Friday, May 13, 2005


      Somewhere far away from the little blue-green planet known as Earth... there was empty space. Then, just a few flinches to the right... there was also empty space. But, even farther away, in a completely different direction, with a quick turn here and a nose-dive there... there was more empty space. Come to think of it, the Universe is pretty much nothing forever, with little moments of twinkly.
      And then there was Douglas Dent. He was floating somewhere in sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, but didn't know it. He just knew that outer space was a very strange place for a twelve-year-old boy to be.
      There was a lot Douglas couldn't remember. For example, he couldn't remember if he'd brushed his teeth this morning. He couldn't remember whether he'd finished all his homework. And he especially couldn't remember why he'd been dropped off in the middle of outer space, instead of at Hamilton Elementary School. He did seem to remember being a tall boy with light brown hair, but when he tried to look for himself, there wasn't anything there. Just his thoughts drifting among stars and nebulas and things.
      He wondered what time it was back on Earth. Was he missing recess? Dinner? Bedtime? Without day and night, there'd be no way to tell when it was bedtime. Wait - no bedtime?! YES! He was finally free of all the things grown-ups had said were really important and totally unavoidable. No chores! No grades! No vegetables! Maybe this wasn't so bad after all...
      Then he felt it. At the very edge of his senses, a vibration began to ripple across the surface of the Universe. It rumbled through the darkness toward him, and the stars jangled like wind chimes in its wake.
      "Oh no," thought Douglas, "not again."
      But the rumbling only grew louder, closer, until he was tumbled by the force of a single, haunting, ghastly word: "DENT".
      The stars and nebulas and things swirled around, as if he'd been hit on the head with a large cartoon mallet. He panicked and grasped for one last dizzying glimpse of the Universe before it left him. Everything closed up and blinked out like an old TV screen.
      He opened his eyes.
      "AHHH!" yelped Douglas at the scariest big orange blur in the Universe.
      "Mr. Dent," spoke the orange blur, "I hope you haven't been sleeping through my lesson on mythology."
      "No, of course not," Douglas said through a yawn, "The sun was in my eyes." The class giggled.
      "Good," replied what looked more and more like Mrs. Thorne, "Then you can remind the class how our hero Perseus kept from getting turned to stone by the monster Medusa."
      "Sure," he said cheerily, "He used his shield as a mirror, so he didn't have to look at her - like this..." Douglas turned around in his chair, used his hand as a mirror, and fought a pretend monster behind him. The class laughed.
      "Correct," snapped what was now quite clearly his gray-haired, hard-chinned sixth-grade teacher, "Then you'll also have no trouble telling us who wrote the version of the story we've just read."
      Douglas desperately missed the big orange blur.
      "Of course not." He had no idea. "It was... umm..."
      Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. It opened.
      "Mrs. Dent," announced Mrs. Thorne in a tone of sweet maple syrup, "What a pleasant surprise." Douglas felt the weight of a hundred thousand homework assignments lift from his mind. He went for his backpack and the door.
      "I didn't mean to interrupt class," said Douglas's mom, smiling weakly, "I just came to pick him up for a doctor's appointment."
      "No trouble at all," his teacher continued, drowning even the largest of pancakes. Then one of his classmates whispered "Lucky break, Doug," and Mrs. Thorne had found new prey.
      "As luck would have it, Mr. Chandler..." was the last thing Douglas heard before the door closed and he had escaped. He looked around, gave his mother a quick hug, and they started down the hall.
      "What was a lucky break, Dormouse?"
      She had heard. And Douglas quickly rediscovered the hundred thousand homework assignments - they had just been hiding in his backpack. He ignored them.
      "Would you stop calling me Dormouse?" he said instead, "I don't read that kid stuff anymore."
      "Well! Happy Unbirthday to you too!" she said with love, and then tried again, "Your friend said you got a lucky break."
      "Oh that?" mumbled Douglas, "You just got me out of class early, that's all."
      "Douglas," she said, and stopped walking. She knew what he was hiding.
      "Oh, no," he said, and stopped walking also. He knew that she knew, but was going to make him tell anyway.
      "Truth is like a jigsaw..." she began.
      "It's no good in pieces," he recited with her. She smiled at him and sighed, in that way that only mothers can, and they continued walking.
      "I fell asleep again because facts are boring!" he declared before she could say anything else. And then changed the subject again, just as quickly, "You didn't tell me I had a doctor's appointment."
      There was a pause.
      "We're going back to see Dr. Bromyde," she said hesitantly, "the sleep psychologist."
      "You never tell me things!" he exclaimed, and then wondered if he was actually frustrated, afraid of going to the psychologist again, or just trying to keep her from asking him more questions.
      Things were quiet as they walked out of the school and into the parking lot. It was a warm spring day, so there'd be no talking in the car either, just singing into the wind. Douglas reached for the brown, rusty door and stopped.
      "What's the matter, Hatter?" his mom asked. He looked at her, a little strangely.
      "You always lose puzzle pieces when you want," he said, and got into the car.


Blogger V said...

Absolutely fascinating.

And an infinite more adjectives if I had time.I was just flicking through blogs randomly with the "next blog" button, but there was something about your post, that I couldn't stop reading it ever since I started reading it.Totally Grabbing.
Keep it up!!

My Blog:

7:42 AM  
Blogger Jesster said...

Great! Can't wait to read chapter 2!

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss you.

Do you think you could find me again, please?

ytrbt @ hotmail . com

12:57 AM  
Blogger ytrbt said...

Where are you? I miss you!! find me!

12:05 PM  

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