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BURRITOS, CREPES, AND IMPOSSIBLE TESTS
Some days you wake up with absolutely nothing to do. You have time to catch up on your comic books. Maybe watch a little TV.
Today was not one of those days.
Before I’d even brushed my teeth, Lin had left me fourteen text messages and three video messages, and nearly worn out the battery on my Invisible Communicator. All because Vicky Van-Varbles, Lin’s sworn enemy, had spent the night at her house. A sleepover of epic proportions, and thanks to all the messages, I knew every detail.
After double-checking my backpack for supplies, I bolted out the door and was knocking on Lin’s before she could call again.
“Danny, good to see you this fine morning,” Lin’s dad said as he answered. He was wearing a dish towel around his neck, and he smiled his nice dad smile, which always made me feel good.
“Thanks, Mr. Song. It’s nice to see you, too. Is Lin here?” I asked.
“Nope. NASA stopped by this morning and asked her to go on a secret space mission,” he said. “She won’t be back for twenty-seven years. You just missed her.”
“Well, in that case, I guess I can help myself to her video game collection. All the games will be outdated by the time she returns,” I said.
Mr. Song stepped out of the doorway and motioned for me to enter. “Help yourself. Oh, and help yourself to some breakfast, too. We’ve got a special chef in this morning.”
No doubt about it, Mr. Song is funny. Of course the NASA story was a joke—nobody goes away for twenty-seven years—but I could tell by the smell in the air the chef thing wasn’t. I heard the clink and clang of knives and forks attacking dishes as I made my way into the kitchen.
“Danny! ChuChu wuv Vicky pwapes. YUMMMMY!” Lin’s little sister, ChuChu, said from her high chair. Her face was covered in whipped cream, and her hair was slicked back with syrup. Before I could say hello, ChuChu picked up a pancake from her plate and flung it like a Frisbee. It soared an inch above Mrs. Song’s head and slapped right to the front of my shirt, where it stuck with a FLAP!
“ChuChu!” Lin’s mom and dad said at the same time. But I was more interested in the round circle of thin goodness stuck to my shirt. I peeled it off and held it to the light.
“This pancake is so thin I can see through it,” I said.
Just then, I noticed Vicky. She was wearing a purple chef’s hat with a matching apron. Her name was stitched across the front of the apron in red gems, and she held a pan in a hand covered in a bright purple hot-pad glove. She flicked the pan and one of the thin pancakes did a perfect flip and landed back in the pan with a sizzle.
“Thanks. They are wonderfully thin if I say so myself. Master Chef Jean-Louise taught me how to make them when I was in Paris last summer on a cooking vacation. Oh, and they aren’t pancakes. They are crepes,” Vicky said.
“ChuChu wuv pwapes!” ChuChu said again.
“Ohhh! Isn’t that the sweetest thing?” Lin’s mom said.
“ChuChu wuvs Vicky,” ChuChu said.
“Ohhhh! Now that is the sweetest thing,” Lin’s dad said.
“Thanks, Chooch! Vicky wuvs you, too,” Vicky said as she slid the crepe from the hot pan to a plate.
I heard a thunk and looked over to find Lin. She was sitting next to her mom, and her head was slumped on the table. She groaned.
“Have a seat, Danny,” Mrs. Song said. “There’s a spot next to Lin. Don’t worry. I don’t think her morning grumps are contagious.”
“Yes they are, Mom,” Lin said under her breath as I sat down next to her.
“Danny. Wait until you try these. Vicky made each of us our own special crepe toppings. It’s like she can read our minds,” Mrs. Song said. “Mine had cinnamon apples with a hint of spicy pepper.”
“It was cayenne, Mrs. Song,” Vicky said as she chopped something on the counter behind me.
“And mine was peanut butter and banana,” Mr. Song said.
“With nutmeg. Don’t forget the nutmeg,” Vicky said.
“How could I? It was magnifique!” Mr. Song said in a French accent. Then he kissed his fingertips, and everyone except Lin giggled.
“What was on yours?” I asked Lin. I already knew that ChuChu’s crepes were strawberry and cream because she was pretty much wearing them at this point.
“Peaches, jalapeños, caramel sauce, with a little bit of whipped cream,” Lin said. She looked up at me and rolled her eyes.
“What? Weren’t they good?” I asked.
“They were perfect,” she said, then thumped her head back to the table again.
“And speaking of perfect,” Vicky said, surprising me as she stood behind me with a plate. “Bon appétit!”
She placed the plate down in front of me. Two perfectly rolled-up crepes filled with fluffy white cheese. There were stripes of dark red syrup or something perfectly swirled in curvy lines on top of the crepes.
“What’s inside of them?” I asked.
“Take a bite, and then I’ll tell you,” Vicky said. “Come on. Be adventurous.”
I liked the challenge, and the crepes smelled pretty good, so I took Vicky’s advice. I took a bite, chewed it a couple of times, then closed my eyes.
“Ham, cream cheese, and green onions. Topped with red-raspberry syrup,” Vicky said.
“Oh, gross!” Lin said. “Ham and raspberries? And ONIONS! I think you messed up this time, Vicky.”
I opened my eyes, and everyone was staring at me, waiting for me to say something.
“This is the best breakfast I’ve had in my entire life,” I said.
“Of course it is,” Vicky said, and Lin opened her eyes so wide I thought they might fall out and roll onto the floor. “Now, I’ll clean up while you finish, Danny. Then it’s off to the Microterium. We have a lot to do today.”
“You don’t need to clean up, Vicky. We’ll do it,” Lin’s mom said.
“What? I have to clean up when I cook,” Lin said.
“Vicky is our guest, Lin,” Mrs. Song said.
“It’s okay. I like cleaning,” Vicky said.
“Of course you do,” Lin said.
“Well, at least we can help,” Mr. Song said as he started adding dishes to the sink.
ChuChu banged her spoon on her high chair. She was obviously finished with breakfast, so Lin used a washcloth to clean her up while we took a few seconds to talk about the day.
“Hey, did you finish your list for the IMPA challenges?” I said.
“My what?” Lin asked.
“The list of challenges to be part of the International Microsaur Protection Agency. You know, so we can convince Vicky to keep this whole thing a secret. That’s the entire reason she slept over at your house last night,” I said.
“Yeah, I got it. I was up half the night thinking about it. But I started calling the challenge something else,” Lin said.
“What have you been calling it?” I asked.
“It’s the TROVFPTBACAAMMMLHSIFHTTM list,” Lin said, saying every initial.
“I’m afraid to ask, but what does that stand for?” I asked as I shoveled another bit of ham crepe into my mouth.
“Oh. It’s my Total Revenge On Vicky For Pretending To Be A Chef Angel And Making My Mom Like Her So I’m Feeding Her To The Microsaurs list. Yours is shorter, though, so let’s go with the IMPA,” Lin said. “For now, that is.”
“Probably a good idea,” I said.
“What’s a good idea?” Vicky asked as she neatly folded her dish towel and placed it on the counter.
“For us to get going to the Microterium,” I said.
“But I need to change first. I can’t go like this,” Vicky said, motioning to her hat and apron. “I’ll be right back.”
Vicky ran out of the kitchen, back toward Lin’s bedroom. I looked over at Lin and was about to ask a question, but she answered it before I could get a chance.
“Her mom had someone drop off red pajamas, the purple cooking costume, and a few ingredients that we didn’t have. And of course, new clothes for today,” Lin said.
“Let me guess. Purple,” I said.
“Purplish, and very sparkly,” Lin said with a grossed-out look on her face.
The door to Lin’s room opened, and Vicky was standing there, pulling a bright purple belt around her waist. She was dressed head to toe in her favorite color. Then she pulled on a purple jacket that looked like it had been dipped in glitter. It was so sparkly I had a hard time focusing on it for a minute.
“My goodness, you look adorable,” Mrs. Song said. “Lin, doesn’t she look adorable?”
“She looks like a frosted cupcake,” Lin said.
“I know, right?” Vicky said. Then she did a little twirl.
Mrs. Song clapped, and Lin groaned and rolled her eyes.
Lin snapped on her skateboarding helmet. “Bye, Mom and Dad. We gotta run. We’ll be at Penrod’s Microterium.” As we left, she grabbed a jar with a lid on it from the kitchen table and stuffed it in my backpack. “Come on. Let’s go before someone starts picking out the perfect matching fingernail polish to go with a muddy day in the Microterium.”
“Wait. Is it going to be muddy?” Vicky said, and I could hear the worry in her voice.
“It’s always muddy in the Microterium,” I said.
“Be careful,” Mr. Song said as we made our way to the door.
“We’re always careful. Besides, it’s probably more safe than a twenty-seven-year space trip to Mars,” Lin said with a grin that told me she enjoyed the joke as much as her dad did.
Copyright © 2019 by Dustin Hansen