One of the greats

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
I'm JoJo. This is my story. The movie JoJo. Not the book. I'm no twerp.

Submitted: January 08, 2010

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Submitted: January 08, 2010

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So you all know the story of how Horton the Elephant saved the little town of Whoville. You’ve read the book, seen the movie. Well, You will be, I assure you, surprised and captivated by my account… The tale of someone not very important, not very big…until one day, our whole world rested on my shoulders. So, sit back, and just come on in…to my story, the story of JoJo.
 
 
This was a day like any other. It was not too hot, not too cold, a great midsummer day. Most people were having a nice, quiet lunch in their nice, quiet houses. At our house, however, there was a little bit of a different story. I can understand that. I mean, a household is bound to be a little loud when there are 97 kids at home. But, we were a well-organized family. Everyone had …ummm… her (except me) own seat; the chairs all went in a continual motion around the table, there were plates of food on the table- Like grab-and-go – and we all passed our parents at least once, depending on the meal. So passed lunch in the McDodd house, a house like any other (except louder).
Lunch passed here; over at my dad’s office (he’s the mayor) lots was going on too. I don’t actually know what was going on on that day- the 14th of May, but it’s reasonably safe to assume that the head chairman and he were arguing- they do that every day. And he probably was getting the worst of it. He doesn’t really argue. And the head chairman- Well, he was kinda trained for that or something. At least, from what I hear, he does it pretty well. So all our afternoons passed, Mine here, Dad’s there.
 And my mom’s. Well, she was one of those people who seem to be everywhere at once! A multitalented woman, Sally O’Malley McDodd (mom) was well equipped to handle our household. Most of it. I admit it; I was a little bit of a problem. A little bit- I was fourteen and I only weighed “55 Pounds”. And I wasn’t really that thin, either. I was only about 4 “Feet” tall. Yeah, it’s hard being the smallest guy in your class- or family- Especially when you’re your parents oldest.
And THAT. That caused problems, too. Major ones. See, my dad was the mayor, his father was the mayor, his mother was the mayor, her father was the mayor and they were all the oldest. So then we go back to me. I am the oldest. And I DON’T want to be mayor. But, my dad- he loves his job, head chairman and all. And he naturally thinks because he loves his job, I’ll love his job too. But he’s wrong. So, because he was always telling me about his job and being mayor, and how great I’ll be at doing it and blah blah blah… and I didn’t want to hurt him. It was his life, and now that I was getting older it was my life. And my life means a whole lot to him. Also, his pride means a whole lot to him.
 Anyway, since I didn’t want to hurt his feelings- or let him down- I stopped replying to his statements when I was about twelve. And as he talked more and more, I talked less and less. Until, a few days before my thirteenth birthday, I didn’t say one word. And after that- nothing. So you can see, by the time that May 14th of last year had come, I was fourteen and I hadn’t talked in over a year. You might think “That’s impossible, nobody could do that!” Well, I did. It wasn’t as hard as it seems. And it wasn’t like I was ignoring my friends because I don’t have any. And so, you can see why my parents just might find me a problem.
So, anyway, we were having lunch that day, and we had lunch, and dinner, and everyone went to bed. Well, almost everyone.
The next morning, I woke up. We were having a break from school for the Who-centennial- a very big deal. The Who-centennial was a big event coming up; we were celebrating 100 years since the Grinch had troubled our city. Anyway, no school, and I went to breakfast. Ahhh, breakfast, my least favorite meal of the day. My dad was home at breakfast. I slinked into the dining room. It’s not much not to be noticed at our house, so I just sat down and sat there. Soon the chairs started jerking. We made our way around the table and toward my parents. Everyone (except me) was chattering; we were coming around through the kitchen. I’m not even gonna try to name all my sisters, so skip this line.
Pretty soon my chair was up in front of my dad. He spun it around. Oh great, I thought. He looks like he’s trying to be cool. And he was. “So, JoJo, what’s… what’s shakin’? What’s happnin’, what’s the word?” and He started going on again about all this junk and I just kinda tuned him out. Well, session over (by my clock) and I headed to my room. Dad just didn’t understand. I wanted some time just to be alone… maybe… no, I didn’t cry.
But he followed me. Puzzled, I turned around. What, he’s going to ignore all the rest of them? Apparently so. Come on, JoJo, Try to look interested. “You know what’s awesome?” no, I don’t. “This is awesome.” He turned and motioned to the wall. Oh, yeah, the wall. Well, we had in our house this wall- actually, a whole room- covered with pictures. Great, great, great McDodds. “Just look at the men and women hanging on these walls. You, my boy, are part of a family legacy that spans centuries!” We began walking, he pointed out members of the family that were mayors. Almost all of them were, and he was like “Great, great, great, not-so-great (in front of my grandfather who I forget his name but he was a ballerina) great, great, greatgreatgreatgreatgreat GREAT Grandfather.” Wow, bet that took a lot of breath. “Someday, I hope to join them, and be one of the greats. I tell you JoJo, there is nothing like being mayor,” As if I couldn’t tell. “I get to sign resolutions, approve ordinances, submit budgets… and in the edible parade, I’m the one sitting on top of the giant meatball.” I have seen him every year, I don’t know why he told me this, but suddenly his tone changed. I gave a small smile, “someday, that can be you too, JoJo. (he jerked me towards him) Someday, you’ll be the one wearing the mayoral crest.” I tried to catch his eye, but he was caught up in his own imagination. “You just, you just need to, you know what I mean?” I was already halfway down the hall to my room. He stood; I walked into my room and shut the door. He was still talking.
Later, at about three, I was home, in the living room. I was reorganizing. I was alone, although that was rare. Well, to be exact, I wasn’t exactly organizing. Technically I was looking for stuff that was useless currently and that my parents wouldn’t miss. But all of a sudden my “reorganizing” went out of my mind. A vase fell on my head. It was pretty often that stuff fell on me, as I was shorter than most countertops and mantelpieces and desks and shelves and… anyway, I caught the vase just in time to see another one falling. I ran and got it, and a clattering in the kitchen caught my attention. A can had fallen, I picked it up. Imagining what might happen in the foyer, I got out there just in time to catch some weird stuff that we had put up in there. Like a horn. And an umbrella, and a jar, and all the sudden the door flew open, my dad flew in and slammed the door. On his arm. I drew back a little in surprise. He yanked the arm out of the door and stopped to breathe. The can fell. He turned around and saw me. “Hey, JoJo, I need your help, can ya help me?” It wasn’t like he was asking even. I couldn’t tear my eyes off that arm. It was stretched and floppy and as he talked it seemed to get a life of it’s own. “First I need you to go to the girls room and Take down Holly’s lightbulb collection and… stop looking at my arm… Take down Hannah’s china doll collection and you know what just take care of anything else that might break or shatter.” My eyes were still following the arm… “Okay. Take a good long look. Got it? Thanks JoJo!” and he flew up the stairs, leaving me staring after him. My mom came in the room then, looked at me and said “I take it you’re looking at where your dad went.” And ran right up the stairs after him. I set all the stuff down and followed her. I hid in the hall, listening to their conversation. Apparently, dad was hanging from the chandelier somehow.
“I just thought it might look better somewhere it can’t fall on us and crush us in our sleep.” A crash from the room made me wince, but apparently everyone was okay. “What is going on?” My mom asked. Dad sighed. “Hey, hon? Have you ever gotten the feeling you were being watched? And then maybe you get the feeling that thing watching you is a… Giant elephant?” Okay, now I’ve heard it all, I thought. “And you know how you get that weird feeling that your world is a tiny speck? And the elephant- that I talked about earlier- is carrying it around on a flower.” NOW I’d heard it all… “And you realize that if you tell anyone they’d think you were crazy but you still feel responsibility to keep everyone safe… You know that feeling?” Wonder what she’s gonna say, I thought “Uhhh… You know I’m gonna have to say no. Do you know that feeling?” Wow, that’s probably what I’dve said. “HaHaHa NO!!!” dad said. “Yawn I am beat! Time to hit the hay I guess!” And it was my cue to leave.
I ran downstairs and grabbed the pile of stuff and threw it into the living room just in time to see my dad come down the stairs fast, a worried look on his face. But I had no time to think about what I’d just heard when my mom came down the stairs and said “JoJo, go brush your teeth.” And I went off to the bathroom. The bathroom in our house was very interesting. It had only three sinks and more revolving chairs. We were all very highly trained in the art of brushing teeth at the McDodd house, and pretty soon all my sisters started to arrive. When I went out, I went to my room for a few minutes and the decided to go to the observatory that night.
 As I was climbing out the window, I heard a light clattering sound and my dad came around the corner. He was carrying glasses- like 97- all full of water. “Hmmm?” I said (Yes, I said that) and he said “Hey, JoJo, just the person I wanted to see. You know, I realize that we have not been seeing eye to eye lately and most of it is my fault.” Why, for having a short son? “It’s true. You know what I’ve been trying to do? I have been trying to impose my vision of your future on you.” And he stuck his foot in my face. “Mmmm.” I groaned, drawing back a little. “Let me make this perfectly clear. JoJo, you can be whatever kind of mayor you wanna be… hands-on, strong and silent, outspoken, It’s up to you. Well, good. I feel so much better,” Why? I thought “Uhhhh…” “I am expecting big things from you young man, big things!” and he rumpled my hair with his foot. “All right, good night. Good stuff! Good talk…” and he left. He just doesn’t listen. He just doesn’t understand, I thought with a familiar old pain. Oh, dad. I just wish… But I had things to do, and as I always did when I was feeling down, I headed out.
 The moon was full, it lit the path up clear- although I could walk it in the dark (which is what I usually did)- and I was walking toward Mt. Who. It wasn’t really a mountain, just what looked like a pile of rock with a big white lump on top. That’s where I was headed. The big white lump was an old observatory. Inside it was what I needed old useless items for- something I was building. Something nobody else knew about. My secret- the symphoniphone. Well, I’ve heard people say that a symphoniphone is a musical instrument made of non-musical parts. It’s not true- It’ a lot of musical instruments. And I also didn’t just use non musical parts- I had all kinds of things up there- horns, xylophones, all kinds of drums and my special invention- a double-helix shaped thing that I rolled balls down and it made a beautiful tinkling noise. I sometimes just would play it just to hear it! And a whole lot of other things- I had a whole section that was actually made of saws- they sounded like a string orchestra. But anyway, I needed to add a lot more stuff before it was perfect. I had been working on it a long time. It was almost… like it was filling an empty place in my life. But now I found myself wondering what- or who’s- place it was filling.
Later that night, I climbed back up the tree and in through the window. Everyone was asleep, although it was about 6 in the morning. I raced to my room and fell asleep right away.
The next morning, like my dad, I woke up because of a pounding on the door. But instead of racing to the door, I opened my shade to my window and looked out. Well. That’s… different… what in the world… There was snow everywhere. Deep snow, in the middle of summer. I opened my window and realized that the temperature, though a little chilly, was right for summer. Dr Larue was in our front lawn. Dr Larue is a scientist from Who-U and she’s pretty smart. But from what I could hear, she had no idea what this was all about. For a second I wondered why she’d come to our house first thing in the morning, snow or no snow. But as she left, I saw my dad trying to ski… but my sisters were faster than him. As I watched them stampede out the door, I felt a peculiar sense of longing. But I had no time to dwell on this, as I heard my mom calling me. As I slid down the stair railing, a harsh, hot wind that smelled strangely like peanuts lasted through the open door and knocked me off the railing. I continued down the stairs in a normal way. I backed away from the door, though, as the stampede came back in the other way. Most of my sisters were looking sad, and several were muddy. My mom evidently forgot why she’d called me as she set about to console some of the sisters who were more in despair. Dad must be at his office, but how he’d gotten there was a mystery to me.
Anyway, later, after everything seemed to have calmed down, we were cleaning up after the mess all that melted snow had made. All of the sudden, my mom (who doesn’t try to speak to me usually) turned to me and said “JoJo, your dad has been acting a little strange lately. So try to be good to him.” I was more than a little surprised. I mean, dad’s usually strange. So her mentioning it just was a little weird. Especially her mentioning it to me. I mean, like I said, usually she didn’t talk to me. I overheard her talking to my sisters though a lot. But not to me. It was weird. I went inside and started up the stairs. But all of the sudden there was a huge tremor and I started falling down the stairs. The weird thing was, I wasn’t like slipping. I was almost flying down them I saw all my sisters come rolling in the door, and I just managed to grab the railing before I hit the wall at the bottom. And all of the sudden we stared going backwards- like I started falling UP the stairs. And my mom yelled “Everyone grab something!” It was funny- some of my sisters grabbed her. But she said “No! Grab something stable!” and I clung to that stair railing like nothing ever has been clung to before. And everything started going the other way again. Then it stopped. My mom said “Wait here everybody!” and she went out the door. I went out too. Heading for Town Square, I jumped on the back of the dentist’s car.
When I got there, I instinctively looked up at my dad’s office. Strangely enough, he was there. And he was saying something. “I’m declaring a state of emergency!” Suddenly the head chairman was there, too. “Don’t worry, don’t worry, the mayor is merely being a moron!” “Wait Whoville is in terrible danger! Our whole world could explode!” He was holding an inflatable ball, and He stabbed it with his pen. The air was slowly hissing out of it “Much more quickly! And our world wouldn’t make that noise.” All the people started sighing. “That’s it. You’re finished! No one believes you, no one supports you.” The head chairman laughed. I gasped. I believe you, dad! I thought. But he was saying something. “Horton believes me.” Wait- I knew that name! He’d said it when he was talking to Dr Larue this morning! “Horton is a giant elephant in the sky! (Everyone looks up, even me) Don’t bother looking, he’s invisible. And He’s the one risking his life to get Whoville, which by the way is a speck on a clover, to safety!” I gasped. Again. Wait- I knew this story! That’s what he said to my mom last night. He wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true, would he?
Everyone started laughing. I couldn’t believe it! But there was something… the wind was fiercer than usual. Dad said “Everyone, look at the wind! What do you think that means?” The head chairman sputtered. “Well of course it means… obviously… let the kite flying race begin!” I gasped… and looked around. everyone was cheering. Dad had a look on his face that I’d never seen before- a look of utter defeat. I wanted to race up to him and be at his side, but I couldn’t. Instead I ran to mom’s side. “JoJo, why aren’t you at home?” she said distractedly. But then dad came running up. He grasped mom as if he might never see her again. “I’m so sorry I let you down, but this… this is bigger than me. Get the family together and get somewhere safe!” And he left. Mom called after him “I will! I believe you!” I stood watching him, wanting to follow, realizing this could be the last time I’d ever see him.
We ran to the house as fast as we could and dove into the basement. Mom and I were the last ones in the door. As soon as we shut it, we huddled together- not an easy thing to do with a family of 98, but… then… then there was the biggest concussion any of us had ever known. We almost thought the house was falling apart. Most of my sisters were crying, and I heard one call out “Daddy!” I sat there in the dust that had fallen from the ceiling… he’d been right all along. Mom came over to my side and said “JoJo, how about seeing if we can get out of here? I think its over.” Hedy was crying. Well, almost all my sisters were. We pushed our way out of the basement. And surveyed what used to be our house. It was a wreck. I ran for the hall of mayors. It was in shambles. All the pictures were off the walls. I ran forward, not quite knowing why I did, and set the big pictures of my greatgreatgreatgreatgreatgreats Back in their places. This was my family. My Heritage. But my dad was out there somewhere. I knew I needed to get to him, wherever he was. Why? I hadn’t the faintest.
 When I got out of the hall of mayors, all my family was gone. People were in Town Square when I got there and there up on the balcony outside my dad’s office, was Dad. I sighed, not knowing why it was such a big deal to me. But it was. But all the sudden everyone gasped. And Dad jumped up and said, “We need to make some noise! We are here, we are here, we are here!” Horton, who really was an elephant, had apparently told him that whoever else was up there was going to boil our world, which really was a speck, In hot oil! My shoulders sagged. I had my family again, only to… but Dad was saying something. “We need to be louder!” And suddenly I knew what I had to do. I turned and ran. Dad saw me. “JoJo, where are you going? We need every voice! JoJo!!!” I was going to get my voice. I was going to the Symphoniphone.
I never knew a time when I ran faster. Or that I got to the observatory faster. But I got there. And I was getting everything ready when from behind me there was a voice. “JoJo, you built this?” I turned and saw Dad, standing in wonder. I smiled. I started my huffer, and my strings, and my bells, and I jumped onto the thing that made the giant balls roll. Shoving them onto the drums that they worked, I Leaped off and started my Double Helix. I slid down one of the poles, something I’d never done before. Leaped into the elevator, grabbed dad’s hand. He thought it was a gesture or something, because when we started up he shouted. But then I opened the doors… and stood by his side as the music- my music- washed over the city. We got out of there fast and headed for town square. We ran up the stairs. Dad shouted “Everybody, don’t stop! This is gonna do it!”

Running to a horn fixed to the drainpipe, He yelled into it. “Can they hear?” A voice shouted, and for a second I was so amazed that I didn’t realize until… he said no. Dad turned to me, Sorrow in his eyes, Kneeled on the ground, looked me straight in the face. “No matter what happens, I couldn’t ask for a better son.” He choked up. But I knew then what I had to do. I grabbed the horn. Ran up the stairs. To the highest point. Stood as high as I could. I don’t remember, at that crucial time, what I said. Dad ssays I said Yopp. I believe him. But all I knew was that something was different. I fell backward off the pinnacle, dad caught me. We stood there and looked at each other for what seemed the longest second in time. Then he hugged me. This was it. This was our last moment, and we were going to spend it just like this. Just embracing each other. But it wasn’t. We let go. Ran down the stairs. A voice came out of the horn. “Ya did it mayor. Ya did it.” I didn’t understand, I don’t think I ever will understand what I felt just then. But we ran to the edge of the balcony. I jumped up. I don’t know why I remembered this, but I will always remember that I scraped my knee just then. He yelled out. “WE DID IT!!!” He turned to me. “Well done son”. I smiled at him. A man in the crowd cheered. “All right mayor!” “Dad, You’re one of the greats!” I couldn’t keep it in even if I’d wanted to. But I didn’t. All of the sudden it was the most important thing in the world to say. Even more important then Yopp. He hugged me again. And we stood there, looking out over the people. His people. My people.


© Copyright 2018 JoJo McDodd. All rights reserved.

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