I love those little rubber bouncy balls that you can get for 25 cents. I had a turquoise-colored one. Well, I have one. Present tense.
I'm bouncing it in this scene. My dad gave it to me when I was three. I made my first spoken sentence that day. I said, "I love you," or something like that. Cute, huh?
It was two weeks after school had started. The date: September 8, 2014. I was in my office. Just finished lunch, and, with nothing to do, I just started bouncing my ball. I'd done 83,659 bounces in a row when suddenly, the phone rang.
I'd been so concentrated on bouncing that the noise startled me and…well, okay, it scared the heck out of me and I might have, uh, screamed a little. Anyways, I jumped and accidentally sent the ball speeding towards my desk lamp. Crash! A thousand pieces of glass shards.
I walked slowly over to the mess. "Oops," I said out loud. I, uh, very gently pushed the mess under the table with the end of my tail.
Yes, I'm in dinosaur form.
Anyways, once the glass was no longer visible. I sat down and answered the phone. "Hello, King Spiny here." It was my cousin, Patty. "Hello? Spiny?" Patty's sort of old-fashioned. She doesn't use a cell phone. She uses a regular, 60's style house phone that's in her room. Well, her room and Kathy's. They share a …this is sort of obvious, right?
Anyways, where were we? Phones. Oh, yes. In my Palace, we still have the kind of phones where you pick up the phone and say, "Operator, get so-so." It's kinda nice and brings us the spirit of those times but that's not what I was saying. You really get me distracted, you know? Just for that, get your nose in the corner and stay there for an hour.
Wait a second, how can you read the story if you're in the corner? Okay, serve your punishment when you finish the story or right before going to bed.
Anyways, it was my cousin and adoptive daughter, Patty. So, I said, "Hiya, gal." Gal is my personal endearment for Patty. That's what I call her. I call Kathy "Princess." Rob's is "Robby." And Greeny's is…well, that is his endearment. Gredard is his real…let's move on.
Anyhow, after I answered, I said, "What's up?"
"Nothing much," she said, with her obvious yet subtle Scottish accent. "You're not too busy, are you?"
"Oh, uh, ah, no, no." I didn't have any desire of telling anyone about the, uh, Ball-and-Desk Incident. So I answered with humor. "I was drawing out my plan to elope with Lilia and never be heard of again." Say, that wasn't a bad idea. Cough, I mean uh…
Patty knew I was joking, of course. "Oh, Spiny. You have just vivid imagination."
I like to kid around. I especially like to make nice, beautiful girls laugh. Unless I've just been singing karaoke and my voice breaks. Or when I walk in front a group of gals during the winter when I'm wearing my leather Sherlock Homes-style raincoat and they laugh at how ridiculous I look. I like to make girls laugh 'cause they think I'm cute or charming, not because I'm pathetic.
But the point is, I like to kid around. But not too much. Balance is the key to everything in this life. Joke around girls too much and they'll run from you like you got the Black Death disease. Girls like a guy with a sense of humor, but also a sense of seriousness.
Why the heck am I talking about this when I have a story to tell? Let's resume. Sorry about the interruption.
After Patty appreciated my joke, I said, "So, what is it?"
"Well," she said. "You know how the school dance is next week?"
"Well, I'm here in the principal's office and well, he wanted to talk to you?"
"HUH?!" Why is it that, anytime the principal calls for you your stomach gets sour and your heart beats so bad your ribcage gets shivery? The first thing that pops in your mind is "What did I do?" And even though you haven't done anything bad, you feel guilty.
"Oh…um…all right. It's okay, I guess."
A little minute of silence. Then, Mr. Anderson's voice. "Ah, young man, Spiny!"
"Well, gee, how are you Mr. Anderson, uh, sir?" I managed to answer.
"I hope I am not interrupting something important, Your Majesty?"
"No, not at all. How can I help you?"
Gulp. Here it came. Was he going to give me detention for refusing to go to the dance with his sniveling, sneaky daughter, Kylie? Even after she asked me so many times I almost yelled at her and pulled her hair?
I'm naturally gentle and warm and friendly with girls. It just comes naturally to us guys. Well, not before adolescence. Before adolescence we guys think of girls as, uh, an invasive species. Kathy tells me girls think the same of us guys. But after adolescence, thing take a 180® turn. We suddenly treat each other with the same qualities I mentioned before.
However, like with everything, there are exceptions. Even though I've won the Guinness World Record for "Best Looking Young Man Under Age of 21" every year since 1969, and I have millions of young female admirers—boy I sure hope Lilia's one of them—I do know that not all girls like me.
I happen to know that some don't like my scientific capabilities. Or maybe they think I'm a show-off.
Anyways, it works the other way around. If a girl acts persistent and makes a pest of herself and makes fun of a guy's Actual Love Interest, then you can bet all the money in the world that the guy will shut her out completely. Like she doesn't even exist. That's what I do with Kylie.
Anyways, after I asked Mr. Anderson what favor I could for him, he said, "Would you pick the theme for the school dance next Friday?"
"…." Me? Pick the theme? I'd never have that honor before. This could be fun. Better than taking You-Know-Who to the dance.
"Well," I said, after finding my voice. Then I had an idea. It was a theme I've seen in numerous TV shows and movies and stories, but had never seen in a real life school dance. "How about an 'Under the Sea' theme?"
He was quiet for a minute then, "All right. We'll do it."
He hung up and I returned to work. School dance. Dance. Yes, dance I said to myself. It's next Friday. You've had two weeks to ask Lilia out to the dance and you've just walked around that school building like a dang fool! I mean, Lilia was INCREDIBLY beautiful. Well, is. Strangely, before the 8th grade, no guy ever noticed her. And now, all of the sudden, every other guy was drooling over her. Not actually over her. It's just a metaphor that means…I think you know. I'd heard from Kathy and Dimetroodon that, literally 64 different guys had asked her. Good thing was she'd said no every time.
I had to act fast. But, I like to things one at a time. I had eleven days.
Then, I had an idea! Hmm. What if…
I grabbed my iPhone and texted my sister. I really hoped she was in lunch, and not in class. Anyways, I texted this message: "Hey! U busy?"
A few minutes later, response: "Not really. Just had lunch. What's up?"
"U got Lilia's #?"
"Going to ask her out 2 to Arnold's."
"Gr8t idea!" Then she sent me Lilia's number.
I looked at the clock on the computer screen. I had about three minutes before she had to go back to class.
Without hesitation, and in a dreamlike and surreal way, I started dialing her number on my iPhone. Ring. Ring. Ring.
"Hello?" Her sweet, innocent voice echoed through my eardrums like when a tuning fork strikes metal.
I quietly cleared my throat. "Hello," I said, trying to keep my voice from breaking.
I thought I heard a soft gasp. "Spiny?"
How did she know it was me? "Uh, yeah. Lilia?"
"Um, yes. I'm surprised you called me. How'd you get my number?"
"Oh, uh, Kathy gave it to me."
"Oh." There was a silence. "Well, can I help you with anything?" Man, the way her voice sounds when she asks questions! Even that seems pretty about her.
My mind raced. "Can you meet me at Arnold's after school? You know, uh, a little snack?"
"Uh…well, I, uh, I don't know if I ought to. I mean, I don't have money."
"I'll pay for us both."
Oh, please say yes I pleaded silently.
"Okay," she said and I just about fainted.
"How about 4:10?"
"Okay. It's a date then. Bye." HUH?! A date? Now, wait a minute! A date is…on the other hand…dates don't have to be formal to be romantic. Score! I said to myself. That's the way to do it.
At that moment, the desk phone rang. It was Larry. "What is it?"
"Come on down to the lab, please."
"Okay, be right down." I don't really take orders from Larry. But when says to meet him in the lab, it usually means he's made an incredible discovery or an amazing invention. And I like to be the first one to find out. Didn't take me more than twenty minutes to get to the lab.
The lab, as I mentioned in the first story, is an underground room, which means no windows. It has a five-inch iron door. Inside, there's about a half dozen super-powerful supercomputers.
There's test tubes, microscopes, 3D simulations, webcams, phones, and weapons-testing procedures. There's only like seven or so people working there.
So anyways, I walked in. (I was in dinosaur form here, since I ended my conversation with Lilia.)
The first person I saw was my cousin. No, not Patty. This was an actual, dinosaur cousin. My late father's nephew.
He's a Suchomimus. His name is Rudy.
"Hey, dude!" he said when he saw me.
"Howdy," I answered. We gave each other the secret handshake.
"Oh, just great," he answered. Rudy lives on the northern side of Sauropolis. He's in 7th grade, yet, also works for me.
He lives with his parents and is an only child. His father, you should know, is very abusive and mean. Yells, throws things, curses and swears things like that.
Anyways, I walked to other side of the room, where Larry was sloshing some strange, multi-colored liquids back and forth between test tubes.
"All right. What is it?" I said.
"Just wait and watch," he answered without looking at me. He kept mixing the liquids till he got a perfect shade of magenta. Then, he placed the liquid in a glass beaker and over a small flame.
After a few seconds, he poured the liquid in a glass cup. Then, he held it close to me. "Drink this."
Excuese me? Me? Drink that? That? No way! "Why should I?" I mean, hello! Nobody forces King Spiny to do anything.
"Just do it."
Suspicious, don't you think so?
"Oh, all right. But if I die, I'll hold you personally responsible." That didn't make sense, right? I mean, how could you hold someone responsible for your death when you're already dead?
Larry didn't notice apparently.
I drank the liquid. Tasted good, actually. Smelled sweet. Well, I drank it all.
"Okay, know what?"
"Congratulations, now you have the Invisibility Power."
"Your first power. I'll give you more later on."
I stammered. "You mean, just like that? I can become invisible?"
"Yep. All you have to do is think invisible. Try it."
I thought invisible, like he said. I just thought the word. I felt a strange feeling came over me. Then I looked down at me…hey! Where was I? I couldn't see my arms or legs or my sail or my tail. I could feel myself but not see myself.
"I can't even see my shadow," I replied.
"Yeah, works like a charm."
I made myself visible. "Thanks, Larry."
"Sure thing. Just thought that I owe you one."
Actually we both owe each other a lot. I've given him brilliant ideas and suggestions. And he's saved my family and I on several occasions. Near-death occasions. I stayed a while longer, and then left to meet Lilia.
"Just don't go where you're not supposed to be," Larry said behind me.
I stopped and turned to look at him. "Like what?"
"Oh, like the ladies' room, your sister's bathroom, the girl's room during shower time…"
I left and ignored everything he'd said. How could he think such a thing?
Sometimes I think I'm surrounded by only two kinds of people: idiots and weirdos.