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A Vacuum, Shoes, and a Cheeseburger
I got back from the field in time for dinner. After dinner mom asked me to vacuum the basement. I wasn’t in the mood to vacuum. When is someone ever in the mood to vacuum? I got out the vacuum, plugged it in, pushed it over to the basement couch, and then I plopped down on a cushion. My thoughts wandered to Buddy and the cave. Could I make any drawing come to life? I looked at the vacuum and had an idea.
I ran upstairs and grabbed my pencil and drawing pad. Back on the couch, I started drawing the vacuum in front of me. I drew the vacuum to look like it was on and moving. I thought as I drew, it was self-driving. I finished the drawing with one final stroke of my pencil. Then I waited.
A minute later a second vacuum unfolded into view right next to the original. The motor of the new and improved vacuum revved and a puff of dust shot out from the bottom. It drove itself over the carpet in straight rows. It was like a grandmaster at vacuuming was doing all the work for me. “Yes!” I exclaimed to myself. It had worked. Then it started to move faster and louder until it crashed into the entertainment center across the room. On top of the entertainment center my mom’s ceramic sculpture of a mother and child teetered, fell to the floor, and broke.
The vacuum laid on its side, the motor winding down, and a small stream of smoke reached the ceiling. Someone must have heard the noise of the crash, I thought. I had to act fast, so I picked up the steaming pile of broken vacuum and shoved it in the back of the basement closet. I’ll take care of that later, I thought as I closed the closet door.
My two younger brothers came out of another room in the basement and saw the mess of broken ceramic.
“Oh, Drake!” started Jack. “You are in so much trouble,” Jake finished. They were always finishing each other’s sentences.
Then they ran to the bottom of the stairs and Jake yelled, “Mom, come quick!” Then Jack hollered, “Drake broke your stuff!”
“Come on, guys,” I said, but it was too late. The basement door opened. I sat on the couch and sunk further in as my mom made her way down the stairs. I quickly grabbed my drawing pad and shoved it under the couch cushion.
“Drake? What was that noise?” She walked over to me.
“Hi, Mom,” my voice cracked.
“What happened?” She looked around and then saw her broken decor on the floor. “Drake! My ceramic!”
“Sorry, Mom. It was an accident. I wasn’t paying attention and crashed the vacuum into the entertainment center.” I was telling the truth for the most part. I couldn’t tell my mom I drew a self-driving vacuum to life. She’d think I was crazy.
“It’s okay, Drake. Accidents happen.” My mom carefully picked up the ceramic pieces and took them upstairs. After I finished vacuuming with the regular vacuum, I put it away in the closet. While my brothers were distracted in the other room, I grabbed a garbage bag from the kitchen pantry and covered the self-driving vacuum with it. Without anyone seeing me, I snuck the broken vacuum outside and tossed it in the garbage bin.
I took my drawing pad and the vacuum drawing up to my room and plopped it on my bed in front of me. “Well, that didn’t turn out like I hoped,” I thought out loud. “How can I draw a dragon that breathes fire, but not a self-driving vacuum? I need to be careful with this…this power. Where does the power come from? Is it me….the pencil….maybe the paper? Next time, I’ll try a different pencil. Maybe a pen.”
The next day at school, sitting in First Period, I had this feeling like I had forgotten something. What was it? I wondered. I brought my homework. I know I brought my lunch because I put it in my locker when I got to school.
After class, Ricardo ran over to my desk and whispered, “Drake, I checked in on the dragon this morning and he was gone from the shed! Is he gone for good?”
“Holy cow! Buddy!” I almost shouted loud enough to draw the attention of the teacher and others still in the classroom.
“Buddy? What’s wrong, Drake?”
I pulled Ricardo out to the hallway. “I forgot about Buddy! I hope he’s okay.”
“Buddy?” Ricardo asked.
“Buddy, I named the dragon Buddy. I went to check on him in your shed and he threw open the door, grabbed me and we flew away.”
“What? Wow, where did he take you?”
“We landed in a field a couple neighborhoods over. Ric, I drew him a cave.”
I pulled Ricardo to a quiet corner of the hallway and explained. “Remember when I said that Buddy looked just like a drawing I drew that same day? It’s because he is the dragon I drew. In that field, I drew a cave for him to sleep in and, bam! There it was, a cave. He walked in and found a cozy spot to stay in. I left him there. I hope he’s okay.”
“Wow, Drake, that’s incredible! We have to check on him.”
“Are you free after school to check on him with me?” I asked.
“Okay, I hope no one has found him,” I said.
The next class for that day was P.E. and Mr. Mackey had the class go to the track field.
“Okay guys, we’re going to be timing you on your mile run today,” Mr. Mackey announced. Some kids groaned, including me, while others cheered. Some kids love to run around. I’ve never been a fan of running. It would be more fun if I could go super fast.
Then it hit me. I had another idea. I grabbed my drawing pad from my backpack. This time I grabbed a pen instead of my usual pencil to draw with. I thought, if these don’t become real then I know it’s the pencil that’s magic.
Without anyone looking, I drew a pair of running shoes. Except these were no ordinary shoes. These would make me run at incredible speeds, but not so fast people couldn’t see me. I added a final touch of lightning bolts on the sides. Then I waited.
I thought, maybe it’s the pencil. If it was, then I could break the pencil and then the power and Buddy would be gone and I could go back to how things were. Or perhaps the power would run out when the pencil had no more lead left.
Then, my backpack beside me jumped. I peeked in and there were the shoes I had drawn. Okay, not the pencil, I thought. It could still have been the paper causing the drawing to come to life, but I’d have to test that later.
I grabbed the shoes and put them on.
“Dodger!” Mr. Mackey shouted. “You’re up!”
I walked over to the starting line. Next to me were a few other kids including Hunter.
“I’m going to smoke all you guys in this race,” Hunter sneered.
“It’s not a race guys,” said Mr. Mackey. “Run the best you can and complete the mile. You’ll need to run around the track four times to go the full mile.”
We all squatted down like real runners in an Olympic race. If it wasn’t a race, it sure felt like one and I was certain my shoes were going to win.
“On your mark, get set…go!” Mr. Mackey shouted.
I took off running. I started out slow as I didn’t know what the shoes might do. Hunter ran as fast as he could with his chest sticking out, huffing and puffing as he ran. He was getting far ahead of everyone else.
I picked up my pace and then I felt my shoes taking control. I could feel myself running faster than I normally did. Faster and faster until I ran past the others and then past Hunter. I was getting far ahead and feeling good. It was so easy running that fast.
When I finished my first lap, the others had finished half of theirs. On the second lap I slowed down a little so not to make too much of a scene. By the start of the fourth lap, I wasn’t even breaking a sweat.
I looked behind me at the other runners. They looked tired. Hunter was panting while glaring at me. “What’s the deal, Dodger?” he yelled.
I finished the last lap. I felt great. I didn’t feel tired at all. I thought I should show some fatigue, so I accelerated my breathing a little and rested my hands on my knees. Hunter fell to the ground after crossing the finish line.
With his face in the grass, he pointed at me and said, “When did you start running so fast, Dodger? I thought artists didn’t run.”
“Of course we do,” I said and then rushed over to my backpack to avoid any more questioning. I placed my speed shoes in my backpack and put on my regular shoes.
On our way to the lunchroom, I told Ricardo all about the shoes.
After Ricardo got his hot lunch, we sat down at an empty table and I pulled out my lunch bag.
“What are you going to draw next?” Ricardo asked.
“I don’t know.” We sat there deep in thought. I unwrapped my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
“I’ve got it!” I said. I pointed at my sandwich and looked at Ricardo. “You know what’s better than this sandwich?”
“Anything?” teased Ricardo.
“A cheeseburger!” I pulled out my drawing pad and pencil to start drawing a hamburger. I paused. “Wait. This time I’m going to try a different paper. The magic is not in the pencil or pen I used, but maybe it’s in this drawing pad.”
I pulled out a napkin from my lunch bag and started sketching a delicious cheeseburger from my favorite restaurant, King’s Kastle. It was a juicy burger with cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and ketchup. I got hungrier and hungrier as I drew. I finished, put my pencil down, and smiled at Ricardo.
“What if it doesn’t work?” Ricardo asked.
“Then we’ll know it’s gotta be the paper.”
We looked around and made sure no one was looking. Then a mouth-watering burger unfolded into view on top of the napkin in front of us.
“Whoa!” Ricardo shouted.
“Quiet!” I said. “We don’t want anyone to find out.”
“Right, sorry. It looks delicious.”
I pushed the sandwich aside and picked up the hamburger. I looked it over.
“Looks safe to eat,” I said. I took a bite. “Sooo good.”
Ricardo looked longingly at the hamburger. “You gonna eat all that?”
I just smiled and enjoyed my lunch.