The ebook version of my book, Oswald Spoon and the Trouble with Invisibility, is FREE on Amazon from October 1st to the 5th, 2017.
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Read the first three chapters free below:
The use of a synthetic material made up of a lattice of precise spacing and repeating patterns that is less than the wavelength of light rendering the wearer of a suit made from it invisible.
CHAPTER 1: OSWALD’S HOPE
OSWALD SPOON zipped up the metamaterial body suit, closed his eyes, exhaled, and gave the command, “Wake up.” A globe-shaped hologram projected around his head forming a helmet.
He hesitated. You can do this. The calculations are right this time. I know it. He stood in front of a full-length mirror afraid to open his eyes.
His hangout, haven, and entire creative world was a marvelous converted barn he shared with his eleven-year-old sister, Orpilla. Big. Red. Perfect. After watching the Wizard of Oz for the first time at age four, she named it Big Ruby. Its color the same brilliant shade of red as Dorothy’s slippers. The entire family honored the clever moniker given to it by its youngest member. It was magnificent in size and shape. With its grand bow roof and every window and door framed in crisp white, it was magical in the eyes of the Spoon children and has remained so ever since.
This was a defining moment in the life of an aspiring inventor. Someone might take him seriously if he invented something worthwhile. And just maybe he’d impress Wennerlund Mulloy, his sister’s best friend.
“Here goes nothing.”
Adrenaline rushed through his system overwhelming it. Blackness overtook him.
A few moments later, he blinked open his eyes–the room out of focus. He lifted his head off the floor for a second look and saw only planks of wood beneath him.
He pressed himself off the floor, headed to the sink, then splashed water onto his face. Both to revive himself and to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. He touched the mirror. I did it.
Dizzy with excitement, he sprinted out of the barn and up the dimly lit tree-lined path, making his way toward the house.
The soles of the suit’s attached boots mimicked the durable padding and design of feline paws. Oswald’s feet whispered across the ground until he caught a foot in a gnarly patch of overgrown vines. Blasted overgrowth. Those really need trimming, he thought as his feet left the ground. His body a tangled mess. He hurled forward. Gravity forced him onto his dog Lucy’s abnormally large corn on the cob shaped squeaky toy, announcing his presence to the universe. So much for a stealth approach, he groaned.
He peeled himself off the ground and dusted off the dirt which appeared to float, along with the tiny pebbles embedded into his palms.
Orpilla’s bedroom light turned on. He looked for cover, his first instinct to hide. Wait. I’m invisible. He froze under her window, undetected, grinning hyena-like but with much better teeth save a slightly crooked eye tooth.
“Triumphant,” he whispered.
Maybe his chance at scaring Orpilla, the sneakiest parent deceiver ever born, wasn’t lost. Since they were toddlers, he’d taken the fall for most of her parental-rule infractions. My long overdue payback. He rubbed invisible hands together.
Cool for a Florida night, the Spoons had opened the upstairs windows. Orpilla appeared in her bedroom window disoriented, squinting as she scanned the backyard. “That’s odd,” she said. She pushed up the screen and leaned out to get a better view.
Oswald picked up a handful of rocks. Let the games begin. I’ll aim this one towards the wall next to her window. So spooky. He did an awkward pre-victory dance, drew back his arm, and threw. But then missed. The dense kumquat sized rock hit her in the forehead–dead center. Figures that cranium of hers would have an enormous gravitational pull. Ego-saurus. She disappeared from the window. He heard a thud as she hit the wood floor. That didn’t sound good. Man, oh man, oh man.
“I’m in so much trouble if she’s unconscious.”
He entered through the back door heading for her room. His Balinese cat, Ivory, detected him immediately. She sniffed at the air trying to locate him, ran in his direction, and sat at the bottom of the stairs looking around. Startled, she flattened her ears then hissed. He bent down and rubbed her face the way she loved. She chirped and trilled with a questioning inflection in her kitty voice. “It’s only me, girl. Sorry, I scared you, but I gotta go now.” She relaxed, glanced up at the large stack of steps, and decided she’d rather groom her tail. He glanced over at Lucy, a shepherd lab mix, who simply lifted her head then curled back up on her doggie bed–satisfied with the sound of his voice and sensing no danger.
He panted nervously. “Record note,” he said into the suit’s built-in mic. “Detected by cat and animals with heightened senses. Tweak environmental adapter. Save.”
He took the steps two at a time. When he reached the top, he saw a shadow shoot from the doorway of Orpilla’s room.
“Orp, I’m on my way!” he whispered-shouted.
They lived in an old farmhouse that had been passed down on his father’s side for over one-hundred years. It was more house than they needed, but they couldn’t bear to part from it nor from Big Ruby, of course.
Out of breath, he powered off his suit, manifesting once again, and trekked toward her room.
“Orpilla, I know you’re in here. I’m sorry about the rock. I only wanted some good old fashioned revenge.” I mean terrify you into needing a diaper. “Where are you? Are you bleeding?” he said, picturing a mugshot of himself wearing an orange juvie hall jumpsuit with a booking number as his new identity.
The floor creaked behind him in the hallway. He spun around.
“Grrraaaarrr!” she roared, one-upping him as usual.
“Crickey!” he said in a subpar British accent, “You, horrible opportunistic little pest. I saw your shadow coming from this room. How?” he said.
“Well you saw wrong. I heard you hauling it up the stairs, so I bee-lined it to the bathroom. I hid in there until I heard you mumbling and moving around in my room.” Blasted creaky stairs, he thought.
“Congratulations, you got me again. Annoying. Well, the real reason I’m here is I have something incredible to show you.”
“Halt. Stop. Rewind. Did you apologize about a rock before? You did this?” she said touching the growing knot on her forehead.
“Um. Yes. I think,” he said not yet wanting to commit to any possible consequences.
She stared into his eyes. “Okay. Fine. Yes. It was me,” he said.
“Wha…? When I got up, I found this.” She palmed the rock in a threatening manner. “How? You have the arm of a plate of spaghetti. I didn’t see you outside. And by the way, what’s with the tricked-out footie pajamas, weirdie?”
“Orpilla,” he interrupted, “Quiet for once in your overly verbal life. Sheesh.”
“So, you admit it?” she said, “You headache causing catastrophe with feet. I’m gonna…” she said.
“Before you get violent. Just listen,” he growled.
“Fine,” she sighed, “From your relentless pacing, I can see you’re dying to tell me something. Oz, you’re trembling.”
“I-invented-a-suit-that-can-bend-light-around-it,” he said without taking a breath.
Orpilla furrowed her eyebrows. “I got none of that besides suit.”
“This suit,” he said waving his hands up and down at himself. He continued. “I determined the exact formula and structure of a material that bends light around it making invisibility possible. A metamaterial to be more precise.” He enunciated each word this time.
“Oh, that’s what you’re wearing. I thought it was some strange new sci-fi, geek wear, footie pajamas,” she said not amused.
“This isn’t a joke. I’m quite serious, Orpilla Jane Spoon. Be the first to witness. Wait for it. ‘Wake up’.”
She spun around. “Oswald?”
He grabbed her nose. She screamed and swatted him away. Wrist bone collided with invisible wrist bone. They howled with pain in unison.
“Then shouldn’t you have said? The first not to witness,” she snorted. To her amazement, her brother was no more. They stood in front a large mirror over her dresser. Only she appeared to be alone.
He admired her comical timing and smiled at her comment. Glad she couldn’t see him.
“I can’t believe I’m about to say this to you. I’m…I’m impressed but mostly shocked.”
“Thanks. I guess?”
Oswald tinkered around with inventions but tragedy eventually propelled him into what he believed to be his life’s purpose. To make invisibility a realty so his family’s loss wouldn’t be in vain. To help thousands of kids around the world find hope again.
. . .
At ten, Oswald invented a kitchen trash can that notified his family when full, “Please, change me. I’m busting at the seams here, Ha Ha Ha, Hee Hee Hee,” until it was emptied. His father, Webster Spoon, didn’t appreciate that one. It mysteriously disappeared then reappeared at Big Ruby a few weeks later.
At eleven, he invented a pillow arranger and fluffer for his mother, Kay Spoon. During a nap, the device no longer detected her presence and fluffed her hair instead.
Her high-pitched screech broke the glass of the photo beside her bed. Who knew their mother could hit that octave? Ivory disappeared for several days. The only evidence that she was around was the regular deposits she made in her litter box and the disappearing food and water.
Oswald only wanted to cheer his mother up since the anniversary of ‘the day’ approached. His parents forbade them to speak of it, but most especially his name. Ewan. Webster and Kay Spoon’s firstborn child vanished five years earlier when he was ten years old.
The disappearance of Ewan Spoon
The kids often played in the yard and sometimes in the woods on their ten-acre property. “Dinner in an hour. I’ll call for you. Stay close enough to hear my voice,” Mrs. Spoon said. They knew not to wander too far unless they had permission and always stayed together.
“A bunny,” a then six-year old Orpilla squealed with delight.
“Mom is cooking dinner. Bunny burger. Bunny burger,” Ewan said, mimicking a knife and fork cutting across a plate and showing his teeth.
“Good job, Ewan. Why do you have to act like a total barbarian? Now she’s crying. If there’s one tear, a single drop, mom and dad will blame us,” Oswald said fearing he’d lose lab time.
“I’m joking. It’s a joke. Nobody’s gonna eat the bunny. I’m sorry, Orpi. I meant nothing by it. Sometimes we barbarians don’t think before we speak,” Ewan said and gave her a wink.
“Promise?” she said, drying her face on her sleeve.
“Cross my heart. Wanna see if mom will let us keep it? I’ll try to catch it for you. Okay?” Ewan smiled.
“Okay,” she said loving the idea.
The rabbit darted for the woods. Ewan was fast, not rabbit fast, but he went after it, anyway.
“Ewan!” Oswald shouted, “Hurry! Every time you don’t listen, I get blamed too. Don’t go so far. Come on guys. My lab time.”
“I want the bunny,” Orpilla pouted.
Several minutes passed. Oswald no longer heard Ewan cutting through bushes and crunching leaves.
That was the last time they saw him. Investigators and hundreds of volunteers combed the property and neighborhood for months. Every possible sighting of him only ending in disappointed hopes and further anguish for the Spoons.
. . .
“Truly, Oz, if I’d known you wanted to be invisible, I could’ve saved you the trouble. Be yourself and everyone will continue to not even know you exist.” She reached over her shoulder, patting herself on the back, amused by her own cleverness.
He shook his head. “I see your momentary lapse of kindness became unbearable and you corrected yourself accordingly.”
“I did find it rather disturbing. It hurt. Kinda. Much better now,” she said.
“You can’t ruin this amazing moment. Nothing you say can affect me. I’m invisible for Thomas Edison’s sake!”
“Fine. Have your moment. You might get on my last nerve ending most of the time, but I do have your back if anyone besides me messes with you.”
“Hey. Power it off for now. It’s creeping me out talking to you like this. So now what?”
He powered off the suit. “What do you mean? Now what? I might have hit my pinnacle here. An inventor’s dream come true. I’m not sure I will ever top this.”
“Meaning, what will you do with the suit?” she said.
“Oh, that. I want to make a difference in the world. My invention could be the perfect tool to rescue kids who’ve been kidnapped. The ones who can be traced. Worldwide, kids are held against their will. Forced labor. And other kinds of modern slavery. People are willing to rescue them. But it’s not easy. This suit could be their answer and a way to help bring to justice those monsters who’d dare hurt a kid.”
“That’s an honorable thing, and I agree with you one-hundred percent. But we can have some fun with it too. Several things come to mind. So, I get to be your manager, right? You will be like a total geek rock star when this gets out.”
“Oh no. I know that look. This is my project. Operative word. My. You will not railroad me into taking it over.”
“Fear not, brother. We’ll make a great team. They’ll all be drooling over what you’ve done. Can you hear it now?”
“The cat wants in the room?” he said.
“No Oddball. Whoosh! The sound of us cannon balling into a cash mountain. Hashtag twelve-year-old boy genius. Hashtag invisibility suit. Hashtag Edison squared,” she said pacing the floor. A family trait, apparently.
“Ugh. Hold your violin strings. I’m talking about children who need our help. And there you go. Off onto one of your impulsive tangents.”
“You always accuse me of being impulsive when I process everything you say. I see the big picture, and then words and ideas flow out of this incredible brain of mine.”
“Like I said. Impulsive. Being cautious isn’t a bad thing. The people who’ll care enough to make my hope a reality. Those are the only ones I’ll trust. That’s what worries me. Will there only be a few who care? Or will people want to use it solely for evil?”
It was too late. They weren’t alone.
Soon after Ewan’s disappearance, the Spoons became a homeschool family. Orpilla, a once straight A student, began failing classes. Oswald’s frequency of meltdowns from overwhelming grief increased, especially while in school. Full-fledged panic attacks with hyperventilation. The final straw came when he fainted for the second time in P.E. after one of his more serious attacks. Their family doctor said he suffered from the effects of severe trauma. He agreed that both kids would benefit from being at home. The Spoons wanted their kids to heal at their own pace with dignity.
Through unbearable grief, Kay Spoon mustered up the strength to have good days for the sake of her family. She also cut her workload decreasing the number of music lesson students down to only two per week. But as time passed, those days became less frequent when a sudden onset of strange symptoms occurred. Doctors tried to help her, but she only got worse after each visit.
The decline in her health happened soon after she received a call from a detective that Ewan’s missing person case became officially cold. Detective speak for investigators didn’t have a clue what happened to him and all leads led nowhere. The case would remain open and unsolved.
She started having holes in her memory. Then confusion. The police had to bring her home a few days after the news. She got lost and forgot her way back home from the grocery store. One she visited weekly for the past fifteen years. Doctors were baffled and recommended they put away Ewan’s photos and every trace of him throughout their home. Her interest in all activities rapidly waned. She blamed herself for Ewan. The burden she carried crushed her. She’d mistake Oswald for Ewan, then rock herself into oblivion. When their mother was no longer okay, their father gently led his beloved wife away to her quiet place in the house.
But during that brief period of good days, she immersed herself in Oswald and Orpilla’s education. They studied every critter–big, small, and whatever growing thing popped up from the earth. They collected fascinating samples and examined them under microscopes. Favorites framed and proudly displayed among family photos.
On those glorious days with their mother, they spent hours laughing and playing. She and Orpilla played the violin, cello, banjo, and ukulele, often late into the evenings by their fire pit. Oswald sat close by jotting down notes for his next day in the lab. He loved his mother’s laugh. She always teased that the crickets strummed their fore wings together right along with them. “Don’t you hear them? Perfect pitch.”
Mr. Spoon often joined them when he finished up his work for the day. Their parents slow danced by the fire while he sang I Only Have Eyes For You by The Flamingos. He always sang it off key but only saw adoration in his wife’s eyes. After their slow dance, they often sang Chubby Checker’s Let’s Twist Again and the four of them did the twist–a popular dance from the early 60s. Those songs were even before his parents’ time. Their mother’s love of music introduced them to songs from many decades. Though Oswald didn’t benefit from any of his mother’s musical genes, he enjoyed doing a very bad version of the twist anyway.
When their mother became too ill and unable to cope any longer, their father took on the added responsibility of their homeschool education. He nourished their minds in between his tech customers and caring for his wife. He fed them technology, music, science, or whatever his children fancied to discover. Oswald and Orpilla soon transitioned into unschooling, an interest led learning philosophy. Also known as life learning.
Mr. Spoon did intense research on this learning method and thought about his own educational experience. The more interested one is in something, the better they remembered it. He was always interested in technology, seeking it out on his own without his parents’ promptings. So he tested the theory. Took a leap of faith and became more of a monitor. A gentle guide. He provided the tools. Whatever book, wire or memory chip Oswald needed. Whatever sheet music, album, or equipment Orpilla needed to compose or tweak her latest song. Interest led learning helped them discover, develop, and focus on their strengths. They flourished, and it made them feel like they had more of a purpose. Exactly what they needed after their mother’s decline in health.
Melodies often dropped into Orpilla’s head. She visualized notes appearing on the music sheet’s bars as they came to her. Her mind snapped images of the dreamed-up piece until she could get to her music sheets or a computer to work on it. And Oswald’s ability to focus on a hybrid of science and technology showed his innovative side and opened up his imagination. Smiles returned to his kids’ faces. He needed no further convincing. Their happiness meant everything to Webster Spoon.
“Hi, Mama. How are you today? Came to see if you’re okay,” Orpilla said. She hummed a familiar melody, hoping to stir her. Her mother’s empty stare broke her heart. Her mother rocked in the bed. The worn springs popped and squeaked beneath her.
“Never mind then, Mama. It’s okay.”
Oswald headed toward his mother’s room. He bumped into Orpilla in the hallway. “Dad is looking ragged these days.”
“He needs help. Mom needs a nanny,” she said.
“Don’t make fun of mom. Me. Fine. But never her,” he said.
“No. I’m completely serious. A caretaker can come to her. It would be a big help for dad.”
Their hearts ached for their mother. They also blamed themselves for Ewan and were forever changed by his disappearance.
. . .
Webster Spoon preferred to keep his family under the radar, especially after Ewan.
The suit would change everything. It already had.
“As much as you seem to enjoy doing the opposite of everything dad says and dragging me down with you, I don’t think dad’s crazy. We should be careful,” Oswald said, “This suit is big time.”
Oswald’s consequently overprotective upbringing led him to believe that going public with the suit might invite trouble for his family. He’d move forward with caution at every turn.
She crossed her arms. “We can’t be afraid of the bogeyman forever.”
“I can’t filter mom out of the equation. People could flock to our home. The media. She won’t be able to handle that.”
“Why bother doing anything then? Our family needs to get over this constant paranoia. I miss Ewan as much as you, but it was a random tragedy which none of us will ever get over. I hurt. Every. Single. Day. He’d want us to live. To move forward.”
“This suit is happening, but my way, not yours. I’ve always been…disregarded. When we were in school, even in homeschool groups. I won’t let you. Not this time.”
She chuckled at that. “That could be a new low. Misunderstood among us misunderstood homeschoolers. Bwah ha.”
“I don’t mind being weird.”
He pursed his lips and exhaled loudly through his nostrils. “This suit means more than you can understand. Who cares what those kids think? I got over that. It’s meaningless after what our family has been through and when there are kids out there who need help. Being a part of rescuing kids means everything to me,” he said.
“That’s right. The Spoons. We beat to our own drums. Always have. Always will. I love what you want to do.” She drummed the air pretending to rock out.
He grabbed a lab coat and shrugged it on. “I have a surprise waiting for you at Big Ruby.” He couldn’t get there fast enough. “Let’s go.”
It was the middle of the night. Sleeping in was one of the many benefits of their family’s flexible schedule as homeschoolers. Sometimes Oswald worked on projects straight through the night, flipping his day completely. Thus, earning him the nickname, Owlswald. It was one of the nicer ones Orpilla gave him. A definite improvement upon Oddball.
The nerve, he would think. He could determine the formula, repeating patterns and structure of an invisibility metamaterial. Manipulate its surface patterns using a program he designed. But come up with a good single, solitary, and much deserved comeback or nickname for his sister? Nothing.
Oswald punched in the twenty-one-digit code, and the lock released. Click. The sound echoed.
“You’re letting me inside your private lab? Are you feeling okay?” Orpilla said reaching for his forehead.
He batted her hand away. “How are we related? Just let’s go.” He placed his hands on her shoulders and steered her inside.
“Whoa. This is more than I expected. When did you do all this? Are one of these for me? Cause this one’s rose blush. One of my favorite colors.”
“Or pink.” He aimed his thumbs at himself. “You know this clever guy thinks of everything. I borrowed some of your clothes to use as a pattern.”
“My brother sews. How precious.” She pinched his cheek.
“Ouch! Quit manhandling me. Had a little help from YouTube and Frannie over there. She’s my sewing machine.”
“You named a sewing machine? Wait. You own a sewing machine? This is all too much.”
“Frannie’s been a faithful helper through every trial and prototype. Garage sale. Ten bucks. Gal works like a charm. Never choked once. My faithful, Frannie.”
“Lucky you. I’d be vengefully angry at you right now for touching my clothes if you didn’t just give me the best present ever.”
“Should I be second-guessing myself on including you? Too late now. Go try it on. You have to be in it so it can be activated specifically for you.”
She hurried back and started doing superhero poses. She flicked her wrists out and added sound effects. “Does it sling webs?”
“Uh. No,” he said, trying to pretend he didn’t sometimes appreciate his little sister’s humor that annoyed him at the same time.
“Why so many suits?”
“Well, one for Wing, and one for W…” Wing Verde was Oswald’s best and basically only friend since they were five – ‘soul bros’ as they joked. They clicked right away. He considered Wennerlund Mulloy a friend but never said it aloud. Orpilla became territorial about her friends when it came to him.
Navigating tween and teen social structures and situations went over his head. He either referred to Wennerlund, who went by Wenn, as an awkward, “Hi,” or jumped right into a stuttering conversation with her. He, the sole stammerer. When alone, he practiced saying her name to her but immediately forgot the moment he saw her.
Wing and Wenn’s family were also homeschoolers who unschooled. The Spoons had set a spark that spread across several families in the neighborhood. He and Oswald worked on projects together for their Geektastic Science Co-op and Inventors Club. Membership. Two. But they were glad it worked out that way. They also played hours of online video games and had the large headgear to prove it.
“Ha ha. Wennerlund Mulloy. Cause you love my bestie. You love my bestie,” she said fluttering her lashes obnoxiously.
“Now I need to invent a mute button for you,” he mumbled under his breath then continued, “The activation device is at my desk. Gotta set you up.”
She shot daggers at him with her fierce bottle green eyes. “I heard that.”
He pretended not to notice. “Super. The activation device. What the what?”
“What’s the matter?”
His eyes widened. “Someone’s been in here. My chair is not how I left it, and my computer is awake. Let me check something.” He swiped his hair out of his eyes and forced it up his forehead with a rough sweep. One might call his hair messy or disheveled at times. Oswald preferred “artfully protruding as it willed.”
She squinted at the monitor not understanding what he saw. “How can you be sure?”
He scratched his neck roughly, his skin beginning to itch. “It can’t be. No one knows Big Ruby’s door code but us.”
“See that ceramic owl on my shelf? There’s a surveillance camera in it. I also wrote a program that records everything that happens in my systems for exactly this reason.”
She folder her arms. “How did I never know about this?”
“Well, I’m telling you now. And a camera aimed at the door. Hidden in the hole in the tree. I don’t want anyone touching my stuff. Especially you.”
The keyboard and mouse took a beating as Oswald navigated files and entered commands.
“I’m bringing it up now. I’ll go back about an hour on the log. If there’s anything suspicious, then it might help me narrow down the time the camera might have caught something,” he said between deep breaths.
“It’s probably nothing, Oz. You probably forgot that…”
“Oh my gosh. Right there. Almost fifteen minutes ago. We missed the scoundrel by minutes.”
“Before you freak. Check the surveillance video.”
“Right. Doing that now. I’m calm. Perfectly calm.” More deep breaths.
“Uh oh. Permission to freak,” she said.
“He sat at my desk. And plugged in a flash drive. Impossible. I always keep my servers locked with this.” He turned the right pocket of his lab coat out and unpinned a safety pin releasing a USB drive. “And the spare is hidden in a secret spot.” He continued perplexed.
“That’s beyond geeky,” she said.
Oswald ignored her remark. He long ago became comfortable with his inclinations and tendencies toward what most kids deemed weird. Besides that, he kept his friend circle slim. Intentionally.
“A masked villain no less. A black balaclava mask with goggles. Gloves. He thought of everything.” Impossible, he wondered again, straining to recall any security failures. Any mistakes. “If this thief got the plans to my suit, he won’t be able to activate it.” Oswald only kept hard copies of the activation device’s plans. He memorized the activation steps and never intended to store them anywhere. The thief couldn’t know to take the activation device.
“Well, that’s something good, right?”
His mind raced. Possibilities and scenarios came fast and furious but locked on this one. “It’s good and bad. Once he figures out he can’t activate the suit, he could come back looking for answers. We’re dead.”
“If he kills YOU – not sure how I get to be dead in this scenario – then this scumbag can’t make the suit work.”
“Thanks a lot. Make me the only one who gets to die then. Typical. And there’s this thing called bamboo shoots up my fingernails. It exists. It’s real. And bad guys use them to make people talk. Just show me a bamboo shoot, and I’ll spill everything. No need to actually shoot them anywhere. Thank you very much.” He petted his hands affectionately.
“Yeah, I’ve witnessed your struggle with hang nails,” she whispered, “I hope they didn’t plant any bugs in my Big Ruby.” They viewed the rest of the surveillance video.
“Not bugged. I got equipment for that too. It would’ve shown up on the log. Who could have been watching us?”
“And for how long?” she added.
“Yeah that, too.”
“I don’t see our intruder doing anything else,” she said, trying to sound positive.
“Like any of this is nothing. Who could know about my suit?”
“Try the other camera,” she said.
“Right there. He entered the camera’s view.”
“Seems to know where he’s going.”
“Look at that. Big Ruby’s doors slide open, welcoming him like one of the family. It’s gotta be one of your music friends. I know it’s not Wing. He’d never do this to me.”
“Our bad guy is a lightweight,” she said, “Sort of, I don’t know, ninja-like.” She struck a ninja pose. He shook his head.
He visualized himself as a target for the potential ninja’s Chinese stars. His clothes pinned to the wall by various shiny throwing knives. The ninja then laughing evilly in his face as he painted him with red and white concentric circles leading to the bulls-eye over the final beats of his heart. Then Chinese stars whizzing and whistling toward him, serenading him before certain demise. His vivid imagination both a great friend and enemy.
“What are we gonna do?” she said bringing him back.
He startled. “So it’s we now?”
“I guess I’m in.”
“Hopefully, blood will be thicker than water. Even if there’s a chance it might get spilled. Drained from our fingertips via bamboo shoots or from multiple points of Chinese star entry wounds or whatnot.”
She rolled her eyes. “Keep your dreadful imaginations inside your own noggin. Thank you very much,” she said, “We need a plan. How are we going to be ready for next time, minus any blood loss of course?”
Copyright © 2016 D.L. Perching
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