By Edie W.

“C’mon girls! We’re gonna be late for registration!” Kaly Sanderson called, racing up the steep hill leading to the dining hall.

            “Sorry-Kaly” Jadin Gonzales said, panting. “Not- all of us know how to pack as light as you.” Reaching the top of the hill, Jadin dropped all of her bags and sat down on her rolling suitcase.

            “Actually, Jadin, I don’t think any of us know how to pack as heavy as you.” Addy Johnson, or AJ to her friends, said, adjusting her shoulder bag.

            Margo Rogers reached the top of the hill, doing a cartwheel. “I beat you, Emma!” she cried, slamming her backpack down on the gravel road.

            “That’s okay…” Emma Ritchie said. “I don’t mind.”

            “Ha ha!” Margo cried. “That’s why you and I are best friends. I can’t be friends with a sore loser, can I?”

            “Hey, Margo, Emma!” Addy called from inside the dining hall. “You comin’?”

            “Yeah, yeah, I’ll be there soon!” Margo called. “Come on, we better get there before AJ blows a gasket.”

            “Wait. We should wait for Ms. Eliza and Ms. Megan.” Emma pointed out.

            “Oh, you’re right.” Margo said. “Are you guys coming?” she called down the hill.

            “We’re coming!” Ms. Eliza, their troop leader, said. “Get the rest of the girls from 2471 here.”

            “Okay!” Margo said, dashing to the dining hall. “Girls! Get on outside!”

            After registration, the girls walked down the trail that led to their cabins.

“I’m so excited!” Kaly exclaimed, jumping up and down. “I just love camping!”

            “Yes, well, I for one am glad we are in cabins.” Jadin said, pushing a wheelbarrow with her bags. “I just hate sleeping in tents. There are so many bugs.” She shuddered.

            Before long, the troop made it to their cabins. Since there were five bunks to a cabin, all of the girls decided to sleep in one cabin, and the leaders could sleep in the other one.

            “Okay, girls.” Ms. Megan said. “Here’s your cabin. You can go ahead and unpack your things.”

            The girls lugged their stuff to the cabin, dumping everything at the door.

            “Well, here we are,” AJ said, “our home for the next two weeks.”

            She opened the door.

            Jadin pushed past everyone to get out of the hot sticky summer air and in to the cool, air-conditioned cabin,

            “Oh, yes, this is perfect.” Jadin said, spinning around. “Just perfect!”

            “You mind giving us some help with your bags, little Miss Perfect?” Margo asked Jadin.

            “Um, that is, if you don’t mind.” Emma said, standing behind the group.

           Jadin blushed profusely. “Oh, yes…of course.’ She said, slinging her shoulder bag over her head.


            After the girls and their leaders had gotten unpacked and had eaten dinner at the dining hall, they found themselves walking the same path to the cabins as before. Jadin was complaining about the lack of vegetarian options in the menu, Kaly was talking about how good the desert was, Margo and AJ were having a water drinking contest, and Emma was silently watching everything. Emma put her hand in her pocket, and pulled out her key ring. She didn’t have any keys on it, just lots of key chains. She knew it was silly, but Emma believed that it brought her good luck. Ms. Eliza started talking, and Emma slipped the chain back into her pocket.

            “Alright, girls,” Ms. Eliza was saying, “I want you all to go right to sleep tonight. We all have a big day tomorrow, filled with activities!”

            Girls will be girls and that night, they sat in the cabin, talking.

            “Can you believe there were no seconds at dinner?” Margo complained, sulking. “I’m a growing girl. I need nourishment!”

            “You’d better be growing.” AJ said, smirking. “You’re, what, 4 feet now?”

            Margo glared at AJ. “Ha. Ha. Oh and also: ha. If you must know, I reached five feet two days ago!”

            Everybody stared at each other for a beat, and then burst out laughing.

            Ms. Megan opened the door. “Okay, girls. Time to go to sleep.”

            Everyone agreed, and snuggled down in their beds. Ms. Megan smiled, and shut off the lights.


Later that night, Jadin felt something on her face.

            Still half asleep, she said, “Margo or Kaly, I’m not falling for that again.”

            All she heard in return was snoring. Not one giggle.

            “Girls?” Jadin said, sitting up. She drew her hand to her face. She felt legs on her hand.

            Letting out a blood-curdling scream, Jadin jumped out of bed and started shaking around.

            “Get it off me! GET IT OFF!” Jadin shrieked, jumping up and down.

            “Ooh, that looks like fun!” Kaly said after waking up. “I wanna try!”

            Ms. Megan and Ms. Eliza raced over to the cabin to stop the commotion.

            “What’s wrong?” Ms. Eliza yelled.

            “A SPIDER!” Jadin shrieked. “A BIG, FAT, HAIRY SPIDER!”

            Everyone just stared at her. Jadin finally stopped jumping, and glared at them.

            “What?” she demanded. “Do you not believe me?”

            “Well, no, it’s just…“ AJ started

            “Um…“ Emma blanked

            “Ya see… Margo said

            “You can’t freak out that much about spiders.” Ms. Megan said. “There are lots of spiders in the woods, and we are staying here for a week. You need to get used to them.”

            “But that one was on my FACE!” Jadin protested, everybody was covering their ears at the end.

            “There are a lot of webs in here.” Emma said. “Maybe we could clean them up for you, Jadin.”

            Everyone agreed, and Emma grabbed the broom from the corner of the room. After a short time, the room was web free.

            “There. All done.” Emma said. “Ms. Megan and Ms. Eliza, you can go back to your cabin. I think we’re all done here.”

            “Well, if you’re sure.” Ms. Eliza shrugged, and the leaders went back to their cabin.

            “Now, we all need to go to bed.” Margo said

            “G’night, everybody.” AJ said

            “G’night!” everyone replied.


            When AJ opened her eyes the next morning, she saw that the ceiling was covered in cobwebs.

            “What the…” she mumbled, rubbing her eyes. “We cleaned the ceiling yesterday!”

            She then got out of bed and eyeballed the ceiling suspiciously. Grabbing the broom again, AJ stood on her bed and brushed at the webs. They came off easily, but there were so many. When she was finally done, the broom was coated in silk. There was no way that it was going to clean anything now. AJ sighed, and stashed the broom under her bed.

            “Good morning, AJ.” Emma said. “Did you sleep well?”

            “Emma, can I show you something?” Emma nodded, and came to AJ’s bed. AJ showed her the broom.

            “Were those all on the ceiling this morning?” Emma asked, a worried look on her face.

            “Yep.” AJ said nervously. “What do you think it means?”

            Emma bit her lip and shook her head. “I don’t know. We should tell the other girls, though.”

            “Yeah, you’re right.”


            “There was WHAT all over the ceiling this morning?”

            Jadin stared at Emma and AJ, horrified.

            “It’s true.” AJ said, as she waved the broom around. The girls backed up to get out of the broom’s reach. As they did, Margo tripped over something and landed sprawled out on the floor.

            “You okay, Margo?” AJ asked, walking towards Margo.

            “STOP!” Kaly yelled suddenly. Every one froze. Kaly walked to a spot just in front of AJ. Kneeling down, she pushed down on the carpet. A part of it folded in, revealing a ladder.

            “I bet that will explain the bugs.” Kaly said, starting to climb down the ladder.

            “Wait!” Jadin said. “Where did that even come from?”

            “Margo tripped over a switch that opened it.” Kaly said, shrugging like it was obvious.

            “How did you know that the compartment was there in the first place?” Margo asked.

            Kaly smiled. “Just a hunch!” she said, smiling. As she started down the ladder again, Emma said, “Well, I guess that’s just Kaly being Kaly.” Everyone else seemed to accept this, and followed Kaly down the ladder.

            The ladder seemed to go down forever, but when they finally reached the bottom, the girls saw that there was a long staircase, leading up.

            “Ugh!” Jadin exclaimed. “This will take forever!”

            “Well, then, we’d best start now.” AJ said.

            The girls did finally make it to the top of the staircase, and were amazed by what they saw. It appeared to be a giant laboratory, with different machines and liquids in beakers everywhere.

            “Whoa…” Emma said.

            “Ooh, shiny!” Kaly said, running up to the liquids.

            The girls ran around and looked at everything, until a booming voice said, “WHO IS IN MY LAB!?!?”

            Emma let out an audible squeak and dove under one of the tables.

            Margo was the first to speak up. “We’re Girl Scout troop 2471!”

            “GIRL SCOUTS?” the voice said. “DO YOU HAVE ANY FOOD WITH YOU?”

            “Any…what?” Margo faltered. “Why do you need food?”


            “Ooh!” Kaly said. “A guessing game! Are you hungry? No! You’re sleepy? No! Wait! It’s your birthday!”

            “Um…okay.” AJ said after Kaly’s outburst. “What I would like to know who are you? And what are you doing?”


            The girls looked at each other, and all of them stood on the large circles, except Emma, who was still hiding under the table. All of the sudden a cage sprung up around the girls standing on the cirlces.

            “Hey!” Margo exclaimed. “What’s the big idea?”

            “Sorry, I just can’t have you four ruining my plan,” a man said as he was walked towards the girls. He looked like a classic movie villain, complete with a bowler hat and a long black cape. Kaly took one look at him and burst out laughing.

            The man looked indignant. “What is so funny?”

            Kaly covered her mouth in an effort to keep from laughing. She was unsuccessful. “You just look so funny!” she said, gasping and wiping away a tear.

            AJ looked at the man. “Okay, we’re here. Now answer our questions.”

            “I am… THE CRUMBSNATCHER!” the man said in a triumphant voice.

            This time, all of the girls started giggling even Emma who let out a chuckle.

            “Oh, that-that’s good.” AJ said, holding her stomach. “Okay, so then, what are you doing down here?”

            “I am trying to find the secret recipe for Girl Scout Cookies.” He said.

            That stopped the laughter. “What are you trying to do?” Jadin demanded.

            “I’m making my own Girl Scout Cookies. Just think about it.” He said, stepping closer to the cage. “Girl Scout Cookies are only sold for two months of the year. If I could make cookies just as good, and sell them during other months of the year, I could make a fortune! Unfortunately, the process attracts many bugs, but it is still worth it.”

            “What does that have to do with our food?” Margo demanded.

            “I’m not through,” the man said, glaring at Margo. Margo shrank down into the corner of the cage. “Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Now, I realized that the cookies had to have a secret ingredient. I tried many things, but eventually came to only one possible solution: the ingredient must be Girl Scouts!”

            The girls gasped. “You’re… gonna eat us?” Kaly asked.

            “Oh, no.” he said. The girls all breathed a sigh of relief. “It must be in your food.”

            “But, that doesn’t-“ the man silenced Jadin with a glance.

            “So, I stole the food from the dining hall.”

            “That’s why we couldn’t have seconds the other day!” Kaly said.

            “Yes. Now can you please stop interrupting me?” the girls nodded. “That didn’t work. So I took some other girls’ snacks, like trail mix and granola bars and banana chips. I think I may have found the answer this time, but you all came and interrupted me! Now, you will stay here until I have created a Girl Scout Cookie!”

            He walked out of the room and down a hallway that the girls did not see before.

            “We know that the secret ingredient isn’t in our snacks.” Margo said in a hushed tone. “So, what if we’re here… forever?”

The girls gasped.

            “Um, excuse me…” Emma said

            “No more shopping sprees!” Jadin exclaimed.

            “Excuse me.” Emma said.

            “No more birthday parties.” Kaly said sadly.

            “Excuse me!” Emma said, louder than before.

            “And no more seein’ my family?!?” AJ looked terrified.

            “EXCUSE ME!” Emma shouted. The troop turned to look at her.

            “Emma!” Margo said. “Boy, are we glad to see you. I thought you bailed on us!” The others mumbled in agreement.
            “Can you get us out of here?” Jadin asked.

            Emma smiled, holding up her key ring. “I can try.”


            A few minutes later, Emma had used her nail file keychain to file through two of the bars on the cage, creating a space wide enough for all of the girls to fit through.

            “We need to go tell our leaders about this guy.” Emma said, as they were all once again ascended the ladder to their cabin.

            “Yep,” AJ agreed.

            When they reached the top of the ladder, Emma saw police officers outside of their cabin.

            “Uh oh.” She mumbled. “Hey Margo, how long have we been gone?”

            Margo looked at her watch and bit her lip. “Almost two hours.” She finally admitted.

            “Well, we will have to face them eventually,” Jadin said.

Emma sighed, and pushed open the door.


After AJ told them everything, the police climbed down the ladder.

            “You girls are in serious trouble.” Ms. Eliza said.

            “You can’t just sneak off like that!” Ms. Megan added.

            The girls hung their heads. “We’re sorry.”

            Ms. Megan sighed. “Well, I guess you’ve learned your lesson.”

            At that moment, the police came back up the ladder, the Crumbsnatcher in tow.

“We’d like to thank you girls. We’ve been trying to catch this guy for some time now. As a reward, we would like to present you with a free week of camping for your troop at Camp Oak Valleys.”

            The girls looked at each other, and burst out laughing.

            “No, thank you,” said Jadin. “I think we’ve all had enough of camping for right now!’


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