The Secret Agent Baker

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
December 2017

By Ralston Frattarola

My name is Jeff and I am like every other normal kid in the world going into the seventh grade. Actually, maybe I’m not normal because my family is rich. My family has a mom, dad, older brother, and younger sister. I am totally different from everyone in my family. For instance, I have never liked summer. On the other hand, everybody else in my family does.

I wish my family would let us have more fun. If I ask my parents to get a pool, they say no. If I try to think of something else we could get for fun, like a beach house or something, the answer is always no. My parents just say, “Your brother and sister don’t need a pool or beach house. Why do you?’’

Well, moving on, I know my family better than anyone else. I don’t think my older brother knows I am alive. He is always in the basement. My brother is either on his phone, computer, or x-box. I think basements are gloomy and dark. Don’t forget creepy like my sister’s dolls. My sister is always upstairs somewhere. I think she’s either drawing on her whiteboard or teaching her invisible class. She likes to play school with her dolls and teach them useless stuff! I’m a boy so I don’t like to play with creepy dolls. When I ask my brother and sister if they want a pool, my brother just says no, he’s happy in the basement, and my sister says, “No, I don’t want to drown!”

Besides my parents’ favorite word being no, here’s more information about them: Every single morning I wake up to the sound of my dad exercising. I hear the jump rope noises. “Whoooo, whoooo, whoooo,” goes the rope. It makes me giggle a little. I laugh into my pillow because it’s so annoying. So just like my brother and sister, my dad likes his summers. My smart mom is always busy shopping and taking care of everyone in the house. She has no complaints about summer either.

So then there is me, Jeff. As I said, I’m totally different from everyone in my family. I like checkers, chess, drawing, reading, and painting. Wait; I feel like I am forgetting something important. Oh yeah! I love to bake. So every summer I sign up for a baking class. My family thinks baking is messy and not a good way to spend my time.

I am always the best student in the baking class. The baking teacher always says to my parents, “Your son is the #1 baker in my class! I have never seen anyone bake as wells as him!”

When the teacher told them this, my parents would say, “We love to hear that good news! We love that he is the best in the class and hope he does such a good job every single time!”

When I heard them say this the first time, I thought to myself, “Really? That isn’t true.” You see, I didn’t think they really cared much that I am so good at baking. I thought what they were really thinking was, “Jeff! Stop wasting your time with this baking nonsense! Be like the other kids!”

When we drove home from baking class no one said a word during the ride. When we got home, I ran to my room full speed. When I got to my room, a million thoughts were in my head: “Why are they mad at me? I’m trying to be myself. What’s wrong with that?”

I wanted to stay in my room forever, just like my brother stays in the basement.

But one night I had a sudden thought. I felt like a koala wondering why he was awake! I thought about how baking is a great activity, that I liked it as much as koalas like to sleep, and that I had to prove this to my family. I went downstairs with my flashlight. I didn’t want to wake anybody up. I looked at the table to make sure I had baking class in the morning so I would be able to carry out my plan. I always leave myself reminder notes if I do. I was right! I did have baking class in the morning! I thought about the one time I missed baking class because my parents had thrown out my reminder note, hoping that I would forget that I had class. I went back to bed feeling happy about going to class in the morning. I slept like a baby. Wait—not like a baby, because babies always scream! I slept like a koala because koalas sleep almost all day.

As usual, just like every morning, I woke up to the sounds of my dad doing his exercises. “Whooooo, whooooo, whoooo,” said the rope. I went downstairs for breakfast. I thought about my plan and felt as happy as peanut butter smashed together with jelly. Oh, no! The reminder note about baking class was gone! Well, this time I was not going to forget about my class! I waited until it was time to leave for class. Instead of asking my parents to drive me there, I took myself there on my bike! I knew that if I asked my parents to take me they would say, “Jeff, you don’t have class today.” I outsmarted them! I rushed to class on my bike.

At baking class the teacher said, “We are going to make brownies today.” I was surprised! I thought the teacher had read my mind for a moment there, because making brownies was my plan late last night when I woke up. But then I remembered that she had told us that last week.

I added a special ingredient to my batter—cocoa powder! When the teacher tried my brownies she said, “This is the best brownie ever! It is super soft and chocolaty!”

It was now time to put my plan to work. After class, I asked the teacher if I could take home the ingredients for making brownies. I wanted her to say yes and she did. It was the best day ever when she said “yes.” I thought to myself, “This is when I will get my freedom!”

I biked home as fast as I could, but I was careful, too. I went home and went straight to the kitchen—my happy place. Then I ran all around the house to see what the rest of my family was doing. My sister was teaching useless stuff to her dolls again, my older brother was playing with the x-box, and my parents were figuring out how to save money. My dad said, “Let’s try to win the lottery!” I giggled a little when I heard that. So the coast was clear! I could be alone in the kitchen! I ran back to the kitchen and made the brownies the same way I had just done in baking class.

My sister came into the kitchen because she smelled me baking. I think she smelled my secret ingredient—the cocoa powder. She asked, “Can I lick the batter off the beater?”

I told her, “Go away and stop annoying me!”

Of course, she said, “Why?”

Then I told her, “More brownies for you if you go away!” That got her to leave. When the brownies were finished (I tested them first) I yelled, “FAMILY MEETING!” That got everyone’s attention. Everyone ran to the kitchen. I said, “Want a brownie?”

My family took one bite and said exactly what my teacher said, “These are the best brownies ever! They are super soft and chocolaty!”

My parents said, and they were not lying, “We should listen to you and your baking teacher more!”

I was as happy as a seagull with a French fry! My parents had snapped out of trying to stop me from baking.

That was the day I got the freedom to be myself. I wanted to remember this day forever. And I did.

Epilogue

Actually, a few days later my summer ended up not going as badly as I thought it would. My parents let me bake a lot! My brother always wanted my brownies for a snack! My parents even wanted me to bake for their job, so I may open my own store one day.

The real message of this story is not to go and bake. The real message is to be yourself.

Ralston Frattarola The Secret Agent Baker

Ralston Frattarola, 12
Glenville, NY

About the Author

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