Tuesday, May 17, 2005


      It was a strawberry Saturday morning. The kind of morning when the sun no longer seems happy just making the sky pink, but goes around making everything else pink too. The brick walls of Douglas's school had a rosey hue, the freshly-cut grass seemed strangely salmon, and the small bubble parked in the middle of the kickball field was definitely pushing magenta. Douglas recognized it anyway, and ran ahead of Josef.
      "Why did you park so far away?" he asked from the pitcher's mound.
      "As with our species," Josef began, a bit out of breath, "mice spaceships move through many dimensions. Unfortunately, there is a danger to burpeling."
      "Burpeling?" smiled Douglas.
      "Yes," said Josef, "The burpel is a way to travel between dimensions. It was discovered by Professor Bathos Burpel, Dean of the School of Interburpel Studies, and now President of Burpel and Burpel Industries."
      Douglas fell off the mound laughing.
      "In any case, if you don't burp- travel in wide open spaces, and you make even the slightest miscalculation, you could arrive anywhere. Say, perhaps, in the middle of a mountain or an opera."
      "Eww," said Douglas. They both shivered.
      "Time to go," said Josef impatiently. And he pushed his tiny paws through the surface of the bubble, which rippled as he wriggled his way inside. "Come on."
      "Ummm..." Douglas looked at the small bubble. He performed a quick bit of estimation (as quick as he could, since it was a Saturday), and came to one inescapable, happy conclusion.
      "Do I get my own wheels?"
      "What?" asked Josef, quite preoccupied with pushing invisible buttons, "Oh. No, I'm afraid not."
      "But I can't fit in there!"
      "Try," the mouse replied.
      So Douglas reached a hand inside and the bubble began to grow. He invested his other hand. It felt a bit like breaking the surface tension on a pool of water and he had to fight an instinct to hold his breath when he finally pushed his face through.
      "And these 'wheels' aren't so bad," added Josef, as Douglas pulled his body in, "It can go from here to there in a blink."
      "Wait," said Douglas confused, "from where to where?"
      "You name it," answered Josef.
      Douglas looked around at the dirt inside the spaceship and tried to position himself as conveniently as possible.
      "No, no, don't sit down yet," ordered Josef, "I need you to jump."
      "What?" asked Douglas.
      "A hop. A bound. A leap. The ship will do the rest."
      Douglas jumped.
      He'd been dreaming of space his whole life, but here, in this most dreamlike instant, it felt as though he were finally waking up. All at once, he understood that everything had changed.
      The jump itself wasn't very high, but as he pushed on the top of the bubble, the bottom followed. It caught him in mid-air and just kept going. The laws of physics didn't trouble him nearly so much as the sudden queasiness in his stomach. He half-wondered if he'd jumped at all. Or maybe he would just be falling forever.
      He sat back down by feeling for the bubble with his hands. Something in the way the clouds were rushing past kept him from wanting to look in that particular direction. Instead, he watched stars appear from behind the blank upper atmosphere, and realized that maybe night didn't disappear every morning - it just hid up here.
      "Found you," he whispered, "You're it."
      "What?" asked Josef.
      "This is a long blink." Douglas laughed, a little nervously.
      "Whenever possible, I like to distance the ship from inhabited planets before a burpel," answered Josef defensively, "As a primitive species, I would think you could be a little more appreciative of the courtesy."
      "Oh, umm..." Douglas stumbled, "That's... er... very kind of you." Then he wondered if a few thankful monkey grunts would have been more appropriate. One escaped his thoughts.
      "Besides, we have somewhere to be," added the mouse, "and I think we're late."
      A slit of white light appeared behind them, and quickly opened into a doorway. Douglas barely had a chance to see it, before he fell through...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's wonderful. truly. i'm glad you posted it.

7:09 PM  

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