Craig nodded excitedly.
The cowboy patted his shoulder. “Mighty fine. Mighty fine. Wanna tell the audience yer name?”
Craig waved for the cowboy to lean in. When he did, Craig whispered in his hear. I heard a muttering through his microphone.
The cowboy straightened. “Ladies and gentlemen, let’s give another round of applause to Craig.” The cowboy clapped, prompting the thousands to clap and cheer, some calling out, “Woo-hoo, Craig!”
When the clapping died down again, there was another sound coming from the audience. It took me a few seconds to recognize it.
I gulped and looked over the staring heads. From the far right, a hand waved in the air with a voice calling out, “Craig! Panky! Benji!” The crowds parted and from underneath the waving hand emerged Mom, Dad, Gabby, and the Derbers.
At last, they found us.
It felt good to see them again, especially my parents. I wanted to jump off the stage and dash into their opened arms.
On the other hand, I feared how much trouble we were in.
A GEM IN THEM
An onslaught of adults dragged us off stage, shoved us through a whirlwind of rooms and stairs, and spun us around in the conference room with the long table where we had been.
Mom and Dad battered me with question after question faster than I could answer any of them.
“Why didn’t you come straight back to the Topsy-Turvy?”
I said, “Well, there were these kids–”
“Why didn’t you call us?”
“You see, they took our phones–”
“Why didn’t you go to guest services?”
“We didn’t think–”
... middle of paper ...
... From the door, Craig flew out. He had the hugest smile I had ever seen on him his entire life. He yelled, “I got the part!” and sprinted past Benji and me, doing a massive cannon ball into the pool – while still fully clothed.
The water splashed, soaking the old folks standing on the pool deck.
They gasped and stammered out half-words.
Benji and I looked at each and busted out laughing so hard we nearly fell over.
Dad and Mr. Derber stepped from the house, and I saw something else I had never seen before. Mr. Derber was patting Dad’s shoulder and both looked happy, like they had accomplished something together.
In the center of the pool, Craig emerged and swung his hands in the air. “Woo-hoo!”
Benji reached and grabbed my hand.
His touch startled me, but his laughing smile and nod of his head made me understand.
Together, we bounded forward and leapt into the pool.
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