Mountain and Pebble.

"Hi, Mountain," said Pebble, "how’s it goin’ up there?"

"Go away tiny stone," boomed Mountain, "Can’t you see I’m too busy looking impressive and mountainous?" 

Pebble looked up, waaaay up, and replied, “Dude, I dig the snow-cap you’ve got on.”

"Pebble, you are small and insignificant to me," snubbed Mountain. "Be gone."

"But Mountain, let me ask you a question- have you ever been skimmed across a placid pond? Have you ever had a smiley face painted on you in an art class? Have you ever looked up to see the silver exhaust pipes of a ‘64 Corvette Convertible?"

Mountain was silent. Pebble continued.

"Tell me Mountain, has anyone ever used you to draw a line in the sand? Have you ever landed perfectly on the number 6 of a hopscotch board? Have you ever been carefully tossed at a lover’s window at night?"

Mountain had nothing to say.

"You see Mountain, I may be smaller than you," said Pebble, "but I’m a pretty big deal."

Mountain remained silent. And to this day, Mountain has nothing to say. Mountain only softly echoes back what a person or Pebble shouts at him.  

Horatio’s First Day of School.

Horatio was excited for the first day of school. The bus pulled up, he waved to his mom and dad and quickly found his seat. 

From the back of the bus he thought he heard a kid giggling. He turned around and the boy stopped. But when he sat back in his seat the boy started giggling again. Horatio wondered if he was laughing at him. Horatio wasn’t telling jokes or doing tricks, but it sure seemed like this kid thought something was funny. 

Once in his classroom, things got even stranger. The boy on the bus was his classmate. His name was Jimmy J. and he called Horatio mean names, like “Flipper” and “Shamu.”

"My name is not Flipper, it’s Horatio," he snapped back. But this only made Jimmy laugh even more.

At lunch Jimmy tossed tiny sardines at Horatio to see if he would catch them. At gym class Jimmy made Horatio balance a ball on his nose. And on the bus ride home, Jimmy flicked erasers and spitballs into Horatio’s blowhole.

Horatio shouted and yelled and tried to strike Jimmy with his flippers, but nothing could make Jimmy stop bothering him. 

As far as first days of school go, this was The. Worst. Ever. So Horatio went straight up to his room, slammed the door and cried. 

"Horatio? Is that you crying in there?" his mom asked from behind his bedroom door.

"Yes," he answered, "I don’t want to go to school anymore."

"What happened?"

"Jimmy J. made fun of me." he sobbed.

"Was it because you were the only dolphin?"

"Yes. He called me names and wanted me to perform like I was at Sea World," he answered. "I didn’t like it."

His mom opened the door, sat next to him on the bed and whispered, “I know something Jimmy J. won’t like.”

"What?" perked up Horatio.

"He won’t like it if you ignore him," she answered. "Just swim the other way. Dolphins don’t need to fight the sharks of the world. We’re the smartest, fastest and most creative animals in the sea."

"Swim away? That’s all it takes?" asked Horatio?

"Yes. If you don’t like what someone is doing or saying, make them invisible and swim away."

The next day Horatio took his mom’s advice and you know what? It worked. Jimmy J. disappeared. Of course, it took a little help from Uncle Louie the killer whale, but that’s no one’s business.

A Mind Trick.

When I snap my fingers you will no longer know everything you know right now.

You won’t know how to kick a ball. You won’t know how to color with crayons. You won’t know the flavors of ice cream. And you won’t even know the characters on your favorite TV shows.

All that stuff will be gone forever from your mind.

Are you ready? Good. (reader, please snap fingers)

Okay, that was easy. Everything is gone. Now when I snap by fingers again you will know everything you never knew before. All new stuff.

You will know how to speak Papiamento. You will know how to tune the 23 strings of a sitar. And you will know that emus can’t walk backwards. And you will even know how to jump start a car while it’s rolling down a hill.

Are you ready? Good. (reader, please snap fingers)

So how does it feel to know all that new stuff? Amazing, right? Hey, I bet you don’t even miss that old stuff. Wait? What’s this you say? You still remember all the old stuff? My snapping fingers trick didn’t work?

Well, this is no good. Guess you’re just have do it like the rest of us and get all that great stuff in books.

Now snap to it.

The Fastest Boy on Earth.

Devon DeRoll was super fast. We’re talking feet like a cheetah. 

In fact, people said Devon DeRoll was the fastest boy on earth.

His mom couldn’t catch him when he was naughty. His friends could never freeze him in a game of tag. And a policewoman once wrote him a ticket for running over 65 MPH on the highway.

But Devon DeRoll was never satisfied. He wanted to go faster.

So before everyone else woke up, he would sneak out of his house, put his head down, and run as fast as he could.

He started by running around his block. And soon he got so fast, he could run around his whole neighborhood in under a second.

Then he got fast enough to run to the store and back in under a second.

Then he ran to the next town and back in under a second.

Then to the next state and back.

Then to the ocean and back.

Then to the nearest continent and back.

And eventually he was able to run all the way around the whole world and back. Over 24,901 miles in the blink of an eye without even breaking a sweat!

It was an amazing feat. And as you could expect, everyone wanted to talk to him about it. 

They wanted to know how big the rocks in the Great Wall of China were. They asked him what he thought of the olive fields in the South of France, the salty mist off the Cape of Good Hope, and the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains. They begged him to draw pictures of all the wonderful creatures he must have seen in the Amazon Rainforest. The macaws! The jaguars! The spider monkeys! 

But Devon DeRoll had no answers for them. He had run so fast, the whole world was just a blur. 

So he gave up running.

And from that day forward he just jogged at a easy pace, eyes wide open, looking all around, not just ahead. 

The Cake.

The Emperor’s son was turning 5 years old and the Emperor wanted to bake him a cake. But this was to be no ordinary birthday cake. This was to be the grandest birth day cake the world had ever seen. No expense was to be spared. And what the Emperor wanted, the Emperor always got.

So he issued a decree: ”Good people of Varvata: Theo, Son of Emperor Dinkulos, The Supreme Ruler of the Kingdom of Varvata and Pasha of Pinko, is turning five years old. I demand that you bake him the world’s largest chocolate cake. Now stop reading this and snap to it! Sincerely, Your Emperor.” 

Wishing to please their Emperor, everyone got right to work on the cake. They labored day and night for months. to get the recipe just right.

They gathered seven million eggs from the surrounding countryside. Three thousand and sixty-two bags of flour. Sixty-six thousand cups of white sugar. Eighty-eight wagonloads of shortening. One million gallons of cow’s milk. Four hundred teaspoons of vanilla extract. And seventeen handfuls of salt taken from the sun-dried beds of the Sea of Varvata.

The ingredients were mixed together, placed in thousands of large cake pans, and left to bake in the burning hot sun in the Varvata Desert.

Once fully baked, the layers of the cake were then assembled by the town’s construction workers. Higher and higher they stacked them- past the tallest building in town, up through the clouds, all the way until the final layer reached the stratosphere. 

Ten billion pounds of chocolate was shipped in from around the world and within just a few months it was spread all over the cake.

All that was left to do was to write the Emperor Son’s name on top. Artists were sent up with large tubes of frosting. At one point, the word “Happy” was smeared away by a passing asteroid, but they got the job done just in time for Theo’s special day.

Five candles, the size of giant trees, were placed on top and lit and Theo was called forth from the Castle’s Great Playroom.

He walked outside to much fanfare. Musicians lined the streets singing “Happy Birthday.”  Confetti shot from cannons. And the Emperor led his son up to the giant cake.

"Behold, Theo! The world’s largest cake. Made just for you. Make your wish and the people will have the candles blown out for you." 

Theo thought for a second, looked around at all the people and mumbled, “But Dad, I don’t like cake.”

Greetings, Earthlings.

That’s what you’d expect an alien to say, right?

Well, I’m an alien and I’ve never had to say those words.

But I’m nothing like the aliens you see on TV or in the movies.

I’m not a little green man.

I don’t ride around in a flying saucer.

I’m…well, I’m much harder to describe because I don’t look like anything.

I can be everywhere.

At anytime. 

In anyone’s mind.

You see, the real aliens, like me, are what you Earthlings call “bad thoughts.”

When you think about doing something naughty, like spilling out your milk at the dinner table, that’s me inside your head.

Or remember that time you were on the playground and decided to kick that nerdy kid in the shins? That was me.

You see, I don’t need a Ray-Gun. I have you guys to make a mess of things.

Just please whatever you do, don’t think good thoughts.

Don’t help people.

Don’t imagine a brighter tomorrow.

Doing any of those things will totally ruin our plan to destroy your world. 

And that will make ZeKrikbob very, very angry.

Kids Make Great Pets

Excerpt from the July issue of Dog’s World Magazine

"Are you a dog in need of a playmate? Are you looking for unconditional love? If you answered ‘Woof!’ to any of these questions, you might be in need of a kid for a pet. Kids are fun-loving and eager to please. Little boys especially make for great dog pets. Feed them a little sugar and little boys will exhibit high amounts energy (which is great for catching balls!). Rex, the Chief Canine Editor at Dog’s World Magazine, has a two boys as pets and tells us that no one gets his tail wagging in the morning like the sound of little boy’s feet prancing down the stairs. But we must caution our readers:  having little boys as pets is not easy. Sometimes little boys are prone to not listening. Some have fits if they don’t have their bottle of milk. And when not bathed they can become smelly and unsightly. See your local Kid Store or kiddie breeders for more information.” 

St. Iggy

On the tiny island of San Lupe there are four volcanoes.

The oldest and largest is a supervolcano named Kaboom. The earth shakes each time Kaboom erupts.

Humungo is a massive stratovolcano. Humungo’s volcanic cone shoots hot gases miles into the sky.

Giagantus is a gigantic shield volcano that has been erupting continuously for hundreds of years.

And then there’s St. Iggy.

St. Iggy, the smallest of San Lupe’s volcanoes, has never erupted. St. Iggy just sits dormant. No lava. No ash. No nothing. 

The active volcanos gossip that St. Iggy might be extinct. They make jokes about him being lava-less. And sometimes they blow out large clouds of ash just to make St. Iggy jealous.

"You’ll see," said St. Iggy, "someday I’ll erupt. I just know it."  

Scientists gave up studying St. Iggy. They were more interested in steaming fissure vents and rumbling lava domes. 

Tourists never take pictures of St. Iggy. No one wants a photo of a volcano that just sits there.

But St. Iggy ignored them all. Deep inside he knew he could erupt. So he decided that each day he would push harder and harder. He would never give up.

And then something happened. 

From his summit a small plume of a fluffy stuff started to billow up into the sky.

Because everyone was focused on the other volcanoes, the only person who noticed it was a little boy. He scrambled up the side of St. Iggy to get a closer look. 

The fluffy stuff was not like the hot ash spewing from the other volcanoes. It was pink and blue. The boy touched it with his finger and it felt sticky. He licked it and couldn’t believe what he tasted. The cloud from St. Iggy tasted  just like cotton candy. 

Before the boy could run down and tell everyone about the cotton candy cloud, St. Iggy erupted. 

Gumballs, lollipops, and candy kisses fell from the sky. Rivers of gooey gummy ran down the sides of St. Iggy. And cotton candy filled the sky above San Lupe.

The scientists couldn’t explain it. The tourists couldn’t believe their eyes. And the other volcanoes stopped all volcanic activity.

Now when everyone visits St. Lupe they only go to see one thing- St. Iggy, the world’s first and only volcandyco.

The Boy Who Never Logged Off.

There once was a boy who loved playing on the computer. In fact he loved playing on the computer so much that one day decided to never log off. 

His Mom and Dad tried to convince him to go outside. They dangled his favorite trucks in front of his face. They even offered to take him to the candy store. But no, the boy just stared at the monitor and clicked from website to website to website.  

There wasn’t anything they could say or do to get him off the computer. So they headed downstairs and to make lunch and come up with a new plan.

The scent of fresh baby carrots dipped in garlic hummus wafted up the stairs, but the boy continued to play on the computer.

His stomach growled.

"Maybe just one letter from the keyboard will tide me over," he said to himself. So he pried loose the letter Z and popped it into his mouth. It tasted like crunchy plastic, but he imagined it was a carrot dipped in hummus. He swallowed it down and went back to playing on his computer.

Then the scent of creamy peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches wafted up the stairs. 

His stomach growled again.

One keyboard letter clearly was not enough to fill him up. So he pried off all the letters and ate them one at a time. First a P, then a B, then a J, and tried to image he was eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He kept going until he ate all the letters and numbers, punctuation keys and even the space bar.

There was no way he was going to let a little hunger get him off this computer. 

But then the scent of hot Mac & Cheese wafted up the stairs. 

His stomach growled louder than ever.

Mac & Cheese was his favorite and he couldn’t focus on his games. His hunger was too great. So he jumped up on the computer desk and took a big bite of the computer screen. It tasted a bit pixely, but he was starving. He imagined it was Mac & Cheese and within a few minutes he had eaten the entire monitor.

All that was left on the desk was a power chord and a little white keyboard mouse. He clicked it and clicked it, but nothing happened.

Just then the scent of juicy strawberries, blueberries and raspberries wafted up the stairs. It was too much to handle.

So he closed his eyes and ate the mouse and power chord and imagined that he was eating fruit- his favorite dessert.

When he opened his eyes again there was no computer to be seen. So he walked downstairs and joined his family at the table.

They were so happy to see him. His Mom jumped out of her seat and offered him baby carrots and hummus, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a scoop of Mac & Cheese, and some fruit.

"No thanks," he answered, "I already ate that for lunch."

They Call it Baseball.

It was a hot summer night in Flushing, Queens, but Doug the Turtle and his son, Ollie, shared a nice cool log.

Ollie squinted his eyes. In the distance he could see the bright lights of a stadium. The seats were filled with people.

“What happens inside that stadium?” he asked his Dad.

Doug the Turtle stretched his neck out from his shell and answered, “Well Ollie, a great game is played inside that stadium. A game the humans have been playing for hundreds of years. They call it baseball.”

Even the word “baseball” sounded like fun to Ollie. He wanted to know more.

Suddenly Ollie heard a loud “crack” from inside the stadium. Out of a large speaker a voice shouted, “It’s a Single!”

“Dad, what’s a Single?” asked Ollie.

“A single is what happens when a you swing the Balboni, bonk it right on the Ichiro, and then run around the Winfield,” Doug the Turtle answered.

The crowd cheered again and the voice from the speakers shouted, “It’s a Double!”

“Dad, what’s a Double?” asked Ollie.

“A double is what happens when you swing the Balboni, bonk the Ichiro, run around the Winfield, and then poke the Ripken.”

“Jeez,” said Ollie, “That sounds hard to do.”

“It’s very hard to do. But not as hard as getting a Triple,” replied Doug the Turtle”

“What’s a Triple?” asked Ollie.

“A Triple is what happens when you swing the Balboni, bonk the Ichiro, run around the Winfield, poke the Ripken and then squash a Tulowitzki,” replied Doug the Turtle.

Over the loudspeaker the voice shouted, “It’s a Home Run!” and the crowd went crazy.

“Wow, a Home Run!” said Ollie, “That must happen when you swing the Balboni, bonk it right on the Ichiro, run around the Winfield, poke the Ripken, squash a Tulowitzki, and then run home to hug your Mom and Dad.”

“Exactly, Ollie!” exclaimed Doug the Turtle, “I knew you’d pick the game up quickly.”