Authors: Jacqueline Jules
Freddie Ramos Makes a Splash
Art by Miguel Benítez
To the KidLit Blogging Community: Thank You! —JJ
It was so hot, I was melting into the sidewalk, like the purple bubble gum I stepped in on my way home from summer camp.
“ICK!” I was stuck.
My shoes were special. They gave me Zapato Power, the power to run faster than a train. A little grape bubble gum shouldn’t have stopped me.
I bent down and pulled on my right foot. That unstuck my sneaker but unbalanced me. SPLAT!
My bottom hit the ground, and I felt something underneath me. I hoped it wasn’t dog poop.
Sometimes superheroes have to be brave even when they don’t want to be. I looked to see what I was sitting on.
Luckily, it wasn’t dog poop. It was a pink wallet.
Who dropped a wallet? I opened it. Superheroes don’t steal, but they do snoop. There were two twenty-dollar bills inside. Wow!
Before I could find out more, a girl with short, dark hair rode up on a green bike. Maybe the wallet was hers.
“Is this yours?” I asked, holding it out.
“NO!” she said, swiping the wallet from my hand. “But it’s not yours either.”
The girl rode off on her green bike. I couldn’t let her get away with that! I had Zapato Power, and I could outrun a bike.
I stood up and put on my silver goggles, the ones that almost make me look like a superhero. Then I pressed the button on my purple wristband, the one that controls my Zapato Power. I was ready to catch that girl crook in the blink of an eye.
I fell backward on my bottom again.
Huh? My Zapato Power wasn’t working!
“Freddie?” a deep voice called. “What happened?”
It was Mr. Vaslov. He’s the man who takes care of Starwood Park, where I live. He’s also the only other person who knows about my Zapato Power, because he’s the guy who made my special shoes.
“I don’t know,” I said, looking at the purple wad of bubble gum underneath my right sneaker.
Mr. Vaslov took a flat blade out of his pocket. He’s an inventor and a fixer, so he always has tools handy.
“Looks like you need a cleanup,” he said.
While Mr. Vaslov scraped the gum, I told him about the girl on the green bike.
“I think I’ve seen her before,” I said.
“Maybe she goes to your school.”
“Maybe,” I agreed, trying to remember. She was bigger than I was, so I guessed she was older.
“There!” Mr. Vaslov said. “The gum is gone. See if you can run now.”
I stood up on my purple zapatos. I could feel them humming, itching to race. And there was a girl on a green bike with a stolen wallet. I had a hero job to do.
2. The Girl on the Green Bike