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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Today KaSandra would have been 13 years old! In memory of her I'm posting the first couple of chapters of the second KK Undercover book...

KK Undercover Mystery
The Haunted Field trip

For Tuyet, Katrina, KaSandra, Luc
My Inspiration

Chapter One

Home sweet Home, San Diego, California

My name is Cassandra but with a K, and only one S. That’s big K, little a, big S, little a-n-d-r-a, get it? If you live in San Diego and you have a kid at Deer Canyon Elementary School you may have heard of me and my team, Winifred, Claire, and Daniel. We got a small write up in "Echoes" our school newspaper when we solved The Cookie Caper and unmasked the Lunchito Bandito last year. Actually, The Cookie Caper wasn't that newsworthy as the bandito turned out to be Chester the hamster, our class mascot. But hey, it was fun and nobody got hurt. Well, except maybe for poor Daniel who has been teased non-stop for wigging out over a fat, furry, oversized rat.

We didn't make the Union Tribune or get on TV or anything like that, but that's okay, we're supposed to be spies anyways. That's right, I said spies! Me and the team work for S.A.M. which stands for Secret Agents for Moms. It's a government agency that recruits brainy kids like us to sorta keep an eye on things. It's kinda hard to be super secret spies if everyone already knows you're spies, duh. Just because we are spies doesn't mean we're tattle-tales or rat-finks, or anything. It just means that we help keep little problems from becoming big ones. We help kids find their way to the right adult to help them fix whatever's wrong. I guess you could say that we're the eyes all moms claim to have in the back of their heads.

So, to recap, I'm a 5th grader now at dear old Deer Canyon Elementary School in sunny San Diego, California. I live with my Mom, my big sister Kat (short for Katrina) and my little brother Luc. My Daddy died when I was three, I miss him a lot. But he raised us to be strong and I know that I'll see him again in Heaven, Father Nick our parish priest says so! That's all I have to say about that.
Kat is 13 and goes to the Middle School just around the corner from Deer Canyon. She'll be going to High School next year, lucky duck! She's really pretty and way cool, but I still give her a hard time cause that's what younger sisters are supposed to do, right? My brother Luc is 6 going on 2, nuff said. I know he's cute and I really do love him, but he's such a little pill sometimes. All things considered I think that we're a pretty normal family, even with these yucky cancer cells running around my body right now. Don't freak out though, I don't. I'm not alone ya know, I've got people! I've got my family and friends down here, and God and Daddy up there, so I'm not worried, and you needn't be either. That's all I have to say about that too.
Anyway that's my bio so far, short and sweet like me. Uh oh, I need to scoot, I can hear Mommy calling me from downstairs. My mom believes in saving energy. Why should she run up and down the stairs and get all tuckered out when she has a perfectly good set of lungs and a voice that can break glass!
"KASANDRA!" Mommy hollered from the foot of the stairs.
"Coming Mommy," I holler back (like mother, like daughter), stuffing my homework into my backpack.
"Let's go smalls, you're gonna miss the bus," she added.
Kat appeared suddenly at my door and peeked in on me. She grabbed my heavy backpack and handed me my crutches.
"I'll take this down for you slow-poke. Be careful coming down the stairs, okay?"
"Okay, thanks," I said, smiling at her random act of kindness.
By the time I get downstairs Kat is already long gone and Luc is sitting at the table whining about having to wear shoes instead of flip-flops. That meant it was exactly 7:46am because Mommy and my brother had the same battle five days a week during the school year.
"ONE MINUTE LUC!" Mommy yells as she stuffs my brother's lunch into his "Lightening McQueen" backpack and zips it shut.
I hobbled over to the table and picked up the handful of meds Mommy had set out for me. I put them all in my mouth at once and washed them down with a glass of orange juice. My mom watched me out of the corner of her eye like she always does (she thinks I don't notice, but I do). She started to say something but thought better of it; thankfully, I didn't feel like a lecture this morning. I slipped my backpack onto my shoulders and made my way out the front door.
"See ya later Mommy," I said as I walked outside.
"Don't forget I'm picking you up after school today for your appointment with Dr. S, okay," she hollers after me.
"OKAY!" I holler back as I reached the end of the driveway.
I turned right and walked toward the bus stop at the end of our street. I was running late as usual and waddled as fast as I was able. I couldn’t wait to get to school, it's my sanctuary.

Chapter Two

Deer Canyon Bus Stop

It wasn't a long walk really, but when you have only two speeds, slow and slower, it can take a while. I was last to arrive as usual and just as usual, Mr. Beadle our crazy bus driver was waiting for me at the bottom step of the bus. He always waits an extra few minutes for me. He's not supposed to but he does, it's our little secret. Only Cullen Wainwright III ever notices. And unfortunately he never misses the opportunity to point it out to EVERYBODY! One day when I'm better I am gonna give that kid an atomic wedgie!

Mr. Beadle is so cool, wacky, but cool. He always has a funny comment or two to share. He's never mean to us when he needs to get our attention, even when he probably should be! He's pretty old I think, maybe forty or forty-five. And he's not very tall at all. Winnie is taller than he is. Well, to be fair Winnie is tall for her age, but still, he seems pretty short for an adult. He also plays along with my changing wig colors by painting his very bald head or wearing a matching ball cap. I just love him!

"Hustle up Miss Britches, the clock's ticking," Mr. Beadle said as I reached the bus. He tipped his throw-back Denver Broncos ball cap, the Orange Crush version as he sort of smiled at me.

"Sorry, thanks for waiting, again," I replied huffing and puffing.

"Not a problem child, now, hand me those sticks and climb on board," he replied, taking my crutches.

"Hey, you remembered Mango Monday," I said, tapping my orange-ish wig as I reached the top step and turned down the aisle to take my seat next to Claire.

Mr. Beadle hopped back into the driver seat and started the engine. The bus made funny spurting sound at first then roared to life and he checked on us in the mirror before pulling away from the curb.

"Hang on children, we're on the road," he said closing the door and shifting gears.

He waited until I sat down. Claire was already asleep as usual. She rested her head against the window using her balled up sweater for a pillow. Winfred was busy finishing her math homework, as usual as well, and barely looked up when I sat down.

"Hey KK," she said in a monotone.

"Hey Winnie," I replied.

"Word problem?" I asked.

"Yes. I hate em so much," she muttered.

"Me too," I said.

"Me three," chimed in Claire without opening her eyes. Guess she wasn't sleeping after all.

The bus lurched forward as Mr. Beadle drove away from the curb. My street was the last stop so we would get to school in about twenty or thirty minutes give or take twenty minutes depending on the crazy parent traffic, and how many cars were blocking the driveway dropping off kids when we arrived, sheesh!

"Did you bring your permission slip KK?" asked a familiar voice from the seat in front of me.

"What?" I answered, peering over the seat to see who was quizzing me.

"Your permission slip for the field trip silly," Daniel said, popping up like a jack-in-the-box and startling me.

"Don't do that! You scared the bejeezus outta me," I hollered, scolding him and catching my breath.

"YEAH, knock it off Daniel," Claire added stirring against the window.

"EVERYBODY zip it okay, I'm trying to figure out who gets to St Louis first then back here, train A or train B," complained Winnie.

"Sorry," Daniel muttered, popping back around as quickly as he had popped up. We might have hurt his feelings, poor kid, so touchy, boys, go figure!

"We're going horse-back riding at the stables in Carmel Valley tomorrow, remember," he added meekly.

"Duh, you know my mom. Do you think she would let me out of the house before checking off everything on her white board," I answered annoyed.

"Good point," he replied.

"I'll say!" chimed in Winnie, slamming her math book shut.

"Oh yeah, just in case you're wondering, train B got there first," she added, sounding pretty pleased with herself.

"So, did Dr. S or Dr. L say you could ride with us KK?" Winnie asked.

"No, not this time," I answered trying to sound like I didn't care.

"Sorry," she said sincerely.

"Don't be, I'm okay with it. Maybe I'll get to ride this summer, we'll see," I said cheerfully.

"Okay, cool beans," replied Daniel.

"Yeah, way cool," added Claire as she stretched.

She always woke up ten seconds before the bus arrived, weird! Mr. Beadle pulled up to the curb and the bus made its usual squeaking sounds as it jerked to a stop. The doors whooshed open noisily and Mr. Beadle turned in his seat to shout at us.

"Alright munchkins grab your gear and exit here," he bellowed.

"He always says that," Claire said as she put her backpack over her shoulder.

"It's his thing Claire," Winfred answered doing likewise.

"I guess," I added, turning sideways in the seat to let Claire pass.

She always went ahead of me to grab my crutches and wait for me at the curb while Winifred followed me to help me down the steps. Daniel even jumped up to help clear a path; that was nice of him.

"I had a dream about a ghost," he said out of the blue.

"That's weird, so did I," Winnie said as we walked down the aisle.

"Hmmm, that's really weird cause I did too," I added.

"What if Claire did also?" Daniel mumbled.

"If she did, I don't want to know about it," Winnie said shuddering.

"Hmmmm," I said under my breath. "I wonder?"

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