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The Amazing Adventures of Captain Gladys Stoat-Pamphlet

The Amazing Adventures of Captain Gladys Stoat-Pamphlet and her Intrepid Spaniel Stig amongst the Giant Pygmies of Beccles, Volume Eight

 

Chapter One

 

Terry woke up one morning in February, which seemed strange to him.

“Wasn’t it March yesterday?” he thought. The calendar however had other ideas. It most distinctly said February 14th.

“Ah, Valentine’s Day” thought Terry. Although he remembered Valentine’s Day happening just a few weeks ago, he was glad that it had come again as quickly as he had not received any Valentine’s whatsoever on the first go around. “Maybe I’ll have some this time!” thought Terry and he jumped out of bed with his pajamas on and ran straight to the mailbox outside. (For the sake of clarification here, I will note that it was Terry and not his bed that had his pajamas on. For a bed to wear pajamas would be very, very silly and, as Terry did not like silliness he would most definitely not have allowed it to happen in his bedroom.) Now, back to the story:

By this point, Terry had made it to the mailbox. Luckily for Terry, the pajamas that he was wearing (and that his bed wasn’t) had feet soles built in. They were the all-in-one pajamas that are so suited and fashionable amongst 7 year old boys (which, by a mere coincidence of timing, age and birth is what Terry’s age exactly happened to be (give or take a couple of weeks as we will see shortly)). Once at the mailbox, Terry peeked in and found that he had not only seven Valentine’s, but an invitation marked with the Royal Seal of the Queen herself. Terry found this last bit the most surprising since he lived in a country that had no Queen, or at least no Queen that he knew about.

“When did we become a Queendom?” Terry thought to himself, not knowing the proper word still would have been Kingdom. “This must have happened during the last three weeks when time was evidently moving backwards and I was completely unaware of it. I wonder what other changes have occurred in the world?” While he was busy thinking this, he decided that breakfast was in order. He then went inside the house to fix him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a glass of milk. While he was eating his sandwich which, for some reason he could not fathom, tasted to him like a chocolate milkshake doused in cornflakes (a taste which he did not find unpleasant and so he continued eating it anyways) he went through his Valentines. He did not recognize a single person who had sent him any of them.

One Valentine said “Please be my Valentine or I will bomb your entire country, Love Magdalena the Envious”. “How rude!” thought Terry and he very much wondered who this Magdalena lady could be. He could never remember meeting her. “Unless it was during the backward three weeks” he thought as he had no memory of this reverse time. Another Valentine said “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Bugbears are Brown, and Goblins are Green. Who cares? Apathetically yours, Lady Whatever”. “How strange!” thought Terry. However, he was glad that this Valentine did not propose to bomb his country. He was very fond of his country and he didn’t want to see it bombed on any account, most especially because he had not been somebody’s Valentine.

At this point, he was finished with breakfast and he decided that he would read the rest of his mail later. He decided to get dressed and to see what other strange things seemed to be happening on this non-event-repeating-but-yet-a-re-run of a day.

He dressed and put on his backpack so that he could go to school. On his way out of his room, however, he noticed that his calendar said that today was a Saturday and not the Tuesday that he had expected it to be. “Wow,” he thought, “I am to relive this weekend again! And the next and the next! And the best part is that it is to be my Birthday in two weeks! Again!” Terry had turned seven years old a week ago, on what was and what will again, apparently, be the 28th of February. His birthday was kind of disappointing last time, so he hoped that it would be much, much better this time. Terry always enjoyed birthdays. He could only remember a couple, but he seemed to remember cake and balloons and presents. He remembered being happy and his parents being happy. He could not quite remember this year’s birthday, however. It was like a vague painting in his mind. “Strange,” he thought, “that I can’t remember my own birthday. Maybe it’s because it hasn’t happened quite yet. But it did happen a week ago, I remember that. How strange.” Terry, being seven (or almost seven depending on which version of the calendar turned record-with-a-skipping-needle you believed) was simply running out of adjectives to describe the situation. Although a thesaurus would have been very, very handy at the moment it did not in the slightest occur to him to look for one. In fact, he wasn’t 100% sure what a thesaurus was (in his mind, it was some kind of dinosaur, maybe related to the stegosaurus) and he was always wondering why the library seemed to have so many volumes on this one animal. This all seemed queer (a good word that he could have used in the situation instead of strange, but one that he would be very unlikely to use considering he didn’t know how to use a thesaurus) to him.

What he did know was that, since it was Saturday, he would go play in the backyard. He grabbed his baseball glove, his baseball cap, and his baseball (since a basketball would have been entirely unwieldy in a baseball glove and since a WWI German pointy-helmet would not have worked in any sport (well, maybe rugby, but not baseball) and he went into the backyard to play catch. Now, luckily for him, he had forgotten that he had his backpack still on, which he had filled with his schoolbooks, his lunch and his letters while he was thinking that he was going to school. Why was it lucky for him you say? I will get to that in due time. If you keep on interrupting me with questions, then I will never finish the story. Are you done? Good.

When he entered the backyard, he saw that the backyard was much, much bigger than he could ever remember it being. “How odd,” he thought (amazingly without the use of the thesaurus). “I simply do not remember the backyard being anywhere near this big.”

“Well,” he said out loud, “I have heard people say that the world gets bigger as you get older, or is that smaller? I don’t know. And, since I am now older, or maybe younger today if time is still going backwards, my world is finally getting bigger. It all seems so funny and I don’t understand it at all.”

“What are you attempting to stand under?” said his dog Spot from his place in the dog house, which was probably more amazing than anything else Terry could think of this morning because he never knew, up until that moment, that his dog could talk. He knew his dog all of his life, and, up until then, the dog had never spoken a word in English to him. What was even more amazing than that was, when he took a closer look at Spot, the fact that Spot was dressed in a black tuxedo with tails, a top hat, a cane and a white bow tie. He had most certainly never seen spot wear anything besides some sweaters that his aunt Ethel had made. He didn’t even know that Spot had a tuxedo. Terry wondered if it was a rental and how much it cost per day as it was a terribly good fit if it was a rental.

“What you are attempting to stand under, I said” asked Spot again, breaking Terry’s reverie.

“I am not attempting to stand under anything.”

“Well, then you shouldn’t say that you are” quipped Spot.

“I didn’t mean to,” said Terry, nonplussed. “I was simply commenting on how much bigger the back yard has become this morning.”

“Well, yes. It’s been like that since we were annexed by the Kingdom of Smith, Farkle and Bludgeon.”

Terry thought for a minute. He was only in the second grade and he hadn’t been taught too much geography as of yet, but he thought that he would have remembered any country with such a ridiculous name. “The Kingdom of what?” he queried.

“Not the Kingdom of what, the Kingdom of whom. The Kingdom of Smith, Farkle and Bludgeon” sighed Spot.

“When did this happen?” wondered Terry out loud.

“Next Wednesday. Didn’t you read tomorrow’s paper?” replied Spot.

“No, but I am sure that I will yesterday,” said Terry, thinking that he was finally beginning to understand how this was working.

“What a ridiculous thing to say,” replied Spot. “How can you read tomorrow’s paper yesterday when it will not be printed until next month?”

“I don’t understand” said Terry, feeling completely lost now. (More accurately, he had the feeling that you do when you complete the calculus logarithm and arrive at what you believe to be the correct answer only to then realize that you are taking a spelling test.)

“You keep saying that and, yet, I see nothing that you are attempting to stand under.”

After a pregnant pause, which was strange because the pause never so much as had ever kissed a boy, much less had ever been married, and, thus could never have to her knowledge become pregnant, Terry finally composed himself enough to talk. “How strange” he finally was able to mutter.

“Take this” said Spot and he handed Terry a thesaurus which he pulled out of his dog house. Strangely enough, it had a picture of a dinosaur on it with reading glasses and a graduation cap.

“Thanks” said Terry and he put the book in his backpack along with the others.

“I have been meaning to give that to you for quite some time” said Spot. “I advise that you utilize it whenever your words seem to fail you.”

“O.k.” said Terry, who was more used to his dog giving him bones than books and advice. Much to Terry’s credit, however, he was able to take this more or less in stride as he ignored both the book and the advice much in the same manner as he ignored books and advice given to him by people.

“Well, we should be off” said Spot.

“Off of what?”

“We should be going, heading out, making way, etc. etc.” said Spot. And, when Terry simply stared at him the way that most house cats look at you when you try to explain the loopholes in section 304.25g of the Income Tax code, Spot added “open up your invitation. It should have come in the mail tomorrow.”

Finally having something to grasp onto, Terry reached into his backpack and opened up the invitation with the royal seal upon it.

 

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