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When I Grow Up
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When I Grow Up

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  • 1. When I Grow Up by Barbara Berge I definitely should not have been smart to Steve Jackson down at the convenience store last week. I had bought the bread Mum wanted,5 and I was on my way out of the shop when I saw him and some of his friends outside. They were giving some little kid a hard time. I yelled, “Leave him alone, you10 big bullies. Pick on someone your own size.” Then when I went to jump on my bike and take off, I remembered I did not have my bike. Steve and his friends had theirs,15 so I thought I should get out of there as quick as I could. Text © Barbara Berge. Illustrations © NZ Ministry of Education. 1
  • 2. I dodged around behind the store and over the old railway lines at the back. By the time they had figured out20 what I was up to, I was in the field on the other side of the tracks, running for my life. I can run really fast. I might try out for the Olympics when I grow up.25 I was nearly home when I heard them coming up the road behind me. I did not think they had seen me, so I hid behind a hedge. Sure enough, they went past and up the road, but I30 thought they might come back. Text © Barbara Berge. Illustrations © NZ Ministry of Education. 2
  • 3. I decided to climb one of the humungous old pine trees that grow near our house so that I could see where Steve and his friends had got to. I am a pretty good climber. I might be a35 mountaineer when I grow up, like Sir Edmund Hillary. Anyway, I had no trouble getting up the tree, and I just kept on going till I was right at the top. There was an awesome view from up there, but the trunk was much thinner.40 It was swaying around in the wind, and the ground looked a long, long way below. Text © Barbara Berge. Illustrations © NZ Ministry of Education. 3
  • 4. That was when Mum and my sister Sarah came out of the house, probably wondering where I had got to with the bread.45 “I’m up here,” I bellowed. Two tiny faces peered upwards. “Cory Brown, you get down here right now,” shouted Mum. I soon discovered that, while trees might be easy to climb up, getting down is another50 thing. I tried to lower myself to the branch below, but the tree swayed sickeningly, and my legs turned to jelly. “I can’t,” I shrieked. “I’m stuck!” Text © Barbara Berge. Illustrations © NZ Ministry of Education. 4
  • 5. Then Steve and his friends turned up. 55 They were all milling round down there like little ants. After about another ten minutes of them all yelling at me and me hanging onto the tree trying not to bawl, Mum disappeared. 60 Then I could hear sirens. Mum must have really panicked because the next minute a police car screeched up and two police officers jumped out. One of them started climbing up the tree 65 towards me. But he was much heavier than me, and the branches started cracking and bending under his feet. He backed down pretty fast and got out his fancy-looking walkie-talkie. I wondered if maybe I should be a policeman 70 when I grow up.Text © Barbara Berge. Illustrations © NZ Ministry of Education. 5
  • 6. Then a fire engine arrived. Three firemen jumped out and propped their long extension ladder up against the tree. One of them climbed up it, but he was still a long way short of where75 I was. “Can you make it down to me, boy?” he called. He had a shiny helmet and really cool black boots. Looking down at him made me feel dizzy. I shook my head and hung on tight to my branch.80 I heard more sirens, and the fire truck arrived. It had a hydraulic platform on it, and its giant crane arm was soon swinging up towards me with a couple of firemen standing in the cage. I could hardly even feel my legs by now. “I85 can’t move,” I wailed. One of the firemen said something into his walkie-talkie. “Hang on a minute, boy,” he said to me. “We’ll get you down.” Text © Barbara Berge. Illustrations © NZ Ministry of Education. 6
  • 7. The crowd below was growing rapidly. It took90 a few tries, but at last he was able to grab hold of me. He put a sort of harness around me and told me it was all right to let go of the tree – but I could not do it. He had to prise my fingers off one by one before he could lift me into the cage95 and give the signal to the crane operator to winch us down. The cage swung right out over the crowd, but I was too cold and shaky to enjoy the ride much. Text © Barbara Berge. Illustrations © NZ Ministry of Education. 7
  • 8. Dad was waiting. He wrapped me in a blanket and100 had to carry me past everyone who crowded round us. Mum was crying, and Sarah looked embarrassed, but Steve Jackson had a big grin on his face. “Awesome, man,” he said. “That was cool.” I had to have a hot shower and go straight to bed.105 Later, Dad said to me. “You put a lot of people to a lot of trouble with this latest adventure of yours, Cory. And you’ve really upset your mum. I hope you’ve had enough of a fright to teach you a big lesson. No more dangerous stuff, OK?”110 “OK, Dad,” I said. I did not think this was the best time to tell him I want to join the fire brigade when I grow up. Illustrations by Mat Tait Text © Barbara Berge. Illustrations © NZ Ministry of Education. 8