Professorish note: TPL has been a bit off schedule this week. I do apologize. That’s what happens when you eat bad tomatoes. ~ Professor VJ Duke
Parties can be intimidating experiences—it’s when we have to act sociable, though we’d rather not. ~ V. Shnodgrate
You know, it’s very hard to know (for sure) how much time is passing when you’re being tortured.
Especially if it’s self-inflicted torture. I suppose, though, I could blame Sandra Salami. It was her idea, after all, to send Lucy and this professor to Dr. Zauberer’s castle to see if we could find more out about Daddy Salami’s wife.
Now, ‘out about’ is an interest, you must admit.
Anyways, after the hike of my life, Lucy and this professor made it to the front door of the castle. I’ve never thought on it before, but castles do seem to have front doors. At least, this one did.
And it was a big one, with a gold knocker.
“Do you suppose anyone’s home?” I asked Lucy.
“I reckon they must be. Perhaps they can’t hear us over the din of the party?” she replied.
“Dadblameit! It’s very rude, still, not to answer the door.”
And I knocked again. I did try it louder.
The door opened.
It was Dr. Zauberer himself, too.
He squinted upon seeing us.
We probably didn’t look too good. But that can’t be blamed on us, really. What with that awful hike and all.
“Did I invite you two?” he asked.
“Umm…” I began.
“Maybe you did. Or maybe not,” Lucy said. “But you definitely should have!”
Dr. Zauberer began to rub his goatee vigorously. “Well, see, this is what I’m concerned with: My memory. If I invited you, I surely do forget, which means my memory is going. And if my memory is going, I suspect I shan’t be able to think at all in a few months. Now”—and he gestured widely here, banging his hand onto the stone wall by the door—“if, in fact, I didn’t invite you, my memory is quite sound. Which means, I’m very angry you just gave me that little scare.”
What a speech. It was hard to follow. But it seemed incriminating on the face of it.
I was going to say something—probably something awfully dull—when Lucy broke in:
“We’ve actually come, out of the goodness in our hearts, to act as your security for the night’s party. Lucky you, I should say.”
That fetched him. Dr. Zauberer’s whole face brightened up.
“Come on in, then! How nice it is to have buddies like you two, even if I didn’t know I had you.”
We followed Dr. Zauberer into the castle, passing through a long, ornate hallway. There was a very warm and welcoming glow about the place, and the sounds of a party (things breaking, ladies squealing, men guffawing—all that dadblamery) started to become audible as we made our way down the hallway.
Dr. Zauberer was speaking the whole time.
“I was quite worried,” he was saying, “that security might be a problem. I mean, when you get this many people together bad things are just bound to happen.”
“And that is exactly why we came along,” Lucy said. “We’ll take care of all that.”
I looked at Lucy. “Really?” I mouthed.
She nodded, and mouthed back, “Why not?”
Of course, I had to mouth back at that, “Because! We have a job to do!”
Then she mouthed, “We’ll do it…while we play security. It got us in after all. I mean, how much trouble can there really be at a little party like this?”
I was going to mouth again—since it was a mouthing game—but at that moment, the hallway opened up into the largest room I’ve ever seen. And that room…was packed with people.
And I mean packed.
Dr. Zauberer squeezed through the crowd, still talking, but we lost him.
And that’s when I found myself face to face with Fats Henry.
Story written by Professor VJ Duke & Lucy Brazier
Copyright: For a few