Mom must have got into a fight with Dad again, Johnny realized as he crept into the living room to play video games. The room was a mess! She had left a few beer cans around the room, which meant when she finally awoke, she’d be crabby.
His tummy growled as he looked at the empty Ben & Jerry’s carton on the end table, next to a strange looking object. Bright pink, he was still drawn to it. Johnny picked it up and examined the strange device.
It was made of a rubbery-plastic substance which smoothed and narrowed to a dull point at one end. The other end seemed to be more like a handle with a switch. Almost to the middle was an extra knobbly bit which puzzled him. Like a second handle, but… he didn’t know. Maybe Mom would explain it to him later. While nine was old enough to know a lot of things, he knew there was a lot more he needed to learn… including things to not make his future wife hate him. Things that no one had taught his father, obviously.
Examining the device again, he operated the switch and the device buzzed uncomfortably in his hand.
“Help me!” he cried out in his make-believe hero voice. “I’m being electrocuted! All because you thought I was a spy! I’m no spy, honest!!”
“Yeah, like we believe that nonsense!” he replied in a more gravelly tone. “You’re always sneaking about this place – we know you’re spying. The only question in our mind is spying for whom???”
“I’m innocent, I tell you!” the accused-spy replied. “Someone framed me! I’m really just a train driver who wants to get back to his family. Let me go!”
“Not on my watch!” the gruff captor growled back. “We’ve been watching you for months. We know you work for the KGB! We know you have been stealing our secrets and taking them back to the Americans!”
“No!” the device buzzed louder. “Aaaaa! I’m being electrocuted!”
Johnny fell to the couch in a faint. Or was it feint? He had come across the word in a book this past week and wasn’t completely sure he knew which one was which. His mother had been so preoccupied with the drama of his father that she was often not available emotionally or mentally. He couldn’t fault her and felt angry with his father for being the kind of guy he was. He’d never do that! He wouldn’t make his wife cry – or drive her to drink!
He’d be a train driver… or maybe a famous singer! He held the now-still object towards his mouth like a microphone and stood on the couch like it was the front edge of a stage. He sang a few bars of a crooning song that his mother enjoyed listening to when she was sad – which was often these days. “Thank you! Thank you very much!” the famous singer called out, bowing for the appreciative crowd.
Johnny thumped down on the couch, sitting like he didn’t care. He flicked the switch for a moment, then off again, feeling the buzzing in his hands. He did it again.
“Hello?” he asked into the small knobbly bit using a funny accent that reminded him of a foreign telemarketer. “No, we don’t sell used cars here, try another number.”
He buzzed it again. “Hello? I tell you, we don’t sell used cars! You must have de wrong number.”
He buzzed it a third time. “Stop calling me or I will call de police!”
His tummy growled again and he figured he should get himself some cereal.
Otherwise, he could become a world-famous chef for his amazing pancake recipe! Johnny went into the kitchen and grabbed a bowl, using the strange object as a miracle stirrer with its special buzzing stir! It would stir extra air into the batter making it light and fluffy – just like that chocolate bar that was like chocolate-covered mint foam! He was pretty certain that Willy Wonka would approve as well. Perfect chocolate pancakes!
Except that his mother didn’t like it when he tried cooking by himself. “Not old enough,” she always told him. How was he to be the next Gordon Ramsay if he couldn’t practice?!
Johnny sighed and found a bowl in the dishwasher, noting that they were clean, at least. He poured himself some cereal and milk, then sat at the table with his breakfast.
Did he hear something? Maybe a droid coming to kill him? He leapt to his feet, turning on the buzzing device and returned the laser bolts back to the machines, instantly disabling them.
“Take that!” he cried as he stepped forward and sliced through their mechanics, the sparks flying everywhere. “Sorry about the mess,” he murmured, glancing towards his mother’s room.
He put the toy down and quickly swept up the soil and returned it to the pot before returning it to the window sill. At least the plant didn’t seem too disturbed. He hoped his mother wouldn’t notice. She wasn’t known for being forgiving when she’d had too much to drink.
He gulped down the rest of his cereal. The race would start any moment. The device buzzed impatiently under his hand. He could hear the motor revving!
The last of his cereal in his mouth, he grabbed the empty bowl with one hand, holding the handlebar in the other, twisting it to full throttle! He screeched to the sink and deposited the bowl and spoon, then he screeched outside into the back yard, kicking up garden dirt as he spun around for the next part of the lap.
He knew no one had ever seen such amazing riding before! So expert! So daring! He would win for sure! He screeched back into the living room and fell on the couch melodramatically. “And Johnny wins!” he cried out, huffing and puffing with the effort.
“Do you know where the aspirin is?” his mother asked as she stumbled into the living room in her bathrobe. She looked awful! “I have a terrible headache!”
“Not sure, Mom.”
She looked at him again, her eyes wide and her cheeks coloring to a dark pink within seconds. Johnny wondered if he was in a lot of trouble! “Where did you find that?!” she demanded.
“Right here, on the end table!” he defended. “What is it?”
She came up and swiped the toy from him like it was a rattlesnake or something dangerous! “You don’t need to know now, Johnny,” she replied and left the room.