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STOR14S: Sam Adegoke reads 'Being Mean' for new podcast

·8-min read

Your children can read along as they listen to short story writing contest winner Being Mean.

This STOR14S episode, written by Monika Nagy and read by Dynasty reboot star Sam Adegoke, will be released on Spotify and Apple Podcasts on July 27, or you can listen here:

And if you enjoy this story, learn more at GEANCO, who are helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and improving lives in Nigeria.

Click here to learn more about the STOR14S podcast series.

Being Mean

By Monika Nagy

Dear Diary,

It’s my TENTH birthday today, and my friends are coming to my party soon.

I’m so excited! I can’t wait to tell them what happened today; it has been such an amazing adventure.

It was raining all night last night; it was so heavy that it sounded like the air was hissing.

My mum said that when I was little — and I mean really little — I used to get upset and ask her why the sky was crying when it rained. So last night it must have been distraught.

I learned that word in school the other day; it means “to be very worried and upset.” I remember it because English is my favorite subject. I love English, and my English teacher Mrs Spooner. I always pay attention to her. She’s really nice.

So anyway, there are puddles everywhere today. The lawn looks like a soggy green sponge. When I walked across it, it made loud squelching noises which were really funny.

It sounded like the noises my baby brother used to make right before my mum had to change his nappy. My footprints stayed in the grass for ages. I imagined they were Bigfoot’s.

I’d love to spot him. I pretended to be a hunter and hid behind our large oak tree at the bottom of the garden and waited to see him.

As I waited, a shimmering rainbow appeared and dove straight into one of the puddles. Then something crawled out of the water.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was so fast that I didn’t know whether it was coming or going. It zipped across the lawn — this way and that — in a bright green blur. Then back again to the puddle and splish, it jumped in and disappeared, the rainbow along with it.

I ran out from behind the tree and poked the puddle with a stick, but there was nothing: only stones and lots of mud.

Once the wobbly effect of the water had stopped, I could see me, and my hair.

I hate my hair.

It’s short, straight and quite flat, but there’s a big tuft that sticks out to the side.

If it were on top of my head, I would look just like a cockatiel.

My mum said it’s been that way since I was a baby. I was born with a full head of hair, and within a few hours of my birth, the stupid tuft sprang up, and it’s never gone down since. She’s always spraying it with water from a bottle that smells like rosemary.

(I know it’s rosemary because we had rosemary chicken last Sunday for lunch — it was yummy.)

Anyway, she sprays my hair with it, in front of people too. Like, even in the supermarket. It’s so embarrassing.

Then she gets out a hankie and tries to sort of “iron” down my tufty bit, which works for a few seconds, then it springs back out again.

I honestly don’t know why she bothers. When I start to moan that people are watching, she shushes me and tells me that, “We must always look our best, Goldie.”

Even though my real name is Primrose, she calls me Goldie most of the time because my hair is the color gold.

When I grow up, I’m going to be a hairdresser and dye it, maybe I’ll perm it too ... and cut out the cockatiel flick thing...

I did that once, and my mum went berserk.

We didn’t go to church the following day because she felt embarrassed about what the vicar would think.

And because she didn’t want to miss church twice in a row, she made me wear one of her headscarves.

It was an orange one with lots of white polka-dots on it; all the grown-ups said how cute and adorable I looked, but I was so embarrassed.

I couldn’t wait to get home, take it off and hide it, so I’d never have to wear it again, ever.

After a while, I began to get bored of staring at myself, so I made my way back towards the tree.

That was when the bright green blur thing buzzed out from behind it.

I say “buzz,” because it was as fast as a fly. Faster even. Then, it stopped and laughed at me and said, “You have to believe to make them work.”

That’s when it buzzed up close to me. It was a little man. I looked down at his smiling face as he looked up to my confused one. He was tiny; he only came up to just below my knee, and I am super small for my age.

He was dressed all in green: a jacket, trousers and a hat that kind of flopped down on one side.

I could see short brown hair poking out from under it.

He had on brown boots that his pants were tucked into, and a thick brown belt with a big brass buckle that looked like the color of my hair. His jacket had lots of tiny brown buttons up the middle that fastened it together and he was carrying hoops of rope that were slung across his shoulder.

“You have to believe in them to make them work,” he repeated.

“What?” I replied. “Believe in WHAT?”

“You can’t just jump into a Puddle Portal and expect it to work for you,” he said.

“Puddle Portal?” I said.

That was when he explained it to me. He said that the reflection on the surface of the puddle is the destination, so his people — the little people — call them Destiflections.

The puddle is a portal, which they call “Puddle Portals.”

He said they use these Puddle Portals to travel anywhere they wanted to go in the world.

He explained it using some bigger words that I can’t remember now. But when I do remember, I’ll write them down and ask Mrs. Spooner what they mean at school on Monday.

I remember that he got very excited when he used the word “universe.” He said they travel between time too.

He told me to stare into the puddle's reflection and concentrate hard on where I wanted to go.

Then, when the image of that place appeared in the puddle, all I had to do was jump in and I’d be at the place my mind had created.

So I tried it: First, I thought very hard about Bigfoot. Then I started thinking about fairies, unicorns and wizards. How fantastic would it be to see a real-life wizard?

I jumped, and opened my eyes to find I was still in my garden with Greer. (That’s what he said his name was.)

He was laughing at me as all the muddy water from the puddle I’d jumped into rolled down my face and dress — my party dress.

My mum was SO angry about the dirt when I came running inside to tell her about my adventure.

But she wouldn’t listen, and sent me straight to the bath, which is why I’m in my dressing gown now. My dress is in the washing machine on a super-fast wash and dry cycle. I hope it’s going to be ready in time for my party.

Anyway, back to where we were in the garden:

Greer said again, “You have to believe, Primrose, truly.”

Then he looked into the puddle and jumped in.

He reappeared from out of another puddle just in time to see me splashing around in the one he’d just jumped in.

I was hoping to follow him somehow, but it didn’t work.

Greer was in fits of laughter, because now I was dirtier and wetter than before.

I tried to clean the mud off my dress with grass, but that just made it worse.

“Now, ” Greer said when he stopped laughing. “Try again.”

So, I closed my eyes again, and this time I thought of the best-est, brightest, most perfect, beautiful of places I could.

When I opened my eyes, there in the puddle was MY Destiflection.

I was so excited that I shrieked as I jumped in and disappeared into my Destiflection.

I was there for hours and hours: I’d forgot all about my party, but when I got back, Greer told me I’d only been gone a few minutes.

Diary, Mum is calling for me: My dress is clean and dry now, and she says my friends will be here any second.

After the party, I’m going to tell you all about the amazing adventure I had in my Destiflection.

Bye for now.

Love: Primrose Goldie Gold.

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