The Exciting Adventures of the Trent Twins
Author’s Note: “The Trent Twin Adventures” is a fictional historical story placed in Poway, California in 1896.
Chapter I -The School Pageant
“Yippee!” Thomas said as he bounced out of bed. “Come on, Alex.” Joseph pulled his eight-year-old twin off the bed across the room.
“Ow!” Alexander rubbed his elbow. ‘What did you do that for?”
“It’s the last day of school.” Thomas grabbed his clothes and his fishing pole. “Remember? Pa said he’d take us fishin’ this evening to celebrate.”
“So why are you grabbing your pole now?” Alexander said as he put on a clean shirt. “We still have the pageant today and the big kids have the promotion.”
“Oh, I forgot about the pageant.” Thomas groaned. “I haven’t learned the Liberty poem yet.”
“Miss Bolton will scold you.” Alexander said. “Want me to help you?”
“You want to recite the poem? That’s another good thing about summer. I won’t have Teacher give me any more lessons.” Thomas scowled at the stiff shirt Mama had hung on his peg. I can’t have any fun wearing my Sunday best shirt. He reluctantly pulled off the comfortable clothes he’d put on and got into the clothes Mama had hung there for the pageant.
The boys walked to the school, crossing the small creek on the way.
“Look at the crawdads, Thomas,” Alexander said. He poked at them with a stick.
“Wouldn’t it be fun to surprise Miss Bolton with them?”
“Yes, but Mama would get mad.” Thomas paused, a grin passing over his face. “Here, put my lunch in your pail.”
“Why? I was only joking. You‘re not going to put them in Miss Bolton’s desk, are you?” Alexander asked as he quickly emptied Thomas’ food into his pail.
“No. It’s for Edith. Remember how she teased us for missing some spelling words?”
“Yes, I do.” Alexander laughed and he picked up a crawdad.
Families were gathered inside the Templar’s Hall waiting for the pageant and promotion to begin. Thomas stood behind the painted wooden backdrop made for the festivities. Peering around it, he could see Pa, Mama, and his four-year-old sister Dorothea.
“Eek!” Edith screamed from the side of the room. “Something’s in the bag. Get it off! Get it off!” Edith continued to holler as her mother and Miss Bolton rushed to help her.
Thomas choked back a laugh as he watched his classmate pull her hand from the cloth bag full of programs. A crawdad hung from her little finger. Thomas looked at Alexander on the other end of the backdrop, Alexander’s sides were heaving as he attempted to hold back his laughter. Thomas motioned to him to be quiet.
Different students got up and said their part in the pageant. Suddenly it was time for Thomas to recite his poem. He stood out in front of the backdrop, hands clammy and mouth dry. All memory of the poem was gone, despite his practice on it after breakfast. He heard a whisper behind him. Thank you, brother, I owe you one. Thomas thought as he began, listening for Alex’s coaching whenever he paused.
Alexander’s voice changed from whispers to muffled denials. What is going on? Thomas thought while he continued his poem. Why is there so much noise behind me?
Thomas heard the sound of a scuffle, and then something hit his head. He crashed to the floor.
Moments later, Thomas awoke to see Mama and Pa kneeling over him.
“What happened?” he asked. He rubbed his head.
“The wood thing fell on you.” Dorothea said.
“How do you feel?” Mama said.
“I’ll be fine, Mama.” Thomas spotted Alexander and Edith’s brother Leonard headed his way, both in the grasp of Miss Bolton. Oh no. She knows. I don’t feel very well.
“Shameful, just shameful; I can’t believe the two of you are fighting, especially during the pageant.” the teacher scolded. She dropped her voice. “We will take care of this after the program is finished, crawdad included.” After seeing that Thomas was able to sit up without aid of a doctor, Miss Bolton turned to the audience. “I am sorry for the disturbance. We shall continue with the program now, followed by cookies, coffee, and lemonade outside afterwards.”
Pa looked closely at both twins and at Leonard seated by his parents. I really don’t feel well. Thomas shifted in his seat.
The teacher, Leonard, Edith, Alexander, Thomas, and their parents met together after the day’s festivities.
“I know you put the crawdad in the bag, Alexander.” Edith said. “I heard you laughing when it grabbed me.”
“Is that true, Son?” Pa said sternly.
Alexander nodded. “Yes, Sir.”
“I bet Thomas was in on it,” Leonard said. “He’s usually the one pulling Edith’s braids.”
“No, it was me.” Alexander said. “I put the crawdad in the bag.”
Thomas couldn’t let his brother take the blame alone, even if it meant a visit to the woodshed with Pa later. “Thank you, Alex.” He nodded towards his poem reading rescuer. “It was my idea, Pa. Edith was teasing us yesterday, and I was getting even.”
“The fight behind the backdrop- was that to get even?” Miss Bolton asked Leonard.
“He scared my sister.”
“I think we’ve had quite enough of getting even,” said Miss Bolton. “All four of you shall report for blackboard washing and other cleaning of the school house tomorrow.”
Tomorrow? That’s summer vacation,” the students exclaimed.
“It sounds like a fine way to start the summer to me,” said Pa. The rest of the parents agreed.
“It sounds like a terrible way to begin the summer to me,” Thomas told Alexander as they left the Templar’s Hall. “I wonder if we would have any summer left if we had put a crawdad in Miss Bolton’s pocket.”