Friday, October 15, 2010

Larry Runs Away

 By John McDonnell

In the aftermath of the Limburger Cheese Incident Larry went into hiding. He took a job as a doormat at a high traffic office building in town, because he was so ashamed he decided that it would be appropriate to have hundreds of people step on him every day.

He still had a slight aroma of cheese about him, which made it easy for Myra to find him, with the help of one of her best tracking rats.

She stood near the tasteful maroon doormat with “Welcome” written on it in gold letters, and began. “Larry, I know it’s you. Please come back. I’m sorry for doubting your affection.” She was holding the rat in her pocket to prevent it from scaring the people walking on top of Larry.

“I’m a failure,” Larry said. “I screw up everything I touch.”

“No you don’t,” Myra said, her glasses misting up. “You’re the kindest, sweetest, most sensitive alien I know.”

“You know other aliens?” Larry said. “You mean I’m not alone here?”

“Well, no,” Myra said. “It was a figure of speech.”

“Oh.” Larry sighed. “I should have known. I’ll be stuck in this backwater forever. I’m not important enough for a posting to anyplace with a real civilization.”

“Why are you talking to that doormat?” It was a five year old boy who had just gotten out of a taxi with his mother.

“I’m talking to my friend the alien,” Myra said.

“Well, if it works for you,” the boy said, shrugging. “Personally, I don’t do the Imaginary Friend thing anymore.”

“Now, Jeremy, let’s move along,” his mother said. “We don’t have time to talk to aliens today.”

“I’ll believe it if he turns himself into a dinosaur,” the boy said to Myra.

“Of course,” Larry said. “Turn myself into a creature that died out millions of years ago. It’s right down my alley. An evolutionary dead-end, that’s me.”

“You see?” his mother said. “The alien doesn’t want to cooperate. Now let’s get going. We’re late for your dentist appointment.”

The little boy froze. “Dentist? You told me we were going to a toy store.”

“So I lied a little. It’s almost a toy store. He has stuffed animals to play with in his office.”

“No!” the boy shouted. “I’m not going to the dentist!”

He turned and bolted in the opposite direction, which happened to be directly into the street. There was a large city bus coming straight at him. His mother screamed, Myra said, “Oh, no!” and Larry -- well, Larry somehow sprang into action. He slowed down Time to the point where everyone appeared to be moving in a vat of maple syrup. He then turned himself into a large grey kangaroo and hopped out into the street, picked up the little boy, stuffed him in his pouch, and bounded back to the sidewalk. There was a shimmering, and then everything was moving at the normal speed again, and the little boy was standing next to Larry blinking up at him.

“Thank you!” the boy’s mother cried.

“What happened?” the boy said, shaking his head and looking at Larry.

“This nice kangaroo saved you from being run over by a bus,” the mother said.

“It was nothing, mate,” Larry said, in an Australian accent. “I just readjusted Time and Space on the atomic level so that I could get over there and grab yer little ankle biter before the bus came. It involves quarks, leptons, and muons -- happens in the bush all the time.”

“Yes,” the mother said. “Well, I just want to say that my cousin is the mayor, and I’m going to tell him that you deserve a medal for this, and maybe a parade.”

“Please,” Larry said, his jaws working as he chewed a cud. “Bit of a shy bloke, don’t much like being the center of attention. Not my bowl of rice, if yer get my drift.”

“I insist,” the mother said. “We have parades for everything in this city. It’s about time we had one for an alien.”

Myra, who knew her boyfriend better than anyone, said, “Thank you, ma’am, but we’ll be going now. Larry has an appointment to get a hero’s welcome at my apartment. Come on, Larry,” she said, pulling his paw. “We’re going. And don’t even think about slowing down Time again till we get home.”