Who Stole the Zmulobeast? Chapter 1, Scene 1


And what the heck is a Zmulobeast anyway? Follow the lead of the Pi Squad, an intrepid group of young detectives, as they search for clues here every Tuesday and Thursday when new scenes will be added. 

Scene 1

It’s 7 o’clock in the morning, I haven’t had my puppy pops, I can’t remember where I buried that steak bone, my doghouse is leaking, and my water bowl is empty. It isn’t like I don’t have enough problems to start my day, right? I’m just a dog. Spike. That’s my name. I don’t need additional stress in my life. Unfortunately, Stool Pigeon doesn’t seem to care about that. See, all I want is to lead a normal canine existence like the other mutts on the block. Chase cars. Bite mailmen. Growl for no good reason. Howl at the moon. Mark my territory. Dog things.

But nooooo. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to be born the one dog on the planet who figured out how to talk. And see colors. And add. And subtract. Solve problems. I’ve been called a four-legged, color-seein’ calculator more than once, and that really gets on my nerves. Like I said, I just want to be normal. Sometimes I think maybe I ought to sue Mother nature for making me like this, but then I figure it’s better to leave that one alone. For one thing, Mother Nature’s too big to fit in a courtroom. But more important than that, it’s like Poppa Spike always taught me when I was just a young pup chasing my tail, “You are who you are in this life, kid, and you’ve got to make the best of it. Even if you’re a talking dog.”

So anyway, Stool Pigeon’s sitting there in front of me like he always does whenever he’s got a problem. His legs, long and skinny, are crossed. His eyes, big and brown, are squinted. His hair, long and black, is tossed all over his head like he got caught in a hurricane on his way over. I can’t figure out what this kid has against a comb.

Right about now he’s giving me that funny look of his, like he just chomped down on a lemon. He’s been sitting there for five reeeeeeal lonnnnng minutes huddled up underneath this oversized, scruffy parka I think he found somewhere. Those glow-in-the-dark green mittens he’s got on are big enough to house a small animal which, for some reason, makes me start thinking about breakfast. Yep, a small, plump animal would be nice right about now. Chase that growl right outta the old stomach.

Anyway, I don’t guess these minutes would feel so long if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s kinda cold out. Not freezing exactly, but the air’s got just that kinda autumn nip to it where folks are in a hurry to get wherever it is they’re going, even if it’s just around the corner for a quart of milk. Not like how it is in summertime when everybody just kinda lays back and enjoys the rhythm of the day, ya know? Nope, this is still that time when the leaves are tryin’ to make up their minds whether or not to keep on swingin’ with the branches or fall on down. Don’t ask me why they make that same decision every year, man. They fall. You’d think once, you know, just for kicks, they’d confuse everybody and hang around for the wintertime. Me personally, that’s what I’d do if I was a leaf. But I’m not, so here I sit talking crazy.

Back to Stool Pigeon. Nine and a half years old, in human years, of course. He’s a nice kid in a weird sort of way – and he knows more about what’s happenin’ on the street than anyone else. Still, I’m thinking it’s way too early in the morning for this little chat he wants to have. Then again, it’s always too early with Stool Pigeon. I don’t think this guy believes in sleep.

“What kind of creep would swipe a Zmulobeast?” he asks.

“I don’t know, Stool Pigeon, who’d swipe a…Zmulowhat? What time is it anyway?”

I start looking around the table at the rest of the crew, and it looks to me like they aren’t feeling any more peppy about this whole deal than I am. Ya see, I don’t have to go to school, but the rest of the Squad, they’ve gotta go. Except for today. It’s Fall Break and their first weekday to sleep in since school started. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that we think sleep is more important than a Zmulobeast theft. I mean, there’s only one of those Zmulo critters on the planet, a gift from the planet Acabagua, which is Zippy’s home turf, by the way. That makes it serious business. We’ll find this thing if it’s the last thing we do. Even if it means we lose some sleep. And even if we have, well, even if we have no idea what a Zmulobeast looks like.

You’d rhink Zippy, that dizzy little alien, might have some  idea about how it looks since it came from his side of the galaxy right? Wrong. He says there weren’t any Zmulobeasts on the planet when he left. None. Wouldn’t you know that’s the one species that got created after he left home?

But I digress. Here’s the bottom line: You let folks get away with stealing a Zmulobeast, whatever it looks like, and who knows what they’ll be prancing off with next. Chickens would be my guess.

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