Greenfinger This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "Oh my gosh, Harry! Just LOOK at those tomatoes. I've never seen anything like it."

Mrs. Peterson was just one of the many people at the Bridgeport Fair who was awed by the first prize, bright red, ten-inch wide tomatoes entered by Ford Corpa. The tomatoes, along with his foot-long peppers and four-inch fat carrots were probably the most exciting things that had happened to Bridgeport in years.

Ford's little shop, "Ford's Fruits and Veggies," was one of the main attractions of the town, growing steadily in wealth. Reporters came to get this fascinating success story for fillers in the news and nature specials. Ford opened up more shops and the money kept rolling in. He built up his business until it was a state-wide chain. His fruits were voted by USA Today to be the "Best in the Country , Maybe the World." Thousands of gardeners all over the country asked for gardening secrets, but Ford was a very quiet man who never got involved in anything, except once....

One of the more "interesting" stories of Bridgeport was the Sara Marley story. Sara was a very rich woman who had been murdered a few months before. Her son, Peter, was very close to her and vowed that he would find her killer. He hired private detectives, but they all told him that they needed to see the body in order to find out exactly how she had been killed. The problem was Peter, being very upset at the time of her death, had buried her right away. A few people didn't want Mrs. Marley exumed, for they thought that this would disturb her from peace. One of these people was Ford Corpa. He claimed that he had been close to her, though there was no real evidence of this, and fought Peter in court with expensive lawyers. Ford lost, and the body was dug up.

At the graveyard, shadowed by Ford's house, Peter and the detectives began to dig up Mrs. Marley. As they dug, a man drove in and excitedly announced that someone had confessed to her murder. The confessor was sent to jail for life but was released early and, rumor had it, the release was highly influenced by Ford's money.

In a few years, Ford's famous "Ford's Fruits and Veggies" had stores all over the East Coast, the



fastest growing chain since McDonald's. The story of Ford was never really reported in full. This is not to say that no one had tried, but Ford had professional "disinformation specialists," who made sure that no one obtained his full story. This fact didn't seem to surprise anyone except two reporters: Bill Woodwood and Ted Birdstein.

Bill and Ted hadn't had a real story in years. They thought big, and they were determined to report the story that was infamous for being impossible to get: the Corpa story. They soon discovered, quite easily, that the telephone would get them nowhere. They needed to go to Bridgeport. They first went to the Town Hall and asked for all of the information on Ford. The only thing that was recorded was Ford's fight, years ago, against the disinterment of Mrs. Marley. They recorded this, but they could only deduce that Ford had killed Mrs. Marley and paid off someone to confess. Unfortunately there was no real evidence of this and so they still did not have a story.

Although they had been warned by the town that "Mr. Corpa don't like visitors," the two storiless reporters decided to give his house a try. Bill commented on the oddity that Ford Corpa, one of the richest men in the country, who could have any house that he wanted, chose this eerie mansion next to a graveyard. As they rang his doorbell, two guards appeared and asked them if they had an appointment. They told him they were doing a documentary on Ford, and that Ford had told them they could interview him today (though this had only happened in Ted's dream). Without allowing protest, the guards told them harshly that they were not on the "list" (the guards made a point of showing the duo that the "list" was a blank sheet of lined paper) and that Mr. Corpa didn't like visitors.

This was the closest the two ever came to Ford. The only thing left for them to do was to snoop around the outside of the house for any leads. Avoiding all security cameras, the reporters carefully examined all of Ford's plants for gardening clues and even stole some soil from around the house. But their search was in vain. They still had no clues, leads, or anything real that they could publish, until one stroke of good luck fell their way. As they were walking through the graveyard to the car, Ted yelled, as his foot fell though the ground. Bill immediately pulled Ted up and they examined the hole.

Though they could see little without a flashlight, Bill tested its depth by dropping a penny in it. Listening intensely, they heard something very strange:

"...clink..."

Now if the sound had been a "thud," or a "splash," Bill and Ted would have thought nothing of it. But a "clink" meant something metal, something man-made was under the ground. This wasn't much, but it was out-of-the-ordinary. The hopeful reporters returned to their apartment.

"Here are all of the facts," Bill thought out loud, "Ford Corpa wants no one to know his success story: this leads me to believe he has something to hide. He gets involved with nothing save Mrs. Marley's unburying; he lives unnecessarily near a graveyard, which has some sort of pipe below it... which could be underground sprinklers for all we know, Ted! This story is getting nowhere,"

"No, wait!" exclaimed Ted. "There must be something about that graveyard. Everything about him relates to it. His factory in Maine...."

"Was right next to a graveyard!!" interrupted Bill. "We've been so blind! I'm going to get some shovels. Tonight we are going to dig up that hole and get to the bottom of this."

That evening Bill and Ted returned to that strange hole and began to dig it out. Shortly, they hit a big sheet of metal. After digging further, they found that it was a giant tube, large enough for a man to walk in.

"It's a tunnel of some sort..." Bill began.

"Of course!!" Ted shouted, too loudly. "This tunnel leads directly under the graveyard. Ford is tunneling under and stealing the bodies! That's why he didn't want them to dig up Sara Marley! But why?"

"Fertilizer!" Bill stated, "That's his secret! He uses them for fertilizer, which makes his foods grow!! We have it, Ford! I think we might have something!"

In a few weeks Bill and Ted returned with more men and bulldozers, and began to dig up a good portion of the tunnel. After burning open a hole, they found it was just the beginning of a whole maze of tunnels. After visiting the other factories they found the same thing there. Bill Woodwood and Ted Birdstein became household names and began their new life of fame and fortune. Ford Corpa, another household name, and plot for endless mini-series, was sent to prison for life. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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