The Amazing Science Fair Project

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Chapter 1: Candy Wrappers

“Put that back in the bowl, you’ve had enough sweets today!”

“Aww, Mom!” protested Ben, “But there’s only two Halloween chocolates left. Pleeeease?”

Mrs. Jones put down the potato she was peeling and turned to face her son. “No means no. Besides, I am cooking a special dinner for tonight. I don’t want you to spoil it by eating too much candy.”

Ben crossed his arms over his chest and scowled. “It’s not fair. Amanda and the others won tickets to the theme park, and now she gets a special dinner too. Olly and I won first prize for the Halloween contest, but I get nothing.”

“This dinner is for the both of you. You both won something special, so stop sulking.”

I am not sulking!” Ben growled as he jammed his fists into the pockets of his hoodie.

“Oh really?” smiled his mother.

Ben grunted and walked into the living room. He picked up the TV remote and flicked through the channels. Nothing much was on TV on Sunday afternoon - at least nothing he wanted to watch. He flicked the TV off and dropped the remote on the couch.

The house was suddenly very quiet, with only the noise of his mother peeling vegetables in the kitchen. Ben slowly wandered the hallway, clicking his tongue loudly. “I’m bored!”

“Why don’t you go outside and ride your bike?” suggested his mother.

“There’s nobody to ride with,” complained Ben. “They are all at Mega Play World with Amanda.”

“Just go outside and play.”

“But-“ began Ben.

Please go outside, and give me some peace and quiet while I prepare dinner,” insisted his mother, “or there will be no dessert!”

OK Mom,” sighed Ben. He loved his Mom’s desserts - they were much better than a couple tiny chocolate bars anyway.


Ben put on his shoes, then went and grabbed his bike and helmet from the garage. He pushed the bike part way down the driveway before he stopped to put on his helmet.  His dark brown hair pushed down over his deep brown eyes as he tried to clip the helmet strap together. Neither his hair nor the clip was cooperating with him today.

Agghhh!” he shouted, and yanked the helmet off his head. He was about to throw the helmet onto the grass, but the vision of Mom’s dessert stopped him. He took a deep breath, pushed his hair back and tried the helmet again. This time, his hair stayed put and the strap clicked together easily.

Mom may be right. I might need a haircut, thought Ben. Not that I would ever tell her that, though.

Ben slipped his right leg over the bicycle and hopped up on the seat. Pushing down firmly with his right foot to get started, he pedaled out onto the road. He automatically turned towards Tim & Tom’s house, who were two of his best friends.

He frowned, and turned the bike around to go the other way around the block. Tim and Tom, the red-headed twins, were at the amusement park with Amanda, along with Alice, Susan and Becky. Even his other best friend James was with them. They had all worked together on the Haunted House that had won them tickets to the amusement park. All except Ben, who had paired up with Oliver Winston on the winning display.

We won - but it sure doesn’t feel like it, thought Ben. He hadn’t seen Oliver since the contest, but he was in the middle school like Amanda and probably didn’t want to play with little kids like Ben any more than he had to.

“Grrrrrr!” growled Ben as he pumped the pedals harder.  He passed by James’ house and started another loop around the block. He missed his friends, but he felt a little betrayed too. Frankly, Ben didn’t know what to feel, but he knew he hated feeling lonely.

If only…

“Hey Ben!” called out James. He was waving and holding something in his hand. “We just got back, and I brought you something!”

Ben drove his bike up onto James’ driveway and stopped beside the car. Susan and her Dad must have gone inside already. James was grinning from ear to ear, holding one hand behind his back. His dark blonde hair was a bit more bushy and messy as usual, probably from all the rides. There was a dark stain on his shirt that matched his brown eyes. Ben hoped it was just chocolate.

“It was totally awesome, you would have loved it,” started James, then paused as he noticed the scowl growing on Ben’s face.  “Umm, well, it was OK, I guess. But we will have to go again - with you, next time. But hey, I got you something, so you didn’t totally miss out.”

James pulled his hand out from behind his back and handed Ben a large bag of cotton candy.

Ben’s scowl melted into a smile as he reached out for the bag of pink fluff. “Thanks James!”

“You’re welcome. But hey, I’ve got to get inside, Mom was calling us for dinner as soon as we pulled up,” shrugged James.  “So I’ll see you tomorrow!”

“Thanks, James - see you at school!” waved Ben as he hopped back onto his bike and started off home.

When he pulled up into the driveway, he saw his father’s car parked up close to the house. Ben rode his bike up to the entrance of the garage, and hopped off to push it in past his Mom’s car. He parked the bike with the others, then looked longingly at the bag of cotton candy.

He was just about to open it when his mother called everyone for dinner. Ben rushed upstairs and threw the bag of cotton candy onto his bed before he went into the bathroom to wash his hands.

Ben was the last one to sit down at the table. His father looked at him as he passed the gravy. “How was your day, Ben?”

“OK, I guess,” sighed Ben.

“I think he missed his sister,” said his mother. “Two whole days with the house to himself, and he just didn’t know what to do.”

Ben grunted and stabbed a boiled potato with his fork. It wasn’t Amanda that I missed, thought Ben.

“Anyway,” began his father, “It is a big park, and it was good we had two days to do it all. Next time, the whole family will need to come - but I don’t know when, I have had enough rides for a while!”

Ben glared at Amanda, who was staring down at her plate, cutting a piece of roast beef. He couldn’t see her face clearly behind her long brown hair, but he thought he saw her smirk.

“Well, at least all of that excitement is finished with and you can all go back to school tomorrow, everything will be back to normal,” smiled his mother.

“But first, make sure to finish all of your veggies, because I made a special desert!”

“Yes, Mom,” said Amanda.

Ben just shoved a chunk of potato into his mouth and started chewing faster.

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