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The Adventure of Paul and Gianna #1
How to Break a Cinder Block
On 75 Maple Tree Road, Laudridge, Virginia, in an old house lived Paul and Gianna Evans. They both were eleven because they were twins, and they were close companions. While Paul had black hair, blue eyes, pale complexion completely free of freckles, and was very neat, Gianna had hair as red as fire, emerald green eyes, a freckled face, and was messy. Paul was skilled at karate while Gianna’s strength was in brewing chemical concoctions in her bedroom which were capable of doing peculiar things.
Paul was at the karate building a few streets away, listening to his teacher telling them what they must do tomorrow to become black belt and finish karate. Paul was glad because he did not like karate, even though he was the top student.
“Tomorrow, there shall be a test. During that test, each of you will break one of these.”
The teacher gestured to his side where a stack of cinder blocks were. Panicking, Paul’s eyes widened with fear. He had to break a cinder block? He could break boards, but stone blocks? The teacher dismissed the class.
Suddenly, as Paul began to exit, the teacher stopped him and whispered, “I expect you to do well, Paul, because you’re the top of the class.”
“Okay,” murmured Paul.
Paul biked home. When he entered the house, Paul trudged up the stairs to go to his room. On the way, he passed Gianna’s room and heard a bubbling sound. When he peeked through the doorway, he saw that Gianna, as usual, was mixing a bunch of different chemicals with the chemistry set she had gotten for Christmas. The old wooden table--where all of Gianna’s work happened--had lost some of its finish in different places. Vials of chemicals, multicolored powders, and Pop-tarts crumbs surrounded her chemistry set.
“Maybe she’s perfecting the potion that’s supposed to make you jump super high,” Paul wondered, stepping into the room.
Gianna poured a sample of a violet liquid into a vial, shook it, and stared at it for a moment, raising her eyebrow, confused.
“The color’s not quite right,” she muttered. “Maybe if I add a pinch of baking soda--”
“What are you making this time?” Paul asked.
Gianna dropped the vial into a bowl full of an aqua colored liquid which began to bubble. She ran to hug him. “Paul! I didn’t know you were here. When did you get back? I’ve been waiting for you all day!”
“I’ve only been gone for two hours. That’s not very--” Paul stopped abruptly, glancing at the bubbing contents of the bowl. “Uh, Gianna? Is that stuff supposed to be bubbling?”
In alarm, Gianna turned her head and ran to the bowl, her two ponytails flying behind her.
“Oh, no! What’d I do?”
Then, the contents of the bowl exploded, filling the room with smoke.
“Gianna!” Paul cried. “Are you okay?”
Gianna coughed. “I’m all right. Could you please open the window before the smoke alarms start wailing? My fingers are greasy.”
Paul opened the window and the smoke started to clear.
“Thanks. I appreciate it.”
Paul seemed not to be paying attention. He was just standing there, staring at her. Gianna waved her hand in front of Paul’s face.
“Hellooo? What are you staring at?”
Paul pointed at her. “Did you not notice what’s happened to your hair?”
Gianna grabbed her hand mirror. The explosion made her hair stick out at all ends like a red dandelion.
“Wow! I didn’t know my hair could do this. I tried to do this with lots of stuff, but they never made my hair this crazy. I just accidentally found a way to make my hair stick out! If I fix this potion, maybe I can use it to shape my hair certain ways, and I’ll never have to do it manually again! This is BRILLIANT! Now how did I make-?”
Paul heaved a heavy sigh. He sat down on a stool by Gianna’s bed. Slowly, Gianna tilted her head sideways. “Oh, no. I know that face. Something’s wrong.”
Gianna exhaled. “All right. Are you upset with me because I’m a troublemaker? No, that’s not it. You told me I never cause trouble. Is it because I’m crazy? Wait, no. You told me that I’m just eccentric at times, so that can’t be it. Wait, I know what it is: I talk too much! Yes, that’s it! You definitely have mentioned that in the past! Well, don’t worry Paul. I’ll stop talking--”
“What? No, Gianna. It’s nothing you did!”
Gianna walked over and sat on the floor by Paul, her legs crossed.
“So if it’s not me, then what’s wrong?”
Paul sighed again. “Well, you know how in order to get black belt, I have to pass a test.”
“Well, for that test, I have to break a cinder block.”
Gianna’s eyes widened. “Really? That’s so cool!”
“No, not cool. If I can’t break it, I fail, and I want to finish karate and get it over with.”
“So, you’re afraid of breaking your hand.”
“Yes, and I’m afraid of failing which is going to happen.”
Gianna gazed at the floor. “I guess there’s no way I could help.” Smiling, Gianna lifted her head and added mysteriously, “Or is there?”
Gianna ran to her cabinet, which was where she kept all her potions and chemicals, and opened it. She began rummaging through the cabinet. Paul knew she was clearly searching for something because Gianna kept repeating the sentence, “Where did I put it?”
Paul stood up. “What are you doing?”
Gianna stopped rummaging and cried triumphantly, “Ah-ha!” She pulled her hand out of the cabinet, shot it up in the air and yelled, “Eureka!”
Paul noticed that she was holding a vial full of a ruby-red liquid in her upraised hand. “What’s that?”
“The solution to your problem,” Gianna stated and laughed at her joke.
“What is it? A strength potion?”
“Yeah, no, I’m still working on that one. This is a destructing potion. Pour this on the block, and it will break in half.” Gianna held it out to him. “Be sure not to get it on yourself; I don’t know what happens if it comes in contact with human skin.”
“Gianna, that’s cheating!”
Paul pushed it away, and the vial slipped from Gianna’s greasy fingers. Paul fell down trying to catch the vial and it shattered, splashing Paul’s right hand with the solution. The solution on the floor exploded, creating a hole in the floor.
Gianna began to clean up the glass. “Well, at least you can’t cheat. Shame about the floor, though. You’re right. It really isn’t worth it to cheat to win some silly test. I guess I just wanted help you, being your sister--”
“Gianna! Can you focus, please?! My hand feels like it’s on fire!”
Gianna turned her head. “Oh, no. Did it get on you?”
“Show me your hand.” Grabbing Paul’s hand, Gianna thoroughly studied it. “It seems okay. I guess the potion did nothing…. At least, I’m fifty percent sure.”
The next day, Paul went to karate for the test.
“Paul Evans!” the teacher called.
Paul trudged to the center of the room where the cinder block was. The teacher commanded Paul to begin. Paul exhaled shakily. He aimed his shot, slung his fist down, and broke the cinder block clean in two. It did not hurt at all. Paul’s eyes widened. He had passed the test. The teacher awarded Paul with his black belt. Paul’s parents drove him home, telling him that they were proud. Although this praise should have made him feel proud, Paul felt guilty. When they arrived at the house, he walked upstairs. He met Gianna on the way up.
“Hi, Paul. So, how did the test go?”
“Wow! You broke the block? How?”
“The potion did something. I’m guessing it changed to a strength potion.”
Gianna raised her eyebrow. “What do you mean?”
“You told me you didn’t know what it did when it touches human skin,” Paul explained. “So when I was splashed with the stuff--”
Excitedly, Gianna finished his sentence. “The potion was altered because of your skin cells! This is my biggest discovery yet!”
“You’re missing the point! I passed only because of that potion!”
“What do you--? Ohh! You’re telling me you cheated. Well, you didn’t.”
“Yes, I did!” Paul protested.
“Well, actually, you didn’t because it was an accident.”
Paul raised his eyebrows. “I didn’t consider that.” He then smiled. “I’m actually glad that you dropped that vial because now I don’t have to go to karate anymore, and I have more time for school and stuff.”
Gianna grinned. “That’s right! Now you also can help me with the super jump potion! Oh-oh, you could be my assistant; I’m kind of in need of one.” As Paul opened his mouth to protest, she said, “Oh, c’mon, Paul! It’ll be lots of fun! Pleeease?”
He sighed. “Oh, fine, I guess it wouldn’t hurt.” Paul leaned sideways. “Uh, speaking of which, have you been brewing it while I’ve been gone?”
“Yeah, why do you ask?”
Paul pointed behind her.
Gianna turned around and noticed the liquid bubbling over. “Oh, no. Not again!”
She ran to take the glass off the heat with Paul close behind her.