Reads: 63

19

The Invention Convention

 

When we arrived at Professor Winkle’s house, the police cars had gone. The professor parked the Magnipoopifier in the garden and we entered the already open front door. Scattered papers blew around the hallway. Tables sat dead and tipped over. The sofas were upside down, and contents of the bins were all over the kitchen floor.

“It isn’t safe to stay here,” said the professor, as my exhausted mum and dad collapsed on to the floor following the bumpy ride. “The law of this land will be back soon.”

“Look at the state of this place,” said my mum. “What on earth were the police searching for?”

“This,” said the professor, taking out Professor Winkle’s key and turning it inside the fireplace. "They have a file on me as big as this living room. But I'm always a step ahead of them." A hiss of air came from behind the fireplace as the wall slid across. My mum and dad gasped as they saw a dark room beyond. Walking inside with the professor, I took one look back to see my mum and dad standing frozen in position with disbelief.

 

“Are you coming or not?” barked the professor.

“Y-yes, of course,” said my dad, mesmerised by the magic he had witnessed. When my parents finally followed us in, the professor locked the door behind us. They were even more shocked when they discovered we were at the bottom of a swimming pool a few miles out of town, directly next to the Old Mill.

“We have to stay in here. The police could be inside the Old Mill now, looking for me,” said the professor. “I do worry about Doris. I hope she managed to run away.”

I felt a wave of relief to be with my parents and the professor. Nobody could get to us through the fireplace or through the swimming pool. It night was the best night’s sleep I’d had in over a week, and knowing that the doors were securely locked at both ends meant that I could finally relax and drift off, not to mention the professor’s stove and fridge provided us with sufficient food.

In the morning, I had the idea that we should split up to avoid detection. The professor suggested that I should go alone, while my mum and dad should run through the fields, and the professor would find his own way into town. My mum protested at the idea, and seeing that there was no way of convincing her otherwise, it was decided. The professor entrusted me once more with the key. He left for the Old Mill, and once he announced that no police were there, my parents and I sneaked into Professor Winkle’s house through the fireplace door. Hearing chatter from the front of the house, and not stopping to check who was there, we went into the back garden and on to a narrow alleyway, running through the rear rows of gardens until we reached the main road.

 

Half an hour later, having walked by the river and the fields, we arrived at the park. Different trucks and trailers had parked far across the grass, and different inventors were setting up their equipment - peculiar looking cars, tubes, machinery, devices attached to heads and multiple strange liquids, one of which was bright green. One inventor had set up a tall crane, at the top of which was an enormous device positioned to fall off. A sign for it read something about 'witnessing the floating box that defies gravity.’

Creeping closer to the main stage, my parents and I found a place to stand away from the amassing crowd. The convention was about to begin, and I didn’t want to be recognised. Moving behind tents and behind the main stage, I noticed a figure wearing a red and black cape and a smart black hat with badges. The width of the figure confirmed my suspicions, and I didn’t need to see the face to realise who was standing in front of me. She was in conversation with some members of the town council, laughing and sipping from a wine glass.

Just as I was about to interrupt her chat, the sound of screeching tyres came from the road by the park. I watched two people and one large walking machine get out of a police car. It was Smasher and Jittery with their new best friend, the brutal android-o-tronic Sergeant Whackface whose limbs moved like a mime artist. I panicked and my heart rate doubled. Looking back, the wide figure of Mayor Betty Belch with her wine glass had gone. I looked around frantically and wondered if she had taken to the stage. I ran to the front of the stage and nearly fell over when I saw that wicked father and son combination standing in front of me. All of my enemies seemed to appear at once.

“There he is,” said Samuel Sheehan, pointing a shaking finger in my face. His father Alistair towered over me, with the face of God from the sky bending down and frowning at me in disapproval. 

“So the mouse has been cornered,” said Alistair. “Over here, officers!” His cry could be heard throughout the entire park. My mum and dad came racing over, and when my dad saw Alistair, the two of them squared up to each other. My dad took on an aggressive fighting stance, as did Alistair, and I instantly distanced myself from them. I took my mum’s hand and ran instinctively towards the stage. As we climbed the steps, the wide torso of Mayor Belch appeared from behind the stage curtain. I called out to her, and a shocked kind of smile filled her face.

“Mayor Belch, wait!” I said frantically. “Please, listen to me.”

“Aren’t you the boy who…”

“Mayor Belch, you must look at this.”

Just as I gave her my phone, a frantic cry came from somewhere behind me. Constables Smasher and Jittery walked on to the stage, with Sergeant Whackface following slowly behind them. 

“It’s the end of the road for you,” said Smasher, pounding his fist against his palm. “You will go to prison.”

“It’s the beginning of a long straight path leading to a gravel track leading to a road to a jail, where clearly the road will end,” said Jittery.

I took off and barged into Mayor Belch as I searched for a way out, and I heard the clatter of my phone against the stage floor. Smasher and Jittery ran into action and chased me as I jumped off the stage. My mum went to calm my dad and they called out to me as I hurried past them. I looked behind me to see Smasher and Jittery in pursuit, and then, to my surprise, Whackface’s body did something extraordinary. The robot seemed to grow two feet taller as sets of cables and extra metal rose from its legs. It then sprinted like a giant giraffe, jumping as it ran, so that one of its paces was ten of mine. The robot’s feet tore up dirt and grass as Smasher and Jittery gave up on the pursuit. Whackface closed in and said, “YOU ARE UNDER ARREST FOR VIOLATION OF CODE 231456A AND 334527B AND…”

My legs began to tire and I wheezed the last air out of my lungs. It felt like more polluted air was getting into my lungs than oxygen, and I started to regret not being more involved in sports classes at school. Whackface had closed the gap to within twenty feet of me. I just knew the robot was going to crush my head.

However, at that moment, a great rushing roar came from the sky, followed by that familiar strict, impatient school teacher’s voice.

“Hill! Give me your hand!”

The Indestructo flew low, swooping over the trees. The professor pitched the nose down towards the ground. The propellers were spinning violently towards me. I reached out with my hand to meet the grasp of the professor, but then, a metallic hand seized my shoulder, and I felt ice cold pain travel down my arm. I screamed in agony. Somehow my hand connected with the professor, and he banked away, taking me into the air as the Indestructo turned. Whackface clung on and slipped down to my ankle, taking my shoe off. As the professor accelerated, Whackface’s grip loosened. The robot let go, flipped, and caught the Indestructo’s tail section. The professor levelled the plane and pulled me into the cockpit.

The professor and I looked back and saw Whackface clinging on to the tail, pulling itself upright and crawling along the main fuselage towards us, with a vice-like grip as it crawled along with its hands.

“Quick, put this on!” cried the professor. I looked down and to my sheer surprise, I saw the polar bear costume. I crouched out of view and put on my polar bear legs and body fur as the professor turned us once again towards the park. I tried to put on the polar bear head, but as the professor dived, it rolled away out of reach. I peeked up to see Whackface rolling and almost hitting the wing, however its fearless, emotionless laser red eyes were still firmly focused on us.

“YOU ARE UNDER ARREST FOR CODE VIOLATION...”

“Hurry up!” screamed the professor.

“I’m trying!” I complained. “Can’t you keep the Indestructo steady?”

“You try flying in these strong winds!” he moaned.

“THOMAS JANE HILL, YOU ARE UNDER ARREST.”

“It’s John, not Jane!” I yelled at Whackface. “I’m not a girl!” As I stood up, all that Whackface could see was my polar bear head slightly lopsided as I put it on. Whackface’s laser eyes scanned my outfit. The robot was clearly unable to identify me, and when I growled like a bear, the robot didn’t move.

“MINOR CONFUSION. IDENTIFY YOURSELF!” Whackface repeated.

“Get down!” cried the professor. I suddenly ducked, and Whackface detached from the main fuselage as the professor pointed the nose up and then down. Whackface went airborne and smashed against one of the Indestructo’s sails, bending the frame and almost splitting it off. I saw Whackface’s hand clench into a fist as he came within reach. I looked for a solution but couldn’t find anything to remove myself from the horrible situation.

“THOMAS JANE HILL, YOU ARE…”

Then I saw it. The pot of Sprinkledust. I poured it over my face. Whackface’s fist shot out towards my forehead and made contact. I expected to die. But all I felt was a soft, painless thud. I opened my eyes and Whackface’s fist bounced off my face. The force of the rebound made Whackface lose grip. The robot let go of the sail and shot into the air. The professor and I watched Whackface plummet towards the street just behind the park and the main stage. Whackface hit a lamppost out of the ground and then crashed face first into an ancient stone wall. We watched the head and arms fly off, while the legs shook with electrical charge until flames shot out of the robot’s bottom.

I hadn’t heard the professor swear until now. The sail broke off and fell into the river, forcing us into a dive. The professor pulled back on the steering and he hit the emergency button. That clown suit wearing a life jacket shot out, but with the wind and the dive, the clown fell over the side of the cockpit on to the park below. We had no time to correct the disastrous dive, and we headed nose first towards some marches.

“Brace for impact!” I shouted.

“My braces are intact!” yelled the professor. “My clothes will not fall off!”

The Indestructo dropped and we hit the river at about twenty miles per hour. The aircraft just plummeted like a grand piano from a high window. We gave out a heavy splash. I remember the professor’s hairy arm pulling me out of the cockpit and up to the river’s surface.

“Oh, you meant to say get ready to crash,” said the professor. “My hearing is terrible, you know.”

This time, I threw up on a lily pad.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: December 23, 2021

© Copyright 2022 Richard C. Parr. All rights reserved.

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