The Rude Awakening III
The ride to Tiger Tail Resort was about 60 minutes in adult time. For Jimmy and Sally it felt like exactly 143 minutes. Because of their unfinished brains, high metabolisms, unmitigated curiosity, and unbridled enthusiasm, children are often subject to time warps, slow-downs, speed-ups, and spontaneous bouts of time travel which makes going anywhere with them something of an inconvenience for everyone, big and small, involved.
There are ways to ease the discomfort of children in transit, but many of them involve seeing things from the perspective of a child and trying to understand their point of view. Sadly, these are not popular methods with many modern parents who prefer demanding and ordering their children over understanding them.
Jimmy and Sally were so excited over going to Tiger Tail Resort that they seemed to be full of jumping beans and couldn’t sit still or be quiet without great difficulty. Jimmy’s Grandfather knew this and expected neither quiet nor stillness from either of the children. The little chatter-boxes rattled of a non-stop list off questions that would have exhausted even the most patient parent.
Only a grandparent could hope to live through such an onslaught of queries while retaining their sanity.
A partial list of those questions lies below:
“How did you make my coat appear?”
“How long until the whammy is broken?”
“Can I pee on the side of the road?”
“I wanna pee outside too.”
“Is Tiger Tail Resort really where we’re going?”
“I don’t have to pee anymore.”
“Are we there yet?”
“There’s something in Jimmy’s eye.”
“Does Mom know?”
“What about Dad, does he know?”
“Do we get to go on all the rides?”
“How much ice cream can I eat?”
“Will breaking the Whammy hurt?”
“Does everyone get to be a ghost?”
“How many dogs have you owned?”
“How much magic is there?”
“Can I get a hat like the driver has?”
“Am I a witch?”
“Is growing up worth it?”
“Is being old fun?”
“What are taxes?”
“What are faxes?”
“Are faxes like taxes?”
“Why do they sound the same then?”
The children went on and on, not a second of silence could be heard the entire trip. Grandfather didn’t seem to mind, though. He patiently answered all their questions without so much as rolling his eyes or wishing for a glass of wine even once.
“How come you let us ask all the questions we want and don’t yell at us to sit still every 2 seconds like my parents do?” Sally asked with equal parts suspicion and legitimate wonder in her voice during a pit stop at a hot dog stand. She took a sip of her soda and made sure to make as many squeaky noises with the straw as she could.
Jimmy’s Grandfather waited until she was done before answering, he knew how exciting a squeaky straw could be and didn’t want to interfere.
When the straw had finished singing its song Jimmy’s Grandfather politely explained to Sally that the trick to having a good time with children is to simply remember that they’ve only been on the planet for not very long and that everything is still so new and exciting to them that it would be rude to interrupt this important and almost sacred process of discovery in the name of peace and quiet.
“Now, I know you’re a big girl,” He went on to say when he noticed Sally, like most children, don’t like being referred to as one. “But you’ll get a lot bigger before you’re done growing.”
Sally seemed satisfied with the answer and didn’t feel the need to press the issue of how big she was any further.
“If everyone is done with their hot dogs, we should get back in the cab, there’s still a bit of a ride left. Does anyone have to use the bathroom before we go?”
Jimmy and Sally both said they did, even though they didn’t have to. They’d never been in this particular bathroom before and were rightfully full of wonder at the prospect of being somewhere they’ve never been. It was of course, nothing special, just a regular bathroom. Jimmy was hoping to find a worm hole to outer space but didn’t even see so much as a worm and Sally didn’t find a tiny village full of tiny-er people, even though she checked every stall and really wanted to.
While the children were busy not using the bathroom, Jimmy’s Grandfather and Gustav, the cab driver, sat at the table waiting.
Jimmy and Sally finished their independent investigations of their respective bathrooms and were discussing the differences between the boy’s and girl’s rooms as they walked back to their table.
“All ready, Grandpop,” Jimmy announced.
Everyone put themselves into the car and Gustav started the engine and pulled into traffic.
“Magus?” Gustav said as he glanced at Jimmy’s Grandfather in the rearview mirror and made sure that the joke in his eye was noticed.
Jimmy’s Grandfather did note the joke in Gustav’s eye and gave a slight nod to indicate so. “Yes Gustav?”
“We’re approaching the wormhole.”
“WORMHOLE!” The children screamed in unison. “We’re going through a worm hole? Ohhhhhhhhhh man!”
The car began to speed up and Gustav hit a secret button on the dashboard. The inside of the car became black as night and colored lights began to flash and pulse from seemingly nowhere.
Jimmy and Sally looked at each other, their eyes as wide and open as their mouths. They bounced up and down in their seats, chanting “Wormhole! Wormhole!”
A few minutes later the colored lights faded and the car slowed. By the time the children’s eyes readjusted, they were in the parking lot of Tiger Tail Resort.
“We’re here,” announced Jimmy’s Grandfather. “Who wants ice cream?”
“Jimmy does!” said Sally.
“So does Sally!” yelled Jimmy.
Everyone exited the car as quick as quick would allow. The trunk opened by itself and Grandfather fetched two small backpacks from its depths.
“Sally, Jimmy- here’s some clothes and toothbrushes and all that fun stuff you need for sleepovers.”
“We’re staying the night?” Sally inquired, eyes wide with wonder.
“We’re staying three nights!” answered Jimmy’s Grandfather.
Jimmy and Sally became even more excited than they had been previously, which would have seemed impossible to either of them about an hour ago when they were operating at what they thought was peak excitement and anticipation. Now that they were actually in the parking lot of Tiger Tail Resort, all kinds of new types of excitement were beginning to swell inside them. The children took the backpacks and bounced away towards the entrance lobby.
“Magus, when are you going to tell them?”
“Tell them what, Gustav?”
“About how Whammies get broken.”
“Ahh, that. Bit of a sticky wicket, isn’t it?”
“You ARE going to tell them though, correct?”
“Gustav, who is the Magus here?”
“You, Sir, but that doesn’t mean you get to bend and break the laws of The Society in order to make a point to your daughter.”
“Indeed, that much is true. However, what gives you the right to guess at my intentions?”
“Ignorance of them. I know there is only one way to break a Whammy of this type and it’s not pleasant. I assumed you would attempt to spare the children the more grisly parts of the process.”
“No, never. If they don’t know what it truly and fully involves, then nothing will be gained and they might as well stay Whammied. I’ll tell them this evening. After dinner, we’ll have a talk.”
“I’m glad to hear you say that,” said Gustav in a relieved tone of voice.
“And I’m glad you said something. All of us can use a check-in every now and then. Thank you.”
Whatever Jimmy’s Grandfather and Gustav were speaking of will have to wait to next time. Right now, the children (and the adults) were looking forward to a day of ice cream, water slides, and laughter.
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