Battlepanda: Wilbur and Lance


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Wilbur and Lance

(This is another excerpt from my 5th-grade reading workbook, The Scratch Papers, now out-of-print. Previous excerpts: one, two.)

When Professor Scratch and Howling Jack took Wilbur for his first ride, those three wound up at a hot-dog stand in Chicago in 1956. They all three had a hot dog, which Howling Jack enjoyed so much that he immediately ordered two more and some onion rings. Meanwhile, Professor Scratch stood around making mysterious notes in a little black book.

Wilbur had a very good time and, sure enough, they came back to the very moment they had left: 4:02 P.M. Wilbur shook hands with Professor Scratch and Howling Jack and told them they had some fine machine there.

They told Wilbur to come back anytime. Wilbur said good-bye and went back through the hole in the fence. When he stepped out onto the old sidewalk, Lance Lugfarm was there. Lance was trying to carve "Little Darla loves Lance" into the fence with his penknife. He was having a tough time spelling "Little," much less "Darla," so Wilbur helped him out some.

Then Wilbur told Lance about the time machine.

"Nuts," Lance said. He was a boy of few words.

"It's true," Wilbur told him. "We went all the way back to 1956."

"Nuts," Lance said again. "Let's see it."

Wilbur said, "It wouldn't be polite to go back right now. But I could take you tomorrow if you don't tell any of the other kids."

Then Wilbur had an idea. "But you could bring Little Darla with you," Wilbur suggested. He hoped this would be his chance to impress her.

"We'll see," Lance said. "We'll see."