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Professor Bumbly Bungles

Professor Bumbly was working in his lab again. For weeks now he had been trying to discover a formula for a super-stick glue. He wanted to make a glue that would really work.

"I think we almost have it now, Oscar," he told his assistant. "It needs just a little something more." He picked up a beaker full of a dark-colored liquid and poured it into the mixture bubbling in a flask on the burner. "Now I'll just drink my coffee while it cooks a while longer.''

Professor Bumbly picked up another beaker of dark- colored liquid, took a sip, and made a face. "Pfoo! This coffee tastes terrible."

"Uh, Professor," said Oscar worriedly, "I think the other beaker was the coffee, the one you just poured in the glue."

Professor Bumbly shrugged. "Well, it will give the glue a little more flavor. Let's see how this batch turned out."

Oscar turned off the flame and poured out some of the glue into a small beaker. He carried it over to the wall where the blackboard was hanging by one corner. Last week a small explosion from one of the Professor's experiments had knocked it loose.

"Put on plenty," the Professor advised. "The blackboard is heavy."

Oscar brushed the glue onto the wall. He pushed the black- board into place and held it there for a few minutes.

The Professor said, "It should be dry now. Let's see if it's holding."

Oscar tried to pull his hands away, but they were stuck tight. "Help! Professor, I'm stuck!" he cried out. "Your glue worked too well this time."

"Here, I'll help you," said the Professor. But as he moved toward the blackboard where Oscar was struggling, his elbow knocked over the flask with the glue mixture.

Sticky glue flowed out over the table and down onto the floor. "Oh, dear," the Professor exclaimed. "I'd better get the janitor to clean this up."

He hurried out the door. He found the janitor and told him about the mess in the chemistry laboratory. The janitor grabbed his mop and pail and rushed upstairs.

Meanwhile the Professor had a new idea. He had noticed that the janitor had a beautiful suntan. That made him think about inventing a new suntan lotion. So he went off to the library to check on some formulas. He had forgotten all about Oscar and the glue.

When the janitor walked into the lab, he immediately got stuck in a puddle of glue. Three students walking by heard the screams of the janitor and Oscar. They got stuck, too. Someone called the police. Soon there were two policemen stuck in the lab.

By the time Professor Bumbly got back from the library, the hall was jammed with students and teachers. Everyone was afraid to go into the lab. Inside the lab twenty people were struggling and screaming -- all stuck on Professor Bumbly's super-stick glue.

"Oh, dear!" said Professor Bumbly. "I'd better do something about this. I'll mix up a solvent to get rid of the glue." Carefully he squeezed into the lab, making sure not to step in the glue. For hours he tried one formula after another, but none of the solvents worked.

Meanwhile, television crews set up cameras out in the hall. The whole nation was watching Professor Bumbly and the twenty people stuck in his glue. Famous chemists from all over the world visited the lab to make tests and offer suggestions. Three of them got stuck in the glue.

Through the night and all the next day, Professor Bumbly worked on new formulas. But none of them could unstick the glue. As he was pouring Formula 414, some of it splashed into the burner flame. Fire shot up into the air. But before the flames could spread, the automatic sprinkler system turned on. Water poured into the lab. It put out the flame. It soaked Professor Bumbly. It soaked the other people in the lab. And -- it washed away the glue.

The 23 people who had been stuck -- students, professors, policemen, and famous scientists -- were free at last.

Suddenly the blackboard fell off the wall with a loud thump! "Hmmm!" said Professor Bumbly, "Perhaps I ought to try tea in the formula next time."


©1972, 2013 The Silversteins