A Thousand Water Bombs

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Authors: T. M. Alexander
wife. Fifty handed in our £73.19. (Dad said we didn’t need to pay him back for the water bombs. It was his contribution.) We put the buckets back in the art room and
    I was really miffed. All this fuss. Tribe in pieces. All for nothing. More than anything I wanted everything to go back to normal. But I’d never get the others to agree. Scout or no scout,
Copper Pie had left us in the lurch. I went off with Bee, Fifty and Jonno to the Tribehouse for cakes as agreed, but I didn’t want one. I wanted to find a way to put it all right. I was still
cross with my oldest friend, but not so cross that I didn’t want to be his mate. No . . . not that cross.

cakes at the Tribehouse
    ‘The Head said ours was the most successful stall,’ said Jonno as we walked down Fifty’s street.
    ‘Depends what you mean by success, doesn’t it?’ said Bee.
    ‘She means money.’
    ‘Money sounds like success to me,’ said Fifty.
    ‘It would,’ said Bee. ‘But selling out to a car-boot king wasn’t what I had in mind.’
    ‘Loads of people got great swaps before the pram thief bought everything,’ said Jonno.
    ‘It wasn’t only the pram thief ’s fault,’ said Fifty. ‘Everyone was pushing and shoving.’
    ‘You’ll be telling me I should thank the pram thief next,’ said Bee.
    ‘You know, Bee, you should be thanking the pram thief!’ said Fifty.
    I let them ramble on. Didn’t they care about Copper Pie? Were we really about to have the Tribe meeting with cakes but without a ginger nut?
    We went through the cat flap. I was last and by the time I got into the garden the Tribers had frozen like musical statues again! Bee pressed her finger against her lips. ‘Shhhushhh . .
    ‘We’ve seen feet,’ whispered Fifty.
    This time I knew it was a joke. There couldn’t be another uninvited guest in our hut. I ignored them and went up to the door – totally confident that the Tribehouse was empty.
But before I went in, I glanced down, to check that where the door doesn’t fit properly, light was shining under as normal. Something wasn’t quite right. There was light, but it was
stripy – light/shade/light/shade/light. It looked like there were two blocks in the way, like . . . legs.
    ‘Shhushhh,’ I said. What else could be blocking the light? The safe? No. A new chair with very fat legs that Fifty’s mum put in there to surprise us? No. I
stepped back, on to Fifty, and knocked him flying. (It’s a hazard, him being so small.) He squeaked.
    ‘Shhhushhh. There really is someone in there,’ I said, and ran . . . I’d like to say that I knew the Tribers were right behind me but actually I didn’t care. If it
was a monster – one with lots of heads – I didn’t want to be there to see it.
    ‘At last,’ said a voice I’d heard before. ‘I’ve got better things to do than hang around in garden sheds for some kids that are nothing but trouble.’
    The monster was Copper Pie’s dad.

still cakes at the Tribehouse
    (because the cakes hadn’t been eaten yet)
    ‘Err . . . hello,’ said Fifty.
    ‘Your mum’s not in so I waited here,’ said Copper Pie’s dad. ‘Thought you’d all turn up eventually. I’ve been sent to get you.’
    ‘By who?’ said Bee.
    ‘By the boss, that’s who.’
    ‘Which boss exactly?’ said Fifty.
    ‘The wife. Copper Pie’s mum.’
    ‘She wants us?’ said Bee.
    ‘She does,’ said Copper Pie’s dad.
    ‘Could I ask why?’ said Fifty, being ultra-polite.
    ‘To sort out this mess, of course.’
    ‘With Copper Pie?’ said Jonno.
    ‘That would be it.’
    ‘What about Callum?’ said Bee, with ice in her voice.
    ‘He’s gone off in a right mood.’
    ‘Because the scout didn’t turn up?’ said Jonno.
    ‘He did turn up,’ said Copper Pie’s dad. ‘A bit late, that’s all.’
    ‘Too late,’ I said.
    ‘That’s why you’ve got to come over. It’s my fault Copper Pie didn’t get his chance, so the wife says. And it’s my fault you lot have

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