Day 305: William Gets a Scoop

 The facts

“What’ll we have?” said Ginger. “In the newspaper, I mean.”
“They have news in newspapers,” said Henry simply.
“Well, there isn’t any news,” said Ginger. “My father’s always sayin’ there isn’t any. news.”
“Well, we can invent news, can’t we?” said William. “I bet that’s what real ones do, invent it if there isn’t any…”
“There’s lors against it,” warned Douglas. “My aunt once knew someone that was had up by the p’lice for saying somethin’ about someone else that wasn’t true. It frightened her so much she got an awful disease called jaundice an’ turned yellow all over.”


“Real newspapers try ‘n’ get news that other newspapers haven’t got,” said Henry. “They call it a scoop.”
“We’ll have one of ’em, then,” said William casually. “We’ll fix that up later. Now let’s go off somewhere. We want to be private. We don’t want people int’ruptin’ us. I bet the editors of ‘The Times’ an’… an’… an’…”
“‘The Poultry World’,” suggested Douglas whose mother kept hens, and studied ‘The Poultry World’ assiduously each week.
“Yes, ‘The Poultry World'”, said William. “Well, I bet they don’t have their mothers shoutin’ up at them every minute not to make so much noise.”

The Outlaws make it seem so easy, but astonishingly enough, they get caught up in all sorts of twists, turns and shenanigans.

“My foot feels funny,” said Ginger. “I think it’s gone to
“Put it to bed, then,” said Douglas, and the others shouted with mirth at his wit.

But there is some neighbourhood drama going on: Miss Milton has a huge bee in her bonnet about a visitor to the village, Mr Helston, not washing his windows. So much so that she breaks into his house to clean them – and finds herself there at exactly the same time as the Outlaws, who have found some of Mr Helston’s papers and convinced themselves that he is a murderer (whereas in fact they are, surprise surprise, just pages from the crime novel he’s working on).

Things come to a head when Mr Helston arrives home with Mr Brown – who has just found out that the visitor is the writer of a series of books of which he is very fond – and discovers the chaos in his house.

William gazed at his father open-mouthed. “D’you mean he’s famous?”
“Of course he’s famous,” said Mr Brown.
Without a moment’s hesitation, William dragged from his pocket the grubby piece of paper and much-bitten pencil that formed his editorial equipment. “I represent the ‘Old Barn Times’,” he said. “Can you kin’ly tell me…” The other four joined in, Violet Elizabeth’s voice rising shrilly above the chorus, “what is the mos’ excitin’ moment of your life?”