The Lost Tennis Shoe
by Kathy Warnes
Matthew and his brother Tyler and their friend Susan were practicing on the Little League field behind the Catholic Church on First Avenue.
Matthew’s brother Tyler swung at one of Matthew’s pitches and he hit a grounder to the outfield.
Matthew and Susan ran after the ball which had rolled to the edge of the field.
"I had the ball first! Matthew shouted at Susan.
" I had it first!" Susan said, grabbing it from Matthew.
By the time they had finished arguing about who had the ball and Matthew ran into the infield with it, Tyler had rounded the bases and slid into home plate.
“You let him make a home run,” Matthew grumbled.
“I was the closest to the ball and I had it. You took it away from me. I could have stopped him,” Susan said.
“You’re just a girl,” Matthew said.
“I ‘m a better player than you are!”
"Go home! I don't play ball with girls," Matthew told her.
Susan stuck out her tongue at Matthew.
“Come on Tyler, let’s go home,” Matthew said.
Instead, Tyler hit more balls to the outfield and Susan chased them and tagged him out on the bases. Matthew stood in the outfield, watching them laugh and chase the ball, and he wanted Susan to go home. Why did she have to be a girl?
Finally, Matthew couldn’t stand to watch her chase another ball with Tyler. He ran in from the outfield and grabbed the ball away from Susan. He threw it at Tyler. “Pitch me a few,” he said.
“I’m going home,” Tyler said. He threw the ball in the grass in front of Matthew and Susan, slung his bat over his shoulder and walked away from the field, whistling.
Susan bent over to pick up the ball and Matthew kicked it away from her.
“Stop being mean or I won’t play with you,” Susan said.
Matthew picked up the ball and threw it at Susan. It hit her in the arm.
“OWW!” I’m gonna get your for that,” Susan yelled at Matthew.
“You can’t catch me!” Matthew taunted her. He ran off the baseball field toward his house. Susan chased him all of the way to his house. She caught up with him and for a minute Matthew thought she was going to hit him over the head with the baseball. Instead, she stuck her tongue out at him.
“I’m not playing baseball with you again until you apologize,” Susan told him.
“I don’t need you to play baseball with me,” Matthew said. “Me and Tyler can play by ourselves.”
Matthew ran into his house and slammed the door.
The next day Matthew and Tyler went back to the Little League field to play ball, but it wasn’t any fun without Susan. After he battled ten balls into the outfield, Tyler went home, taking the bat with him. Matthew threw the baseball in the grass and kicked his toe in the dirt. He turned over three rocks, and two sticks hidden in the grass. Suddenly he felt cool grass on his bare sock. He looked down at his feet. One of his tennis shoes was gone!
Matthew dropped to his hands and knees and crawled through the grass, looking for his tennis shoe. He bumped noses with a busy mouse digging a tunnel in the dirt. He touched a wiggly earthworm lying in the grass. He put his nose in a spider web. He touched the smooth top and jagged edges of a bottle cap, but he didn't find his tennis shoe.
Matthew hopped the two blocks to Susan’s house on one foot and knocked on her door. “Will you come and help me find my tennis shoe?” he asked Susan.
“I have to do my homework,” Susan said.
Matthew hopped back to the baseball field. He put the baseball down on home plate and started scuffling through the grass. His sock was getting dirty and Mom was sure to yell at him. Matthew sighed. He wished Susan was there to help him.
Suddenly, a shadow stretched across the green grass. Susan stood beside him. "Do you think you might have lost your shoe in the outfield?”
“I don’t know where I lost it,” Matthew told her.
“We can start by looking in the outfield.”
They looked through the outfield. Susan saw a yellow caterpillar. She watched the caterpillar crawl up and down her arm. “He didn’t take your shoe,” Susan said.
Matthew poked around in the grass. He touched a slimy green grasshopper and got brown tobacco juice on his fingers. He stepped in an ant hill with his bare foot and watched the ants march across his toes, but he didn't find his tennis shoe. Matthew leaned against a tree trunk and looked up into the tree. There was brown nest in the crook of one of the branches. He heard a noise coming from the nest. The noise went, "Peep, peep, peep."
"There are baby birds in the nest," Matthew said. He saw something crouching on the branch close to the nest. The something was yellow and white. It had claws and two shiny green eyes. A cat!
Susan shouted. "Get away, cat! You can't eat my baby birds!"
Susan found a tree branch and swung it at the cat. The cat climbed down the tree trunk and slunk away into the grass.
“We did a good job with the cat,” Susan said, but we still didn’t find your shoe. Let’s look over here by this bush.”
“I didn’t walk by this bush,” Matthew said.
Susan walked over to the bush and then she bent over and crawled underneath it. To Matthew’s surprise, the bush suddenly barked. “Susan? Is that you barking?”
Susan emerged from the bushes leading a small brown and white beagle by the collar with one hand and holding Matthew’s missing shoe in the other hand.
“AROOOOOGHHHH!” the beagle said.
Susan patted the beagle and the beagle licked her hand. She handed the missing tennis shoe to Matthew. “I want to find out where the beagle lives and take him home,” she said. “Do you want to help me?”
Matthew took his missing tennis shoe and put it back on his foot. He patted the beagle too. Matthew smiled, “Friends help each other,” he said.