Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How I Became a Mad Scientist - Episode 11

Bob Eaton stood outside the office, eating a corn dog and talking on his phone. Bob was one of the photographers. I knew him because he’d coached my soccer team a few years ago. He was a nice guy, but kind of nosy. 

“Hey, George,” he said.  “Whatcha got in the wagon?”

“Um, picnic stuff.” I said as I frantically rearranged the blanket. “We’re meeting some people down at Sunset Park for a picnic.  It’s a family thing.”  

“That’s funny,” he said.  “Your mom was in here about an hour ago and didn’t say anything about it.  Do you think she’d mind if I came?”

“Mom’s not going to be there,” I said quickly. Bob had an uncanny knack for showing up wherever my mom was. It was creepy. We’d lost Dad nine months ago. It would be at least five or six years before any weirdos should even contemplate talking to Mom. 

“Why are you having a family picnic without your mom?” Bob asked.  His hand reached out towards the blanket. “George, you’re not getting into trouble, are you?” 

“Nope!” I said. “Still the same good kid I’ve always been. And Frank’s a good kid too. We’re just kind of busy.” I started to pull the wagon away.  The blanket tangled in the wheels and slid to the ground. Bob stared dumbfounded at Bessie, revealed in all of her Kraken-Cow glory.

“What on Earth is that?” Bob asked. His phone went into his pocket. His corn dog went into the trash. His hands moved toward the camera he always wore around his neck. I could feel my face getting red. Frank looked like a stuttering tomato. We were in deep trouble.

 “It’s a raft,” I said quickly.  “We took two different water toys and put them together. We call it a Kraken-Cow!”  

Bob grinned. ‘Oh, like the legend of Knotty Pine Lake,” he said. “I remember that from my scouting days!”  He snapped a picture. “Pretty clever. Don’t scare any boaters.” Bessie hummed in her sleep and wiggled her tentacles.  

“Huh, looks like the wind’s kicking up,” I said. “Better get it down to the river before the water gets too choppy!”

“Be careful,” Bob said. “And wear life vests. Your family’s had enough heartache this year, George. Don’t do anything that would make your mom cry.” 

I swallowed. “Of course not, Bob. Frank and I are always really careful. We’ll see you around.” Unfortunately, since he obviously had a crush on my mom or something.  We walked quickly down the street. I looked over my shoulder.  Bob had already ducked back inside, so he didn’t see Bessie waving her tentacles at him. 

“Calm down, girl,” I said. “We’re taking you somewhere wonderful.” Bessie opened her eyes and blinked in the bright sunshine.  I felt her tentacles. They were drying out. “We have to hurry up,” I told Frank. “She’s waking up, and the sun is drying her out.”  We jogged the rest of the way to the park.  

There was a crowd of people at the picnic pavilion and a bunch of kids on the swings, but no one on the boat ramp.  We pulled the wagon down the ramp and into the water.  I untied Bessie’s tentacles and they sprawled everywhere.  Slowly, Frank and I tipped the wagon into the river and she slithered into the cool, muddy water.  “I hope she’s going to be all right,” I told Frank. “What if she gets sick from all the pollution? What if she gets hit by a barge and dies?”

“She’ll be fine,” Frank said.  I felt a tentacle wrap around my leg and hold fast.  Bessie was slowly moving out to deeper water.  

“Let me go, girl,” I said, playfully batting at the tentacle. “I’m not coming with you.”   Bessie grabbed me tighter and mooed.  My feet started to slip on the rocks and I grabbed the wagon to stay up right. Frank stared at me, slack jawed. “Frank,” I whispered, trying not to spook Bessie, “Help me.”

Next Episode.


Anna said...

before the water gets too choppy

Really good story, by the way. :)

Deirdre Mundy said...

Thanks! I need to slow down before I post BUT... I also need to keep going so I don't fall down on the job. :)

I've spent years feeling guilty for all the free comics I consume online, so it's nice to add to the free entertainment in the world!

Anna said...

Yeah, edits are easy to fix after the fact; keeping your momentum going is more important.