Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jordanne and Judi Take a Trip

By Gregory Smith
Jordanne was a little girl who lived in Suffolk. She lived with her Mum, Dad, and little brother Lewis, in a blue house with a green garden.

Sometimes Jordanne played with her little brother Lewis, but little brothers can be such a bother, don't you know? Jordanne's real best friend was her beagle dog, whose name was Judi.

Jordanne's family was going on holiday to Florida, which is in America. Jordanne had never been to America, and she was very excited. But she said to Mum, 'What about Judi? Who will care for Judi whilst we're gone?'

'There's only one thing to do,' said Mum.

'Yes,' said Dad, 'and that's to take Judi with us on holiday.'

'Hooray!' shouted Jordanne, and Judi twirled around in circles.

When the time came, they all went to the airport: Jordanne, Lewis, Mum, Dad, Grandma (who was also coming on the holiday), and of course Judi. They had about six huge suitcases, and Judi had to ride in a cage that was small enough to fit under the seat in the aeroplane.

As soon as the aeroplane took off, Lewis fell asleep. Later, a stewardess served them sodas. Later still, the stewardess came back with food. For Jordanne she had a cheese and pickle sandwich and a bag of crisps. Jordanne didn't like the cheese and pickle sandwich. She ate her crisps, but whilst Mum and Dad were fussing with Lewis, who had awakened, she pushed her sandwich through the bars into Judi's cage.

Judi thought it was an absolutely wonderful cheese and pickle sandwich!

It was a very long flight. Lewis went back to sleep, and then Grandma fell asleep, too. After that, Mum fell asleep, and then Dad. Lots of people on the plane were sleeping, and the stewardess was nowhere to be seen.

Jordanne knew that Judi was cramped in her small cage under the seat. Judi looked so unhappy. Beagles love to run and play, and don't like to be in a cage.

'It can't hurt,' thought Jordanne, 'to let Judi out for just a minute.'

She unlocked Judi's cage, and the happy dog jumped in Jordanne's lap and licked her face.

'Shhh,' said Jordanne. 'We can't let anyone know that you're out.'

Judi lay in Jordanne's lap, with her chin on the arm of the seat, and closed her eyes. Jordanne scratched the back of Judi's neck. They were both so happy. Soon, Jordanne was…


When she woke, after what seemed like just a few minutes, Judi was gone! Oh, no!

Jordanne jumped out of her seat and looked up and down the aisle, but Judi was nowhere to be seen.

Jordanne stopped to think. Where would a beagle go, if she were on her own?

The kitchen! (Which on a plane is called the galley.)

The stewardess had brought their food from the front of the aeroplane, so Jordanne went that way. With most of the people sleeping, it was quiet. She found the galley near the front of the plane. It was a little room off to the side of the aisle.

And sure enough, there was Judi! She had torn open a big bag of those awful cheese and pickle sandwiches, and was eating them as fast as she could. As soon as she saw Jordanne, Judi drooped her ears and tucked her tail between her legs. But she didn't stop eating. No, she tried to eat even faster!

'Judi! Bad dog!' Jordanne whispered. 'I'm very cross with you!'

Jordanne wasn't big enough to carry Judi, but she grabbed the beagle's collar and dragged her away. Judi slunk along, her tail between her legs. She looked very sorry for what she had done. Jordanne tried to stay cross, but she was a good-hearted little girl, and couldn't bear to be angry. She knelt down and gave Judi a hug.

Judi seemed to feel that she was forgiven, and as soon as Jordanne let go of her she twirled in a circle and stopped, wagging her tail happily and looking up at her little girl. Then she turned and dashed off up the aisle, at top beagle speed!

Oh, no!

'JOO-DEE," Jordanne called, without stopping to think.

People started to wake up.

Judi jumped on the knees of a sleeping man who was dressed in a neat, light grey suit. The man had a round, pleasant face, with a grey moustache and a little beard, but when he suddenly woke and saw Judi, he wasn't very pleasant at all:

'No! No!' he shouted. He jumped up, sending Judi scrambling to the floor. Then he ran away up the aisle and locked himself in the toilet.

Next, Judi tried to make friends with a woman in a yellow dress.

'Beast!' cried the woman in a yellow dress, and she swung her purse by the strap, hitting Judi on the head. Judi slunk away up the aisle, wondering why the lady didn't like her.

Then Judi saw someone who looked as though she needed a friend: A young woman wearing a brown jacket that was buttoned all the way up to her chin. The young woman sat up straight and very stiff in her seat, with her hands clasped in her lap.

As Judi bounded up, the young woman yelped, 'Stay away from me! Stay away, I say!' and hopped into the lap of the young man seated next to her. 'Save me!' she said to the young man.

'Have we been introduced?' the young man answered.

By now all the passengers were in an uproar. Mum and Dad were in the aisle. Dad was looking for Judi, and Mum was frantic. 'Jordanne,' she cried, 'what have you done?'

Dad saw Judi and chased her up the aisle. 'Judi, come here!' he said, but not in a friendly way, the way Judi liked. 'Come here right now!'

Judi hid under a seat. Dad reached under and grabbed her collar. He picked her up and scooted her back into her cage, closing the door.

Everyone on the aeroplane was talking. Mum plopped Jordanne down in her seat. The stewardess stood over them and looked at Jordanne crossly.

'Little girl,' she said, "you shouldn't have let that dog loose in the aeroplane. That dog is supposed to stay in his cage. That's why you brought a cage. That's what a cage is for. Cages are for confining dogs. Don't you know that? Don't you know anything? And just look at the disturbance you've caused.'

While she was talking, the aeroplane's pilot came up behind her. Yes, the pilot! All the way from the front of the plane! 'And just look,' he said (and he was furious, believe you me), 'look at all the cheese and pickle sandwiches she ate! Do you know how much those sandwiches cost? And now we may not have enough sandwiches for all the passengers!'

Jordanne was about to tell to the stewardess that Judi was a her, not a his, and the pilot that the cheese and pickle sandwiches were awful, but her Mum (who knew her well) said, 'Shush!' to her, quite sharply.

The pilot and the stewardess marched away. All around them, Jordanne could hear people talking.

'Such an impertinent little girl!'

'Children are simply badly raised these days.'

'Do whatever they want.'

'When I was a child, I'd have gotten a good spanking, and rightly so.'

'Imagine the germs the little beast must have spread about."

Jordanne had started out angry, but now she began to cry. She felt so unhappy. After a few minutes, she felt something else, too.

'Mum," she said quietly, 'I have to go to the toilet.'

Mum took her hand and led her to the toilet, which was in the back of the plane. Mum was still cross. And as they walked up the aisle, the other passengers stared at her and sniggered.

When they got to the toilet, someone else was using it, and there was a queue. The man in the light grey suit was first, and the woman in the yellow dress was behind him. Then came Jordanne and her Mum.

The man in the light grey suit went in. When he came out, he was putting something away in his breast coat pocket, but he stopped to say to Jordanne, 'Little girl, I do hope you're ashamed of yourself.'

He returned to his seat. A little light on the toilet door said, 'In Use.' Then the light went out, and the woman in the yellow dress came out. She saw Jordanne and said, 'Hmph!' and raised her purse, as though she was going to swing it. But she didn't.

Jordanne sat on the loo and cried.

The other passengers settled down after a while. It was a long flight.

Eventually, they landed in Orlando. The plane taxied to the terminal. Everyone was ready to get off, when suddenly some policemen appeared at the front of the plane. A voice came over the loudspeaker system: 'This is Officer Dooley, of the Orlando Police Department. We won't keep you long. We have information that a diamond thief is on this flight, and we want to look for him. Or her.'

Everyone started talking. A diamond thief! On this flight! Goodness! Police officers in blue uniforms started down the aisle. Everyone was quiet. The officers looked at each passenger closely, sometimes stopping to ask questions. But they didn't look very closely at Jordanne and Lewis, who after all didn't look like diamond thieves.

Then Officer Dooley spoke over the loudspeaker again: 'Sorry for the delay. You can disembark now. Thanks for your patience.'

Everyone started talking again.

'Well,' said Grandma (did you forget Grandma was along?), 'I would say they didn't find him.'

'Or her,' added Mum.

In the terminal, Jordanne and her family stood in a long queue with all the other passengers. Judi's cage was sitting on the floor. Judi bumped against the sides, trying to get comfortable. Then, out of nowhere, another beagle ran up and sniffed briefly at Judi and her cage. Jordanne was surprised. The new beagle was wearing a green coat, and wasn't in a cage, only on a leash. Judi tried to wag her tail, but she didn't have room.

A man in a green uniform was holding the new beagle's leash.

'Who is she?' Jordanne asked the man in the green uniform.

'He's a he, not a she,' said the man. 'His name is Jake, and he belongs to the Beagle Brigade. The beagles in the Beagle Brigade sniff all the luggage on all the planes coming to America. They look for things that people are bringing in that they shouldn't.'

Jordanne looked around, and saw there were other beagles in green coats. They were running back and forth, sniffing all of the luggage that the passengers had carried off the aeroplane.

Jordanne looked at Judi. And then she looked at the Beagle Brigade beagles. She spun around. The man in the light grey suit was a short distance back in the queue. Jordanne walked right up to him, put her fists on her hips, and said loudly, 'You're the diamond thief!'

'Jordanne!' cried Mum, horrified. 'Come back here this moment!'

'No I won't!' said Jordanne. 'This man is a diamond thief.'

Everyone was looking at them.

'Little girl,' said the man in the light grey suit, becoming very angry, 'you are the naughtiest little girl I have ever known. Stop bothering me! Go away!'

Jordanne pushed her fists even harder against her hips. 'You're the diamond thief!'

'Little girl! Stop bothering me! Right now!'

'Jordanne!' said Mum, taking Jordanne's arm, 'stop this instant!'

'He's the diamond thief!'

'Obey your mother,' said the man in the light grey suit, 'the way a good girl should. Leave me alone!'

'Now hang on a minute,' said an American voice. It was Officer Dooley, of the Orlando Police Department. He had come up beside Jordanne, and he was looking closely at the man in the light grey suit. Suddenly he stepped forward and grabbed the man's moustache between his thumb and forefinger. He pulled.

'Ouch!' said the man in the light grey suit, but the moustache and beard pulled off! It was a disguise!

'Look!' said Officer Dooley. 'It's Dutch Meeker, the world famous jewel thief! Grab 'im, boys!'

Two boys - actually two police officers, one a man and one a woman - jumped forward and grabbed Dutch Meeker by the arms.

'The stolen diamonds are in his breast coat pocket,' said Jordanne. Officer Dooley reached inside Meeker's coat and drew out a small cloth bag.

'Well now, here they are, right where the little girl said. Whaddaya know. Cuff 'im, boys.' The woman officer put handcuffs on Dutch Meeker's wrists. 'Do you have anything to say for yourself, Meeker?'

'How did you know?' Dutch Meeker asked Jordanne.

'You were sleeping on the plane,' said Jordanne, 'when Judi jumped on you and woke you. You were frightened, and ran back to the toilet. I saw you. I just now realized that that was because you thought we had landed, and Judi was with the Beagle Brigade. You knew about the Beagle Brigade, and you thought she was going to find the diamonds. So you ran and hid them, so they wouldn't be found on you. Later, when you found that Judi was only Judi, you went back and got the diamonds. I was there in queue with you, and I wondered why you needed to go to the toilet again, when you had just been. And I saw you put the diamonds in your pocket when you came out.'

Dutch Meeker's chin dropped down on his chest.

'Case closed!' said Officer Dooley, and he picked Jordanne up and set her on his shoulders. He swept through the terminal carrying Jordanne, and a parade of people fell in behind them: Dutch Meeker, with the policeman and policewoman on either side, and Jake on his leash leading the man in the green uniform, and the stewardess from the aeroplane, and Mum and Dad and Grandma, and a smiling Lewis (he loved parades), and the lady in the yellow dress, and the aeroplane's pilot, and even the young woman in the buttoned-up brown jacket.

'I'm terribly sorry,' she said to the man in the green uniform. 'It's just that I'm so allergic to dogs. They make me sneeze.'

'That's too bad,' said the man in the green uniform.

Then someone let Judi out of her cage, and she ran ahead, stopping to look back to make sure everyone was following. It was a great parade!

'Jordanne's a hero!' said someone.

'Hooray for Jordanne!' said someone else.

'Don't forget Judi!' said Jordanne.

'We'll make Judi an honorary member of the Beagle Brigade,' said the man in the green uniform.

'And no one ever liked those cheese and pickle sandwiches anyway,' said the pilot.


The Beagle Brigade beagles really exist! You can meet them on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/oa/pubs/detdogs.html



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