The Boy With Orange Hair
by Bill Bowler
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 and Chapter 2
appeared in issue 241.
The adventures of a boy with orange hair, a friendly groundhog, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as they chase arch-villains Crabby Crayfish and Q.Q. Quigley III from Mt. Everest, to outer space, to Idaho, to Miami Police Headquarters, to the Bermuda Triangle, to the Forgotten Sea, to the Land of Little, to Molecule World, to Earth-2, through the space-time continuum, to the bottom of the ocean, to Mrs. Groundhog’s house, to the Oval Office, making friends, rescuing people, having fun, in hot pursuit but never quite catching up, until right at the end...
“How did you learn to fly a rocket?” asked Gerry the groundhog.
“On our computer at home. Flight simulator,” said the boy with orange hair. “But it takes two to fly a rocket. You’re my co-pilot. Where should we go?”
“Well,” said Gerry the groundhog. “I’ve always wanted to visit Pluto.”
So they flew the Saturn 9 out past the moon and swung around past Mars, through the Asteroid Belt, past Jupiter and Saturn and its rings towards the outer planets. Just at that moment when it seemed that everything was going smoothly again and their problems were over, just then, it happened!
A gigantic pterodactyl, a winged dinosaur of tremendous size, who had been flying through outer space since the age of the dinosaurs, flew past Jupiter, saw the Saturn 9, and thought it was a bug. Pterodactyls are always hungry. The giant flying dinosaur opened its huge jaws and swooped down on the bug, which was actually the Saturn 9, and tried to gobble it up.
From inside the rocket, Gerry the groundhog was looking out the cockpit window and suddenly saw they were headed into the entrance of a tunnel, full of huge razor-sharp teeth.
“Look out!” shouted Gerry. “What the heck is that?!”
“Looks like a giant pterodactyl,” said the boy with orange hair. He swung the joystick hard left and pushed the throttle. The rocket swerved left and the pterodactyl’s jaws snapped shut on empty space.
“That was a close one,” said Gerry the groundhog and they watched the pterodactyl through the rear window as it flew off towards Saturn.
That was when it happened. The radio in the Saturn 9 crackled,
“Hello. Saturn 9. [crackle, crackle] This is the President. [crackle] Do you read me?”
The boy with orange hair picked up the microphone, “Yes, Mr. President, we copy. What is it?”
“It’s a national emergency. [crackle] Please return at once to the White House. [crackle crackle] We need your help. Situation is desperate. Do you read me?”
“Yes,” said the boy. “We’re on the way. Over and out.” And he reversed course, swung around and pushed the throttle forward to full.
In 22 hours and 22 minutes, they arrived in Washington DC and landed the Saturn 9 on the front lawn of the White House. They opened the hatch, climbed down to the lawn, and were walking up the path towards the White House when the front door opened and three men wearing dark sunglasses and another man in a green uniform with six gold stars on his shoulders came out.
“We’re here to see the President,” said the boy with orange hair.
The three men wearing dark sunglasses whispered in each other’s ears, “Pssst, pssst, pssst.”
The man with the six gold stars on his shoulders said, “Harumph, yes, I see, you’re here to see the President. Ha! But who are you?”
“I’m Gerry,” said Gerry the groundhog.
“The President just called us and asked us to come,” said the boy. “He said it’s important.”
“Harumph, yes, that could be so,” said the man with 6 gold stars on his shoulders.
“But who are you?” asked Gerry.
“Me? I’m Brigadier General Ralph Rickrack, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and these three gentlemen are Secret Service agents.”
The three Secret Service agents whispered in each other’s ears, “Pssst, pssst, pssst.”
“Well, come in, come in,” said General Rickrack. “No doubt the President will be very happy to see you.”
They followed General Rickrack and the Secret Service agents into the White House and were taken immediately to the Oval Office to see the President, who looked very worried.
“What is it, Mr. President?” asked the boy with orange hair “What’s going on?”
“Yeah! What the heck is going on?!” asked Gerry the groundhog.
“Something terrible has happened,” sobbed the President.
“But what is it?” asked Gerry.
“Someone,” said the President, “has stolen all of the ice cream in America. They’ve stolen all the vanilla, all the chocolate, all the chocolate chip, all the chocolate chocolate chip, all the maple walnut, all the butter pecan, all the rum raisin, all the pistachio, all the strawberry, all of it. Every flavor. All of the ice cream bars, all the cones, all of the half-pints, all of the pints, quarts and gallons. There’s none left; it’s all gone. No one in America can have ice cream for dessert. Not the children! Not the teenagers! Not the grownups! It’s a national emergency!”
“But who would do such a terrible thing?” asked the boy.
“Yeah, who would be mean enough to steal ice cream?” asked Gerry the groundhog.
“Who could be that nasty?” asked General Rickrack.
The boy with orange hair looked at Gerry the groundhog, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
Copyright © 2007 by Bill Bowler