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Craig, Is That You?
You know how sometimes even the most patient kid practically crawls out of her skin with anticipation? Well, seeing Craig—my funny, grumpy cupcake friend—on the new sheet of stickers gives me that feeling.
I take a deep breath and count to ten.
My friend Bev looks over my shoulder at the sheet of stickers. I’m sure she’s thinking the same thing: will these stickers be magical too?
“Let me guess. You’re trying to decide if you should peel off Craig first, right?” Bev says. “Especially since one of the other stickers is a treasure chest.”
To be honest, it’s not a tough decision. Even though Craig caused his share of trouble last time, he was pretty fun to have around. But there are only ten stickers, so pacing myself is a must.
Besides Craig, the new stickers are a …
I just hope this new batch of stickers turns out to be a little less trouble than the last sheet.
“I can’t believe you’re hesitating,” Bev jokes. “You have to use at least ONE while I’m here.”
It’s not that I don’t want to share the magic with Bev—I mean, she rode with me on a Pegasus that was once a sticker. But what if something goes wrong? What if the stickers we just found hidden in my little brother’s toy toolbox aren’t enchanted like the last batch? Or worse—what if they’re evil?
Bev sits down on my bed. “If you don’t hurry up and do it, I will,” she teases.
She’s right. Why am I hesitating? I gently peel my little cupcake friend off the sheet of stickers.
Craig immediately appears in my hand, coughing and wheezing.
“Martina! I missed you!”
When Bev whips her head around to see him, I can’t help but smile.
This is real.
This is happening.
A Pouty Baked Good
Since you can’t really hug a cupcake, it’s a bit awkward showing Craig how happy I am to see him. The last thing I want to do is squish him on his first day back. He remembers Bev and says hello.
There are a million questions I want to ask: Where did he go when the stickers returned to the sheet? Was it like sleeping or being dead? Is there anything he should warn me about BEFORE I peel the stickers off this time? (I may decide to take a pass on the zombie.…)
It’s as if Craig can read my mind, because he crosses his arms and scowls. “I’m not even here for a minute and you’re already wondering what we stickers can do for you! Ever think about what WE might want out of this, Martina? We’re the ones who finally get to come alive—you should take OUR needs into consideration. It’s just plain DULL sitting on that sheet, waiting to get peeled off!”
Bev claps her hand over her mouth and tries not to laugh.
“He’s very opinionated,” I say.
As Craig stomps around my desk, tiny crumbs fly off him. I tell him if he doesn’t stop getting so upset, he’ll be a mini cupcake by the end of the day.
“Just keep those monsters away from me.”
I don’t know what he’s talking about until I see my brother James and my dog, Lily, in the hall. James is only two years old and Lily’s a Chihuahua, so neither can be categorized as a monster, but I suppose if Craig tastes as good as he looks, everyone’s a potential threat.
“Cupcake!” James squeals. “Cupcake talks!”
Lily arches her back and lets out a low growl, so Bev picks her up and rubs her belly. “I can’t believe you chose Craig first! Ninety-nine percent of the people in the universe would’ve taken the treasure chest.”
Maybe Bev’s right and I’m being too cautious with my magical stickers. Maybe since I’ve got a friend to hang out with now, their magic will be much more manageable.
I try to hand the sheet of stickers to Bev but she shakes her head. “No way. They probably only work when you peel them off.”
“There’s one way to find out.” I continue holding the sheet of stickers out to her.
“I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” Craig says. “There’s no telling what will happen if you let everyone in the world share in the magic.”
Considering I pretty much have only one or two friends here, Craig’s warning is definitely overkill. But his comment does make me realize it might not be smart to tempt fate.
“You’re right, Bev—let’s peel off the treasure chest.” Both of us hover over the sticker as I lift it off the sheet.
overflowing with gold, diamonds, rubies, and emeralds is now in the center of my room. Bev and I stare at the old wooden trunk like a couple of pirates.
Then we scream.
Craig laughs. “It’s like you two have never seen a fortune before.”
“Probably because we HAVEN’T!” Bev takes a handful of diamonds and rubies and examines them.
I think about all the coupons my mom cuts out, how many clothes she mends, how many hours my father works at the diner he owns. Suddenly we’re rich! This can really change our lives!
Lily sniffs at the gems scattered on the rug while James dives into the chest.
How am I going to explain this windfall to my parents? How are we going to move this trunk? How can I hide this from my brother Eric, who thinks what’s mine is his just because he’s older?
But most important—WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH ALL THESE JEWELS?
Text copyright © 2017 by Janet Tashjian
Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Inga Wilmink