The Missing Fourth (story contest entry)
July 1, 2013
Susanna Leonard Hill is having another of her delightful, fun story contests. This one is a Fourth of July contest for which the basic rules are (and I quote)
The Contest: Write a children’s story, in poetry or prose, maximum 400 words about the 4th of July in which a secret is revealed or a mystery is solved!
(Note that on Susanna’s blog, those bold letters were in red and blue. Colors don’t work on my blog.)
There’s a fabulous prize involved, but what I love most about Susanna’s writing contests is that they are so much fun. So, joining the fun, here’s my entry. Not counting the title, it’s 365 words, (371 now — added a bit!) one for every day in the year (including the Fourth of July!). ADDENDUM: please note the explanation at the end…
The Missing Fourth
The Fourth of July was missing.
When people in Blueville flipped their calendars to July, the 4 had been cut out.
The mayor ran out of Town Hall. “The town’s bunting has been bagged!”
The Celebrations Committee exploded, “The fireworks have all gone up in smoke!”
The bandleader cried, “Someone’s marched off with the instruments!”
“We must call a Town Meeting!” said the mayor.
“We need to collect money for more fireworks!” said the Celebrations Committee.
The band leader sang, “Seventy-six kazoos… nope, it’s just not the same.”
They ran around, tearing their hair. “What can we do?”
The kids huddled together. “What we need to do is find who did it,” said Tommy.
“And bring the Fourth back!” said Jennifer.
“Like all the Star Wars fans say, ‘May the Fourth be with us’!” said Jack.
“Not May, July!” said Debbie. She’d never seen Star Wars.
“We need to look for clues,” Jack said. “Things can’t just vanish.”
“We need to find a motive,” Tommy said. “Why would anyone steal the Fourth of July?”
“Everybody likes the Fourth of July,” Debbie said.
“Not everybody,” said Jennifer. “People who don’t like fireworks. Or parades. Or noise.”
“AHA!” They all said together.
They sneaked down the street where the band would have played. They went over the hill where the fireworks would have been.
“Look!” said Tommy, pulling a trombone case from under a bush.
“And see this!” Debbie said, waving a sparkler in the air.
“And a bag full of 4s from the calendars!” said Jack.
Jennifer put some bunting on like a cape.
“You kids get away from my stuff!” yelled Old Man Mudgeon. His cur, Snarly, grrrrred.
“It isn’t your stuff, it belongs to Blueville!” they said. “Why did you take it?”
“It’s too dang noisy. Every year those fireworks and the band just about knock my ears off.”
“I can fix that,” said Tommy. “Wait right here!”
He ran all the way to the store. “Do you sell earplugs?”
“Turnips taste better, but yup, here are earplugs.”
Tommy raced back to Old Man Mudgeon and gave him the earplugs.
So Old Man Mudgeon lived silently ever after, and Blueville turned back into Red, White and Blueville every Fourth of July.
ADDENDUM: Since several people have mentioned the pun “May the Fourth be with you” in the comments, I wanted to clarify that that one is not original to me, it’s used frequently among Star Wars fans on May 4th. See this Wikipedia entry for an explanation. Didn’t mean to mislead!