by Amanda Helms
Read by Emily Rankin
Listen to the audio version
The box of Ninja Puffs proclaimed NEMESIS INSIDE! in screamy capital letters.
Jasmine poked the box as if it might bite her.
Her mother paused in putting away the pasta sauce. "What's wrong with the cereal? I
thought you liked ninjas. You're always watching that show about the fighting turtles, and for the
past three years you've asked for nunchakus for your birthday. Which, again, no."
"Mr. Radner gave 'nemesis' to us as a vocabulary word last month. I don't want one."
"It's only a toy."
Yes, but a nemesis toy. Sighing, Jasmine opened the box and pulled out the plastic-bagged Ninja Puffs, then turned the box upside-down.
Nothing came out.
"Well, you lucked out! The manufacturer must've forgotten it. How about the
marshmallows, though? Such interesting gray . . . blobby . . . things." But Jasmine was
investigating the box. Some of the glue on its bottom had loosened.
From the corner of her eye, she caught a small black blur charging for the toaster. "Look!"
Jasmine's mother click-clacked to the counter. "Oh, da--darn! Was it a cockroach?" She
pulled out the toaster; nothing behind it.
"No, I think it was the nemesis!"
"A battery-powered toy in a children's cereal? If the batteries exploded and leaked acid all
over . . ." Her mother's eyes glinted. Jasmine recognized that look; it was the same one she got
whenever she made a breakthrough on a case. "It's a lawsuit waiting to happen." She strode off to
Jasmine sighed. Her mother would be up till all hours researching the effects of battery
acid on children's digestive systems, probably.
On the counter, a three-inch cowled figure scurried behind the flour bin and out of sight.
Though Jasmine looked for half an hour, she never found it.