Kiki lay on her bed finishing a letter on a piece of parchment. She stopped to look over her handiwork. Dear Teal deBrasse Nyson, it began. Below that, neatly penned, was her secret code. She had created it just for him.
Kiki nodded her head and finished with, Your secret admirer, Kiki. She eyed her treasured pot of red ink, wondering if it was too superfluous but decided to throw caution to the wind; wiping the black ink off of her feather quill she dipped it into the carmine depths and dotted the “i’s” in her name with carefully drawn hearts.
The door burst open with a loud thwack. “He’s coming! Tonight,” her roommate Gisla squealed, green ears twitching with excitement. “Can you believe it? Here! To our little village! Ahhhh –" she let out a sigh, long lashes fluttering, and sank onto the end of Kiki’s bed.
“Has anyone ever been more handsome,” Gisla said dreamily. Kiki eyed the opposite side of the room. There, above Gisla’s bed, were vellum posters stuck to the rough, wooden wall with small tacks. They all showed the same young man: chiseled face, green pointy ears, and fringe of blond hair hanging low over his eyes. ‘Goblin Beat’ read the banner over each poster. Ugh, she thought to herself.
Kiki regarded the wall over her own bed. Pinned here and there were mathematical formulae scrawled in her own hand alongside clippings of news prints about the Academy of Sciences. The caption above one small clipping read Grandmaster Teal deBrasse Nyson Proposes Shocking Theory: The Planet is ROUND! Next to its text was an artist’s rendition of a bespectacled elven scholar.
Of course the planet IS round, scoffed Kiki to herself.
“Well,” Gisla stared at her expectantly.
“Ah… no?” Kiki replied, trying to think back to the last thing she had heard her friend say.
“Weren’t you listening, Kiki? I asked you what you’re going to wear tonight. You are coming, right? I mean, if I’m going to finally have the chance to catch the eye of Dustin Beaver you’ve just got to marry one of his best friends. I can’t be without you. Besides, they’re big city goblins. I even heard Dustin say in an interview that he wouldn’t mind if his future wife had a career of her own. Can you imagine? I could keep my business!” Gisla’s round cheeks dimpled prettily and her large green eyes looked at Kiki imploringly.
“That’s great Gisla, but I really have a lot to do tonight,” she said pulling out her Always Ready bag and unrolling it. A large section contained neatly arranged tools next to tins and vials of liquids and powders. In a separate section lay a methodically stacked pile of vellum. It had ‘everything a scientist on the go needs’ Kiki always said. She quickly stuffed her letter to Nyson inside, then, leafed past a stack of her resumes before getting to her blueprints and schematics.
“Oh no, not the flying rocket contraption again,” Gisla moaned as she saw the diagram Kiki now held in her hand. “Why don’t you just get a patent on your Always Ready bag? It’s a safe bet. I know there must be other inventors in the big city that would love to be able to buy it.
“Besides, if you’re going to insist on making that darned thing I don’t know why it has to fly. I liked your idea about putting it on a track, a nice… STABLE track, so much better,” she said as she looked out the window and across the field to the ruined tangle of a large birch tree. “You’re lucky you didn’t break yourself too in that test flight.”
“I’ll be fine. Don’t worry. Besides, I just know it’s gonna work this time. I made some adjustments and added some things. And anyways, where’s the style in driving a cart on a track? Even a rocket propelled cart. Now, this thing,” she said pointing to her blueprint, “is the way of the future!”
Later that night, Kiki and Gisla walked toward the village hall. There had been much protestation but, in the end, she hadn’t been able to let her friend down.
Along the way excited, girly squeals emanated from the gathering crowd as it converged towards the town hall: ‘Oh my, I bet he’s gonna be cuter than the pictures,’ said one voice; ‘He’s so dreamy,’ said another; ‘He really is a talented artist, I have to admit,’ said a familiar voice. Kiki looked around and saw it was the village mayor.
Not him too, thought Kiki. What’s wrong with everyone? So he can strum on a guitar and make big eyes at the audience. Big deal, what’s to love? I bet he can’t even do basic calculus. Ugh!
“Oh look, here he comes,” said Gisla pointing towards the bridge into town. Sure enough a small hoard came their way. Kiki didn’t think she’d ever seen so many people traveling at once. I wonder if the bridge was designed for that much weight, she mused. Sure enough she saw, squinting, that it had started to sway.
*CRACK* She heard the bridge buckle. The back section gave way and separated from the road. The traveling crowd surged forward, their frenzied movements causing the bridge to shudder and sway even harder. A loud, deep groan emanated from the old wooden joints and the middle of the bridge collapsed, separating the last people from their entourage. Two figures stood, gazing across a chasm that had formed: too far to jump across and no way back.
“Dustin,” screamed a female voice. “Kiki save him!” She realized it had come from her friend.
“Kiki,” Gisla shrieked again. “He’s trapped on the bridge. Please, you’re the smartest person I know. You have to save him.” The back portion of the bridge, though still standing, was wobbling precariously. It wouldn’t hold for long.
Kiki ran down the road towards their house, then, to her workshop around back. She pulled open the old barn door, eyed her rocket machine dubiously, and tried not to look at the ruined mass of the large tree across the way.
Strapping herself in, she shrugged. “No time like the present for a test drive. Three, two, one,” she said as she clicked on the buttons that would start the engine. And then she was off at breakneck speed. “Whoopeee,” she cried, fighting the controls and steering towards the bridge. She pulled out the rope that had been crammed into the cockpit; after the tree incident she wanted to have an easy way to climb down if it ever happened again.
Tossing it out the side she screamed to the fast approaching figures, “GRAB ON”.
Kiki Flew low and steered them towards the lake before throttling the engine and pushing the button that would deploy the parachute. Her little rocket glided to a stop on the water and sat bobbing up and down. Finally, she lowered the secondary engine and moved everyone to shore.
“Wow, its water proof. Just look at the pontoons,” said a voice as she dragged her rocket the rest of the way onto dry land.
“Yeah, I figured a water landing was the safest until I can figure out something better.” Kiki swiveled around and nearly fell over as she realized she was talking to none other than Teal deBrasse Nyson, elven scholar.
“Grandmaster Nyson,” she stammered. “I’m a huge fan.”
“After meeting you, I’d have to say, likewise. Thank you for saving our lives. I don’t think we would have survived without your miraculous machine here. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”
“I have something for you,” she said sheepishly as she pulled out her Always Ready bag and started unrolling it. “But, um, what are you doing here? I didn’t realize there was a symposium or anything going on nearby.”
“Oh, there isn’t. I’m actually a fan of Dustin here. When he heard that I loved his music he invited me to come hear him sing.” It took a moment for the words to sink in.
Wha?, Kiki thought. Oh, not him too! Ugh! She grimaced to herself. Still digging through her papers her finger briefly touched the love letter. For a moment, she imagined their first date. They sit immersed in romantic candlelight sifting through scientific journals. Suddenly, he stands and holds his hand towards her – an invitation to dance. She hears the voice of Dustin Beaver begin a serenade. “Isn’t it romantic,” Teal sighs. “I just love this song.”
The fantasy comes to a screeching halt. Ewwww! No, no, and no. Not gonna happen, she thought.
Another idea came to her as she pulled out a sheet of parchment. “I was wondering if you were hiring,” she said to him, presenting her resume instead.
“After what you just did… Absolutely! And say, that a nice bag. Where did you get it? I could use one like that myself,” Teal said as they walked back to town.