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It’s not really my fault, if I’m being honest. The blame totally and completely lies with that wizard I met on the subway. I mean, seriously, who gives a Galumpasore to a twelve year old? Everyone knows that every one in six twelve year olds are completely irresponsible.

Also, how was I supposed to know he was a wizard? He looked like a completely respectable man in a suit with a green and red tie. Everyone knows that wizards are crazy and only wear clashing patterns or weird 80’s shirts.

‘Course, he did say something about a curse when he gave me the Galumpasore. But I didn’t listen to his advice. I assumed he was just like my father, who was pretty boring for an astronaut, if you ask me. Dad only gave boring advice, like “Don’t run down the hallway, Maggie.” “Chew before you swallow, Maggie.” “Don’t smuggle a wolf pup out of Central Park Zoo in a backpack, Maggie.” Joke’s on him, I actually made it pretty far before security caught me.

I’d gotten pretty good at tuning advice out, so I wasn’t paying attention while the wizard was prattling on about the curse. I was too focused on my new pet. 

A Galumpasore is a small animal that looks like someone stuck a squirrel tail on a guinea pig. Their name comes from the sound they make (Galump) and the fact that they are a massive pain in the neck (sore). 

The moment the subway stopped, I sprinted home with my new pet in my hands. I was sure Dad wouldn’t mind. I’d just throw him Rowdy’s cage. Rowdy wouldn’t mind sharing, I knew. He was such a sweet guinea pig, anyway. 

I smuggled him past the doorman and my Dad and quickly dumped the Galumpasore in Rowdy’s cage. Rowdy gave me a pleading look. The Galumpasore galumped. 

“You need a name.” I put my hands on my hips and gave the Galumpasore a good look. Then I turned to my primary source material for names: Webster’s Dictionary. I was halfway between Cacti and Cupcake when I came across Cantankerous. That sounded like a perfect name, but I settled on Lumpy instead. 

The curse started to take effect slowly. The next morning, I woke up to Dad standing over me. 

“Alright, where are they, Maggie?” asked Dad. His arms were crossed, and his nose was twitching like it does when he’s angry. 

“Where’s what, Dad?” I replied.

“All of the left shoes, Maggie!”

I threw myself out of bed and tore open my closet. All of my left shoes were gone, including the cool moon pattern ones that Dad bought me for my birthday.

It took me the entire morning to convince him that it wasn’t me who took the shoes. In the end, he went to work in Mrs. Maple’s (our neighbor’s) snow boots, and I went to school in Timothy Holland's gym shoes. 

The next day, it was the spoons, the hangers after that. The right leg of all my stuffed animals followed. Dad called the police the day all the chairs and couches went missing. 

The police had a good poke around, couldn’t figure out why the world our stuff was gone, and promptly left. It wasn’t their fault, really. How were they to know that it was Lumpy?

It was the day after that that things started to get serious. When I went to feed Rowdy and Lumpy that morning, Lumpy started up at me with glazed eyes. Rowdy was gone. I searched everywhere, even in the fridge, and demanded that Dad call the police again. 

Dad assured me that Rowdy would turn up soon, but the next morning, Dad was gone. He wasn’t in the kitchen. The living room was empty. I double checked the bathroom. 

The only living things left in the apartment were me and the Galumpasore. I did what any reasonable twelve year old would do: I proceeded to cry a lot. My Dad may have been the most normal, absolutely boring astronaut on the planet (all the good ones were in space), but he was still my Dad. 

Wiping my nose on my sleeve, I turned to Lumpy. “It’s all your fault somehow. I just know it is.”

Lumpy just galumped and stared at me with his big brown eyes. I dumped him in a backpack, grabbed Timothy’s gym shoes, and went to see Jason the Flatiron Wizard. 

He and his wife are proper looking wizards (well, technically, his wife’s an Alchemist, but you know what I mean). Jason probably hasn’t owned any matching socks since he was born. His wife, Lyla, probably hasn’t met a hairbrush since she was born. They both wear polka dots with plaid and really don’t see what the problem is.  

They own an ice cream shop in an alley near Flatiron, and if you’re not careful, you’ll walk right by it. Many people do, so it was more or less empty when I burst in like a bat out of purgatory. 

I put the backpack down on the counter and opened it to reveal a very disgruntled Lumpy.  After I had a milkshake and calmed down enough to speak, I spilled my guts about everything. 

“Why, oh why, on earth did you take anything from a Subway Wizard?” questioned Jason, “They’re the worst kind of wizard!”

I shrunk back. “How was I supposed to know he was a wizard? He looked normal.”

“Those are the kind of Wizards you have to fear the most!” exclaimed Jason. Jason sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “We need to find Lumpy’s hoard.”


“Galumpasores hoard things like dragons,” answered Jason, “The sooner we find the hoard, the sooner we get your Dad back.”

“Well, where is this hoard?” I asked. Dad was going to be none-too-happy about being hoarded, but at least he was probably still alive. “Could Dad get back on his own?”

“Sadly, no,” answered Jason. “Anything in the hoard is kept there by magic. The magic goes away once the hoard is found, but finding it is the problem.”

“Well, the only way to find a Galumpasore hoard is to follow a Galumpasore,” said Lyla, “So just put Lumpy down, and we’ll follow him.”

I put Lumpy down on the ground. Lumpy just galumped and flopped down on the tile floor of the ice cream parlor. We waited for a few minutes. 

“He’s not moving,” I said. 

“We can see that, Maggie,” answered Lyla. “Maybe we just need to give him a good scare.” 

Jason pulled a firecracker out of one the pockets on his pocketless shirt. Don’t ask me how he does it, I have no idea.

Well, the firecracker did the trick, and Lumpy scurried across the floor like some kind of large, mutant spider. He ran towards the door and ran through the door with a flash of purple light.

“Quick, follow him!” Jason vaulted over the counter, and soon we were all racing down the sidewalk as Lumpy bobbed and weaved between the foot traffic. We must have looked really weird. I mean, a twelve year old following a mutant squirrel guinea pig thing through the streets of New York followed by two strangely dressed grownups had to raise some eyebrows. Then again, it’s New York.

I stopped as Lumpy scuttled down a subway grate. “He’s gone!”

“Not for long!” Lyla reached into the pockets of her pocketless shirt (I really have got to get me one of those) and pulled out a vial of green liquid. She threw the vial next to the grate, and the concrete dissolved with a sizzling noise. 

“We’re going to get sued again,” muttered Jason, as he jumped down the hole. I was about to protest jumping down into a dark, dank hole leading to a subway tunnel when Lyla wrapped an arm around my waist and jumped. 

I closed my eyes and locked onto Lyla's shirt, but we weren’t falling. I cracked open an eye a little to find that we were floating gently down. No sooner had our feet touched the concrete than we were running down the tracks, dodging rats and trash. In my head, I had serious plans of taking a bath in disinfectant when I got home. The tunnel was dark, but Lyla pulled a glorified magic glow stick out of her pocket. It lit up the tunnel like a strange, multicolor disco ball.

“He’s getting away!” yelled Jason, as Lumpy veered down an abandoned service tunnel. I nearly skidded into the wall as we followed. Timothy’s shoes were a little too big for me and made running difficult. 

I tripped over something and went sprawling onto the floor of the tunnel, banging my chin against the concrete. 

“Ow,” I whimpered, wiping at the blood dribbling down my chin. I turned to look at what I tripped over and found one of my sneakers. 

“We must be getting close,” said Jason, pushing a bandage with piranhas on it into my hand. 

Soon, Lyla’s disco ball glow stick lit up other missing things as we ran down the tunnel: spoons, left shoes, Berny the bunny’s right leg. There was no sign of my dad or Rowdy. 

My heart was beginning to hammer inside my chest. It wasn’t the running that made it pound, but the fear. I was terrified that maybe Dad and Rowdy weren’t in the hoard. If they weren’t, where were they? Did Lumpy have a second hoard where he kept them?

Jason touched my shoulder. “Maggie, we’re here.”

A large tower of everything Lumpy took stood in the middle of the tunnel. It took us a hot minute to find Dad and Rowdy. They were stuck in the pile half-way between the spoons and the shoes.

I was right. He was none-too-happy about being hoarding, and I was permanently banned from riding the subway alone. Jason and Lyla promised to take Lumpy somewhere where he wouldn’t cause any more trouble. I think he’s living in the Amazon now. 

But if you ever see a normal looking man in a suit with a green and red tie on the A Train, do me a favor and kick him in the shin for me.

May 12, 2020 16:34

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1 comment

ℤ ℍ☮️
22:53 May 21, 2020

I like the way you write! It's easy to follow and very entertaining!


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