Superfudge Part 42

Previous superfudge part 41.

“Peter, would you get the phone,” Mom said.
I picked up the receiver. “Hello”. I almost couldn’t get the word out. How was I going to tell Mom if it was bas news?”

“Hi Peetah!’
“Fudge! Where are you?”
“The train station?”
“The bus station?”

“The police station?”
“Nope. Do you give up?”
“Yes… where are you?”
“At Sandy’s Bakery.”
“Sandy’s Bakery.”

“Down by the highway?”
“You rode all the way to the highway?”
“It was easy.”
“Is Daniel with you?”

Mom grabbed the phone out of my hand. “Fudgie, my angel! I’m so glad you’re all right! We’ve been so worried. Don’t move… not an inch… we’ll be right down to get you.”

We jumped into the car. I arranged Tootsie in her car seat and we took off. We found Dad and Mrs. Manheim driving around by the lake, told them the good news, and they followed us all the way to the traffic circle and the highway.

Fudge and Daniel were standing outside the bakery. They looked very small. Fudge was holding a paper bag with SANDY’S printed on it. Mom parked, jumped out of the car and hugged Fudge. “I’m so glad to see you!”

I felt another, different kind of lump in my throat this time.
“Be careful, Mommy,” Fudge said. “You’ll squash your brownies.”

When we got back to our house, Fudge settled into Mom’s favorite chair and said, “We went to the deli next to Sandy’s for lunch. We shared a pastrami sandwich.”

“We each had three pickles,” Daniel added, relaxing in Dad’s chair. “And a cream soda.
Mom, Dad, and Mrs. Manheim sat in a row, on the sofa, facing the runaways.
“You know that what you did today was wrong,” Mom began.
“It was inconsiderate and foolish,” Dad said.

“Not to mention dangerous,” Mom added.
“And stupid!” I said.
“And while we’re very glad to see you,” Mrs. Manheim said, “we’re also very angry!”
“Very!” Mom said.
“And you’ll have to be punished,” Dad said.

Fudge and Daniel looked at each other.
“What do you suggest?” Dad asked them.
“Put us to bed at eight o’clock tonight,” Fudge said.
“That doesn’t seem appropriate,” Mom said.
“Seven o’clock?” Daniel asked, yawning.

“Yes,” Mrs. Manheim told him. “Because you’re tired. But that’s not a suitable punishment.”
“Why don’t you take away their bicycles for a month?” I suggested, expecting everyone to shout “Peter please…” Suddenly the room was very quiet.
“No!” Fudge shouted.
“Not fair!” Daniel hollered.

Mom, Dad, and Mrs. Manheim exchanged looks.
“I think that makes a lot of sense,” Dad finally said.
“I think so, too,” Mrs. Manheim said.
“I agree,” Mom said.

I couldn’t believe it. They’d finally taken me seriously.
“But how will we get to school?” Fudge asked, pouting.
“You’ll walk,” Mom told him. “The way you did before you had bicycles.”
“But, Mommy,” Fudge began, “If you love me…”
“it’s because I love you,” Mom said. “It’s because we all love you and care about you…”
Fudge stood up and stomped his feet. “I’m sorry I bought you any brownies!”

Dad took their bicycles, chained them together, and set them on a shelf in the garage. “I hope you both learn that you can’t run away every time something happens that you don’t like.”

“Running away doesn’t solve anything,” Mom said.
“We had a good time,” Daniel said, “so ha ha!”
“And a good lunch,” Fudge said. “And we showed you we are old enough to ride to the lake! So there!”
“Oh, no you didn’t,” Dad said. “You showed us you aren’t ready for the privilege of riding your bicycles.”

Fudge and Daniel looked at each other again. And this time they both started crying. We ordered a pizza for supper. Daniel stopped crying long enough to remind Mom, “I don’t eat anything with peas or onions.”
“How could I forget?” Mom said.

Next superfudge part 43.