Wednesday, January 12

A lot of things have happened since January the second. One of those things is that Potato's sister Loraine is now named Patty.

The other thing is that Roboctopus, Potato and Patty's secret best friend, has burried Patty alive in their backyard.

"Roboctopus! No!" Potato yells. "If there is ever a good time to bury my sister alive, this would be the worst!"

As it turns out, Potato and Patty's parents are now on their way up to the children's shared bedroom for a Cleanliness Inspection. If even one thing is out of order, they'll be grounded for a week and won't be able to have fun with Roboctopus, whom they love so dearly. This is such an especially bad time for Patty to be underground because Potato knows for a fact that there is a sock, a little pink and yellow one, on the floor next to Patty's bed. She had thought she'd pick it up later, but now she's buried alive.

"It isn't too late," says Potato, clenching his fists dramatically. "They haven't gotten to our room yet, they're still on the stairs. I'll just dig fast."

"Hurry!" comes Patty's muffled yell from under the pile of freshly turned earth.

Potato starts digging as fast as he can, but after only a few scoops Roboctopus grabs the shovel and whacks the boy a few times with it. "Roboctopus, quit playing," Potato says as he takes back the shovel. But now it's harder to dig with one arm maybe broken and his vision so blurry. "Still have time..."

"I can't breath!" yells Patty.

And then the phone rings. Potato stops his one-armed digging and looks into the kitchen. "Aw, not now!" A week ago Potato had ordered a model submarine from a catalog. He'd been saving his money forever, and he was sure they were calling because he'd forgotten to specify whether he'd wanted the blue or the red one, and he sure as Hell didn't want the blue one. The blue one is for fat kids.

So he drops the shovel and hobbles into the kitchen as fast as he can, picks up the phone and yells into it "The red one! I want the red one!" before hobbling back out into the yard. He has to wrestle with Roboctopus for the shovel for a moment before the phone rings again. Potato figures they must need to verify the address, so he runs back inside, picks up the phone and yells, "1121 Thompson Avenue!" and back out into the yard for more fighting with Roboctopus for the shovel.

Patty, under so much dirt, surrounded by darkness and with the weight of death pressing hard on her, starts screaming.

And the phone rings yet again. And his parents are so close to his room now, but he wants that submarine so bad he can taste it, taste it stronger than the slimy tentacle Roboctopus is shoving down his throat. So he runs back inside, grabs the reciever and yells "What else could you possibly need to know?"

"Um..." the grownup on the other line says. "Are your parents home? This is an important business call."

Potato almost faints from relief and shovel-induced head trauma. He calls for his parents, who pick up the phone instantly, giving the damaged and nerve-wracked boy time to dig up his nearly-suffocated sister, hose each other off, and run upstairs to tidy up the sock.

The inspection goes as well as could be expected, in that their parents aren't horribly disappointed. Later, in the backyard, the children wrap their arms around Roboctopus's metal head and cheer for their freedom. Roboctopus grabs Patty's hair and pulls, but they all laugh because it doesn't really hurt too bad.

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