Kid Joey snuck around the house into everyone's room, just as the sun was coming up, way early on Saturday morning. The only one who was already awake was Ro, because he'd told her and she wanted to watch.
But of course, with Sir WHIP's help, Kid Joey was better at the actual chore. In and out of rooms Kid Joey went, quiet as a mouse, Ro's last, until they had every waste basket in the house gathered up outside the back door.
Okay, we gotta get Mom and Dad's can back into their bedroom quick before one of them throws away a tissue or something," Ro said, and Kid Joey nodded, dumping that waste basket on the lawn out in the middle of the yard first.
Ro stood, shaking her head, her hands on her hips. "This better work, little brother, or you're gonna be grounded until you're older than Gramps Blaze."
"I did it last week. See any stuff in the yard?"
Ro had to admit that the yard was cleaner than she'd ever seen it - even the leaves were raked up and gone. She took Mom and Dad's waste basket from Kid Joey and ran it back into the house and crept into their room to replace it. Then she rushed back into the yard because she didn't want to miss anything.
When she arrived there, Mrs. Levy stood talking to Kid Joey, her trash can a few feet behind her. "I would have never thought of this in a million years, Joseph! You are brilliant!" she said, and handed Kid Joey five dollars!
"What are you doing?!" Ro said, joining them in the middle of the yard. "Why is she giving you money?"
Kid Joey beamed, pocketing the fiver. "Cool, huh? Mrs. Levy said that people who come up with unique ideas for how to do things in new and special ways can patent their ideas - the government makes it official, that you own that idea, and people have to pay you to use it."
Ro's eyebrows were raised in surprise. "Seriously? You can get paid to do this?"
"Yep!" Kid Joey said. "But only if I keep Sir WHIP's name out of it, and nobody sees how I do it. I can't really get a patent because Sir WHIP's a big secret."
"Well then, why is Mrs. Levy paying you?"
"Because she said she pays a lot of money to have her trash taken away by the garbage men, and she would rather pay me because we're friends. And because it's fun to watch."
"And I bring the popcorn," Mrs. Levy said, chuckling, holding out a pot with a lid. "Watch this."
She sat the pot on Dad's grill and backed away. Sir WHIP flew in from high in the sky where he'd been circling, stoking his fire. He swooped down, inches above the grill and puffed - just once, he didn't want to melt Mrs. Levy's pot - and there was a great noise inside the pot and suddenly popcorn overflowed a bit and pushed the lid crooked from inside.
Everyone clapped and Ro giggled, taking a piece of popcorn as Sir WHIP soared upward to circling height.
Mrs. Levy laughed. "Okay, Kid Joey! Now we're ready for the real show!"
Ro and Kid Joey put on rubber gloves that Mom had given them for trash day (when someone in your house is sick, rubber gloves, and then washing hands is very important). Mrs. Levy sat down in a lawn chair, over by the fence, with a bowl of popcorn sitting in her lap, a great smile on her face awaiting the children's entertainment.
Kid Joey was first. He tossed two milk jugs into the air just as Sir WHIP swooped over his head and puffed fire out his nose and POOF! Gone! Not even any ashes left over. Then it was Ro's turn with a grocery store bag full of tissues and stuff from a waste basket. Sir WHIP dove toward it and puffed fire. POOF! Gone! Mrs. Levy clapped. "Brilliant! Better than fireworks on the Fourth of July!!"
Just then Gramps Blaze and Nana Terri came into the yard through the gate, carrying a big trash can between them. "We smelled popcorn," Gramps Blaze said, smiling, and dumped their can in the middle of the yard, set it over by the back gate, and then took a seat with the ladies. "Let's see what you've got, kid!"
Mrs. Levy passed her bowl around as everyone watched the pyrotechnic trash show early on Saturday morning before anyone else was even out of bed.
"Stroke of genius!" Gramps Blaze said to Kid Joey, who took a little bow.
"Thank you! But I have a lot of help from my friends." With that he and Ro tossed four bags high up into the air, one from each hand, and POOF! POOF! POOF! POOF! - Gone!
Meanwhile, Mom and Dad woke up and happened to look out the kitchen window while they were making breakfast. Dad called Mom over to join him and watched Mrs. Levy, Nana Terri, and Gramps Blaze all clapping and cheering while Ro and Kid Joey tossed little bags of trash high into the air and Sir WHIP snorted fire at them, poofing them out of existence. Dad shook his head and laughed. "What is that kid and that dragon gonna come up with next?!" he said. "Come on, let's go get us some popcorn and watch!"