He is My Slither of Sunshine (full version)




The last few people file into the courtroom and take their seats with BAILEY and MILO sitting adjacent from VINCENT at the front. 


All rise! 

(Everyone stands to show their respect.) 


Alright thank you, be seated. 

BAILEY is sitting uncomfortably in her seat in the courtroom next to MILO, who is standing on his chair staring angrily at VINCENT.


How did I let this happen to me? Of course life finally gives me an opportunity after failing me for years. And I leap at it, like a pathetic little mouse. All I wanted was to provide for Milo, stupid, stupid, stupid come on Bailey!–I bet you’re wondering what this is all about? This conniving lowlife, me, and my kid in this court, completely unknowing of the future outcome. All of this is a result of one       unfortunate morning.



(BAILEY reaches into her cardigan pocket and pulls out a small slip with a phone number on it. A car wash company answers the phone.)


(On the phone)

Hello? Yes, thank you I’m calling to–


(On the phone)

Well figure it out–and do it soon! You can’t just wait around for opportunities to come smack you in the face that’s how you lose your place in this world!

VINCENT (knocks several chairs as he beelines for the door. Along the way he bumps into BAILEY, causing her phone to go flying across the floor.)


My phone! Hey, watch where you’re going! 

VINCENT (turns around to face BAILEY), (his face stained with rage.) 



Excuse me? Do you know who you are speaking to? 


I think I’m speaking to the a**hole who has no   spatial awareness!

VINCENT (turns around to face BAILEY), his face stained with rage.


You’re Vincent Thorne…no way, I’m dreaming. I have to be–(BAILEY pinches her arm), (coming to the realization that what she is seeing is really happening.) 


I apologize for snapping out on you–please forget everything I just said, I’m Bailey, I love your books they’re so inspiring, I use them as reference for my own! 

VINCENT smiles wickedly.  (Vincent seems to have calmed down after taking a closer look at BAILEY’S face.)


Well, I’m so honored to have such a big fan. I suppose I can accept your apology.


(murmuring to herself)

Stay calm Bailey, I repeat stay calm, natural,   cool, take a breath. You do NOT want to come off as one of THOSE fangirls.

(VINCENT picks up BAILEY’S phone, returning it to her.)


Thanks, uh it’s been a real pleasure meeting you Vincent, sir–.I know you’ve probably got a lot going on right now–wouldn’t wanna keep you too long. (nervously) Ahh–I’m gonna go grab a coffee, it’s been a  busy morning you know? 


(laughing) Do I ever! I wish you luck on your journey. 

BAILEY smiles, before finding her way into the line. VINCENT is about to leave when he catches a glimpse of the story BAILEY refused to delete. His interest peaked,  and he is very intrigued. BAILEY returns with a coffee in hand, shocked that he didn’t leave yet. 


(he reads page 1)(intrigued) I must say this story of yours is quite interesting. 


Oh it’s nothing really– 


Nonsense! An intelligent young rose such as yourself needs a strong environment to flourish in. 



If only that environment wasn’t in fairytale land.


Fairytale hm? Well, would it be too unrealistic for me to invite you to work with me on my team? 


(voice cracking as she speaks) 

Are you sure? I mean-I might mess up–or–but–I would be absolutely honored to work with such a  big star. 


I’m sure…Bailey 


Oh thank you so much! You have no idea what this means to me! 


Oh I think I might. 

BAILEY grabs his hand with both of hers aggressively shaking his. 


Let’s meet up here on Wednesday at noon? 


Yes, Wednesday works great.

MUSIC UP: The Cure, “Just Like Heaven” 


BAILEY and VINCENT at a table working through the book each week. They get closer, sharing laughs and various pastries and seasonal drinks together. 

VINCENT’s chair inches closer towards hers with each new clip. In some of the clips, they are seen hanging outside together. 

In another clip VINCENT tries to move his hand closer to BAILEY’S, but BAILEY moves away to write something oblivious to the action.





Why are we stopping here? I thought we were going home.


Mama has to finish up some details on her new book.




VINCENT is inside with his computer booted up, sitting at the round table they always sit at.


Milo meet Vincent! He’s the man making all this possible for both of our dreams honey.

MILO stares blankly at him.


Uh–well, Vincent, meet my son, Milo, once he

gets to know you, he’s quite the chatterbox.


It’s a pleasure to finally meet you young man.


Can’t say the same about you, bub.

BAILEY shoots MILO a hostile look.


Milo be kind! Sorry Vincent, he’s always had a bit of a cynical approach to meeting new people.


It’s alright no harm done, cynical mindsets are required in this day and age, and to be quite honest; I’ve never been good with meeting others either. 


(under his breath)

Maybe it’s cause you look like a clown who lost his wig.


(Pleading to MILO)

I know you’re itching to go home, but this won’t take too long, please be patient.

(MILO pulls a sketchbook and starts doodling at the table.) BAILEY pulls her computer out of her backpack after they are all seated. As she opens the computer, the plant centered in the middle of the table is knocked over, rolling onto the floor. 


Ah clumsy me.

In an attempt to pick it up, BAILEY crushes the plant with her foot. She winces as she hears the noise.


No need for that Bailey, they’ll simply dispose of it and place a new plant there.


Still a shame, it looked newly potted.


Don’t worry about it, things are always coming and going in this life.


That’s true…

MILO’s stomach growls loudly.


Why don’t I get us something to eat?


I’m ok, but it sounds like Milo has a monster in his tummy that can’t wait.

MILO flushes, embarrassed.


Ugh Mama!

BAILEY rummages through her bag, pulling out a bunch of change and a few dollars.


Put your money away Bailey, it’s on me.


It’s ok really, I can’t make you pay for everything.


I insist.

VINCENT walks over to get into line. MILO watches him with untrusting squinty eyes.

Int. School Book Fair. Night 

MILO and BAILEY walking around trying to find him a book. 


Look it’s a new one of your favorite texture books, never touch a…seahorse!



Mama I haven’t read those books since I was 5!


Oh hush I know you still read them sometimes– and anyway we don’t have all night to pick a book, I’m only trying to help you.


I know Mama but can I maybe go look around by myself please? 


I don’t know Milo, just because we’re in school doesn’t mean necessarily mean it’s safe… 


Come on Mama! I’m 7 now I’m all grown and stuff, and if anyone tries anything I’ll show them what I’m made of! 

MILO throws his leg in the air, imitating ninja-like kicks. 



Alright, I trust you, just don’t go too far. 

MILO wanders around, weaving in and out of the several bookshelf sections. He stops, mesmerized by a legal thriller book on display with an intricate flashy cover. He continues down this aisle before seeing his mother’s book on display. 


MAMA! Come quick! Hurry! 

BAILEY rushes over to the scene frantically, dropping the books in her hands. 


What’s wrong? Are you ok Milo? Did something happen? 


MILO pulls the book down from in front of his face. 


Mama look! It’s your book! 


BAILEY squats down next to Milo, ruffling his hair with her hand. 


(light laugh) 

Right you are Milo…things are looking up for us.

MILO throws himself into BAILEY’S arms and they share a big hug. 


Tell you what my little artist, when we get our own house you can let your creativity run wild. 




Can you read me your book I wanna hear about your cool book Mama. 


Well this book is bit longer than your other books.


But it’s yours Mama I really want to listen…pleaseeee.


Alright, alright, I’ll read a few pages…This is about a little boy who lives in a faraway land of magic.

BAILEY turns to the first page with the title, ‘To Prey Upon a Wishing Star’ and credits and notices the book lists only one name, ‘Vincent Thorne’. She turns back to the cover. No sign of her name still. 


What’s wrong? 



He didn’t credit me… 


That stupid guy did a bad thing after all! 



Milo, I told you about using that word before. 


Sorry mama, I’m just so angry– I knew he was a bad guy! 

MUSIC UP: Cage The Elephant, “Cigarette Daydreams” 



This is surely a mistake, or maybe this one just printed wrong!  

BAILEY searches through the shelves. She tears book after book from the shelves until she is surrounded in a sea of books. Her face drops as she realizes this was not a mistake. 


Oh who are you fooling BAILEY, you’ve been played, it’s obvious. How could this have happened? This is all so wrong. 


Saileana Perterkin is 16 and lives in Roxborough-Manayunk. She is often found practicing  guitar or playing with one of her three younger brothers. Writing has always been a hobby of hers, alongside drawing my characters. 

The Money Mix Up (full version)

The Money Mix Up

The words on the page in front of me were exhilarating, line after line I read about the forecast. Although I’m not super interested in the weather, I was grateful to be working at such a popular news station, like LYZ News. 

I only graduated college a year ago, and my mom had connections with the Tanning family who could get me a job. John Tanning was my mother’s boss; it took years for them to form a friendly work relationship and even that was a struggle to keep. My boss was John’s son, Adam Tanning, and it seems like arrogance and ignorance ran rampant in the family. The Tanning’s don’t care about anyone but themselves and their money.

I refocused on the script in front of me, turning off my thoughts. You only have another 30 minutes, Izzy, you need to get these down. 

“The sun is shining today in San Antonio, with the temperatures up in the high 80s. The perspiration is low today, but the humidity is sky rocketing. The temperature may say 88 degrees, but it feels like 97! Jersey, if you go outside today make sure you stay hydrated and cool. If you are going out of state, I have the forecast for you next in after this short commercial break.” 

When I get to the second part of my reading, I went to take a sip of my peppermint tea. I always drank tea before I have a show, it keeps my voice calm and steady. As I peer up to, I take a sip, I noticed that I have captured all the eyes of the men surrounding me. There are no other women reporters in the office, so I did not find this totally unusual. 

I looked down with furrowed brows, attempting to distract myself from the attention and continued to do my work. 

“Welcome back, this weather report was brought to you by Chelton Farm, the fresh farm, the fun farm. On a hot day like this the Chelton Farm is great for family activities providing…”

As I continued to read my script, I heard the glass door of Mr. Tanning’s office creak open. 

“Isabella, my office,” Adam said, staring directly at me with a mean nasty look on. “Now.” I wonder what he wants now, to yell at me about my clothing, to tell me my segments cut down again. It’s always something with him. It’s always something for me! 

I pushed out my chair, and began walking towards the glass box in the middle of the office, which is around 15 feet from my desk. Our office is big, but the reporters only had a small section inside the building. There are nearly 20 desks around Adam’s room that are about 4 feet apart. 

As my tan wedges slammed against the marble floors, I reached the door that Adam was holding open to signal my entry. 

Adam took a breath before accumulating a harsh, “Take a seat, Miss Marshall.”

I sat down on the tan chair in front of his wooden desk. Usually, I would be nervous if my boss called me in that tone, but Mr. Tanning is different. He always speaks like he’s mad at the world.                

Adam began his lecture, “So, there is a very important matter, we need to discuss. Last Friday, the financial department announced that someone has been illegally laundering money. There has been $1,300 in total taken.” 

I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion. Before I could stop myself, my thoughts were being spoken out loud. “What does this have to do with me?” 

Oh my, I just said that out loud – to my boss. I looked at Adam in fear of his reaction. He stared at me so intensely, almost like he’s was reading my mind. To my surprise, Adam laughed. He did not scream and scold me, but simply laughed out of pure humor. 

“Miss Marshall, you know exactly what this has to do with you,” he says,  sliding a piece of paper across his desk. As I picked up the sheet, I realized it was a note – written about me: 

Dear Mr. Tanning, 

It is with deep regret that I must inform you of an act I witnessed in the office, regarding Izzy Marshall. On Thursday night after the new station was closed, Izzy claimed she needed to stay after finishing her script. It was then that I saw her fraudulently withdrawing money from the LYZ Networking Bank Account. 

Before I could finish reading, Adam abruptly started to ramble. 

“Izzy stop reading that like you don’t know what you did. Stop acting all innocent. It is in writing that someone saw you the day before the financial department reached out.” Taking a short breath Adam continued. “This would be an awful coincidence, and it is not. This is the truth Izzy. Admit it. Admit that you are a thief, just like these other women.”

That sentence made me lose it, “Are you serious? I wasn’t even here on Thursday night but, I bet you didn’t check that. You assume it’s me because I’m a woman. Because you have been looking to fire me, the only woman news reporter here.” 

Adam sighed, “If it pleases you, I will open an investigation” 

Yes, I thought, I did it, I finally got through to the evil Mr. Tanning. He is starting to believe in me. “Thank you, that’s all I was –” Before I could finish, I was cut off with the harshest voice to ever register.

“Until further notice, you’re terminated.”

I looked at Adam; my eyes wider, my ears redder, and my heart beating faster. 

“I’m what? Mr. Tanning, this is an accusation,” I start to stumble on my word as my chest gets tight. “You-you can’t fire someone over an exultation – accusation.” 

After correcting my words, I felt sick. The sickest I had felt in years, the type of sickness that is contagious by just looking at someone. But my ill feeling did not transfer to Mr. Tanning… instead, he looked me in the eyes with no emotion, no remorse. Taking a deep breath, I attempted to regroup myself. 

“Izzy, you are not fired, you are terminated, until your name is cleared.”

As our conversation continued Adam explained the investigation process, how long it would take, and the termination benefits – that are basically non-existent. I tried to listen, but I could not erase the sound of “Until further notice, your terminated.” Adam’s deep angry voice replayed in my head constantly, and I didn’t think it would ever stop. 

After leaving Mr. Tanning’s office, I went to my desk. I did not even endeavor to look up, I did not want to see all the judgmental eyes. Grabbing my notebooks and everyday essentials, I left the office. Walking down the stairs, into the elevator, past the security, and not forgetting to tell my favorite receptionist in the Writing Department; Marissa, that I will not be here for a couple weeks. With every step I took, I found myself reciting the miserable mumbles of Mr. Tanning. 

When I entered my taxicab back to my house, I began to let it out. Not caring what the middle-aged Russian man listening to Mariah Carey thought of me. I sobbed louder with every thought.  I don’t have a job, a source of income, or any more money coming in to provide my mom or sister with the life they deserved.

I wept until my throat was sore and my eyes were stained with red splotches, to the point where the taxi driver felt compelled to ask me what’s wrong…which just made me weep some more. 

When we got to my apartment building, I tipped my driver, Dmitri, extra for dealing with me and hesitantly stepped out of the yellow car. As my feet glided me to the doors, I felt shameful, like I was embarrassing myself having to walk through the same people I see every day, but today it was different. This day… I am jobless and crying like a little child. 

Approaching apartment 7D, I unlocked the white door, taking a step inside and feeling the fluffy purple rug elevate my feet. 

I just wanted to rot in bed for the rest of the day. I continued my journey into the living room, and I’m greeted with the bright white walls that capture my focus every time. Looking directly ahead I saw our picture; me, my mom, and Aubrey. We took real beach photos last year after my mom was diagnosed, just for the keepsakes. I rethink my previous thought; I truly just wanted to rot in bed with my mom.

I heard a noise come from my mom’s bedroom; it sounds like she’s trying to come see who’s at the door. 

“M-mom,” I tried to sound composed but I sniffled between every word. “It’s – it’s just me.” I wandered to her room, hearing the brown door creak open as I was approaching. My mom’s face drops, and worry consumes the pre-existing happiness she had to see me. 

“Oh, Isabella, my precious darling,” she said as she opened her arms for a hug. I accepted her action of affection, embracing my mother and feeling her golden red hair fall upon me. I stood in her arms, my head hidden in her shoulder, hugging her tight. 

“Izzy, what’s wrong?” 

After gaining composure, with the help of my mother’s soothing voice we sat on my red love seat. I began to explain what happened in the morning, to Adam yelling at me, to my goodbye to Marissa. With every word that escaped my mouth I saw the frustration grow inside my empathic mother. 

When I finally finished my story my mother said, “Izzy, you show them who I raised you to be. The strong, independent, Isabella that lived in Houston would never be fired for a lie.” 

We stayed on the sofa until my worried had diminished and my voice was calm. My mom always knows how to say things best. Looking into her beautiful green eyes, I felt inspired by her strength. From raising me and my sister alone while healing from men, to getting diagnosed with coronary heart disease 5 months ago – she had always had the strongest will to love. 

That night I thought a lot about how I could get my job back. I did not want to get back at Mr. Tanning, I just wanted to prove my innocence and continue my journey in journalism. I had ideas of stomping back into that office and demanding respect but… that just can’t happen. I could never demand respect from Mr. Tanning, he doesn’t even respect his friendly co-workers. 

As Christina Aguilera’s “Voice Within” overtook my ears, I thought about my “I” necklace and how my mom worked so hard to be able to afford sterling silver. How she stayed up till 3 am working some nights, how she never settled for less than better of amazing. I need to do this for my mother, now more than ever. 

The obnoxious rattling of my phone startled me out of my thoughts. When I glanced at the name, I felt my misery dwindle, it was Steve.

Picking up the phone I announced, “Hey, Stevie.”

Steve responded with a voice of sympathy, “Hey Izzy, I heard what happened, it is so terrible. I am so sorry.” 

I hate it when people feel bad for me. It makes me feel like an anguished woman. 

“It’s okay Steve. I will not let this happen. I am innocent and I will fight for my fair investigation.”

“Oh…” Steve sounded taken aback by my determination, “good for you Izzy. Hey, listen do you think I could call you back, there’s a crazy fight outside?”

“Yea, yea. That’s fine, just call me back. You’re the only person that will understand me.” 

“Yea, of course. Bye Izzy.” Before I had time to respond I was greeted with the awful beep sound, signaling Steve hung up. 

Good night to you too I thought, as I got comfortable under my purple silk sheets. I’m so exhausted, today was exhausting. 

My mind shortly drifted off to a peaceful sleep, dreaming of Mr. Tanning and his face when I proved I am trustworthy. 

The days that followed, I tried to sketch a plan; with the assistance of my mom. Every day it became more difficult to keep hope, with every plan reaching a dead end and all reports from Steve being the same. My mom even reached out to Adam’s father, her former boss John, but he was clueless on the matter. 

On Thursday, I went on a jog trying to clear my mind and motivate myself. While running at the local dog park I saw Marissa. She was with her precious white poodle, Lottie – she had mentioned the gorgeous dog plenty of times before. 

I approached the nicely dressed woman, this being our first out of work encounter made me slightly hesitant. My nerves settled as Marissa saw me and gleamed brightly, striding towards me with her arms open for an embrace. 

“Izzy, oh my god!”, Marissa exclaimed, “how have you been? I’ve missed you”.

Surprisingly, when the receptionist asked me about my well-being, I did not feel the same agonizing annoyance, but I felt quite support; like Marissa was genuinely is happy to see me. 

“I’ve been doing okay”, I sigh, “it’s been getting harder knowing that Adam isn’t even following through on his investigation. I worked so hard for this just to get blackballed by the news industry before I could make a name for myself.” 

“Oh, you poor angel, come here”, embracing me again I felt vulnerable and for the first time in a while comfortable expressing myself. 

“I’ve been meaning to call you about the investigation. I overheard something I think you should investigate.” 

I shifted my position just a little closer to Marissa, as if it would help me hear her better. 

“When I went to drop off Mr. Derwin comments to Mr. Tanning, I noticed him, and Steve were talking in his office. They didn’t see me walking up, so I was able to hear them talking about meeting at Adam’s house tonight for a money exchange. When I walked in the room, they stopped talking and looked very nervous.” 

By the time Marissa had finished telling me what she heard, I was shaking. There are so many emotions that I am feeling betrayed, sad, confused, and most importantly furious. Why would Steve do this to me? Why would Adam allow him to do this to me in a professional environment? 

“Thank you for letting me know Marissa”, I looked at her in the eyes, “I appreciate you still believing in me. Now, I must get back to my jog if I want to make it to Adam’s on time tonight”, I laughed. 

Stepping out of my apartment I looked at my bag, making sure everything was there. A camera, yes; my glasses, yes; and pepper spray just in case, yes. Making my way to my black Civic, the anxiety increases. I hope Steve isn’t here. I hope Marissa was wrong. 

I placed my items in the passenger seat before plopping down in the driver seat. I turned on the radio and “The Sweet Escape” by Gwen Stefani blasted through my sound system. I let the words guide my way as I navigated to my bosses’ house.

 I knew where Adam’s house was from the times me and my mom visited his dad. He bought the property next door and built a house just like his parents. John would talk about it all the time. 

As I arrived at Adam’s house, it had such resemblance to his family’s home – except his porch and freeze board were black and his family’s was bright yellow. He had the same white cladding, the replicated wave designed staircase out-front, and the perfect number of rocks and seashells covering the lawn. 

I parked across the street from his house, almost directly but 2-3 cars further on the street. I sat and waited. Waited to see what I dreaded most; my best friend paying off my boss. 

I sat in the car thinking about all the possible outcomes. Steve could no-show, I could’ve missed it, Steve does show up and I see his pay off Adam. I prepared myself for everything I needed to. 

After almost 45 minutes of sitting outside of the house, a white Jeep pulled up and parked 6 spots behind me. I ducked under the dashboard in hopes of going unnoticed, after waiting for a couple seconds I gradually revealed my face. Peeking with my eyes I see the back of a muscular body swiftly walking towards the big wooden painted door. 

I knew exactly who was walking into that house. I wanted to get out and shout at him, ask him why he’s here. I needed to know; I needed to hear it from Steve himself. 

Despite my sensitive stomach I forced myself to stay camped out long enough to get video evidence of the money exchange. From what I looked like Steve was paying Adam hundreds of dollars to keep quiet, to keep me from getting my job back. 

I drove directly to Steve’s house afterwards’ he lives with his girlfriend, Eliza, only 10 blocks away. I knocked on the door and was greeted by Steve’s lovely girlfriend who has always been so welcoming and happy to see me but… today something was off. Eliza almost looked shocked when I arrived at their steps, but she still welcomed me asking if I wanted any tea. 

“No, I’m fine thank you”, I took a breath, “I’m just here to see Steve.”

“Oh…”, she hesitated, “Steve just went to run some errands he should be right back.”

I nodded my head, although I knew the truth about Steve’s true location. I wanted to wait for him and ask him politely why he was there. I certainly wouldn’t freak out on him, as I’m in HIS house. 

I heard the door creak open, and Steve rounded the corner into the dining room where me and Eliza were talking. 

His eyes went wide when he saw me, “Izzy, what are you doing here?” he said with a big fake grin on his face. 

Without speaking I pulled my video camera out of my blue purse and opened the file of Steve’s video. I turned the camera to him so he would see my evidence. I watched his face as he realized what I was playing. His smile turned into an ‘O’ shape and lines arose on his forehead. 

“Izzy, I can explain”, he quickly expressed, “I was meeting with Adam over a business investment.” 

“I call bull, Marissa told me about your little conversation with Adam and how you both got all secretive when she came in.”

He stared at me, with a blank expression. A guilty blank expression, the kind with no thoughts behind it.

“Okay, Steve. Nice talk”, I paused expecting an answer but getting none. Is he serious? He’s not going to give me any explanation? Was this all just a set up?


The following morning, I went to the LYZ News Station with my camera. I wore a pair of velvet black pants and a gray sweater, to show that I am professional even if others are not. Walking through the glass doors, I went right to Marissa, embracing her tighter than ever before. 

I continued to walk up the metal stairs, all the way until I reached the 6th floor. Walking out of the stairwell, I felt the familiar eyes latch onto my every move. I did not pay them any attention but rather strode more confidently to Adam’s office. 

As I reached the glass door, I gazed up, seeing Adam already looking at me. Taking one last deep breath before opening the doors, I prepared myself. This is it. That is what you worked your whole life for. YOU got this.

Julia Labb is a Philadelphia resident and a senior at Franklin Towne High School. She enjoys binge watching television, reading, and going on walks. Julia plans to become a court reporter in Philadelphia after graduating in June.


Dave’s Diner (full version)

Dave’s Diner

Dave’s Diner, is a shabby place just on the outskirts of Brock Valley. It sits directly behind an old Sunoco gas station. Sometimes the lights from the gas station illuminate and reflect themselves off the rusty windows of the old diner. 

Dave’s gets many customers, a lot of regulars, and some just passing through town looking for a quick bite. Regulars are aware of the highly regarded Sargino family that has been passing this diner down through generations. The generational hand-off got rocky when it came to the current owner, Dave. His father Jeffery fled the town after Dave’s senior year of high school. Nothing to be heard of him since. The diner found itself in the hands of the eldest son, Dave Sargino. 

Dave kept the diner the same, with booth seats as red as roses and dirty car parts that litter the walls inside. 

The Sargino boys find this diner as a place of magic: EVERY Sargino man has found their lovely wife through this diner. The stories vary…whether she was stopping for food, or she was working the tables, either way their marriages formed here. The history behind Dave’s continues long before the very first Sargino wedding, as Dave’s Diner was the very first diner to open in the town of Brocks Valley. 


Now, decades later, the diner finds itself empty and abandoned. Dave Sargino has been struggling to keep the place open for the past month, and if he cannot come up with $2,000 by the end of April, the diner must close. Business has never been a problem at Dave’s, as the doors were always open, people flooding in, filling every booth and barstool in sight. These days, however, Dave picks up extra shifts at his construction site job just to keep the lights on. The place, once crowding like a rock concert consistently, now stands with dimmed lights and dusty booth seats. 


The leaves shook from the trees and the wind whistled in the distance, as Jeffery Sargino walked up to the old diner. He remembered this place; he met Maria there. Jeffery had worked at the front cash register when Maria waltzed in with her friends. It had to be about 1965, the diner was all the rage, and it was a crowded Friday night. Many teens filled the room, but he stared in a trance at her. The way Maria smiled and batted her eyelashes while she laughed at jokes her friends made, everything about her was perfect to Jeffery. Much simpler times back then, but when Jeffery skipped town weeks ago, time soon came to a halt. Maria died while he was gone…and nothing was the same. 

Jeffery climbed the steps and placed his withered hands on the handle of the silver metal door as he prodded it open. He was greeted as he stepped inside and hurried to the farthest booth in the corner. He saw the dust caked onto the table and the dirt that lined the floors; this was nothing like before. 

Jeffery reminded himself he was not here to judge this diner but to talk to his son, Dave. Jeffery left Dave once he graduated high school. Jeffery dealt with a lot while Dave grew up but never wanted to leave the boy too soon. Yes, it was wrong, but Jeffery knew he could not be the father Dave needed.

Jeffery waited with his legs crossed over one another, his brown loafers poking out of the khaki pants he wore. He glanced at the gold watch on his wrist. Just as he looked up, he saw Dave, his little boy all grown up. Jeffery wanted to run and embrace his son, but what Jeffery did not realize was Dave had no clue who he was.


Dave, with a slumped shoulder, dragged himself to the far corner of the diner to serve this unrecognizable man. As he grew closer, Dave realized the gold pin this old man wore: a football pinned into the right side of his striped shirt pocket. If nothing about Jeffery looked familiar, the pin sure did. Dave halted dead in his tracks, it was as if he had seen a ghost.

 “Dad?” he questioned aloud. 

Jeffery’s head shot up, he smiled, a genuine smile for the first time in years, “Yes, Davey it’s me, how are you buddy?”

Jeffery expected Dave to take him back with open arms, he took care of him. Dave could not believe the nerve of his old man! He waltzed into this diner, sat down in a booth, and used that nickname, what gave him the right? 

“You shouldn’t be here, dad!” Dave warned, as he inched closer to the frail old man that sat in this cold, leather seat. 

Jeffery stumbled over his words, there were no right things to say other than his mother had died, and he had to be the one to deliver the news.

“H-how about you?  Take a seat with me, Davey.” Jeffery pleaded; he needed his son to listen to him, even if Dave hated his guts.

Dave grew angrier by the second, he did not need this right now. The diner will be closed permanently this Saturday and he could not get the money. Dave needed a break not a chit-chat with his deadbeat father.

“No, I don’t think I will, Jeffery.” Dave’s words felt like a slap straight to the face, that is the least Jeffery deserved. Dave wanted to scream and tell him everything he had done wrong, but there was little time in the world. 

Jeffery shifted uncomfortably in his seat, he uncrossed his legs and placed his hands gently on the table, “It’s your mother, kid, she’s-”

Dave sprung up at the sound of his mother, “She’s what?” He finally sat across from Jeffery, with his head hung low.

“Well, she won’t be coming home Dave.” As soon as the words left his mouth, Jeffery wished they were not true, like this was some sick joke he had to play on Dave.


“What do you mean, she’s not coming home Dad?” Dave was too old and too tired to play these games with his father and just wanted him to spit it out already so he could get back to work. Jeffery feared for how Dave would react, he would not take it well. Dave was a loose cannon; he could erupt at any moment with seething rage, and this might just push him into an explosion.


“She’s dead Dave, she’s gone.” Jeffery shuddered as he said it, it was like he sealed the deal. He never accepted that Maria was gone, but now that the words came out of his mouth it was final. She would never be back, she sat in a casket six feet under, nothing to be seen of her.

The Sargino boys sat quietly for a while, nothing to be heard between them except the sound of cars outside, barreling down the street.


“When did you find out?” Dave questioned  his old man  sitting across from him.Jeffery hesitated for a moment, should he tell the truth or lie like he had done so many times before to his son.

Jeffery made a choice, the right choice in his eyes, “Last month”, Jeffery sat tight lipped awaiting Dave’s response.

Dave had a right to be mad, Jeffery spent all this time lying. It was time to grow up and step in to be the father Dave needed and lying would just prove he was not ready to be that man.

“Was there a funeral?” Dave could not be angry at Jeffery; he saw the hurt in his eyes and felt like he was looking at his own reflection. 


Every inch of their faces covered in grief and stress, the wrinkles that hung from their eyes and mouths, they were spitting images of each other.

“No, that’s not what Maria would’ve wanted,” Jeffery paused, “All those people seeing her like that, she was sick Dave, real fragile and sickly-looking.” 

“Thank you.” Dave hesitated while he said those words, but his father deserved to hear them.

“It’s the least I could’ve done for her, Bud, just one last thing to try and make things right, I really did love her, and you.” Jeffery explained to Dave.


He was hoping to get his point across that he would always love Dave even if his previous actions didn’t show it.

Dave wasn’t angry or sad, he felt at peace, like these were the words he always needed to hear from his father, it felt like weight was lifted off his shoulders.


Dave stood up and grabbed the little notebook and a pen from the front of his apron, “Well, what can I get started for you, Dad?”

As the sun began to fade slowly into the night sky, Dave and Jeffery sat at that rose red booth, laughing, and talking.

It was like no time had passed at all, as if Jeffrey never left and Maria never died. All the worries Dave had begun to drift away like the wind that whistled outside.

Jenna Holton is an 11th grade student-athlete at Franklin Towne Charter High School. She enjoys playing field hockey and lacrosse, which she has been competing in for three years, winning spring athlete of the year for lacrosse. Jenna lives with her parents, older brother, and her two dogs in Philadelphia, PA. She is in her school’s mentor program that allows upperclassmen to help new freshmen ease their way into a high school experience. She likes to read and watch movies, as well as write.


Home is Me

Whether it’s the November chill clutching onto my cheeks, clawing its way down to my thighs as I hear the salty waves crash onto shore – or it’s the warmth of my bedroom, rain pattering on my windows, music transporting me to another world… Home is where I feel safe, where I can be who I am and not feel judged or afraid. Home is wherever I decide it to be, and that’s better than any house, any skeleton of a building that I merely occupy. Home is wherever I am, wherever I blossom, wherever I grow, wherever I learn. 

Home is me. I am my home.

Maxwell is a 7th grader in West Philadelphia. In his spare time, he likes to write, make music, and draw. His biggest inspiration when making all kinds of art is what he sees around him and events going on in the world.

The Place To Be

Home. The feeling of home, the smell of home is wonderful. You smell your mom making homemade food. You feel the soft blanket on you while watching a movie. You smell the fresh air through your window and feel the cold air on your face. It smells like the park you played in with your friend or the feeling of playing in the snow. But even though you have fun being outside, you still remember home.

There are a lot of different things that families do at home. Some like to spend time with each other while others go on their own paths. Some like to clean their home every day while some clean whenever people come over. Some decorate their home every holiday while others don’t. It doesn’t matter, it’s still home.

Many memories are made at home like welcoming home a new family member, having parties with friends and family and playing games and watching movies with your family and friends. No matter where you go you bring these memories with you. You may get homesick and when you do, you can go home.

Home. It’s a shelter. It’s family. It’s a memory. It’s love. It’s the place to be.

My name is Tobi Gonzalez. I’m 9 years old. I’m currently in 4th grade at George W. Nebinger Elementary School. I live with my dad, mom and toddler brother in South Philly. My favorite subject at school is math. I also love to do art and to write. I mostly make abstract drawings and paintings and write realistic fiction stories. I’m a person that likes to make others laugh and be happy. I draw pictures and text inspiring quotes to my friends and to my family to make them smile. 

Hopes and Dreams for Back to School

Virtual learning was set up as an emergency effort by teachers because of the pandemic, this COVID-19 that is keeping everyone in quarantine.  So as we continue forward, everyone has to keep moving and keep growing.

There are some improvements that can be done with online learning to make the experience better, because everyone learns differently and not everyone is in a perfect learning environment.  So if that is taken under consideration when planning the lessons, the learning  will be fun and  the more  students will be engaged.

During this pandemic, I believe that teachers should be able to allow students to be free to some extent during online classes.

There  is a lot of pressure on the students of the classroom. For example, children also have responsibilities at home especially now and teachers need to respect the fact that parents are going to have to sometimes pull them out of class.

Parents  need all the help they can during this quarantine.  This is a fact teachers can’t ignore, so they should try to be aware of these things without it disrupting the learning process.

All people need breaks. In normal times, at most schools every class goes on a class trip for relaxation and learning. Unfortunately, we are under lockdown.

Since everyone is on a computer or some type of electronic device; classes could go on virtual “class trips.”  A trip to the Franklin Institute and trips around the world are all possible online, giving everyone, including the teachers a break from the classroom and even have some fun in the  process! It will keep everyone engaged and improve drastically!

The big hope is that this Spring will be an improvement on virtual learning.   All virtual classes are going to need improvement, and while it may be difficult, it can be done. Schools just need to remember to be mindful of home situations and keep things fun and exciting.

I think things will get better though.  Once you do something for the first time you are going to get better as you keep doing it.  The more we continue online learning, the better the students and the teachers will get helping each other learn.



Should the NBA Play this season?

For about half a year now, NBA players have been gathering in Disney’s “The Bubble.” The Orlando Magic stadium has been hosting numerous basketball games, where fans can attend via Microsoft teams. But, is it still safe for players to interact, and touch each other without wearing a mask? More than 40 players tested positive for Covid – 19 within the first week of December! I personally think that the NBA should take a break from these basketball games, because it doesn’t seem safe.

The first reason why I think it isn’t safe for the NBA to play is because of the transfer of germs through physical contact. Basketball is a sport where everyone touches the same ball; that also is a way for Coronavirus to spread. When somebody touches a contaminated surface, and then their face, they are susceptible to getting the disease.

That could result in a COVID diagnosis of another basketball player who could spread it to other people without knowing. Players such as Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets contracted COVID back in March along with four other teammates.

The second reason why I think that the NBA shouldn’t play, is because the players are so close to each other and are not wearing a mask. Although the teams in the NBA play in the bubble, they still can spread the virus within their team. The World Health Organization (WHO), recommends that everybody who isn’t staying within 6 feet of each other to wear a mask.

The players in the NBA are staying about 2 inches away from each other, without even wearing a mask! Furthermore, even if they were wearing a mask, it would be hard for them to play wearing a plastic cover over their mouth for more than two hours!

The last, and final reason why I think the NBA shouldn’t play, is because nobody knows who could have the virus. The NBA players do not take blood tests every day. Symptoms for Covid 19 can show up as late as 5 – 6 days after initial contact. Somebody in the NBA could have the virus, and could potentially be spreading it around asymptomatically. In addition, the blood tests aren’t very accurate; 30 percent of the people who get tested with a blood test, test negative, but are actually positive.

In conclusion, I do not think that it is safe for the NBA to hold basketball games this season. Although we are going through tough times and need a little bit of entertainment, I think that basketball isn’t the sport. Even though the players are all staying within one place, I think that they should take more precautions, and definitely not play this season.

Credits and Citation:

Adams, J. (2020). NBA Virtual Fans: How Do You Sign Up to Attend Bubble Games? | Heavy.com. Retrieved 5 January 2021, from https://heavy.com/sports/2020/07/nba-virtual-fans-bubble-how-cost/

Kent, A. (2020). List of NBA Players to Test Positive for Coronavirus. Retrieved 5 January 2021, from https://www.slamonline.com/nba/nba-coronavirus-covid-list/

Foley, K. (2020). Where does the six-foot guideline for social distancing come from?. Retrieved 5 January 2021, from https://qz.com/1831100/where-does-the-six-feet-social-distancing-guideline-come-from/

Cruose, C. (2020). NBA Introduces Six Phases For Return. Retrieved 5 January 2021, from https://www.hoopsrumors.com/2020/06/nba-introduces-six-phases-for-return.html

Jackson, Wilton. “Report: 48 NBA Players Test Positive for COVID-19.” Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated, 2 Dec. 2020, www.si.com/nba/2020/12/02/nearly-50-nba-players-test-positive-for-covid-19.


Interview: Kathleen Krull

Interview with Kathleen Krull, award winning author of books for children

By Rani Simons and Devi Simons
Kathleen Krull is an author most noted for her 60-some award-winning, compelling, well-researched and sometimes hilarious biographies for children. Ranging in subject from history to art, music to science, from athletes to pirates, she has garnered numerous awards and has captured the attention of a very young audience with her unique and entertaining style of writing non-fiction. Her works include the Women Who Broke The Rules series, the Lives of series, and the Giants of Science series. You can find out more about the author and her works at www.kathleenkrull.com.

Devi: Why do you choose to write mostly nonfiction?

Basically, I’m nosy. But I’m also intrigued by the shape and structure of a person’s life–the arc, the story of it. As stories, biographies are some of the very best–people have definite beginnings, middles, and demises. I’m motivated by the challenge of trying to write about a life in a pithy, meaningful way–sculpting with words a portrait that conveys the essence of a person–accurately yet dramatically.

Rani: You make people from a long time ago seem like they’d be fun to hang out with now. How do you make your nonfiction so fun?

To hold their own against all the competition for a child’s time, nonfiction books have to reflect something special.  As with fiction, every sentence in nonfiction is there for a reason, reflecting endless choices within a structure designed to meet some challenge.  For me, mixing in fictional elements would seem like cheating. Instead I try to make fresh, contemporary choices from my research–little ironies, amusing juxtapositions, concrete details, strengths and weaknesses. I use a “warts and all” approach because I want to write biographies for kids living in the real world.  I know readers have to survive all kinds of hurts and traumas; my way of helping is to dramatize how people in the past have done it

Devi: After you do your research, how do you choose what to use and what not to use in the book?

I play detective, by which I mean I’m a heavy user of the library.  I read mostly secondary sources and scour them for juicy details that make information come alive.  I’m taking the fruits of other people’s labors, the most scholarly biographies I can find, and looking for the “good parts.”  I research tons of material, gleaning a mountain of stuff I think is most interesting, and then revise, tinker, revise, edit, whittle, and then do some more revising to get what I hope is the very tiptop of the mountain.  If there is a magic key to what I do, it’s this: After I soak up all the information, I don’t use it all. Being selective is the trick. Because children’s books are short, the text must get to the point so quickly that all the “boring parts” must go.

Rani: How do you decide what to write about?

I think ideas come from paying attention, listening, observing. One thing I pay attention to is what I’m passionate about.  A lifelong passion for music (I grew up playing several musical instruments) inspired Lives of the Musicians: Good Times, Bad Times (and What the Neighbors Thought). The point of view in all the Lives of books comes from my fascination with neighbors– which is common, I think, though I did go to extremes and marry one of mine, Paul Brewer (editorial: who also illustrates some of her books).

Devi: We love your books about women who break the rules. Why did you decide to write about them?

As a full-time writer, I find that one of my mightiest challenges is my own city: If you’ve ever been to San Diego, you know its sunny temptations. I won’t tell you how many years it took me to get some discipline. A big help is choosing topics that are so vital to me that I don’t want to leave my desk. Probably the biggest of these is women’s history. It’s fascinating, still underreported, and more important than ever for inspiring young girls to break confining rules, to control their own lives, and to take up leadership. Wilma Unlimited came out of this interest, as did books on Pocahontas, Louisa May Alcott, and others. I consider the crown jewel of the “Lives of…” series, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt, to be Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought). I’d been angst-y during Lives of the Presidents – just one guy after another. It was a joy to write about women with real power – although the mystery deepened: Why has this country never had a woman President? I explored this question in A Woman for President: The Story of Victoria Woodhull. She was the first woman to run for the office, back in 1872, when women couldn’t even vote. Hers is a little-known story of a woman way ahead of her time. In 2008, when yet another woman tried, I proposed Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight. The country still wasn’t quite ready, but a revised edition of this book is pubbing this August. Last year, I started a new chapter book series for grades 2 to 4 called Kickass Women– wait, Bloomsbury made me change it to Women Who Broke the Rules. Judy Blume, Sacajawea, Sonia Sotomayor, and Dolley Madison, with Coretta Scott King and Mary Todd Lincoln – these are strong women who helped shape our country and refused to conform to the rules of their day. My literary inspiration was Jean Fritz, the master of this field, who uses such a light touch to keep readers turning pages. All my research was done through the fantastic San Diego Public Library and its interlibrary system that fetches books from local universities.

Rani: What were your favorite books as a kid?

Around the house we had lots of Little Golden Books and inexpensive editions of classics.  The first book I can remember reading is Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, beautifully illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen. Weekly visits to the library with my mom were a highlight of childhood.  I loved librarians so much I wanted to be one, but when I got a job at 15 in the library I was soon fired- for reading on the job!

Favorites included historical fiction (Laura Ingalls Wilder; Elizabeth Speare’s Calico Captive and The Witch of Blackbird Pond), biography (the Landmark Book series on people like Helen Keller, Elizabeth Blackwell, Susan B. Anthony; anything on queens), mysteries (the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton was thrilling), romance (Mary Stolz, Betty Cavanna), adventure (Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins), fun books like Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy and Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking. Above all, fantasy– especially Edward Eager’s magical books, and Carol Kendall’s.  I would have adored the Harry Potter books.

Devi: Who encouraged you to write?

My teachers in third and eighth grades (Sister de Maria and Sister Della) stand out as being particularly encouraging of my writing.  Sister Della (now Marie Tollstrup) gave me an “A” on Death Waits Until After Dark, even though its plot was absurd and nasty.  She was the first person who told me I might be a writer when I grew up, and she remains an important person in my life.

Rani: What was your first story?

My earliest works include A Garden Book (second grade), Hairdos and People I Know (fifth), and The History of Queersville (sixth).  I created a series of weird little books about people.  My first short story was “Death Waits Until After Dark” (eighth grade)–about a teacher who jumps out the window. Diaries!  Very important to keep a diary or journal. I started in sixth grade, but didn’t really get the hang of it till high school.

Devi:  How do you “break the rules”, and “what do your neighbors think” of you?

They know me as someone who plays my piano and my radio too loud, asks nosy questions, goes in and out of my house with huge armloads of books, plays with toys, and makes noisy splashes in my pool.  I’m always sharing books with the neighbors–whether they want me to or not–so they think of me as a book person.

Rani Simons is a second grader at Germantown Friends School who enjoys writing and performing plays with her sister. Devi Simons is a third grader at Germantown Friends School who enjoys reading way past bedtime, and writing her own stories that will someday keep other kids up way past their bedtime as well.

The Blood Orange

Ughhh! Why do all of the other oranges pick on me for being a ruby red blood orange?! I even get death threats from the Giant Boy now! He threatens to eat me. And since summer has begun, the attacks from the Flies have been worse since the Giant Hand has forsaken us! It never comes by and smashes the Flies anymore. It’s like it isn’t even trying. But, according to the Wise One (I don’t know why we can’t just call him Apple, since that’s what he is!), this means one unlucky banana and one unlucky ruby red orange must be sacrificed to the Giant Blender From Which There Is No Return. Since I am the last of my kind, I am sure they will sacrifice me!
    You’d think they’d have more respect for me since I’m the last of the ruby red blood oranges. There’s no way I can escape this evil fate. Unless…no! That hasn’t happened in the kitchen for decades. But it is a possibility. No one has been taken by the Canine since the new Woman has taken control. She doesn’t let the Canine in since he took my mother underneath the couch.

But now that I think about it, I could be—Oh no! The sacrifice has begun! They took Lenny! NO! I almost tricked him into becoming my friend. I can’t believe the Giant Hand betrayed Lenny like that. Wait…the Giant Hand is moving this way! It wouldn’t sacrifice me. I’m the last of my kind! Ahhhh! The Giant Hand has me. And its clone is peeling me! It’s taking me to the Giant Blender From Which There Is No Return. I’m falling into the Blender. SLOPT! Jjjjtttt.

Where am I?

“Follow the light, Paul.”


“Follow the light. It’s better there.”

“Woah, woah, woah. Are you really my mom?”

“Yes. I can prove it. I died on a Wednesday, remember? We were enjoying a day at the edge of the basket. Then the Canine took me. He hid me under the counter, and I was reunited with your father.  Then, about 20 minutes later, the Canine returned and relieved himself on my face. I quickly became rotten and came here, waiting for you.”

“Wow, Mom. Are you saying you were waiting for me almost 15 years?”

“Yes, Son. Now follow me into the light.”


Wow! We are in the Better Place! It’s not a myth! And look, they have an ice cream parlor! I’m going to get some chocolate ice cream.

“WAIT! Don’t eat the ice cream!”

“Why not? Who are you?”

“I’m Anita. I’m an apple as you can see. And your mother just took a lick of ice cream and now she’s gone forever. After this second life, there isn’t a third. Trust me.”

“What was that you were saying? Yum! This ice cream is delic—“


Why does no one ever listen to me when I warn them? That’s the 33rd time some poor fruit has died. Poor ruby red blood orange. Sigh.  

Sharon Zea-Rineon will be a 7th grader at Planet Abacus Charter School in the fall. She wrote this short story at the PSJr writing workshop at the Tacony Branch of the Free Library.

The Shoe Thief

Once there was a little red fox.  She had clear green eyes and pointy brown ears. She had very good taste, but she had no fears!  Every day, she took five minutes to lick her pretty brown coat, five minutes to brush her pointy white teeth, and five minutes to groom her well-padded paws.  However, it took this little red fox more than thirty minutes to decide which shoes to wear around her den.  When she grew tired of wearing a pair, she set it aside to chew and tear.  Simply put, this was a fox with flair!

More than anything else in the world, this little fox loved shoes.  If she had to choose, it was always shoes!  She would choose a shoe over beef stew!  She would choose a shoe in any hue!          

All the other foxes chided her, “Silly fox, why do spend all your time with shoes when there’s an entire forest to play in?”  Amused, the little fox replied, “You choose the forest grooves, but I choose the groovy shoes!”   With that, she turned and walked away with her spirits up, her head up, and her tail   up!

One morning, the little red fox woke up before dawn.  In her den in the woods, she decided that it was time to fetch more goods. So, she set out for her favorite village.  There she always found a large selection of irresistible shoes that came in all sizes and colorful hues! Shoes in reds and blues!  Shoes with glittery glues!  Shoes always in twos!  All the villagers here left their shoes on their porches overnight for the little red fox to take.  At least, that’s what she thought!

As the little red fox trotted through the sleepy village looking over all the shoes on display, a large black, yellow-eyed cat, named Rudolph, yowled angrily at her.  The little red fox was used to it.  What she was not used to, though, was a big, black dog whose mean growl made her heart beat faster than a spinning top.  It was all worth it, though, when the first sunbeams of the day danced upon a shiny purple shoe.  How it caught her eye!  The little red fox gasped, “How gorgeous!  How glorious!”  She ran towards the gleaming purple shoe, picked it up with her teeth, and carried it home.

Soon, all the villagers began to hiss, “There must be a shoe thief in our midst.”  Shoes were disappearing now on a regular basis.  The town sheriff then ordered a search of every house in the village and in the surrounding area.  The shoes were nowhere to be found!

In the following weeks, more shoes disappeared from this little village.  Then, a policeman, still searching for the traitor, found a slew of chewed shoes scattered along a forest trail. Bemused, he thought out loud, “Could this be the clue to the mystery of the missing shoes?”  Cautiously, he looked around until he stumbled upon a crumpled, discolored shoe in front of a fox’s den.  Carefully, he looked inside.

The policeman was amazed at what he had found!  Surrounded by a multitude of colorful shoes, the little red fox sat happily chewing on a bright yellow shoe!   Then, the policeman looked even more closely and was surprised to find something else!  It was a happy brood of little red foxes!  And, what were these little red foxes doing?   Chewing!  Each little fox was all aglow, gleefully chewing on a bright and shiny shoe, each a different color of the rainbow!

Born in Christiana, Delaware, Sarah is the youngest of four. She attends the Charter School of Wilmington and has won awards for her essays. She also plays violin and viola and likes to bowl (her three-person team won 1st place in Nationals in Washingotn, D.C. at the National History Bowl in 2011).

SIDE NOTE: This children’s tale is based on a true story from a small town in Germany. Have you read a news item that you wanted to turn into a story?