By Ben V.
“It’s a gravity ball!”
“I’m sorry professor, I don’t think I understand. Doesn’t gravity affect every ball?”
“You’re a mindless twit Reynold,” The professor exclaimed. “This ball captures and manipulates gravitational forces. With enough tinkering this ball could become the heart of an eternal engine. Imagine it, if you can, enough power to run the entire city, and all provided by the dashing, generous and brilliant Professor Mishap. The women will throw themselves at me Reynold,” The Professor said in his shrill voice.
Four deep ringing gongs filled the basement laboratory, echoing off the stone walls.
“What time is it Reynold.” The Professor asked mindlessly.
“I believe it’s four o’clock Professor,” said Reynold.
“I know what time it is,” The Professor barked. “I want you to clean up this mess and put the gravity ball somewhere safe. I’ll get back to it tomorrow. I must get ready for the festivities.”
“What is it,” The Professor answered shortly.
“I was hoping this year you might let me come with you to the party.”
“You come to the party? What would a boy do at a New Year’s Eve party?”
“I’m fifteen Professor.”
“A boy,” The Professor snorted. “There are going to be women at this party Reynold, real women. Do you even know what to do with a woman?”
“Actually, there is this girl,” Reynold started to say.
“Exactly,” interrupted The Professor, “a girl. Besides, you have too much cleaning to do. I don’t have time to argue with you, I have to get ready, I have women to impress.” The Professor turned and trodded up the stairs and out of the lab.
“It’s your mess you old goat,” Reynold huffed as the door slammed shut.
Reynold moved about the lab mindlessly placing the various scientific apparatuses in their proper places. Without looking he placed the graduated cylinders in order of volume on the shelf below where the beakers would go, but above the Bunsen burners, just as the professor liked it. Reynold was heading to the flanges when he came to the gravity ball lying obstinately in his path.
“Stupid Professor and his stupid ball,” he mumbled, aimlessly kicking at the ball.
With tremendous speed the ball shot out bounding off the far wall, smashing a selection of test tubes, and flew back towards Reynold. He dived into a box of rubber stoppers as the ball whizzed past and crashed into the recently organized supplies. The ball ricocheted up to the ceiling, demolishing a hanging light and bending a water pipe. Reynold peeked over a lab table, water dripping onto his head from the newly broken pipe, and saw the destructive sphere scream to the far end of the lab taking out a model of the human skeleton on the way.
Seeing his opening Reynold slid out from under the table and leaped for the small box he had seen The Professor use to control the gravity ball. He turned the large dial on the top of the device and with a resounding crash followed by a thud the gravity ball plummeted to the floor, smashing the concrete leaving spider web like cracks across the floor.
“I can believe it works,” Reynold said out loud. Looking around he added, “I’m dead.”
Fiddling with the dial, he managed to find a balance where the ball was light enough to be easily carried but heavy enough that it wouldn’t fly off at the slightest touch. He dug through the mostly destroyed lab and found an old back pack and stuffed in the gravity ball with exaggerated care, worried he might set it off again at any moment. Reynold slung the bag over his shoulders and clumsily stuffed the controller box into his pocket and ran up the stairs.
Opening the door slowly, he checked to see if the coast was clear. Listening carefully Reynold heard the faint sound of The Professor trying to sing a tune that was sure to be popular with the party goers he would be spending the evening with. The horrendous noise was coming from upstairs where, Reynold hoped, The Professor would still be busy primping himself for the party. Reynold closed the door to the lab quietly and headed toward the front door and his escape. He was almost at the door when he heard a creak from the stairs and The Professor’s awful singing getting louder. Cursing to himself Reynold jumped into the hall closet.
The sound continued to get louder and Reynold pushed as far back into the closet as he could. He draped the coats in front of him managing to conceal all but the bottom of his legs and his feet. The door opened with a loud click and the off tune song coming from The professor, which had degraded into humming.
“With the right coat to go with my dashing duds, the ladies will be all over Professor Mishap tonight,” The Professor said to himself, rummaging through the hanging coats.
Reynold slowly shifted to the side of the closet where The Professor was sliding the coats and pushed himself into the corner, half hoping that if he pushed hard enough he would somehow push through to the wall.
With no coats left to choose from, The Professor began searching the side of the closet where Reynold was now hiding. Reynold was running out of time and options. He was starting to think that the punishment wouldn’t be as severe if he gave himself up, but if The Professor caught him – Reynold shuttered at the memory of the last assistant who displeased The Professor, all those experiments.
The Professor moved closer to Reynold, coat by coat, his heart beating louder and louder. He poised himself to jump out and try to take The Professor by surprise, hoping to make it to the door before The Professor could grab him. Reynold flexed his legs and pressed his palms against the wall, preparing to launch himself out of the closet, hopefully past The Professor and to the door.
“I found you! And you thought you could hide from me,” The Professor exclaimed. “Look out ladies, Professor Mishap is ready for his kiss at midnight this year,” he continued. Slipping on the coat he had found in the closet and putting on a garish top hat he headed down the hallway and out to the street, slamming the closet door behind him.
Reynold let out a sigh when he heard the front door close. “I’d hate to see the woman who would willingly kiss you,” he said with a shutter. Composing himself Reynold pushed open the closet door and headed down the hallway himself. He stood at the front door and made himself count to three hundred incase The Professor was still lingering out on the street. If he saw a pretty girl heading to a party of her own he was sure to stop and harass her.
By the time Reynold finished his count he realized he had no idea where he was going to go or what he was going to do. He was so concerned with making it out of the house alive that he hadn’t thought of it. He didn’t really have a home to go to. His parents had sold him to The Professor three years ago so they could buy a television. He wasn’t allowed to have any friends. The Professor was such a creepy, lecherous, offensive man that anyone associated with him was taunted, feared or ignored.
Reynold did have one person on his mind, Olive, the flower girl who worked a few streets over, near the hardware store. Reynold passed by her when he was sent out for supplies. He couldn’t say they were friends, but she was always nice to him. Though he wasn’t even sure she knew his name. But Reynold couldn’t think of anyone else, and if he was running away, he thought he would like to see her one more time.