Excerpt for Sophie Washington: The Snitch by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Sophie Washington

The Snitch

Written by

Tonya Duncan Ellis

Copyright © 2013 Tonya Duncan Ellis

All Rights Reserved

Distributed by Smashwords

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission of the author.

This book is a work of fiction. Places, events, and situations in this book are purely fictional and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Books by Tonya Duncan Ellis

Sophie Washington: Queen of the Bee

Sophie Washington: The Snitch

Sophie Washington:

Things You Didn’t Know About Sophie

Sophie Washington: The Gamer

Sophie Washington: Hurricane

To Sophia, Byron, and Justin, my shining stars.

Someday I’ll be living in a big old city,

but all you’re ever gonna be is mean.

Someday, I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me,

And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.

Why you gotta be so mean?

Taylor Swift

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: My Secret

Chapter 2: Baby Waby

Chapter 3: The Sleepover

Chapter 4: Four Eyes

Chapter 5: Going Fishing

Chapter 6: Lunch Money

Chapter 7: The Necklace

Chapter 8: Aliens in the Attic

Chapter 9: Rigby

Chapter 10: Little Brother is Watching

Chapter 11: The Plan

Chapter 12: Lights, Camera, Action

Chapter 13: To Snitch or Not to Snitch

Chapter 14: Trapped

Chapter 15: Mean Mr. Jones

Chapter 16: Confession

Chapter 17: The Assembly

Chapter 18: The Snitch

Chapter 19: Aftermath

Books by Tonya Duncan Ellis

Excerpt: Sophie Washington: Things You Didn’t Know About Sophie

About the Author

Chapter 1

My Secret

I’ve got a secret. Want to hear it?

Secrets are usually nice. Like when my dad surprised me with a new goldfish last year. Or the time Granny Washington unexpectedly visited us in Houston from her house in Corpus Christi.

I used to love secrets. But this one’s not so great.

No one knows it, except my best friend Chloe. It’s her secret, too. We don’t talk about it, ‘cause if we do people won’t like us. And in the fifth grade being liked is as important as having a fun birthday party, or staying up as late as possible, or…Christmas.

For now, I’m not telling. Chloe’s not either.

“Hey Sophie, wait up!” Chloe yells as I make my way down the hall to our first period math class. “How was your weekend?”

“The same old, same old,” I reply, hoisting my math book and binder up in my arms. “Cole whined about having nothing to do, so Mom and Dad took us to the zoo and then out for ice cream. On Sunday I caught up on all my homework after church.”

Cole is my seven-year-old brother. My mom thinks he’s an angel, but I think he was sent here to drive me crazy. Just this morning at breakfast, for example, he pulled my ponytail while she wasn’t looking, and then started crying loudly after I whacked him with an empty Cheerios box. Of course, I’m the one who got in trouble. My dad is nicer to Cole than he deserves, but I think he’s figured out his game a little bit better than Mom.

“Nothing much exciting happened at our house, either,” says Chloe, “but I did get this cute new purse.” Chloe is what you’d call a Fashionista. I admire the pretty, powder blue bag and notice the red, glittery, slide-on shoes she wears on her feet. She always manages to make our boring, private school uniforms look stylish.

“That’s nice,” I say.

As we near the classroom I see someone in the shadows and my heart starts to beat fast.

“Just great,” I mutter.

Lanie Mitchell, the class bully, heads our way from the opposite direction.

She sees us, grins, and blocks our path. Most of our classmates are 10, like me, but Lanie is already 12 years old. She’s the second tallest girl in 5B, behind Chloe, and a little bit on the chubby side.

“Hey girls, what’s up?” Lanie smiles so we see her crooked front tooth and smell her sour breath.

Neither of us answers.

“Whatsamatter? You can’t speak?” she snarls, moving in closer. “I know you hear me talking to you!”

“We’re going to class, Lanie,” says Chloe wearily, “and you’re in our way.”

“No, you’re in my way,” says Lanie, “and I’m not moving until you give me the five dollars you owe me.”

“I don’t owe you anything,” Chloe retorts, hands on hips.

“If you don’t pay up now, your little friend here will pay later,” she says, pointing her pudgy finger at me.

Lanie joined our class two months ago. The school year has gone downhill ever since. When she first came to Xavier from another school here in Houston, most of the people in our class liked her. She was friendly and talkative, and shared the bubble gum her grandma packed in her lunch every day. But after a couple of weeks, the happy times ended.

Lanie started kicking and hitting kids who didn’t do what she wanted. Since I didn’t follow her orders, I became her favorite punching bag. Chloe is caught in the middle, because she’s my best friend.

I’m scared to fight Lanie because I’m much smaller. Chloe is scared to fight her because she doesn’t want to get in trouble. Everyone knows Chloe has a bad temper. It started after she found out she has dyslexia when we were in kindergarten. Dyslexia makes you see letters differently, so you have trouble reading. Chloe has a special tutor to help with her reading. Whenever anyone teases her about it, she fights them, so she’s got a reputation with the teachers. If she is caught fighting Lanie, she might get detention, or worse.

If we tell on Lanie, we’ll be called snitches, and at our school there’s nothing worse than that. Two years ago, Brantley Wilson tattled on another boy who was taking his money, and the other kids still think of him as a snitch. They call him a baby who runs to Mommy every time something goes wrong. He barely has any friends.

Even though she is terrible to me, Chloe, and a few other kids, Lanie is nice to all our other friends. They like her. Because of that, we don’t tell. Who wants to be called a snitch or tattle-tale?

Chloe reaches into her bag and pulls out a five-dollar bill. I know that is her allowance for the week.

I would offer some money myself, but Lanie has already drained my piggy bank. She snatches up the money and moves down the hall to bother someone else.

Chloe and I look at each other and quietly head into class.

I’ve got to make sure I stay away from that bully, I think, moving to my seat. What’s going to happen the next time I see her?

The week has just started and we’re already both broke. If Lanie asks for more money, I’m done. This is one of the worst secrets ever!

Chapter 2

Baby Waby

At pickup after school today, Cole’s friend, Jake Winfield, and his mom walk over to our car.

“Hi Elise,” Mrs. Winfield says to Mom. “I don’t mean to hold you up, but I have a favor to ask.”

Turns out that Mrs. Winfield, who is a lawyer, is going out of town next week on business. Her husband has an important meeting at his job on Tuesday night and won’t be able to pick Jake up after school.

“I was wondering if Jake could go home with you?” she asks. “Bill can get him when he finishes work, around 9:30 or 10:00 p.m.”

“That’s a bit late,” Mom says, thinking. “How about letting Jake sleep over?”

“Yeah!” Cole and Jake shout.

“Only if it’s not too much of a problem for you,” Mrs. Winfield says, looking relieved.

“That should be fine,” Mom says.

We ride off and Cole smiles and flips through his Video Rangers guide book. The Rangers are characters in a boring video game he is obsessed with.

“This will be your first sleepover, Cole,” says Mom. “I expect you to be on your best behavior, since it will be on a school night.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” he says.

He doesn’t look worried. But I wonder how this will turn out.

Just like I have a secret, my brother Cole also has something he doesn’t want anyone to know. He sucks his thumb at night.

If you see him in the day, you wouldn’t know it. For a first grader, he seems like a daredevil. He’s not scared of movies like Harry Potter, and he jumps off the high dive at the pool. He plays football, basketball, soccer, and any sport you can think of. But every night he shoves his thumb between his lips like a baby and curls up with a stuffed dog he calls “Bark.”

Mom pretends to make him stop, but I believe she thinks it’s cute.

“He looks so precious cuddling his little dog,” I once heard her tell Dad.

I’ll admit, when he was a baby he did look sweet with his thumb in his mouth. Now that he’s seven, it’s gross.

The skin on his thumb is white and wrinkly from being wet all the time. And every morning his pajamas smell like dried slobber. P-U!

Dad doesn’t worry about it too much, except when he notices Cole’s teeth.

“Your front teeth are being moved forward from the thumb sucking. If you don’t stop soon, it could be bad for my dental business,” he teases.

Instead of listening, Cole buries his head under a blanket and tries to suck his thumb without anyone seeing him.

Mom and Dad say he will grow out of it if we leave him alone.

I think that we need to take action. And it’s going start tonight.

“Hey Cole,” I say, entering his room after dinner, “where are you and Jake going to sleep when he comes over?”

“In my room,” he answers, not looking up from his comic book.

“Where’s Bark going to sleep?” I interrupt.

He raises his head.

“What do you mean by that?”

“You aren’t going to sleep with a stuffed animal when Jake’s over are you? Isn’t that kind of babyish?”

“I’m not a baby!” he retorts.

“Then why do you suck your thumb every night?”

“Get out of my room, Meanine!” he says, trying to hide his head under his blanket.

“Look at the baby waby, trying to hide to suck his thumb,” I taunt.

“Mommy, Sophie’s bothering me!” he yells.

“Baby, waby, baby waby, sucking on his thumb all night!”

“What’s going on here?” Mom pokes her head in the room.

“Sophie’s making fun of me because I sleep with Bark,” Cole says.

“Somebody should make fun of him; it’s babyish,” I say back.

“Sophie, that’s not very nice. Now apologize to your brother,” Mom responds.

“I don’t want Jake to spend the night!” Cole says.

“Now look what you’ve done, Sophie,” Mom frowns at me. “Why would you purposely get your brother upset?”

“I’m just trying to help him out! You and Dad are always babying him. He’s too big to be sucking his thumb every night!”

Mom gives Cole a hug and I storm to my room.

It’s not fair! Everybody around here acts like they love Cole more than me!

Chapter 3

The Sleepover

As usual, I get in trouble for arguing with Cole when Dad gets home from work. Now I can’t watch the Disney Channel for the rest of the week! Of course, nothing happens to him for sucking his thumb like a baby all the time.

Cole changed his mind about cancelling the sleepover, and today is the big day. All the way home from school, he and Jake chatter about their favorite Video Ranger characters.

“Moochoo is the most powerful,” says Cole.

“I think Avatron is the best because he runs on solar power,” chimes in Jake.

If you ask me, they are all silly. Who wants to waste time talking about video game creatures that don’t even really exist?

After we get home, Mom makes chocolate chip cookies. When it’s just me and Cole, it’s usually cheese and crackers, or celery and carrot sticks.

The boys finish up their easy, first-grade homework, then run outside to play football. I go to my room to start on my hard, fifth-grade math worksheet.

It’s not fair that he gets to have a sleepover in the middle of the week, I think to myself in between problems. I can’t wait to see what happens when Jake sees him sucking his thumb tonight!

Dinner tonight is lasagna; Cole’s favorite dish.

“How was school today?” asks Dad.

“Just great, Dad!” says Cole. “We made volcanoes explode in science class today.”

“It was cool,” chimes in Jake, in between a forkful of pasta. “We put vinegar and baking soda in the clay volcano and it oozed out all over the place.”

“We wrote boring definitions in my science class today,” I say.

After dinner I help Mom clear off the table while Dad takes the boys up for their showers.

I look up at the clock; almost bedtime. I can’t wait to see what happens.

Since I’m a few years older than Cole, I get to stay up a half hour later than him. It’s one of the few good things about being a big sister. Most other times it seems like I’m being blamed for something while he gets babied.

Moms heads upstairs to tuck in the boys, and I go to get my bath. I didn’t hear anyone laughing, so I guess Jake hasn’t found out Cole’s secret yet.

Before I go to my room for bed, I peek my head in to spy on the boys. I can’t believe my eyes! Both of them are sound asleep. And cradled in Jake’s arms is a stuffed bear. I guess my brother isn’t the only baby after all.

Chapter 4

Four Eyes

“Move over, Squirt,” I say, shoving my backpack in the seat between me and Cole.

Lanie the bully was absent from school today, so I’m in a good mood as I slide in the car at pickup.

“Keep your stuff off me,” he whines back.

“No, you move your grubby feet off me!” I retort.

“That’s enough!” yells Mom from the driver’s seat. “You two can’t even say hello to one another before you start fighting like cat and dog!”

We quiet down and then she drops some unwelcome news.

“We need to head downtown this afternoon. I forgot that you kids have an appointment with the eye doctor today.” Cole and I both groan. “And I expect you to act like you have some manners when we get there.”

A couple of weeks ago, when we had our annual checkups with Dr. Lucas, his nurse checked our eyesight. Neither of us scored so well. Cole could barely read the letters on the screen, and I didn’t do much better.

Mom blames it on us straining our eyes to play video games. But both she and Dad wear glasses too, to see things that are far away, so I figure we get it from them.

“Will it hurt?” asks Cole.

“No, the doctor will just have you read some charts to test your vision, and maybe get you fitted for glasses,” Mom replies.

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