Suzie Q and her fifth-grade class boarded the school bus for their annual field trip. The ugly thick green seat came up to Suzie’s nose, and she could not see beyond it.
Anne, Suzie’s field trip partner, sat beside her, taking up most of the long seat with her book bag. So, Suzie looked out the window instead, waiting for the bus driver to pull away from the curb. Mrs. Kapp insisted the class go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. She said that the best art in the world was on display, and her students must see it.
“The Museum is a crowded place! Stay with your class partner, and do not get lost!” she said. Ten-year-old Suzie looked at her class partner and shrugged, thinking she was better off alone. Anne was bossy and always acted as though she was better than everyone else.
Suzie was sure that Anne was bound to be the one who got lost, and Suzie would be blamed. Anne never listened to class directions and always thought she was right about everything. However, she was usually wrong about most things and just wanted her way, like a bully. As the school bus parked outside the Museum, the students walked off the bus.
“Everyone must wait in line! The Museum doesn’t open until 10 o’clock sharp.” Mrs. Kapp said. “Now everyone hold hands as we wait for the doors to open and adventure to begin!”
As Suzie reached for Anne’s hand, she realized that Anne had already disappeared.
“Oh no! Anne is gone!” Suzie cried, scratching her head underneath her woolen hat.
Mrs. Kapp threw up her hands in disgust, saying: “Can’t anyone listen to me? Is it that hard?” When the doors to the Museum finally opened, Mrs. Kapp marched the class to security. “Which way to ‘Lost and Found’? I need to find a missing student . . .”
The security guard pointed to the left, and Suzie bit her tongue, holding back nasty comments. “This is not my fault,” Suzie said. “I didn’t get lost . . . Anne just wandered off . . .”
“Of course,” Mrs. Kapp said. “If she gets eaten by the Museum Monster, it will be your fault.” When the class arrived at “Lost and Found,” a frazzled woman stepped from behind a pile of junk.
“We need to find Anne,” Suzie announced, hoping that she was safe and sound.
“Well, if you can find her in this mess, feel free,” the woman said, wiping her brow. “I already have a few students who became separated from their teachers—they’re in the closet.”
Just in case Anne was hiding under the mound of lost things, Suzie dug through the pile. If the Museum Monster was real, Suzie did not want it to find her, simply because Anne got eaten. Everything in the mound was marked “L-O-S-T” with tags—hats, scarfs, bags, and umbrellas.
“I always stamp the children’s foreheads L-O-S-T, so they can’t get away,” the woman said.
“Yes, I can see that!” Mrs. Kapp said, pulling Anne from the closet by her ear.
“L-O-S-T” was clearly stamped across Anne’s head in large blue letters.
Mrs. Kapp bent over and spoke in Anne’s ear, so she couldn’t misunderstand the directions: “You are now F-O-U-N-D. Stay with the group. You cannot do what you want! I am in charge.”
Suzie sighed in relief, glad that the Museum Monster never found Anne by accident. For the rest of the day, Suzie pulled Anne through the Museum, telling her what to do.
The students never met the Museum Monster and arrived safely back to their parents. Even if Anne cried like a baby, saying it was a horrible day; Suzie had fun and hoped to return soon. Besides, if Suzie ever lost her umbrella, she would know where to find it without a problem.
Copyright 2015 Jennifer Waters