By: Esther Pardes

“Watermelon!” Mommy called from the screen porch. The Crocs Kids all trooped outside, eager for a refreshing treat.
“Daddy, when’s the farm open to the public?” asked Joey.
“Tomorrow,” smiled their father. “Enjoy everything now, while it’s all yours!”
“If we could have the laptop,” Ezra grumbled, “I would be enjoying myself.”
“No, Ezra. No laptop. No Wii. And that’s final.”
Mommy leaned towards him, concerned. “Ezra, I think you’ve got to let yourself like this place. We haven’t taken away your laptop for good. Try to join the others and have fun.”
“This place is awesome,” Rebecca remarked without thinking. “It’s a shame you don’t ever join us and see how great it is.”
Suddenly Ezra jumped out of his chair, his face growing red. “Oh yeah? Since when did you become so happy with no computer games? You were all so mad back in Brooklyn! Now all you talk about is the lake, the animals, the lake, the animals!” Ezra stomped off the porch and disappeared into the house. The happy group on the porch grew quiet.
A few minutes later, Morris stuck his head into the house. “Ezra!” he called. “We’re going to feed the animals. Wanna come?”
Ezra, who was rummaging in his suitcase, hastily closed it. “No, I’m busy.” He drew himself upright, holding something bundled up in a t-shirt. Carefully, he walked towards the door and marched past a puzzled Morris.
Carrots clutched tightly in their fists, the siblings hurried down the path, Crocs quickly becoming a blur in their race to feed their favorite eaters–the goats. Morris, in the lead, suddenly made a short stop, causing the others to nearly collide into him.
“Look!” he shouted. “The sheep! The goats! Did Daddy let them out? Why are they wandering all over the farm?!”
“Oh no!” Rebecca screamed. “They’re heading straight for the forest!”
The Crocs Kids made a mad dash towards the animals. Joey circumvented the first of the flock ambling their way towards the forest and stood bravely in front of the trees. “Stop! Go back!” he ordered, waving his arms, but they paid no attention. Desperate, he grabbed off his green Crocs and threw them towards the animals, taking care not to hit them. They paused, momentarily confused. At that moment, the older boys on staff, alerted by their cries, appeared, huffing and puffing. They took control of the flock and were soon guiding them back towards the fields.
“Who could have opened the fence?” everyone wondered…
But the Crocs Kids, were sure. “It was Ezra,” they all decided.
“He’s so miserable,” Judy stated. “He wants some attention so Daddy will give in and bring the laptop.”
“Why doesn’t he just ask?” Sharon wondered.
“He did,” Rebecca replied. “But it didn’t work. Now he’s being a troublemaker instead.”
The next day…
“Eggs smashed everywhere!” Daddy shouted, racing out of the hen house. “Inside the hen house! Outside on the grass! Who could have done such a thing?” Their father was furious. The kids eyed each other.
No one pointed any fingers, but somehow, their suspicions leaked out. Ezra again.
Ezra vehemently denied the allegations. But his constant complaining and his lonely wanderings made it seem obvious. He seemed to be the only one who would have a reason to make trouble. And trouble kept happening…