When we last saw Ada, Lyle, and Leela, they were standing on a hilltop overlooking Storybrooke town square, carefully watching the celebration unfold as news of Zemelda Rottentooth’s death spread far and wide. On the hilltop, we join them again, still watching and waiting to see what happens next…
Ada had come to her conclusion.
“I don’t like it.”
Ada was short for a ten year old, but her magnificent afro more than made up for her height. Her sharp dark, coffee bean eyes, that often lived under knitted brows, continued to gaze down at the town celebration from the hilltop. She was a sweet girl at heart, but had, out of necessity, grown up quickly in order to watch after her father. His brilliance as an inventor was unquestionable, although he was a bit absent-minded.
And by a bit, I mean completely.
“Where’s your dad?” Leela asked.
A cool breeze ran over the hilltop and the trees gave a shush.
“Did he hear about…?” Lyle asked, making the “Zemelda” eyebrow gesture.
Ada’s frown broke, and her lightly freckled nose crinkled slightly as she smiled, amused by Lyle’s eyebrow action and thinking about her Dad’s usual “head in the clouds” way of being. “Not even he could have missed this,” Ada said.
Ada’s dad was notorious for missing important news. He once ran an entire morning’s worth of errands in Bermuda shorts and flip flops because he hadn’t heard the news that it was January.
“So, where is he?” Leela asked again.
Ada looked at her watch. She had to wear a watch because she was her small, family-unit-of-two’s official time-keeper, organizer, and overall liason to the greater Storybrooke community. Without Ada, her father would never be on time for anything.
Ada casually glanced down at her phone which was still reliably synced with her watch. Although Ada wasn’t the only kid in school with a phone, hers was unquestionably the coolest. It wasn’t that she was spoiled, it was a matter of necessity. She needed a way to stay in touch with her dad, monitor the security cameras, check the chemical composition and temperature fluctuations of the house (due to the disturbing number of unintentional explosions from her Dad’s experiments going wrong, not to mention the odd intentional explosion when things went right), and finally, to make sure the cat was fed. In fact, she had gotten the phone on the heels of a small house fire in which the cat was singed and a half dozen fish had been nearly poached by tank water made too warm by said small house fire.
It was likely the house would explode again, so Ada checked her phone often.
She texted someone. “You’ll see him in five minutes,” she finally replied.
“Whatshup?” said a slow, sticky voice. It was Paul. Paul was a boy of generous girth, which is a polite way of saying he was fat.
Ada glared at the suspiciously bright and shiny candy apple in Paul’s hand.
“Man, what’s wrong with you?” she scolded as she snatched the candy apple from his hand. As Ada did so, Paul’s eyes came back into focus and he glanced up at her.
“How many times do I have to tell you, you’re playing with fire every time you put one of those things in your mouth.”
“But…” Paul began to protest.
Ada threw the apple into a clump of trees. “It’s for your own good.”
Paul hungrily eyed the area where she had thrown the apple and did his awkward shuffle before giving a little exasperated sigh. He had very little willpower when it came to sweets, but Ada was pretty sure he was not willing to dig through leaves and dirt for the partially eaten candy apple.
“Let it go, man.” Lyle said, and petted Paul on the arm a little to calm him down. Lyle was very skinny and his bony hand made Paul’s arm look enormous.
It should be noted that if Paul lived in your town, his lack of common sense would have worked out very poorly for him. He might have been hit by a car, or perhaps been inexplicably eaten by a pack of very hungry wild chihuahuas. So it is truly exceptional that in a town like Storybrooke, which is so unlike your town or any other town I know of, Paul has, so far, managed to see the ripe old age of ten.
This “luck” of Paul’s was due, at least in part, to the knowledge stored in a very important book. Every child in town owed their lives to this book. Staying Alive in Storybrooke: a User’s Guide, was a well-known, yet well-kept kid secret, whose contents were shared by all the 12 and under set, and kept hidden from the adults of Storybrooke (its author unknown, and its location kept secret from all adults). The first page of the book held the Four Kid Kommandments, written in wise-looking, old English lettering. The kind that conveys utter seriousness. This is what the first page said:
I) Thou shalt be wary of grown-uppes. Even the ones thou thinketh thou canst trust.
II) Thou shalt never, ever, ever, ever eateth any-thing a grown-uppe giveth thou unless thou watches them make it thyself.
III) If force’d to taketh the food, thou must turneth it away, especially if the food is a sweet, such as candye, cayke, cook-ies, brown-ies, candye’d apples, caramels, and items of similar ilk.
IV) Do NOT trusteth grown-uppes who liketh to cooke in general, especially if they hath a fondness for oversized potts, panns, stoves and mycrowayve ovenns.
This book was clearly ancient, what with all the fancy lettering and all, and more importantly, almost all the children took it very seriously. With one exception.
“Get it together, Greenwald.” Ada scolded Paul.
Suddenly an enormous blast of thunder shook the earth and made all the children jump. Ada laughed.
“My dad’s here.”
Another blast of thunder boomed through their chests, and another, and another and another. The blasts were coming in time now, a constant THUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMP that turned into recognizable music as it approached. Then, just as suddenly as the thundering thumping had sounded, pink, blue and green and red and purple lights exploded over the dimming sky.
Ada’s dad appeared on main street driving a flatbed truck piled high with an impossible stack of speakers and what looked like cannons shooting fireworks and lasers into the air. The music was so loud it was actually harder to hold still than to give in to the rhythm and dance.
Ada’s dad spotted his daughter and waved to her with one of his enormous hands, his big white smile flashing out from behind his black bushy beard and dark skin. He had the ability to find her in any crowd no matter how big. That was his dad-power. Every dad has a dad-power. Didn’t you know that? It’s true. Go ask your dad. Or someone’s dad. It doesn’t really matter whose dad you ask, dads love to brag about this sort of thing.
While no adult in Storybrooke was totally trusted by the children, and rightly so, it was an unspoken agreement that if there was one adult that you might be able to trust, it would be Ada’s dad, Adam.
“Your dad’s pretty weird.” Leela said, not unkindly.
“Yeah,” Ada said thoughtfully, “He’s really just a ginormous child.”
And on the topic of large children, Paul said, “I gotta shake my moneymaker,” as he shook what he clearly thought of as his moneymaker.
“With a moneymaker that big, you’re gonna be a rich man, Paul,” Leela piped up.
Lyle ribbed her, giving her the little scowl he gave whenever she said something mean about Paul. But this was a good night, and his scowl eased into a smile.
“Shake it Paul!” Leela shouted encouragingly. They were all laughing as they made their way down from the hill to dance alongside everyone else in town, celebrating the best event the town had experienced in a long, long time.
Chapter 5 (Preview)
Things were slow to go back to normal after the enormous celebration. The festivities went on for too long for the following day to qualify as normal. Work and school weren’t officially cancelled the day after the town-wide party, but no one bothered showing up to either…
Check back in a few weeks to find out what happens next! Chapter Five is posting soon!
Kelly Raine is an artist, writer, and educator. He teaches children and likes the idea that he is pitching in to make the world slightly better. He wears a lot of black and wakes up very, very early.
© Kelly Raine, 2018 All Rights Reserved.