Sunday, August 16, 2009

Buried Backwards by M. DeBorde

Be they good or ghastly, most things happen in threes and so it was for Barnabas Backwards. For starters, Barnabas had a steak driven through his heart at school. Thank goodness Freddie Forwards was too stupid to know the difference between a steak and an actual stake. Still, it was a very embarrassing situation for all concerned.

Situation was Thing number one.

Barnabas's mummy, Mrs. Backwards, sued the school, and won lots and lots of money (she refused to say how much). One Friday night after the suing, they'd driven around the countryside of a small, out of the way state that most people had never even heard of or else had forgotten about (It was the 53rd State of the United States of America and rarely mentioned in the newspapers).

The night was chilly, and a plump, moist cheese-yellow moon had just begun to peek out from behind a blanket of soft, grey clouds and spider-thin trees when Mrs. Backwards suddenly spotted the Perfect New Home. She pointed past a rusted iron fence heavy with padlocks and rusty chains, and announced to Barnabas, "That's the one."

So come Saturday Mrs. Backwards signed a flutter of papers and handed over less than lots of money (again, she refused to say how much) to a furry little troll in a tiny shop marked '53rd State Realtors'. Furry Troll kept black licorice in a dusty jar and gave Barnabas a stick for the long trip back to town. The dust mites added a nice crunch.

Once they arrived back at town, Barnabas and Mrs. Backwards quickly piled their belongings into the rear confines of the rickety, old-fashioned 1922 Hearse-mobile that they used for a car. It was good on gas but bad for splinters. Then they took off for their new life in the lost 53rd State. Booger, his mummy's beloved green cat, slept most of the trip curled up in Barnabas's lap. When Booger got bored he would stretch out a paw and try to catch the ragged end of one of Mummy's bandages, as they were always coming loose. By the time the sun rose on Sunday morning, Barnabas was very tired, covered in tufts of green fur, scraps of linen cloth, and wood chips. He feel asleep in the passenger seat.

A few minutes later his mother woke him up to tell him they were Home.

A strange new home in a strange new state was Thing number two, because as any child will tell you - it is rather a THING to have to move and leave familiar stuff behind. Sometimes it is scary, even to little monster children like Barnabas was.

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