Sunday, January 10, 2016

How I Became a Mad Scientist- Episode 22

Chapter 5: The Great Escape

My mom came to get me a few hours later. Her eyes were red and her skin was blotchy. She looked as bad as she had those first few weeks after my dad died. “I’m sorry,” I said. “It was my fault, but they took Frank.”

She sighed loudly. “We’ll discuss it at home.” 
Agent Newcomb walked us out to the parking lot. “I hope you’ve learned your lesson, George.” She said solemnly. “Go home. Be a normal boy and forget that the last few months ever happened. You’re better off without your cousin. He’s a bad influence.”

On the drive home, my mom didn’t say much. She drank her coffee, focused on the interstate, and occasionally yelled at the other drivers, especially the ones driving 20 miles below the speed limit. I could tell that she was furious. When she was happy, she chattered. She only got like this when she was too mad to say anything nice to me.

I was nearly asleep when we hit our exit, but then Mom turned the wrong way. “Mom? Where are we going?

“The EPA has to clean our property before we can move back in,” she said. “Plus, everyone in town knows what happened today, and our whole street is crawling with reporters. They’ve even come in from Chicago and St. Louis. We’re going to stay in French Lick for a few days, until things calm down.”

“But how will you work?” I asked.

“WiFi. The hotel’s is decent, and there’s an indoor water park so you won’t get too bored.”

“What about Aunt Mary and Uncle Arthur?”

“They’ve found a lawyer,” my mom said. “They’re going to bring Frank home.”  I drifted off to sleep. Maybe Frank wasn’t doomed after all.
The next two days weren’t awful. Mom worked while I swam or hung out in the arcade. We ordered delivery, went to bed early, and never set foot outside the hotel. It was like we’d moved to another planet. I figured that we’d hear get an update on Frank any day now, but Mom’s phone never rang. The whole world had forgotten that we existed, and that was fine with me,

Then, on the third day at the hotel, I saw a familiar splash of red hair at the water park. It was that strange kid again, the one who’d been there for Bessie, the hover board, and the FBI raid. Why was he here? I scanned the sitting area to make sure my mom wasn’t around, then got behind him in line for one of the slides. 

“What are you doing here? No one’s supposed to know where I am?” I glowered down at him with my arms crossed. “You have a weird knack for showing up just as things start happening.”

He grinned at me, an annoying, condescending, know-it-all grin. “It’s my special talent. I’m just here to help, as usual.”

I scanned the water park again. My mom walked in with her laptop and a big cup of coffee. I pulled the kid out of line and we ducked behind the slide. “What could you possibly do to help?” I hissed. “It’s more like you bring trouble.”

“I saved you from the Kraken-Cow,” the kid said. “And now I want you to help me save Frank from Agent McCawber’s prison.”

“His parents got a really good lawyer,” I said. “My mom says they can get him out, if I testify about how the nuclear thing was really my fault.”  I peeked out from behind the slide. My mom had stood up and was looking frantically around the water park.

“Your family has no idea what’s really going on,” the kid said. “Agent McCawber’s been waiting to get hands on Frank for years. They’ll pick hi brain for anything useful and then leave him a worn out, drugged out husk of a person. They won’t let him go until the Frank you know is totally gone. We need to break him out of there.”

“I can’t trust you,” I said. I stepped out from behind the pillar and back into line. I waved to my mom so she could see me.

“Why not, Frank?” the kid asked in a cold voice. “Your father always did.” Chills ran down my spine and I started to run.