Superkid and the Mutant Plants

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A Day in the Life of an Unlikely Source

You remember Derrick Moorn, right? Has messy hair, brown eyes, a long face, and can be pretty annoying at times. But I guess we shouldn't blame him for that. His family was pretty kooky. For one thing, his dad worked at a sewer treatment plant and did comedy stand-up in his spare time. His mom worked as an art teacher at the high school and her art pretty much reflected her mental condition--a bit scattered and disconnected. He had an older brother with glasses who played classical music on his electric piano and an older sister who was a skateboarding pro.

The Moorns had a yard… er, well, a space to have a yard if they would bother to upkeep it. It was right now just a dry patch of dirt--no plants of either the mutant or the ordinary kind. And it was here in this unflattering spot where the first seed of resistance sprouted… kind of poetic in an ironic sort of way.

It all began with Derrick, who was sitting next to the fence, playing with his superhero action figures--none of which, I'm sorry to say, was Superkid. No, all he had was a blue-and-red-clad geek with bug-like eyes; a guy dressed all in black with a ridiculously large cape and a cowl with long ears; and another guy who wore bright red underwear over his costume. He also had a ninja action figure. Now normally Derrick would just be hanging out with his friends, but Aaron was busy with summertime gardening and Darrin was at the store with his mom--for better reasons than you might think--thus the reason why Derrick was playing with his pitiful collection of superhero action figures.

"You'll never get away with this!" Derrick mimicked while rocking the flashy underpants dude.

"Ha ha ha! You'll never get away now, not when you're stuck in my super strong web! He mimicked in a gruffer voice, rocking the guy who was clad in his own webbing.

"Ha ha ha!" This time his voice was falsetto while he rocked the guy dressed in black. "And since he's trapped, let me read his mind so I can find out his most embarrassing secrets and tell them to everybody!"

Next he rocked the ninja and said, also in falsetto, "When you're done, I'm going to karate kick him in his pants because he's a guy and I hate guys!"

Then he deepened his voice and said as ominously as he could, "Well, when you're all finished, I have a surprise for him."

Derrick faked gasps and then cried, "Who's there?"

Then he answered in his ominous voice, "Ha ha ha! Fear me! For I am the ultimate evil…" He reached behind him. Then he pulled out another action figure and held him up high for dramatic effect.

He roared, "I am…"

He was interrupted by a scream… a real scream from a real person that startled the action figure. Ignoring the poor action figure's plight, Derrick jumped to his feet and peeked over the fence.

He saw a teenage girl screaming and running with her hands in the air while…

What the?

…while she was being chased by a swarm of flying nuts!

Awesome! Derrick needed to tell someone about this! But he wanted to get it as accurate and detailed as possible, so as he studied the chase scene he thought of how he was going to describe it.

A girl was being chased by creatures that propelled themselves through the air by a set of long, brown, oval wings that spun around like the blades of a helicopter. Their bodies were round, shiny, and brown. Or maybe it was their mouths because they were constantly opening and closing with clicking noises.

"Cool monsters," he said, "but they don't look very tough. Just snap off their wings and you're good."

Which is never a good thing to say within hearing range of flying nut monsters. They suddenly stopped chasing the teenage girl, who ran into the house where she was safe, and turned their pointy beaks to him. Derrick's eyes widened and he muttered, "Uh oh." Then he turned and sprinted toward the door.

With a clack of their hard beaks, the swarm whirred after him. Derrick tripped on the step leading up to his house. He caught the knob, which prevented his fall, but by the time he was back on his feet, the swarm was on him.

"Ow, ow, ow, OW!" Derrick swatted the evil, flying nuts that were pecking him. He managed to hit a few, snapping their wings and sending them bouncing to the ground. He finally got the door open and he ducked inside, but this didn't help much because the nuts zipped inside with him and continued pecking him.

"Aaaaaaauuuuugh!" Derrick yelled and dashed through the house to try to escape the mutated nuts, which chased after him, clacking their nutty beaks. He ran through the living room into the kitchen into the laundry hall into the living room into the kitchen into the laundry hall into the living room…

Then he veered up the stairs as though something had pulled him that direction… hey, don't look at me! I don't actually control the story, I just narrate! Still, he was running the action a little long. Derrick himself was too busy running for his skin's safety to realize why he had gone up the stairs, but it was music that had drawn him up… classical music played on an electric piano.

He ran into his brother's room. His brother looked up startled, ceasing his playing to watch in befuddlement as Derrick dove onto his bed and wormed himself into the covers.

"What…" he began.

A cacophony of clacking halted his question and suddenly a swarm of ugly bugs wheeled into the room and dive-bombed the bed. Derrick had picked a pretty good place to hide though because those evil little nuts bounced off and spun out onto the ground.

"What in the heck are those things?" Derrick's brother cried.

As one, the nuts stopped their attack on his covers-covered brother and turned to him. He gulped.

Derrick peeped out from under the blanket. He hissed at his brother, "Run!"

"I don't think that's a good idea," his brother answered, his eyes still locked on to the evil flying nut swarm.

"You want to be pecked to death?!" Derrick knew his brother was weird, but he didn't think his brother was crazy enough to stare death in the face! Or even a swarm of mutated nuts with propeller-like wings in the back of their beak.

"I must not show fear," explained Derrick's brother, who was, in fact, shaking so hard his glasses were slipping down his nose. "If I run, they'll interpret that as fear and attack me."

"So, what, just stare at them forever and ever for the rest of your life?"

"No," said his brother with a loud swallow. "I will try to soothe them. Charm them with music…" Still facing the mutated nuts, he reached behind himself and groped for his piano on the stand behind him. His fingers struck the keys a few times though not in a melodic fashion. He finally managed to get a good grip on it and clumsily brought it around to rest on his knees. He popped the cord back into the piano where it had popped out during the transfer then wiggled his fingers as a warm-up exercise and then began playing a simple song.

Derrick couldn't believe his ears. Mary Had a Little Lamb?

Then his eyes started lying to him. Either that or the little buggers actually liked the song, for they began to fly in a circle, bobbing to the tune and squeaking in high-pitched voice, "Rah rah rah rah rah rah rah!" Those little monsters were actually dancing!

Derrick remembered back in third grade when he had done an experiment for the science fair, which was "Do Plants Like Music?" He had thought it was a stupid project. Plants didn't care about music! If they did, they'd grow boomboxes! But it had been his mom's idea so he had done it. He had won second place with that project, to his surprise, but he still had thought the idea was stupid.

But apparently it wasn't. These plants were dancing to it like little kids! They were even trying to sing to it!

If I had used these plants in my project, he thought. I would have got first place for sure!

The first stanza of the song ended. Then Derrick's brother began playing again, this time a jazzed-up version of "Mary Had a Little Lamb." The flying nuts began spinning and chanting faster. Derrick was transfixed by the dance and couldn't help but chant with them, "Rah rah rah!"

They came to the next stanza, which his brother played faster, sending the swarm flying and chanting faster. Derrick tried to keep up with the chant but his breath kept running out.

The next stanza was faster. The nuts were now spinning at a dizzying pace and their chanting was becoming a single string, "Rahrahrahrahrahrahrah!"

The next stanza was even faster. The little monsters increased their pace.

The next one faster still.

And faster…

And faster!

And faster! The nuts' chanting became a squeal, "RaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAH!"

And then Derrick's brother stopped. The mutant nuts went flying into the walls with the cracks of BB guns going off and then they all dropped to the floor.

Derrick stared at the lifeless nuts. He slowly lifted the blankets off himself and stepped tentatively to the floor. His brother breathed heavily as though charming a bunch of mutated nuts to their death had been hard work.

"That was kind of cool," said Derrick, a grin working on his face.

"That was kind of weird," his brother countered, putting his piano back on the stand and then reaching down to pick up a no-longer-flying nut. "Where did these things come from?"

"Re-e-ed!" the nut suddenly squealed, scaring the living daylights out of both brothers. Derrick's brother dropped the nut, which bounced to the floor. It gave out one final sigh of "Re-e-e-ed" and then fell silent.

Derrick's brother didn't move to pick it up this time. He prodded it with his toe instead. The nut didn't react though-just lay there dead as a doornail on a dancing donkey… which, come to think of it, is actually a lot livelier than this nut was.

Derrick, who was a little braver than his brother, picked up one of the mutated nuts and--BOO! No, just kidding. It didn't react at all. Derrick even flicked it a few times in the beak and it didn't move. He pushed down on its wing until it sprang back up.

"I have to show Aaron and Darrin these," said Derrick excitedly, holding the mutated nut aloft.

"No wait!" His brother tried to stop him.

But Derrick raced out the door, leaving his brother in the wake of the fallen swarm of charmed-to-death evil nuts. He raced down the stairs and out the door. He raced across the yard, pulled open the gate, and took a step to race out into the world… and stopped.

It had never occurred to him that there may have been more than these killer nuts out and about. He probably assumed that someone had accidentally dropped a bag of nuts into a vat of radioactive waste and those nuts had developed superpowers and turned evil… which actually wasn't a bad theory, come to think of it. Creatures get dropped into radioactive waste all the time and emerge enormous to rampage the city. But that wasn't what happened with the nuts, Derrick. Sorry, nice try. He stopped and stared at how the world had changed while he had been behind the safe boundaries of his home.

Mutant plants were everywhere! Houses were overgrown with thick, muscular vines that were tearing off siding; yards were thick with living grass rippling with hunger; weeds snarled at anything that moved--which included their kin--and dainty flowers licked their lips and then patted them with handkerchiefs!

The mutant nut dropped from his hand. His mouth dropped open and he gulped. "This is more serious than I thought. We need Superkid's help right away!"

Having come to this conclusion, he was now charged with the responsibility of carrying it out. He bravely accepted this mantle of responsibility and immediately hurried off to find the superhero that the peaceful little town of Poolington needed so badly.

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