Friday, August 29, 2008

Miss Pickles gets her hands dirty

Mason had never seen a creature like it. Towering over Miss Pickles, the beast had to be at least seven feet tall. Its skin was a pale beige dotted with darker splotches of brown and grey and shone in the light every time he shifted. The colors reminded Mason of his mother's granite counter tops in the kitchen. Instead of hands, thick claws of stone hung from itsarms. A rope-like tail with a pointed tip on the end dangled from its backside and the bright green light shone from its forehead like a third eye. Blinking wide black eyes, the creature stared at the children. The children stared back.

"What are these?" the creature whispered to Miss Pickles, crouching behind her as it peered at the children.

"Jasper, this is my class at Ordinary Elementary," Miss Pickles announced, clapping him on the back. "Class, this is Jasper. He's one of the Rockies."

"The Rockies?" Beatrice squeaked, clutching her backpack strap. "We're in Colorado?"

Miss Pickles laughed and Jasper blinked, looking confused. "No, no," Miss Pickles clarified. "The Rockies are a group of creatures that live under the Earth's surface."

"A group?" Mason asked, surprised to hear his own voice as his lips spoke. "You mean there are more--creatures--that live around here?"

"Of course," Miss Pickles said, her frizzy hair bobbing wildly around her. "There's the Rooties and the Magnetics and the folks over at the sand dunes and the Icicles..."

"No, they moved," Jasper interrupted. "They went to the South Pole."

"Right next to the Poles? Why?" Miss Pickles asked in surprise.

"Global warming," Jasper answered with a shrug. "So what are you doing down here with these kids?"

"We're having an adventure," Miss Pickles announced cheerfully.

Jasper nodded, the green light on his forehead shaking up and down. "Have they ever been Under before?"

Miss Pickles looked at the children, who shook their heads. "I don't believe so," Miss Pickles replied. "Would you mind showing them your hands and telling them what Rockies do?"

"Sure," Jasper said. He held out his hands, letting the children see the light gleam off the sharp end of his claws. "Rockies get their food from the minerals in rocks. In fact, we're made out of mostly granite, limestone and some marble. These claws and this drill"-- he waved his tail at them, "help me dig through the rock. As I dig, my skin absorbs the nutrients and gives me energy."

"Like an earthworm," Beatrice supplied. The other children glared at her and turned back to Jasper.

"What about that light on your head?" Mason asked. The class gasped and stepped back, crowding together so only Mason, Ralph and Don were left in front of Jasper. The last thing they wanted was a mad rock monster at them.

"It's a laser," Jasper said, tapping his rough skin. "Pretty cool, huh?"

"You're running around with a unrestrained laser on your head?" Don sputtered, his eyes wide. "Aren't you asking for a lawsuit?"

Jasper grinned, revealing a row of silver block-like teeth. "You have to go a few more miles down to get to the lawyers," he said.

Miss Pickles laughed. Don did not.

"So, Mr. Jasper sir, what kinds of things do you Rock people eat?" Ralph asked, his stomach growling audibly. "Just out of curiosity's sake of course." Mason stifled his giggles as Jasper answered.

"Normally, we just munch on minerals," he said. Ralph's face fell and he looked at his backpack.

"I'm already down a pie," he muttered to Mason.

"You got four left," Mason reminded him.

"They'll be gone within the hour," Don interrupted. Ralph glared at him.

"However," Jasper continued, ignoring the boys' bickering. "We do have festivals. We have a whole day where we do nothing but eat ice cream."

"Ice cream?" Ralph perked up and leaned forward, his eyes sparkling. "What kind?"

"Rocky road of course," Jasper said, scratching his chin with one of his large claws. "And mud pies are quite popular." Ralph smacked his lips together and drool ran down his chin.

"When does this festival occur?" he chirped, patting his pockets for his favorite spoon.

Before Jasper could answer, the earth around them began to shake and quiver. Children cried out as they fell. A giant crack split in the ground. Mason felt himself sliding across the dusty rock and lurching over the side.

Miss Pickles reached over and grabbed his hand as he dangled over a ribbon of molten lava. Pebbles fell around him and sizzled as they smacked into the red lava below.

"Hold on, duckie!" she cried. "I'll have you right up! This is just a tiny earthquake!"

"It's those dratted Rooties again!" Jasper cried, scooping up children in his arms and draping them over his shoulders. "They're playing their music too loud!"

Mason grunted and squeezed his fingers tighter around Miss Pickles' hand. The heat from the lava below was making his skin slick with sweat. His shoulder screamed with pain from the strain of supporting his dangling body.

"Miss Pickles," Mason cried nervously, gasping for breath in the stifling air. He grasped for her hand and felt himself slipping from her grip.

"Hang on, duckie!" Miss Pickles shouted. "Jasper, help me!"

"His parents will sue you if you lose him!" Don shouted as Jasper flung him onto the top of his head.

"He'll never get to eat pie again!" Ralph added mornfully from Jasper's back, where he was clinging with both chubby fists.

"I'm coming!" Jasper yelled, stuffing the rest of the class under his arms. "Hold on, I'm coming!" As he pounded towards Mason, the ground jolted and Miss Pickles was jerked into the air. Her arm flew up and Mason slipped off her fingers.

"Miss Pickles!" he screamed as he fell towards the lava below. "Miss Pickles..."

To be continued....

9 comments:

Marie said...

Oh Duckie, I cannot for the life of me understand why on earth this hasn't been snapped up by a publisher. This is excellent and worthy of great accolade. I am praying with all of my heart that somebody who can do something for you discovers you and soon. You so deserve to be published. It's only a matter of time. I have faith in you my dear!

Marjie said...

Jasper will save them; I know he will. The real question is whether Don will prematurely visit the lawyers' circle. You do need a publisher with a brain; I know my little boys would love Miss Pickles. And you can come to my bakery any time (if only I had one).

noble pig said...

Have you looked into publishing this? You really should, it is so well written.

Bunny said...

I had to play catch up today and read what I missed cause I don't want to miss any of it! Somebody will publish this, they have to! This could be a series of childrens books, The Miss Pickles Series! Hold on Honey someone will realize just like we do how talented you are.

jenjen said...

Wonderful story so far! I think you have a hit on your hands. We just need to find you the right person/people. You are so talented!!!

Julie said...

Hi there!

I so enjoyed reading this first thing this morning....and I can't wait to read the conclusion. I echo all of the other comments--you are quite talented!

Have a great weekend!

Cynthia's Blog said...

I cannot wait to see what happens next.

Prudy said...

Ralph, I love you. I understand you. Come on over, dinner's at 7.

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