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Get Out of My Way!






 

Nancy was shocked these girls didnt want Nancy and her friends to enter the contest!

Now, just wait a minute, a kindly voice said.

Nancy glanced up. An older woman in a pretty blue-flowered summer dress came over. Her hair was soft gray and rippling with curls. Her eyes were as blue as the flowers on her dress.

Next to her, scribbling something in a notebook, was a man wearing a T-shirt and jeans, with a baseball cap low on his head. Around his neck was a badge that said PRESS on it in big blue letters.

He introduced himself. Kurt Jeffers, Echo Lake News. Is there trouble here? Trouble sells newspapers.

Jane pointed angrily at Nancy and her friends. Theres the trouble! They dont even live here, so why should they get to be in the contest? It isnt fair!

The woman shook her head. Now calm down, girls, she said. She turned to Nancy and her friends. Im Mrs. Thorton, she said. Ive run the contest for ten years and I say that everyone is welcome to enter it.

Lara and Jane frowned. Fine, but were still going to win, Lara said. Lara and Jane headed back to their castle.

Were happy to have you in our contest, Mrs. Thorton said, turning back toward Nancy, George, and Bess. If you need anything, you come to me.

Thank you very much, Nancy said.

Yes, thank you, echoed Bess and George.

Mrs. Thorton touched Kurt Jefferss arm. Wed better be going, she said.

Thats right, Kurt Jeffers said. The news waits for no man!

Or woman. Mrs. Thorton laughed. See you later, girls.

The girls went back to work. Bess took out her plastic library card.

Bess, this is no time to go to the library! We have enough books about sand castles, George said, but Bess shook her head.

Watch, Bess said. I learned this from one of the books we got out. She used the edge of the card to make a swirl design.

Awesome! If we can find a tiny gardening hoe, we can rake a path around the castle, George said.

Look, said Nancy, that team over there is using Popsicle sticks to make a fence. Thats a good idea.



Its not just good, its great! said a girl, coming toward them.

Hi, said Nancy.

Hi! said the girl. She had a merry smile and black hair in a pixie cut. Im Lisa. Are you new here? she asked.

Why? Are you going to tell us to leave? Bess asked suspiciously. Lisa laughed.

Leave? Why would I tell you to do that? She looked at their castle. What this needs is colored sand, she said.

Colored sand? asked Bess. You mean we should paint it?

Lisa giggled. You should buy it! The Beach Barn has lots of great sand. I can take you over there later, if you want. Its really close. You can see it from the beach.

Are you in the contest, too? George asked.

I wish, Lisa said sadly. I won the contest last year, but the rules say you cant win more than once.

She brightened. But I can help you guys! It will be almost like I am entering again.

Bess brushed sand off her legs. We could use all the help we can get, she said. That would be great. Thank you.

Lisa taught the girls lots of cool castle-building tricks. She showed them how an ice cream scoop could build great windows. She showed them how mixing a little glue in the water made the sand stick better.

The girls worked all afternoon and then decided to take a break. Let me take your picture, Nancy said, and Lisa stood up and posed, putting one hand on her hip.

Nancy took two pictures. Suddenly she felt a squirt of water on her leg. She turned just in time to see the water hit the sand castle, too! Hey! Nancy cried, and looked up to see a boy with a water pistol running in the other direction. He had red hair and a lot of freckles.

Thats James, Lisa said. He lives here all year round, too. She pointed to a house right next door to the cottage where Nancy and the girls were staying. Dont pay any attention to him, Lisa said. He was in my second-grade class last year, and hes a Grade A pest!



George bent and studied the castle. Its just a little wet, she said, giving it an extra pat.

Weve worked hard enough today, Nancy said. Lets go ask Hannah if we can walk to the Beach Barn.

The other girls jumped up. And to Peppermint Park! George said.

 

 

Hannah gave the girls permission because the shops were so close and she could watch them walk there. But better than that, she also gave them some extra money for ice cream and colored sand.

The walk was bright and sunny. I cant stop taking pictures, George said, taking a photo of a dog wearing a straw hat.

Me, neither! said Bess, as she snapped a picture of a shop window filled with kites.

Wait until my dad sees this! Nancy exclaimed, snapping a picture of a girl who had a live parrot on her shoulder.

And wait until you see Peppermint Park. Here we are, Lisa said.

Peppermint Park had pink and white stripes painted on the outside. Just like a delicious candy cane, Nancy said, touching the outside stripes. Inside, the booths and tables were all pink and white, too. Nancy tilted her nose in the air. Mmm, chocolate! She sighed.

The girls sat at a table and a friendly looking woman in a striped apron came over. Beside her was a girl with brown braids, who looked the same age as Nancy and her friends.

Thats the owner, Mrs. Rhodes, and her daughter, Katharine, said Lisa. Shes really nice.

Hi Lisa, said Mrs. Rhodes. Lisa introduced Nancy, Bess, and George to Mrs. Rhodes and Katharine.

Welcome to Peppermint Park! Mrs. Rhodes said. Katharine, would you set the table and hand out some menus?

Katharine put down some napkins and four big candy-striped menus.

Im just going to get some water from the fountain over there, Lisa said. Ill be right back.

I want to get some pictures of this place, said Nancy. She took a shot of the counter with all the gleaming silver faucets. Then she took a picture of Mrs. Rhodes, and then one of Katharine.

Hey! Katharine said, blinking. You should have let me do my hair. She pulled her braids up so they were standing straight up from her head.

The girls laughed. You sure have a terrific beach here, Nancy told Katharine. Were having the best visit ever.

Thanks, said Katharine, setting down some long silver spoons.

And a terrific sand castle contest! Bess exclaimed. Were so excited we got here in time to enter.

Katharines face darkened and she got very quiet.

Maybe later well see you at the beach, George said.

Katharine shrugged and then suddenly she turned and walked away from them.

What was that about? Bess said. She looked like someone told her she could never have ice cream again!

Gee, she really isnt very friendly, Nancy said. I thought Lisa said she was nice.

Maybe shes just having a bad day, George suggested.

Just then, Lisa came back. Mrs. Rhodes returned, too, to take their order. The girls scanned the menus. Never had they seen so many flavors or so many funny names Butter Me Up Butter Pecan, Choco-lightning, Martian Marshmallow.

I want all of them! Bess moaned, and Nancy laughed.

I want A Fan of Banana, George decided.

Perfectly Peanuty, Bess said.

Gorilla Vanilla, Nancy said.

Coconutty, said Lisa.

Coming right up, Mrs. Rhodes said.

It didnt take long. Mrs. Rhodes arrived with the ice cream in silver bowls. Nancy had never seen anything that looked more delicious.

The ice cream tasted as good as it looked, maybe even better. Nancy was trapped between wanting to take her time so the ice cream would last, and wanting to gulp it down because she couldnt help herself.

Im done, said Bess. If I eat another bite, Ill turn into ice cream.

I think youve already started. Nancy laughed. You have ice cream on your nose! Bess laughed and wiped her nose with her napkin.

You guys ready? Lisa said. Because the Beach Barn is going to be the most awesome place youve ever seen!

The girls paid for their ice cream and walked outside. The Beach Barn is right over there. Lisa pointed to the store.

The Beach Barn had one huge front window, filled with brightly colored sand-pails and shovels. Inside is even better, Lisa promised.

Lisa opened the door. Suddenly, James rushed out, carrying a package of green sand. Gangway! he cried. Then he bumped into Nancy so hard, she tumbled to the sidewalk!

 



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