Show and Tell (part 6)

The kids rush to the rescue

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Eddie dodged past Maddie, kicking in his full speed as he dribbled the ball, and leaping as he shot. It soared gracefully towards the hoop, but he had imparted a little too much spin as he threw, and it ricocheted away, to be snatched up by maddie, who quickly shot, and sunk the ball.

“Owned!”

“Yeah, yeah. Beaten by a girl. I’m totally used to it by now,” Eddie said, retrieving the ball.

“Naw, you’re not half bad, I’m just awesome. In fact–”

“Shh!” Eddie said, cocking his head.

“What is it?” Maddie asked, straining to hear it as well.

A faint sobbing was heard, followed by a short scream.

“What in the heck?” Eddie set the ball down, and carefully scanned the room.

“We’re the only kids here, right?”

“Uh, probably? The kids who wait for rides usually hang in the cafeteria, but it’s kinda late.”

Another faint scream was heard.

“Gotcha!” Eddie rushed to the far wall, and ducked behind  the collapsible bleachers that lined the walls, quickly followed by Maddie.

“Where does that come from?” she whispered.

“Ah, the boiler room, I think.” he replied, frowning.

“Then let’s go.” Maddie bolted towards the double doors that led out to the main hallway.

“No! Mad! Wait!” Eddie hissed as he chased after her.

As he hit the double doors that closed just as he arrived, he saw Maddie dodge around the corner, further down the hall.

“Mads!” He pushed harder in an attempt to catch her, “Stop!”

He plowed into her as he turned the corner, “Mad, you can’t just charge in, guns blazing.”

He panted heavily, hands on his knees. “I got somethin’, hang on.”

Eddie pulled the hexagonal box from his hoodie pocket, and pressed a button on its underside.

“What’s that?” Nancy asked.

“I snagged it from your dad’s utility belt.” The box unfolded into a small drone. He twisted it ninety degrees, splitting it into two pieces.

“Wow, that’s cool”

“Yeah, I didn’t have a chance to show you yet. Open the door to the basement. I’ll send it in.

Maddie nodded and opened the door quietly, “OK.”

Eddie maneuvered the drone into the doors, awkwardly at first, but then with confidence as he  got used to it, eyes fixed on the controller’s screen.

“Holy guacamole! It’s the principal, and she’s torturing… Ohmygersh, it’s your parents! Mad, call my dad, tell him what’s up.

Maddie pulled her phone from her pocket and tapped the screen quickly.

“Ah! Mister Jones! It’s Maddie, we need help! My parents are being tortured by my principal. No, The cops would think I was pranking if I called. Yes sir.”

Maddie shoved the phone back in her pocket, and ducked as the drone buzzed back through the doorway.

Eddie snatched it out of the air and connected the two pieces with a click.

“Your dad said he was inbound.”

“Inbound? That’s a weird thing to say.”

“Whatever. He’s on the way, so I’m going in.”

“No, Mad! Wait for my Dad.”

“No way. That’s my mom in there.”

She pushed the door open, and turned to her friend, “You coming?”

 

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Show and Tell (part 5)

The parent/teacher conference from hell

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The lunch room was chaos, kids were streaming here and there, finding seats with their friends, creating a cacophony of voices which made it hard to concentrate on his lunch. Just as well, he supposed.

It was meatloaf day, which was by far, the worst of the lunch menu. It was rumored that the meatloaf was the remains of lunches past, ground finely and ketchupped beyond recognition. Even worse (and more unbelievable) was that sometimes, students went missing, and found their way into the meatloaf.

“EDDIE!” Maddie slapped him on the back loudly.

Eddie jumped in fright, “Dangit girl, why can’t you just greet me in a normal way?”

She grinned toothily, “where’s the fun in that?”

Eddie rolled his eyes as his companion dropped her tray of mostly-but-not-completely edible lunch beside his and plopped down beside him. He eyed her as she dug into her meat composite cross section with gusto.

“Blech. You want mine too?”

Before he could finish his sentence, she had speared his from his plate and began working on it.

“Hey, I got a text from the ‘rents, we have to have a parent/teacher conference after school, so don’t make plans.” She mumbled around a mouthful of meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

“Aw man. Hope it won’t take too long, If we gotta hang here till it’s done, we might not get any game time in.”

Maddie nodded and shrugged, as she took a pull on her bottle of apple juice. “It is what it is, man. I just hope I’m not in trouble again.”

Eddie raised an eyebrow, “You been fighting again?”

Maddie grinned, “I’m scrappy, what can I say?”

“Bullies?”

“Yeah. You’d think they’d learn by now, they must be new here.”

Eddie snorted, “Mad. You’re ten, stop being a hero, and just enjoy life.”

“Lookit you talking, you’re only eleven, Ed. And only 3 months older than me, don’t get all adult on me,” She shoved the now empty tray away, “besides, I love beating on bullies.”

Eddie sighed, “Yeah, you do.”

***

Susan blinked, and a figure swum into sight as she came to. She tried to rub her aching head, but found that she was tied to a chair.

“Ned!” she called out with her best effort at a shout, but fell somewhat short and only managed a raspy mumble.

Her husband grunted, and looked around. “Sue, what happened?”

“I happened,” Principal Thrope said, her voice full of unspoken threat.

“So. Now that the two of you are awake, we can get started.” She unrolled a cloth bundle, revealing various tools, both blunt and sharp.”

“What’s going on here!” Ned shouted, his voice quavering.

“You and I are going to have a conversation,”  she pulled a rubber mallet from the collection of tools.

“Hey, there’s no need for violence. We’ll tell you whatever you want.”

The principal smiled, as if she was just offered a cold glass of lemonaid. “I know you will. But, in order to make sure you’re telling the truth, I’m going to have to use these,” She wiggled the mallet in their direction. “And to make it effective, I’m not going to use it on you, sir,” She pointed it at Susan. “I’m going to use it on her, and you’re going to watch.”

She nodded and his chair was pulled away from his wife’s and turned to face her.

“Well then, shall we get started?” she paused and lifted Susan’s chin, staring her in the eye, she leaned in and whispered into her ear, “just so you know, this is going to hurt him a lot more than it’ll hurt you.”

 

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Show and Tell (Part 4)

How the faculty of Sheridan Middle school got involved.

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By the time homeroom rolled around, Maddie’s stomach was growling. She was normally one to sneak a snack, but the whole superhero thing had her surrounded on all sides every time she had a free moment.

Maddie knew that something had just gone wrong, as the crowd around her shut up in unison, and a beat later scattered in all directions, leaping to their assigned seats. Turning, she saw Miss Meanor glaring at her and cringed. Time had taught her that being on the bad side of this particular teacher was a bad idea, not that she was a troublemaker by any means, just that she was perceptive enough to realize what was about to happen, if she didn’t throw some spin into play.

“Well hello Miss Meanor, boy am I glad to see you!”

Her homeroom teacher stared at her, nonplussed.

“Well,” she pressed on “I brought this in, and was hoping we could do a little show and tell.”

The teacher glanced at the scrapbook, and back to Maddie.

She scowled and held her hand out. “I’m going to have to look at it first.”

Beaming, Maddie closed it and placed it into the proffered hand, “Thank you!”

Returning to her desk, she dropped it in front of her and flipped it open. The color drained from her face, and she flipped through it faster until she suddenly stopped, leaped to her feet and clasped a hand over her mouth.

“Madison, are these…”

Maddie grinned, “yeah! They’re my parents!”

Miss Meanor dashed towards the door, but spun on her heel, snagged the scrapbook, and pointed to the class and shouted, “nobody move!” before disappearing into the hall.

***

Miss Meanor threw open the door and rushed into the principal’s office.

The principal, a middle aged woman with a severe appearance glanced up with a dangerous look, “Is something the matter, Dee?”

She nodded quickly, and shoved the book in front of her boss, pointing to the picture that had captured her attention.

“…Is that?”

“Madison Grey. She said it was her parents.”

“Which ones?”

“Does it matter?”

“No. Not really. I’ll take care of this. You get back to class,” she closed the book and passed it back to Dee, who scurried back to her classroom, slamming the door on her way out.

The principal picked up the phone and pressed a button.

“Edna? I need you to call in the parents of Madison Grey, 5th grade. Pronto.”

With a satisfied grunt, she hung up the phone and leaned back in her chair.

“After all these years…”

 

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My nation no more.

How has this spun so out of control?

With the things that have happened this year, I am now forced to re-evaluate how I see myself and my place in the world.

At a Nazi rally, (let’s just call them Nazis, OK? They’re wearing swastikas and everything) in Charlottesville, a domestic terrorist (Yes, even though he’s not brown, shocking, I know.) plowed through a crowd of non-violent protesters, killing one, and injuring many others.

It’s a completely tragic, senseless act of evil. I’ll have words with anyone who says otherwise.

And what does our president have to say? (from his 15 day golfing vacation that isn’t a vacation)  Trump condemned “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.” Any mention of racism or white supremacy was conspicuously absent.

He also ignored a reporter’s question asking what he has to say to white nationalists who support him, and commit acts of violence.

These Nazis feel empowered by his lack of condemnation over their evil ways.

So that leaves me, a brown man in a country where the white man is increasingly willing to commit horrific deeds to minorities.

Well, we have the eclipse coming up soon, fingers crossed for a zombie apocalypse.

 

 

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Show and Tell (Part 3)

The Nerdlettes begin their show-and-tell

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Having figured out the gimmick to make the secret panel close again, the two of them snuck the scrapbook into Maddie’s room, where the two of them pored over its contents carefully.

“I can’t believe it! Our parents were superheroes!” She squealed.

“I know! We gotta show our friends! They’re going to be so jelly!”

“Supa jelly!” Maddie nodded, closing it with finality and shoving it under her pillow.

“Tomorrow then?”

A car horn tooted twice in quick succession.

“Ah! Your mom’s here. Check your place to see if your parents have anything.” She spun Eddie around and shoved him out the door of her room.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m on it.” Eddie waved as he snagged his book bag from the couch and headed out.

***

“Hey Mad,” Eddie said as his best friend slid into the bench of the cafeteria table beside him, “You bring it?”

“You betcha,” she grinned, “Ready to get this show on the road?”

He grinned manically, mimicking her “You betcha.”

A few minutes later, the two of them had a large crowd of students around them jockeying for the best spot to see the scrapbook. Even before the first bell had rung, the entire school had heard about it, which suited Maddie just fine, because neither of them had ever really been the center of attention of anything.

“Hey, Maddie,” Julie whispered, “Are your parents still superheroes?”

Maddie shook her head, “I’m pretty sure they retired, my dad is an IT manager. I can’t really imagine him going out and fighting crime anymore. It’s a career for the young, you know. He’s almost thirty-five.”

“Wow, that’s old.”

“Yeah, but he’s still active.”

Julie nodded as if she had grasped something deep and wandered away.

“Ah, I’ll see you at lunch, Eddie. Gotta get to science class,” Maddie closed the notebook, and shoved it under her arm.

“OK, Mad. I have something to show you too.” Eddie held his fist out, and it was met with Maddie’s, “Later chick.”

***

Mr. Horowicz tapped the blackboard with his pointer.

“And if you move further into the solioquy, you’ll see more phrases that have been taken into common usage. For example, Here, where it says  ‘When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,’ and further down, ‘The undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveler returns’ Who can tell me how these were used in pop culture in the late twentieth century?”

Eddie had only been listening with half an ear, as he had been fiddling with a gadget that he had snuck off of the utility belt of the costume in Maddie’s closet.

“Mister Polowski!”

Eddie jumped up, the unknown gadget tumbling to the floor where it began to slowly unfold.

“Ah, yes. There’s a Star Trek reference there, sir.”

Mr. Horowicz glowered at Eddie for a moment, then glanced to the floor where the device had unfolded to reveal itself as some sort of a mini drone, “Yes, that’s right. Do I really have to tell you that we don’t allow toys in class?

The bell rang, and the class immediately began to leave, causing Eddie to snatch the drone up, to keep it from being trampled inadvertently by his classmates.

“S-sorry! I forgot I had it with me.”

His teacher grunted and dismissed him with a wave, which Eddie gratefully accepted, grabbed his things, and joined the press of bodies heading into the hall.

 

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On The NecroNomNomNomicon series

Rationalizing humor in a traditionally unfunny genre.

I was asked recently, “How can I call my series Lovecraftian, when the world is seemingly humor based?”

I admit, it was a good question, and although I know the answer, I never brought it up with anyone other than my brother Travis.

Here’s the f’real deal.

The original Lovecraftian world is dead serious. As well it should be. Folks don’t often get out alive or sane. And that’s kind of a problem.

A group of mages who were tasked to prevent Mythos type uprisings realized that the very nature of them tended to completely ruin a normal person’s life with just a glance. Sure they were usually fine themselves, but that’s what they’re trained for, but not the average guy.

What to do.

So they took it upon themselves to change the world in a very literal way. They molded pop culture, and guided technology to essentially jade the masses against what would make your 20’s era gumshoes lose their nuts. All the super HD horror movies, apps, television and other new and exciting things have gradually been desensitizing people against the reality-warping sanity-shredding nonsense from other universes.

Think about it. How many people do you know that would LOVE to see a zombie apocalypse? (raises hand)

Exactly.

The humor is a defense against the impossibleness of the Mythos.

But there’s more to the defense than that, but it’s a secret!

–Felix

 

Show and Tell (part 2)

The nerdlettes fall for the trick, with unexpected results.

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Maddie’s heart thumped loudly in her ears. She had only seconds, and she knew it. The bed was too obvious. Only a noob would hide there. The louvred doors of the closet caught her eye. Without a second thought she slid them open silently and pressed herself behind her parents clothes, closing the doors behind her as she went.

The bedroom door opened with a near-silent click, and Eddie snuck in. He paused, ears straining to catch a clue as to her location.

    Ah! My feet!

Maddie looked around, grateful for the light that streamed in through the slats, casting a golden glow over her parent’s clothes. She thought about grabbing the bar and hoisting herself up, but discarded that idea because her hands would then be visible. Having spent the last few years taking Tai Kwon Do, she was pretty agile for a ten-year-old.  Silently pulling herself up on the bar, she spread her legs and just managed to touch the sides of the closet. Shifting herself she let go of the bar and leaned back against the wall, confident that she was completely obscured from sight.

***

    Eddie had narrowed down the possible hiding spots to two rooms. His gut told him to check the bedroom first, and he had learned in his ten years, was that you always went with your gut. Pushing his glasses up with the tip of his index finger, he opened the door and crept inside, wincing as it clicked silently.

First, a token glance under the bed that dominated the center of the room. He knew Maddie wouldn’t have chosen such an obvious hiding place, but better safe than sorry.  Pausing, he cocked an ear, then walked around the bed, taking note of places that might contain his friend.

Feeling that he was being watched, he turned to the closet door and smiled.

“Gotcha, Mad.” He pulled open the doors in a flash, but didn’t find her.

Scrunching up his face, he hummed thoughtfully.

A sudden squeak of suprise and a thump made him spread the clothing apart. On the floor behind the clothes lay Maddie, half-inside a void in the closet wall that had suddenly opened.

“Owowowow, my butt!” Maddie rolled to her knees with a sulk, “You got me.”

“What’s with the wall, Mad?” Eddie leaned in for a better view.

“It’s too dark, hit the switch.”

Eddie flipped the switch, and to his surprise, not only did the closet light come on, but a second light, inside the mystery area.

“Ahmegershness. Ed. Get in here!” Came her voice from within.

Pressing inwards, The hidden panel revealed a further three feet of closet that had been sealed away. An illuminated stand dramatically lit two costumes displayed on the back wall, one in reinforced glistening black carbon fiber with utility belts with interesting gadgets, chunky armored boots and a tactical mask that looked like a skull.

The other was clearly feminine, resembling a cross between a Sci-Fi ninja and a tiger, complete with a cat ear headband. A display of weapons, both thrown and hand-to-hand, were displayed on the wall behind it.

Eddie stood there, slackjawed in amazement. He noticed another display, somewhat less prominent, off to the side which held an open photo album. Within, were photographs of four people in costume and news clippings, two of them, in the costumes displayed to his right, and another pair, The first looking much like a golden-age superhero, floating a good foot off of the floor beside the others, and the last, another woman who was strapped with a pair of pistols, numerous magazines of ammo on harnesses, and had an unusual looking helmet.

“Mad? Am I crazy or is this my dad?” He placed his finger on the floating man.

Muscling her way in to get a closer look, she gasped. The resemblance was uncanny, despite the half-mask that obscured his face.

The two of them flipped through the book, and saw the four costumed people doing more and more unlikely things.  Stopping an alien invasion, A giant badger, crushing a drug cartel, a handful of supervillains.

Maddie grabbed the book, “Cmon. Back to my room. I think we just might have the best Show-and-Tell ever.”

 

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