Part 9: The Amazing Adventures of Jeff And His Monkey
Part 8: The Amazing Adventures of Jeff And His Monkey
Yeah, Ness wouldn't know what happened next. He was stuck in a graveyard underneath Threed at the time.
So I guess I have to tell you, huh? Alright.
Um, my name's Jeff. For as long as I can remember, I've lived and studied here, at the Snow Wood Boarding School in Winters. I uh, don't really have any family to speak of. My dad's a big important scientist somewhere, but I haven't seen him in years. He dumped me off at this boarding school so he could continue his work. It drives me crazy that I inherited at least some of his intelligence. I hate to sound vain, but the classes here are boring, and I can't seem to stop tinkering with machines and electronics. In fact, I've been in trouble a lot lately for building some slightly destructive devices. Also, I have a contact that regularly smuggles fireworks and other explosives into the school for me. I can't stand working with inferior supplies.
Anyway, none of that really matters. The time I met Ness and Paula, I was asleep. It was a normal night at Snow Wood. But I was awoken by a strange dream...Or at least, I thought it was a dream at first.
I could hear her voice echoing in my head even after I woke up. As I laid there, pondering what had happened, I was aware of a strong feeling in my gut telling me to heed her words and head south to try and save them. Of course, it was illogical, but I was sick of living at Snow Wood, and felt like I had nothing to lose. I made my decision.
Of course, my roommate Tony woke up too. I guess he could tell by the look on my face I was serious.
: "I'm leaving this place, tonight. I'm getting out of here."
: "A...alright, Jeff. I can tell you mean it. I'll help you out. You know it's gonna be dangerous outside the gates. Don't forget the stuff in the locker room."
Tony was a good guy. A little slow, but dependable. We snuck out of our dorm room and into the common area. A few students were still loitering about.
There was a lot of talk about Lake Tess to the south, as usual. Some claimed a huge monster lived there. I wondered what good was it to speculate about things like that, when we were all stuck here in this boarding school? We couldn't go see for ourselves. Well, perhaps on my way south, I'd investigate the lake. The whole world would be open to me. I began feeling more and more strongly that leaving the school was the right thing to do.
Maxwell was the shop teacher at Snow Wood, and he was always working on some odd machine or another.
: "I'm having trouble with this project. If only Jeff's father, Dr. Andonuts, were here. He'd be able to provide a great deal of help. I heard he's an astounding person."
: "That's wonderful. Can I have the key to the locker room, Maxwell?"
Maxwell handed me a bent, dinged-up key and I stormed from the room. This was my life, in a nutshell. Everyone telling me how wonderful and brilliant my father was. It made me sick. I went to the locker room and tried to open up the lockers where I had stashed some items that would be helpful, but the bent key wouldn't even fit into the lock.
Maxwell, you suck.
: "That's why I have invented this: The Machine that Opens Doors, Especially When You Have a Slightly Bad Key."
He handed me a dented machine about the size of a toaster, with a thin rod dangling from a tangle of wires.
: "Go on, try it out."
I went back to the locker room and inserted the thin rod into the keyhole of one of the lockers. The machine noisily clanked into action and laboriously, the lock turned and clicked open.
I retrieved my last bottle rocket, a homemade pop gun, and a boiled egg from the lockers and stowed them away in my backpack. It was time to set out.
At the gate, Tony stooped down so I could vault over the high fence.
: "I don't know where you're going or why...But remember, we are best friends forever."
: "I'll see you again someday, Tony. Don't worry."
Tony hurried back inside, fearful of getting caught out of bed. I strode confidently out into the snowy wilderness.
Right outside of Snow Wood was a little convenience store. Sometimes on weekends they'd let us come out here and buy candy or whatever. I had a couple of bucks on me, so I thought I'd see what supplies I could get for my journey.
The monkey wasn't here the last time I had been to this store. It was just standing around, looking content.
"If you buy a pack of bubble gum you can have the monkey for free. Otherwise he will cost you a dollar. So do you want him?"
I pondered. A dollar for a monkey? I guess a monkey might come in handy. If nothing else, I could eat him if things got rough out there. Besides, most great scientists owned at least one monkey in their lives.
: "Okay, I'll buy the monkey."
The woman smiled widely and handed me a pack of bubble gum. I gave her my dollar and walked over to my new monkey.
: "Okay, monkey. We're leaving."
The monkey chewed the bubble gum and immediately blew a bubble the size of its head.
And so, I and my new monkey companion set out into the snowy wilderness. ...Again.
The area around Snow Wood was full of animals. Birds, wild goats, and even bears had been seen in the forests surrounding it. It seemed, however, that this late at night, only the goats were out.
The goat bellowed at me across the rocky terrain. The monkey seemed a little frightened. In retrospect, it was probably right.
Picking myself up off the ground, I drew my weapon. The gun was my own invention. Basically, it contained a small battery cell that processed energy into magnetic charges, and then repelled them via an electromagnetic coil at such velocity that they were launched out of the barrel of the gun at high speeds.
Basically, it stung like hell. I had blown holes through pop cans during advanced testing of this weapon. I pelted the goat with a few shots and it galloped off. I think the monkey threw a snowball at it as it was leaving.
Some people were camping out a little ways south.
And here, at Lake Tess, a crowd of people had gathered to scan the waters for a sign of the fabled lake monster, Tessie. Of course, the odds of a beast like that actually existing were slim, but I admit I was fascinated nonetheless.
I stood for a while watching the lake with the Tessie-watchers, but saw nothing. As night deepened, I began to feel quite sleepy. Fortunately, one of the Tessie-watchers offered to let me sleep in one of their tents.
The next morning, a crisp wind was blowing through the trees. The Tessie-Watching Club was buzzing excitedly, and in a moment, I could see why. A whirlpool had appeared in the lake, several yards from the shore.
As I stood there looking at the whirlpool, the monkey suddenly began screeching and tugging at my sleeve.
I handed the monkey another piece of gum and he immediately blew a bubble.
The wind carried him over the lake. I watched, wondering if my investment was going to result in a drowned monkey, and suddenly a large shape was moving underneath the softly rippling surface of the lake.
Before I knew it, the smooth, purple beast had reached its long neck out of the water and the monkey was perched on its head. It did a couple of slow, lazy semi-circles around me, then paddled up to the shore, close enough for me to reach. So, I did what any rational human being would do, and stepped onto his back.
It was quite an exhilarating experience. The wind whipped at my face as the gentle giant ferried the monkey and I across the lake to the southern shore.
As if it was being guided somehow, it dropped us off on dry land and sank back under the waters.
Time to continue on, I thought, and together, we walked south, the snow crunching under our feet.
What a fabulous world exists outside of Snow Wood, I thought. Nothing I had read or learned thus far would have led me to expect a creature like that lived in the lake just south of my school. I couldn't wait to see what other kinds of amazing things I would find in the world.
I didn't have to go very far before I found something else noteworthy. A huge, iron pencil jutted out of the road ahead, blocking my path south. A cursory examination led me to think I could probably build something to get rid of it, but at the moment, I lacked any tools to do so. Instead, I headed into the cave to the north.
That is, I headed into the dungeon to the north.
The 'dungeon' was more of a maze laid out in small rocks. Anybody could easily step over them and reach the end of the dungeon. Small mice skittered here and there, and brightly wrapped packages containing food littered the ground, presumably left there as a "treasure" for navigating the maze. I figured anything might be helpful. I had no way of knowing how long I was going to be on the road, so I took the bread rolls and croissants and headed for the exit.
I was shocked when, out of one of the presents, a tiny, half-formed amoeba-like creature attacked me.
I fired a shot at it, and it exploded into goo. A shame, I thought. I had wanted to dissect it.
As I neared the exit, I was surprised again, when a large white duck came out of the darkness, hissing ominously at me.
Like the camper earlier had said, something was driving the animals mad and making them hostile. This duck, however didn't seem much of a threat.
As it fluttered about hopelessly trying to get to its feet, I moved on towards the exit.
: "I devoted my life to developing dungeons. I've heard of a great scientist named Dr. Andonuts. I believe, by combining my skills and Dr. Andonuts' intelligence, I can become "Dungeon Man", the first hybrid of human and dungeon in history. If you liked that dungeon, let's be sure to meet up again once I've become Dungeon Man."
I continued south, past the large iron pencil, and came to another cave. Pressing on fearlessly, I encountered several hostile insects as well as more mice.
The rope was out of reach to a normal person, but whoever had coiled it up so high clearly hadn't reckoned on a person with an able-bodied monkey assistant.
Obediently, the monkey threw down the rope and I was able to continue. I had certainly gotten a dollar's worth out of this monkey so far. With his help, I was already out of this cave.
When next I saw daylight, I saw a girl monkey standing in the snow. I immediately identified it as a female due to the bright pink bow in her hair. I was pondering the merits of adding a second monkey to my team when suddenly the original monkey charged past me to stare at the female.
And with that, the monkeys ran off, the boy chasing the girl around, screeching and chattering as monkeys are wont to do. Slightly disappointed in the loss of my monkey, I pressed onward.
Ahead of me was the huge rock formation known as Stonehenge. I had studied it, of course, but was happy to see it with my own eyes. I was less than happy to see that the rumors of hostile, sub-human 'Cave Boys' were apparently true.
The hulking brute swing his club at me, and I felt the wind knocked out of my lungs as I was sent flying through the air and slammed into one of the huge stone slabs that made up the magnificent formation of Stonehenge.
This opponent was way too powerful for me. Taking my last bottle rocket out of my backpack, I smiled, as I noticed that it was a Tiajuana Grande. These had three separate fuses and would really mess something up. I had twisted the fuses around for just such an occasion, and drawing my gun I sparked the fuse with a short burst from the barrel. The Cave Boy was roaring angrily and charged. I pointed the rocket squarely into his face as it erupted.
Howling in pain, the Neanderthal creature toppled backwards and buried its face in the snow to attempt to cool the scalding blisters that no doubt were popping up all over his face right now. I took this opportunity to run.
Several yards to the south, I ducked behind a tree, panting. It seemed like the Cave Boy wasn't keen to follow. Up ahead, a flat gray building with the legend "LAB" across the doorway beckoned me.
Inside, an oddly familiar little man was puttering about. The place was buzzing with test tubes, Bunsen burners, and machinery. I felt immediately at home in this environment.
: "I'm Dr. Andonuts, I'm working with him, yes. What can I do for you, young man?"
: "...Dr. Andonuts? ...I'm your son, Jeff."
: "Well...I'm glad you're such a healthy boy. Those glasses look good on you. Uh...Would you like a donut?"
: "Well, I was only offering...I'd also like a donut right about now. Mmmhmm. Anyway, why are you here?"
Ten years in that boarding school and my dad was just a couple of miles south the whole time. I was shaking with anger, but all I could say was...
: "I...heard a voice commanding me to head south. I need to find someone named Paula."
: "How strange. Well, I'll try to help you out. I've been working on a machine called the Phase Distorter, that will connect two places in space-time. However, it's not ready yet. Right now, though, you can use an older invention of mine, the Sky Runner. It should get you where you need to go."
: "You'll get there for sure if you follow the beep. What do you think? Isn't it neat? Hop in! Let's get together again in 10 years or so."
I guess that was his idea of a joke, but I didn't really care if I ever saw him again, in ten years or otherwise. I climbed in the round, shiny craft and fiddled with the joystick in front of me.
The Sky Runner lurched and then floated up through the skylight. In front of me, a large radar screen began beeping. I steered the craft towards the source of the beep, like my dad had said, and the Sky Runner soared into the clouds.
A bustling city sprawled out below me, people scurrying every which way.
And after that a vast desert, sprinkled here and there with cacti.
The beeping was getting more and more frequent as the Sky Runner hovered over a gloomy town now. I realized I must be getting close. I swooped over buildings and what seemed to be a large, orange circus tent, and the beeping sped up. As I passed over a graveyard, it went positively nuts, and I knew I was there!
: "Now, he didn't specify how to land this craft...I wonder what I should do?"
I pulled the joystick down gently but the Sky Runner continued to hover in mid-air. I pulled harder, and still nothing. I was wondering what to do when suddenly...
Perhaps it just had a slightly delayed reaction time to the motions of the joystick; however, it didn't really matter, as the craft was almost certainly totaled now.
There, in a dimly-lit room, was a boy and a girl I knew must be Paula and Ness. They stared in awe at the smouldering wreckage of the Sky Runner as I cleaned the soot off of my clothes.
: "Are you alright?!"
: "Yeah, I'm fine. You don't have to explain a thing. I'm Jeff. I came because you called me. I'm not very strong, really near-sighted, kind of shy, and I tend to be a little reckless. This is just the way I am. Regardless, I hope I can be friends with you guys and help out on whatever you're doing...okay?"
: "Jeff, you just crashed a flying saucer through the roof of a hidden room underneath a cemetery to rescue two people you've never met before. Of course you can help us!"
: "You came all this way alone, simply because you heard my call in your mind. You're much stronger than you think!"
: "All right! Let's get going!"
That's how I met the two of them. There's a whole lot more to tell, of course, but uh, I'm sure Ness can fill you in.
Next time: boing