Ada Lace, on the Case
GOOD-BYE WITH A SIDE OF BACON
Ada was sick of sitting. She was sick of the cast on her leg. She was sick of watching the world go by without her. She should be outside, exploring the neighborhood and researching the local wildlife, but she was stuck inside. And it was her own fault.
Their first week in San Francisco, Ada had attempted a bungee jump from a eucalyptus tree in the park. It was a jump she could have made with no bungee. The bungee was capable of stretching 50 percent of its length with her attached to it, but the branch was barely high enough to make the line taut. It was a careless mistake.
While Ada was brooding, her mom came in.
“Do you think you might come have breakfast with me before I go?” her mother asked.
“I guess so. I was hoping we could skip the good-bye part,” said Ada.
“I’ll only be gone for a few days,” said Ada’s mom. “These artists need a little bit of handholding. They aren’t as tough as you are. I’ll be back in time for your first day at school.”
Ada attempted a smile and, on her crutches, followed her mom down the stairs only to be
nearly flattened by her brother, Elliott, outside the kitchen. He was wearing an eyepatch and a vest. A stuffed parrot hung lamely from his shoulder. Ada had been reading Treasure Island with Elliott. Now Elliott was determined to find buried treasure. Until then he was dressing the part.
“Easy there, mate,” said Ada’s mom. “You almost capsized your sister.”
“Yarr!” said Elliott. “That’s ‘Captain’ to you. Get that straight, lady, or you’ll walk the plank!”
“Tone it down, Elliott, or you’ll spend the weekend in your room,” said Ms. Lace.
“Sorry, me lady,” said Elliott.
“Do I have to make you swab the poop deck, Elliott?” asked Mr. Lace. He placed a plate of French toast in front of Ada. It had crossed eyes.
“Thanks, Pop,” said Ada. It was hard to stay grumpy around her dad.
“This blasted parrot won’t sit!” said Elliott.
need to secure his tail feathers.” Ada wrapped the string around the parrot’s tail and feet then tied it. “That requires a square knot. What you had was a granny.”
“Arrgh! There ye be, Ruffles. Good bird,” said Elliott.
“Ada, do you remember that lady we met at the farmer’s market? Glenda?” asked Ada’s mom. “Her daughter’s about your age. They live over on Polymer Street. You should get together with her.”
“And do what, jump rope?” said Ada, looking down at her cast.
“Very funny,” said Ada’s mom. “How about you have her over?”
Ada shrugged. She wasn’t in the mood to entertain.
“It would give you a head start on being the new kid,” said Ada’s mom. She stood, stuffing one last piece of bacon in her mouth. “Just think about it. I’ll leave the phone number.”
said Ada. Her mom gave her a kiss on the cheek. Ms. Lace hugged her husband and her son and collected her bags.
“Bon voyage!” yelled Elliott. “Bring me back some gold!”
Ada’s mom squatted beside Ada’s chair. “Cheer up, sweet pea. You’ll be the queen of Juniper Garden before you know it.”