Florence (Part 1)

When I was one year old my uncle started taking care of me. I still don’t know what happened to my parents. Neither my relatives nor my uncle have told me. We live in a small apartment with one bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom. I go to school everyday and have summer vacation just like every other kid. I also have a normal and plain name, Izzy. But something is different about me. I keep a list of questions I have that have never been answered. They can be big questions like where my parents went or just small questions that are just not appropriate for anyone to answer because of my age.

What I have found out:

  1. When I was little my parents and I lived in a large house.
  2. We didn’t have much money but the house had been in our family for generations, so we were able to keep it.
  3. Now we don’t have the house because the government took it, because we weren’t paying the full rent, just before my parents disappeared.
  4. My dad had a job working in a factory making shoes and didn’t get paid much by his mean boss.
  5. Our town didn’t like our family because we didn’t pay taxes to help our parks and buildings. We didn’t pay them because we were too poor. We could barely pay for our house.

I decided that the first person I wanted to ask questions to was my uncle. So after school I went to find him. He was in the kitchen.

“Hi, Uncle Kevin, can I ask you a question?”

“Just a minute Izzy, I’m making a sandwich.”

“I only have a quick question.”

“Okay,” he sighed. “What is it?

“Were you there when my parents disappeared?

“I told you, I don’t know anything, they just told me to take care of you for a little bit and then they were gone.”

“Really? Are you sure?”

“Yes,” he said. “I’m sure.”

I knew that wasn’t true.

“Did they tell you anything else before they left?

“Oh, fine!” he yelled. “I’ll tell you. Before they left they said that they had to go somewhere to make money so that they could raise you better instead of raising you with no money. They told me not to tell you this because they just wanted to come back as fast as they could so that they could raise you. But with you pestering me, I couldn’t stand it.”

“Thank you, but why have they taken nine or more years? They left when I was one.”

“Who knows. But I think you should forget about it for now.”

That was something I wasn’t going to do.


When I came home from school, I heard my uncle talking in the kitchen to a voice I didn’t recognize.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I tried to give her something to kind of lure her off of the path, but I think she’ll see through it. She even makes a list of things she doesn’t know and does know,” my uncle said.

“I would never do that… It’d take too much time and organization. I got better stuff to do,” the other person said between bites of a cupcake. He had bad grammar and etiquette.

“Hey,” I said as I came into the room. “What’s your name? I’m Izzy.” I asked the person talking to my uncle. He looked very unbathed. He was also wearing jeans that were cut at two different lengths and his shirt’s buttons were uneven. I guess he just didn’t care how he appeared.

“I’m Joe, I drive trucks. Garbage trucks,” he said as he choked on some apple cobbler. He was eating up all my dessert.

“That’s nice,” I replied. “Do you live in our building?”

“Yeah, I live in the apartment right next to yours.”

“How have I never met you?”

“I move a lot.”

“Why?” I said curious.

“Anyway, I have to go.”

“Bye,” I said.

“See you later!” my uncle said.

“Why was he here?

“Just wanted to um, ah, you know, talk to someone while you’re at school? I get really lonely.”

“That’s never happened before.”

“Enough… With… THE QUESTIONS!” Suddenly he was shouting. “Does it ever occur to you that it is ANNOYING!?”

“Sorry,” I replied meekly.


The next day I went into my bedroom to think about what had happened yesterday. They were talking about what my uncle had told about my parents. He said it was a lie. What was he trying to do? Then I thought of going to Joe’s apartment. He might have some answers. He didn’t seem very smart, so it wouldn’t be too hard to get information out of him.


Knock, knock knock. “Joe?”

He opened the door in a quite unpleasant way. “Oh you. Ya live over there, don’t you?”

“Uh, yeah.” He was in his pajamas and it was 4:00 in the afternoon. “I just want to ask you some questions. Are you busy?”

“No, come in.”

As I walked into Joe’s apartment, I was very confused. Everything didn’t seem to match his personality. It was neat and all the furniture matched the carpet, there were no clothes on the floor and the walls were white without anything on them.

“I can’t stand dirty places, so I choose to keep mine clean,” Joe said.

That seemed kind of suspicious, so I immediately started asking questions.

“Do you know who my parents are?”

“No, isn’t Kevin your dad?”

“No, he’s my uncle. How do you know my uncle?”

“He welcomed me to your apartment, since I’m new here.”

“Oh, I’m not going to get anything out of you. You’re too- never mind.”

With that, I left. As I opened the door to my apartment I noticed something was missing.

“Uncle Kevin? Where are you? Are you home?”

No reply. He was here when I left so I doubt he would have gone anywhere since I was only at Joe’s for five minutes. I went back to Joe’s apartment and told him that my Uncle was gone.

All he said was, “We’ve been caught.”

Then he took my arm and led me out the door. I don’t know why, but I trusted him. He didn’t seem like the person he pretended to be. So as he took my arm and led me out of the building, I didn’t stop him. We ran down the street and passed all the buildings to Anchor Lake which was at the very very tip of our town. Surrounding the lake was the woods and through the woods was the next town. He took me halfway through the woods and stopped me.

“Look, Izzy, I have a lot to tell you.”

“Well, then tell me! I’ve only been waiting my whole life!” I said, exasperated.

“Well, your parents are spies, and they work for the government. They couldn’t tell you as much as they wanted to because the government couldn’t trust you. I’m also a spy, like your parents. Your ‘uncle’ is not your uncle, he’s your bodyguard. He never wanted to take care of you but your parents made him. Your real name is Florence, your parents met in Florence, Italy, spying together. We had to change your name to something plain like Izzy, because Butler and her people know that there’s only one Florence, you. But now Kevin’s been caught and we have to go find your parents, Berkle-Butler is onto us.”

There was so much to process in my mind right now, I didn’t say anything. I was angry at my parents for abandoning me, I was worried that my parents, Joe and I were in danger, I was frustrated that no one ever told me this and I was surprised that my parents were spies working for the government. My head was swirling with all these emotions and I still had nothing to say. I was going from my boring life and now I was going to find my parents.

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