Swallow Falls is a quiet, serene little island smack dab in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
You’ve always thought the island is too small for you. Your ideas are too big, too dreamy, too magnificent.
There must be some other place in the world with people like you. Somewhere, laboratories that span miles long are filled with acidic tinctures and sparking machines. Somewhere, your inventions are accepted.
The spray-on shoes were thick, hard as diamonds, and incredibly difficult to tear off. That was the first invention. You remember it well.
The kids teased you. Brent especially, who mocked, “How are you going to get em off Nerd?”
Mother comforted you after school that day, letting your five-year-old self know that it was okay to get laughed at. She was the one who encouraged you to keep inventing, so the long list of failed inventions didn’t stop there.
The next failure was the Remote-Controlled Television.
The remote could switch channels, the two retractable legs could help the television follow you around, and the creatively-placed cameras allowed the device to interact with its surroundings. But when Father turned on the TV, it escaped by interacting with the display on its screen.
If you had anticipated that, perhaps everyone wouldn’t see it as a failure.
The next, better invention was Monkey Thought Translator. Steve, your pet monkey, was more than happy to oblige with your whims.
This was the invention that didn’t completely fail.
The internal infrastructure was simple: a red, white and blue headband read the brainwaves of the wearer and translated the thoughts of animals into English. The brainwaves, then transmitted to a wirelessly connected baby monitor, translated using an automated digital voice.
Your father, a man of few words and many grunts, used the device and was able to express his thoughts.
That was success enough.
The Hair Un-Balder was a vain little creation, meant to save you from balding while aging, but Father assured you being bald wasn’t as terrible as it sounded.
In the present, you haven’t lost touch with your inventor’s roots. The latest creation, the Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator (or the FLDSMDFR), will succeed.
It’s the most useful invention, at least. Sardines are one of the few foods on the island, and everyone—including Father, the main producer of the blasted fish—is tired of the constant repetitiveness of their diets.
Adding in some new foods won’t hurt.
You gasp, inhaling in a shaky breath.
This is it.
You flip the switch.
The machine whirs and growls.
The air tenses, crackling with electricity. Sparks shoot, and everything explodes into black.
The FLDSMDFR has overloaded, and with it, the house’s electricity.
Ok. Ok. This is no big deal. There must be some source of power nearby.
There are some nearby on your desk.
With a quick brush of your fingers, you find the little object and hook it to the FLDSMDFR.
You cross your fingers.
The FLDSMDFR rockets up, leaving your hair in a tangled mess of brown waves and a gaping hole in the roof.
It’s hard to tell which one is more important, the former or the latter.
You race outside, trying to run down the escaping machine. It’s faster than you, but you’re catching up to it.
In an unforeseen turn of events, the FLDSMDFR takes a nosedive and plummets to Sardine Park.
Greenery explodes into steaming, charred leaves and grass.
Where a once-beautiful park stood, burning ash remains.
“Hey, you!” You turn around and instantly back away as a seemingly angered, brunette woman storms towards you.
“Yeah, you. You’re that crazy inventor Flint, right?”
Unsure of what to do, you nod shyly.
She nods her head, her ponytail bobbing violently. “You just ruined my big break with your latest invention. No one expected a
mercurial rocket to destroy the mayor’s beloved park!”
You keep mum, which seems to anger her more.
“What is it, huh? You just had to ruin this weather intern’s career. No one will know who Samantha Sparks is because you just got her fired." She shakes her plastic, cheaply made weather mike at you. "You have nothing to say for yourself. Shameful—”
Raising your palm, you cut her off and point to the sky.
Orange clouds stripe the sky.
A rumble of thunder shakes the atmosphere.
Large, golden-beige pieces of heavenly bread rain from the clouds.
There seems to be something inside them…lettuce? Tomato? Cheese?
You take a closer look, adjusting your glasses.
No! It can’t be.
Cheeseburgers are raining from the sky.
Samantha grips your shoulder tightly. “The weather forecast was mine. It was going to be the same as every other day this week, and what did you do?”
“I made it rain food,” you say, embarrassed.
You stutter to make amends. “Well, I’m sure you’ll enjoy some for
She gives you a pointed look. “I’m vegetarian.” Samantha turns away.
“Wait!” You shout at her retreating back. “Look!”
All over town, folks are whooping and cheering like they’ve never
seen food before.
People are racing out of houses with grocery bags and shovels, some even armed with gear fit for the Gold Rush.
Samantha almost drops her mike, eyes wide. “I think you may have just saved my job.”
“This is perfect,” you crow. “We won’t have to rely on the few foods we have. I can program the FLDSMDFR to take orders and create different types of food. Hamburgers, hotdogs, bacon—”
Samantha rolls her eyes.
“—sorry. Vegetarian foods too. Pasta, pizza, ice cream.”
“Fruit salads, jalapeno poppers, chocolate éclairs,” she adds, a
hopeful glint shining her eyes.
You rub your palms together, playing on the role of mad genius.
“This is perfect. We’ll go down in history as that one, previously reclusive island that changed its destiny by becoming a food tourism spot.”
Samantha scoffs. “Yeah, sure. Sardines were and always have been the backbone of our economy. Changing that will be hard.”
You take her hand in a rare moment of extroverted impulsiveness.
“I thought that you were just as excited about this as I was two minutes ago. Where’s that same tenacity? Don’t be disheartened just thinking about our current limited…food supplies.” You mumble the last part for lack of better words.
“Ok. All right.” A hint of the lost eagerness reappears in her eyes.
“Let’s do this.”
You nod and smile devilishly. “The weather will never be the same.”