Story and picture by Bertie.
Read by Richard.
Jemima & Mum by Jana.
Dedicated to Henry in New York.
The idea for this story was inspired by Richard's own electric Skateboard - and you can see him riding his skateboard and reciting poetry on his YouTube channel, YouTube channel, Sk8oetry
This story is dedicated to Henry in New York City whose family generously supports us.
The Spy Who Never Was - A Wicked Uncle Story for Storynory.
This is Richard, and I’m here with a brand new story about Jeremy, Jemima, and their Wicked Uncle Jeff.
One Friday night, Dad went out to the cornershop to buy popcorn chocolate-coated-peanuts, and fizzy drinks. When he got back, the family settled down to watch a movie.
Even since Dad had converted the back room into a TV den, it had become their favourite spot to spend the evening. He had set it up with two cosy sofas, low lights, and a huge flat screen. As Dad pointed out watching a home movie could be almost as exciting as going to the cinema, and it was a lot cheaper.
Jemima chose a film called, The Spy Who Proposed to Me, about some kids who hated their mother’s new fiance. They thought he was far too boring to be their stepfather, and no replacement for their real dad, who had died tragically while making a TV documentary about swimming with sharks.
As far as they knew, the new guy’s job was importing electric clippers for grooming cats and dogs. He wore thick glasses, wore spottie bow ties, and kept goldfish in a big tank. His idea of excitement was to visit the local garden centre to pick out some pot plants.
Little did they realise that secretly this goofy geek was a spy. He didn’t really spend his time away demonstrating electric clippers at cat and dog shows, but actually travelled the world fighting master criminals. Of course, when they found out the truth, and saw that he could teach Jackie Chan a few Kung Fu moves, they liked him a lot better.
The film wasn’t the best ever movie, but it wasn’t the worst either. It was entertaining enough for a Friday evening.
On Saturday morning, over breakfast, Jemmina said: “Do you think anyone we know is secretly a spy?”
“Well yes of course” said Mum, “I’ve long suspected that Uncle Jeff is in that line of work.”
“I thought his job was being mega-rich,” said Jeremy.
“That’s the point, I’ve never understood what he does to be so rich. What is his job again, dear?”
This was addressed to her husband: “Well he does day trading.”
“And what’s that?” asked Jeremy “Because whatever it is, it pays well, and he only works for two hours a day.”
“Well, it’s, like, well I don’t know really,” said Dad. “Jeff’s tried to explain it to me a few times, but my eyes just glaze over. I’ve never properly understood.”
“Exactly,” said Mum. “He doesn’t want you to understand, because it’s not what he really does. It’s just his cover for being a spy.”
Mum was of course half joking, but that meant she was also half serious. Uncle Jeff had a mystery about him, and if anyone they knew could be a secret agent, it was him.
“What we need,” said Jeremy, is to get some proof that he’s really a secret agent, and then show it to him and say, “We know everything, so confess!”
“I don’t know if it is proof,” said Mum thinking, “But there was that strange story about him in Russia years ago when he was young . What was it that happened again?”
She was again asking Dad, but he shrugged his shoulders and said: “‘Fraid I can’t say. It’s a secret.”
And that really got the kids interested, but however much they begged, Dad would not tell them anything more about Uncle Jeff’s Russian adventure.
So when, the following weekend, Jeff called to say that he was coming round on his “new wheels” Jemima and Jeremy were more than usually excited.
“I predict he will arrive in an Aston Martin DB5, because it’s the classic spy car, and it was made in 1963 which Jeff says was the coolest year in all of world history.”
“Perhaps he’ll have a new motorbike,” said Jemima.
“He’s already got three.”
“Yes, but he always says you can never have too many motorbikes,” she replied.
But neither of them was right. They weren’t even close, because Jeff did not arrive in an Aston Martin, or any type of car, or on a motorbike.
They saw him turn the corner of the gate and glide up the drive on top of a skateboard. He was wearing a yellow crash helmet, knee and elbow pads, and had a knapsack on his back.
The children ran downstairs to greet their uncle just as he came to a halt and hopped onto the ground.
“Hi Kids!” said Uncle Jeff.
“Hi Uncle Jeff,” said Jeremy. “What kind of wheels are those?”
“Those wheels,” said Uncle Jeff, “are attached to my brand new electric skateboard.”
“Wow,” said Jeremy. “Can I have a go?”
And very soon, Jeremy and Jemima were taking it in turns to drive Jeff’s electric skateboard around the garden path.
“How fast can it go?” called out Jeremy.
“Thirty miles per hour, but don’t try to go that fast until you can….” and his voice tailed off, “get the hang of it,” he said, almost under his breath, because Jeremy had just turned the wrong way and landed face down in the garden pond which dad had dug out a few months back. A frog hopped out of the way just in time.
“Oh, no, my skateboard doesn’t like water!” called out Jeff.
“Oh, no Jeremy might drown!” called out Jemmina, as they both ran over.
Fortunately Jeremy was not too badly hurt, and managed to clamber onto all fours and before standing up looking like a green monster, because his head and face were covered in slime. It was also fortunate that Jeff’s precious new skateboard had only landed partly in the pond, and water hadn’t got into the electric engine.
They headed back to the house. Jeremy went up stairs to shower and change while Jemima made Jeff a cup of tea in the kitchen.
“Mum thinks you’re a spy,” she told her uncle while she stirred his tea bag round in a mug.
“Why on earth does she think I would want to spy on her?” asked Uncle Jeff surprised.
“Not like that. She thinks you’re a secret agent.”
“The first skateboarding secret agent there ever was,” said Uncle Jeff.
“Yes, but normally you like to drive sports cars, and motorbikes, and you do have a gun.”
“I only keep a gun for shooting clay pigeons and the odd pheasant,” protested Uncle Jeff. “I’m not licenced to kill people at any rate.”
“You would say that wouldn’t you?” insisted Jemima. “Because if you are a spy, you have to keep it secret.”
Uncle Jeff laughed, “Well you got me there,” he said. “But I don’t have a secret life, I swear.”
“Alright, what about that time something happened to you in Russia years ago, then?” demanded Jemima.
Uncle Jeff scratched his ear.
“I suppose your mum brought that up, did she?” he said.
“She said something happened, but she didn’t know what it was, probably because it’s top secret.”
“Well maybe I’ll tell you sometime,” said Jeff, “but not now.. Hey, brother, how are you?”
Dad had just come into the kitchen, and Uncle Jeff got up to greet him, conveniently bringing the conversation about his supposed secret life to an end. There was quite a bit to say about Jeremy’s brief trip on the skateboard ending in the garden pond.
But Jemima and Jeremy did not forget about their mum’s strong hint that Uncle Jeff was, or had been, a spy.
When Jeremy was cleaned up, they took the electric skateboard to the part of the park where the rollerbladers practiced their moves. It was a long stretch of tarmac that ran along one side of the lake.
Some skaters zipped up and down at great speed, others practiced stunts like standing on one leg or doing pirouettes, and beginners of all ages and sizes took their first wobbly stops. There were also a few skateboarders, but of the foot-propelled sort. Uncle Jeff and the kids brought the only electric skateboard.
“It feels a bit like cheating to have a secret motor,” said Jemima as she strapped on her safety helmet. When she had attached her knee and elbow pads, Jeff handed her a pair of thick padded gloves.
“Now this time,” he said firmly, “before either of you too go shooting off, hang back for a few instructions. You hold the remote in your hand, and press the wheel button at the top with your thumb to go forwards. If you are turning right you need to lean forward on your toes, and if you are turning left, lean back on your heels. And above all don’t go too fast.”
Jemima soon got her balance and was gliding in the thick of the skaters.
Jeremy was bursting to take a turn. When eventually he was standing on the skateboard again, he looked at the remote and asked: “So which of these buttons fires the rockets?”
“What do you mean?”
“Come on, we know you’re a spy, there must be some rockets built into your skateboard - and a turbo switch to go extra fast, like 0 to 60 in 6 seconds.”
Jeff laughed. “That story again! What makes you think I’m a spy?”
“Because you’re interesting, not boring like Dad,” said Jeremy. Jeff shook his head and smiled, and Jeremy went shooting off - so fast that he started to wobble this way and that, dangerously close to a small dog and a pram.
“Hey slow down!” shouted Uncle Jeff. “We don’t want another accident!” Jeremy jumped off the board, picked it up and turned it around. Soon he zoomed back: “Wow! Was I flying?” he asked, as he came to a halt by Jeff and Jemima. “Because it really felt like I was riding a flying carpet! I bet you can make it fly, Uncle Jeff. That’s why you got this skateboard, so you can go up in the air and climb into high buildings and steal secret documents.”
Uncle Jeff shook his head: “You really do have an active imagination,” he said.
“But we’re not imagining your Russian adventure,” said Jemima, “because Mum said it was true, and she never makes stuff up.”
“That is a fact,” agreed Uncle Jeff thoughtfully. “Well since you’re so interested, let’s take a walk away from any prying ears and I’ll tell you the whole story. I think it will surprise you.”
Uncle Jeff took his electric board under his arm, and the three of them headed off along a footpath. When he had checked that nobody else was near, he said in a low voice, “It happened like this…”
And if you want to hear the story of Uncle Jeff’s Russian adventure, you’ll have to wait because it’s a long tale, and I’m going to have to take a little break. But I’ll be back VERY soon to tell you what really happened to Uncle Jeff in his youth.
And before I go, I’d just like to give another thank you to Henry in New York City who is a big fan of the Wicked Uncle stories and whose Dad Andrew, kindly donated to us. Thank you so much. We really hope that Henry and his family are keeping safe.