"What? How do you know?"
"I can sense it. I sense her absence. I'm going to call the National Police right now. Do you think it's a good idea?" he said, jumping out of his bed and dialing in the desk phone.
"Yeah, it's a good idea, but there's something you should know first.""What's that?" he was about to dial the last number.
"Kathy's out on a date."
He froze just before he finished dialing. He looked up at me. "What?"
"She has a date and her curfew is midnight."
He dropped the phone. "Nyah! What kind of curfew is that?!"
"A very fair one, and close your mouth before it turns into Fly City."
"Um…listen, Spiny. You know how much I care for your emotional and mental well-being, right?"
I sat up. Something told me I wasn't going to sleep anytime soon. "Well, that's impossible to believe in words in itself, but I think with some convincing I would believe it myself. Why do say that?"
He scratched the back of his head. "Well…did you give Robert permission to go out anywhere?"
His eyes nearly bugged out of his head. And I mean, really! They nearly popped out. "Oh, nothing. Just asking!"
Well, if that's all he…wait, why did he ask about… "Wait a minute! Why do you ask that? Is Robert here too?"
"Uh, no he's not."
"HE'S NOT!" My eyes nearly popped out. I jumped out of my bed, standing straight up. "He's not in the Palace!?"
"Um…no. My Teleport-Vision Power tells me that he's…playing video games at a new arcade in town." What?! Robert had sneaked out and…how do you like that?!
I stood up and went to my closet and threw some clothes at Larry. "You and I are going to make a little visit to that arcade right now."
"Good idea. Think we should go?"
"Of course! He's my 12-year-old brother!"
"Yeah and we should hurry. With my Biological Power, I see a horrible change in him."
I had a pretty good idea of what he meant, so I said, "What do you expect? He's a preteen now."
"Yeah, welcome to hel…well, more like the gates of hel-ow! Why did you pinch me?"
"You know very well that cursing and swearing is not permitted in this family!"
"Well…would it help if I used my Matter Power to change his form into an inanimate object or to swell his ankle in order to incapacitate him?"
"Just a suggestion."
"Well…we have to do something, quick!"
"Yeah, let's turn into a gas!"
"I said we have to do something quick, not something empty-headed."
"Well, thank you, Poncho."
I didn't hesitate. I finished getting dressed and dragged him by tail out the room, down the hallway, down the stairs and out the front door into the night. "Larry, we have to go."
"Yeah, let's go back ho-Ooo! Why do you keep pinching me?"
"Why do you keep saying stupidities?"
"Why do…you got me on that one. Okay, let's go." He walked over to TIV.
"Hey, wait a minute!" I yelled. "We can't drive over there."
"Well, because everybody knows that I drive in TIV. I don't want Robert to know that I'm there. We have to be more inconspicuous."
"You mean, walk?"
"No, I mean swim. Of course I mean walk! How far is that arcade place? Is it the new one that's about three miles down the road? Where they also made a new bowling alley?"
"Yeah. So what?"
"It's not a long walk. Now come on. Let's go already!"
"All right." We both walked out of the Palace Gates and went down the street. It took about ten minutes to get there. Surprisingly, for a new place that had just opened, it was kind of empty. Just a few kids and employees.
Larry and I got out of the car and stepped in, trying to be unnoticeable. We sneaked behind some people checking in. If anyone recognized me, this whole thing would turn into a disaster. "Where's Robert?" I whispered.
Larry looked around and pointed straight ahead. "Over there. He's playing pool with those kids."
Huh? Robert playing pool?! He didn't even know how to play. Larry must've been reading my thoughts with his Mind-Reading Power, because he said, "He's doing surprisingly good. Not to mention the not-to-bad looking girls."
That really made me jump. I looked closer. I only saw one girl. She seemed to be Robert's age. She had long golden-blonde hair and was staring at Robert so hard that she could have turned him into stone.
"And she's also breaking the National Dress Code," Larry mentioned.
That was also true. For such a young girl, she was wearing stuff that should be illegal even for 29-year-olds. Never mind the details. Anyways, I said to Larry, "We have to sneak up and see what's happening without anyone noticing."
"Why don't we just stand there at the door?"
I stared at the fool in front of me. "Well, if you don't me saying so, Mr. Perry Mason, I had a more practical idea."
And so with that, ten minutes later, we came out of the restroom in our disguises. Dark suits and sunglasses.
"Waiter! Get us two large root beers!" Larry yelled as we sat a desk not too far from the pool table. But he ignored us, and instead took our order to the group of kids who were playing. They didn't say thank you or even tip him. Just gulped it down and smashed the bottles against the other side of the room. Of course, the waiter wasn't jumping up and down of joy.
"You kids are going to clean up this mess, you hear?"
"Sure, sure," said a hotshot kid who seemed to think he was Bill Gates and Justin Bieber at the same time. Then, without warning, another kid, who seemed to be of high school age, with red hair and green eyes, grabbed the waiter by the collar of his shirt and lifted him up four feet. "Where's your janitor?"
"He's…he took in sick," the waiter choked out.
"Then let him clean up this mess." He threw the waiter back on the ground. Then, a big tough-looking guy came out. He was a Dilophosaurus. (In real life, they are about 20 feet long and are not poisonous and don't have frills like in Jurassic Park.) "You don't clean, you're not leaving."
As if on cue, the two tough kids ran for the doors, but they closed and locked. Then the guy in charge said, "Play pool all night if you wish, but you're not leaving until this place is clean as a mirror."
Robert stood up and said, "Don't worry, sir, we'll clean it up." Well, it was a relief to hear that my brother was the voice of reason and maturity in this group of goofballs and jerks.
Anyways, finally, the waiter came through with our root beers and apologized for taking so long. "Don't worry, kid. It happens to the best," said Larry, handing him a $20 bill. "Keep the change."
I looked to my left, where the pool table was no more than five feet away. We had to think of some way to get their attention without asking for it. I had an idea. "Larry."
"Throw a penny over to them."
"Just do it."
He grabbed a penny and threw it in the direction of the pool table. But, somehow, it ended up in my throat.