Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Playing with Slugs

Okay, next blog post I have an actual book review.  For now, enjoy the adventures of Dave and Molly Roswell, brother and sister preteens about to find out what truly happens if you're not careful when playing with slugs.

Playing with Slugs

As usual Dave was acting his immature self.  With a stick in his hand he watched how the slug he captured slithered over to the end of it, hoping to escape, so it appeared, and go off on whatever mission it was determined to complete.  Dave just moved the stick, enticing the slug to crawl up it and remain his captive specimen for the time being.  His backyard seemed to be a haven for slugs and Dave had always been fascinated by creatures such as these since he was four.  Derek and Julio practiced soccer moves against each other, wondering if their other friend would join them in the fun.  Now that they were in fourth grade, these boys only had a mild interest in such backyard wildlife.
Up in the clubhouse portion of the wooden play structure Dave’s sister Molly and her best friend Gabby chatted over boys in their fifth grade class while exchanging gossip about the other girls.  In her pink spring jacket that she kept unzipped to expose her grey top with the puppy decal in the center, she stopped to notice her dorky brother ignoring his friends and devoting his time to some tiny slimy thing.
“Stop playing with those slugs!”  Molly called while looking down at him from an open window space in the clubhouse.  She brushed her denim skirt down along her leggings with the solid pink and white stripes.  “You’ve got friends over.  They’re gonna leave if you don’t pay them some attention.”
Dave glanced at them through his round wire-rimmed glasses and saw them busy challenging each other without a care.  His sister was such a bother because she insisted that just because he was in fourth grade he had to put away his childish devotion to bugs and such.  He asked them, “You guys really want me to play?”
“Well…it would be great,” replied Derek. 
“You guys could come over here and check out this slug.  Oh, look…there’s another.  You used to be into these guys as much as me.”  Julio lay on the ground, exhausted from chasing the ball all around the yard.
Julio uttered, “Yeah…but we’re just not interested in that kind of thing anymore, and you shouldn’t either.  It’s for little kids.”  Dave got hot around the color, feeling ashamed of himself for not having mature interests.  He certainly didn’t want to lose any friends.  Although, he didn’t want to lose this slug or the one he discovered only a couple of feet from him. 
“Alright.  Let me get my bug collection boxes and drop this guy and one of his buddies in and I’ll set them aside.  I’ll be right back.”  He snatched the other one making its way through the grass and placed it on the stick with the first one.  Then, he marched into his house.  Dave retrieved his bug box and indeed shut the things inside.  He figured they would survive most likely until the next morning.
Dave dashed to the backyard and found Derek and Julio conspiring to team up in a contest versus Molly and Gabby.  “Molly started laughing at us and saying that she and Gabby could easily defeat us.  I said there was no way.  And Molly even said that she and Gabby could beat all three of us, even though they only have two.  You wanna play?”
He was eager to join his friends in this matchup.  Although he never said anything, Dave figured Molly and Gabby had a huge advantage because his sister was the leading scorer on her official soccer team.  Dave secretly hoped that Gabby was no good and would play with hardly any effort.  He watched as Gabby stationed herself against the fence to be goalie, while Molly readied herself upfront, prepared to play both forward and defender.  Gulping in realization he and his friends were about to get humiliated, he thought to destroy his sister’s confidence through a series of taunts.  All three boys joined in to boast about how they wouldn’t let the girls have a single score.
Molly and Gabby won the backyard scrimmage against the boys twenty-four to zero.  At the end Molly and Gabby made up a rap-song describing them as the losing slugs of soccer.  This infuriated Dave, Julio and Derek to the point that they simply moved their trio over to Derek’s yard, which now they had to be careful not to step in the piles of poo his friendly golden retriever deposited on the ground.  Julio’s parents refused to allow the neighbor kids over since they had a baby in the house and didn’t want her to be disturbed.
Right before dimming his lamp for bed, Dave checked on his two captive slugs crawling at opposite ends of the box.  In a white tee shirt and red plaid pajama bottoms, Dave stuffed himself under the covers, and flipped off the light.  He quickly fell asleep.  Sometime during the night, Dave woke up to go use the bathroom.  Once he finished and washed his hands as the toilet completed its flushing cycle, Dave shuffled back to his room.  Upon closing his door, an intense light flooded into his room through the window.  His eyes felt as if shards of glass flew into them due to the brightness of the light.  Dave reopened his door and found the whole house drowning in the brilliant aura.  Hoping to alert his parents, he fumbled down the hallway, unable to really see anything.  Instead of his parents’ room Dave made his way into Molly’s and stubbed his toe on the chair at his sister’s desk.
“Ahh, darn it!” he exclaimed louder than he planned, clutching his throbbing big right toe.
Molly stirred awake, hearing her brother’s cry, but discovering she was submerged within a sea of illumination.  “Wha—what’s going on?  That better not be you, Dave.”
“It is me.  I stubbed my toe ‘cause you left your desk chair where my toe could collide with it.  I don’t know what the heck all this light is.  I went to the bathroom, went back to my room, and as soon as I closed my door, this light started.  I was trying to find Mom and Dad, but I can’t see.”  Dave stood in the middle of the room he assumed.
“Where are you?”  Molly wondered.
“I’m in the middle of your room, I think.  Keep talking so I can find your bed.”
“This is so weird.  I’ve never seen anything like this.”  Dave followed her voice and felt for the bed with the soft, cushiony bed spread.  Molly had fluffier bedding than Dave.
Since Dave was quite freaked out, he really wanted to physically touch his sister in some way, so he found her foot that lay underneath her comforter.  “There you are.  I’m kind of scared.  My eyes hurt so much.”
“Mine too.  Get under my covers.  Then, maybe the light won’t bother us so much.”  Dave scrambled to find the open end to her covers, and he and Molly dodged their heads completely under.  Molly’s sheets and comforter with assorted shades of purple and lavender made the light more tolerable, but they saw each other in a violet ambience as the extreme aura penetrated the covers.
“Well, that worked,” Dave said, relieved to give his eyeballs a break.  “Your covers only act like a lampshade.”
“I wonder where all this light is coming—ahhh!”   She screamed and Dave joined her as they both seemed to rise in the air, the light seeping from underneath the covers.  Their eyes were now bombarded with the light and they felt their bodies tumble uncontrollably.  The sheet and comforter now wrapped around them cocoon-like and once again their eyes were better protected.  Dave and Molly were completely disoriented until they crashed onto a floor that seemed to consist of hard tile. Still entombed in the covers, Dave noticed that he was now in darkness.
Molly recognized it as well, and she said to him, “We can’t be in my room.”
Both of them heard several clicks and murmurs as if other people were there with them.  Dave opened a tiny crack in the covers to see what was going on, and he thought he saw boots and legs.  “Molly.  There are other people here.”
“Who’s there?”  Molly shouted.  “You better stay away from us.”  She removed her covers completely off her head, and she screamed enough to wake the dead.
Dave copied her, and what he saw fully in front of him wasn’t people.  At least they weren’t human people.  Terrified, he ducked under the covers, and he joined his sister in screaming at the sight of these beings.  “Holy crap!”  Dave cried.  Standing in two pairs were these humanoid creatures, only they resembled slugs with arms and legs.  Each pair was huddled close to each other around podiums with a black buzzer. 
Molly watched another slug-person count out loud into the mouthpiece of an ear phone head set.  “Okay everyone, commercial break is over in three, two, one, and go.”
Coming out from under the bedding, Dave rubbed his eyes in disbelief as he watched row upon row of slug-people all seated in an audience, applauding as a sign above their heads flashed commanding them to do so.  The slug with the head set announced, “Welcome everyone to catch that human!”  Every slug in the audience hollered the words “Catch That Human” with the announcer and both Molly and Dave watched those same words light up behind the audience.  “And here’s our host…Ray Slugberg!”  After the head-set-wearing slug shouted this in his mic, the crowd went wild as a spotlight zeroed in on a slug-man in a bright orange suit and tie with black, upswept hair.  He smiled and began addressing the crowd.
“Thank you…Thank you everyone.  Just so you know, we our broadcasting simultaneously in human English so our human contestants can play along.”  Ray Slugberg spoke into a camera focused in on him.  “I like to welcome everyone at home.  I want to remind everyone if you’d like to play along at home, simply log on to www.catchthathuman.com.slg and if you get all the trivia questions correct, you can enter for a drawing of ten thousand dandelion leaves.”  The audience erupted with applause and whistles at the mention of the prize.
Ray Slugberg continued, “Now, let’s first meet our Slugworld contestants, Suzie and Charles Slugton.”  More applause sounded at their names.  “Tell us a little about yourselves.”
“Well,” answered Suzie who was in a flower pattern dress with shoulder straps and bright red hair done up in a bee hive.  “Charles works for a packing company and I stay home and keep up the nest.  I don’t know who works harder, me cleaning up after Charles or Charles, who packages anything from cereal to shoes.  And—”
“Okay…let’s learn about our other Slugworld contestants who are two identical brothers, Yola Slugburp and Lol Slugburp.”  Ray Slugberg didn’t have too much time for chatty contestants.  “Tell us what you will do if you win the million dollar dandelion prize.”
Looking at the twin brothers and all the slug people, Dave and Molly thought they all were identical to one another, except for clothing and hairstyle.  Even the slug-women had appeared exactly as the slug-men.  Both kids remained seated, upright and alert amongst the blanket and sheet, trying to figure out what was going on. 
Yola responded.  “Well, my brother Lol and I have been collecting humans since we were little slugs.  Such fascinating creatures.  We plan on opening an entire preserve for humans to frolic about and Slugworldians would have a nice place to go and see them without disturbing them.  We’ll start with these two,” he pointed at Dave and Molly.  “Such fine humans they seem to be.  It’s always great to get them while they’re young.”
Another round of applause thundered in the set of what seemed to be a game show of sorts.  Ray Slugberg with his ever-so-enthusiastic voice reminded them.  “They are a great couple of humans.  But, you’ll have to beat them first…and then catch them.”
“Now,” Ray continued, “it is my pleasure to introduce to you from the human home world, Molly and David Roswell.”  The spotlight went right onto the two still on the floor.  A slug in a suit and tie pointed over to the podium with their names on it, indicating for them to take their places.  “Oh, they appear a little bit shy.  Let’s give ‘em a nice warm, Slugworld welcome, shall we.”  Encouraging them to take to their podium, the hand-clapping in the crowd got louder and louder the longer they stayed on the floor.
Dave looked at his sister in worry.  “What do we do?”
“How should I know?”  Her curly brown hair was a bit unraveled since arriving to this place.
“You’re the oldest.  You’re supposed to know,” Dave insisted.
“Well, I’ve never been to Slugworld before.  I don’t even know how we got here.”
The slug-man in the suit whispered to the two young humans.  “C’mon, you two.  Everyone is waiting.  Get up there.  Don’t let me sick those on you.”  He pointed to a room with a set of double-doors that opened outwardly to reveal two human-sized scorpions behind a caged door.  The door rolled itself open like an automated garage door and one of the scorpions began creeping out.
Molly screamed and yanked on her brother’s arm.  Gazing at the slug-man, she stated, “Okay.  We’re going.”  They went to the podium assigned to them.  Molly was only in a nightshirt with pictures of hippopotamuses and rhinoceroses eating happily.  She also did have a pair of underwear underneath, but that was it.  A draft in the room chilled her. 
“That’s more like it!”  Ray Slugberg hollered.  Dave and Molly watched as two other slugs dressed in work uniforms carrying electrified poles, tried to wrangle the lead scorpion back into its lair.  Once both scorpions were all the way back in, the cage door rolled closed, but right before it would fully seal the arthropods, the lead one snatched one of the slug-man workers, pulling him in with them.  As the door finally shut, the slug-man trapped inside screamed in horror as the two scorpions worked their giant stingers into him, possibly preparing to eat him. 
Ray Slugberg only chuckled at the slug’s fate, commenting, “Oo, that’s gonna leave a mark.  Heh-heh.”  His attention went to Molly and Dave.  “So, Molly and Dave tell us where you are from and what you plan on doing if you win.”
“We’re from Riveroak, Illinois,” Dave answered.  “What do you mean win?”
“Well, Mark, tell them what they can win.”
“Aside from winning your freedom, you get to keep the pair of Slugworldians with the fewest points, if you catch them.  However, you’d have to beat Yola and Lol who have won for six straight months, making them the winningest Slugworldians in the history of Catch That Human.  Back to you, Ray.”
“Okay, we all know the rules.  I’ll ask a question, the first team to buzz in gets to answer.  You must answer in five seconds or you lose points and you give your opponents a chance to answer instead to steal those lost points.  First team to one hundred gets the chance to chase down the human team through a winding labyrinth, capture them, and take them home in a plastic box.  However, if the human team finishes with a hundred points, then they get to chase the Slugworldian team with the lowest points and capture them.  It’s just that simple.”
Licking his fingers, Ray worked at his hair, worried that one little follicle was out of place.  However, his entire head of hair slid around.  Ray Slugberg was wearing a wig.  In fact, all of the slugs with hair used a wig.
Asking Molly, Dave wondered, “I wonder what they’ll ask us.  I don’t know anything.  I don’t wanna be in plastic box.”
“We’ll just wait and see.  This is probably all your fault because you are always placing slugs in a box.”  Molly had to find blame somewhere, who better than her own brother.
“It’s not my fault!” Dave protested.
“Whoa-hoe.  A little bit of sibling rivalry going on folks.  Humans, right?  Are you all ready to play…Catch That Human?   Once again the audience joined him in the phrase “Catch That Human” following up with roaring applause.
“Okay, first question for ten points.  In the metric system kilograms is a measurement for mass. In the standard system, what would be the unit of measure for mass?”
Desperately trying to pry the answer out of Molly, who only shrugged, Dave pressed his buzzer on an impulse.  Molly was shocked that he did that.  “Uh…Uh…Pounds?”  The boy yelped into his microphone.
“Oh, I’m sorry.  That is incorrect,” Ray said in disappointment.  “That’ll cost you ten points.  Now you are ten in the hole.”
Molly punched him in the shoulder and scolded, “Don’t answer if you really don’t know.  It costs us points.”
The twin brothers chimed in and Lol smugly responded, “That would be the slug.”  A bell dinged throughout the studio indicating a successful reply.  Everyone in the crowd cheered for this winningest team.
“Ten points are awarded to you.  Okay, next question for ten points, Molly just punched her brother in the shoulder.  What is a four-letter word in human English beginning with ‘s’ and ‘l’ that is a synonym for the word punch?”
Since Molly was normally asleep at this time, her tired brain wasn’t as quick as it typically was.  However, she had what she believed was the correct retort.  Hitting the buzzer, she firmly stated, “Slug.  It’s slug.”
The correct-answer bell rang and the audience clapped for Molly.  Ray happily explained, “That is absolutely correct.  Ten points to…wait a second.  The judges are discussing…apparently, there’s something wrong with Suzie and Charles’ buzzer.”   The Slugtons shrugged their shoulders and shook their slug heads in disgust at their missed opportunity to win that question.  “Apparently, the judges had all confirmed the Slugtons certainly buzzed in first.  So, we’ll start the five second clock again, remove the points from Dave and Molly, and give them a chance to answer.”
“What?”  Dave cried.  “But, you have to ask a different question.  They know the answer for sure.  That’s not fair.”
“Oh, here we go.  A ‘that’s not fair’ from our human guests.”  Ray and all the slugs laughed at them.  “We’re not on the human world, my friends.  Ho-ho.  Now, Suzie and Charles your time to respond starts…now.”
Suzie answered as she pushed her bee hive wig higher on her head, closer to her antennae.  “The answer, Ray, is slug.”  The correct-answer bell sounded.
“Well, look.  We’ve got a tie game now.  Except for our human team.”  A foghorn filled the studio with a deep ominous sound.  “Well, it looks like we’re about to move into our second round.  The second round is just like the first, but the answer is more difficult.  Now listen carefully…the following question is worth ninety points.”
“Ninety points?” Dave contended into his microphone.  “But, even if we get it, we wouldn’t get to 100.  You’re making it so we can’t win.”
“Oh, ho.  Settle down, kid.  You don’t want us to bring out Bonnie and Clyde, do you?”  Ray pointed towards the double-doors where the scorpions dwelled. 
Quickly shaking his head, he apologized.  “Um…never mind.”  He ogled his sister and Dave could tell from the expression on her that she was greatly worried about their chances.
Molly whispered to him, “Listen.  Let’s not panic, Dave.  We can do this.”
“Okay, the first second round question is,” Ray started.  “When Dave played soccer against his sister this afternoon, he was running very slowly in comparison.  What could you say he was running like?”
Both siblings stared at each other hoping the answer would spring up between them.  Molly deduced that so far the answer to the first two questions was the same.  While her brother shrugged his shoulders, Molly’s hand went for the buzzer, but at that exact moment Yola and Lol chimed in, tying her. 
“Oh, look.  We have a tie.  Hmm…in the event of a tie, the first response always goes to the champion Slugworldians.  That would be Yola and Lol.”  Molly was so angry that she kicked the podium, putting her foot right through the material which was something similar to Styrofoam.  She grasped her face in absolute terror that her actions would result in the scorpions being released on her and her brother.
Yola confidently retorted, “He was running like a slug.  Slug is the answer.”
Balloons and confetti dropped down from the ceiling as Yola and Lol reached the 100 point mark.  The audience was on its feet applauding and whistling for the twin brothers who wiggled their antennae in rhythmic waves at each other.  Together they chanted, “Oh, yeah…oh, yeah.  Who’s the slug-man?  Oh, yeah…oh, yeah.  Who’s the slug-man?”
The Slugtons clapped for the Slugburp twins.  Ray walked over to the twins to shake their hands in congratulations.  Into the microphone in his hand Ray shouted over the audience.  “Yola and Lol!  Twenty-seven straight wins!”
Looking with pity at Molly and Dave, he said to them, “As for you Roswells…that was one of the worst performance of any human guests.  You know what that means?”  He waited for the audience to call out with him.  “It’s time to Catch That Human!” 
A set of double doors opened on the opposite side from the scorpions and a long corridor was revealed.  Ray motioned for the two preteens to step over to a line that had the word “start”.  “Now, it’s time for our third and final round.”  Molly and Dave watched as Yola and Lol were getting dressed in  red and blue stretch suits with a nozzles attached at the sleeves.  “While Yola and Lol get ready, let me explain to you what’s going to happen.  When the foghorn sounds, you two will run through the maze.  Yola and Lol will start chasing you after you’ve had a five second lead.  If you can reach the center of the maze before they catch you, a transporter will take you back to your house there in Missouri.”
“Illinois,” Dave corrected.
“Uh, whatever.  Yola and Lol are equipped with four capture nets that they will shoot out of their nozzles in hopes to make you their specimen to take home and store you on a shelf or create their human reserve or flush you down their toilets.  You’ll be at their complete mercy.  Don’t you love playing with slugs?”  Ray especially eyed Dave who was now thinking he was being punished somehow for his interest in these creatures that were normally not human sized.  “Oh, and in twenty seconds of play, the scorpions will be released into the maze.  Better hurry.  They love human blood.  Don’t let them be in the transporter with you or they’ll be most unwelcomed house guests.”
Molly pleaded, “Just let us go home. Please.  We don’t want to play this.”
“Now, what would be the fun in that?  Okay, the game starts in five, four, three, two, one…” The foghorn went off, vibrating the bones of Molly and Dave.  At first they didn’t move, but they saw Yola aim his nozzle attached to his right arm right at them.
“Fish in a barrel,” he commented.  And, he released his net.
Screeching, the brother and sister duo bolted into the maze as Yola and Lol slowly scooted towards them.  The first corridor only went one way to the left.  “Let’s go this way,” Molly decided, and so they did.  Above their heads was a T.V. monitor and they could see Yola and Lol making progress, but realized they moved at a snail’s pace.  They would have plenty of time to find the transporter.  “Hey,” Molly suggested.  “Why don’t I try and scale up the wall and have a look around?  I could stand on your back.”
“Molly, I should stand on your back.  You’re bigger and stronger than me.”  This made better sense to Molly, even though she didn’t have much confidence in Dave’s ability to figure out the maze.  “In fact, just prop me up so I can climb on the edge.  I think between the two of us I can reach it.”  Looking at the monitor, Yola and Lol were now just entering the beginning of the maze, but they spotted the brother and sister standing still at the end of this section of the labyrinth.  They crept closer to them. 
Molly grabbed her brother by his shirt upon seeing Yola and Lol coming their way and rounded the corner into the next section.  “Let’s get some distance from them.”
Yola boasted, “We’ve got you now.  There’s no escaping us.”
Dave noted, “They are so slow.  This is ridiculous.” 
As soon as he said this a tornado siren went off, and he heard Ray’s voice announce, “And here come the scorpions.” 
Then, Dave cried out, “Oh, crap.  It’s the scorpions.  They won’t be slow.”
Now that they were out of sight of the two slug-men for a time, Molly said, while crouching, “C’mon, stand right on my shoulders.  Steady yourself with the wall if you have to and I’ll stand up and you should be able to reach the edge of the wall.”
Doing as instructed, Dave planted his bare feet right onto his sister’s shoulders.  Before she hoisted him up further along the wall, a blood-curdling cry sounded from the corridor Yola and Lol were still in.  Dave glanced at the monitor since Molly was too preoccupied with lifting him up, and watched as the two scorpions took turns devouring Yola and Lol. 
The voice of Ray Slugberg rang out.  “Oo…it looks like our all-time champions became an all-time meal for Bonnie and Clyde.  Perhaps, the scorpions will be too full to chase after our humans.”
Finally, the top of Dave’s head just reached the edge of the wall and he placed his hands on the flat surface that was roughly one foot thick.  He pushed himself up, trying to get some traction with his feet, but managed to place his toes against Molly’s curly top.  Molly detected the clicks of the two scorpions and out of the corner of her eye, she saw on the monitor that the two arthropods were done with their slug meals, and were now briskly walking further down the first corridor of the labyrinth.  “We gotta hurry.  Those scorpions are going further into the maze.”  She pushed against the soles of her brother’s dirty, smelly feet.  “When was the last time you took a bath?”
“That’s not important right now, Molly.  Just keep pushing.”  Dave was able to reach out for the other edge of the wall on the top and now braced it with one of his arm pits.  “It’s so narrow up here.  I hope I can keep my balance.”  He finally got a toe from his left foot up the edge and he managed to swing his leg around and straddle the top of the wall.  Even without standing he could tell that the scorpions in the previous aisle over were confused a bit and stopped moving to the end.  So, instead, the scorpions decided to scale the wall and would soon drop into the aisle Molly alone now stood.  “We gotta hurry.”  He glanced around the maze in search of the middle, and he realized it was so simple, that it was basically a zig-zag pattern, and there was only one way to go.  “Molly, just keep following each section of the path.  There’s nothing to trap us.  I’m gonna drop down the other side and meet you.  Molly…run!  The scorpions are coming over the wall behind you.”  And, they did.  Both Bonnie and Clyde were now mere feet from Molly.
That eleven-year-old girl shrieked at the sight of them and sprinted away from them.  One scorpion stayed close behind Molly while the other noticed Dave up on the wall and lunged towards the nine-year-old.  He tried to slide off the other side, but his right arm got caught by one of the scorpion’s grasping claws.  It sliced into the boy’s skin, and he hollered, “Molly, help me!”  Only, Molly was just now rounding the corner to the next segment of the labyrinth.  Dave would have to save himself, and he gripped the top portion of the arachnid’s claw and pushed up on it with his left hand, slicing his thumb and palm in the process.  It dropped him as soon as the predatory critter reached up with its other claw and Dave slid down along the floor with the hard tile, his butt slamming hard, bruising his tail bone. 
Molly saw her brother a bloody mess, seeing he was nearly cut down to the bone on his forearm.  She grappled her slumping sibling by the shoulders, and shouted, “You gotta get up, Dave.”  Dave’s sheer will to survive prompted him to stagger to his feet while being seized by utter terror as he observed one scorpion skittering down the corridor while the other one was crawling over the wall.
Dave announced, “I don’t even feel my arm anymore, Molly.”  They continued with the Bonnie and Clyde in full pursuit, weaving through the maze until they found a bright pillar of light that had to be the center and the point of escape.  Dave left a trail of blood wherever he went.
However, the scorpions were so close that they would no doubt enter the transporter with them.  Dave took his red plaid pajama bottoms off with his left hand, unable to use the right.  “Help me get these off!”  He pleaded with his sister, and she complied, unsure of what he planned on doing with them.  The boy was so light-headed from the amount of blood pouring to the floor, and he stood only in dark blue boxer briefs.  Splashing as much blood as he could on them he balled up the bottoms, and tossed it over the tail of the scorpion in the lead.  The scorpions each made a grab for them, reacting to the human blood that they detected on it.
“Great thinking.  C’mon, Dave.  Let’s jump in.”  Unfortunately, Dave collapsed to the floor, going into shock, his face completely without any color.  Molly didn’t know what to do, but she had no means to help him out medically.  Her only hope was to get him in the transporter, so she dragged him to the beam and together they were once again immersed into a world of bright light.
Flipping every which way, their bodies just rolled around and due to the intensity of the light, Molly could not even see her brother.  She clutched his left hand, careful not to further damage his right.  Both of them landed on the carpeted floor of Molly’s room, and the light faded.  Noticing the time on her alarm clock, the brother and sister were gone for an entire hour.  Molly hysterically sobbed as she remembered the injury her brother suffered.  She huddled over him and yelled for her parents.  “Mom!  Dad!  Come quick!  Dave is badly hurt!  Call 9-1-1!”
Her mom rushed into her room and flipped on the overhead light.  She found Molly holding onto her brother’s head and he didn’t have any injuries at all.  He appeared to only be sleeping.  Molly’s mother asked skeptically, “What? What happened to him?”
Molly looked at Dave, baffled to see him completely healed from his scorpion encounter.  “Well…his arm was badly cut from these giant scorpions and…you’re not gonna believe this.”
Peering at her in total disbelief, her mom said to her, “I told you guys not to sleep in each other’s rooms.  It’s always one thing or another.”
Dave groggily woke up.  “Hey.  What’s going on?”  He looked up at Molly, who still held onto his head.  “Molly.  We’re home.”  He laughed in relief, shaking from the crazy experience.
“Dave.  Please go sleep in your room.  And Molly…where is your sheet and comforter?”  Mrs. Roswell went into the hallway to find a closet with an extra blanket.  “Here, use this for now.  I’m going back to bed and figure it all out in the morning.”
Sitting up, Dave asked Molly. “Was that all just a dream?”  Scanning his arms, he saw nothing to indicate he had a near-fatal tussle with a giant scorpion.  A small bright light enveloped Molly’s bed, and her covers returned with a framed picture.  Molly retrieved it, and displayed it in front of her brother.  It was a picture of Ray Slugberg in all smiles and slicked back wig-hair.  An autographed inscription was scrawled on it.  Molly read it aloud.  “To Molly and Dave.  Thanks for appearing on my show.  You’re not bad for a couple of humans.  Hope to see you again sometime.  Yours Truly, Ray Slugberg.”
They just stared at each other and smirked.  Their mother shouted from her bedroom, “Dave…go to your room and go to sleep or no more slugs for you.”
Molly said, while flapping the picture around in her hand, “Well, at least we know it wasn’t a dream.  Hey, your pajama bottoms are still back at…you know.”
Dave noticed there was a line of words written on the picture that Molly missed.  He read it.  “P.S. We’ll send the pajama bottoms back later after we thoroughly clean them.”
Heading out of Molly’s room, he turned to her and said, “I am never going to play with slugs ever again.”  Dave wandered back to his bed and he and his sister fell fast asleep.  As for the slugs in the box on Dave’s nightstand, they just continued crawling about in the way that slugs do.  In the morning, Dave planned to release them. 

Be good to yourselves!

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