.

“Hello,” The man said in an old man kind of way.  He spoke slowly and calmly.  He looked so excited that I thought that he was going to jump right out of the bottle.  “You’re Shibee, right?”

“That’s right,” Shibee replied.  “Wow!  What are you going to do with all of that liquid?  What is it anyways?”

“It’s a potion, a magical potion. I’m going to combine it with other potions of mine and I’m going to create a new potion.  Fantastic huh?”  Shibee just stared.  Her bright blue green eyes gleamed, fascinated.  She never even asked the old man why she was inside of the potion bottle.  However, she didn’t need to because the old man answered for her.  “I’m a wizard so I make all sorts of potions. Now, as for you my dear, you’re going to need very, very, very strong power.  It is the kind of power and potion that is not found in a bottle.  It is the kind of potion and power that you can’t find in a cookbook or found written down on paper.  You need to understand the means of this and the ways to get yourself out of it.”


“First of all, you need to figure out how this happened to yourself.”

“Oh, but I already figured it out!”  Shibee was so excited.

“Excellent!  Well in that case you need to figure out the opposite of the way you came here.”


“Well, let’s say that you came here by driving.  The opposite of driving is walking.”

“Oh.  OH!  Wow!  I think I’ve figured it out.”

“Amazing!  Tell me, tell me!”

“Well, you know how I came here because I was being extremely bad?”

“No, but I’ll play along if you want.”

“Oh.  Well I did.  I came here because I bought a magical food colouring to put on my teacher’s food, but I didn’t read the instructions, so it sent me back in time.  When I was there, I realized that I was out trick-or-treating so I decided to pull pranks on people.  Well that sent me back in time, so I was at my house when I was supposed to be four years old…” Shibee went on telling the old wizard about her adventures.  His gray eyes twinkled with gleeful excitement.  Shibee told him every little detail and she enjoyed every single moment of it.  When she was finished, her face was bright red from excitement.

“So now, I just have to figure out a way to be good so that I can travel forward, instead of backward in time.  It’s almost too easy.”  The old wizard stared at her admiringly.

“You know, when I was a kid, I used to always want to do something that everyone would remember me for.  I wanted to be able to do magic, or become a hero.  I wanted people to recognize me.”

“Didn’t they?”  Shibee was completely confused.

“No.  I was always the kid that got left out in school.  People never chose me first to be on the baseball team.  I was the geek of the class.  I was the same as everyone else, except that I was smart.  People treated me differently.”

“Wow!  That’s amazing.  You’re, well you’re…a wizard.  How could people think you were weird if you were a wizard?”

“Yes, but I didn’t become a wizard until I was older.  You see, I traveled back in time as well.”

“You did?”

“Yes.  I was about your age and -- Oh my!  You’ve got to get going if you want to get home before it’s too late.  Have you ever read the book The Perfect Present?  It has a wonderful meaning to it.  I never understood the meaning of it until I traveled back in time.”

“Yes.  Yes, I’ve read that book.  I don’t really understand it.”

“You’ll understand when you get home.”

“Ok.  Thank you.  I should be going.  Thank you again.  Good-bye.”

“Good-bye.”  Shibee took the potion form the wizard, drank a sip and was dropped outside of the bottle.  She started walking, trying to figure out how to find kind things to do.  It wasn’t long after that when she spotted and old woman on the side of the road.  She had only a shawl over her shoulders and she was shivering.  Shibee stopped and sat down beside the old woman.

“Can I help you?”  Shibee asked.

“I’m cold,” is all she said.

“Well I can’t give you a coat because I don’t have one, but I can give you a hug and a smile.”  Shibee hugged the old woman and gave her the most heart- warming smile anyone could ever have dreamed of.  POOF!  And Shibee had traveled forward in time.  She had traveled to the year when she was outside trick-or-treating.  She saw a kid who had spilled his candy.  She ran over and helped him clean it up.  POOF!  And Shibee was outside at Razzle-Dazzle Park.  Joee ran over to her and gave her a big hug.

“Where were you yesterday?”

“Oh I traveled back in time.  It was amazing!”  Shibee breathed.

“Ah,” Joee said, “The perfect present.  There’s a book called that isn’t there?”


“Hey!  Haven’t you read that book?”

“Hey there’s a book called The Perfect Present!”  Joee sighed.

“I know.”

“I’ve read that book you know.”

And together they skipped off down the road to go find more mischief.

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