Billy Sure Kid Entrepreneur and the Everything Locator
MY NAME IS BILLY SURE. I’m thirteen years old. I’m also a seventh grader at Fillmore Middle School and—oh yeah, I just got home from a busy day at the office.
At the office? you might ask. Along with my best friend, Manny Reyes, who runs the business stuff while I invent, we run the invention company SURE THINGS, INC. Sure Things, Inc. has come out with all kinds of cool inventions you’ve probably heard of, including the ALL BALL, the SIBLING SILENCER, and our latest creation, the MAGICAL MICROPHONE.
“Well, you’re home early for a change,” Mom says as I walk into the kitchen.
“Yeah, it’s kind of in-between time for Manny and me,” I explain. “We’re still testing out the Magical Microphone, and the REALLY GREAT HOVERCRAFT TOY and the INVISIBILITY KIT are just hitting stores now, so the pressure is off for the moment to invent something new.”
“Great!” says Mom. “Then you can help me set the table for dinner.”
As I help Mom put out plates, silverware, napkins, and cups, I think about how great it has been having her home for so long. My mom spends a lot of time away for work. You know how my job as an inventor is cool? My mom has a cool job too—she’s a spy! She protects the whole country. Although she’s home now, she can be called into a spy mission at any time. So I’m thankful just to have her here.
My dad is an artist. He paints all kinds of, um, “unique” things. Like my dog Philo’s nostrils, whiskers, and butt. He recently put up all his work in an art gallery and it was a big success.
Oh no—that’s when I remember. Dad’s art gallery. Not too long ago I overheard a conversation between my mom and dad, though I don’t think they know I heard them. An art lover offered Dad a job to paint for her—all the way in Italy!
I know, I know. I should be really happy for him. But if Dad is away, and Mom suddenly gets called off to save the world, who will take care of my sister, Emily, and me?
“You’re awfully quiet tonight, Billy,” Mom says.
“Yeah,” I say, placing a fork on the table. What can I say? I can’t let on that I overheard Mom and Dad’s conversation.
Mom is unfazed.
“Well, I know something that will perk you right up—tonight’s dinner,” she says. “We’re having the Sure family secret ultra-cheesy lasagna recipe!”
“THE SURE FAMILY SECRET ULTRA-CHEESY LASAGNA RECIPE?” I ask.
I think after living in this house for thirteen years I would know if there was a Sure family secret ultra-cheesy lasagna recipe!!!
“Oh, well, you may know it by a different name,” Mom says. I can see a sly grin spreading across her face. “Takeout.”
Okay, now that I know. Normally I would
get a kick out of Mom’s little joke. I’d also be super psyched about eating takeout, especially Italian food takeout. But the fact it’s, well, Italian, makes me nervous. Is tonight the night we find out Dad is moving to Italy?
A few minutes later Dad and Emily join Mom and me at the table.
I immediately notice that Emily is not wearing a hat.
If this sounds strange to you, let me explain. My sister always has a “thing”—something she gets into, like wearing giant hats or talking in a British accent—that is absolutely the 100 percent most important thing in the whole wide world to her at the time. Emily’s things come from nowhere. And then they fade into nowhere fast.
So seeing Emily hatless? That means her next thing will reveal itself soon.
I can hardly wait.
The meal proceeds quietly, and my thoughts turn to an upcoming meeting of the Fillmore Middle School Inventors Club. I started the
club and kind of stepped back when things got extra busy at Sure Things, Inc. But I really like the way club has become a place for kids to hang out and test their inventing skills at my school.
I’m thinking about going to the next meeting when Dad speaks up.
“I have an announcement to make,” he says.
I stop chewing.
Oh no. This is it.
“As Emily learned by writing thank-you notes to everyone who came to the art exhibit, my show was a success,” Dad says. “In fact, it was so successful that an art dealer in Italy named Tali DeCiso contacted me and asked me to do a series of paintings for her!”
I put my fork down, feeling sick, just as Emily squeals.
“That is so fantastic, Dad!” says Emily. “It’s amazing! And to think, that happened because of the thank-you note I wrote.”
“Um, I think your father’s paintings had a
little something to do with it as well, Emily,” Mom points out.
“It’s really a once in a lifetime opportunity,” says Dad.
This is it. Here it comes. Dad’s big announcement that he’s moving to Italy.
“Your mom and I have talked it over, and we’ve come to the conclusion . . .”
Dad pauses. I brace myself for the worst.
“The ENTIRE SURE FAMILY is moving to Italy!”