Kalissa and the Elimeno
One day, not so long ago, Kalissa was sitting in her room looking at a storybook. The weather was a bit gray and cloudy, so Kalissa thought she would stay inside for the afternoon. Her father was at work and her mother was shopping.
In the backyard, Kalissa's baby sister Makayla was playing with the babysitter. Makayla was only three years old, so she had to stay with the babysitter at all times. Kalissa, however, was a big girl — she was almost six, well, five and a half — and she was allowed to stay in the house and do whatever she wanted, as long as she didn't make a mess. Kalissa's mother did not like it when anyone made a mess, so Kalissa was always careful to pick up her toys and keep her bedroom as neat as could be.
Kalissa was all alone and she was bored. She decided to look at pictures in her Winnie-the-Pooh book. She had just got to the part where Pooh was stuck in a hole after eating a big pot of honey, and she was thinking, "I wonder what it would be like to eat a big pot of honey all by myself." This was a nice thought, and she decided to close the book for a moment and imagine what it would be like to have her very own honey pot.
Kalissa shut her eyes to make it easy to think about honey pots. A moment later, she heard a strange sound, a bit like a snap, crackle and pop all at the same time. Kalissa's eyes opened wide, like tiny little saucers, because right in front of her was the strangest thing she had ever seen in her life.
It was a little animal: just the right size, not too big and not too small. The animal was green with blue spots and had pointy ears and long whiskers. He had a big smile on his face, and when he spoke, it was in a voice that was just the right type of voice, not too loud and not too soft.
"You must be Kalissa," he said. "I came to visit you."
Kalissa looked and looked and looked at the green and blue animal. She was already pretty old, but in her whole life, she had never seen anything quite so strange. "What are you?" she asked.
"Me? I'm an Elimeno," said the animal.
"What?" said Kalissa. "An Elimeno? I never heard of such a thing."
"Oh, yes you have," said the Elimeno. "Do you know the alphabet?"
"Of course I do." Kalissa was very proud that she knew the whole alphabet, all the way from A to Z.
She began to sing, "A, B, C, D, E, F, G..."
"Go on," said the Elimeno.
"...H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O —"
Kalissa stopped. "You're an Elimeno!"
"Wow. Wait until my sister and my father and my mother meet you. Won't they be surprised."
"Oh, they can't meet me," said the Elimeno. "Your sister is much too young, and your father and mother are much too old. They won't be able to see me. Only you can see me, because you are just the right age: not too young and not too old."
"You mean five and a half?" said Kalissa.
"Exactly," said the Elimeno.
Kalissa thought about that for a moment. "Well, Mr. Elimeno, it's certainly nice to meet you." (Kalissa had very good manners when she talked to strangers, and she wasn't a bit shy.) "Would you like to play with one of my toys? Or maybe you would like to look at my Winnie-the-Pooh book?"
"I'm sure that would be lovely," said the Elimeno, who was very polite himself, "but I have a better idea. Let's make some cookies."
If there was one thing Kalissa loved more than anything, it was cookies. "Oh, Mr. Elimeno, that sounds lovely." Then she thought for a moment, "But I don't think my mother would like it. She won't let me use the stove by myself."
"But you're not by yourself," said the Elimeno. "You're with me, and I'm an Elimeno."
"That's true," said Kalissa. She had a feeling there was something wrong with what the Elimeno said, but she couldn't figure out exactly what it might be. Anyway, Kalissa loved cookies and here was someone who was offering to make some for her.
Still, she wasn't sure. "I don't know," said Kalissa. I think my mother would say we were too young to cook by ourselves."
"Too young?" said the Elimeno. "I'll have you know I am 136 years old."
"136 years old?" exclaimed Kalissa. "Why that's older than my grandfather. That's older than anybody."
The Elimeno laughed. "That's not old for an Elimeno. We live a very long time."
Kalissa had to think about this. She was still learning her numbers, and she didn't know how to add. But she figured that if the Elimeno was older than her father and her mother and her grandfather and her grandmother, he was certainly old enough to make cookies. And Kalissa loved cookies.
"I guess it's okay," she said, "as long as we don't make a mess."
"Don't you worry about that," replied the Elimeno. "Elimeno's never make a mess. Come on, let's go to the kitchen."
The Elimeno ran into the kitchen with Kalissa close behind. As she passed the sliding doors in the dining room, Kalissa looked outside where she could see Makayla and the babysitter playing in the small rubber swimming pool. They didn't look her way, so she guessed they wouldn't care what she was doing.
By the time Kalissa got to the kitchen, the Elimeno had pulled out all the pots and pans. He had also taken out most of the food from the refrigerator and spread it all over the floor. Kalissa started to worry about what her mother might say, but before she could say anything, the Elimeno called out to her.
"Kalissa, where does your mother keep the chocolate?"
"Chocolate?" cried Kalissa. "Chocolate? How can you think about chocolate? What about all this mess? You told me that Elimeno's never make a mess," she said accusingly, thinking about how her mother hated a messy kitchen.
The Elimeno looked around for a moment, but he wasn't going to let a tiny bit of a mess get in the way of their fun. Not when he was ready to make cookies.
"No need to worry," he said. "I told you Elimenos don't make a mess, and I was telling the truth. This isn't a mess. All I've done is take out everything in the cupboards and fridge and organize it all scientifically."
"Scien— what's that you said?" said Kalissa.
"Scientifically," said the Elimeno. "It means in the best possible way for people who are about to make cookies."
The Elimeno certainly was good at explaining things, thought Kalissa. Maybe he could help her the next time her father wanted her to go to bed early, and she needed to stay up to finish watching her video.
"So, where is it?" said the Elimeno.
"Where is what?"
"The chocolate. And the flour and the oatmeal and the raisins and the butter and the peanut butter and the nuts and the cinnamon and the baking powder and the apple juice?"
Kalissa went into the kitchen, first to the cupboard and then to the fridge, and pulled out everything the Elimeno had asked for. She looked around for place to put it, but the Elimeno had filled the floor and the counters with all kinds of stuff. Finally, she found a spot near the stove.
Kalissa had watched her mother bake cookies many times, and she understood why the Elimeno would want flour and oatmeal and raisins and butter and peanut butter and nuts and cinnamon and baking powder, but one thing puzzled her.
"What are you going to do with the apple juice?" ask Kalissa.
"Drink it," said the Elimeno. He took the top off the bottle, put it to his mouth and took a long swallow.
Kalissa knew it was bad manners to drink from the bottle, but she also knew it was bad manners to make a guest feel uncomfortable, and Kalissa had very good manners. So she decided not to say anything. After all, she thought, maybe in the Elimeno's house, it was okay to drink from the bottle. Maybe, in the Elimeno's house it was bad manners to drink from a cup. Anyway, she thought, cookies are far more important.
"Mr. Elimeno," she said, "when are you going to make the cookies? I think my mother and my father will be home any minute."
"Right now," said the Elimeno, "watch this."
The Elimeno put down the apple juice bottle and picked up the very biggest pot. He pulled over a big box, stood on it, and placed the pot in the middle of the stove. Then he lifted up a whole bag of flour and put it in the pot.
"Don't you need to take the flour out of the bag?" asked Kalissa.
"Normally, yes," said the Elimeno. "For most recipes you would be one hundred percent correct—"
Kalissa wasn't sure what that meant. She had noticed that whenever she asked what she thought was an important question, the Elimeno used big words to answer.
"—but this isn't a regular recipe," continued the Elimeno. "This is a special Elimeno recipe. Watch this."
The Elimeno started to fill the big pot with everything he could find: a box of oatmeal and a box of raisins (without even opening the boxes), a large chunk of butter (still wrapped in paper), a whole jar of peanut butter (without opening the jar), a big bag of nuts (unopened), a bottle of cinnamon (with the top on), and a box of baking powder (without opening the box).
Then he bent down, grabbed a soup ladle off the floor, stood up and started to stir the pot.
"Mr. Elimeno," said Kalissa, "don't you have to turn on the stove?"
"Obviously, you have never made cookies with an Elimeno before. Just watch this," said the Elimeno. "Now close your eyes."
Kalissa realized that she couldn't watch the Elimeno with her eyes closed, but she closed them anyway to be polite and, before she could say a word, there was a strange sound, a bit like a snap, crackle and pop all at the same time.
"What do you think?" said the Elimeno.
Kalissa opened her eyes. The Elimeno was holding the pot in front of her. Kalissa looked inside and, to her surprise, the pot was filled with cookies! The Elimeno took a tiny piece of a cookie and gave it to Kalissa.
She put it in her mouth: it was the best cookie she had ever had in her life (and Kalissa was five and half years old, so she knew a lot about cookies).
"Wow," she said. "Mr. Elimeno, you sure make good cookies."
"Thank you," said the Elimeno, who tried to look both proud and modest at the same time. "And you have very good taste. What a smart girl you are."
"And now," he said, "I think we just have time to clean up before your parents get home."
Kalissa looked at the floor, covered with pots and pans and containers and all kinds of stuff. She wondered if they would be able to get it all put away fast enough. Maybe if both of them worked very hard.
"I'll hold the cookies," said the Elimeno.
"What?" said Kalissa, "Aren't you going to help clean?"
"I think it's better if I take charge of the cookies," he said. "In fact, I better taste some of them to make sure the recipe worked. You start cleaning and I'll supervise to make sure everything is right. After all, we don't have much time."
Kalissa wasn't sure what "supervise" meant, but she had a feeling it didn't have anything to do with actual work. She remembered that her mother had once supervised, when her father put a new floor in the living room.
However, the Elimeno was right about one thing. They didn't have much time. Her mother and her father would be home any minute, and her mother did not like a messy kitchen, so Kalissa started to clean up.
She worked and she worked and she worked, and every time she looked up, she saw the Elimeno sitting on the chair, supervising, whatever that was. And as he was supervising, he was eating one cookie after another.
Finally, after what seemed like a very long time, Kalissa was finished. Everything was put away in the exact right place. Now, she thought, it's time for some cookies.
But where was the Elimeno?
Kalissa looked around, but she couldn't see the Elimeno anywhere. "Where can he be?" she said. "I wonder if he is gone?"
Fortunately, the Elimeno had left the cookie pot on the dining room table. Kalissa walked over to the table and climbed on a chair. She put her hand into the pot... and it was empty! The Elimeno had eaten all the cookies while she was cleaning.
Kalissa was angry. How could the Elimeno eat all the cookies by himself? It wasn't fair. She did all the work, cleaning up the Elimeno's mess, and all she got was a tiny bit of one cookie that the Elimeno had given her to taste. She didn't know what to do.
However, Kalissa didn't have much time to think because, at that very moment, she heard her mother and father outside. Then she heard the babysitter take her sister Makayla out front to see her parents. In a minute, everyone would be inside.
She took one last quick look for the Elimeno, but he was gone. So she took the empty pot, put it back in the cupboard, and went outside to say hello to her parents.
Later that night, after dinner, and after her bath, Kalissa was lying in bed thinking. Her mother had tucked her into bed and kissed her, and her father had hugged her and told her what a good girl she was. And now she was lying in bed, wondering about the Elimeno.
She had just wondered if she would ever see him again when suddenly there was a strange sound, just like before. It was a bit like a snap, crackle and pop all at the same time, and this time Kalissa knew what it meant. She looked up, and there was the Elimeno sitting on the end of her bed.
He looked almost exactly like he did when she met him. He was green with blue spots and had pointy ears and long whiskers, and a big smile on his face. This time, however, it seemed to Kalissa as if the Elimeno's tummy was a bit larger than it had been before.
"Mr. Elimeno," she said, "where did you go? I looked for you everywhere. Why did you eat all the cookies yourself?"
"I didn't eat all the cookies," said the Elimeno. "Why do you say that?"
"Well," said Kalissa, "I looked in the pot and it was empty."
"But what about this?" said the Elimeno, as he held out something in his hand. It was a cookie, a very big cookie. In fact, it was the biggest cookie Kalissa had ever seen in her life.
Kalissa's eyes grew wide. "Is that for me?" she asked.
"Yes," said the Elimeno, giving her the cookie.
Kalissa took a bite. "Ohhh," she said, "this is the best cookie I have ever had in my life."
"I'm glad you like it," said the Elimeno. "Well, I have to get home. It's almost my bedtime. My parents will be angry if I stay out too late."
"Bedtime?" said Kalissa. "Parents? You told me you were 136 years old. Why do you have a bedtime?"
"Actually," said the Elimeno, "I think I may have told you the wrong number. I'm not really 136 years old, I'm 6 years old. I'm not very good with numbers, you know."
"Only 6 years old?" said Kalissa. "That's hardly anything at all." Kalissa hadn't yet learned everything there was to know about numbers, but she had a feeling there was a big difference between 6 and 136.
"It's true, I did make a bit of a mistake, but I am older than you," said the Elimeno.
"I guess that's true," said Kalissa. "I'm only five and a half. I won't be six until my next birthday."
"Well," said the Elimeno, "maybe next time I see you, you'll be older than me."
"Maybe," said Kalissa doubtfully. It's seemed like it might happen, but something told her that it didn't sound right. She had to think about it. "So, are you coming back to visit me again?"
"I might," said the Elimeno, "and then again, I might not. It all depends."
"Depends on what?" Kalissa started to ask, but all of a sudden, she felt very tired. She put the rest of the cookie under her pillow and, before she knew it, she was fast asleep. She didn't even hear the funny sound as the Elimeno left to go back to his home.
The last thing Kalissa remembered was a dream. In the dream, she was talking to the Elimeno and Winnie-the-Pooh. Winnie-the-Pooh was sharing his pot of honey, and the Elimeno had just put his hand in the pot and pulled out a big cookie.
Read the story about Kalissa's younger sister Makayla
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