by Frankie L., Age 11
, Grade 5, Tobey
Trouble in the Air
“I am so bored!” Tommy complained one sunny afternoon in Kansas. “Oh come on, Tommy, there is everything to do,” Skylar, Tommy’s best friend said to him while skipping in a circle around him. “Let’s go up into the hayloft and find an adventure,” Skylar continued, but Tommy wasn’t listening to a word she said. He was distracted by Skylar’s strawberry blonde hair glistening in the sunlight. He was soaking up the sunlight and feeling the warm sun on his face. Just lounging in the sun on a hot summer day in Kansas was probably Tommy’s favorite thing to do and yet, he needed something else to do.
“I’m thirsty,” he complained
“Wow, you complain a lot,” Skylar said
“You just now noticed ?” Tommy replied with a sly smile
“Whatever, you’re annoying. You are just in luck because Gigi just made a batch of homemade lemonade,” Skylar said knowingly
“Yessss!” Tommy jumped up from the ground and started sprinting through the fields toward the old, shaggy farmhouse.
“Oh my,” Skylar said under her breath “We can only hope Gigi is making some lemonade,” she said to herself before running after Tommy.
To Skylar’s delight, Gigi was indeed in the kitchen making some wonderful lemonade. As she took her seat next to Tommy at the table she heard Gigi mumble something she couldn’t understand and didn’t think it was to her. What she didn’t know was that what Gigi mumbled was important. What she said was this: “It is my responsibility to keep them safe and so I have to keep the machine away from them,”
“Does it suit your fancy? Mr. Complaining person?” Skylar said sarcastically.
“As a matter of fact, it does,” replied Tommy, completely oblivious to Skylar’s sassiness
“Can we pleeeeeease go to the barn now?” Skylar asked
“Now wait my bundle of sugar,” Gigi replied in her smooth, kind tone. Her eyes were sparkling and she smiled to herself, remembering herself as a child.
“Why don’t I tell you guys some stories of then I was a child, and when you are ready, Tommy, you two can go do whatever. Does that sound okay lovie dovie?” This was kind of a trick on Gigi’s part because she knew how much Skylar loved to hear her stories. One of her favorites was the one about Gigi’s magical time machine and all of her adventures. This was one of her favorites but she wasn’t sure it was true because Gigi likes to imagine and sometimes forgets.
“Ok” Skylar agreed.
She loved the stories Gigi told her but it was so nice outside and she could feel an adventure calling her name just outside the window. For about 20 minutes, Gigi entertained the children and when at last, Skylar couldn’t stand it any longer, she jumped out of her chair and proclaimed, “It’s time for us to go Gigi, thank you for the stories,”
With a “My pleasure,” from Gigi, they were out the door. Well, Skylar was and Tommy didn’t want to be left behind so he followed along quickly.
When Skylar and Tommy were situated on the sticky, prickly straw in the hayloft, Skylar ran to a corner and proclaimed “Here it is,”
“Here is what? And what are you doing?” replied a very confused Tommy.
“A corner in which will lead us to many adventures,” Skylar said in a mysterious and spooky voice
“Oh please,” Tommy said and rolled onto his stomach and pretended to sleep
“Oh boo hoo, you’re tired, we get it but come on Tommy! This isn’t one of those days when I say that I feel something and it turns out to be a mouse. I swear!” Skylar was almost in tears bouncing up and down trying to get Tommy to believe her. Tommy suddenly looked up, hearing the urgency in her voice. He saw tears prickling at the corners of her eyes. He saw her trying to fight them back but it was too much. Tommy knew this wasn’t something small, Skylar never cried. She was the toughest girl he had met. Tommy’s mom even cried more than Skylar! Skylar only cried when something is important like when her great-grandfather died two days after her birthday and when her baby cousin died of cancer when the newborn was only two years old. She didn’t even cry when she flipped forward out of a net but her leg didn’t follow and broke with a loud crack! Tommy leapt up to try to comfort her but it was too late, she started to cry. Tommy pulled her close into a hug and tried to comfort her but when Skylar starts, she doesn’t stop. Between sobs, Tommy heard the story. Skylar was tired of people not believing her and not taking her seriously.
After she finally stopped, Tommy and Skylar spent 5 minutes of the searching the whole hayloft. After 5 minutes (which seemed like a century to Tommy) Tommy had had enough.
“Just 2 more minutes over here and then we can be done,” insisted Skylar. When Tommy unwillingly agreed, they went hard at work for almost 2 minutes. When they were just about to give up for good, Tommy hit something hard.
“Ow!” he shouted
“Shhhh!” Skylar quieted him “What did you find?”
“Something hard,” Tommy said in a hurt voice. He moved the straw out of the way and gasped at what he saw. Hidden in the straw, sat a huge metal box but Skylar noticed that it wasn’t just a box.
“Everyone okay up there?” a deep voice boomed up the staircase
“Yes Boppa we are okay, sorry for the interruption,” Skylar replied
“Okay, don’t get into too much trouble, okay kiddo?” Boppa, Skylar’s grampa replied
“Hey Boppa?” Skylar called. He replied with a grunt.
“Can we go on an adventure?”
“Um,” he replied uneasily “Sure, as long as it isn’t dangerous and you are back in time for supper, you know how Gigi can get,” Boppa called up the stairs more confidently because he knew what she was up to.
“Wha-” Tommy started but Skylar shushed him
“Thanks Boppa!” Skylar called back gratefully. She made her face visible above the stairs to blow him a kiss and say tell Gigi that they are fine and then she disappeared. Boppa chuckled to himself as he left the barn. He was always quite amused by his granddaughter, always a bundle of joy and this time he knew what she was after.
“What are y-” Tommy tried again
“Tommy, don’t you see it?” Skylar cut him off “That metal box, it’s Gigi’s time machine”
“Well how do you know that?” Tommy replied, not believing her.
“Because,” Skylar said impatiently annoyed that Tommy didn’t get the point. “Gigi has told me what it looks like and where it was, but that is not the point!”
There was a long pause as Tommy tried to figure out what was the point.
“You want to time travel with Gigi’s time machine?” Tommy said slowly wondering if he was correct. Skylar sighed, giving Tommy some credit
“We need to go, we don’t have a lot of time,” she said directing the attention on something else.
“What?! You mean we are actually going to go?” Tommy practically shouted but Skylar paid no attention to him, she was at work with the time machine, trying to get it to open. She stopped suddenly, sitting up and trying to remember what Gigi had said about opening the time machine, what it felt like to travel, and everything else to know. After about 5 minutes, Skylar managed to open the side of the time machine and understand how it works.
“Are you sure about this? Maybe 2 people can’t go and maybe it would be better for me to stay in case anything happens,” Tommy said timidly
“Oh you’ll be fine. On the count of three ready?” Skylar grabbed him by his arm so he couldn’t leave. Tommy barely managed a “No” before Skylar started to count.
“3….2….1!” Skylar pulled them both into darkness. It was silent except for Tommy silently pleading. Skylar elbowed him and he finally stopped. “How long does it take to travel?” Tommy squeaked
“I’m not sure, I think just a few minutes,” Skylar replied not scared at all.
“Do you know exactly where we are?” Tommy asked he was sure he could go on forever with questions.
“Sometime in the future, why are you so worried?”
“Oh um maybe because I’m in a time machine traveling to the future and we have to be home in an hour,” Tommy said sarcastically
“Oh my gosh!” Skylar said “We only have an hour?!” she tried to get up but remembered they were floating in space and couldn’t go anywhere. “We will never be home in time for supper and we will get in trouble because we probably aren’t supposed to snoop and…..” Skylar kept ranting on. Tommy had a sly smile on his face because he wasn’t the one being scared now. After about 2 more minutes, the time machine made a squealing sound and it appeared that they weren’t moving. The door opened by itself revealing bright sunlight. Skylar took a deep breath and stepped out. Tommy was happy the sun was out but was scared about what would happen. He gingerly took a step out of the time machine and turned around. There, where he just came out of was nothing. That’s odd he thought but his thoughts were interrupted by Skylar who said “Come on Tommy, what are you doing?” he quickly turned around and ran after the already moving Skylar.
“We need to get out of view,” Tommy mumbled to her taking quick strides to keep up. They both ducked into the nearest building to try to blend into the crowd of people. What they didn’t notice is that they chose the biggest and most crowded building to hide in. Skylar noticed that Tommy shoved her into the worst building possible. Now it was her turn to shove Tommy somewhere. So she looked in all of the windows and chose the best one available. It was a dark room that even though they couldn’t see, it felt like there was something in there. They walked slowly into the room and tried to stay out of sight from the windows. They walked until Tommy hit something hard, yet again.
“Ow!” he tried to muffle his shout
“Wow, second time today, that’s a record!” Skylar unenthusiastically said and clearly irritated. There was a little chuckle and then something robotic said “Who is there?” it sounded almost frighted. The children were too scared to speak.
“It’s okay” the voice said “I will not harm you or turn you into Dr. Padro,”
“W... Who is he?” Tommy bravely (or not so bravely) said quivering
“Why you don’t know who Dr. Padro is ?” the voice boomed, about to burst into a mechanical laugh. The thing suddenly turned on the light so the children could see the thing (or perhaps it could see them). They almost jumped out of their skin when, there in front of them stood a huge robot.
“Hi!” it said, clearly happy that the intruders were children “My name is Fred,” he said
“Fred,” Tommy said slowly, warming up to the new robot and somewhat liking him “Can we call you Frankster or Fromyser!?” Tommy said excitedly
“Why of course!” Fred boomed, happy to have a new friend. Skylar though, was not pleased that Tommy liked this robot and wanted to leave as soon as possible. Even though she had these feelings, she still was a curious little girl.
“Why are you in a dark room?” she asked, suddenly shy. Fred turned to her, surprised that there were more children
“I am in the room they put me when they are not adding things or doing experiments on me,” answered Fred
“They do what?!” Skylar almost shouted. She was sad that they would do such things on an innocent robot.
“Oh it’s nothing,” Fred said brushing it off and clearly wanted to change the subject
“You kids better get out of here before Dr. Padro comes and finds you. I could never live with myself if he did something terrible to you,” Fred said sadly
“What kin-” Skylar started but was interrupted by some kind of thumping getting closer
“Quick! Hide!” Fred whisper shouted. Tommy and Skylar dove under a table and sat there quietly. The thumping stopped for a minute as the door opened and a grouchy voice said “Time for an upgrade, Fred!”
“Please don’t hurt him, please don’t hurt him,” Skylar silently pleaded as she crouched down.
“Okay fun,” Fred said but he said it in a mechanical way, not wanting to talk to Dr. Padro
“Ugg, that voice. That’s what we will do today.” Dr. Padro said, there was always something he complained about Fred. “How am I supposed to advertise you if you sound annoying? You need to be the best!” growled Dr. Padro. He turned around suddenly, ordering his workers that were behind him to get things ready for testing Fred. They left just as they came, warning they would be back.
When they left, Skylar and Tommy crawled out from under the table, happy to be out.
“What are they going to do to you, Fred?” Skylar whined
“Yeah Frankster, will they harm you? Will you be okay?” Tommy put in
“My oh my, you kids sure ask a lot of questions,” Fred chuckled “I will be fine, they just like to upgrade me and show me to the crowd to get money. Once they even threatened to sell me. Don’t worry that was only because I was being ‘annoying’ and they were desperate for money,”
Dr. Padro took Fred away to the experiment room and before Fred left, he told Tommy and Skylar where to hide and where they were to meet next. He also told them what Dr. Padro was doing and his plan, even though he couldn’t believe that they hadn’t heard of him, everyone did!
While Fred was gone, Tommy and Skylar crept out of the room and left the building without being seen. As they were walking along the roads, they took notice about the different people on the street. One thing they noticed, was that the people weren’t as nice as they were in their time. They were also glued to some little machine in their hands. Most all of the people were looking down and Skylar couldn’t imagine how many accidents happened each month. Along with that, there were really nice cars, not like Boppa’s rusty, old pickup truck. They also noticed that in lots of windows were advertisements about Dr. Padro and all of his amazing works. It seemed like people were oohing and aahing over Dr. Padro and all of his amazing machines.
Fred told the kids to meet in the little room they met in the first time. He also gave them little watches with blank faces on them and told Skylar and Tommy that he could contact them through it, to tell them where to meet or in case of emergency. Around 2:00, Tommy felt his wrist buzzing and soon after, Skylar felt it too. A little face popped up when they tapped it and it was Fred!
“Woah!” Tommy exclaimed “This is so cool!”
“Indeed,” Skylar agreed
“Anyway,” Fred said “I need you guys to meet me now, something is important and I have to tell you,” Skylar and Tommy stopped being obsessed with the watches and had concerned looks on their faces
“Is everything okay, Fred? Are you harmed?” Skylar said, her brow furrowed
“Oh, my I didn’t mean to worry you children! I’m fine but something is about to happen and I wanted to tell you. As for the experiment, they tried to fix me but then I just talked in a regular voice and they left me alone. Dr. Padro had a different problem anyway, 2 of the watches were missing and he had to yell at the workers!” Fred almost died of laughter
“Oh Fred!” Skylar exclaimed, she wasn’t sure to laugh or cry “Will we get in trouble? Will the cameras catch us?”
“Skylar,” Fred said soothingly “I am attached to the wires, I choose what Dr. Padro sees and what he doesn’t. And trust me, I won’t turn you in. You kids are the only friends I have ever had,”
“Oh Fred,” Skylar breathed a sigh of relief
“We will be there in a minute,” Tommy said, changing the subject but also remembering what this whole call was about.
The kids met Fred in the room a few minutes later, eager to learn what the call was about.
“Oh thank goodness you are here!” Fred exclaimed when Skylar and Tommy got to the room. “I’ve been waiting forever!”
“Tell us already!” Skylar said anxiously
“Okay, okay. Dr. Padro is trying to take over the world with his electronics. As you know, I have been added onto because Dr. Padro has been trying to make me the best in the world. He wants to be famous and be the richest man in the world. He plans to do this with his electronics. Someone need to stop him, his electronics are irresistible and tempting. As you might have noticed, people are being rude and lazy,” there was a long pause. It was hard for Tommy and Skylar to take all of it in.
“Are you saying that we are the people that have to stop Dr. Padro?” Tommy said slowly putting everything together. As soon as he said this, Skylar started saying “Oh no, we can’t do this, nope, can’t happen,” and started to pace around the floor.
“Well, not necessarily,” Fred said “But someone needs to do it and I thought that you might want to know,” Fred was hinting that the children should be the ones to do it but Skylar would have nothing of it.
“I’m sorry Fred, we can’t do it. Thanks for the information,” Skylar replied quickly, seeing what Fred was hinting at.
“Say,” Fred said, changing the subject “How exactly do you guys not know about Dr. Pedro, don’t you have any of his devices? Everyone does,”
“Um,” Skylar wasn’t sure how to avoid this question.
“Well,” Tommy tried to help but wasn’t sure. “Does everyone in the world know about Dr. Pedro?”
“Well maybe not the world, you have a point. Do you get your electronics from another company?” Fred kept pushing
“Well you see,” Skylar now knew what to say “Our parents don’t really like to use electronics, they like to do things by hand,”
“Oh I see,” Fred was happy with his answer but still wasn’t done “So you have heard of electronics before? Like you haven’t come from the past or something,” Fred chuckled. Skylar and Tommy stopped scared for a moment but then realized that he was joking and laughed along nervously.
When they left after talking to Fred, Skylar had made up her mind, she was going to stop Dr. Pedro, even if Tommy wasn’t going to do it with her. When she had shared what she thought to Tommy, he wasn’t sure. He was kind of scared what would happen and they didn’t know where the time machine was.
“Why do you think the time machine vanished after I stepped out of it? You don’t think we are stuck, do you?” Tommy asked
“Tommy think,” Skylar glared at him “This is the future, do you think that these people would be allowed to see the time machine. They probably didn’t even notice us. I also don’t think that the time machine would make it look like we stepped out of thin air, if you are worried about that too,”
For the rest of the afternoon, Tommy and Skylar put their heads together for a way to stop Dr. Pedro. They kept bouncing ideas off each other but none seemed right.
“Tell him to stop,”
“Pull the electric plug,”
“Get his workers to turn on him,”
“Get the people to turn on him and demand their money back,”
Nothing seemed good until…
“Write a report!”
“Give a speech!”
“We could do both!” They both exclaimed and then died of laughter
After they decided what to do, the pair worked frantically to get their work done, a time limit hovering above their heads. The pair worked so hard that in 5 minutes, they were able to put together a speech and a report to get a rich and mad man to stop what he was doing.
It was a sunny afternoon when 2 young kids, about the age of 11 and 12, marched into Padro Tronics. Everyone was staring, it wasn’t often that strangers, especially kids came into the factory. They carried papers, a computer, and a screen with a projector. They went straight to the front desk, paying no attention to the workers and demanded to see Dr. Padro.
“He is in his office and you may not bother him. Even if you did need to talk to him, you have to make a meeting time online. Now shoo, children shouldn’t be in here anyway. And if you don’t leave, I will call security on you,” Mrs.Merrick, the mean secretary answered rudely to their demand.
“ I shall show them the way, thank you Mrs. Merrick,” a robotic voice sounded behind them. It was Fred!
“You most certainly will not, Fred! They mustn't bother Dr. Padro!” but Fred came forward and directed the kids where Dr. Padro’s office was. While he was walking them to the office, he whispered “Thank goodness you kids decided to do this. Someone needed to. The upgrades are nice but I really don’t need them or want them, just think that you are saving me and you will do great, I believe in you Skylar, Tommy,”
“Thanks Fred, I love you” Skylar turned to give Fred a hug. He hugged her back and then turned to the door in front of him.
“Sir, you have visitors,” Fred said robotically
“Yes, yes, have them come in,” Dr. Padro’s reply came through the door. Fred pushed the door open and directed the kids to the chairs in front of the desk.
“Oh, um hello,” Dr. Padro said surprised that his visitors were kids. He smiled thinking that these kids wanted an electronic but their parents said no.
“Hello Dr. Padro,” Skylar said in a professional voice that even Tommy was impressed.
“Do you mind if we set up our screen, projector and computer?” Skylar said keeping her cool
“Oh, yes take as much space as you need,” Dr. Padro said, surprised
“Thank you,” Skylar said briskly and then got up to set everything up. It took the friends a couple of minutes to set up and then they were ready for their big moment. Skylar checked her watch which was set at the time at her house, 5:30 it read. Ok she thought you have 30 minutes, you got this.
The kids were on a roll today because they got their speech done in only 20 minutes but they were waiting for the verdict. The nice Dr.Pedro they had met earlier had turned into a grouchy face person that just glared at them and didn’t say anything. Finally he said
“Fred please escort these kids out, I will speak to them later,”
“Where would you like them to go?” Fred asked
“Away from me! Somewhere in the building, I don’t know, Fred!”
Fred took the kids out to a bench in the lower floor.
“Whatever he does, I’m proud of both of you,”
A couple minutes later, Dr. Pedro asked for Skylar and Tommy to be brought to his office. They were both so scared and Skylar kept thinking they were going to be in trouble. She thought that it was her fault and kept apologizing to Tommy.
“Tommy, Skylar, I apologize for being so rude before. You kids have got some gut to come in here. You also are really smart. I’m really sorry for acting how I have been. When I think about what I’m doing, I realize that you kids are right. I just wanted you to know before you leave that you are the reason why I am going to change,”
“Thank you sir,” Skylar replied gratefully “We should probably go home now, thank you again,”
“No, thank you and have a good night,” his nice smile was back
The kids found the time machine and crawled into it as the clock said 5:55. They felt the familiar movement of traveling. They felt it for a few more minutes and then it stopped.
“Home sweet Home,” Tommy said before they stepped out of the time machine onto the straw. As they stepped out, Skylar heard Gigi calling
“Coming!” she replied and ran out over the hills to the farmhouse, disappearing into the bright sunlight.