Laura gave her career report on Monday morning. Just like Logan’s, it was perfect in every way. First she talked about some chefs she liked to watch on television, like Rachael Ray. Then she talked about famous cooking schools. “The best ones,” she said, “are in Paris, but you really don’t have to go that far. There is Le Cordon Bleu College in Scottsdale that has a very good reputation.”
At the end of her report, she passed out samples of her homemade cookies. She called them Laura’s Everything Cookies because they were filled with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, macadamia nuts, and pecans. Everyone said they were the best cookies they had ever eaten. Amber was thinking that Betty Jenkins still made the best cookies she’d ever eaten, but she’d never tell Laura that.
After school, the girls rode their bikes to the senior center. Mrs. Snow saw them looking at the bulletin board. “Girls,” she said, “I need to see you in my office.”
The Happy Helpers looked at each other as if to ask, “Did we do something wrong?”
“Have a seat.” Mrs. Snow pointed to some chairs near her desk. “Bob said he had you set the tables for lunch on Saturday.”
“We did, “Laura said. “We did exactly what Bob told us to do.”
“He said that he made it quite clear that you should put out forks, knives, and spoons,” Mrs. Snow continued.
“That’s what we did.” Amber sounded concerned.
“Well, there were no spoons on the tables when the lunch was served. In fact, there were no spoons anywhere in the kitchen. Later, Walt found them in the recreation room.”
“I know there were spoons on the tables,” Melissa defended. “I put them there myself.”
“Maybe you forgot to put out the spoons,” Mrs. Snow suggested. “That’s possible, isn’t it?”
“No,” Laura insisted. “There were spoons on the tables. We didn’t forget.”
“Well,” Mrs. Snow went on, “I guess we’ll let it go at that. We all make mistakes sometimes. Try not to let it happen again.”
“We won’t,” Amber promised. “We like helping, and we always try to do our best.”
“Next Saturday, the women’s auxiliary is setting up for the big Easter luncheon. We could use your help with that. It’s an important event for the seniors. I hope I can count on you.”
“You can,” they all assured her.
“That was so strange,” Melissa said when they got outside.
“I wonder what happened to the spoons.” Laura shook her head.
“I don’t know,” Amber said thoughtfully. “But I think someone doesn’t want us here.”
At dinner that night, Amber told her family about what happened at the senior center.
“We really did set the table correctly,” Amber insisted. “The spoons just disappeared.”
“It sounds like someone was playing a practical joke on you,” John said. “I wouldn’t take it too seriously. Anyway, you have a second chance to prove yourselves.”
“Yeah, sis,” Kyle added. “What would your life be like without a little drama now and then? Pretty boring!”
“Not to change the subject,” Mary continued, “how are you coming with your career project?”
“Fine,” Amber answered. “It’s almost ready. Laura gave hers today. It was perfect, just like Logan’s. I think Ms. McGuire had the best students give their reports first to make the rest of us look bad.”
“She’s probably trying to let you slackers have more time to finish yours,” Kyle said with a laugh.
“Your teacher’s a smart woman.” John frowned at Kyle. “She had the best students do theirs first to give the rest of you an idea of how to do it. She let them set the example.”
“You might be right,” Amber said. “Logan did a little show-and-tell at the end of his report, and so did Laura. I suppose everyone will have to do that now. I’d better think of something I can show.”
“How about some of your drawings?” Mary asked. “That is, if you are doing your report on art as a career.”
“That’s my secret,” Amber reminded her with a sly smile.
The Handy Helpers book series is available at Amazon