Authors: Mark Dunn
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Humorous Stories, #Science Fiction
on foot and
on foot,” said Wayne panting, as
the boys reached Old Hickory Road.
“So we have to get the upper hand. We have to get a car.”
“There’s the Professor’s house just a block away,” said Wayne.
“And lookit! Lonnie’s patrol car is gone,” said Rodney, noting the Professor’s
empty driveway. He grinned. “I’ll bet that ol’ Nash will give us just the head
start we need to beat Jackie and all of those nursery school police officers
to our house.”
Wayne nodded, a big grin curling his own lips.
Rodney raised the garage door. And Wayne drove her out. And she was beautiful.
And Wayne thought it was a shame that there wasn’t time to pull down the top
and give the Nash Ambassador convertible the full appreciation she deserved.
Rodney was surprised at what a good driver his brother was. He only drove up over
the curb twice.
The tertiary beam deflector was put into place. And the cover plate was screwed
on. And once again the Professor found himself in the frustrating position of
having to engage one of his inventions without properly testing it first. But
Rodney and Wayne and the Professor had no choice. Jackie and his thugs would
soon be at the McCall house. And it would not take long for them to figure it
all out—that there had always been a secret room underneath the house—a perfect
room for Professor Johnson’s new laboratory. And why wouldn’t it be? Wasn’t
the Professor fond of secret cellars? And it would not take Jackie and his men
long to find the door and break it down, or they could always remove the floorboards—
anything to get to that cellar as quickly as possible and stop the Professor
and Rodney and Wayne from activating the new Altertron.
No, there was no time to test the machine, to run the usual diagnostics. And
this was a machine that perhaps required even more testing than usual. For the
very first time the Professor had delegated the construction of one of his inventions
to his two apprentices. Rodney and Wayne McCall, with Professor Johnson’s guidance,
had put every piece of it together with their own hands. Would the new Age Altertron
succeed? There was only one way to find out.
At the City Nursing Home Aunt Mildred lay upon her narrow cot, praying. Former
Pitcherville police officer (Loud Noises Unit) Woody Wall, was saying a little
prayer himself as he soaked his tired feet in a tub of hot water. At the Ragsdale
house Petey and Grover sat Indian-style on the floor of Petey’s bedroom surrounded
by all the trappings of Petey’s boyhood (his model airplanes, his bug collection
under glass), their eyes closed tight, their fingers crossed. In the Craft living
room Becky waited nervously upon the edge of the sofa, sitting next to her father
who was just as nervous as she was. There would be no waiting for midnight this
time. Because, as luck would have it, midnight was already there. It came just
as the switch was flipped, and within the bat of an eye every Pitchervillian
was returned to the age he was before.
Aunt Mildred sat straight up on her cot and let out a happy yell. Others around
her sat up as well, and when they realized what had happened, they started to
hoot and yip and jump up and down in their now much younger bodies. Officer
Wall felt the pain lift from his soaking feet. Becky touched her neck to find
it smooth and youthful again. Petey and Grover felt the tops of their heads
and discovered hair—and two quite bushy mops of hair at that!
And standing next to the machine that Rodney and Wayne had built, the machine
that finally saved the town of Pitcherville from its worst calamity yet, Rodney
looked into the face of his brother and saw his mirror image, and Wayne looked
at Rodney in the same way, and each twin was pleased to see a reflection in
the other of his own boyish grin.
As for Jackie Stovall and Lonnie Rowe:— well, we’ll tell
what became of them in the very next book.
What we learned from the Age Changer-Deranger-Estranger:
1.) The calamities are getting harder to correct. Being eighteen
months old one day then being sixty-six the very next day is
much harder than being the color of peaches.
2.) The calamities are getting more dangerous. Several old people
almost died and I bruised both of my knees learning how to
walk all over again.
3.) The Unknown Entity took our Dad but it also took his diorama
“Democracity II,” even though it wasn’t finished yet. Why did
they want to see it? Is he still working on it?
4.) Why can’t I call my Grandpa and Grandma McCall on the
phone but Aunt Mildred gets to listen to her radio shows and
Petey gets to watch his wrestling shows on TV and Wayne and
I get to keep watching our cowboy shows?
5.) Petey and the other young children were taken to a special
place without walls or floors. A place where they floated as if
they were in space, where there was nothing but a telephone.
Where is this place?
6.) Are Jackie and Lonnie working for the Unknown Entity?
Lonnie is too stupid. But maybe Jackie…
The author wishes to thank the following individuals for helping to launch
this new book series through their support and valuable input: my wife Mary;
Ariel, Jake, and Laura Atlas; Kira and Pat Gabridge; and Jack Walsh. The author
also wishes to thank his literary agent Amy Rennert and his editor David Adams,
as well as his publisher David Poindexter and editor-in-chief at MacAdam/Cage
Pat Walsh, for their many years of dedicated support to this quixotic scribbler.