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Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:
On their way home from school Luke and Joe discussed the Christmas concert.
“I don’t wanna be in it,” said Joe.
“You could just ‘ave a small part,” Luke suggested, “then we’d be together.”
“Oh yeah,” said Joe, but his heart wasn’t in it. He was terrified at the thought of being on stage; of being watched by people. Luke sympathised and racked his brains for a way that Joe could be part of the production without actually having to be on stage. Then it came to him.
“You could be the scenery painter!” he said with great satisfaction. “Then you’d ‘ave to be there, paintin’ the scenes while we’re rehearsin’. Then I could chat to you when it’s not my scene and I could help you. I could fetch your pens and paints and brushes. You could tell ’em I’m your assistant so they don’t send me back to lessons when it’s not my scene.”
It was a brilliant plan. Joe was as happy about it as Luke.
They ducked into Joe’s house for sheep food. His mum was in the kitchen.
“Hello Joe, oh, and hello Luke. Are we returning the favour tonight then?” she asked.
“What d’you mean?” said Joe, trying to think of a way to entice her from the kitchen.
“Is Luke staying here for tea today?”
“Oh, er, no. Thank you,” said Luke, “I’ve jus’ come to borra somethin’.”
That gave Joe an idea.
“Yeah, I want to lend ‘im my book about trains,” he said, “ya know, the one Auntie Sue gave me.”
“Okay,” said his mum without looking up from the potatoes she was peeling.
“on’y,” said Joe, tentatively, “I don’t know where it is. Could you find it for me?”
“Haven’t I got enough to do?” she said indignantly, “what else do you want – shall I tie your shoelaces? Shall I clean your teeth for you?”
Joe shook his head.
“Find it yourself you cheeky beggar!” she concluded, and that was that.
The boys stepped back outside. It was no use. She’d started the dinner which meant she’d be in there for at least another hour.
“Sorry,” said Joe, “we’ll have to get somethin’ from yours again.”
“There’s nothin’ left to take,” said Luke, “Mum said we’ll have to have tinned veg ’til she can get to the shops again and coz she thinks I took it for Curly and Squirt and the damsons – typical! They always blame me! – she won’t let me watch telly for a week!”
The boys looked at each other and thought hard. There had to be a way to get something to eat for those poor starving sheep.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” said Luke, not for the first time. Then he had a thought. An idea. A good one. It might be tricky but it was do-able.
“Remember that farm behind the pony field, next to the rec?”
“Yes,” said Joe.
“They grow salads and things, in them plastic tunnels.”
“Mmm,” said Joe, nervously.
“So, I’ve seen ’em, them tunnels, all they ‘ave to do is water ’em twice a day. The rest of the time there’s no one in ’em.”
“But they’ve got them big dogs,”
“Okay, well, we’ll take a couple o’ dog toys, and then you can distract …”
Joe shook his head.
“I don’t want to distract.”
“Okay, I’ll distract ’em and you can go into the tunnels to get the salad.”
“To save lives!” Luke reminded him, “and anyway, they’ve prob’ly got hundreds o’ lettuces and cucumbers, they won’t miss a few.”
Taking Joe’s silence as tacit consent, Luke continued.
“First, we’ll go to mine to get the dog toys; and a bag; then we’ll go to the farm and I’ll climb in to play with the dogs; as soon as I’ve got their ‘ttention, you sneak into the …”
“What?” said Luke, annoyed that his great plan was a source of amusement.
“Look over there,” said Joe, pointing to the bottom of his garden.
There stood two heavily laden apple trees.
“Or,” said Luke, “we could take some apples.”
They emptied the contents of their school bags behind the water butt and replaced them with apples. With no time to lose, they headed to the muddy paddock.
The story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂
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