Party Crime – By Alexia, Anusha, Chahat, Despina, Eshani and JessicaIn On The Page
By Alexia, Anusha, Chahat, Despina, Eshani and Jessica
In an ordinary high street on an ordinary day, stood a row of ordinary shops, and all painted a boring beige. Well, all were beige and ordinary but one. This shop had a pink and blue sign that said ‘Mrs Cookie’s Non-Stop Party Shop’. Mrs Cookie was the main reason that everyone loved the shop so much. She was absolutely lovely and stocked the best selection of party goods in town. In fact, if you asked a particular girl, she would say it was the best shop in the whole universe. That girl’s name was Callie.
Callie was eight, well, according to her, she was eight and eleven-twelfths. Her ninth birthday was still a month away, but she was so eager to go to Mrs Cookie’s shop that her mum decided to take her anyway.
Callie skipped ahead of her mum, humming a cheery tune. When she caught sight of the shop she began sprinting towards it. “COME ON MUM!” shouted Callie, her voice echoing through the street, “MRS COOKIE’S PARTY SHOP IS THE BEST!”
“Callie,” replied her mum, struggling to keep up with her, “I know you’re excited but you don’t have to scream the whole town down.”
She burst through the sparkling doors and into the shop shouting at the top of her voice, “HELLOOOO MRS COOKIE!!!!!!!!!”
She turned beetroot red when she realised that it wasn’t Mrs Cookie standing behind the counter at all, but a thin man dressed in black. He kept glancing shiftily behind him at the door which led to the store room. It had a sign on it which said, ‘STAFF ONLY’.
“Wh..where’s Mrs Cookie?” asked Callie.
“She’s er… um… she’s away on holiday. I’m Mr Crackle… her brother… wait, no, her cousin. Actually, hmm… ah yes, her second-cousin-twice-removed, that’s right! I’ll, be… erm… let’s say, taking care of things while she’s away.”
The sound of thuds and bumps came from the room behind the door.
“What was that?” asked Callie’s mum.
“Nothing at all… nothing at all…” Mr Crackle muttered. “Just the wind. Latch on the window in the storeroom’s a bit broken… that’s it. Now, haven’t you got some purchases to make? Please take a basket and help yourselves.”
Callie and her mum went about choosing their party items without a clue as to what was going on. They filled their basket to the brim with all sorts of goodies: balloons, whistles, flashing lights and glow sticks, sparkly hats and glittery masks, a CD of party tunes, bags of sweets and a sapphire mermaid-tail.
They returned to the counter, to the queer Mr. Crackle who was now hissing at the storeroom door to, “Be quiet!”
“Erm… excuse me… how much for all these?” asked Callie, staring at Mr. Crackle.
“Just a penny will do,” he replied, hurriedly shoving all the items into a carrier bag, whilst still keeping an eye on the door behind him.
“Only one penny, for all this?” Callie was delighted.
“Let’s just pay Mr Crackle and be on our way,” said her mum, handing him a round brass penny, then ushering Callie quickly out of the door.
When the day of her party at last arrived, Callie slipped into a rainbow-coloured top and her gorgeous mermaid-tail. She was as pleased as punch. It was going to be the best party ever. She busily helped her mum lay out the plates, cups and the party food and set up the decorations. But when she opened up the party banner, she discovered that it said, ‘Hippo Burpday’ instead of ‘Happy Birthday’.
“That’s strange,” thought Callie, throwing it in the bin and deciding to blow up some balloons instead. But when she did so, they failed to inflate.
“Mum, these balloons have all got holes in,” she said with disappointment.
“Hmm…” Mum frowned. “Must be a faulty pack or something. Ah well, never mind,” sighed Mum shaking her head. “Why don’t you go and set up the CD so the music’s ready for when your friends arrive? They should be here any minute now.”
When the first guest arrived, he stared at Callie’s costume and said, “Callie, your mermaid-tail is falling apart.”
Callie looked down to find there was a huge rip where the seams were and all the stitching was giving way.
“Erm… that’s okay, I’ll just take it off, I’ve got leggings on underneath anyway,” said Callie, trying to conceal her disappointment. “Why don’t you try a sweet?” she offered.
The boy popped one into his mouth and instantly spat it out again. “Urgh! It tastes disgusting.”
Callie tried one too. “Yuk, you’re right. They’re really bitter aren’t they? Sorry about that,” she apologised.
“I’m feeling a little sick,” said the boy. “Can I go home?”
“But you only just got here,” said Callie feeling a lump in her throat. But the boy, was already dashing back out the door.
The rest of Callie’s friends cheerfully arrived and they all gathered in the living room to play some party games. Callie flicked the button on the CD player and turned up the volume and everyone had a jolly time dancing around until…
“I think the singer just swore!” gasped one of the girls. “Listen, there… there it is again!” she cried. Everyone stopped dancing and listened. The songs were indeed full of terrible bad words. Some girls laughed, others just froze with a look of horror on their faces. Mum rushed into the room and unplugged the CD player from the wall. “We won’t be having any more of that!” she fumed.
Things went from bad to worse: the whistles made no sound, the flashing lights didn’t flash and the glow sticks wouldn’t glow.
Then one of the girls squealed and pointed at another girl, “OMG, Katy! Look at your face. There’s black ink running all down it.”
“It’s from this silly mask,” she said tearing it off. “I look awful. I want to go home.”
“Yeah, let’s all just go home,” the other children agreed.
“Perhaps we could try to… suppose we…?” Mum began, but before she could finish, everyone was already streaming out of house moaning and complaining. Callie rushed to her mum, buried her head in her dress and sobbed her heart out.
Meanwhile in town, a police officer known as Detective Crimestein, was taking a walk. On reaching the party shop he came to a halt. “A disguise would be perfect for me,” he thought.
As he entered the shop, to his surprise, he heard an unusual banging sound coming from behind the door with the ‘STAFF ONLY’ sign. He took one look at the mysterious Mr. Crackle and immediately felt suspicious.
“Excuse me, but who are you? I haven’t seen you here before,” questioned Detective Crimestein, narrowing his eyes.
“The name’s Mr. Crackle” replied the peculiar man. “I’m covering for Mrs. Cookie as she is unwell.”
“And would you mind telling me, what exactly is the cause of that banging noise?” asked Detective Crimestein, fixing his eyes upon Mr. Crackle.
“Oh, it must be the wind getting at the window again. The latch, it’s faulty, you see,” added Mr. Crackle hastily. “I’ll just go and check on it.” And with that, he scurried into the storeroom, slamming the door behind him.
“Hmm, there’s definitely something fishy about this Mr Crackle,” thought the detective. So, he peered through the keyhole. There he saw Mr Crackle crouching by a cupboard frantically whispering to it and telling it to, “Be quiet!”
“Hmm, that’s very strange…very strange indeed,” proclaimed the detective, stroking his chin. He tiptoed through the door and approached Mr. Crackle.
“Ahem,” coughed Detective Crimestein, “What exactly is going on here?”
Mr. Crackle jumped up, startled. Caught red-handed, he had no choice but to open the cupboard door, and let out a despairing, dishevelled Mrs. Cookie.
“Mr. Crackle, you are under arrest!” declared Detective Crimestein. “What on earth would make you commit such a dreadful and cruel offence?”
“Fine, I’ll tell you the whole story,” said Mr. Crackle guiltily. “When I was a child, my family lived in poverty. We were too poor to afford such a luxurious and frivolous thing as a birthday party. I was envious, I suppose. I determined that when I grew up, I would spoil everyone’s parties. Why should they have all the fun, when I couldn’t? I’m sorry about Mrs. Cookie, I didn’t mean her any harm. Things just spiralled out of control. I see I was wrong now. So very wrong.”
Detective Crimestein made some calls to Scotland Yard and a police car arrived to escort Mr. Crackle to the station.
The story of Mr Crackle and Mrs Cookie hit the headlines and soon Callie’s friends understood what had happened to ruin her party. Mrs Cookie sent a van round to Callie’s house filled with free party supplies (good ones this time) and Callie was able to throw the most wonderful party ever. From that day on, Mrs Cookie’s shop went from strength to strength and anyone who went there agreed that it was indeed the best shop in the world, if not the universe.