Now, if you’re one of those readers that like a nice, tidy, and happy ending to their stories, I recommend you stop reading here. I can’t guarantee that such a reader would enjoy knowing what happens next. I’d love to leave it out just for you, but that wouldn’t be telling the whole story now, would it?
After dinner, Leij called a taxi to come pick her up. Strangely enough, a large yellow car appeared only seconds later, and Tommy could see the purple-skinned alien sitting at the driver’s seat.
Leij looked down at Tommy on her way out the door. “Even though I probably don’t have to say it,” she spoke with another wink, “goodbye Tommy, and thank you.” She walked down the driveway and got into the back of the taxi. The cab sped off, and Tommy smirked as he saw through the illusion that its wheels were actually hovering a few inches off the road.
His room was as he had left it, and Tommy couldn’t wait to snuggle in under the warm covers of his bed. The pillow was softer than ever, and he had never been so grateful for the thick stuffing that his mom had used to make his quilt. After reading a few more chapters out of “Intergalactic Geography for the Fifth Dimensionally Inclined,” his dad stopped by the door and offered him one last “super-tuck” as Tommy drifted away into his dreams.
A few purple aliens popped up here and there in the random images that came into Tommy’s mind, but nothing as scary as what the previous day had brought. The wristband kept asking for a name as Tommy would magically teleport from one location to another: sometimes on top of a house, or other times into a vast part of space filled with nebulae or other beautiful objects that could only be found in the distant reaches of the universe. He eventually stopped on top of a high mountain, where the winds were cold and biting. In fact, they were really cold! Tommy could feel them getting stronger and stronger as he became more conscious of where he was.
“Hey, look at this!” he heard someone say in the distance.
“What on Earth!?” Another voice let out from close by.
Opening his eyes, Tommy took in his surroundings. He wasn’t on top of a mountain, but the wind was still freezing. The bed was gone, along with his pillow and quilt, and in their place was nothing but hard, black pavement with yellow parking lines painted on it.
“Frank, get a blanket or something!” The man shouted to the other. “Are you alright?”
It took Tommy a while to realize the man was asking him a question. “I, uh… I’m not sure.” The man in a police uniform threw the blanket around his shivering arms. “Where… I mean, where am I?”
The policeman began to respond, but his answer was drowned out by the wristband, “we’re right where you fell asleep.”
Tommy forced his mind to wake up. “How can that be? I fell asleep in my bed. Did you fold space while I was dreaming?”
“No, I didn’t. Believe me, I know how to pinpoint any location in the universe precisely, and you are exactly where you were when you fell asleep.”
It was a good thing he didn’t have to speak out loud, his lips felt entirely numb. “Then, what happened?”
“Calculating crease distance and trajectory.”
Tommy was caught off guard. “What? What are you doing?” he said as the familiar sensation of folding space began.
“Your presence has been requested,” the wristband replied.
“Requested? B.. b.. b.. by who?!” Tommy spoke out loud through stuttering lips.
“Mr. Gholab? Wait! Isn’t he the one who…”
“Calculating subject mass and density.”
“Wait!” Tommy cried out.
The police officers stood silent, wondering where the little freezing boy could have run off to.
Tommy vs. the Time Bandit
The Little Poem
Many creatures there are,
Seeking a path in life,
two I wish to speak of,
named Happiness and Strife.
Happiness was a goodly fellow,
filled with joy and glee,
Strife was a miserable one,
as you will plainly see.
Happiness had friends and love,
serving others was his saying.
Strife had toys and many things,
yet he hated sharing or playing.
Through love and service Happiness grew,
though his hands were often sore.
The work was worth it, he would say,
“to always help others more.”
Staying inside and away from others,
Strife overlooked his hoard.
“I think it might rain today,” he’d say,
the needs of others gone ignored.
So sad was Strife at that time,
if only he had learned before:
For forever are the rich,
And forgotten are the poor.