Wednesday morning, Rooney woke up and refused to open his eyes because he didn’t want it to be Wednesday. Rooney had a math test at school and he wasn’t ready. Rooney was never ready for math. He was always ready for science and history but never math. Math was dumb, Rooney thought.
“KAM! Get up now or you will miss the bus!” Rooney’s mom called from down the hall. Rooney’s real name was Kamren but everyone called him Rooney. He forgot why because they had always called him Rooney…everyone except his Mom. When he asked her why, she told him, “I named you Kamren when you were born and I will always call you Kamren.” That was Mom for you.
Rooney rolled out of bed and was dressed in his jeans and Batman tee shirt before he really had his eyes open. He knew Mom would send him back to brush his hair and put on his socks and shoes, but he headed for the kitchen anyway. Rooney took two steps into the kitchen and Mom sighed loudly.
“Kam, shoes, socks and hair.” Growling, Rooney turned and went back to his room. Fifteen minutes later, because he had to search for the second shoe, he was back in the kitchen and sitting in front of a bowl of steaming oatmeal. When Mom wasn’t looking, Rooney added on three scoops of sugar and stirred quickly before she turned around to tell him that was too much sugar.
Rooney ate breakfast in record time and was out the door only a moment before the bus stopped for him. His best friend, Andy, had saved the usual seat and poked Rooney in the arm as always.
“You ready for math?” Andy wanted to know.
“Are you kidding? I don’t like math. Why do they teach math in the third grade anyway? We don’t need it.” Rooney grumbled. Andy just shook his head to agree.
After school, Rooney stepped off the bus and ran up the drive to the kitchen door. He knew Mom would have a treat and he was anxious to share his news. He burst into the room and received his usual hug from his Mom before he could say a word.
“Mom! Stop!” She chuckled, kissed him on the cheek and asked about his day.
“You will never guess! I got a B on the math test!” Rooney was shaking with excitement.
“Of course you did. I knew you would do well.” How could Mom be so calm? He had a B…in MATH!
Rooney wolfed down his cookies and milk before changing into his play clothes and headed out the door. He and Andy were going to hunt for spies. They had decided there were spies in the woods behind Rooney’s house. But before he could escape his yard, Mom called him back.
“Kamren, I have to run over to your Aunt Rachel’s for a minute. I need to you keep an eye on your sister.”
Nothing could have irritated Rooney more. His sister was the biggest pain in the world. Zoe was 8 years old and mean. Rooney thought she was the meanest person on the whole planet. She liked to take his cars and play with them! What girl played with cars that way? She always hung around when Rooney was playing a video game. What girl did that? She followed him around everywhere if he wasn’t tricky. She was mean.
“But, Mom, I’m supposed to meet Andy!” He insisted.
“I know, Honey, and you can meet Andy in a bit. Just stay with your sister for a few minutes. I will be right back.”
Rooney walked as slowly as possible back to the house where he found Zoe standing in the kitchen munching on a cookie. She always ate slowly. She was mean. Rooney stood in the doorway staring at his sister. She just smiled back at him. She was mean.
“What were you going to do?” She asked him.
“I am going to meet Andy and we are going to find the spies that live back in the woods.” Rooney reached for a cookie but they weren’t there.
“You ate the last one??” Rooney yelled at Zoe.
“No. Mama put them away. She said you eat too many cookies and it isn’t good for you.” Zoe grinned at him. She was mean. “I want to go with you to find the spies.”
Rooney’s mouth fell open. “YOU? You aren’t going with us. NO!”
“Why not? I can help. But I think you are wrong about the spies.” Zoe talked as though she knew. She was mean.
“You don’t know what you are talking about. Why do you think we are wrong?” Rooney asked even though he didn’t want to.
“Because I have been watching the woods and I think there are aliens in there…not spies.” Zoe always seemed so certain. She was mean.
“Aliens? That’s just dumb. There’s no such thing as aliens. Don’t be so dumb.” Rooney was disgusted. She was mean.
“No? Then why do I keep seeing a purple light back there? Spies don’t make a purple light, you know. Aliens make purple lights. It’s the ship, you know. The ship glows at night and it’s purple.” Zoe always sounded like she knew. She was mean.
“That’s just… just… dumb. What kind of aliens?” Rooney hadn’t wanted to ask but it just slipped out. Maybe Zoe was an alien. She was mean.
Zoe looked at him like he was being dumb.
“I don’t know, do I? wow. How could I know what kind of alien? We won’t know till we go look.” Zoe always sounded like their Mom. She was mean.
Rooney wanted to tell her to be quiet and go away, but he couldn’t. Maybe there WERE aliens and they were controlling him? Maybe Zoe was right. NO! He would NEVER tell HER she was right, but maybe.. just maybe. Finally, even though it was giving him a headache to think about, he looked at his mean sister.
“Ok, come on, but you stay out of the way! You hear? Don’t be a pain, or you will go home.” Rooney ordered. She was so mean.
Zoe smiled and headed for the door.
A few minutes later, after leaving a note for Mom and then explaining to Andy that Zoe had to come along and she thought there were aliens, the trio set out for the woods. Rooney was annoyed that Andy thought Zoe’s idea about aliens was great. She was mean.
The three of them searched for what seemed like hours without finding aliens OR spies and were about to go back home when Zoe squealed. Rooney hurried to where she was. She was mean but she was his sister and Mom would ground him forever if something happened to Zoe.
Zoe pointed behind him. Turning around, Rooney saw a purple light shining through the trees. She was right! Aliens! Wow, Zoe was mean.
The three stood for a long while not quite sure what to do, until Zoe started walking toward the light.
“Zoe! Stop!” Rooney whispered to her. Zoe waved her hand at him and kept walking. Andy hurried to keep up with her so Rooney had no choice but to join them. He pulled on Zoe’s arm and told her to slow down. The three of them hid behind trees as they moved forward until, finally, there it was, right in front of them.
Zoe stepped out from behind the tree and stood with her mouth open. The boys followed her a moment later.
There in front of them was a glass square with a bright purple light glowing from inside it. There were smaller white lights around the edges.
Andy whispered, “What is it?”
Rooney could only shake his head.
Zoe started to move toward the glass square but Rooney grabbed her arm.
“You can’t go near it!” He wouldn’t let go of her.
At that point, one side of the glass square opened. Taht was all it took. Andy squeaked and turned to run. Rooney and Zoe followed right on his heels.
Once back in the house, Zoe was as calm as she could be.
“We can go back tomorrow. It’s Saturday and we can find out just what that thing is.”
Zoe started humming that annoying song from television and skipped from the room. She was so mean.
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