It’s CONTEST TIME over at Susanna Leonard Hill’s wonderful blog, http://susannahill.blogspot.com/ – this time a 4th of July mystery, in 400 words or LESS! I chose the Less option, three whole words Less! And now, without further ado (drum roll please), may I present
Drummer Boy (1872)
Eddie rushed out the door as the shrill whistle blew. “A holiday,” he shouted, “and I’m drummin’ in the parade!” RAT-A-TAT-TAT! RAT-A-TAT-TAT!
He scurried up steep Pine Street; past the courthouse, with red, white and blue bunting like skirts on washday billowing in the breeze.
The scent of strawberry shortcake made Eddie’s mouth water as he skipped by Aunt Peg’s cottage. Uncle Mick waved a greeting from the ivy-clad porch.
With a quick “hi” to Ma, Eddie entered the steam-filled kitchen and grabbed cast-iron pot and wooden spoon. RAT-A-TAT-TAT!
“Stop! Shuck peas first, ” Ma commanded.
“Can’t,” answered Eddie, heading toward the door. “Mr. Lear says we gotta practice. And ya know it’s my first parade.” RAT-A-TAT-TAT!
“Not with my favorite spoon you don’t,” replied Ma, grabbing it to stir lima beans bobbing in rich brisket broth.
Now where are those drumsticks? Eddie wondered. He searched parlor, over mantel and around Gran’s rocker, and pantry, between jars of jam, pickles and last summer’s tomatoes. RAT-A-TAT-TAT!
Rhythmic beats echoed through the house. “My drum sticks!”
Eddie bounded up the stairs, two at a time. “LouLou, gimme those sticks!” LouLou crouched in her crib, stroking the rails with the featherless tail of Goose, her favorite wooden duck. RAT-A-TAT-TAT!
Eddie closed the door as LouLou continued her song. He glanced through lacy curtains and spied Uncle Mick, with knife and…
“My drum sticks!” Eddie leapt down the stairs and crossed the street in three strides. RAT-A-TAT-TAT!
Uncle Mick chuckled. “Your drum sticks? Guess I’m gettin’ good at whittlin’ if this knobby ole branch looks that smooth!”
Eddie collapsed on the cool stone steps and mopped his sweaty brow. He swatted the wet nose nudging his arm. Smoke yipped and dropped…
“My drum stick!” Eddie exclaimed! RAT-A-TAT-TAT!
Smoke chomped on the stick and streaked through the garden like a storm cloud raging across a steamy summer sky. Over Mrs. Asher’s white-picket fence, past Mr. Smith’s prize-winning roses, between steeples that towered like blue-coated sentries, Smoke charged. RAT-A-TAT-TAT!
Eddie finally cornered the mutt as the pair reached bustling Market Street. Smoke clenched the stick between bared teeth, smiling as he darted behind Mr. Lear.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Lear,” Eddie panted. His head hung low; his shoulders slumped.
“Sorry? For what? Practice’s just startin’,” Mr. Lear replied. “Here’s your drum sticks; now let’s get ready for that 4th of July parade!” RAT-A-TAT-TAT! RAT-A-TAT-TAT!