The Rude Awakening IV.
Gentle reader, it is my duty to inform you that this particular installment of The Adventures of Jimmy Jam is even more unsuited for children than usual. We’ve discussed the nature of Whammies and why they should never be used as a substitute for parenting, but I feel we have neglected to address the specific nature of Whammy Breaking.
To put it simply without sugar coating things, in order to break the Whammy, Jimmy’s and Sally’s parents must die. Now, due to the nature of magic and magical people, death isn’t always as final a thing as it seems to the non-magical. Still, dead parents are dead parents and there is little reason to find joy in such a situation. It is a well-known fact that even children who are estranged from their parents feel just as bad about the passing of their parents as a child with good parental relations. No matter how one feels about their parents, it tends to change once they are gone forever from their lives.
When we last saw our group of Whammy Breakers, they were headed into Tiger Tail Resort, an indoor water-park/luxury hotel geared towards children under the age of ten. Jimmy’s Grandfather and his good friend Gustav took Jimmy and Sally there to ride out the Whammy breaking and to give them a good and proper talking to about their behavior, but neither Jimmy nor Sally knew anything about that. Yet.
It was a perfect day for ice-creaming and water-sliding. The kind of hot day that invigorated while it exhausted, leaving one spent and fulfilled when it was finally, already over.
Gustav sat by the pool at a table with Jimmy’s Grandfather. They were both eating ice cream in a most serious manner while the children played in the wave pool in an equally serious fashion.
“It is a clever plan,” Gustav said between bites of his mint chocolate chip ice cream cone. “But it is…” he paused to think of the correct word, “…non-standard.”
“True on both counts,” answered Grandfather.
“Does the council know?” Gustav pressed, biting down into the part of an ice-cream cone where ice-cream meets cone.
“No. And they don’t need to. It’s only an irregular plan, not an illegal one.”
“You’re planning on dream murdering four people.”
“I’ll be bringing them back. They won’t be gone but three days.”
“You’re involving children.”
“It’s for their own good, maybe for the good of us all. They aren’t regular children, Gustav,” Jimmy’s Grandfather pushed aside his banana split, took a sip of his ginger ale, and continued. “They’ve seen too much. Jimmy alone has been resurrected at least two dozen times. Two dozen Lazarus Operations performed on someone who hasn’t learned their multiplication tables. It’s unheard of.”
“And unsafe. What about the girl?”
“Who knows? Since she’s been playing with Jimmy, at least four or five.”
“The Lazarus Operation is not meant to be abused in this manner.”
“There’s more. There was an enchanted dream involved. The children felt every second of being stuck in the afterlife for over a lifespan. The whammy was too potent, the dream was too real. At their age…”
Gustav’s face went sheet white. “They’ll be insane by high school. Unless…”
“Exactly…unless we break the Whammy and teach the children our ways and customs.”
“They certainly have potential. When does everything start?”
“Tonight. After dinner, I’ll have a talk with them. Later, Mabel will take care of the parents.”
Grandfather smiled and went back to his banana split. Gustav grinned, shoveled the last of his ice-cream cone into his mouth and ran off towards the wave pool. The day passed in much that manner. All the water slides were slid down, every diving board was jumped off of, all of the 19 available flavors of ice-cream were sampled, every bathroom was explored (nothing to report), games were lost and won, things raced, and swings were swung on. It was, by all accounts, the perfect day to be six.
“What now, Grandpop?” Jimmy asked through a mouth of half-chewed salt water taffy.
“I’ve been eating all day but I’m sorta hungry for some vegetables,” Sally scrunched her face up before finishing, “is that because of the Whammy?”
Jimmy’s Grandfather laughed at Sally’s comment, “No. But I see why you might think so. Your body needs vegetables so it’s letting you know by sending you a craving for them.”
“How come this never happened to me before now?”
“Well, you see,” Grandfather began, “It’s because you’ve been in charge of what you’ve been eating all day today. No one forced you to eat any vegetables and you haven’t eaten any yet because your body didn’t need them. Now your body needs them, so you want them. What kind of vegetables would you like?”
“Hey,” Jimmy inserted, “I sorta want some vegetables too! I don’t even feel like yelling about how much I hate them either. Is this because we got to make up our own minds about them this time?”
“Very good observation Jimmy, that’s exactly why.” Jimmy’s GrandFather said.
“I saw a giant salad bar in the restaurant. We should go there and get some giant salads,” Gustav suggested.
So it happened that they went and got the aforementioned giant salads. Giant being proportionate to the size of the eater, Jimmy had extra pickles, three kinds of dressing, and hot dog bits. Sally opted for strawberries and broccoli with a few candy-coated peanut butter chips, and tons of cheese sauce.
Gustav and GrandFather were far less adventurous (but no less enthusiastic) with and about their salad choices. Both opted for classic chicken Caesar and were delighted.
While they ate, the foursome fell into easy and pleasant conversation. Sally and Jimmy asked more questions about why they suddenly liked vegetables, and how come they got to play with their food, and so on and so on.
GrandFather and Gustav sat quietly while Jimmy and Sally asked away, more curious than cats. Jimmy and Sally returned the favor by sitting still and listening intently while the adults answered away. They nodded their heads to indicate understanding and waited until the bigger person finished speaking before asking questions when they needed clarification.
GrandFather was honest with the children, even when he knew they wouldn’t fully understand what he was talking about. Understanding would come later. The adults were happy to see Jimmy and Sally act so politely. They were especially proud of the quality of the questions they asked.
They were very engrossed and interested in what was said to them, and because they were spoken to (as opposed to ‘at’), they felt none of the usual shame they felt when they used their manners in the past. They began to see that manners were like keys that unlocked kindness in both those who used them and those who were on the receiving end of them.
GrandFather quietly kept everything on track and prepared the children for the more difficult conversation that had to take place later. The content of that conversation, as well as the fate of Jimmy’s and Sally’s parents, will have to wait until next time…
Like what you saw? See more here.