THUMP-BUMP! THUMP-BUMP! THUMP-BUMP! I sat up in bed and rubbed my eyes. THUMP-BUMP! THUMP-BUMP! THUMP-BUMP! Who was making noise so early on a Sunday morning? And right outside my window?
CRASH! WAAAAAAAAGH! It sounded like broken glass. And somebody crying! I grabbed my purple sneakers. There was no time to get dressed. Somebody at Starwood Park needed helpâmaybe even a heroâs help. And with my purple sneakers, I had Zapato Power! Thatâs super speed, the kind superheroes have.
I ran outside in my red and blue pajamas. My purple sneakers were smoking. I was ready to help. âWAAAAAGH!â âRuff! Ruff!â Gio, my next-door neighbor, cried while his little dog, Puppy, barked at a big hole in Mrs. Tranâs window.
âDid you break that window?â I asked Gio. âMy ball broke it when I bounced it on the wall.â Puppy agreed. âRuff! Ruff!â Gio is five. He only goes to kindergarten in the morning. He hasnât had time to learn a lot of thingsâlike how neighbors donât like basketballs crashing into their apartments. âWatch out!â I shouted. Mrs. Tran hollered something in a language we didnât understand and threw Gioâs basketball out of the hole in her window.
The ball bounced on the sidewalk and rolled down the hill to the street. âMy ball!â Gio cried. He chased after it, but the basketball was way too fast for him. And a red car was coming around the corner. If Gio wasnât smart enough not to bounce a basketball off a window, he might not be smart enough to stay out of the street. It was time to use my super speed to save the day.
In one blink, I was at the curb, scooping up the ball, just as the red car sped by. âYou saved my ball!â Gio said, as he rushed up to me. âYouâre fast!â I sure was. With my purple zapatos, I could save a ball from going into the street. I could save a puppy from a speeding car. I could even outrun a train. But I couldnât save Gio from Mrs. Tran, his mother, and his sister, Maria. âWhat were you thinking?â Gioâs mom came down the hill with Puppy at her heels. âWhy were you throwing a ball against the building?â
âWhoâs going to fix my window?â Mrs. Tran asked. âYouâre in trouble now,â Maria said. âIâm sorry!â Gio cried. âLo siento.â âRuff! Ruff!â Puppy said. Everybody was barking, crying, or asking questions. I used my Zapato Power to get out of there, fast.
In half a blink, I was at Mr. Vaslovâs toolshed. He takes care of Starwood Park. If somethingâs broken, Mr. Vaslov is the guy to fix it. I knocked on the door. âFreddie!â Mr. Vaslov said, when he saw me. âWhat are you doing in your pajamas?â I looked down at my blue and red striped pajama pants. âSuperheroes donât always have time to get dressed,â I said.
Mr. Vaslov smiled and waved me inside his toolshed with a screwdriver. I looked around at all the tools and cut-up computers. Mr. Vaslov does more than take care of Starwood Park. He invents things like special shoes that go ninety miles an hour. I have Zapato Power because of Mr. Vaslov. âSo whatâs the problem?â Mr. Vaslov asked. I told him about Gio and Mrs. Tranâs window. He picked up a broom and started out the door. âTime for some clean-up,â he said. âDo you need help?â I asked. Mr. Vaslov pushed back his bushy gray hair. âSounds like everybody is pretty upset. Iâd stay out of the way for a while if I were you.â Just then, we heard the metro train rumble on its overhead track in the back of the building. My feet started to tingle in my sneakers. I waved at Mr. Vaslov. Then I took offâ¦
2. A Softer Ball
The metro train goes right by Starwood Park. Iâve been racing it since I moved here, just for