Amazing Kids! Magazine

The Day that Changed my Life (Pencil’s Triumph)

By Emily Risley, age 12, Waikoloa, Hawaii


My life was definitely NOT normal. “How so?” you may ask. Well, when I was born, I said, “Howdy do, folks,” to the nurses.

When I turned one, I accidentally ate a poisonous mushroom and all I did was say, “Could’ve used a little Tabasco sauce.”

When I was two, my family and I went to a rodeo. My favorite part was the big bull that nobody could ride for more than 20 seconds. Imagine my parents’ horror when I snuck into the bull’s pen and fed him my relish and mustard banana.

On my fifth birthday, I got it into my head that I was a stapler. The only thing that came out of that (besides various psychiatrists and therapies) was the staple that pierced Mom’s nose. But that problem was solved when she decided to get a nose ring (she currently has 152 nose rings, earrings, eyebrow rings and belly button rings, all of which she can wear at the same time).

When I was seven, my dad and I went to Africa. Dad contracted a disease called Horribilis Jokicus. I believe the English translation would be Horrible Jokes, which is a pretty accurate description. Dad kept spurting out things like, “Cheerios….Doughnut Seeds,” “Blood Vessel….Hospital Ship,” and “Mistake….Mr. Take’s wife.” He still hasn’t come out of it.

Anyway, we can all pretty much agree I was not your average person. But that didn’t explain my predicament on Friday afternoon. What happened? It goes like this:

Three days before, I had been rooting through the dumpsters behind my school. (What was I doing there? It involved a bet, one gym sneaker, and a tomato.) I was looking for my science notebook, which contained vital information about the molecular weight of NaCl and its ionic properties when dissolved in water.

When I found it, it had last week’s lunch smeared on it. And last week’s lunch had been last year’s enchiladas. At least that’s what it had tasted like.

There was no way I was carrying my notebook home smelling like that. So I wiped it off with the only thing available, which was my designer jacket. Truth be told, I hated that jacket. It had butterflies on it (and butter smears too) and I HATED butterflies!

When I got home, my mother threw a fit. And I know you’re thinking, Well, it WAS a designer jacket! but actually she was yelling at my sister. My sister had used ketchup to pretend she was hurt, but my mom hadn’t noticed until she got the ketchup on the couch.

That night, before bed, I heard someone say “Knock, knock,” at my door.

“Who’s there?” I asked.

“Canoe,” came the reply.

I groaned. It had to be my sister Dahlia, (who was nicknamed ‘Dream’, which sucked for her, because our last name was On). After a second I inquired, “Canoe Who?” knowing that’s what she expected to hear.

“Canoe help me with my homework?” she said.

Ouch, I hadn’t seen that one coming. But I said “Yes.”

Halfway through helping her read about how the Greeks defeated the Trojans in the Trojan War, an Easter Bunny pencil by my hand whispered to me, “That was the challenge of the Greeks, to figure out how to get past the gate. Your challenge is this…” and the pencil told me what I had to do to save the world, ending with, “You must do as the Greeks did and use Creativity. Beware of the erasers.”

Now you’re probably thinking, Wow, time for Nutso to go to bed. I mean, talking pencils, get real! Actually, that wasn’t my first or second thought…it was my third. My first thought was, Man, this dude’s (this pencil’s) interrupting me, the nerve! My second thought was, That’s insane!”

I looked at my sister and realized she heard it too! It had to be real!


The next day I gathered my tools: a Swiss army knife, a spoon, five hardback books, two markers, seven flashlights, a roll of duct tape, a compass, fifteen cans of spray paint, a chocolate bar, a Philips and flathead screwdrivers, one hammer, a two-by-four, and a car jack. Exhausted from the day’s work, I went over the pencil’s instructions. I was prepared but what was the last thing it had said? “Beware of the erasers?”

Remembering the day’s events, I felt uneasy. But all I thought was, Ugh! and I fell asleep.


I got up at 4:30 a.m., which was a miracle, considering I had fallen asleep last night at half past exhausted. I moaned and tried to fall back asleep, until I remembered what the pencil said I was supposed to do. I shot out of bed so fast that I was out of the room before my blanket even had time to settle back onto the bed.

Grabbing my Hello Kitty bag of supplies, I ran out the door. I grabbed my helmet and jumped onto my bike and raced to the post office (still in my pajamas) and set up my stuff.

The first thing to do was to set up the flashlights. Using the duct tape, I set them up so the bulbs faced the sky. I used the compass to place them at north, south, east, west, northeast, northwest, and southwest.

Next, I used the Philips screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, and hammer to open a hatch in the western-most corner of the office. Taking with me my Swiss Army knife, markers, five hard-backed books, and five cans of spray paint (Ruby Red, In Indigo, Terrific Turquoise, Hot Pink, and Evil Black), I lowered myself through the hole and dropped to the floor below.

I began to spray-paint the mail, using only my feet, and the spoon on my Swiss Army knife according to the pencil’s instructions. I used the markers to put additional directions on the mail. Then I sat down to read the five hard-backed books, waiting for the erasers to react to my shenanigans.

I had reached a critical stage in one of my books when I heard the scuttling. Using the spray paint, I tried to camouflage myself, (Kids: Do not try this at home. Or, for that matter, don’t try it anywhere.) but no such luck.

Erasers bounded into the room and, as I attempted to ward them off with the Terrific Turquoise spray paint, they overwhelmed me.

Surrounded by erasers with no hope of escape, they offered me a deal: Join them or eat cabbage. Unfortunately, it was quite hard to take the pretty-colored, clownish-looking erasers seriously (for at this time, several of them were a pretty shade of turquoise). I started laughing, but when cabbage leaves were being forced down my throat, I relented.

I agreed to join them. Getting new instructions from the erasers, I used the rest of my spray paint (Cheese Whiz Yellow, Rodent Brown, Sky Blue, Grassy Green, Parchment White, Rain Gray, Violent Violet, Outrageous Orange, Purple Puce, and Beautiful Rainbow) to paint eraser images all over the post office. I knew it didn’t make sense, but who am I to argue with erasers?

I then ate the chocolate bar. It was a king-sized Crunch. Quite good.

Some of the erasers had an odd sense of humor. For instance, one said, “Why did the chicken cross the road?…To prove it wasn’t! (a chicken, that is).”

At my first chance, I decided to take the pencil’s instructions to defeat the erasers. After locating a safe place to land, I placed the two-by-fours on the car jack. I pumped up the car jack and turned on the flashlights. I quickly attempted to leap onto the board. I fell off, without the erasers noticing. I tried again and succeeded, sending me flying through the air. This was what I was waiting for, the moment the pencil told me to expect. Flying through the air, I proclaimed myself King (errr…Queen, that is) of the world, second only to my mother. Since the erasers had never seen a flying person before, they ran away in terror. I had done my duty and had defeated their plan of taking over the world, one post office at a time.

Next, I returned home and found the pencil. He said, “Well done, young padawan. Now, for your next mission…”