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Here We Go Again!
It’s only been a week since my last batch of stickers returned to their sheet and now Bev and I just found ANOTHER sticker sheet in the pocket of my dad’s suitcase.
“You think they’d at least give me a few more days to get back to normal,” I tell Bev. But the look on her face tells me she doesn’t share my concern.
Bev puts a hand on my shoulder. “I’ve got news for you, Martina. This IS the new normal.”
As exciting as these magical stickers have made my life—I would never have become BFFs with Bev without them—the last batch caused a lot of trouble, and I’m not really ready for that much adventure yet.
Bev, on the other hand, is ALWAYS ready. (I guess it’s easier to be carefree when the stickers aren’t yours.)
“I know you want to peel off Craig first,” she says.
Every sheet of magical stickers I’ve found has included Craig, a grumpy little cupcake I’ve gotten used to having around.
“Look at what ELSE is in here!” I point to the cell phone that was just ringing and that led us to the suitcase in the back of the garage. This phone was on my LAST sheet. Why did it come back?
“Maybe it’s a bonus sticker,” Bev says. “Like at the smoothie shop—when you buy enough smoothies, they give you one for free.”
I reach into the suitcase to grab the magic phone, but when I look down it’s GONE.
Bev and I lock eyes and I know she just felt the same sinking feeling in her stomach that I did. I gaze at the old sheet of stickers in my hand.
“Phew!” I exhale. The cell phone is now safely back on the older sheet with the other stickers. The last thing I need is a runaway sticker wreaking magical havoc all over town.
Bev grabs the old sheet from my hand. “What would happen if we peeled off two Craigs at once? Can you imagine TWO talking cupcakes?”
I can’t. Craig is quite opinionated for a cupcake, and one of him is pretty much all I can handle.
I put the old sticker sheet back in my closet. I make sure to pile some books and board games on top of it—just in case these stickers feel like pulling any more funny business.
With that last sheet secure, I feel better about taking out the new one. These are my magical stickers this time:
With my other magical stickers, I tried to plan when I used them, spacing them out to maximize the magic. But Bev is bouncing up and down on her heels, itching to start using the stickers today. If it were up to her, we’d peel off every one of them NOW.
“How about the kittens?” she asks. “They’re so cute—I can’t stand it!”
Bev’s right—bringing the kittens to life is definitely appealing, but I know which sticker I have to choose first.
I slowly peel off Craig, my buttercream-covered friend.
In a puff of glitter and confetti, Craig suddenly appears in my hand. He makes a big to-do, hacking up tiny pieces of glitter. “It’s always such a fuss,” Craig complains. “Why does GLITTER have to be involved? Aren’t stickers that come to life and talk enough?”
Bev and I smile at our favorite pastry pal.
“You’re such a grouch,” I tell him. “But I still missed you. Even though you’ve only been gone a week.”
I can’t say for sure because of the sprinkles, but it looks like Craig just smiled.
“Are you ready to have some fun?” he asks.
I just hope the fun doesn’t come with so much trouble this time.
A New Plan for Our Class
Bev’s mom texts her to come home for dinner, but Bev’s on a mission to peel off the sticker of the kittens. I promise to wait until we’re together again before releasing the cute pets; Bev’s not having it, though. I’m just as anxious to see the kittens as she is, but I remember how much work the puppies were on my first sheet, so I have to be cautious.
“Everyone wants kittens! Everyone wants puppies! Everyone wants unicorns!” Craig says. “What about good old-fashioned baked goods?”
Craig’s rant gives me an idea.
“Remember how you two talked me into running for student council president?” I ask them.
“As I recall, we had to volunteer FOR you,” Craig says. “You never would’ve run for that position on your own.”
“We’ve been going back and forth about what kind of fund-raiser to have and I know bake sales aren’t that original…”
“TOTALLY,” Bev and Craig say in unison.
“But we have a spokesperson now!” I gesture toward Craig.
“Oh, am I supposed to lure people to the sale with my cupcake batter—I mean, banter?”
Bev laughs. “You ARE pretty chatty for a cupcake.”
“Flattery will get you everywhere,” Craig says.
At our last student council meeting, Mike, Scott, Samantha, and I tried to decide what kind of event we should have to raise money for our school library. Now that he’s back, why not use Craig to advertise our sale on the school website or even on YouTube? Cupcakes are so popular these days; there’s even a famous bakery in Beverly Hills that has its own show on YouTube called Cupcake Challenge. Bev and I watch their web series all the time.
Mom’s only taken me to get a treat there a couple of times since the line is always wrapped around the block. Their cupcakes are so incredible that they installed a cupcake ATM outside the shop. People can buy a perfectly boxed, tasty cupcake right from the machine. There’s usually a long line for that too.
“Cupcake CHALLENGE!?” Craig nearly leaves his buttercream behind when he hears us talking about it.
I hope we’re not making too much noise because I’d like to avoid the Where did you get a talking cupcake? conversation with my parents for as long as possible.
“You don’t mean a fight-to-the-death challenge, do you?” Craig asks.
Bev laughs. “It’s a baking show with kids from all across the country competing for first prize.”
I can’t believe Craig hasn’t heard us talking about Cupcake Challenge before. Craig picks up a paper clip from the desk and starts lifting it as if it’s a barbell. “It’s very sedentary when you’re stuck on a sheet of stickers,” he says. “I need to move.” He does several reps with the paper clip. “Besides, if I’m going to help advertise your bake sale, I’ve got to get ready for my close-up!”
I’ve never really understood how time works in the sticker world. Craig was only back on his sheet for a week in human time. I ask him how long it felt on his end.
“Let’s just say it was enough time for my legs to fall asleep.” He starts doing karate kicks.
I want to press him for more information on what happens when he and the other stickers return to the sheet, but Bev’s mom is out front to pick her up.
“Promise you won’t unleash the kittens till we’re together,” Bev says. “Don’t peel off the lipstick sticker either.”
I tell her I wouldn’t think of it.
Once she’s gone, I try to start on my homework, but it’s no use.
I HAVE MAGICAL STICKERS AGAIN!
Text copyright © 2018 by Janet Tashjian
Illustrations copyright © 2018 by Inga Wilmink