Chapter 1: My Best Friend is a Mad Scientist
If I were to tell you my best friend was a mad scientist, you'd probably picture this old guy in a stained lab coat with crazy hair, kind of like that one from Back to the Future, that really old movie from before I was born. But he's not... not an old guy in a stained lab coat with crazy hair, I mean, but he is a mad scientist. Didn't figure that out though until someone mentioned it back in third grade but by then it was too late to find a new best friend. It's not that he isn't a good guy, but the sort of trouble he gets us into is kind of not for someone with a faint heart like me. Here's what I mean.
Back in the third grade, our teacher decided to let us take home the class pet, Harry the Hamster. Kind of a dumb name if you ask me. Harry's a human name and calling him "the Hamster" is like calling me "Colton the Human." That's me, by the way. Colton Grey, best friend of the mad scientist before I even knew what a mad scientist was. But as I was saying, our third-grade teacher decided to let us take home Harry the Hamster so we could take care of him for a week. Nathan, my best friend the mad scientist, took him to his laboratory to give him "the optimal environment for healthy development." He's into big words like that. Says it helps him "express complex concepts in a concise and complete way." He's not a snob, though. He only uses those words when he's thinking. I got a little nervous that he would try experiments on Harry the Hamster but Nathan said he wouldn't do anything but feed him and give him plenty of exercise. Nothing weird. "He's a class pet not a lab rat," he told me. "I would never do anything outside of his regimen." And I believed him. Sort of. Problem was, the next day he was pounding on my door and yelling that Harry escaped.
"What?" I cried. "How did he escape?"
My friend got sheepish. "That may have been my fault. See, um, I thought he was looking a bit peaky so I thought I'd give him some of my special concoction of vitamins to perk him up and he sort of... got bigger... and stronger... to the point where he gnawed off the bars of his cage and ran for the hills."
"Oh no," I groaned with my hands on my head. "Mrs. Reeder is going to kill us!"
"Relax, Colton," my friend said calmly. "We'll find him. That's what I brought this for." He held up some sort of gizmo with antennas and a screen. "My DNA tracker. Using a hair from Harry, I'll use this device to send out a radar, which will pinpoint him wherever he is."
Turned out we didn't really need it. We went back to his lab to start our search there when we heard screams and things crashing to the floor coming from his neighbors' house. Both of us hoped it wasn't what we thought it was but we both knew it was.
Actually, it was worse. Mrs. Kissup was on a chair, screaming about a devil rat and Mr. Kissup was up there with her, screaming something else that my mom would never let me repeat. And scurrying around on the floor beneath them was Harry the Something that Used to be a Hamster but Way Too Big and Scary-Looking to Be One Now. It took us almost an hour to catch him and we had to use an empty toolbox to hold him. We took him back to Nathan's lab where he used sleeping gas to put Harry to sleep until the vitamins wore off. I thought that solved our problems and things could go back to normal but then Mr. Kissup decided to talk to Nathan's mom about it.
"That boy of yours has gone too far this time!" he said, his face so red I thought he was going to explode. "Letting loose some monster rat in my house! You need to put him on a leash!"
"Please, Mr. Kissup," said Mrs. Nuthouse (that's "nuh-thouse," by the way) "You're overreacting. My boy never means to cause harm..."
"It doesn't matter what he means!" Mr. Kissup exploded. "He causes trouble and mayhem! Believe me, Mrs. Nuthouse, one of these days, his experiments will wipe our town off the map and all because you refused to reign in that mad scientist you call a son."
That's when I realized Mr. Kissup was right. Nathan really was a mad scientist. He didn't wear a lab coat or giant goggles or have crazy hair but he did have experiments that go wrong and they go wrong all the time. And I was best friends to him. Still am, two years later. He hasn't wiped our town off the map, yet, but that doesn't mean that he won't...