1. Front Page News
I ever tell you about the time they made me King of
true. I’ve got the crown and everything to prove it.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. It’ll be
in all the history books. Believe me.
uh...in case you’re trying to check it out, it only
happened last Thursday, so it might be a while before
it makes it into the records.
like I was saying... It really all started last Thursday.
I’d slept through my alarm again. Muffy was licking
my face, trying to get me to wake up. She purred louder
and louder, but I slept on.
me sleep," I yawned and nudged her away.
you’re going to be late for school again!" Muffy meowed
and rubbed her furry head against my nose.
you’re going to be late for school again!" my sister
Ellie yelled, sticking her head in my door.
jumped up in the bed and Muffy flew onto the floor.
Muffy sighed as she landed on her feet.
about that, kiddo," I yawned, trying to wipe the sleep
out of my eyes.
Muffy meowed and started cleaning her fur. "Better get
the paper, it’s starting to beep out there on your windowsill!"
she said without looking up.
Oh, you’re wondering why my cat Muffy can talk. Well,
that’s another story. Remind me to tell you that one
sometime. But for now, just take my word for it. My
cat talks. Whew, can that cat talk!
back to last Thursday.
couldn’t care less about that newspaper out on the windowsill.
Someone had been delivering it every day for years.
I never paid for it and I never read it. And I certainly
didn’t have time that morning! But that weird beeping
sound it was making would definitely annoy the neighbors
while I was at school.
dashed over and threw up the window, grabbed the paper
and tossed it on the bed while I pulled my shirt on.
It continued to beep. The papers had never done that
before. Flashed strange colors, yes. But they never
can you just toss it in the closet with all the others,"
cat looked up at me with a funny smirk. "Yeah, right..."
she laughed and went back to cleaning herself. "You
know you really better read those papers someday. One
of these days you’re going to be tested on all those
current events you aren’t keeping up with."
yeah," I groaned and grabbed the paper. I ran over to
the closet and opened it. I was just about to toss in
the new paper, when a thousand or so beeping-flashing
newspapers crashed down on me and knocked me to the
struggled to climb over the slippery neon-colored plastic-wrapped
papers. The beeping and flashing was driving me crazy.
"Maybe if you opened one of them they’d stop!" Muffy
roared over the noise.
was still holding the latest paper and I tore open the
flashing wrapper. Sure enough the thousand beeps stopped
beeping and the blinding lights stopped flashing.
WAY GAZETTE..." the masthead said.
headline caught my eye right away. "JUNIOR, THIS IS
YOUR LAST CHANCE TO BE KING OF THE UNIVERSE."
It definitely got my attention. Who wouldn’t want to
be king of the universe! I read on. "You’ve been chosen
by our nominating committee as a candidate for the position
of King of the Universe..."
was peeking over my shoulder. "You have to mail it in
TODAY!" she said pointing at the deadline mentioned
at the bottom of the article. She reads MUCH faster
I have to get to school!" I complained.
Your Highness. I’ll fill it out, while you throw all
these papers back in the closet. And then you mail it
off on your way to school."
handed Muffy a pen and she got right to work. Meanwhile,
I threw the papers in the closet. The funny thing is
that each one of them disappeared into thin air as I
tossed them. Before I knew it, all the newspapers were
shrugged when I pointed out what had happened. "Big
deal," she mumbled as she handed me the pen. "Sign your
did as I was ordered. Muffy folded up the completed
application with her paws and stuck it in a glowing
envelope she had found in the newspaper.
a nice day," she laughed as I grabbed the envelope and
dashed down the stairs.
was standing at the bottom of the stairs looking at
her watch. "Not a moment to spare!" she sniggered.
Ell, look at this," I panted holding up the envelope.
"They want me to be King of the Universe."
Ellie said, rolling her eyes. She tossed my backpack
into my arms. Fumbling, I stuck the letter in my pocket.
Then she stuck a bagel in my mouth and picked up her
own backpack. "Better get the lead out and get going,
your Highnee. Or I'll have to wake Dad to give you a
eyes widened in horror. Dad's just about the worst driver
on the planet and believe me, you do not want to start
your day with a hair-pulling, stomach-turning spin in
the car with Dad.
the thought of it made me feel nauseous. I dashed out
the door, running as fast as I could to the bus stop,
trying to outrun my previous memories of driving with
I remembered to stop at the mailbox.
pulled the envelope out of my pocket and looked down
at the neon colored "NO POSTAGE NECESSARY IN THIS GALAXY"
envelope. "Here goes nothing," I laughed as I popped
it in the mailbox. I chuckled and dashed for the bus
which was just about to pull away without me, with visions
of my Dad driving still dancing in my head.
Chapter 2. Taxi to the Stars
really didn’t think about being King of the Universe
TOO much that morning. Well, maybe it did pop into my
daydreams a couple of times.
I couldn’t pay attention to anything else. Besides,
I kept seeing this yellow-checkered taxi-like thingy
out of the corner of my eye, flying past the schoolroom
windows. It happened about a hundred times that morning,
but every time I blinked there wasn’t anything there.
then at recess... well ... that’s when the spaceship-taxi
came to get me.
was playing kickball, and man did I kick it. It went
up, up and then a yellow-checkered flying saucer swooped
down from the sky and swallowed it. The spaceship-cab
landed and out stepped... an entirely all too-familiar-but-I-couldn't-place-it-looking
really tall cat in a backwards-baseball cap and sunglasses.
He tossed the ball over to me.
the kids stood there with their mouths opened. "Greetings,
Dudes," said the cat.
mouths opened wider.
you ready for me to take you to become King of the Universe,
Junior?" the Cat asked me.
King of the Universe!" the kids whispered.
I stuttered. "I can’t leave now. My parents will be
sister stepped forth. "Actually, here’s a permission
slip Mom gave me for you."
I gasped. My sister's high school was miles away. How
did she get there?
come your parents, now," my best friends, Artie and
Merle, pointed out.
they were, coming from the school parking lot, and there
was a whole crowd around them.
that the Mayor?" someone whispered.
that’s the President!" someone else gasped.
mouths fell open again.
Mom and Dad hugged me. "We’re so proud of you son,"
they said. "King of the Universe!"
Mayor stepped forth. "I knew you could do it, Joey,"
he roared, pumping my hand up and down.
the President stepped forward. "Son, make your country
proud," he said and he shook my hand.
the President introduced the Secretary- General of the
United Nations. She shook my hand, too. "Don’t forget
about your home planet, Earth. Remember to rule wisely
I couldn’t form any words at all. Everything was spinning
I’m going to a galaxy far, far away..." I finally mumbled.
"And the registration said that I’d be King for 1000
years. Won’t you all miss me?"
course we will, dear," my Mom assured me. But you’ll
be back before you know it. Just ask the nice Taxi-saucer
Cat stepped forth. "That’s right, Junior. I drive so
fast that time will actually go backwards. And even
though you’ll be there for a thousand years, you’ll
be back before school’s over today."
will?" That didn’t seem to make any sense at all. But
everyone around me was nodding as if it was the simplest
my name isn’t Sly!" the Cat insisted.
guess I’d have to take his word for it, because before
I knew what was happening, the Mayor and the President
and the Secretary-General lifted me up on their shoulders,
and all the kids were singing "For he’s a jolly good
fellow." And they brought me to the taxi-saucer and
waved, "Good bye, Junior. So long. Be a good and wise
and just King."
then the spaceship door closed and Sly pointed to the
three chairs in front of a brightly lit control panel.
I looked out through the windshield at everyone waving
and then noticed Muffy sitting in one of chairs.
I gasped. "What are you doing here?"
and I are old Kitty-Kollege buddies. We go way back.
When I found out he was the one bringing you to Cardeckia
to rule the Universe, well, I decided to tag along.
And I still can't get over how much you've changed,"
she purred looking over at Sly. "You're so ...
shakes and five days a week at the gym," he blushed.
tore her gaze away for a moment to look back at me,
"Well, take a seat, pal-o-mine," she said.
no, sit in the Captain's chair," Sly insisted as I headed
for the smaller chair next to Muffy. "We'll let you
take us out of here."
mouth widened in a huge excited grin. "Really?" I gasped
as I dove for the Captain's chair before he could change
Muffy gasped. "He's too young!"
thirteen isn't he?" Sly answered, raising his cool sunglasses
just a little.
last Sunday, but..." Muffy began.
he is going to be King of the Universe..."
I giggled, fiddling with the knobs and levers and especially
the bright shining buttons.
Junior, slow down," Sly gasped, grabbing his glasses
before they flew off his head, because the saucer was
starting to move forward, and back and sideways, rise
off the ground, and plunge back down.
Sly gasped again as he lunged for the open seat and
strapped himself in. He leaned over, strapped me in
and pointed at a plain boring lever. "This one..." he
gasped. "And take it SLOW..."
pressed a few more buttons, completely oblivious to
the crowd outside that dashed, screaming in fear from
one side of the playground to the other, before I looked
over at the lever Sly was pointing to. I pulled it nice
and slowly. But nothing much seemed to happen. So I
pulled it a little harder.
I guess I pulled it a lot harder. Because ... YOWZA!
We went flying off so fast I felt like part of me was
left behind. Which it was, actually.
Chapter 3. King’s Coronation
it turns out, part of me was left behind. But I didn’t
realize it at the time.
see, we went so much faster than the speed of light,
that my shadow was left there on the playground.
felt mighty embarrassed standing around as everyone
was waving goodbye to me, his owner. Fortunately my
sister spotted him and brought him home in her backpack.
But I didn’t find out about any of this until later.
And, actually, it's not even supposed to have anything
to do with this story, but it turns out to be important
in the end, so I just thought I'd let you know now,
although you'll have to wait until then to find out
why it's important… sorry about that…
Let me get back to where I was...back in the taxi-saucer...
seemed like we’d just taken off, when we suddenly jolted
to a stop. Sly and Muffy undid their seatbelts, breathed
a sigh of relief, and then Sly dashed over and pulled
me out of the Captain's chair.
head was spinning a little, but in a good way, and I
fell down to the floor laughing.
a worse driver than your father!" Sly screeched. "NEVER
AGAIN!" He breathed a few times, readjusted his glasses,
and regained some of his Cool-Cat composure. He even
started smiling again as he put it all behind him.
we’re here...Your Highness," Sly said and he took one
of my arms. Muffy took the other. They helped me climb
up off the floor. My head was still spinning as they
escorted me out of the taxi-saucer’s sliding doors into
the Grand Palace of Cardeckia.
not sure what I expected Cardeckia to be like. But it
was kind of plain. I mean it looked nice, and all, but
it was awfully dull. All the buildings were grey. The
roads were grey. The hills were grey. The sky was grey.
And the people were grey.
they were sort of people. Some of them looked like animals
on Earth. Some of them looked like a couple of people
stuck together. Some had 2 or 3 heads, some 6 or 8 or
a dozen legs. Or 7 ears. Or 3 mouths. You get the picture.
Completely different. But all grey.
Grey. Grey. (Or is it gray? I never could remember which
is the right spelling.)
there was a plush sort-of-red but mostly grey carpet
rolled out for me that rolled back up behind us as we
walked into the Grand Palace. It stopped rolling when
I stopped. It waited politely until I started walking
before it started rolling up again.
be honest, I expected a big coronation awaiting inside.
Instead, as we reached these giant grey doors, I was
handed a crown (a grey shade of gold, of course), a
scepter with a grey stone on top, and a grey robe with
a BIG K on it.
your Highness," a pair of grey three-headed guards said
unexcitedly, at the entrance to the door as I put my
Kingly garb on. "The Ministers of the Universe are waiting
for you," they droned on as they opened the giant doors.
I guess they don’t believe in ceremonies," I mumbled
as I stepped inside. "But at least now we’ll get down
to business and I can start ruling the universe."
doors closed behind me as I stepped inside. It was a
giant room (grey, of course) with a small square grey
card table in the center. The three Ministers turned
to look as I came in, but they didn’t get up from their
seats. "Greetings, Your Kingness. Shall we begin," they
said together in very dull grey voices.
be honest their almost-normal appearance took me by
surprise. The three Ministers looked like regular people.
Well, almost. They did have these giant cards attached
to their backs. One was a Jack, one a Queen and one
Ace, Queen and Jack pointed at the fourth empty seat
and I walked over and sat down.
they dealt out some cards.
Chapter 4. Cards, cards and
didn’t know what to say. Had I traveled a couple hundred
million miles just to play a card game? I mean I like
playing cards. I’m pretty good, actually. But...
you bidding?" the Queen to my left asked.
what are we playing?"
Uncle Mike had taught me how to play Euchre. It had
been a while, but as I recalled, I was pretty good.
"Okay..." I said taking a peek at my cards.
I had the strangest feeling. It was as if my decision
about what to name trump would affect the lives of billions
of living creatures on some distant planet.
weird, I know, but I'd never been more sure of anything
in my life. I started to panic. The sweat started to
bead on my forehead. I could see in my mind's eye millions
of people holding their breaths, hoping I'd make the
I pulled out a stick of gum and started chewing. I always
chew gum when I play cards. Suddenly I started to feel
better. More self-confident. I wasn't going to let the
pressure get to me. "Spades!" I said boldly, in between
chomps on the gum.
three of the Universal Cards put their hands over their
ears. "What’s that horrible sound!" they gasped.
I’m just chewing some gum..." I said quietly as I noticed
them all starting at me."
chew like a MilkyWay-Cow."
they each bellowed. "Chew more quietly."
tried, but it wasn’t quiet enough. They apparently couldn’t
concentrate. And then when I started blowing bubbles...
They went ballistic!
Ace was my partner for a few games. We beat their pants
off every time. With each victory, I could feel the
surge of millions of joyful sighs of relief welling
up from some unknown corner of the universe and bubbling
up inside me. I felt more confidence. More assured that
we were winning some important universal victory.
was feeling good, too. I don't think he was feeling
the vibes I was getting, but he liked winning. "Hey,
Kingy, I’ll try one of those pieces of gum, please,"
he said boldly, ignoring the Queen's nasty stare.
sure enjoyed the gum as much as I did. The Queen and
Jack were starting to wilt after a while. They started
looking a little grey. They were so upset, they couldn’t
even win a hand.
it!" the Queen screeched. "Change partners. Ace, you’re
and I then proceeded to beat them every single game,
and with each victory the roar of happiness inside me
grew even stronger, as if another and another and another
world had been saved.
popped bubbles with his gum in disappointment. Defeat
didn't feel so good, but the gum took the edge off it
wasn’t long before Jack was chewing up a storm, too.
After a few hundred games or so, Queen demanded we change
partners again. She and I were unstoppable. And before
long, even she was chewing away on a stick of gum.
played and played and played. Whoever I was with won.
Everyone fought over me. Then we played pinochle. And
bridge. Black Jack. And crazy eights. And poker. And
rummy. Gin. Casino. Canasta.
played and played and played. And I won every game.
I felt unstoppable, confident that before long, my victories
would free every fettered soul and every unhappy heart
in the universe.
the Card-Ministers didn't seem to notice that the games
were connected to anything else except whether they
were on the winning or the losing team. Each of them
wanted desperately to win, just because they wanted
to win. They argued louder and louder about who would
be my partner, since I seemed to win every game.
they started to argue about who could blow the biggest
bubble. They proceeded with their contest, blowing impressive
bubbles, which naturally popped all over them.
you ever get gum on some cards? Then you know how stuck
together the three Card Ministers got. They struggled
to unstick themselves and they stuck to the table. They
struggled some more and got stuck to the floor. It wasn’t
long before they were stuck high up on the grey ceiling.
they screeched, get that King out of here!!!"
pair of three-headed guards burst into the room and
started dragging me down the hall. The really strange
thing is that I should have been worried that they’d
take me to a dull grey dungeon where I’d be in chains
living on stale bread and dirty water for the rest of
my thousand year reign as King of the Universe. But
instead I felt a great sadness that I wouldn't be able
to free more enslaved worlds.
wave of grey sadness washed over me as the guards dragged
me further and further from the card table. I didn't
notice it at first, but the weirdest thing was happening
to me with each sigh of sadness I breathed as they dragged
me away. After each depressing exhale, I was forgetting
to breathe in, and pretty soon I was feeling, well,
pretty card-like. King of Hearts-card-like, if you catch
my drift. Do I need to spell it out? I was turning into
a card! But you know what, I didn't even care.
Sly and Muffy were waiting around the corner and they
were each holding 3 lollipops in their hands.
boys wanna lollipop?" Muffy asked.
yeah!" the six guard-heads panted. Six lollipops were
tossed in the air. While the fourteen guard-hands were
grabbing for them, my two Cat-friends grabbed me, and
holding my cardboard edges between them, flipped me
up into the air. Up, up I went and then sailed straight
into the cab. Muffy and Sly dashed in and then we blasted
out of there so fast, the whole deck-of-cards-palace
Chapter 5. Oops, Wrong Universe
so, that's how I became King of the Universe. Only problem
was, turns out we'd gone to the wrong universe.
don't get it..." I muttered after we were far away from
Cardeckia and I was feeling more like myself, but still
a little bent at the edges. "Is the secret to the universe
nothing more than the fact that there is some crazy
card game, played by dull-lifeless cardplayers that
only want to win their game and have no idea they're
affecting the lives of billions of living creatures?"
That's Deep!" Muffy marveled.
only chuckled. "Nah," he assured me as he banged on
the controls at the dashboard with his paw. "Oh, well
actually, looks like that is the secret to the
universe. That universe, anyway. Looks like we went
to the wrong one."
I stared. "Wrong what?"
silly," he laughed.
I said again, totally confused.
it was a computer malfunction," Sly said while he banged
on the control panel again.
control panel beeped a few times in protest. Sly gave
it another good bang. "Now, you cut that out!" the control
panel exclaimed. "First of all, I don't malfunction!"
It insisted. "Second of all, I'm not 'a computer', I'm
Joe_Computer-5 - a LEVEL 5 ultimate computer's computer!"
rolled his eyes and banged on it yet again. "Anyway,
Caredeckia was the seat of some strange universe where
the course of millions and millions of planets are determined
by an endless card game," Sly said and turned a few
knobs, obviously still struggling with Joe_Computer-5.
"Looks like you did a nice job saving a big chunk of
that universe," he marveled as he scrolled down the
text on a screen on the dashboard.
couldn't help feeling proud.
problem," Sly continued, "is that this darned computer..."
the computer reminded him.
huh ... well, good ol' Joe here seems to have some kind
NOT!" the computer insisted. "Although there is a piece
of lint caught in one of my circuits that sort of tickles
every now and then…" he admitted.
sighed and rolled his eyes. "Anyway, we were supposed
to go to..." He banged on the panel yet again, then
pulled his hand back quickly, licking the fur on the
back of his paw. "Hey, the darn thing bit me!" he mumbled.
chuckled before reluctantly displaying something on
the screen. "Okay, here's where we were supposed to
go," Sly started, still licking his paw as he peered
down at the screen. "Um, Wardeckia?" Sly read uncertainly.
giggled in a strangely mischievous tone that started
to make me rather suspicious. But I didn't have time
to complete the thought, because before that nanosecond
had passed we rocketed sideways so fast my socks fell
was some trick, since my sneakers were still on.
wish I'd changed my socks that morning. Maybe then I
wouldn't have gotten into the eensy-weensy, tiny little
spot of trouble we ended up in on Wardeckia. Oops. My
Chapter 6. Tiny bit of trouble
The 'tiny bit of trouble comment.' That's about me,
not the hugely monumental predicament we ended up in.
That was a royal-pain-in-the-butt!
I'd better explain. You see, my nasty-smelling socks
got to Wardeckia a couple sniffs after we did. By the
smell of them, they took a few mucky detours, cause,
honest my socks never smell that bad! Well, almost,
but this was ... really bad!
so picture this. We land on Wardeckia.
should say we practically crashed, because, let's just
say it was a pretty nerve-wracking, nail-biting landing
... Joe_Computer-5 thought it would be funny to see
what would happen if it electronically switched the
gas pedal and brake, and then after Sly'd figured out
what it did, switch them back again, and again, and
again. Fortunately, before we crashed into Wardeckia,
Sly rewired the saucer to bypass the control panel completely.
no ... I'll be good, honest...." Joe_Computer-5 whined
and then was silent as Sly coasted manually toward the
can hotwire anything!" Muffy purred proudly, looking
up from the yarn ball she'd been knitting. Maybe she
wasn't worried, but I was sweating buckets. (And in
hindsight, maybe I shouldn't have emptied the buckets
out the window. You'll see why in a second…)
we landed on this weird hill. I mean the hill itself
wasn't that weird, but on one side of it everything
was blue. I'm serious. EVERYTHING! The grass, the trees,
the sky the animals and people - everything. And on
the other side of the hill everything was just as yellow.
standing on their respective sides of this hill there
were these two pretty-angry looking Serf-Lords, one
with a completely blue army with blue flags waving proudly;
one with a yellow army. Oh, and these guys were huge.
I mean, I barely came up to their ankles.
and each of the Serf-Lords was completely drenched,
and they didn't look too happy about it! I let the two
empty sweat-buckets I'd still been carrying behind my
back roll down the hill before they could see them.
everyone did turn suspiciously when the buckets rolled
under the feet of a poor "little" girl and boy who'd
been coming up the hill, causing them to tumble back
down. (I say little because they were young. But they
were at least twice my height.) "I'm Okay!" the blue
boy called, "I've still got the crown." But then the
yellow girl came tumbling after and landed on it. "Oops,
sorry I broke your crown, Jack!" she moaned, rubbing
that's why one of the crowns up there on my shelf, back
home is cracked in half.
I digress. Back on Wardeckia, as I was saying, the two
giant Serf-Lords were trying extra hard not to get upset
about the buckets of sweat that had been poured over
their heads, or the broken crown. Or the fact that they'd
already interviewed forty-six million King applicants
that morning. Looking up I could see the other contestants'
spaceships fading away into the distance like little
tiny bubbles. They looked so pretty drifting up into
the blue sky on one side, and the yellow sky on the
I wasn't paying attention to the two scribes who'd been
sing-songing the wonderful tale of Wardeckia's long
is until I head two things. First I heard the scribes
say my Dad's name. And then Sly was elbowing me out
of my daydreaming, saying, "Junior, that's your Dad
in their history books!"
I paid attention. Or I tried to for a few minutes, anyway,
but the guys were so boring in the way they recited
it. (And wouldn't you be, too, if you'd already said
the same schpeel 46 million times in one morning.) Turns
out a hundred million years ago, my Dad and his Shadow,
saved two warring Universes, uniting them into the twin
universe of Wardeckia. But a hundred million years later,
the universes were drifting apart again and they needed
someone to save them. One and only one was destined
to be the Second and Future King.
lots of stuff about the story had me as confused as
I'm sure you are. Twin Universes. A hundred million
years ago? My Dad's Shadow? And by the way, I thought
a royal feast was supposed to be part of this king-me
ceremony. When was lunch?
what I was thinking when the blue and yellow jeweled
sword sticking up out of the ground caught my eye. "Ooh,
pretty," I drooled and grabbed it out of the ground.
I was standing there holding it in my hands looking
at it greedily when I noticed everyone had gone completely
silent. I looked up and EVERYONE was staring at me.
this would have been a Kodak-moment, the climax of the
movie when the music suddenly swells out of the silence
and the audience gets this wonderful feel-good feeling
that gives them hope and makes them glad to be alive.
And everyone starts cheering for the hero, who would
be me, in this case. But that's precisely the moment
my socks fell out of the sky and landed on the Serf-Lords'
socks may have been tiny compared to the poor noses
they landed on, but they were deadly, odiferously-speaking,
if you catch my drift (which for your sake, I hope you
we need to stop here for a second. You should know,
back in my Dad's time, a hundred million years ago,
he had a similar smelly sock incident right there in
well, whatever it was before it was called Wardeckia.
Back then he'd been skiing down a Time Slope, and his
shoe fell off into time and landed under a negotiation
table between the leaders of the warring universes.
But unbeknownst to him, in those two universes it was
the worst of all insults to take your shoes off in someone
else's company; his smelly foot incident started a war
to end all wars.
that's what I found out later. Well, fortunately, Wardeckians
had done quite a bit of growing, evolutionarily-speaking,
over the past hundred million years. Now the Serf-Lords
just fainted at the smell, rather than start a war.
I did mention they were huge. Well, unfortunately, they
both started wavering unsteadily about to crash ...
on me ... I tried to back up, but the Blue Serf-Lord
came down first. Yeah, the sword sort of got him on
the butt a little, just a little, while I swerved out
of the way.
one way to wake someone out of a faint. "YOUCH!" he
screeched, bouncing up into the air. You wouldn't believe
it, but the same thing happened to the Yellow Serf-Lord.
their hordes comforted them, I stared at the sword in
my hands and, not knowing what else to do, stuck it
back in the ground.
the hill was sort of just an ordinary hill, right. Well,
not after I stuck it in the ground. Yellow gushed out
of the ground all over the blue side of the hill and
up and out into the whole blue side of the universe.
And Blue gushed out all over the Yellow side.
You guessed it. Thirty-eight seconds later, I'm standing
there looking 360 degrees around the hill and everything
figured I'd definitely used up more than my three strikes
in Wardeckia. I was going to be toast, green toast,
that's not what happened. Instead everyone started dancing
around laughing and hugging each other, waving their
green hands up into the gushing green stuff flowing
down on them.
for King Junior!" they cheered. "Like father, like son!"
and they carried me on their huge, giant shoulders.
Apparently, my Dad had united the universe in pretty
much the same way. Who knew that going green could save
the universe so quickly?
we had the most amazing feast ever. Which really surprised
me, because although I like my vegetables as much as
the next guy, and green has always been in my top five
favorite colors, I mean come on, all the food was green,
green and more green.
feasting and the dancing and the singing felt like they
were going to go on for at least the thousand years
I was supposed to reign, and as nice and green as it
all was, I was pretty happy when Sly announced that
the computer had had another malfunction and it wasn't
Wardeckia at all that we were supposed to travel to.
And we were going to be late for our real destination,
if we didn't get a move on it.
to say, everyone was sorry to see us go, but they sent
us off with roaring cheers of "Long Live King Junior"
in appreciation and the broken crown of course, as a
memento, and an instant later we were blasting up through
the green universe and popping out towards the destination
Joe_Computer-5 promised we were really supposed to head
wasn't the only one who was a little suspicious about
his insistence that Bordeckia was our real destination.
Chapter 7. Boring, Pouring,
Snoring and Galoring!
was so boring, I'm not even going to waste time telling
you about it. Ditto for Poordeckia and Sporedeckia and
double-decker ditto for Snoredeckia!
fact, we ending making 327 stops on my King-Me Tour.
The truth is, there's not too much more I really want
to relive by describing those experiences here. They
were just too scary and or uneventful for me to want
to waste even a moment thinking about again.
as you can see, I did end up with a bunch of interesting
crowns for my bookshelf, though, so it wasn't a total
stop 327 was the final exit ramp on that strange Royal
Road Trip, so I guess I have to roll the clip on it
for you, even though it really is the most disturbing
of them all, because, well, it's pretty much the way
things seem to be heading now in all the universes.
me start out by saying we weren't expected at CorporateTechia
at all, because, well we were a little early. Well,
I guess a lot early. And of course, that was my bad.
see, Sly and Joe_Computer-5 were arguing as usual, and
I have to tell you, with each stop we'd made, Joe_Computer-5
seemed to get even more whacked out. At first he seemed
more demented with each course he'd steer us on, with
an evil sinister cackle as he plotted our next course.
But then he just completely lost it and kept spouting
incoherent nonsense. Sly played along and while he kept
Joe_Computer occupied with one convoluted argument after
the next, he meanwhile was secretly running diagnostics
on the computer's circuitry to try to figure out where
Joe_Computer's wires were crossed, or where that piece
of lint the computer mentioned might be lurking.
while they argued away for the millionth time, I was
leaning over Sly's chair looking at the ship console,
trying to take it all in, when I saw this really shiny
shiny," I thought.
I noticed the bold writing. "DO NOT PRESS...NO MATTER
WHAT!" it sad in flashing neon letters, about a million
times all the way around the shiny red button.
I figured the warning didn't apply to me, being that
I was King of quite a few universes by then. In fact,
as King of all those universes, it was kind of like
my obligation to press the button.
can I help it if my head size had swelled a few times
too many, what with all those crowns I'd been fitted
that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it. Cause without
even knowing I'd done it, apparently I pressed the button.
Joe_Computer-5 screeched, his circuits suddenly firing
in perfect coherence. "You didn't just push that button
did you!" But with each word, Joe- Computer's voice
seemed to slow down until everything was quivering in
the weirdest silence I'd ever heard.
really horrible feeling washed down over me. No one
spoke, or moved, but everyone's eyes were wide in fear
and panic because everyone felt it too ... like in the
next second the biggest explosion ever was going completely
destroy everything in all of time, space and in every
all held our breaths waiting for the final moment...
then the moment passed and the windshield in front of
us lit up like it was a TV screen and a receptionist
busy "CorporateTechia, please hold"-ing into her phone
headset looked up and stared at us.
can I...CorporateTechiaPleaseHold...help you?"
I'm here for the King-job?" I offered.
she stared at us she "please-hold"-ed a few thousand
more times, which was really disconcerting because each
and every time I kept thinking she was talking to me.
"You mean CEO position?" she said in between please-holding.
It took me a while to figure out she was talking to
me that time.
I thought. "Crazy Eternal Overlord?" I mumbled out loud.
... CorporateTechiaPleaseHold ... Executive... CorporateTechiaPleaseHold
scratched my head. "Uh....I guess?"
Okay .... PleaseHold ... I assume...CorporateTechia
... you have an ... PleaseHold ... appointment ... CorprateTechia
... Your Name ... PleaseHold..."
head was spinning. "Junior...I mean Johnny CorprateTechia,
I mean...Chronicles...please hold" I offered, not really
sure what I was saying.
Mr Please Hold...CorporateTechiaPleaseHold...the CEO
Position doesn't open up for...CorporateTechiaPleaseHold...
about a million years... ...CorporateTechiaPleaseHold...
You might have a short wait ... CorporateTechiaPleaseHold
... Let me tell Human Resources you're ...CorporateTechiaPleaseHold...
screen went blank and the worst phone music ever filled
the cabin. Sly turned the volume down and everyone sighed
as we waited ...
wiped a few cobwebs from my face and saw for the 38
billionth time that the screen was still blank and the
hold-music was still hissing under the 15 pillows we'd
thrown over the console speakers. Sly had dropped his
GameBoy a few hundred years ago, and was sitting comatose
in his chair, with his cool-glasses dangling halfway
off one ear, while he stared up at the ceiling with
drool dripping down his furry chin...
was half buried under the half-trillion sweaters she'd
finished knitting and had pulled apart and reknitted...
Joe_Computer-5 was busily involved in a perfectly coherent,
well-structured five-part heated argument with himself,
an argument, I unfortunately already knew word for word
for word... Most of the words being, "I'm so sorry that
piece of lint caused me to act so irrationally before,"
and "I'm REALLY starting to wish that piece of lint
was back disrupting my circuitry so I could forget this
all," and of course "I can't believe he pushed that
let's fast forward a couple more million Millennia,
when finally the receptionist reappeared on the screen.
Please Hold..." she called annoyedly for probably the
billionth time. But of course I was spaced out in zombie
land and although I thought I heard something, far-far-away,
it didn't click at all.
then she leaned forward through the windshield-monitor
and stuck her head into my ear canal, screeching "Mr
Please Hold!" That's when I jumped up out of my daydream
and out of my seat.
was back on the windshield-monitor, with a plastic neon-white
blinding smile plastered on her face. "Mr. Please Hold,
the Man will see you now."
that's Johnny Chronicles," I stammered uncertainly,
because to be honest, I'd been waiting so long, the
name didn't seem to fit anymore. Plus I was kind of
thrown off because she wasn't "CorporateTechia Please
Hold"ing anymore. It was as if she had all the time
in the world and was keeping everyone else on hold.
Or, it occurred to me, it was more like there was no
one left in the universe anymore to put on hold.
she was gone and the Man was seeing us, apparently,
but we couldn't see him. We heard him clear enough though.
Way too clear. "Alright, Please Hold, so you're here
for the Crazy Eternal Overlord position are you?" a
deep, dark, creepy voice echoed from the now blackened
no...I'm...uh supposed to be..." I swallowed nervously,
staring into the blackness, way too afraid to correct
him about my name, and way too confused to finish a
huh," the voice darkly droned cutting off my stammer.
"Says here you like pushing buttons. Well, lucky you,
that's exactly ALL the job entails."
as I had to admit my apparent button-pushing addiction,
I was pretty sure I wouldn't want to push the button
this voice had anything to do with.
an honor to push this button, of course. The end of
tried to back away from the console as the voice continued
on. "The economic cycles have all cycled out, and the
last unresourceful consumer has consumed the last resource,
so time to cash out with the big bank of all market
crashes. Just step into the Resumé Reader, so we can
make sure you've got what it takes to take it all away."
I'd backed into the back wall of the saucer-cabin and
there wasn't anywhere else to hide. "Help..." I croaked
helplessly as this giant semi-transparent ghostly paper
shredder appeared floating in front of me, and slowly
approached. Everyone else was still zombied out and
didn't notice my pathetic whimper at all.
paper shredder got closer and closer and I squeezed
my eyes shut, quit my whimpering, gave in to the inevitable,
and waited to be shredded.
so what exactly did it feel like to be stuck through
a cosmic corporate paper shredder. Well, it was weird.
On the one hand I could feel it violating every privacy
act ever enacted as it shredded up everything I ever
was, am and will be, and then dumped it into an overflowing
recycling bin. And pretty strange as all the shredded
strips were then scanned and analyzed and weighed and
who-knows-what else. But on the other hand, it kind
of tickled. In a good way.
the voice was saying as the tickling stopped, leaving
me a little giddy, and I peeked open an eye. "Far below
par on assets, skills, knowledge base and lifetime earning
potential. I've never seen such a dismal score. And
your net worth isn't even worth netting. But you scored
really high on button pushing... and we do need to fill
the position IMMEDIATELY. Wait, what's this..."
oh... I didn't like the sound of that at all.
your name isn't Please Hold. Says your name is Chronicles.
George Chronicles' kid? No. Not THE JUNIOR CHRONICLES!"
Man was silent a moment as I tried coughing up a voice
to answer him. Then I clearly heard him dialing a phone.
"This is the Man," the voice said into his phone, muffled
as if he were putting his hand over the headset so I
couldn't hear. "Get me the Time Catcher fast..."
I must admit, although the name sounded vaguely familiar,
I had no idea who this 'Time Catcher' was. But my subconscious
seemed to know because I suddenly felt even more nervous
and scared and freaked out than I already had been.
If that's possible.
and Muffy and Joe_Computer-5 knew exactly who the Time
Catcher was, and although they had slept through my
cosmic soul shredding and all the other gruesome interview
moments I'd endured, they sprang to attention at the
mention of those two words.
fact, they were instantly in overdrive mode. Sly was
tapping on the computer console with lightning speed
murmuring commands back and forth with Joe_Computer-5
as if they were a well-rehearsed acrobatics team. Unfortunately,
CorporateTechia appeared to have masterminded a hostile-takeover
of our navigational controls, and nothing Sly and Joe_Computer-5
tried seemed to be the deal-breaker we needed.
only hope is the Emergency Yodel-Overdrive..." Joe_Computer-5
we've tried it and it won't respond," Sly gasped. For
the first time he looked really nervous.
for you, but for Junior it will," Joe_Computer-5 said
no... not again ... you saw what happened the last time
we let him drive!" Sly gasped.
of all, he'll be yodeling, not driving. And second of
all... do we have a choice?" Joe_Computer-5 said, his
voice rising to a nervous screech.
I sure hope he doesn't yodel the way he drives..." Sly
mumbled. "Junior, get over here!"
I stuttered, a little nervous myself, but even more
confused about what they were talking about.
Yodel us out of here ...fast!"
head was spinning. "Yodel? Like, Yodel-a-e-o yodel?"
was shaking nervously. "Yodeling is the ultimate way
to travel through time, space and other dimensional
universes…It's an age-old…" Sly began but he shuddered
and pulled me over to the control panel. "Sorry, Junior,
no time to explain right now…"
pointed at an invisible button on the panel and whispered
hoarsely, "You can do it, Junior!" Then under his breath
added, "I hope!"
two things went through my head. "Ooh ... a button..."
I admit was the first. But the second thought was, "Huh,
I can see an INVISIBLE button. Maybe I CAN do this..."
Catcher. This is the Man. I've got HIM..." the horrible
voice beyond the darkness laughed.
Junior! Yodel!" Sly begged.
still had no idea what Sly was talking about. But the
urgency of our situation I guess brought something up
from inside me. Because as I started to drift off into
my normal daydreaming mode, I instinctively pressed
that invisible button and did in fact yodel us out of
think I overdid it a little. Well, truth is, I over-yodeled
Chapter 8. You wouldn't believe
it if I could find the words to describe it
that * up there. Looks like an ordinary asterisk, doesn't
it. Well, you're not going to believe this, but that
'asterisk' is a hundred and forty-nine pages of action-packed
adventures in... well... this wordless, timeless, spaceless,
place that I just can't begin to describe, because,
well, there's no words to describe it at all. At least
not in this universe.
you really want to experience the WHOLE story, Joe_Computer-5
insists that he can bring you to that worldless, timeless,
spaceless Universe I somehow yodeled us to. But as you've
seen, his circuitry has been a little suspect throughout
this entire adventure, and although he assures us he's
completely fine now that the piece of lint that had
been mucking up the works is gone, if I were you, I'd
pass on that possible one-way yodel to, well, you know,
that wordless, timeless, spaceless place, and just take
my word for it that we had some totally, awesome, amazing,
well, you know, 'sorry I just can't describe it' kind
to keep the integrity of this totally true and accurate
report of my adventures, the publisher wanted to include
those 149 pages of ... well ... wow ... you know ...
adventures in that wordless, timeless, spaceless place.
But since the publisher is trying to go green and keep
their carbon footprint down, they decided to scan the
pages and put them on a nanochip at the top of the page
instead of including what would look like 149 completely
blank pages. If you tried to read them in this universe,
of course. But if you go to that wordless, timeless,
spaceless place, well, wow, you would not believe ...
oh dude, maybe it is worth risking a ride on
the wild side with Joe_Computer-5.
I'll leave that decision up to you.
Chapter 9. An Unwelcome Welcoming
our amazing adventure in ... well, you know … Er, well,
actually you don't, but well, in that, wondrous, wordless,
timeless, spaceless place ... Yeah...well, we were all
feeling pretty good after that.
suppose we should plot another King-You course?" Joe_Computer-5
offered rather unenthusiastically. Quite a contrast
to the previous 327 "You thought that last trip was
something - you ain't seen nothing yet" evil giggles.
Sly conceded with a long peaceful sigh as he kicked
back a notch further back in his captain's chair. The
rest of us murmured in agreement as we sank a few notches
deeper into our own relaxed modes.
is until I popped out of my daydreams long enough to
notice the three nasty looking witches on their broomsticks
staring evilly in at us through the windshield. They
were pointing at me and whispering to each other with
devilishly twisted smiles. Some even nastier looking
wizards and warlocks, gruesomer snarling ogres, and
a ginormous slimy-wormlike dragon with bones hanging
out of his trillion sharp teeth, were all huddled behind
the 3 witches, staring intently at none other than yours
I gasped and I pulled the recline-lever up in my chair.
A little too enthusiastically, of course, and projectiled
into the windshield. I lay there plastered against the
glass, the only thing separating me from all those ugly
faces peering inside. And even though the windshield
was a good six-inches thick, able to withstand a billion
degrees centigrade (or something like that according
to Joe_Computer-5) I smelled all those nasty breaths
clear as day. Clear as a nasty sulfur-smoking smoggy
h-e-double hockey-sticks day, of course.
I squeaked again.
on it, Junior…” Sly screeched and I heard his paws tapping
desperately at the control panel.
we’re lock-jammed once again,” Joe_Computer-5 added.
gasped as I noticed the smell had gotten even worse,
and oh-so cautiously peeking open one eye, I discovered
to my horror that all of our hideous new visitors were
crammed INSIDE the cabin. All except the slimy dragon
who was wrapped around the saucer, gnawing contentedly
on the wheel hubcaps, still keeping one eye on me, for
desert, undoubtedly. I slid down the glass and lay there
on the ground looking up at all the gruesome faces.
um, hi?” I offered the broken, who-knows-with-what-stained-toothed
they chorused together, trying to sound pleasant and
inviting, but it was the most discordant, piercing,
clashing sound I’d ever heard in my life. “We’re the…the
Universal..." one of the witches began and then paused
with a twisted grin and an over-exaggerated wink at
her evil-looking cohorts. "...Peace Council..." she
continued, then winked again before breaking out into
a giggling cackle.
that's the ticket..." the others chortled.
Joe_Computer-5 slid in under a carefully concealing
you say?” one of the hunched-over twisted warlocks barked.
nothing…” Joe_Computer-5 squeaked. “War Council,” he
said underneath another cough.
pairs of bloodshot eyes glared angrily over at the computer
panel. But then they did their best to put plastered
smiles back on as they all turned back to face me. I
been one tough Chronicle to track down..." a warlock
continued with a high-pitched squealy voice that sounded
like fingernails on a blackboard.
they all agreed in perfect 13-part disharmony.
we've finally found you and now you can begin your new
life as the new Grand Wizard of ..." the head witch
continued, then broke into a cackle. With a final a
chuckle and another wink she completed her sentence:
"Pe-a-c-e," she insisted in a long drawn out slur, then
slapped her knee and rolled on the ground, laughing
I gulped, but out of the corner of my eyes, I saw that
the ogres had already tied Sly and Muffy to their chairs,
and one of them was just finishing a sweaty all-out
tug of war with Joe_Computer-5's plug. To my horror
I watched as the victorious ogre flew across the air
and landed on the ground with the plug dangling from
his green teeth, with part of the cabin wall stuck to
the end of the plug. Poor Joe_Computer-5's voice faded
away as he cried out "Ju-n-i-o-r..." And then there
was nothing but the evil cackling laughter.
out the WAND!" I heard the head-honcho witch finally
say as I cringed in the corner with my eyes closed,
wishing somehow they'd just all go away.
couldn't help peeking as I heard one of the ogres sliding
a large crate across the cabin. And then it creaked
hideously as they pried it open. The weirdest thing
happened as they pulled it out. Everything around it
went completely black. It was like the wand was sucking
in all the light and hope and leaving nothing but a
deep, dismal darkness behind.
it to him," the Witch commanded.
yeah, yeah" they all chanted.
felt them trying to thrust it into my clenched fist,
but the wand kept pushing away from me, as if somehow
it just wouldn't fit.
they all gasped.
you been yodeling in places you shouldn't have?!!!"
the Head Witch screeched.
it away," the Witch sighed. "We're going to have to
bring it back to Wandcrafters to have it adjusted."
long will that take?" the ogre who put the wand back
in its case asked.
about an hour. Tie him up!" she instructed.
Junior," she sighed staring down at me, half a second
later as I lay on the ground, bound and gagged. "We'll
be back in an hour ... at Midnight, so... don't you
go anywhere." She winked at everyone and they all started
laughing again. "But then her Witchiness waved her hand
and they all stopped instantly.
are you looking for?" she growled at the ogre who had
tied me up.
this extra piece to tie up his shadow, but I can't find
Witch glared down at me, grinding her broken teeth as
her eyes shot daggers at me. "Your shadow better be
ready when we get back, or you're not going to like
what we'll have to do to drag it out of you. Kapeesh!"
is, I didn't really kapeesh at all. In fact I had no
idea what she was talking about. What did they mean
they couldn't find my shadow?
rolled her eyes and they all shook their heads.
you sure this is the kid? Doesn't seem smart enough
for… you know…" the other two witches asked before a
glare from their leader silenced them. The top-witch
rolled her eyes and reached out her gnarled, warty hand
towards me. My heart nearly stopped when she rolled
me over and pinched the back of my neck, like she was
looking for a tag, like you do on the inside of shirt
collar. And the weirdest thing was that I did indeed
feel her pull a tag out from under my skin!
Junior Chronicles, right there on the label. See it?"
she snarled. And the others nodded.
look down there in the fine print. It says he's only
10 years old…" one of the warlocks pointed out before
he jumped back when the witch turned nastily towards
way!" I instantly thought, but I was still trying to
get used to the feeling of the tag sticking out the
back of my neck, and so I must have felt a little disoriented,
because for the life of me, I wasn't really convinced
that I wasn't ten years old. "I'm back in the Fifth
Grade?" I gasped. "That can't be. I'm 13. I'm in the
Eighth grade…right?" But I couldn’t dig up any memories
to convince me, one way or the other. I strained to
turn my head to look at the tag for myself.
fidgeting," the witch growled at me as she felt for
her glasses. Apparently the chain they were on had broken
and they'd slid down her dress. She patted herself searching
for them. Meanwhile, it was so hard for me not to want
to check the tag myself. I just couldn't be ten, could
I? The anticipation was killing me!
she found the glass chain wedged in her stockings. She
yanked the chain out and threw the glasses onto her
warty, bent, pointed nose.
few of the ogres chuckled because someone had taped
a fake funny-nose-and-moustache onto the glasses, and
as I peeked backwards, I had to agree that she did look
quite comical. The witch gave the ogres such a nasty
glare that their hair caught on fire.
of the warlocks quickly reached into his robe and pulled
out a bucket of green slime and threw it over the ogres
heads, instantly dousing the flames. Obviously he had
practiced this a lot because his aim was perfect and
in no time at all the ogres were obediently staring
down at the ground with smoky steam rising off the tops
of their heads, and green slime dripping down their
Head-Witch meanwhile was pulling my tag out further
and mumbling to herself. "No wonder the wand didn't
fit! You must have yodeled up quite a storm recently,
because you ARE only 10 now!"
heart sank. It just couldn't be; but somehow I knew
she was right. She sensed my disappointment. "Don't
worry. The years'll catch up by Midnight, according
to my calculations. You'll be 13 when the clock strikes
12 and we return, you mark my words! And then, the wand
will fit you perfectly." She cackled as she pinched
my neck again and shoved the tag back in.
a second there, I almost hoped she was wrong and that
I'd stay stuck back at 10 forever so that the evil wand
would never be mine. I shuddered and blinked and the
next thing I knew they were all outside the windshield.
watched as the slimy dragon pulled its head out from
under the hood (which it had apparently already eaten),
spit out a rusty bolt or two and then reluctantly unwrapped
itself from around the now completely slimed, stripped-down
saucer-cab. It stopped wriggling a moment so that the
entourage could slip-slide onto its enormous slimy back.
in an hour," a warlock called through the glass.
don't go anywhere," an ogre added.
all glared at him and flames burst out of his hair.
Which is quite a trick out in space, at least according
to the laws of science, there being no oxygen out there,
you know. Whatever laws the flames were operating by,
they were quickly doused by the warlock's bucket-o-slime,
and in no time at all the ogre was staring dejectedly
down at his feet, with smoke rising off his now bare,
blackened head. "Gosh, you all laughed before," I heard
him muttering sadly.
puff of fire came out of the wormy dragon's rear-end
and it rocketed a thousand feet off into the darkness
of space. It wriggled a few times and another fiery
burst sent it another thousand feet forward. With each
burst its passengers grasped and grabbed to hold on
as they slip-slided in their seats.
Chapter 10. Rendezvous, Rescues
& Midnight Picnic Parties
I watched that most unwelcome of welcoming committees
through the windshield disappear into the darkness of
space, I felt completely confused and depressed. My
whole world had tumbled down.
think that I'd have been sitting there worrying about
the fact that we were all helplessly tied up, lost somewhere
in the empty voids of space with no hope of anyone rescuing
us before that evil entourage came back to take me away
forever to do something horrible with that evil wand,
and I'd never see my family and friends ever again.
maybe that I was wondering about the seemingly impossible
condition of being completely shadowless.
the truth is, what I was really most depressed about
was the fact that through some bizarre twist of fate,
I wasn't 13 anymore. I was stuck being a ten-year-old
kid again? No way! Not even if it was supposedly only
for another hour.
Snap out of it!" Sly was saying from over at the control
panel, where he was working on trying to reinsert the
computer's mangled plug. Then I noticed Muffy was untying
the ropes around my wrists and ankles.
Muffy, but how…" I stammered as I rubbed my sore skin.
a world-class knitter, Dude, you know that," Sly bragged
about his best-kitty. "Never met a knot she couldn't
that's sweet Sly..." Muffy blushed and then turned to
me. "Come on Junior, get up. You've got to get us out
of here before THEY get back."
not going to let him take the wheel again are we?" Sly
work anyway," Joe_Computer-5 sighed. "It's because I'm
TEN again, I bet," I muttered as Sly let me lean over
and try some of the controls. "And they're really strict
about the yodel-and-drive 13 year old minimum age, right?"
I groaned as none of the knobs, switches, levers or
buttons would work at all.
witch said you'd be back to 13 at Midnight…" Muffy offered
after we'd all plopped dejectedly into our seats, wondering
what on earth we could do to get out of this jam. "But
of course THEY'll be back then, too…" she sighed sadly.
matter anyway," Joe_Computer-5 insisted.
not?" we wondered.
account of the fact that the dragon ate the engine,
the yodel-overdrive and the entire outside structure
of the saucer. Probably fall apart if we even try pushing
it an inch!"
that was depressing news.
minutes ticked away aimlessly. Not sure why Joe_Computer-5
had to broadcast the tick-tocking in Dolby-surround-sound
through all thirty speakers in the space saucer, but
no one even noticed. That's how deep each of us was
in our own isolated depressed heads and/or circuit panels.
we would have sat there like that until the last stroke
of Midnight. Fortunately I happened to notice something
sliding slowly down the windshield. Upon further inspection,
I noticed It was a slimy snail weaving a slimy trail
across the already dragon-slimed glass.
without thinking, I reached forward to hit the windshield
wipers to wipe it away, when suddenly Sly grabbed my
hand with his paw and shouted, "Stop, it's the Chronicles'
was too late; I'd already flicked the wiper switch,
and I felt horrible as I expected the snail to be flung
off into the emptiness of space. But it didn't matter
because the dragon had eaten the windshield wiper blades,
along with practically everything else.
opened the door and the snail slowly slimed his way
inside, "tsk, tsk"ing as he rolled his eyes at us and
shook his head incredulously as he looked us over.
you all kidding me?" he grumbled as he plopped himself
down on the ship console. He reached back into his shell
and pulled out a book. I noticed it had my name on it.
The JUNIOR CHRONICLES. Huh? I tried to peek inside
as he flipped through the pages, but he saw me watching
and turned so that I couldn't see the pages at all.
story is such a mess. You're not going anywhere in this
dragon-slimed junk-mobile, that's for sure. No offense,
none taken. I'm a Level-5-micro-computer-chip. This
taxi-saucer was so beneath me anyway. I can't wait till
they plug me into a real vehicle so I can exercise some
of these mental muscles I haven't gotten to use since
my last gig."
huh. And if I'm not mistaken, you're not even supposed
to be in this story in the first place. You're from
a completely different book series... Captain Kindness
books! You snuck out of your original assignment, didn't
I'm a great multi-tasker. Thought I could help out here
in this book. So sue me!"
these Chronicles Chronicles are so… sooo…"
Sly suggested, peeking coolly over his sunglasses.
the snail muttered. And by the way. This is a 48 page
is this in Chapter 8 with the supposed 149 pages of
adventures scanned on a micro-chip? You can't be serious!"
yeah," we all smiled. "Those adventures were so… so…"
we shrugged, still smiling as we remembered some of
the adventures we just couldn't begin to describe. Things
this snaily guy just wouldn't ever understand.
I understand all about that wordless, spaceless, timeless
on you guys, get serious!" the snail snapped. "They're
going to be back any second and the Universal War Council's
not supposed to catch up to you until deep into the
sequel. At least from the outline they sent me. How
I'm supposed to get this final chapter tied up so that
the sequel makes sense, is one heck of a hat-trick,
that's for sure. But, fortunately I'm one heck of an
editor, so let's see what we can do."
and Muffy and Joe_Computer-5 murmured in agreement.
Like they understood what the snail was talking about.
I for one had no idea.
really don't have any idea what's going on, do you?"
the snail clicked as he looked up over his glasses at
me. For the second time, I thought he was reading my
mind, but then I saw that he was reading it all in his
book. No, I had no idea what was going on.
he gave me the ten-cent summary of The Chronicles
Chronicles series in general, and then The Junior
Chronicles in particular. How my family and our
friends were not your typical suburbanites. No, once
upon a time my Dad had the distinction of single-handedly
destroying all the laws of Reality in this and every
other dimensional universe. Which turned out to be fine
for a while, because at first people liked being able
to yodel back and forth whenever they wanted through
time and space and other dimensional universes. But
after a while, even the Reality-Anarchists got tired
of never knowing what was when and who was or would
have been what. (I know, huh?)
my Dad had caused this mess by sending the Time-Catcher
into an infinite time loop. But when the Reality Right
and Left Wing joined forces to free the Time-Catcher,
he went after our family with a vengeance.
Chronicles Chronicles chronicle our adventures as
we hide out in one place or time or another until they'd
catch up and we'd have to yodel out of there to chronicle
another exciting adventure. And of course, to protect
us, since our thoughts apparently are so powerful they
could give us away, none of us ever remembered our previous
and often bizarre Chronicles Chronicles chronicled
adventures. Except Sly and Muffy of course, because
no one thinks to look for talking cats' thoughts, and
besides someone in the story has to know what's going
initial reaction was of course, to think this explanation
-- that our lives were nothing but words in a story
-- was totally ridiculous. But then suddenly I started
to remember all the previous and some future outrageously
amazing chronicled Chronicles Chronicles. And
whoa, I had my own way cool chronicled Chronicles series,
to boot! Not to mention yodel-abilities that could spin
circles around my Dad's legendary talents. This snaily
guy was telling the truth!
course I am…" the snail moaned. "Can we get back to
the story, please! We’ve got one page to wrap up all
the loose ends in this story and set it up so that it
matches up right for the sequel."
sequel - is it a good story?" I asked excitedly, now
that I'd gotten used to the fact that my life was an
action-adventure story, it was kind of exciting.
an adventurous undertaking; a monumental literary work
of legendary proportions!"
But is it exciting?" I inquired. Literature-shmiterature.
I wanted action and adventure.
Why you only help rescue the beautiful young Peace Wizard,
and help her lead the ultimate final battle of the forces
of good against the forces of evil to rescue all of
time, space and every dimensional universe from the
clutches of chaos to establish an era of freedom, peace
and justice for all… Is it exciting. Of course it's
exciting!" The snail was clearly excited himself now.
Well let's wrap this up then so we can get to that sequel,"
The snail started making some red notations in the book
with his antennae, then paused as he chewed his lower
lip and scratched behind his head with his other antennae.
"Right. Okay. Let's see. Your shadow. Let's get your
shadow back here. No reason as far as I can see why
you left it behind in the first place."
I agreed, not comfortable at all with the fact that
I apparently had been shadowless throughout the King-Me
adventures I'd adventured through. "How do we do that?"
I asked while the snail busily scribbled notes in the
margins of my book.
simple," he muttered, glancing up over his glasses.
"Use your yodel-talents to yodel your shadow here…"
I stuttered. "How do I do that again?" Although I'd
yodeled us to save the day previously in this particular
chronicled adventure, I still had no idea how I'd done
snail sighed and rolled his eyes at me. "Look, the Chronicles
are yodelers-extraordinaire, but each of you has a different
way to engage this mystical talent. Your sister does
it when she tells a story. Your Mom when she starts
baking. Your Dad. Well…he's just an unexplainable nut,
and stuff happens. But you, your yodeling takes place
when you start to daydream. Kapeesh?"
I was starting to kapeesh.
yodel your shadow here by daydreaming something about
you and your shadow out for a nice walk along the beach
or flying across the sky or… Oh…you are fast…" the snail
gasped as my shadow practically knocked him over as
it rushed to my side. "Uh, Junior, that's enough daydreaming…"
he clicked as I just stood there lost in an amazing
daydreaming adventure with only my shadow by my side,
fighting dragons and crossing swords with dark knights
to rescue the fair princess from the dark castle on
the treacherous windy mountaintops of…
the snail snapped annoyedly. "The 'last page' was supposed
to happen several pages ago! We've got to wrap THIS
story up already. Okay, your family, friends and faithful
housekeeper Flora, naturally followed your shadow in
their Yodel Bus across the reaches of time, space and
every other dimensional universe to find you. And they
brought a birthday cake to celebrate your 13th birthday.
And you have a wonderful Midnight Birthday Picnic together
and just before the clock strikes 12 and the War Council
returns to enslave you in their evil plans and drag
you off to do their evil bidding, you all yodel out
of there to the Sequel for new exciting chronicled Chronicles
I exclaimed. Sounded great to me.
sure enough, as I looked out the slimy windshield, there
was the yellow Yodel Bus I now remembered from previous
chronicled Chronicles Chronicles.
clock started chiming its midnight countdown, but I
just stood there lost in another exciting daydream,
with a goofy expression on my face. (Once I get started
daydreaming, there's just no stopping me.) Fortunately,
Sly and Muffy grabbed my arms, and with Joe_Computer-5's
chip in Sly's pocket we headed out the taxi saucer door
and climbed aboard the Yodel Bus.
snapped out of my daydream to find myself in the middle
of my family and friends all standing around me with
Mom holding a huge cake with 13 candles and everyone
singing, "For he's a jolly good fellow…" as the clock
rapidly headed for its last few Midnight chimes. Wow,
I thought. Can't get any better than this.
ain't seen nothing yet," the snail said from his perch
on my shoulder. "Just wait until the sequel!" He pointed
out the Yodel Bus window, and as the last Midnight gong
roared over the sound of everyone singing, I saw the
Sequel come rushing up to greet us two lengths ahead
of a wriggling, flame-farting dragon and the 13 screaming
evil passengers slip-sliding to hold on to its slimy
Hey, is there anybody still
Please … Don’t leave me…It's me….You know, Joe_Computer-5.
That crazy cool cat left me in the pocket of his other
pair of pajamas. Can someone please tell him not to
leave me behind. The Chronicles are going to need me
in the Sequel, and unless someone reminds them, they're
going to forget all about me...
Hello. Are you listening. Please. The lint in here is
really getting to me. I'm going to sneeze … any … uh…
uh…. You know how allergic I am to lint … uh… uh.. CHOOO
Oops … you better look away; it's not a pretty sight…
Alright, move along…
Oh and never mind, Sly's just sticking his paw in to
get me. Oops, is he in for a sticky surprise. But I
guess I'll be seeing you in the Sequel after all.
Ciao. Thanks for keeping me company.
Look, I know, you can't get enough of me. I'll miss
you, too… But that snail's giving me the evil eye because
we're way too many pages over budget and he's going
to have to edit this all down… so go to your local bookstore,
or log onto amazon.com and get the sequel and we'll
be together again soon…I promise!
Okay. Peace Out, Yo…