Interpretive Essay 2012 Winner

Michael Voss
Grade 5
Salt Lake Elementary School

Chapter 21 ½
37° 14’ 06” N, 115° 48’ 40” W

The School Bus soared over the vast wastelands towards Groom Dry Lake. The tension of the NERDS team was lessened by the absence of Jackson.

It had been just seventy-two hours since Jackson had left the team. Already, the group was over his departure, even though the nanotechnology had come in handy when he used it to protect Dr. Munzo from the killer piñatas, Duncan thought.

“So where are we going this time?” asked Flinch as he stuffed a whole chocolate bar into his mouth.

“We are going to meet an old friend of mine,” briefed Agent Brand. “His name is Colonel Quincy Adams, who is stationed at Area 51. Yes, that Area 51,” he said, looking at their shocked faces. “We hope to gain intel about the continent moving machine that Dr. Jigsaw has created. If we can figure out its design and how it works, we may be able to find a weakness in it or at least disable it.”

As they spoke, the rocket touched down on the asphalt runway labeled 12/30. Then the NERDS hopped onto a cargo cart and were whisked away to the main intelligence building.

Colonel Adams was already there. He greeted them with much enthusiasm. Colonel Quincy was a thin man with rectangular features, wire-rimmed glasses and a headset to talk to the boys in the control room. He had blue eyes that sparkled when he talked about his job. On his left chest pocket of his navy blue uniform were rows or colorful ribbons of honor that represented his military achievements.

“Well if it isn’t the NERDS team!” Colonel Adams exclaimed. “Agent Brand has told me a lot about you. But, let’s get down to business as we walk."

“The continent moving machine Dr. Jigsaw has made is basically a giant magnetic tractor beam,” Colonel Adams said, as they walked along the dirt road. “If something were to hit the beam emitter hard, then it could short out the system and destroy the machine. Or you could just blow it up with our Homing Electro Nuclear Powered Oversized Oxygenated Pernach, also known as HENPOOP.”

“Good plan” Heathcliff congratulated “But what is a pernach? And why name a weapon HENPOOP?”

“A pernach is a medieval weapon like a thick baton with feathers attached to one end. As for HENPOOP, it is a weird acronym for our best revolutionary bomb.” Colonel Adams said shrugging his shoulders. “Besides, it really does drop on you.”

Suddenly, a troop transport appeared virtually out of nowhere and screeched to a halt right next to them. A lieutenant sprang from the vehicle and ran up to the group, a look of terror on his face.

“Sorry to interrupt, Sir, but our HENPOOP and a B-2 Spirit bomber have been stolen!” the lieutenant announced in a panic. “A guard witnessed two thugs pushing the weapon onto a forklift and hearing one say, “Now we will get rid of the NERDS for good,” before getting knocked out.” His voice faltered as he looked at the NERDS nervously.

“We can cut them off at the closed runway” Colonel Adams decided. “It is the only runway long enough for a bomber that heavy to take off.

Everyone piled into the transport and flew towards the 23,270 foot long runway.

When they arrived, soldiers armed with AK-47s were unsuccessfully attempting to stop the plane. The bomber was barreling down the runway when the NERDS formulated a plan.

Just as the nose of the plane began to lift off the ground, Matilda grabbed Duncan and used her inhalers to fly up to the bomber. She dropped Duncan on the plane and zoomed up to the cockpit windshield and buzzed around like a bee.

Duncan meanwhile was using his sticky paste to scramble to the top of the bomber. In a few seconds he reached the massive engines. He shot a huge glob of glue into each of the screaming engines’ air intake.

The engine propulsion lost, the heavy bomber started descending rapidly. Flinch, however, ran ahead using his harness. He turned it to “super strength” and caught the plane as it fell from the sky.

Matilda came down with Duncan in her arms as they dragged the two pilots out of the cockpit.

“We know you’re working for Dr. Jigsaw,” Heathcliff growled. “But where is Dr. Jigsaw’s base?”

“I don’t know,” Thug No. 1 said.

After he made that statement, Ruby broke into hives, a sure sign she detected deception.

“You’re lying!” Heathcliff said accusingly. “And if you won’t tell us where it is, then we will have to make you tell us,” as he spun around to address Thug No. 2.

Suddenly, Thug No. 2 fell into a trance. Heathcliff had unleashed his teeth onto him.

“Where is Dr. Jigsaw’s base?” he demanded.

“Ninety degrees north, exactly,” mumbled Thug No. 2.

“Terrific!” exclaimed Duncan. “Now we know that Dr. Jigsaw is at the North Pole. Guards, let’s get these guys out of here.

Colonel Adams motioned to a few of the soldiers, who hauled the two thugs away to the awaiting troop transport.

“You know, I kind of miss Jackson,” Duncan said to the group. “His upgrades would have been real handy in taking down that B-2 Spirit Bomber.”

“Well I’m glad he’s gone,” Heathcliff retorted. “He tormented us for months.”

“I also kind of miss him,” added Flinch. “He was a fun guy to practice my skills with.”

“He made his decision to quit the team, so we must respect that.” Ruby replied.

“Let’s go bash some faces,” Matilda yelled eagerly, hovering in the air.

With that, the NERDS quickly got back to the School Bus. Then they soared off to the North Pole with some of them missing Jackson, and some not.


Dr. Jigsaw was sitting at his viewing room, when reports came in about the Area 51 incident.

“Ha ha ha,” he laughed. “Those NERDS think they have won, but they are about to meet their doom!”

My process:

I wanted to write a scene right after Jackson left the team, and I wanted to do it as a flashback explaining how the characters felt after Jackson left and what could have happened right before the NERDS went missing. I wanted to include Area 51 in this story because it’s an awesome and top secret place. I did some research on the internet to make sure my facts about it were correct. I also found a website that gives you the coordinates to just about any place, and that helped my search. My mom did not read the book, but she looked at the judging criteria and asked if I covered everything. She helped me type when I got tired and helped me edit out words when my draft went over 1,000 words. My school librarian also read an early draft and gave me feedback.