Frognapped (Araminta Spook #3)

Chapter 12



    The Spookie Shark Show was amazing. Everyone said that they had never seen anything like it. Wanda got the spotlight working and the frogs opened the show. I could see why Barry was so upset about losing his frogs because they are very talented, particularly when you consider how stupid the average frog can be. Barry must have put in a lot of training hours–almost as many as I had put in training Wanda to be a detective.

    The frogs leapfrogged all the way around the fish tank as though they had been prac- ticing for weeks. Wanda trained the spotlight on them and followed them perfectly. She even got clever and started changing the col- ors so that one minute the frogs were blue and the next they were bright red, then pur- ple. I had watched Barry with his frogs tons of times so luckily I knew all the stuff they could do. They did:

    The Leaning Frog Tower  The Triple-Frog Pogo Stick The Double-Frog Cartwheel  The Four-Frog Catapult It was just perfect–until they fell in the fish tank and Wanda had to go in and get them. But that was okay; everyone thought that that was part of the show. Wanda made a lot of fuss, but she caught all the frogs and threw them back into the bucket. Then, just to show that we had meant to do that, I held the bucket up and bowed.

    Everyone clapped so I bowed again. Meanwhile Wanda was trying to get out of the fish tank, but she only has short little arms and she couldn't pull herself up. "Araminta, " she spluttered, "help me get out. " But I didn't think that was such a great idea as the crowd was enjoying it and I could tell it would be a really dramatic moment for the shark to come in.

    I rushed over to the striped curtain at the end of the tank where Sir Horace was waiting. "Sir Horace!" I whispered. "It's time for your shark thingy. Jump in. " The shark didn't seem very keen. "I'll get rusty, " it said. "No you won't. You're not wearing your armor–remember? And you've always wanted to learn to swim, haven't you?" "Have I?" "Yes, you have. Just think how useful it would have been. So now's your chance. " And before he had time to think about it, I pushed him in. There was a huge splash and the shark landed in the tank. The audience screamed so loud that my ears rang.

    Wanda screamed too, which was great because it made the show very exciting. It was fantastic. It really looked as though Wanda was being chased by a shark. The trou- ble was that I had forgotten about Brenda. As soon as Brenda saw the shark she raced up and fished Wanda out with the frog net. The audi- ence loved it. Wanda sat on the edge of the tank cough- ing and spluttering and looking grumpy, but Brenda was really getting into it. The audi- ence cheered and whistled and Brenda did a curtsey. And then she did another one. And another. Since Brenda was stealing the show I told Sir Horace, "You can come out now. " He floated up out of the fish tank and stood on the ledge. Everyone screamed! Brenda's eyes nearly popped out of her head and she keeled over with a great big thump.

    I never thought I would say that Nurse Watkins was useful–but she was. She rushed onto the stage with her little black nurse's bag (the one she had stolen the frogs in) and lifted Brenda's feet up above her head. It was very dramatic, and when Brenda woke up the crowd gave a huge cheer and Nurse Watkins took a bow as if she did that kind of thing every day. I suppose it reminded her of all the wrestling matches she had won. People say that you have to leave a crowd wanting more, so I grabbed hold of Nosy Nora's megaphone and announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, the Spookie Shark Show is over. "

    A big disappointed "Aaaah" went up from the crowd, but I just kept going because that is what you do when you are running a really successful fish show. "Please give a big hand for Barry Wizzard's frogs!" I said. Everyone clapped and whistled. "Also Wanda and Brenda Wizzard, Sir Horace  the Shark, and last but not least, Nurse Watkins!" Everyone cheered and cheered. I thought they would never stop. I waited for someone to thank me, which is what they should have done, but no one did, so I said, "And I am Araminta Spookie. This was the Spookie Shark Show. Thank you!" People whistled and stamped and clapped and I took a bow. And then I took another.

    And another. It was fantastic. I think I shall probably consider running fish shows as a serious career option from now on. But the adulation of a crowd is a fickle thing. Soon everyone was trooping out of the tent, the adults moaning about the hard seats and the kids whining for ice cream. And suddenly Aunt Tabby and Uncle Drac were looming over us. Uncle Drac was smiling but Aunt Tabby was not. She had a big frown and her eyebrows met in the middle like two angry caterpillars. I could see a serious Aunt Tabby moment com- ing on so I got in first. "Aunt Tabby, you have to meet me and Wanda at the ticket office in ten minutes–it's very important, " I told her. "And bring Barry's van. " "Araminta, you are not going anywhere–"

    Aunt Tabby started, but we didn't hear the rest. I had the frog bucket in one hand and Wanda's wet paw in the other and we were off, heading for the ticket office.

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