Salsa Book 2: The Curse Of The Little Sister
It was the first day of the summer holidays, and Salsa and her parents had just returned from the parent teacher meeting at her school.
“So, you wanna come over?” Salsa asked. “Then we can plan the project in detail.” She was in the middle of a phone call.
“Sure,” was the enthusiastic response, and then with some hesitation followed, “Oh, and how much did you get in english language?”
“Ninety-nine,” Salsa whined. “She insisted on deducting one mark for creative writing, even though she loved my essay. What about you?”
“Ninety-three. I thought I’d finally beaten you at something,” was Sam’s slightly envious response.
“I’m sure you did better than me in Art, music and PE,” Salsa countered.
“I got A+s in all three.” Sam sounded more cheerful.
Salsa sighed. “I got A in art, but B+ in music and PE. Non-academics are not my forte.” She shrugged.
“Speaking of music, how’re your guitar lessons going?” Salsa inquired.
“Quite well, actually…” Sam started.
“Sam, you’re seriously too modest.” Salsa protested. “I was there at your last concert, and your solo performance in Come On Baby Light My Fire was awesome.” Salsa was deeply impressed.
Sam had let Salsa check out his guitar the previous week. Only when she actually tried her hand at the instrument, did she realize just how skillful Sam was. His smooth execution of the the intricate finger movements, had made them seem deceptively easy. “Anyway, I’ve gotta go to for lunch and stuff, so see you soon?” Salsa said.
“Yeah, me too. Anyways, see you later,” Sam’s voice was soft but pleased.
“Sam’s coming over,” Salsa informed her mother.
“Only to your room, right? For your project?” asked Mom. Salsa nodded.
About an hour later, Sam arrived. Salsa dragged him to her room by his arm. Sam had brought his guitar. As soon as they entered her room, Salsa shut the door.
“You brought your guitar!” Salsa remarked. “Cool! What song did you learn with your band this year?”
“Not very many,” Sam shrugged, but Salsa noticed he was beaming. “Jingle Bells, I Wanna Wish You A Merry Christmas, Birthday a song by The Beatles, Come on Baby Light My Fire and Walk Like An Egyptian,” he rattled off, in response to Salsa’s pressing glance.
“Wow! In one year, you learnt all of these songs?” Salsa asked, amazed.
“Yeah, but my Mom has been teaching to play, since I was four.”
“I had no idea she knew how to play?” Salsa raised an eyebrow.
“Not very well, but she plays on occasion.”
“Okay, play Walk Like An Egyptian, I love that song,” said Salsa. Sam was caught off guard. “Go ahead,” she added impatiently.
Sam opened his guitar case, positioned his guitar and started playing. Salsa tapped her toes and hummed along.
“That was awesome!” she said, after he finished.
“Almost as good as the Bangles,” Sam winked, growing in confidence under Salsa’s admiring gaze, and they laughed.
Suddenly, Salsa jumped out of her seat. “I have an awesome idea! Why don’t you play Walk Like an Egyptian for our Egypt project? You don’t even need to practice! You’re already perfect!” Her eyes lit up.
“Yeah! It’ll totally work! And it’ll be pretty unique. But we’d better get to work now.”
“We should finish that sphinx today, if we want to finish the pyramids, the pharaohs, the temples, the statues, the mastaba and bla, bla, bla on time.” She pinned the list up onto her soft-board and continued, “We can call our project: Egyptopedia: A comprehensive tour of Egyptian culture.”
“Okay, boss,” Sam saluted.
Salsa shook her head half-amused, half-annoyed.
She reached up to the overhead cabinet and pulled out some ochre play-dough. She took out some clay, a plastic sheet, and a sheet of aluminum foil. She then opened a draw and pulled out a bottle of gold glitter.
They placed the plastic sheet on a table and set to work. “So, what’s going on in your division, nowadays?” asked Salsa as she kneaded clay.
“Nothing, much, Zara’s creating a lot of trouble with Tim,” Sam replied. He sucked some water into a dropper and sprinkled it onto his share of the clay. Salsa was busy making a foam base for the sphinx.
“I know! She’s mad-hatter crazy. She, like actually, punched him in the face and two of his front teeth fell out!” exclaimed Salsa.
Sam dried his hands on a napkin, opened a zip-lock bag containing sand and spread the contents on the hot granite windowsill to let it dry, while Salsa started making the clay body.
Just then, Irene, Salsa’s little sister barged in. “Ooooooh! What’s my big sister up to? How’s the project going? Can I break it yet?” She rubbed her hands in glee, and her eyes twinkled with mischief.
“Irene! Go away!” yelled Salsa. She had built the stomach of the sphinx and was beating it down, so the clay would stay firm. Sam was shaping the head.
“Can I help at least?” Irene asked, as Sam attached the head.
“Why don’t you read for a while?” Salsa suggested, as she concentrated on making the tail.
“Fine, I’ll go, but I’ll be back.” Irene skipped out of the room.
Once Sam and Salsa finished molding the sphinx, they used toothpicks to sculpt lines of erosion and finally covered it in glitter. “Looks awesome,” said Sam.
Salsa said, “Wait till you see it when it’s baked. It’ll be all crusty and look really real.”
“Really?” Sam raised both his eyebrows, and they laughed.
They covered the sphinx in aluminum foil, and Mom put it to bake. That way it would be hard and hold it’s shape over time.
Ten minutes later, after Mom and Dad, left for a meeting with their accountant, Irene waltzed in. “Hiya people, what are you up to? Where’s the Sphinx? Did it get cooked in the hot Egyptian sun, A.K.A, the oven?” She waggled her eyebrows and then giggled uncontrollably at her own joke.
Exasperated as Salsa was with her little sister, a half-smile escaped her lips. Irene could be quite funny, she thought grudgingly.
Sam ignored Irene and went about his business, hoping that she would get bored and leave. “So, now we need to map out the surface area for the project,” Sam said, as if there had been no interruptions.
Salsa stifled her giggles and began making notes in her rough-book. “I’m guessing we need about one square meter, but that’s very big, so we need to think about how we’re going to carry it.”
Sam pointed out, “School’s a two-minute walking distance, the gate is about three meters wide and the door to auditorium is about a meter and a half wide, so we’ll be fine.”
“But we need to carry the guitar, too! I guess you can strap the case on.”
“Do you ever say anything fun?” Irene demanded.
“Okay, so we’ll make the base tomorrow, because it’ll require extensive planning. But I’ll stick around for a while, until your mom comes back,” said Sam, looking at Irene from the corner of his eyes.
Just then, the oven pinged. Salsa gently set the hot tray on the dining table. She took off the oven mitts and peeled the aluminum foil off the sphinx. Then she scanned the room searching for a safe place to leave the sphinx to cool. “Ah, right here!” Salsa exclaimed, knowing Irene wouldn’t dare venture near the glass vase on the dining table, thus ensuring the safety of the sphinx.
Pleased with her brilliant idea, she joined Sam in her room and they began a game of guess who, to pass the time while the sphinx cooled.
Bored, Irene watched them. She did not take kindly to being repeatedly ignored and threw a pillow at Sam. Sam threw it back.
Soon the two of them were pillow-fighting. Sam rushed at Irene, and she got knocked off her feet. Salsa desperately waved her arms about and tried to stop them without success. She tried to wrench a pillow out of Irene’s hands, and it ripped sending feathers everywhere. Coughing and sputtering, Irene rushed back at Sam, who caught by surprise, toppled off the bed and got bruised. Triumphant, Irene hurled her biggest teddy bear at Sam. He ducked just in time, and the teddy shot through the door and slammed into the glass vase on the dining table.
Salsa gasped, her hands cupped over her mouth, and her eyes wide. Sam stared in horror. Irene trembled with fear.
The glass vase had toppled, and hit the sphinx next to it. The sphinx cracked and the glass vase broke into two.
Salsa was almost reduced to tears. Sam let out a long mourn. Irene’s eyes widened in disbelief, and she started crying.
“Irene, calm down,” Salsa said, bitting back the angry I told you so that was forming on her lips.
Irene scrambled off the bed and started picking up the pieces. As she did so, she apologized, “I’m really, really, really sorry. But I must make it clear, that in my opinion, this was all, Sam’s fault! He’s older. I’m just a little kid.”
“My fault!” Sam began, furiously. But then he stopped abruptly, and his eyes focused on Irene. “Do you know what you have done?”
“Of course, I do, dummy.” Irene rolled her eyes. “Can’t you see? I broke the vase.”
“You didn’t just break the vase. You broke the sphinx!” he hissed. “Do you know what that means?” He asked, sounding ominous.
Irene shook her head, as her eyes widened in fear.
“It means, that if you can’t answer this riddle, the curse of the sphinx will fall upon you.” Sam’s voice was chilling. He nudged Salsa to play along.
“Oh, of course, you’re right.” Salsa gasped. “It’s in the fourth chapter of our Egyptian history book, the curse of the sphinx.” She bit her lip.
“What rubbish!” Irene declared, but trembled all the same.
“Rubbish, is it? That’s what the skeptic at the pharaoh’s court thought, until the eagle came and swooped him away.”
“Wh- wha at ha-ha-ppen-ed to him?” Irene stammered.
“Only the Sphinx knows.” Sam sighed.
“Oh yes,” Salsa nodded gravely. “Sorry Irene, but you must answer the riddle correctly or the eagle will take you away. The riddle is: What is heavy forwards and not backwards?”
Irene scratched her head as beads of sweat trickled down the side of her face. “Hmm… I… I don’t really… no wait… okay, I give up.”
She then ran off and hide in the cupboard hoping the sphinx’s eagle wouldn’t be able to get to her, there.
Salsa high-fived Sam and they got back to work on their project.
“So what’s the answer to the riddle?” Sam asked, as they worked.
“Oh, I could tell you, but then the eagle might take you away,” Salsa winked.
Adventure In Aarey
In Aarey I see many big and beautiful trees. Also, I see many animals around me. Many a time there are sheds, farms or even houses popping out of the trees. People are doing jobs or having fun as they come along the path.
When I was about to leave I heard a scream for help, and after that a fierce roar. I followed the sound to scene of cow being attacked by a leopard. There was a man near who asked for help.
I also got freaked out and climbed up a coconut tree. Just as I started climbing up I dodged a branch which landed near the leopard and scared it away. Now it was getting very late, so I said bye to the man and went home.
Salsa And The Peculiar Park
One morning, when Salsa woke up for school and was eating her breakfast, her mother announced, it was a rain holiday. Her sister, Irene, was staying with a freind for the weekend.
What fun, a rain holiday, she thought. She went to the balcony and noticed it had just stopped raining. Excited, she asked her parents if they could all go to the park next door.
In the park, Salsa collected a bunch of flowers. She made a collage with them. Then she went for a run. She stopped when she spotted the top of a pomegranate. She added it to the middle of her collage and then she decorated it with pomegranate seeds.
Suddenly, it became very dark and started pouring. Salsa was frightened. Suddenly the foliage became thick and then thicker and still thicker. There were strange animal and bird noises everywhere.
Salsa realized that the park was turning into an amazon forest, she had learned about in school. She looked around, but there was no way home. She found a tree stub she sat there for a while, wondering what she should do next.
A little later some animals popped up. One of them said “I am a Jesus lizard. But I like to call myself, Rapid Sea-monster. Cool name, eh? I can run on water. I know, Jesus H Christ, right?”
Salsa heard another voice from somewhere, but she could not figure out who was speaking. She was confused.
The voice said, “I am a glass frog. They call me Mr. Glassman. I can camouflage easily, because I am transparent.”
Salsa peered at the leaf from which she thought the sound was coming and finally found the glass frog.
“Oh there you are …” She said, but another voice interrupted.
“ I am a river dolphin. They call me Pinky. My blood vessels are very close to my skin, so I look pink.”
The three curious creatures started to fight about who was the best. Then the decided to have a race upon a river, which had lotus leaves for Mr. Glassmen. Pinky could swim and Rapid Sea-Monster could run. They asked Salsa to judge. But before they could start it became sunny again and the forest turned back into a garden.
Salsa was relieved to see her parents again and they all went home. But she wished she could have witnessed the amazing race. It would have been something to tell her friends about.