The Problem on Maple Street

By Alyssa Reid

            The screaming has finally stopped. As I cautiously turn my music down, I curse Nancy Jones from next door for having a pool party for her birthday.

            Because some of us have summer reading.

            Then again, she’s, like, ten. She doesn’t know about the wonders of ninth grade.

            So far I’ve heard a hurricane’s worth of splashing, a horror-movie-scream version of Marco Polo, and—best of all—a gloriously off-key version of “Happy Birthday.”

            And, you know, you’d think the kids would be quiet when they were eating cake—some luxurious chocolate flavor, according to Mrs. Joes, from her three weeks’ worth of her bragging about (and my dreading) this party.

            Butno. Charlie pushed May into the pool and the screaming was back.

            I’m pulled out of my angry reminiscing by a blood-chilling: “The red popsicle’s mine!”

            I slam my head into my book and turn my music back up. I can analyze A Tale of Two Citieslater. I let out a groan, but I can still hear them screaming over those popsicles as if they don’t all taste the same.

            They must be really passionate about what color they want their tongues to be.

            After deciding some toddlers aren’t worth the hearing damage, I turn my music down again and check my room for things that could drown the noise out.

            Blankets? Not heavy enough. My closet’s too small to shut myself into as well, and anyway, I wouldn’t want Mom asking how I managed to get myself in there (probably after a firefighter had pulled me out).

            It’s 3:23. There’s got to be something I can do.

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