Jumping the Scratch
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Jamie Reardon has always heard that bad things come in threes. So after his cat, Mister, dies, his father leaves, and his aunt Sapphy has an accident that causes her memory to develop a skip, Jamie hopes his life will go back to being as normal as cornflakes. But unfortunately there's one more bad thing in store for Jamie—something he'd give anything to be able to forget—and this one leaves him feeling like a stranger to himself. Jamie tries in vain to find the magic trigger that will help Sapphy's memory jump the scratch, but in the end it's Aunt Sapphy who, along with a curious girl named Audrey Krouch, helps Jamie unravel the mysteries of memory and jump the scratch in his own life.
solve my problems. For free no less. What a chump. I hung up the phone and turned my attention back to Sapphy. “It’s okay,” I said, getting down on my hands and knees and beginning to clean up the mess. “Don’t cry, Sapph. It was just an accident.” As I began to pick up the broken pieces of china, I realized how absurd it was for me to be feeling jealous of poor Sapphy standing there in her ratty old robe and sherbert-splattered slippers, crying over a broken gravy boat. But I couldn’t help it.
charcoal from the barbecue grill. Some of the older boys from the neighborhood called out to each other, laughing as they played Capture the Flag in the moonlight. I heard the sound of my parents’ voices downstairs, talking back and forth in the kitchen, water running, and the clinking of dinner dishes being washed. The warm breeze made the curtains pouf out like those skirts ballerinas wear, and crickets made the air buzz. I’d hold my fingers against Mister’s throat and feel him purring steadily
only one who got the point of the exercise.” “I just wrote down something somebody said to me. It’s not like I thought it up myself or anything.” “I know,” he said. “It was real. That’s why it was so good. Ever thought about becoming a writer?” “Me?” I said. “I can’t write.” “I used to say that too.” “Yeah, well, I really can’t write,” I said. “And besides, I wouldn’t want to.” I realized too late that I should have thought before I said that. He might be offended. I blushed and swallowed,
tart cherries are grown there. Whether they want to or not, anybody who ever lives in northern Michigan carries around a bushel of cherry facts in his head for life. Here’s another one: The average cherry tree produces approximately seven thousand cherries a year, which is enough to make twenty-eight deep-dish cherry pies. There was no TV reception at Wondrous Acres, so it wasn’t even worth trying to watch. We had a radio, though. When I got up, I’d turn that on low so I wouldn’t wake anybody,
rememberer has one minute to try to recall all ten things on the tray and write them down. Sapphy liked to play, but she wasn’t very good at it. If I was the gatherer, and the ten things I chose were, say, a rubber band, a toothpick, a straw, a dime, a plastic spoon, a toothbrush, a sugar cube, a raisin, a cork, and a piece of string, and she was going to remember anything, it would probably be the dime—because it was shiny. If I put two shiny things on the tray, sometimes she would remember both