Monday, December 19, 2011

Professor Moltavio

Fair  Episode 4

Professor Moltavio didn't look like a very trustworthy person at all. But still, he did just offer to pay for lemonade for the four young friends, and for only the price of a little help setting up his booth here at the fair. "I have a bad leg, you see? It's just that I have a few heavier items to remove from my wagon, and I need a little help lifting. Normally I would get my monkey to help, but he seems to have run off somewhere," said the mysterious professor.

"No need for the money, Professor," said Eric. "I'll give you a hand with your unloading. It should only take a few minutes." Then Eric looked away from Professor Moltavio to Riley and said, "You and Sam go get the lemonade while I help the professor. Here's the money. I should be done by the time you get back." Then he looked at Will and said, "Go ahead and practice your flute. This should be easy enough for just me."

"Thank you so much! Eric, is it? My wagon is just over there," Professor Moltavio pointed to a wagon about thirty feet away. As they began walking, Professor Moltavio turned to Eric and said, "I don't want to offend, but you know your friend got cheated on that flute, don't you? I overheard what he paid for it, and it's only worth a fraction of that price, and it has no magic in it at all."

"Yeah, I know," Eric replied. "Just don't tell him that. This happens to him sometimes, but nobody can tell him the truth because he'd only get angry. He'll figure it out eventually. At least he can't do it again because he already spent almost all of his money."

When they got to the wagon the professor reached into the back and began pulling things out and handing them to Eric. It seemed like a lot of stuff for someone who seemed like nothing more than a street performer. "So," Eric said, "what exactly is an organ grinder, Professor?"

Professor Moltavio stopped as if he had just been slapped. He looked at the boy in exaggerated surprise, and exclaimed, "My boy! An Organ Grinder is me! I am an Organ Grinder, and I play an instrument known as an organ grinder! But you probably would like to know about the instrument. An organ grinder is this instrument that I am now holding! It looks like just a decorative box with a crank on the side. But when I turn this crank, beautiful music comes out! Oh, some people complain and call it noise, but it really is extraordinary music. While I am playing, my monkey dances around and collects money for me from my adoring audience."

The professor then handed the box to Eric and asked him to put it on the small table they had set up. Then they resumed unloading the wagon. Item after item was removed and set upon the ground near the table. Then as Professor Moltavio was handing Eric a big picture frame without a picture in it, Eric asked, "Professor, where is your monkey? Will he come back?"

The professor looked up as if he had been distracted, and said, "Huh? Oh, the monkey! Why, there is his, my boy! Take a look through the picture frame!"

Eric looked through the picture frame, and, sure enough, there was a monkey standing there staring back at him. The monkey had an oddly curious look on its face. As Eric watched the monkey, he noticed that it still stared back. It was the odd expression on the monkey's face that made Eric say to the professor, "I think there may be something wrong with him, professor. He looks kind of..."

Just then Eric felt something tighten around his neck! He dropped the picture frame and reached up to feel a studded collar around his neck! Professor Moltavio looked at him and said viciously, "There is not a thing wrong with you, monkey! It is a mirror you were holding!"

Monday, December 5, 2011

Meeting A Stranger

Fair  Episode 3

The four young friends were having a wonderful time at the fair. Now on their lunch break, they had to decide what they were going to do next. Sam was the one who came up with a plan they could use for the time being. "Why don't we stay right here at this table for just a short while longer? I'm kind of tired. We could begin again when the crowd thins out just a bit. Is that okay?"

But Will, with a funny little glint in his eye, looked at the others and said, "I saw something back there that I think I might want. I think it just might be exactly what I was looking for. I want to go back and get it, and then I'll come right back here." With that, Will got up from the table and soon disappeared into the crowd. Eric wondered what kind of bad deal Will was getting himself into now. But he didn't say anything because he knew there was no talking him out of it.

Riley was looking around anxiously as if a meteorite might drop on their very spot at any minute. "You know," he said, "I'm not really in the mood to sit around right now either. There are a couple of games I want to play. Why don't you guys go ahead and rest, and I'll come back as soon as I'm done. Then we can all have time to decide where to go next."

All this time Eric never said a word. He decided that maybe it was best if someone stayed to keep Sam company. And since he now found himself to be that person by default, he decided to make the best of it. He was a little tired himself, so it was probably all for the best. Soon Eric and Sam were deep into conversation about what direction they all might go when the other two got back. There were plenty of other wonders to see. There were some great rides and games. There was the fortune teller or the magician. And there were all sorts of other performers and sights to see.

It was a whole hour before Will came back. "Look what I got," he excitedly exclaimed. "This flute is magic! The guy told me so himself! If you play the right tune, you'll make all the money you could ever want!"

"How much did it cost," asked Eric

"I completely cheated him," said Will in a bragging tone. "It cost almost everything I had, but this little flute is clearly worth a whole lot more! The guy had no idea who he was dealing with! After I figure out the right magic tune, then I'll make enough money to buy this whole town! Just you wait!"

"You mean he didn't tell you how to make it work," asked Eric in a mildly shocked tone.

Will looked at Eric as if he were a bug, and said haughtily, "The guy told me that every man has to figure out the right magic tune for himself. It's different for everyone. He told me it wasn't that hard, and once I get it I'll be making money hand over fist."

Eric decided to change the subject because he had just then noticed that Riley was coming up the street looking happy as ever. "Here comes Riley. Now we can all decide what we're going to do next."

Riley walked over to the other three boys, and the first thing he said was, "Phew! I sure am tired. Let's take a break for just a little while. And it's getting pretty hot out here too. I think I need something to drink, maybe some lemonade. Hey, Eric, I'm running a little short on cash. Can I borrow a little bit?"

Eric shook his head, but then reached into his pocket before saying, "Here. Why don't you get some lemonade for all of us. I'm buying."

"Alright," said Riley. "Now who's going to come and help me? Sam, what about you?" He didn't ask Will because Will was engrossed in that strange looking flute of his. And Sam was usually eager to help whenever someone asked. Just as they were getting ready to leave there was an interruption.

"Allow me to introduce myself," exclaimed a greasy looking man that had just appeared before the four of them. He had slicked back black hair and a handlebar moustache. His clothing was colorful in a bad sort of way. He was thin, but he didn't look like he had ever missed any meals. He also had a sly grin on his face, and he looked at the four as if he had found fresh meat. "My name is Professor Moltavio, Organ Grinder extraordinaire! I would be happy to pay for your lemonade if one of you would so kindly help me set up my humble little booth."