Mr. Jones was always a quiet man. He moved to the small town of Blah when he was a young man. He never had time for a wife or a girlfriend because he was always busy with work.
Mr. Jones worked at a pawnshop. He was very proud of his job. After his boss died at the age of 103, he gave Mr. Jones the shop. Everything usually went very well for him, but Mr. Jones was lonely.
He had a sister named Trudy whom he wrote to every day. But Trudy lived in Excitementville and that was almost 3,000 miles away. Mr. Jones’ life was just so boring.
Walk the dog.
Go to work.
Go to sleep.
Mr. Jones used to like the routine, but now he despised it.
The only two things Mr. Jones ever cared about were Trudy and his dog, Chance. Chance was a magnificent Greyhound. Mr. Jones found him at a local shelter. He was about to be put down when Mr. Jones saved him. Now he walks Chance every day.
This is Mr. Jones’ story.
Mr. Jones’ alarm clock started ringing. Chance lifted his head and looked around. Then he went back to sleep.
Mr. Jones rolled over on his side. Chance’s heavy panting had kept him up all night. He finally went to sleep at 4:00am. It was now 7:00am. He didn’t want to go to work. That was a first. He loved his job. There was never a day when Mr. Jones did not want to go to work.
Mr. Jones rolled over some more and he fell out of bed! He hit his head on the floor. The pain was too much, but Mr. Jones did not want to scream. The neighbors would hear. He gritted his teeth and got up.
Mr. Jones went into the bathroom to brush his teeth. Mr. Jones accidentally tripped and banged his chin on the counter. The pain wasn’t too bad, so he got right back up and grabbed his toothbrush. He threw it across the room in rage. It broke through the glass door of the shower. Glass flew everywhere. Luckily it missed Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones screamed. It was a loud war cry. The neighbors stuck their heads out of their doors. But they thought Chance was just howling again and went back inside.
Mr. Jones was fuming. Everything was going wrong. Then Mr. Jones collected himself and called the shower company to fix his door. They would be there in an hour to come and fix it while he was at work.
Mr. Jones decided to take Chance for a walk and took out Chance’s leash. Chance was still sleeping when Mr. Jones went back to the bedroom.
“Get up, you lazy dog,” Mr. Jones said playfully.
Even though Mr. Jones was in a bad mood, he could never be mad at Chance. Chance lifted his head and stared at Mr. Jones with his big, tired eyes.
“You wanna go for a walk, boy?” Mr. Jones asked playfully.
At the word “walk,” Chance jumped up and followed Mr. Jones downstairs.
Mr. Jones put Chance on his leash and started walking him. Chance was big, but Mr. Jones was tall and Chance only came up to his waist. While he was walking, Chance heard a noise. It was footsteps approaching. Mr. Miller, the town’s slaughterhouse owner walked right up in front of Mr. Jones and Chance.
Mr. Miller hated all animals. That’s why he founded Miller’s Meats, the town’s slaughterhouse. Everyone said he was the most wicked man on earth. Mr. Jones avoided him mostly… until now.
“Hello,” Mr. Jones said.
“Hello. What a nice dog you have.” Mr. Miller replied.
“Thank you,” Mr. Jones said.
“He would be perfect for my experiment.”
“Yes. I’m trying to make a Dog Pot Pie.” Mr. Miller exclaimed.
The only thing Chance heard was ‘dog’ and ‘pie.’ He lunged at Mr. Miller. His leash flew out of Mr. Jones’ hand. Chance bit Mr. Miller’s leg – but not too hard. Chance meant it as a warning.
Mr. Miller yelled. The neighbors were all at work so no one heard him.
“Your dog is dead, Irwin Jones!” Mr. Miller screamed before running away.
Mr. Jones dropped Chance at his house. He didn’t scold Chance for what he did. Chance was right. Mr. Miller deserved to be bitten. But he still said “bad dog” to Chance. Mr. Miller was the richest man in town. Mr. Jones didn’t want any trouble. Now he had a big red target on his back. All thanks to Chance.
Even worse, when he sat down to eat his morning cereal, he realized he was eating Chance’s dog treats soaked in milk!
Mr. Jones was waiting at the bus stop. He was chewing a mint to get rid of his doggy-treats breath.
He heard a steady click of high heels coming down the street. Ms Boggsworth came running to catch the bus that was approaching.
Ms. Boggsworth was the divorced wife of Mr. Miller. After becoming a strict vegetarian, the two broke up. Mr. Miller was about Mr. Jones’ age. Ms. Boggsworth was about thirty. Ms. Boggsworth had long brown hair, wore red lipstick and other make-up every day and she worked at Boggs Flowers, the shop right next door to Mr. Jones’ pawnshop.
She and Mr. Jones were good friends. Maybe that’s why Mr. Miller doesn’t like me, Mr. Jones thought. Ms. Boggsworth walked up to Mr. Jones.
“Hello Irwin,” Ms. Boggsworth said.
“Hello Tammy,” Mr. Jones said.
The two of them got on the bus. They talked about the weather and their businesses. Mr. Jones didn’t dare mention the incident with Mr. Miller or the horrible day he was having.
Tammy would think he was a fool. He just kept the conversation to idle chat until they reached their stop. Before Tammy went into her shop, she leaned in and kissed Mr. Jones on the cheek. His face went tomato red. Then she went inside her shop.
He couldn’t believe it! Tammy Boggsworth had kissed him! His luck must be turning around.
He unlocked the door to his pawnshop; JONES & CAL. Mr. Cal had been the previous owner of the store. Mr. Jones kept his name on the sign.
Mr. Jones walked into his shop and set up the cash register for the day. Then he smelled something. It smelled like rotting feet and cheese. Just then Juan, the town hobo walked through the door. Juan wasn’t Spanish, but he always spoke Spanish. Juan’s real name was William J. Princeton III. But Juan thought it was too goody-goody sounding.
Juan always paused mid-sentence when he was talking to you. Juan always smelled like rotting feet. Juan came storming through the door. Mr. Jones wrinkled his nose.
“Hello Mr. Jones! How (pause) are you?” Juan said. This time he was speaking English.
“Hello Juan. How are you?” Mr. Jones said.
“Mucho (pause) gusto,” Juan replied.
Then Juan jutted out his teeth and stood there for a few moments.
“What are you looking for, Juan?”
Juan pulled something out of his pocket. It was a ring. Mr. Jones gawked at it.
“I finally found (pause) the right girl,” Juan declared.
“Really? What’s her name?” Mr. Jones asked continuing to plug his nose.
“Maria.” Juan said.
Then a woman came into the room. She had a clothespin on her nose.
“Pleased to meet you Mr. Jones,” Maria said shaking his hand.
Mr. Jones took care of the ring and Juan and Maria left. After a few hours and a few customers, Mr. Jones scraped together $10 to buy lunch. He went to the local deli and bought a turkey sandwich.
Mr. Jones felt something explode in his stomach. He gripped it in pain. He had just finished the turkey sandwich. Mort, the man who owned the deli came out from the kitchen.
“Some kids put laxatives in the sandwich meats!” he yelled.
“WHAT?!” Mr. Jones said.
Then he rushed out the door.
Mr. Jones spent the rest of the day at his shop in the bathroom. He couldn’t take any more customers.
At the end of the day he started to walk towards the bus stop when he realized he’d left his wallet somewhere. He didn’t even try to get it back. He just wearily climbed on to the bus.
Tammy was nowhere in sight. Instead he spotted Miss Ransome lumbering down the aisle.
Miss Ransome was the largest woman in town, with a weight of 300 pounds! She was not the person you would want sitting next to you on the bus. She also had a big crush on Mr. Jones.
She bounded down the length of the bus to Mr. Jones’ seat, her eyes lighting up when she saw him. Her bright red curly hair was extra frizzy today.
“IRWIN!” she screamed so loud the whole bus heard.
“Call me Mr. Jones, please Miss Ransome.” Mr. Jones said.
Miss Ransome’s face went sour and she said, “Fine, Mr. Jones.”
She sat next to Mr. Jones anyway, crushing him. He tried to stick his face out from between her fat folds, but to no avail.
“I – I – I…” Mr. Jones gasped, wheezing a lot in the process.
“What?” Miss Ransome said.
“I – I – I….”
“Are you saying what I think you are saying?
“I – I – I…”
“Oh, Irwin! I love you too! Miss Ransome said. Then she started going on and on about their wedding when Mr. Jones finally found enough air to speak.
“I NEED OXYGEN!” he screamed.
Miss Ransome was startled. She moved a little bit so Mr. Jones could breath.
Then he said, “We are not having a wedding! I do not love you, to be honest with you.”
Mr. Jones had never felt more horrible in his entire life.
Miss Ransome began crying. She sobbed and sobbed the whole way home. Mr. Jones squeezed passed her to get off the bus at his stop.
This was the worst day ever!!
Mr. Jones got into his house to find Chance waiting for him. Mr. Jones went to his study. He got a piece of loose-leaf paper and wrote down his story. He thought it might be useful some day in the future when he might be having another bad day. It would remind him that things could be much worse.
After he finished, Mr. Jones pulled out another piece of paper…
I’ve had the worst day ever! I don’t even want to tell you about it. But Ii’s also made me realize that this has been the most interesting day I’ve had in years! I’ve found a new calling. I want to be a writer. I’m selling the pawnshop and I’m writing my first book. Maybe I’ll be able to visit you in Excitementville soon.
Your loving brother,
Mr. Jones put the letter in an envelope and put it in the mailbox. It was dark outside and the small town was going to bed. Mr. Jones sighed, rubbing his head. (Mr. Jones had a full head of salt and pepper hair.) He knew tomorrow would be exactly the same for some people, but he also knew that starting tomorrow, he would never be boring old Mr. Jones again.
Mr. Jones walked back into his house.
Mr. Jones’ first short story Mr. Jones’ Bad Day was a huge success. Grown ups and children everywhere read it. It made the New York Times bestseller list.
Mr. Jones gave his pawnshop to Juan and Maria as a wedding present. Juan ran the shop well and he finally took a bath. So now Juan smells like roses and strawberries.
Miss Ransome is now known as Mrs. Miller and is happily living with Mr. Miller, the slaughterhouse owner. They eat meat all the time. Mr. Miller never developed his Dog Pot Pie idea, thank goodness.
Chance is a happy dog, still running around. He has never bitten anyone again.
The flower shop owner, Ms. Boggsworth, now known as Mrs. Jones and is the one who inspires Mr. Jones daily.
Trudy still writes to Mr. Jones, She gave birth to her third child with her husband this year.
Mr. Jones continues to write books and is living in his original home with Mrs. Jones. Chance still keeps him up at night.
This is the latest letter addressed to Trudy from Mr. Jones:
I’ve decided what my next book is going to be. It’s going to be called Letters for Trudy. It’s about a lonely man who writes to his sister and then finds happiness. Do you like the idea? Please write back.
Kelly Levine, Age 13, Grade 8, The Summit School, Silver Key