A Puzzling Surprise

by Kathy Sattem Rygg -

Lucy pressed her forehead against the window. She traced the water drops on the glass with her finger. “It’s been raining all morning. There’s nothing to do!” She let out a heavy sigh.

Her little brother Alex bounced on the couch. “We could play Batman, or ninjas or G.I. Joe,” he said.

“I don’t want to play boring boy stuff. How about we play house or school?” Lucy said.

Alex scrunched his face. “I’m not playing girl games.”

“What about a board game?” Lucy said. She opened the closet and scanned the pile of games. “There’s Monopoly, Operation, Twister, oh, and that big floor puzzle you got for your birthday. We haven’t done that yet!”

“That’s right! Let’s put it together!” Alex said.

Lucy reached up on her tip toes and grabbed the puzzle box. The lid showed a picture of the puzzle. It was a scene with a deserted island, giant ship, treasure, and a mighty pirate with a parrot on his shoulder. Lucy dumped out the puzzle pieces. There were 100 pieces each the size of her hand.

“Start with the corners first,” Lucy instructed.

“I know how to do a puzzle,” Alex grumbled. He found a blue corner piece. “Here’s part of the ocean!”

Lucy and Alex found all four corner pieces then started connecting them with straight edges. They had the entire outline of the puzzle, which was as big as their kitchen table. Their black and white cat, Oreo, slinked into the kitchen, watching Lucy and Alex work.

“I’ve got the ocean all done,” Lucy said. “Wow, it must be raining really hard. Do you hear all that splashing water?”

Alex gathered all the tan pieces and fit them together. “The sandy beach is finished!” he said.

Oreo strutted over and walked across the middle of the puzzle. Lucy shooed him away. Then she noticed something. Her eyes grew wide. Oreo left tiny paw prints in the sand of the puzzle! Lucy reached down and touched the sand. It was warm and soft as sugar. She used her finger to draw her name across it in curvy letters.

“Alex! This is real sand!” Lucy said.

Alex wasn’t paying attention to his sister. He had just connected the pieces that formed the treasure chest. “Cool! Look at all that gold!” It even shimmered like real gold. Alex plunged his hands into the treasure chest and filled his hands with the heavy gold coins. They fell between his fingers and jingled onto the floor.

“Whoa! It’s real treasure!” he said. Oreo batted a gold coin back and forth across the kitchen.

“Lucy, quick! Let’s put the rest of the puzzle together!” Alex said. He found the pieces that formed the ship. The black skull and crossbones flag flapped back and forth in the ocean breeze, cooling Alex’s face.

“I’ve got the parrot,” said Lucy. She put the piece in place.

SQUAWK! The puzzle parrot ruffled its lime green feathers. Alex and Lucy exchanged excited grins. Oreo jumped and pawed at the air.

“Here’s the pirate’s red coat!” Alex said.

“And here’s his black boots!” said Lucy.

“And his sword.” Alex patted the pieces in place.

“There’s one piece left. His eye patch!” Lucy fit the final puzzle piece in place. “It’s done!”

“Arrrgh! Indeed it is!” said a low, scratchy voice...

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