Wishing A Mite.
That morning Will Powerfool's mother drummed him out of bed
like a puppet toy soldier on a string.
She marched him straight through to breakfast
--by way of not one single solitary thing
he himself would have chosen to do had it been up to him
(such as going back to sleep til noon,
or resting his head for a week over the pillow on the floor,
or one last final hug of his stuffed bear
... lasting about a month).
Instead: Pang! Pang! On went his socks,
on went his shoes, on went his pants,
and his shirt!
What?! He didn't wash properly
when Mother gave him the chance?
Then off shirt, off pants, off shoes, off socks!
And start all over agains from scratch:
Wash! Wash! Watched closely by Mother this time
--Then, again socks! shoes! pants! and shirt!
(Like old times, really, everything happens
and then everything re-happens again).
"What drag!" Will Powerfool was thinking,
standing by the dirty clothes' hamper,
weathering Mother's storm of clothes coming on and off
all over his body almost on their own: "Boy!"
If ever kids got a chance to boss grownups around
like that--Watch out!
Before he could get his socks used to the shoes
they were stuck into... off! he was drummed into
the kitchen, where Aunt Tuba was cooking:
Pop! "Oh!" Fizz! What marvelous scents!
Only, no matter how much he felt like a chocolate chip cookie,
Aunt Tuba wouldn't let him have even one:
"A cold dead chocolate cookie--This early in the day!"
Instead she gave him something that was too hot
and he dropped it on the table with a great big splash:
She wasn't there to serve him!
"No?" Of course not: She was serving herself.
And he either had what she had --for him--
or he had nothing at all!
"Well, in that case--okay," he would have some more of it.
And so he told her, trying to figure out what it was
through hard squinting eyes (because he was
trying to dodge lightbulbs flickering too harshly
over the toaster and all the other shiny stuff in the kitchen).
The sharply bright yellow kitchen walls with loud pink splashes
of flowers all over them all the way down to the halls
were simply too bright for Will Powerfool to be
walking about with his eyes fully open (that early):
He bumped and bumped against the furniture a lot,
and missed a couple of doorways altogether
as he made his way all over the house--So what!?
"Boy!" Bumping into walls reminded him:
Did he have enough time to say goodbye to Father?
(He was already late for school as it was.)
Please note, however, that it was NOT his fault he was late:
If it had been up to Will Powerfool himself
he would have jumped from bed all the way to school
(probably) in a single hop
instead of walking all that way.
But would Will Powerfool's teacher understand
that his parents always made him dress at least twice every morning
--just to make him late? He doubted it!
"Padrrd! Padrrd! Padrrd!" Father told him wisely,
because he only spoke padrrdiese
that soon after getting out of bed,
and Will Powerfool took this to mean goodbye (maybe).
"Watch out for Bonehead!" Mother warned him.
Bonehead (their dog) loved pouncing on everyone,
then padding them down for any hidden treats
he was convinced people were always carrying with them
... so he had earned himself the nickname Bonehead
(although, naturally, his real name was Puppy Powerfool).
"Do you have everything?" Mother asked,
pushing him out the front door.
Will Powerfool checked his arms and legs, his head
which everyone always told him he was lucky to
have glued to his shoulders (it was still there).
"Is it morning already?" Will Powerfool asked Mother
even as he began to work his legs
--to see if they were still in good enough working condition
to carry him all the way to school (they were):
"Boy! Boy! Boy!"
Would things be different if things were not the same
--and kids could tell their parents when they wanted to go to school,
or when they wanted to stay in bed,
or to go out of the house to play--
"Padrrd! Padrrd! Padrrd!" Father was saying
then (all probably goodbyes).
Then Will Powerfool was off to school at last,
lunch box under one arm, schoolbag under the other arm.
And something else again in his head:
Now he was really late for school
(and it was becoming later
every single minute he wasn't there yet)...
"Oooooh!" Will Powerfool raced like a super-train
on invisible tracks... laid down just in front of him
(as he went along) by how many times
he had raced to school this way.
Then, "Poing," he went, like a Bungee-cord jockey
bouncing back out of the Important Street
into which he had plunged headlong running full steam!
"NOT," thundered the crossing guard Alpa,
all 200 pounds or more of her, down at poor little him:
"NOT until I tell you to cross!" No arguing there.
"I don't suppose it matters I'm so late for school today
I may meet kids coming back home the other way,"
Will Powerfool thought to snap at her
(but had the good sense not to).
He just stood there covered by her mountain-like shadow
shivering out of the Sun.
Alpa the Crossing Guard took her precious time with him,
too, looking far away into the distance
one way down the Important Street
... slowly, carefully (as if Will Powerfool had all the time in the world
to wait there), looking for cars, twigs and
maybe even ants going by under his nose even.
She checked on how he was taking his wait
under her barn-like shadow:
He was quivering and trembling, marching in place
to keep himself warm and limbered up, just itching
to run cross the Important Street
the minute she gave him the OK...
"Huh-uhzzz!" huffed Alpa the Crossing Guard,
like a fire-breathing dragon,
her nostrils flaring like a bull's,
daring him to set a foot out there
without her permission!
Then Alpa looked far away again into the distance
(the other way), slowly, carefully,
overlooking not even the smallest speck of dust on the ground
as far down the Important Street as a human being could see
... while Will Powerfool bounced and bounced in place,
becoming tardier and tardier for school.
"Very well," Alpa finally admitted,
taking her sweet time with every syllable that dropped from her lips
as slowly as a cold goo,
just to make sure he understood her exactly (he supposed).
Will Powerfool could only think how lucky he was
that the Important Street was the only one
between his home and school
under guard by Alpa--the terrible dragon!
"Ah-ha!" Went the Dragon at him,
seeming to give him the okay to move ahead.
And, "Puff," went Will Powerfool
the instant he took off running.
"Poing!" He flew up,
as Alpa pulled him back out of the Important Street
one more time like a living little yo-yo on a finger string
--What could he have possibly done wrong now?!
"Walk!" She warned him, slowly,
carefully: "Do... not... run!"
(Not even using a contraction.)
Taking as much time as she could take away from him.
"Boy!" He thought--How mean of her
to treat kids like yo-yos!
"Boy! Boy! Boy!"
If he could have given it to her,
would she've gotten it!
But finally he was free to rush away
(after walking ever so slowly across the Important Street,
every single step he took across it
under the suspicious stare of Alpa the Dragon).
Painfully slow steps they were, too, every last one of them
... as if he had all the time in the world to take them!
Then, sure enough: "AH-HAAA!!!"
Hollered mean old Mrs. Lumness, Will Powerfool's teacher,
the moment he popped his head into class
--for she had a voice that could've been
easily heard by the Man in The Moon:
"MISTER!! POWERFOOL!! JOINS!! US!! AT!! LAST!!"
Mrs. Lumness announced to the whole school
(and most of the neighborhood surrounding it).
It set off the kids laughing like a box-full of fools,
giggling themselves as silly as if they had been bumping heads
and as full of glee as if Will Powerfool had
just walked into class without his pants!
(Naturally, he checked.)
But, was there a point to mean old
Mrs. Lumness making him feel so bad?
"Boy!" Wasn't there a single grownup in this whole earth
that had any mercy at all for kids--or understanding?
"Boy!" Will Powerfool was thinking as he sat at his desk.
Then, all of a sudden: "WILL! POWERFOOL!!"
Mean old Mrs. Lumness startled him anew,
making him jump right out of his chair
like a grasshopper on wings:
"STOP!!! DAYDREAMING!!! THIS!!! INSTANT!!!"
"Yes, ma'am," was all he could think of saying in his defense.
After which mean old Mrs. Lumness took her own sweet time
telling him--and the whole school--exactly how she was going to
punish him for coming in as tardy as he was:
"YOU! WILL! STAY! AFTER! CLASS!
AND! BANG! THE! CHALK! OUT!
EVERY! BLACKBOARD! ERASER! IN! SIGHT!"
Her voice made the walls shake so much that
even spiders were thrown off, webs and everything:
Everyone in the room had to dodge flecks of
every description and size for a long time,
as well as ants and dust-balls which rained down over them
like a spring shower indoors.
"A proper punishment," Will Powerfool was thinking,
as strange bits of things living and not living floated by him:
A punishment which would be sure to
also get him punished by his parents that afternoon
(for coming home late, this time from school):
But would mean old Mrs. Lumness take this into consideration,
and maybe write him a note to take to Mother explaining
that it was not his fault that he had been kept after school?
"Of course not!" Will Powerfool was sure of it.
After all, had Mother written to Alpa the Crossing Guard
that she should let him cross the Important Street running
because he was so late for school that morning?
"Of course not!"
Had Alpa The Dragon written a note to
mean old Mrs. Lumness
(saying that it was her fault that he was late
because she had made him cool his heels under her huge shadow
for a month or two)...?
"Of course not!" Will Powerfool angrily growled,
gnashing his teeth: "Boy! Boy! Boy!"
If ever the day came
when he could make grownups do what he told them to do
(instead of the way it was), if ever he got his chance:
"Boy! Boy! Boy," would he ever teach them a thing or three!
Will Powerfool was so mad he bit his curled lip,
and his eyelids slanted shut so tightly he was able to see fireworks
in front of his closed eyes!
"Grrr! Grrr! Grrr!" he growled.
Well, when somebody wants something THAT MUCH
and THAT HARD,
one way or another he's bound to get a bit of it,
at least that's what everybody had always told Will Powerfool...
And, apparently, everybody hadn't been all that wrong,
because, quite unexpectedly one of the little specks
gently drifting off the wall looking like the tiniest spider alive
(wearing its web for parachute)
landed on his great, big, opened arithmetic book
--Smack dab in the middle of the page with the lesson for today
(next to one of the tiny periods on it
--and making it look like a colon).
There the mysterious little creature slowly started
turning and growing, wriggling, squirming
... until it had become fatter than some of the commas around it!
It grew in size so much
that it looked like it was about to pop out of the book.
But most amazing of all: "Hello, Will Powerfool,"
the tiny little creature suddenly told him... using words!
"Hello--mite!?!" Will Powerfool couldn't help answering
the tiny creature, almost in shock.
He lifted his head to see if anybody else around him could also see it,
but the mite seemed to be invisible to everyone except to him:
"What... are you!?" Will Powerfool asked it.
Only, "WILL!!! POWERFOOL!!!"
Mean old Mrs. Lumness screamed from the front of the class
(as loudly as if she'd been talking to somebody in China):
"YOU! TALKING! A! MIGHT!?" She asked
(something which, naturally, shocked Will Powerfool
quite a lot)...
"Yes, ma'am," he meekly confessed to mean old
Mrs. Lumness with a shaking voice: "A mite!"
Then he pushed his face into his arithmetic book
so mean old Mrs. Lumness couldn't see his lips moving:
"Teacher can see you," he warned the tiny Talking Mite:
"Boy!" What eyes that mean old Mrs. Lumness had!
"Gosh," he himself had to squint just to see the Talking Mite clearly,
and it was standing right there on top of the page before him
almost right up against his nose!
"WELL!! I!! DON'T!! WANT!! YOU!! TALKING!!
TO!! ANYBODY!! OUTSIDE!! YOUR!! ARITHMETIC!! BOOK!!
ANY!! MORE!! HEAR!!!?" Mean old Mrs. Lumness hollered.
"Hear?!" (Which he didn't ask her).
But, wasn't that exactly what he was doing!?
There was just no way to please grownups!
"But--" he tried to protest to mean old Mrs. Lumness:
"BUT!!! NOTHING!!!" Mean old Mrs. Lumness cut him off,
so loudly that paint chipped off the walls again
(and every other kind of loose stuff).
A few loud words more from her --for good measure--
and Will Powerfool hushed up for good:
"Yes, ma'am," was the last thing he
talked back to her: "Thank you kindly!"
Then he stuck his nose so deeply into his arithmetic book
that each snort of his nose was like a hurricane
over the head of the Talking Mite.
"Boy! Boy! Boy," he whispered to the little animal,
almost sweeping him off the page every time be breathed out
and almost sucking him up every time he breathed in
(so close was the little creature standing to his nose).
"Don't worry," the Talking Mite told him: "I'll talk, you listen!"
(Which, considering how closely Mrs. Lumness was watching him,
even Will Powerfool thought the wisest thing to do.)
The Talking Mite calmly told him
(standing there on top of his lesson for today)
that he --that little Talking Mite no less--
he thought Will Powerfool had suffered long enough
at the hands of every grownup there was:
"What?!" Will Powerfool whispered softly to the Talking Mite
(although his words were still like a hurricane to the tiny animal),
keeping an eye out for eagle-eyed mean old Mrs. Lumness,
who was watching his every quiver and twitch without a letup
all the way from the head of the class.
"That's right," said The Talking Mite
(by then grown bigger than any comma
on the arithmetic page he was talking from):
"From this moment on, you," the Talking Mite told
Will Powerfool: "You can have everything you wish for!
From here on out you are the most powerful person
in this entire whole little planet Earth!"
"Wow!" Will Powerfool whispered, mightily impressed,
but whispering everything very softly,
between glances up at mean old Mrs. Lumness
where she was tracking his every move, suspiciously,
never once giving up on trying to catch him talking.
"Not only that," continued the Talking Mite,
its voice as full of mirth as if they had been buddies
talking things over at the park: "If you like,
you can become the Ruler of The Universe!"
Then, "WILL!!! POWERFOOL!!!" hollered
mean old Mrs. Lumness --for no reasons at all,
he was sure; probably just to keep him jumping.
(Which it did.)
"Provided you measure up to it, of course
--Har! Har," laughed the Talking Mite cheerfully:
"And provided you can also come up with
a few rhymes--Har!"
Even in the middle of all this cosmic transfer of power
Will Powerfool couldn't help thinking that
the Talking Mite might be talking a bit too loudly
(even as tiny as it was). And, sure enough:
"YOU!! STILL!! TAKING!! A!! MIGHT!!!?"
Mean old Mrs. Lumness was soon hollering,
and meaning it this time:
"No, ma'am," the mightiest being on the whole planet answered her
in a terrible fright, shaking as much as if he had been lying.
Which, of course (come to think of it)... he was!
"GOOD!!!! THAT'S!! WHAT!! I!! WANT!!!"
Hollered mean old Mrs. Lumness back at him
(as if everybody in the world might have gone deaf all of a sudden),
and making absolutely no sense to Will Powerfool.
"What a weird thing!" Will Powerfool was forced to admit to himself:
"No doubt of it!" (Thinking the whole thing way over his head,
and finding so little in any of it that made any sense.)
The Talking Mite gave him a magic word then
with which, he told him, with which he could
work any spell of wishes he'd like
(just by wishing for it inside his head):
"Boy?!?" Will Powerfool asked, amazed,
hearing the Talking Mite's magic word.
"And why not?" Said the Talking Mite:
"It is an easy word to remember. However,"
he warned him, "your secret wishes will only go as well
--and as long--
as you NEVER tell anyone ANYTHING about them!"
The little mite then started speaking very quickly
(as if it knew it was running out of time):
"Most especially of all, never
confess to those you work your spells on
that it was all your doing
--If ever you start telling people you're the one causing their troubles
that's when your punishments will begin," which
(in a small way) certainly made sense.
"Punishments?" Suddenly that word made Will Powerfool so shaky
that his thumb (the one which had been holding open
that heavy arithmetic book above the Talking Mite's head)... slipped!
The thick pile of arithmetic book pages his thumb had been
holding back above the head of the Talking Mite
fell on the little bug (like a house on the head of a witch).
"Smack!" Went the huge pile of pages as they came down,
snapping the book shut like a sharp mosquito slap!
"How awful!" Will Powerfool was certain
the little Talking Mite had been crushed.
Although maybe if he hurried
it would still be possible to save the Talking Mite:
Will Powerfool raced through the pages of the thick arithmetic book
back to the lesson for today
as fast as his fingers could manage it--
"Nope!" (Sorry.) When he got there
all he found on the page with the lesson for today was
a handful of simple figures in the middle of a jumble of numbers
amid a tangle of totals with sums enough to make
the already heavy book weigh twice as much
as a book that size ought to weigh, along with enough formulas in all
to make anyone looking into it dizzy enough to start seeing--
He had to wonder if it had all been true
--Could he'd just been day dreaming?
There wasn't a trace of the Talking Mite there
--not even of a mute one:
Not so much as a slight spot of oil, or a goopy stain
to mark the spot on the page from where
the Talking Mite had talked to him--
IF it had talked to him at all, of course
(so hard was it now to tell whether it had really happened
or it had only been a dream): "Boy!"
Without warning, mean old Mrs. Lumness put on a really weird smile
on her usually unsmiling face, quite abruptly,
as soon as he had said the magic word: "Boy!"
Without the slightest explanation to the class
--nor rhyme or reason--
she then grabbed a couple of blackboard erasers
and started clapping them together
as if she never intended to quit doing so
for as long as she lived!
Clap! Clap! Clap! Went mean olf Mrs. Lumness,
clapping erasers pairs and pairs of them (in no time at all
raising a huge cloud of chalk dust at the head of the class).
"My goodness!" Marvelled Will Powerfool.
The other children were just as stunned,
some of them laughing at first,
thinking maybe mean old Mrs. Lumness was trying to
get across to them the point of some lesson
... with a lot more of a fuss and show than normally
--for they all thought she was quite odd to begin with!
But, no, the bigger the cloud of chalk dust grew
... the faster mean olf Mrs. Lumness went on clapping away
with every eraser she could lay her hands on!
Stranger still was the way she was finding so many
erasers chuckfull of chalk around her
--like magic, or something--
coming up with them where there should never have been any erasers at all:
Mean old Mrs. Lumness picked up pairs and pairs of them
out of her desk, from the top of her chair,
from the blackboard itself, out of every continent on her world globe,
and even out of the pages of books open on her desk
... almost right out of the air even!
She clapped and clapped them all together
until not a speck of chalk dust was left in any of them.
Then she chucked them into a corner of the room
where there was soon a huge pile of spent erasers
growing up half way to the ceiling!
Pairs after pairs after pairs of erasers
clapped mean old Mrs. Lumness! Endlessly!
More and more and more of them,
making the cloud of chalk dust thicker and thicker, and larger,
until a genuine storm of chalk dust built up:
A scary thing to watch, actually:
Even the kids sitting at the back of the room were soon coughing
from all the chalk dust that was filling the classroom end to end
and even rushing out of the open windows like a raging snowstorm!
Yet even then mean old Mrs. Lumness refused stop
clapping erasers together: Not only did she continue clapping them,
she also started going faster and faster
as she continued clapping more and more chalk dust
out of all those magically appearing erasers
--By the cloud-loads and cloud-loads!
Everywhere she reached with a hand
she came up with more erasers full of chalk dust
and, wearing a weird smile on her face
(as if she were doing the grandest trick alive)
she then clapped out every last particle of chalk dust in them
... sending it all flying over the entire room
and even out into the halls right through the open doors!
The principal rushed in to see what was going on
--And was met at the door by a gigantic, "Puff,"
of chalk dust so thick and strong that it slapped her back
all the way clearly out to the hall (where it sat her down
on the seat of her pants--pardon--exactly as if
a fire hose of chalk dust had been turned on her).
There she sat staring into the distance,
a chalk blank stare in her face, blinking in surprise
as still more clouds of chalk dust raced through the school's
every last hall and into every room in it with an open door:
A thick rain of chalk dust fell on everything and everyone
sending them all coughing, sneezing, staring with blank faces
--and wearing blank clothes--
for soon everyone was covered with so much chalk dust
it was hard to tell whether they were people at all:
Everyone looked like dusty creatures from the moon
invading the school!
"Out! Out! Out! Out!" Said the school's public address system
as the cloud of chalk dust spread
across every one of the school's buildings.
That was the cue everybody had been waiting for:
At once they all rushed out past the principal
(still sitting in the hall like a snow-woman,
blinking her chalked-out eyes)
and then everyone, including WIll Powerfool,
headed for the exits
like an avalanche of wobbling little living dust-balls.
They all raised such a storm of chalk dust,
on top of mean old Mrs. Lumness's already pretty dusty one,
that students and teachers alike went home that afternoon white as ghosts
and coughing all the way,
no matter where they happened to have been in school
at the time the chalk storm hit.
"Cough! Cough! Cough," was the most intelligent thing
any teacher or student could say in school that day
as they all headed home earlier than usual
--hitting the dusty trail (as well as leaving it behind them)...
As for Will Powerfool:
At first he had enjoyed the affair as much as anyone:
It had been so amusing! Practically the best thing
that had ever happened at school.
He had never laughed --or coughed--so much!
Best of all was that not only had he done it all himself
without any help from anyone (outside of a tiny bug),
but no one knew that young Will Powerfool had become
mighty enough to even send everybody home from school!
But enough was enough, even for Will Powerfool:
He thought and thought, and tried,
and even cried out: "Boy! Boy! Boy,"
to make mean old Mrs. Lumness stop clapping erasers
--without any result at all:
"Boy!" (What a mess!)
No matter how hard he tried
he just couldn't make mean old Mrs. Lumness stop clapping erasers!
Will Powerfool decided to go home instead
--Maybe that would do it.
Maybe the Talking Mite's magic would stop
once he moved far enough away from school
(it made a tiny bit of sense to him).
Will Powerfool certainly couldn't do much good
just standing there coughing.
Shaking chalk dust out of his hair and clothes on the way home
--unexpectedly a very familiar and strong hand reached out
and, "Poing," gripped him firmly by the shoulder:
"Hold it there!" Commanded that well known voice
(of Alpa the Crossing Guard... Dragon):
"Wait until I tell you to cross!"
She sure thought a lot of herself
(Will Powerfool was thinking angrily)
... just because she's so big and strong
and wears an uniform!
"Ah," but that particular afternoon
Alpa the Dragon had no idea whom she was dealing with
in the person of Will Powerfool,
World's Mightiest... "Boy!"
Will Powerfool thought and thought,
and, "Boy!" Suddenly
Alpa stiffened her whole body in one quick jerk
--as if somebody had dropped a really, really cold
ice cube down her spine!
Then, off! she slid and hopped
out into the middle of the Important Street
like a big wobbling penguin gone crazy,
waving her crossing guard flag in one hand
and holding up her crossing guard stop sign with her other one
while she blew her crossing guard whistle
all the time she was riding on a single leg
like some cheap spinning and spluttering 200 pound toy robot
atop that stiff leg of hers
right through the middle of traffic,
her other (free) leg stiffly raised
(as she signaled with it for all cars to stop):
It was quite spectacular!
Cars screeched to a stop at the sight of her:
As magically as if she'd been a porcelain figurine on a stick
--for she rode only on one leg
and went along stopping traffic with the other one
--Alpa popped over to the other side of the Important Street
(which was filled with cars blowing their horns,
screeching their brakes, and bumping into each other
as they slid to a stop so their drivers could stare at her).
Once on the other side of the Important Street
(and hardly having touched the sidewalk there),
Alpa the Crossing Guard spun around like a huge bobbing top,
switched legs and then started riding her other leg back
toward the other side of the Important Street
... weaving, hopping, and sliding like magic on that stiff leg of hers
around everyone and everything!
Barely touching Will Powerfool's side of the street,
she then spun around again and slid and hopped right back
to where she had just come from,
waving and wobbling madly all the way,
whistling and racing away on her other stiff leg
like a marionette on a stick
--for she always switched legs once she got to either side
of the Important Street
and never made a complete round trip across
on the same stiff leg.
Back and forth, back and forth Alpa the Crossing Guard raced
sidewalk to sidewalk
without even stopping to catch her breath at either sidewalk
as Will Powerfool, the other kids, and all the puzzled drivers there,
stood watching in awe.
After a couple of trips back and forth like that
Will Powerfool decided that he'd seen enough of the spectacle
and hopped out after Alpa across the important Street,
tagging along with the other kids who had also had enough
and had also decided to go home
now that no cars were moving anywhere in the Important Street
because their drivers had stepped out of them
to try to find out what all the craziness was about.
Once across the Important Street
Will Powerfool cried back at it out loud:
"Boy! Boy! Boy!"
He thought and thought about giving Alpa a rest
from crossing the street:
"Boy! Boy! Boy," he cried at the top of his voice
(even trying again to give mean old Mrs. Lumness a rest
from clapping erasers)...
But, it was no use:
No matter how hard he thought
or how loud he cried, "Boy! Boy! Boy!"
Alpa just wouldn't quit performing her one-legged sliding trick
across the Important Street even for a moment!
Worse, even as far away from school as he now was,
Will Powerfool could clearly see a cloud of
something suspiciously like chalk dust
building up over the neighborhood of his school!
The whole thing scared him so much
he quit yelling and trying to think
and started running home instead
(hoping he would be able to leave it all behind him).
Will Powerfool ran and ran
--looking back every so often.
But even the last time he looked he could clearly see
that Alpa was still at it, popping back and forth sidewalk to sidewalk,
one leg each way only (and now chased by a tight little mob
of drivers who were trying to make her come to her senses
--or maybe going mad themselves: Who knows?)
Soon he was too far away to tell what was what.
Then: "Bang! Wallop!"
Before he could guess what had hit him
he tasted grass on his lips from his lawn:
Bonehead was on top of him
and trying to weigh him down deeper into the ground!
"Bonehead!" Will Powerfool cried out angrily at the dog:
"Why can't you chase Mr. Tiltsome's cat like a dog oughtta! Boy!"
Of course, no sooner had the magic, "Boy!" word escaped his grassy lips
than off went Bonehead like a hurricane of hair,
making straight as a thousand-legged arrow
for Mr. Tiltsome's house, next-door (where Mr. Tiltsome's cat Freddie
was no doubt to be found at that very moment):
"Wheeeeooow!" He suddenly heard Mr. Tiltsome holler
at the top of his voice
even from as far away as the house next-door.
"Meeeeeeow--Scratch!" Screeched Freddie Cat.
Bonehead himself contributed any number of
his own dreadful barking sounds to the three-way free-for-all
taking place behind Mr. Tiltsome's normally peaceful house:
Will Powerfool heard coming from there.
"Boy!" Will Powerfool listened
as crashing and banging things came down all over the place
--back of Mr. Tiltsome's house--
sometimes almost all at once:
Every kind of crazy, noisy junk, too:
Tin pots and timbers, stacks and stacks
of bursting and cracking stuff
shattered the afternoon like a mad orchestra
growing louder and louder.
Will Powerfool began looking around for a place to run away to,
hard as he could, or to hide
as long as he could escape the blame that would no doubt
be coming somebody's way before long.
That's when Mother opened the door to see what it was all about
--And there was the chance Will Powerfool had been waiting for!
"Oh, Will--" she started to say: "Is that you
making all that noise out here?"
But she spoke mostly to empty space,
because Will Powerfool had quickly slipped past her
... almost as soon as she had opened her mouth
after --opening-- the door.
Mother was surprised to see him home so early,
but quickly rushed him off his shirt and
--off with his pants! Off shoes! Off socks!
A quick shower followed then for him
(while Mother tried to find out more about all that racket
going on next-door).
And then rush! rush! rush! right into the kitchen
for a bite of Aunt Tuba's cooking.
Homework came after Will Powerfool wherever he went.
While Bonehead, Freddie Cat, and Mr. Tiltsome
went on chasing themselves noisily outside
(and even brought their circus past a number of their open windows).
"What is going on today!?"
Aunt Tuba complained fussing over pots and pans:
"Who can bake a souffle with this awful racket!?"
"My, my," said Mother: "I don't believe
I've ever seem Mr. Tiltsome that excited before about anything!"
Will Powerfool stuck his face deeper into his homework
(and tried to wish Bonehead would stop
chasing Mr. Tiltsome's cat Freddie).
But not a one: "Boy! Boy! Boy," he whispered under his breath at them
as if that could slow them down
or even make them chase themselves a little bit more quietly.
Instead, Will Powerfool begged Aunt Tuba for a cookie or two
(pretending that no part of all that was happening
had anything to do with him), while
trying to get everybody's attention away from
that 'very peculiar' noisy matter taking place outside the house.
The only thing Aunt Tuba gave Will Powerfool
was the very sound advice --above the noise outdoors--
that there were much better ways of concentrating on homework
than thinking about cookies.
Will Powerfool could hear Father coming
through the front door
already--finally home from work--just as,
for some weird reason,
Aunt Tuba started hastily baking chocolate chip cookies!
Not just a few cookies, either,
but dozens and dozens of them.
And then more, and more!
All without saying a single word, except
--a rather odd smile on her face--
she told him they were, all of them,
for her favorite little nephew: Him!
Suddenly Will Powerfool had lost his appetite for cookies
and wanted nothing worse than
not having to think about Aunt Tuba's sudden cookie cooking craze!
Everything --one thing on top of the next--
was making Will Powerfool as nervous as the last hair on a head:
The way Aunt Tuba was going all-out baking cookies,
flying between oven and cookie cutters in a dizzying flurry,
while splattering melted chocolate and bouncing cookie dough
all over the kitchen's once so spotless walls, curtains, and ceilings
--It was like she'd gone completely crazy!
Mr. Tiltsome's face popped across the kitchen window then.
It was just too weird--The whole thing:
Will Powerfool felt he had to get out of there as quickly as he could,
so he ran out into the living room to greet Father:
"Padrrd! Padrrd! Padrrd!" said Father (loudly) to everyone,
since he only spoke padrrdiese when he came home
all tuckered out after a hard day's work.
Well, no sooner was Father padrrding comfortably
in his favorite easy chair
than Mother came in to declare how happy she was to have him home
--because there was no end to the number of
chores she had been saving up for him!
"Oh, boy," thought Will Powerfool, unhappily,
aqnticipating another lively bout of arguing coming on
between Father and Mother
while Father padrrded something about a riot next-door
... Which, of course, Will Powerfool knew was only Mr. Tiltsome
trying to rescue Freddie Cat from Bonehead.
Mother, plainly upset to be kept waiting,
asked Father if it was okay now for them to start arguing
--Here we go! Here it all comes now!
"Boy! Boy! Boy," thought Will Powerfool,
knowing even at this stage of the coming argument
that nothing but more arguing ever came from Father at Mother's urging,
and, "Boy," he sure wished that instead of arguing,
Father would just go ahead and do whatever it was
Mother was always after him to do.
Well, after all, Will Powerfool himself always did,
and there was hardly any arguing ever between Mother and him.
No sooner thought than Father popped up out of his easy chair
as if he'd been a toast in a toaster struck by lightning,
even tuckered out and pooped as he was moments before!
Without padrrding another word,
Father wrapped himself up in buckets and mops, and dusters,
sponges, vacuum cleaner, squeegees, solvents, and
rags and cleaners, and powders and soaps
... and then he took off cleaning everywhere
everything that lay before him
like a crazy bunch of monkey energy
(or a thousand monkeys at once):
"Pardon me! Excuse me! Please, don't get up!
Don't get up," he went along pronouncing perfectly everywhere
in his spectacularly sudden--and magically
"Don't get up! I'll take care of it! Feet up! Feet up!
Soap coming your way!" Father warned everyone
while he swirled all over the living room
after every last spot not yet spotless:
"If you want to save it--you'll move it! Coming through!
Coming through," he cried
buzzing along like a fly in a candy shop!
Not only did Father fuss after every last little task
Mother had been saving up especially for him
(since they were married) but, on his own,
Father also went all out to find everything else he could come up with
to do around the house on top of everything he was already doing:
"Coming through! Coming through!
Coming through," he yelled, and meant it:
In no time Will Powerfool and his Mother felt tired out themselves
just watching Father moving around the house so fast and furious
that he looked like he could walk right through the furniture
and up the walls!
"Gangway," said Father,
at times looking like he was able to hang in midair
while he was cleaning the ceiling!
Father's sudden spurt of energy
--as well as willingness--
took Mother's breath away:
She sat back in shock (falling into Father's favorite easy chair)
just as Father went by spitting foam and flinging feathers
(from the busy dusters with which he was tickling down the entire house),
making everything shudder and shiver as he went along:
"Look out! Look out! Look out! Here I come!"
"Boy!" Will Powerfool said,
afraid Mother might be thinking of asking him
if he knew what in the world was going on
(for she was already beginning to
give him some really weird looks):
He hated to lie to Mother, especially because
she had a sixth sense about it
(and could usually tell when he was lying)...
But no sooner had he wished she would do
what mothers ought to be doing (in his opinion)
instead of asking questions children had no answers for
than Mother started feeling something quite different than
just merely curiosity and awe:
In fact, "Boy!" she was suddenly struck
with the feeling
that she ought to be hugging her little son.
And then she put her feelings into action
and right jumped up and hugged him!
"Ouch," cried Will Powerfool
as Mother hugged him with as much love
as a drowning person hugs a beach ball--
Suddenly Aunt Tuba came into the living room
and placed a huge platter spilling over with chocolate chip cookies
on the living room table in front of Will Powerfool...
Thousands of chocolate chip cookies,
not one of which he could reach
because Mother was hugging him so tightly, "Oh!"
Mounds and mounds of them slid off that huge platter,
right off the table, and all over the floor.
Mother was too busy hugging him to notice the mess
--he guessed. In any case,
Father was soon after the runoff of cookies with dust bin
and broom (and about thirty other cleaning tools):
Away he went with every tool of the cleaning trade
chasing crumb after crumb
which was trying to make a (not very clean) break for it
under the rugs and furniture,
behind the curtains, into every corner.
"Wolf! Wolf," went Bonehead outside somewhere
every time he, Freddie Cat, and Mr. Tiltsome passed an open window.
Freddie Cat also put in his own two cents' worth:
Afterwards Father took off shampooing, doing the curtains,
washing the windows, scrubbing the walls
as if there had been a thousand of him
(even sticking squeegees up the ceiling
every time a squeegee came anywhere near his hand).
Outside, always third in the parade,
poor Mr. Tiltsome went, "Wheeeyahow," as he ran by
screaming after Freddie Cat and Bonehead
(hollering and kicking along
with his long spindly legs as if he'd had twenty of them).
Father was doing the halls
when Mr. Tiltsome, looking in a window for help,
somehow got a bucket of waste water smack in the face
(for that was when Father realized he could save himself a lot of time
by dumping the dirty water out the window
instead of going all the way to the bathroom to discard it)...
Oh, well, at least it led Mr. Tiltsome to give up
trying the windows after that.
From then on,
every couple of times their three-way circus went around the house
there would be a raging storm of knocking at the front door:
"Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang," went the front door
as Mr. Tiltsome tried to get help that way.
Unfortunately, he could never wait long enough
for anybody to open the door, because
he usually --quite suddenly-- became distracted with:
"Boy," yet another danger Freddie Cat suddenly fell prey to
(as Bonehead almost caught up with him),
and Mr. Tiltsome again HAD to take off after them
to save Freddie Cat.
"Nobody there!" Aunt Tuba told everyone,
coming back from checking the front door.
Then she rushed off into the kitchen
to continue her chocolate chip cookies cooking.
"Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang," went the front door immediately
--no matter what Aunt Tuba had just told them
--as Mr. Tiltsome was again trying to get help with Bonehead
from anyone inside.
Will Powerfool tried and tried his best
to make everything stop going so terribly horribly wrong:
"Boy! Boy! Boy!"
But his, "Boy," magic only worked
when he was getting things going the wrong way, apparently,
and never when he was trying to put them right afterwards.
"Ouch," he cried as Mother hugged him too hard.
Right away Aunt Tuba returned with yet another huge platter of cookies
and poured them all over the living room!
The mountains of chocolate chip cookies already there
began turning into a great big flood of cookie crumbs all over the place,
filling the entire living room, wave after wave of it
started licking up the walls
and trying to climb up people's socks!
Will Powerfool was really getting concerned.
Only Father seemed happy with the flood of cookie crums,
faced as he was with never-ending piles of things to clean up.
Aunt Tuba was suddenly back
pouring another platter of chocolate chip cookies
over the cookie mountain already covering most of the living room:
Finding no open space to set them down
Aunt Tuba simply dumped the great big platter of newly-baked cookies
on top of the mess already there.
Then away she rushed back to the kitchen
to keep up with her cookie baking craze
--by way of the front door--
"Bang! Bang! Bang!" Mr. Tiltsome had gone by again,
and again, and again, banging and banging!
Mother was no help at all:
All she did was hug and hug Will Powerfool:
"Ouch!" (For it hurt a lot.)
Chocolate chip cookie crumbs flooded the living room
as if the whole place were going to get carried away with them:
thousands and thousands everywhere
gnashing together and crumbling even worse!
Father ran after every last crumb of them
with his dust pans and brooms and tens of other cleaning tools
--peppy as a pup to get the work--
while, "Nobody at the door!" claimed Aunt Tuba
before rushing off to the kitchen (crunching over the crumbs
as if she'd been an elephant walking on crushed ice).
"Wolf! Wolf!" said Bonehead outside.
"Ouch," cried Will Powerfool
every time Mother hugged him hard enough (and harder).
"Meeeeeeow--Scratch," went Freddie Cat.
Quickly followed by Mr. Tiltsome's screaming:
Aunt Tuba swam by above the crunchy crummy tide of cookies
half-way up everyone's waist by now
--front door to kitchen, kitchen to front door:
"Nobody's at the door!"
Then she ran off to fetch another batch of cookies.
"Ouch," Will Powerfool complained as Mother hugged him.
And then Will Powerfool thought he had seen Aunt Tuba going by
paddling on a canoe! (Who knew anymore?...Where?! What!?)
Aunt Tuba was followed everywhere by Father and his cleaning tools,
cleaning, cleaning, cleaning
every time Aunt Tuba returned messily spilling
more and more chocolate chip cookies over the living room ocean
of crumbs already there (and beginning to climb the walls).
"Ouffph," huffed Aunt Tuba as she dumped the latest batch of cookies
into the middle of the room
as if she'd been throwing garbage away on a dump
(guessing more or less where the table might be
under the rising tide of cookie crumbs).
She almost bumped into herself coming back from the door
again saying, "It was nobody!" Then she raced off to the kitchen
in a crunchy, crunchy rush!
Father was almost ripping down the wall paper now,
just tearing up everything:
The furniture fabric came out next. And then
he quickly started to wipe out everything lying or standing around.
Father went by--almost at the same time he was cleaning everything else
--after Aunt Tuba up and down: She was doing the backstroke then
... with Father swimming after her like a lifeguard
against the tide of cookie crumbs
as more and more of them came rolling off the center of the living room,
sucking up everything into itself and just eating everything up
as if it had been alive!
Mother never quit hugging Will Powerfool for an instant.
And Aunt Tuba, who had run out of plates and platters,
was soon bringing in cookies in pots and in pans
and, not long afterwards, in what once might have been her floppy dresses
... then in bed sheets and blankets, dumping everything everywhere
like Mother Nature dumps snow storms after snow storms up North!
Bonehead, Freddie Cat, and Mr. Tiltsome passed again and again
by the windows... looking into the house like millions of Peeping Toms
almost all three of them at once
--making Will Powerfool's head spin:
But still, "Nobody at the door!" Aunt Tuba kept saying,
coming and going, going and coming,
front door to kitchen, kitchen to front door
even though the knocking at the front door was almost constant by now
and chocolate was slowly squeezing out from under the kitchen door
on its own
as if it had been black toothpaste!
Unexpectedly Aunt Tuba was almost washed away
by a water hose which Father (in his effort to keep up with
his cleaning after everything) turned on the entire living room
... making everything as soggy as chocolate mush:
The furniture started dancing above the waves of soggy cookie crumbs,
and, while Mother hugged Will Powerfool
as if she had been drowning and her little son was the only tree still standing
in the storm, Aunt Tuba came through again heading both ways at once
while throwing charred cookies and unbaked dough everywhere,
even from the front door!
She was chased everywhere by Father's water hose
(making the poor living room look as stomach-turning
as the bottom of a food-blender after it'd never been cleaned)
"Ouch," Will Powerfool kept complaining,
but Mother only hugged him more for it.
Almost on top of which Aunt Tuba came out
and jumped out a window
because, "Boy," Will Powerfool just couldn't think of a better way
to make her stop baking cookies and answering the front door!
"Help," Poor Will Powerfool cried out,
pained so much by Mother hugging him
and so dizzy from all the crazy goings on around him
that he'd finally simply had it:
"Help," he cried to everyone,
sure he was going to throw up at any minute:
"Help me! Somebody help me!"
Sobbing: "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"
Confessing to Mother: "It's all my fault!
I was the one who did it! I did it!
It was me," he finally admitted to everybody!
And, finally, the whole madness came to an end:
Everything and everybody wherever they were
suddenly just dropped whatever they were doing:
Father was suddenly too pooped to do anything anymore
no matter how much energy he'd had
for house-cleaning a moment before:
He dropped all his cleaning tools, the hose,
and stood there on wobbly knees
(deep in crummy chocolate chip cookie crumbs)
trying to figure out what it all meant
--if any of it meant anything--
knowing only how awfully tired he felt.
Aunt Tuba, who had come back in again
(even though she had jumped out a window only moments before),
had enough time to pour a bowl of sticky-wet crummy cookie batter
over everyone in the living room
before the spell broke (for,
between jumping out windows and answering doors,
she hadn't had time to run it through the oven)...
Seeing for the first time the mess she had made in the living room,
Aunt Tuba turned right around and headed back to her kitchen
(hoping that it wouldn't be as bad in there)...
Mr. Tiltsome, Freddie Cat, and Bonehead
had been running so much that they just simply dropped where they were
as soon as WIll Powerfool's confession broke the spell
(and none of them could even so much as raise their heads).
Mother was busy trying to get blood circulating back through her arms
after all the hugging she had done.
Father flopped down on what was left of his easy chair,
really tuckered out now: He tried feebly to padrrd a word,
but he couldn't even let out a clear "Padrrd," at all
(he was so worn out):
"Phffffth," he soggily sighed instead,
spitting it out through his noodled lips.
Then he gave out completely
and sank down deeper into the gooey chocolaty
fabric of his now very crummy easy chair.
Aunt Tuba came in and screamed a single high-pitched scream
--Just one, but one which more than made up
for all the other ones she must have felt she should've let out
to go along with it:
"You should see that kitchen!" She announced.
Then she threw herself on the sofa
with even more zest than she had thrown herself out the window,
there to do some weeping (after first spitting out
the crumbs that had popped into her mouth
when she jumped on the sofa with her mouth open).
Mother wasn't hugging Will Powerfool any more.
She just looked around the living room slowly
and, once she had taken it all in clearly, she mentioned something
that sounded like: "Ughgguhgth!"
(A sort of sweet chocolate nausea sound.)
She asked her son if he had any idea at all what had happened there,
and--Hadn't he just then mentioned something about it being his fault?
Will Powerfool was sorely tempted to put the blame on somebody else
(somebody who then ought to be punished in his place)...
But he had realized at last that there was only one way to put right
everything he had been making so wrong that whole day long
... and that was by finally coming clean with everyone
(something made even more obvious in that messy room):
Confessing that he had been the real cause of the whole mess.
To his credit, "Boy," this he did willing and bravely,
even wishing (almost) that he'd get the punishment he deserved,
because anything --even punishment-- was better
than the mess he had made of things by keeping quiet!
"I promise," he tearfully swore to his parents
(very solemnly): "I'll never! never! never! again do anything
behind anyone's back in secret!"
"Padrrrrrr--" Father tried to padrrd from the depths of his easy chair,
proud of his son's facing up to it.
But he was too bushed and too low in the goo to do much else.
In any case, Father always let Mother do
any punishing there was to be done
--If he really had to, he'd punish him later
... after he had recovered enough of his strength
to swim out of his easy chair.
Mother wasn't as tired as all that, of course.
But her arms hurt so much from hugging her son
that she too thought it best to leave punishment for another day
(then she fainted a moment, for the rest she could get that way).
But Will Powerfool had learned his lesson now:
He had promised he would help everyone set everything straight
--as far as he could do it. And he would keep his word:
He kept his word to Aunt Tuba
(whom he promised to help cook and clean out the kitchen):
And to Father (to whom he promised all the help he could use
cleaning out the house, or throwing out everything), "Wow!"
Certainly to Mother, as well, after she recovered,
Will Powerfool promised that he would hug her himself
(so she wouldn't have to be the only one responsible for hugging).
Then Mother still sent him out to confess to poor Mr. Tiltsome
that he had been the one who'd made Bonehead chase after
Freddie Cat (even if it'd all been a mistake).
And Will Powerfool also went straight to Alpa the Crossing Guard
and admitted to her that he was the one
who had turned her into such a crazy criss-crossing wonder;
and he even helped her come to a thin stop.
Most especially of all, Will Powerfool was to rush back to school
that very instant and apologize to Mrs. Lumness
--and to the school principal--
for there was news on the radio about a growing cloud of chalk dust
that was swallowing up that part of town.
No doubt all of them would add their own bit of punishment
as he went along apologizing to them
(even faithful Bonehead growled at him when he told him).
Freddie Cat tried to scratch him,
although he came from a good home:
Mr. Tiltsome had to hold him back with, "No, Freddie:
We must forgive and forget!" (For, in spite of everything,
Mr. Tiltsome was always a kind and thoughtful gentleman).
"Ptzcheeow! Ptzcheeow!" Freddie Cat protested anyway
as Mr. Tiltsome led him away: "Ptzcheeow!"
Yet he still went, bravely, to be punished
by all who wished to punish him
(because by then he knew he was getting off pretty easy).
After all, no matter how harsh his punishment,
he would be quickly done with it.
Then he would be able to live happily ever after
without having to worry about being found out and punished
--ever again! It was worth it.
One thing was certain:
He would never again pay any heed to talking mites he might run across,
either, no matter how teeny tiny they were:
From then on he would squash them
as soon as a one of them even so much as spoke
the most casual and offhand, "Hello," to him
(as he should've done with the little bug
that had got him into so much trouble
when it popped into his arithmetic lesson at school
and told him that keeping secrets
would be the best magic for him).
He also had to start being more careful how he used the "Boy," word
(because, in spite of everything, deep down
he knew he still had all the magic in him he had ever had):
After all, "Boy," this punishment he was going to get
--Hadn't he 'wished' it on his own head?
Hadn't he really asked for it himself?
He would never again use the bad magic of keeping things secret
and always see to it that everything he did
he did with the help of everybody,
including Alpa the helpful crossing guard,
and sweet, kindly Mrs. Lumness.
(That way everything would always turn out for the best.)
But, after he had squared things with everybody,
the whole thing felt so unbelievable to Will Powerfool
that he wondered whether or not it had all been a dream:
It certainly couldn't have been real--Now, could it?
Either way Will Powerfool kept his word:
From then on he always only used the real magic within him
for the good, so he never again had to apologize to anybody
and everyone knows how great is the magic of Will Power,
after he drops the 'fool' part of him (at the end).
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