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Henry the Garden Ape

And the Purple Swimming Pool

By Inez R. Chaffin


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        Miss Z., are you ready to clean out the attic?” asked Inga, peeping over the gate that separates the two houses.

      Everyone calls her Miss Z. because some of the kids in the neighborhood can not say Zanefomo. She is the oldest lady on the block.  She invites all the kids to her house every Saturday morning to watch cartoons. When she plans a special project, all the kids are there.  Someone is always at Miss Z’s. She love kids and enjoys doing things with them, especially Inga.

     “I sure am honey, just waiting on you and the other kids.” Miss Z replied as she swept off her sidewalk.

     “Mom said I could come on over, if it’s ok with you.”

     “Sure it is, I’ll get us some milk and cookies.”

      Inga bounced down the narrow trail and up the back steps. This was the quickest way to the kitchen.

     “Miss Z.  What kind of things do you have in the attic?” Inga asked.

     “Oh lets see dearrie, some things up there are a lot older than you. Most of the stuff belongs to my kids,” she answered, pouring Inga her milk.

     “They don’t want it?”

     “Oh, they have already gotten the stuff they want.”

      The back door opened and four more kids entered the kitchen. Miss Z served them milk and cookies and soon everyone was ready for the attic adventure.  Inga was the first kids to follow behind Miss Z. She told the kids to be careful since the steps were narrow, she didn’t want anyone falling.

      Inga was not so sure if this job was for her.  There were spider webs in some of the corners and the room was not well lit.  Grabbing Miss Z’s hand, she became pale as she looked in the corner and saw a huge white monster.

     “Miss Z. what is that?” Inga yelled.

All of the other kids looked to see what Inga was making a giant commotion over.

     “Inga. It’s all right dear. It’s only a stuffed animal my son won at the fair many years ago,” Miss Z explained.

     “I can’t do this.” Inga relied as she walked down the stairs.

     “Inga, go set on the steps, you may have got too hot.” Miss Z suggested.

      Inga could not bear seeing that monster again. She was so afraid of things that are creepy and scary.  Maybe she should go and get her dad to come and get it out of the attic.

     “Dad. Come get this monster out of Miss Z’s attic.” She said running through the yards.

     “What are you screaming about?” her dad asked, sitting on the porch.

     “There is a big, white monster in Miss Z’s attic. I can’t help her with that thing up there.”

     “Let me come see what is so horrible in the attic. Probably nothing!”

     “Yes dad, there is. A big white monster. You’ll see.” Inga replied, following her dad down the path.

      Inga escaped to the front porch, listening for the footsteps of her father’s, coming down from the attic.  Finally! She heard him come down and shut the back door.

     “Inga! Everything is clear now. You can go back up.” Her dad suggested.

     “Thanks, dad.” Inga answered.

     Before Inga could get to the bottom of the stairs, the other kids began to come down.  

     “Boy, Miss Z has some really cool stuff.” One of the kids said.

     “Are you finished?” Asked Inga.


     “That didn’t take long.” Inga said.



     “Is everyone ready for another snack, or do you want to start on our garden?” Miss Z asked.

     “Let’s start on the garden!” All the kids said at once.

     “I’m ready, if you are!”Said Miss Z, “Inga are you going to help us?”

     “I sure am.  Sorry about the way the monster scared me in the attic, I just don’t like things like that.”

     “Oh honey!  Don’t let an old stuffed animal scare you, besides OLE Henry has been in the family for a long time now. He hasn’t let anything happen to us yet. Just get it out of your head and get your digging gloves on.”

     “I’ll try.” Inga mumbled to herself.

      The kids were having a wonderful time planting the flowers in different flowerbeds and vegetables in rows of their own.  Miss Z brought out sandwiches and lemonade for everyone to drink.  The kids were sitting near the garden area when Miss Z spotted Henry behind the barn, sitting in a purple swimming pool.  She was in high hopes Inga would not spot it. Instead she led them over to the shade tree and told them a story about how Henry was her son’s Robert, best imaginary friend. One thing was, everyone could see Henry .The other thing was only Robert could see Henry come alive. He too, had a fear of monsters when he was Inga’s age.

     The kids let after Miss Z finished her story.  She thanked them for all their great help and gathered up their treasures from the attic. She did not forget about Inga, Miss Z scooped up the box in her arms and walked to Inga’s house where she found her telling her mother about the big, ugly, white monster. 

     “Inga.” Miss Z called.

     “What’s that, Miss Z?” Inga asked, walking over to look in the box.

     “I found you some dress up clothes.  Ruthie wore them all the time for dress up.”

     “Oh Miss Z! They are beautiful.”

    After enjoying a glass of tea with Inga and her mother, Miss Z decided she needed to go and get some rest.  Inga thanked Miss Z again and walked her to the door.

    Inga’s mother prepared her bath water.  Soaking in the tub of hot water would make her relax and sleep well, her mother thought.



     Inga lay in bed that night, watching the reflections of the trees from the bright full moon.  She tried to put the thoughts of a monster out of her head.  Suddenly she heard splashing water outside. Maybe it was Miss Z watering the gardens.  Starting to fall asleep, she heard splashing water again, only followed by someone laughing.  Inga decided to see what was happening.

     “Oh no!” Inga screamed, jumping back into her bed, covering her head. She lay very still.

     “Come play with me.”

Afraid to move, Inga slowly pulled the covers away from her head.

     “Come play with me Inga.”

Inga moved to the window again where she heard the voice and laughter.

She could not believe her eyes. Henry was playing in a purple swimming pool, asking her to play once more.  She decided she would walk to the gate and that was as far as she would go.

The laughter and splashing of the water did sound tempting as Inga peeked over the gate, only wanting to watch Henry. Surprised, Inga noticed that Henry was wearing a Pokka dot bikini and she was not a Henry, but a Henrietta and she was no longer scared.


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