Friday, December 11, 2009

Chapter 9: "Magical Water"


Question to Madeleine:  What is oozing?
Answer:  Magical water

Madebonne stood in the sticky, oozy muck while Tilda strode off after her husband to find out what was seeping into the house.  She looked down at her feet and saw that her red rubber rain boots had changed into flippers.  That explained why it was getting so hard for her to walk.  The ooze was squelching up above Madebonne’s ankles and it was getting harder and harder for her to lift her feet.  She stood still and waited for rescue.  Sure enough, a few minutes later, Tomas appeared lugging a huge apparatus with lots of knobs and a giant hose like an elephant’s trunk.  The boys tumbled in behind him.
“Oh my,” said Tomas.  “Madebonne do you feel okay?”
“Well, I’m kind of stuck,” replied Madebonne.
“But how do you feel?” asked Tomas.  The boys looked at her with curious expressions, kind of like when you see a dog that looks like a person.
“I feel fine, why?” asked Madebonne.  They were beginning to make her feel self conscious.
“You look a bit green,” said Tomas.
“And you hair is turning orange,” said Bjorn.
“And you’re kind of scaly,” piped in Oskar.
“Look she has fins,” yelped Soren.  Madebonne looked down at her feet in alarm.  She lifted one of her feet out of the ooze and realized that Soren was right.  She wasn’t wearing flippers, her feet were turning into fins. 
“This must be magical water,” said Tomas while scratching his head.  “Valentin, run and get your grandmother.  Hopefully she’ll know what to do.” 

“I’m on it dad,” said Valentin and he dashed off to find Captain Fletcher.  The rest of the boys stayed and stared at Madebonne.  She tried to lift her foot again but lost her balance and landed with a splash onto the floor.  As soon as she hit the water her legs fused together.
“Look, Madebonne is turning into a mermaid,” said Rowan.
“You’re so pretty,” said Rurik shyly, and then blushed.
“I want to turn into a fish too,” shouted Gustav and he leapt into the ooze right next to Madebonne and started rolling around.  Before Tomas knew what was happening, the rest of the boys splashed into the ooze behind Gustav. 
“Get out of there,” hissed Tomas.  “Your mother will never forgive me if her sons turn into a school of fish.”  But the boys paid no attention and kept wriggling around in the oozy water.
“How do I look?” Per asked Madebonne sticking his foot up near her face.  “Do my toes looked webbed?  See any scales?  Am I green?”  Madebonne shook her head.  Per looked exactly the same.  But Madebonne looked more and more like a mermaid with each passing moment.  She took a look at her arm which was turning a beautiful shimmery green.  The magical water felt cool and soothing on her skin so she lay back and let it wash over her.  She swished her tail and shot across the room. 
“Whoa!  Look at Madebonne go,” said Rowan in awe as she glided past him. 
“This isn’t good,” said Tomas shaking his head.  At least the boys still seemed to have their arms and legs as they hopped around the deepening water after Madebonne.  There was quite a ruckus and a lot of splashing when Captain Fletcher came into the room with Valentin.  Madebonne swam past, her orange hair streaming behind her, followed by her whooping grandsons.
“No wonder Tilda didn’t want to come back in here,” laughed Captain Fletcher.  “Is this another one of your inventions Tomas?”
“I don’t know what this is,” said Tomas.  “It’s some kind of magical water that has turned Madebonne into a mermaid.  But it doesn’t seem to have any effect on the boys.  Very curious.”  Captain Fletcher agreed that it was quite curious.
“Let’s get Madebonne out of the water and try drying her off.  Maybe that will change her back.”
“It’s worth a shot, but she looks pretty slippery,” said Tomas as he watched the boys hop through the ooze after Madebonne.  Captain Fletcher grabbed some towels while Tomas and the boys pulled Madebonne out of the water.  It took all ten of them to get a good grip on her but they managed to place her on the pile of towels and Captain Fletcher dried her off.  Then they all stepped back and stared.
“Do you feel any different?” asked Tomas.  Madebonne wiggled her fins.
“Just a bit itchy,” said Madebonne.  They waited a bit longer but there was no change.  Madebonne was beginning to worry.  Was her whole family turning into fish?  She took a look at her mermaid tail and burst into tears.
“I want my mom,” she sobbed and covered her face with her hands. 
“That’s not a bad idea,” said Captain Fletcher.  “One of you boys, run and get Madebonne’s mom.”  The boys clambered out of the room, each trying to be the most helpful.  Captain Fletcher dried Madebonne’s tears with one of the towels and then she and Tomas carefully lifted her back into the water.  Moments later the herd of boys was back with Gustav triumphantly carrying the goldfish bowl and Oskar and Rurik carrying a very confused Henry who was trying to wriggle away.
“What are you doing with poor Henry?” asked Captain Fletcher.
“We thought he would make Madebonne feel better,” said Oskar while Rurik looked at his feet shyly. 

“That was very thoughtful of you,” said Captain Fletcher.  Tomas took the fish bowl from Gustav and carefully poured Madebonne’s mom into the magical water.  Madebonne swam over and looked her square into her fish eyes but her mom just swam away, excited to be out of her goldfish bowl and able to stretch her fins.
“Mom, what’s happening to me?  I’m turning into a mermaid,” said Madebonne swimming after her mom in the magical water.  But her mom kept swimming around as if it were normal for her daughter to have a long fish tail instead of legs. 
“Mom,” said Madebonne swimming after her, trying to get her attention.  “Is our whole family turning into fish?  What’s happening?”  Try as she might, Madebonne couldn’t seem to get her mom to notice what was wrong.  She started to panic. Had her mom been a fish for too long? What if her Fairy Godmother couldn’t turn her back into a mom.  What would happen then?  Would her mom be a fish forever?  Madebonne stopped swimming.  She fingered the necklace around her neck. 
“Stupid necklace,” she said between gritted teeth.  “You were supposed to bring me luck.  How lucky is it to be a mermaid with a fish for a mother?”  She grabbed the necklace, wrenched it from her neck and threw it across the room.  Within seconds Madebonne sank to the bottom of the magical water, all arms and legs, no scales, no tail, no orange hair or green skin.  She was back to her old self in her sunfish bikini and had never liked the sight of her toes as much as she did right now.  Captain Fletcher scooped the necklace out of the water and held it up.
“Where did you get this beautiful necklace?” she asked Madebonne. 
“It’s the necklace that the Queen gave me for making peace with the dragons and saving the Princess’s wedding,” she replied.  “The shells are from the Caspian Sea and are on a string of…”
“…mermaid hair!” said Captain Fletcher.  “The mermaid hair from your necklace mixed with the magical water and turned you into a mermaid.  Mermaids are quite magical creatures.”
“I never would have figured that one out,” said Tomas.  He scooped Madebonne’s mom back into her goldfish bowl.  Madebonne stomped out of the magical water and glared at everyone.

“I’m sick of this adventure,” said Madebonne through slitted eyes.  Her stomach churned with worry.  “I don’t know how to get my mom home in time to turn her back into a mom.  I’m just a kid.  It’s not fair.”  She stomped out of the house and headed to the water where she could have a good grump in peace.  Henry followed behind at a safe distance.  Madebonne reached the beach and kicked the sand.  She stomped and whalloped and garumphed and snorked.  Then she took a huge, deep breath and let out a roar.  Her whole face turned red and she clawed at the air with her hands overhead.  All of the air whooshed out of her lungs.  She took another deep breath and roared another horrible roar.  That roar took it out of her.  She sat down with a thump and tears ran down her cheeks.
“I’m just a kid.  How am I supposed to know how to get my mom back to Brooklyn in time to turn her back into a mom?  It’s going to take hours to get there on Captain Fletcher’s sailboat and that could be too late.”  She looked at Henry who sauntered over and rubbed his cheek on her knee.  Madebonne sat, grabbing fistfuls of sand.  Then she flopped on her back, exhausted.  A cool breeze blew over her and Henry curled up beside her.  Madebonne stared up at the sky contemplating what she should do.  A cloud passed over the sun then swooped away then passed over the sun again.  She squinted, then sat up.  The swooping cloud got closer and closer until Madebonne could make out that it wasn’t a cloud at all.  It was the Dragon.  He circled lower and lower and landed on the beach at her feet.
“Hi Dragon.  What are you doing here?” asked Madebonne. 
“I heard your dragon roar so I flew right over.  Is everything alright?”  The Dragon looked at Madebonne with concern. 
“I don’t know what to do Dragon,” said Madebonne, kicking the sand.  “I’m afraid that I won’t get my mom back to Brooklyn in time to change her back into my mom.  Every time I think we are on our way home something happens.  And now she doesn’t seem to even care that I was changed into a mermaid.”
“You were a mermaid?  Were you all green and scaly?  I bet you were so pretty.  I was in love with a mermaid once,” said the Dragon letting out a sigh.  Madebonne started to huff again.
“I don’t want to be a mermaid!  I just want to get my mom home.  Doesn’t anyone understand me?”
“Hold on there little dragon,” said the Dragon sympathetically.  “Don’t get your fire all stoked up.  I’ll be happy to help you.”
“But how can you help?” asked Madebonne.
“I’ll fly you to Brooklyn,” said the Dragon matter of factly.  Madebonne couldn’t believe her ears.
“Really?  You can fly to Brooklyn?  Do you even know where Brooklyn is?”
“Of course I know where Brooklyn is,” said the Dragon with a snort.  “I go there all the time.  Where else am I going to get a perfect dill pickle?”
“But I’ve never seen a dragon in Brooklyn before.  And I’m sure I would have heard about it in the news,” said Madebonne.
“I have to use dragon mist to disguise myself,” said the Dragon.  “Otherwise everyone would want my autograph.”
“More like everyone would run screaming,” said Madebonne under her breath.  “How long will it take to fly there?”
“From here?  About twenty minutes.”
“Really?” shrieked Madebonne.  “That’s so fast.  It will take hours on Captain Fletcher’s sailboat.”
“Check out these wings,” said the Dragon stretching his wing span fifty feet across the beach.  “I can soar us there in no time.”  Madebonne was so excited that she leapt at the Dragon and hugged him.  If he hadn’t been a lovely deep shade of green, Madebonne could have seen him blush.
“Will you be able to fly with Henry and Linda as well?” asked Madebonne.
“Not a problem,” said the Dragon.  “I once flew to Brooklyn with my nephew’s entire kindergarten class on my back.  It was too far for their young wings to fly but I got there and back without a hitch.” 
“Wait until I tell Linda,” said Madebonne running up towards the house.  “I’ll be right back.  Don’t go anywhere without me.”  Madebonne raced up to the house with Henry at her heels. 
“Where’s my mom?  Where’s Linda?” she panted.  Before anyone could answer, Madebonne saw her mom swimming around in her goldfish bowl on the lunch table.  She carefully fished her out and placed her in her pocket and then poured in some water.  She was still trying to catch her breath when Linda waddled into the room.
“What’s going on?” she asked.  “Are you ready to sail?”
“No time,” gulped Madebonne.  She pointed towards the beach.  “Dragon.  Fly us.  Faster.”  And she grabbed Linda by the flipper and started to drag her towards the beach.
“Fly?  Oh no.  I won’t fly,” said Linda.  “Boats, trains, cars.  All fine.  But there is no way you will get me on a plane or a dragon.”  Madebonne looked at her in disbelief. 
“But we have to fly,” she pleaded.  “My mom is turning more and more into a fish every minute and I have to get her back as soon as possible.  The dragon said it would only take twenty minutes to get to Brooklyn and it will take hours on the My Boat.”  Linda rubbed her flipper against her forehead. 
“I see what you mean,” said Linda.  “You should fly home on the Dragon.  I’ll head back to the castle with Captain Fletcher on the My Boat and then catch the next Penguin Express.”  Madebonne heaved a sigh of relief. 
“Now let’s go talk to the Dragon.  I want to make sure that he knows how to get you to Brooklyn.  After all, I promised your Fairy Godmother that I would bring you home safely.”
“He said that he goes there all the time to get pickles,” said Madebonne leading the way to the beach.  The Dragon was waiting patiently for Madebonne right where she had left him.
Linda gave the Dragon Madebonne’s address in Brooklyn and checked his flight plan.  She even made him do a test flight over the water so that she could be sure that he was a safe flyer.  When she was satisfied that Madebonne would be brought home safely they called the Fairy Godmother to let her know the change in plans. 
“We’ll be there in twenty minutes,” said Madebonne into her butterfly phone.  “Make it a strong spell, my mom is acting very fishy.”
“Will do,” said the Fairy Godmother.  “I’ll just pop out for some extra weaselberries which should do the trick.”
Madebonne was itching to leave so she bade a hasty good-bye to her new friends.  She gave Tilda an extra long hug.
“Thank you for my Adventuring outfit,” said Madebonne.  “It’s perfect.”
“You must come back to visit,” said Tilda as she placed something in Madebonne’s hand.  “I found this while we were cleaning up.  It might still bring you luck.”
Madebonne opened her hand and saw her shell necklace from the Queen sparkling in her palm.  She smiled and slipped it into her pocket.
“Thank you,” she said then looked around and realized that Tor was nowhere to be seen.  “Where’s Tor?”
“He’s a bit upset that he won’t be able to sail home with you through the Porthole of Atlantis,” explained Tomas.  “So he wouldn’t come down to say good-bye.”  Madebonne was terribly upset that she couldn’t say good-bye to Tor but she had no time to lose.  She climbed up the Dragon’s wing and sat between his shoulders where she could hold on to his neck.  Henry leapt up behind her.  Madebonne reached into one of her Adventuring pockets and pulled out a pair of goggles.
“Ready,” she said to the Dragon.  Everyone stepped back as the Dragon spread his wings.  With a powerful flap they lifted off the ground and soared over the water.  Madebonne waved and waved good-bye until Linda and her friends were just a speck below her.

Question to Madeleine:  How do dragons get through to the other side and back to Brooklyn?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chapter 8: "The Parrot Ships"

Question to Madeleine:  Who is Lady Bird Feathering?
Answer:  Captain of the Ship

Madebonne and Henry walked down the path towards shore, passing under the trees blooming with clothes.  They were on their way to meet Lady Bird Feathering whose fleet had just sailed in to shore on the Island of Boys.  She looked up at the tree branches that still sagged with the boys’ shirts and ties swinging in the breeze.  Then she swished her arms against her own beautiful dress that Tilda had made for her.  There was no way she would take it off and hang it on a tree.  Those boys were crazy. 
The trees parted and Madebonne stepped onto the sandy shore.  She stared in amazement.  Fifteen sailing ships with parrot green sails were dropping anchor in the bay.  As the ships landed the sails seemed to come alive as flocks of parrots lifted away from the sails and flew off over the island.  She hadn’t seen anything that beautiful since she had bounced on top of the Princess’s wedding cake.  Madebonne ran over to where Tomas stood wrangling the boys who hopped up and down with excitement at the edge of the water.  They waved at a tall lady wearing a long green dress who appeared at the bow of the ship closest to land.  A small boat rowed up alongside the ship and she stepped down into it and was brought to shore.
“Lady Bird Feathering,” said Tomas with a bow.  “Lovely to see you as always.”  She bowed her head in return and her shiny black hair sparkled in the sunshine.  Her dress was made of tiny green feathers that ruffled in the wind.
“Hello Tomas,” she said then turned to the boys.  “My, haven’t you turned into handsome young men.”  The boys suddenly turned shy and goofy as she looked at each one of them in turn.  “And who is this lovely young lady?” She asked as her gaze landed on Madebonne.  Her skin was the palest green but her eyes were her most striking feature, purple eyes the color of juicy grapes or wild violets that grow in the woods.  Madebonne had always wished for purple eyes.
“This is Madebonne and her cat Henry.”  Madebonne bowed and Lady Bird Feathering reached out and touched her gently on the head.
“You are on a great adventure aren’t you my dear?” she said as Madebonne stood back up.  Madebonne looked into Lady Bird Feathering’s purple eyes and nodded.  “There are more obstacles in your path but if you stay true to your course and act with your heart you will succeed.”  Before Macebonne could ask her what she meant, Captain Fletcher strode over with Linda the Penguin and Tilda. 
“What brings you to this neck of the woods Lady Bird?” asked Captain Fletcher taking her hands.  They hugged.  Captain Fletcher turned to Madebonne.  “I learned to captain from Lady Bird’s grandfather.  She has since taken over his fleet and is now the Captain of the Parrot Ships.  We have sailed all over the world together.”
“Oh, take us somewhere please!” said Soren excitedly.
“Yes, please” said Valentin.  “Our Grandmother taught us how to sail.”
“Could we go to Africa?” piped in Oskar.
“Boys!” said Tilda.  “Where are your manners?  We haven’t even offered Lady Bird Feathering something to drink and you’re already asking her to take you to the other side of the drain.”  Lady Bird Feathering smiled kindly.
“I’d love to take you with me but it looks like I am stranded here until my parrots come back.  We were on our way to Antoola when they suddenly flapped their wings and created such a strong westerly wind that we sailed directly into your port.  I can’t imagine what possessed them.”
“Remember how we got stuck in the middle of the Atlantis Ocean?” asked Captain Fletcher.  “Well, Lady Bird Feathering crosses oceans all the time with her fleet.  So when there is no wind the parrots fly around the sails and create wind so that they don’t get stuck.”  Madebonne nodded.  Pretty clever.
“We were just finishing up lunch” said Tomas.  “Would you like something to eat?  Then the boys and I can head a search party across the island to find your parrots.”
“That sounds lovely,” said Lady Bird Feathering.
“We even have singing sucker balls for dessert,” said Per.  “See?” and he took his out of his pocket and popped it in his mouth.  He opened it again and a lovely chirping song came out.  Suddenly there was a flash of green and the parrots swooped back through the trees and swarmed around Per.  Before he knew what was happening or could even close his mouth, the parrots landed on his head and arms and his body and his toes until he was covered in a blanket of green feathers.  They nuzzled and cooed around him.  The more he laughed from the tickling of their feathers, the more the chirping of the sucker ball sang out of his mouth.  The parrots chirped in return and flapped their wings excitedly.
“So this is what they’ve been chasing after,” said Lady Bird Feathering.  “Per’s singing sucker ball sounds just like the parrots from the jungles where they were born.” 
The birds continued to flap their wings in excitement.  Captain Fletcher and Tomas tried to pull the birds off Per but they just flew back as soon as they were let go.
“Tomas, we need to get the sucker ball out of his mouth” said Tilda.  Tomas turned towards his wife.
“I can’t tell where his mouth is” he said looking at his son who was a cloud of feathers.
“I’ll go back to my ship and get the parrot wrangler,” said Lady Bird Feathering.  “He’ll know what to do.”  She stepped back into her rowboat and started back towards her ship.  She hadn’t gotten more than twenty feet from shore when Gustav yelped.
“Look, Per’s flying away.”  Sure enough, Per floated off down the beach while his brothers ran after him in hot pursuit. 
“Where are they taking my son?” yelled Tilda as Per soared higher into the air and over the water.  Madebonne ran after the boys with Henry right on her heels.  Captain Fletcher ran into the water and jumped into the row boat with Lady Bird Feathering.  They turned the boat towards Per but the birds were taking him farther and farther away.  Madebonne grabbed Tor by the hand.
“We need Glen,” she said. 
“You’re right Madebonne.  Good thinking.”  She and Tor ran towards the swimming hole.
“Glen!  Glen!!” they shouted until they saw the familiar fin slice through the water.  Madebonne flung her dress on a nearby tree and she and Tor dove into the water.  They hopped on Glen’s back and steered towards the ocean.  As they passed through the mouth of  the swimming hole, Henry stood on shore meowing.
“Come on Henry, leap!” shouted Madebonne.  Henry hesitated for a second then jumped onto Glen’s back. 
“Hold on,” said Tor as they headed off after Per.  He was still visible in the distance where he looked like a green cloud floating on the horizon.  Tor stood on Glen in the front and steered with his feet.  Madebonne sat behind him with her legs dangling in the water.  She put Henry on her shoulders so that he wouldn’t get splashed by the waves but he still wasn’t very happy about being out on the ocean.  Luckily, the water wasn’t too rough and they were soon able to gain on Per and the parrots.   

“What is our plan once we catch them?” asked Tor.  Madebonne wasn’t sure but they would have to think fast.  They were closing in on Per but he also seemed to be floating up higher and higher.  They crested a bigger wave and spray misted over them.  Henry let out a meow and held on tighter to Madebonne. 
“Quickly,” shouted Madebonne.  “They are taking him higher into the air.”  Tor steered harder and they flew over another wave.  This time, Henry’s whole tail got wet.  He sure wasn’t happy about getting wet and let Madebonne know with another meow.  But Madebonne was distracted.  She was keeping an eye on Per.
“We’re almost below him” shouted Madebonne excitedly.  Tor dug his feet into Glen to make him go as fast as he could and the water sprayed all around them as they shot through the water.  Henry stood on his tip toes and meowed and meowed.  Madebonne noticed that the birds were beginning to fly off a few at a time.  Henry shook himself and licked one of his paws to dry off.  The birds flew back to the flock.  Suddenly another wave splashed them and Henry meowed again.  More birds flew away and hovered nearby.  The cloud of birds dropped a little lower.  Madebonne had an idea.  She turned to Henry and gave him a pat.
“I’m sorry to do this to you Henry,” said Madebonne and she gave Glen a squeeze with her legs.  Glen sped through the water and the spray shot up like a fountain around them.  Henry meowed and meowed as the water fell around him getting him more and more drenched.  With each meow, the parrots flew away in alarm back towards the safety of their ship.
“The birds are afraid of Henry.  Spray more water” shouted Madebonne to Tor.  They were now able to see all of Per’s legs and the tips of his fingers.  Henry let out a low growl when the next wave hit and more parrots flew away.
“It’s working” said Tor as he continued to chase after his brother.  They could now see most of Per’s head.
“Spit out the singing sucker ball” shouted Madebonne.  Per’s ears were still covered with birds so he couldn’t hear her but he was floating down towards them as more and more parrots flew back towards the fleet.  Suddenly a huge wave came towards them.
“Hold on” shouted Tor as Glen dove and they went right through the wave.  When they came out on the other side, Henry had finally had enough.  He meowed and growled and snarled.  The parrots feared for their lives and dropped Per right there in the middle of the ocean.  He plopped into the water with a splash and sank and sank towards the bottom.  Tor leapt off of Glen and dove in after his brother while Madebonne tried to calm Henry down.  Glen circled around the spot where the brothers had both gone in.  Madebonne held her breath.  She hoped they would come up soon because she was starting to turn blue.  Just when she couldn’t hold her breath a moment longer, Tor and Per popped up out of the water like a couple of corks.  Per spat out the singing sucker ball into his hand.
“That was awesome,” said Per with a huge grin.  Madebonne helped them back up onto Glen and they headed back towards shore.  The rowboat with Captain Fletcher and Lady Bird Feathering met them half way.
“Is everyone alright?” asked Captain Fletcher. 
“Grandma did you see me?  It was so cool,” said Per.  “I flew.  I flew across the ocean and then was dropped down into a huge school of fish.  I want to do it again!”
“I think you’ve had enough excitement for one afternoon” said Captain Fletcher.  “Besides, I am sure that Lady Bird Feathering is happy to have her birds back so she can get on her way.”
“Thank you for rescuing Per,” said Lady Bird Feathering.  “I am so grateful to you both.”
“It was Madebonne’s idea to find Glen so that we could go after Per.  And then she figured out that when Henry got wet, he would meow and scare the birds away,” said Tor.  “I didn’t know girls could be so cool.”  Madebonne blushed.
“It wasn’t such a big deal,” said Madebonne shyly.  “I remembered that Henry scared the birds when we were in Section Blue of the rainbow” Lady Bird Feathering gave her an appraising look while Henry sat in the corner of the rowboat and grumpily groomed his fur.  “Tor is the one who dove into the water and rescued Per from the school of fish,” Now it was Tor’s turn to blush.  They both sat awkwardly in front of Lady Bird Feathering.
“You are both very brave and think well on your feet.  What would you like as a reward?” asked Lady Bird Feathering.  Tor leapt up with excitement and the boat rocked violently.
“Could I go with you to Antoola?”
“We’ll have to ask your mother, but I don’t see why not.  How about you Madebonne?” asked Lady Bird.
“Can you change my mom from a goldfish back into my mom?” asked Madebonne.
“I’m afraid that I don’t have magical powers but I can certainly help you get back home,” she replied.  “I’ll lend you a flock of my parrots so that you won’t get stuck on your way to the Porthole of Atlantis.”  Just then they reached shore and Tor ran to tell his brothers all about the rescue.  Tilda splashed through the water and grabbed Per and hugged him.
“Are you alright my darling?” she asked while squeezing him tight. 
“Mom, I’m fine,” said Per as he wriggled out of her arms.  “When can I do that again?”
“Not until you are thirty seven” said Tilda.  “Now give me that singing sucker ball.”  She held out her hand.  Per reluctantly fished the singing sucker ball out of his pocket and handed it to his mother.  She then turned to her other sons.  “All of you.  Hand them over or next thing you know a hoard of elephants with parade through and carry you all off to the circus.”  Tilda collected the singing sucker balls and gave Tomas a sharp look.
“I’ll hold onto these” she said as she put them in her pocket.  Tomas looked a bit sheepish but this wasn’t the first time that he had gotten in trouble for one of his inventions and it probably wouldn’t be the last. 
“Let’s head back up to the house and get Lady Bird Feathering something to eat before she has to head back out onto the high seas” said Tomas, deftly changing the subject.  The boys chattered noisily with Per all the way up to the house, wanting to hear what it had been like to fly.  Madebonne followed behind with Linda the Penguin.  When they got back up to the house Madebonne put a large glass of water on the floor for Henry who was parched from all the saltwater he had licked off his fur. 
“We should be going” said Captain Fletcher.  “It’s still a long journey to the Porthole of Atlantis.”  The boys all piled on top of Captain Fletcher and begged her to take them along.  Tor pulled on his mother’s sleeve.
“Mom, Lady Bird Feathering said that I could go with her to Antoola as a reward for rescuing Per.  Can I go mom?  Can I?” he hopped excitedly on his right foot.
“It’s quite a long way to Antoola isn’t it Lady Bird?” asked Tilda.  Lady Bird Feathering nodded slightly.
“It is a six week sail from here,” she said.  “But if the winds are to our advantage it could only take four weeks to get back.”  Tilda put her arm around Tor.
“Two and a half months is much too long a time for me not to see your face,” she said.  “Besides, you start singing camp and fencing lessons next week.”  Lady Bird Feathering could see the disappointment on Tor’s face.
“My offer is always good,” she said.  “You can come sail with me anytime.  I would be honored to have such a heroic young man aboard my ship.”  Tears sprung to Tor’s eyes.  He couldn’t help but be disappointed.  It’s not every day that you are so brave that you are invited to sail to Antoola on a Parrot Ship.  Tilda kissed her son’s head.  Captain Fletcher strode over.
“I could use some help on the My Boat.  Maybe Tor could join us on the trip to the Porthole of Atlantis.  Once we drop Madebonne off in New York City I can swing by here with Tor before I head back to The Castle.”  Tor held his breath while Tilda considered her answer.
“He needs to be back by dinnertime” said Tilda. 
“I’ll feed him on the boat Tilda,” said Captain Fletcher.  “He’ll be back by bedtime.”  Tilda looked at her mother-in-law sternly.
“It needs to be a real meal.  Not just chocolate mousse,” she said.  Captain Fletcher threw her arms up in disgust.
“What has happened to everyone lately?  Chocolate mousse is a perfectly fine meal.” 
Tilda turned her attention to Madebonne.  “Now, let’s go quickly try on your adventuring outfit.”  Tilda lead Madebonne back to her sewing room where she pulled out the adventuring outfit with a flourish.  She was so excited to see how it looked that Tilda practically dragged Madebonne behind the changing screen.  Madebonne pulled on a pair of pale yellow pants and a light blue jacket.  She stepped out to show Tilda who clapped her hands with excitement.
“Perfect,” she said.  “Everything is made with a special material that stretches so you can climb trees, do cartwheels or slide down drains.  Go ahead, give it a try.”  Madebonne did an couple of squats and a cartwheel.  The outfit was really comfortable and didn’t feel at all bunchy or bothery.

“Now watch this,” said Tilda and she stood Madebonne in front of a fan and turned it on.  As the breeze began to cool her off, the clothes began to change color and thickness.  She looked down and saw that she was wearing orange corduroy pants, and a forest green jacket.  Tilda then walked her over to the air conditioner and turned it down low to freezing.  Madebonne’s jacket puffed into a lavender down jacket with a fuzzy hood and black fleece pants.  Finally, Tilda put Madebonne in front of a space heater and turned it on.  Suddenly Madebonne was standing in a pair of spring green shorts and a pink floaty top.  She looked just like a tulip.
“All weather clothes!” said Tilda triumphantly as she turned off the heater.  “I won’t throw a bucket of water on you but they’re waterproof too.”  Madebonne was very impressed. 
“Thank you so much Tilda,” said Madebonne  “You’ve made me such beautiful clothes.  But I left the dress you made me on the beach when we went to rescue Per.”
Tilda laughed.  “Clothes tend to get abandoned on this island.  Don’t worry, they eventually end up back in the sewing room and I make them into other things.”
“But I loved that dress,” said Madebonne.  “I would have worn it every day it was so beautiful.”
“There’s one very similar to it in your pocket,” said Tilda.  Madebonne was confused.  How could a dress fit in her pocket?
“Go ahead, take a look,” said Tilda.  Madebonne looked down and saw that she was back in her jacket and pants.  She put her hand in the right pocket..  It was empty but nice and smooth and cool.

“Not that pocket,” said Tilda.  “That’s the goldfish pocket.  It doesn’t leak when you fill it with water.  Try the other side.”  Madebonne put her hand in the left pocket and pulled out a handful of tiny plastic squares, the size of sugar packets.  Each one had a tiny label on it.  She saw ‘party dress’, ‘bathing suit’. ‘ball gown’, ‘scuba gear’, ‘ski suit’, ‘soccer uniform’, ‘chef whites’, and even ‘pajamas’.

“I don’t understand” said Madebonne looking at the pile of packets in her hand.

“Well, you always need to be prepared when you’re out adventuring.  So I made you a few extra outfits just in case.  That way, you don’t ever have to worry about packing a suitcase.  You just open the packet and shake out the clothes.  They air fluff and grow to normal size.  Shoes are in the pocket above the clothes,” Tilda added.  She then plucked the anti-shark protector out of Madebonne’s belly button.  “You can put this in here for safe keeping” and she slipped the shiny jewel into a small zipper pocket on the arm of the jacket.
“This is the best outfit I’ve ever had,” said Madebonne and she gave Tilda a huge hug.  Tilda squeezed her tightly.
“As sad as I am to see you go, I think that we need to get back to the others so that you can get on your way to the Port of Atlantis before dark,” said Tilda.  Madebonne nodded.  She was having a great time on the Island of Boys but the fact was, she needed to get back to Brooklyn to change her mom back into a mom.  Madebonne slipped into the flip flops that matched her outfit and she and Tilda headed back to the veranda.  As they walked along Madebonne heard a squelching sound.  She looked down to see that her flip flops had changed into red rubber rain boots and they were wading through a sticky muck.  It was a clear colored ooze, kind of slippery, kind of squishy.   
“What now!” said Tilda with a sigh.  “Tommmaassss.”  She lost a shoe in the ooze as she strode off towards her husband.  Madebonne tried to follow behind but the ooze was sucking at her boots and she was finding it harder and harder to move.

 Question to Madeleine:  What is oozing?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Chapter 7: "The Island of Boys"


Question to Madeleine:  "What is the loud crash?"
Answer: "The mast broke from the lightening."

Madebonne stood just below deck on the steps, clutching her mom the goldfish in the lemonade pitcher.  Linda the penguin stood at the bottom of the steps and Henry growled somewhere nearby.  Their wind dance had created a raging storm outside and Captain Fletcher had sent them down to safety while he sailed through the storm towards Brooklyn.  But Madebonne was worried.  She had just heard a huge crash up on deck.  Very carefully she lifted the hatch an inch and peered outside.  To her horror she saw the mast lying across the deck of the ship.  Madebonne turned to Linda in alarm.
“The mast fell down.  It must have been struck by the lightening.”  Linda looked worried.  She hopped back up the stairs.
“Go find Henry and try to get him to stop growling.  The lightening must think that Henry is the thunder and keeps flashing in response to him.  I’ll go up top to see if I can help Captain Fletcher.”  Linda hopped out the hatch door and Madebonne closed it tightly after her.  She climbed down the stairs and looked for Henry.  She found him cowering in the hallway near the kitchen.
“Come on Henry,” said Madebonne.  “Let’s find someplace safe for you.”  Henry followed Madebonne with his belly low to the ground.  Henry growled and the boat rocked wildly.

“You have to stop growling Henry or the lightening won’t go away.”  Henry looked at her with wild eyes and slunk down the hallway after Madebonne.  She led them to the Princess suite and tied her mom to the nightstand.  Then she grabbed some pillows off the couch and crawled under the bed with Henry.  She made them a cozy fort and then talked to him in her calm voice and rubbed his belly.  The boat eventually stopped its wild rocking and sailed along more calmly.  A few minutes later Madebonne heard the bedroom door open.  She saw Captain Fletcher’s feet and Linda’s flippers came into the room.  Madebonne stuck her hand out from under the bed and waved at them.  They bent down and peered under the bed and then lay down on their bellies.
“We have to make a pit stop,” said Captain Fletcher.  “We’ll never be able to make it to Brooklyn with the main mast broken.  I am going to sail us over to the Island of Boys where I can make my repairs.”
“What’s the Island of Boys?” asked Madebonne.  She’d never heard of such a place.
“It’s a tiny island in the middle of the Atlantis Ocean.  Only boys have ever been born there so it’s called the Island of Boys.”  Madebonne gave Captain Fletcher a good long stare to see if he was joking.  That was the craziest thing she had ever heard.
“There have to be some girls there,” said Madebonne.  “Every boy has a mom and moms are girls.”
“Or fish,” said Linda which made them all laugh.
“It’s true that there is a mom there but she wasn’t born on the island.  Tomas fell in love with her on the main land and after they were married he brought her back to the island.”
“Who’s Tomas?” asked Madebonne.
“He’s my son,” said Captain Fletcher.  “But enough with these questions.  You’ll meet him soon enough and I have to set our course so that I can make these repairs and get you back to Brooklyn.”
Madebonne and Henry crawled out from under the bed.  Madebonne put her mom back in her pajama pocket and they headed up on deck.  The sun was back out and there was enough of a breeze blowing for Captain Fletcher to navigate home.  Madebonne took off her slicker and her goggles and tucked the scarves back into the pockets.  Soon enough the Island of Boys came into view.  The water surrounding the island was a beautiful turquoise blue and palm trees swayed on land.  They glided to shore and a passel of boys ran into view.  They jumped up and down excitedly and pointed and shouted.
“Grandma!  Grandma’s back!!!”  Captain Fletcher stood at the edge of the sail boat and waved to the boys with his hat.  Madebonne, Linda and Henry peered around curiously.  Captain Fletcher grabbed the rope and threw it to shore.  The boys deftly grabbed it and tied the boat off to a palm tree.  Captain Fletcher lowered the gang plank and they hopped off the boat.  The boys all rushed over and hugged Captain Fletcher.
“Grandma!” they clamored.  “We didn’t expect you back so soon.”  They hopped around happily and stuck their hands in Captain Fletcher’s pockets looking for treats from far off lands.  Madebonne was really confused.
“Why are they calling you Grandma?” she finally asked. 
“These are my grandsons,” said Captain Fletcher.  “Let me introduce you.  This is Tor, Valentin, Gustav, Per, Oskar, Rowan, Bjorn, Soren and Rurik”  The boys lined up and each one bowed as he was introduced.
“Pleased to meet you,” said Madebonne and she bowed in return.  She turned to Captain Fletcher and whispered in his ear.  “I don’t understand why they are calling you Grandma.”
“Because I’m their grandmother,” replied Captain Fletcher.
“But aren’t you their grandfather?  Your name is Walter,” said Madebonne.
“Walter Fletcher is my sailing name,” explained Captain Fletcher with a wink.  “My real name is Joan.” 
“Hmmm.  Makes sense,” said Madebonne who knew all about having an adventuring name.  Captain Fletcher turned to her grandsons.
“Where’s your mother?” she asked.
“Where do you think?” said Gustav.
“In the sewing room of course,” said Tor waving towards the house. 
“She’s making us all new dinner jackets,” said Rowan making a face.

“Yick!” said Bjorn.  Captain Fletcher laughed and lead them up the path towards the house.  There were piles of clothes strewn everywhere along the way.  Jackets hung from trees, ties were wrapped around branches, shirts and shorts were shoved under bushes, socks of every color waved from flower stalks.  It was like a giant outdoor closet.
“We hate wearing clothes,” explained Valentin who took off his shirt and hung it on a tree branch as they walked by.  Madebonne noticed that all the boys were shedding their clothes until they had stripped down to their swim trunks.  Madebonne looked down into her pocket where her mom was swishing her tail disapprovingly.  Madebonne snickered and followed the boys and Captain Fletcher up the path.  Linda and Henry brought up the rear.
The trees finally parted and a beautiful house stood in the clearing.  They went inside and directly into the sewing room where the boys’ mom sat hunched over a sewing machine.  She turned around excitedly when she heard the boys enter. 
“Just in time.  I can start fitting you for your jackets,” she said to her sons who groaned.
“Grandma’s back,” yelped Tor before his mom could wrestle him into his jacket.
“Hello Tilda” said Captain Fletcher.  “I had to stop by to make a quick repair before I head back out on my trip.  I’d like you to meet Madebonne, Linda, Henry and Madebonne’s mom, the goldfish.” 
“A girl!” squeaked Tilda.  “Oh my gosh, a girl.  I can make dresses and blouses and skirts.”  Tilda grabbed a measuring tape and immediately started measuring Madebonne.
“How about a bathing suit” suggested Captain Fletcher.  “Madebonne can go swimming with the boys while I repair the mast on the sail boat.”
“Good idea.  Then I’ll make her a few outfits just in case.  What in the world are you wearing?” asked Tilda taking a look at Madebonne’s pajamas.  “She might need a whole new wardrobe Joan.”
“This is my adventuring outfit” said Madebonne.
“No, no, no,” said Tilda.  “I can whip up a much better adventuring outfit.”  She clapped her hands excitedly and gave Madebonne a hug.
“Mom, she needs a bathing suit first,” said Rurik.
“Alright, alright.  I’ll go express,” said Tilda and got to work whipping up a bathing suit while the boys plopped themselves on the floor to wait.  Captain Fletcher put Madebonne’s mom into a glass of water.
“I’ll take care of your mom while you go have a swim with the boys,” said Captain Fletcher.    
“Will the repairs take that long?” asked Madebonne.  This adventure was taking a lot longer than she had expected and after last night’s chocolate mousse incident she wanted to have her mom back to normal.
“The sooner I get started, the sooner we’ll be on our way,” said Captain Fletcher.  Madebonne smiled meekly as she watched Linda follow Captain Fletcher out the door to find Tomas. 
In a matter of minutes Tilda ushered Madebonne behind a screen and handed her a bathing suit.  It had orange and green swirls and sparkled in the light.  Madebonne pulled the suit on and stepped out from behind the screen. 
“It fits you perfectly,” said Tilda excitedly.  “You look just like a sun fish.”
“That’s great Mom,” said Per grabbing Madebonne by the hand and leading her out the door.  “Let’s hope the sharks don’t try to eat her.”
“Very funny Per,” said Tilda.  She turned to Mabebonne.  “Maybe you should wear one of these just in case.”  She opened a drawer and pulled out a shiny jewel and popped it into Madebonne’s belly button.

“What’s that for?” asked Mabebonne wiggling her belly.
“It’s an anti-shark protector,” said Tor.  He and his brothers rushed Madebonne out the door before their mom could measure them for any more outfits. 
“Anti-shark protector?” asked Madebonne with a quiver in her voice.  Henry trotted at her heels as the boys led Madebonne towards the swimming hole.  “Are there really sharks in the water?”
“Of course, silly” said Bjorn. “Where else would they live?”  Madebonne started to slow down but Per had a firm hold on her hand and pulled her along.  They came to the crest of a hill and stopped.  The hill dropped off directly below into an inlet with sandy dunes on each side.  One by one the boys began to jump off the edge of the hill into the water below.  Madebonne stood and watched while the boys swam around like fish, whooping and hollering, dipping and somersaulting.  Oskar and Soren jumped out of the water and ran up the sand dunes back to the crest of the hill. 
“Come on Madebonne,” said Oskar.  “The water is amazing.”  Madebonne peered down into the water.  It was crystal clear and she could see all the way to the bottom.  She didn’t see any sharks and decided that the boys must be teasing her.  Madebonne patted the jewel in her belly button just in case. 
           “Okay, I’m ready,” said Madebonne.  Oskar and Soren each took one of her hands and they jumped into the water with a gigantic splash.  Henry ran down the side of the sand dune and stood at the edge of the swimming hole.  The water was lovely and Madebonne swam around with the boys.  There were all kinds of beautiful objects in the water.  They dove for sea shells, swam with a school of fish, stood on their heads underwater, and had races from one side to the other.  Henry found a spot in the sun and sat down but he kept a watchful eye on Madebonne.  Henry still didn’t like being around water and his growl was ready to rumble at any time.  Madebonne hopped out of the swimming hole and ran up to the crest of the hill. 

“Watch this Henry,” she shouted and then jumped off the edge holding her knees.  She sank into the water and a huge fountain sprayed up behind her and splashed all the boys.  They whooped and yelled with delight.  Madebonne’s feet touched the bottom of the pool and she opened her eyes.  Thousands of bubbles floated around her.  As they cleared she saw a big toothy grin smiling at her and then a shiny gray snout nudged her shoulder.  Madebonne pushed her feet into the bottom of the pool and shot to the surface screaming “SHARK!!!”
“Where?  Where?” shouted the boys and they all dove underwater.  Madebonne scrambled out of the swimming hole as fast as she could and ran over to Henry.  A moment later the shark broke the surface of the water with Tor holding onto his fin and Bjorn and Gustav latched on to his tail.  Tor jumped to his feet and rode the shark like a surf board.
“Look at me,” he shouted to Madebonne as they sped around the swimming hole. 
“My turn, my turn,” shouted the other boys.  The shark sailed by and Tor leapt off his back onto shore.  He walked over to Madebonne who looked at him with wide eyes.
“Did you see that?  Pretty cool, huh!” said Tor.  “Gustav can ride him almost as well as I can but I can stay up the longest.”
“That’s a shark,” said Mabebonne.  “It could eat you!”  Tor laughed.
“Not Glen.  He says boys taste terrible.  Want to give it a try?”  Madebonne looked at Tor like he had lost his mind.  The other boys hopped out of the water while Gustav rode around the swimming hole on Glen.
“Don’t worry.  You’re wearing your anti-shark protector,” said Rowan. “Come on.  It’s fun.”
“But you’re not wearing anti-shark protectors,” said Madebonne.  “How come Glen doesn’t want to eat you?”
“Our mom sews anti-shark protectors into our swim trunks,” explained Rurik.  Madebonne looked down at her jeweled belly button.
“These things really work?” she asked.
“Only one way to find out,” said Rowan and all the boys jumped back into the water.  Madebonne went to the edge and stuck her foot in.  Glen swam by and didn’t even give her big toe a lick.  So Madebonne jumped back into the water and took a few turns riding the shark.  At first she just held on to his tail but as she got bolder Madebonne sat on top of Glen and even tried standing up a couple of times. 
A bell clanged nearby and the boys jumped out of the water.
“Lunch!” they shouted and scrambled back up the dune.  “Come on Madebonne.  Aren’t you starving?”  Madebonne’s stomach rumbled and she realized that she was hungry.  She had only eaten chocolate mousse since her lunch as a Royal Taster.
“Pretty good for your first time shark surfing,” said Gustav to Madebonne as they headed back to the house.
“Thanks,” said Madebonne and smiled proudly.  She couldn’t wait to tell her dad all about it.  When they got back to the house Captain Fletcher, Linda, Tomas, Tilda and Madebonne’s mom were already at the lunch table on the veranda.  Tilda clapped excitedly when she saw Madebonne and slipped a dress over Madebonne’s head.
“Tomas can you believe it?  Joan brought us a girl,” said Tilda.
“Tilda,” said Tomas sternly, “Madebonne is only here until we fix the mast on the sail boat.  She will be heading back to Brooklyn after lunch.”
“After lunch!” said Tilda with alarm.  “I’m not finished with Madebonne’s adventuring outfit.  I have to go express.” Tilda leapt up from the table and flew out of the room.  The boys were clearly used to this because they didn’t even look up from their food.  
Bjorn turned to Madebonne.  “She rushes around making clothes all the time.  You’ll probably have a whole new wardrobe by the end of lunch.”  Madebonne didn’t mind at all.  She twirled in her dress and then sat down at the table.  Shark surfing and no breakfast had given her a real hunger.
“What does your dad do?” Madebonne asked Bjorn.
“He’s an inventor.  He makes lots of cool stuff like the anti-shark protectors.  One time he invented pop corn that pops in the sun.  We put it all over the lawn one day when it was really hot and the whole back yard started popping.  The lizards went crazy.”
“That was hilarious,” said Valentin.  “Remember when dad invented the anti-gravity toe rings and we got footprints all over the ceiling?  Boy was mom mad about that one.”
“And the glow in the dark tooth paste,” chirped in Oskar.  “Our teeth glowed all night long and it was so bright that we couldn’t sleep.”
“Hey dad,” said Soren.  “Did you invent anything today that we can show Madebonne?”  Tomas looked up from his meal.
“Well, I’ve been working on singing sucker balls but I haven’t had a chance to perfect them yet,” said Tomas.
“Please dad!  Please let us try them,” pleaded Tor.  Tomas reached into his pocket and pulled out a dozen colorful round candies.
“You can try them, but I’m warning you, they’re still a bit rough.”  The boys crowded around Tomas and each picked a candy.  Valentin was the first to pop one in his mouth.  He rolled it around on his tongue and then opened his mouth to speak but all that came out was a deep sound like a fog horn.  The other boys hooted with laughter.  They popped the sucker balls into their mouths and a symphony of sounds sang around the table.  Chirping, cooing, elephant trumpeting, horn honking, whistling, purring, and bell clanging filled the air.
“Would you like to try one Madebonne?” asked Tomas.  Madebonne nodded and picked a candy out of Tomas’ hand.  She popped it in her mouth.  It was smooth and round and tasted a little spicy.  As Madebonne rolled the candy around on her tongue it got hotter and hotter until it felt like her teeth would pop right out.  Madebonne opened her mouth and sang “LLLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA”.  One by one the glasses on the table shattered.  But Madebonne couldn’t stop.  Her tongue got hotter and hotter and she kept singing and the glasses kept shattering and the boys cheered and Henry meowed.  Madebonne pointed frantically at the table as she continued her operatic song.  Captain Fletcher grabbed the glass with Madebonne’s mom and ran inside as Tomas plucked the candy out of Madebonne’s mouth. 
“Looks like this one could use a little work” said Tomas.  The boys whooped and cheered and laughed so hard that they fell on the floor.  Madebonne plopped into her chair and Tomas handed her a glass of mango juice to cool her mouth.  Henry kept meowing.
“That was so cool Madebonne,” said Tor.  “I’ve got to try that.  Dad do you have any more of those?”  Before Tomas could answer Tilda flew back into the room.
“Tomas, there are fifteen ships pulling in to shore,” she said clutching Madebonne’s brand new adventuring outfit in her hand.  Tomas reached into his pocket and pulled out a telescope.  He gazed towards the water.
“It’s the parrot ships,” he said after a good long look.
“Pirate ships!  Cool.”  The boys jumped up and down with excitement.  Madebonne looked at Linda nervously.
“Not pirate ships you nincompoops,” said Tomas.  “Parrot ships.  Let’s go down to shore to greet Lady Bird Feathering.”  The boys leapt up from the table and raced down the path.  Linda patted Madebonne on the knee.
“Can you talk again?”  Madebonne opened her mouth gingerly but no operatic sounds came out.
“Back to normal,” she answered.
“Why don’t you head down to shore with the boys while Captain Fletcher and I finish fixing the mast on the Maxum III.”  Madebonne hopped up from the table then turned to Linda.
“I’m worried Linda,” said Madebonne.  “My mom wouldn’t eat any of my food at lunch.  Do you think it’s too late to change her back?” 
“I sure hope not,” said Linda.  “But we should be ready to leave in the next hour.”  Madebonne tried to stay hopeful as she and Henry followed Tomas and the boys down to shore. 

Question to Madeleine:  "Who is Lady Bird Feathering?"

Friday, September 25, 2009

Chapter 6 "Captain Fletcher"

Question to Madeleine:  How is Madebonne going to get home to Brooklyn?

Answer:  She should call the Fairy Godmother and ask for help using her magic wand.

            Madebonne was deflated. She and Henry and Linda had worked so hard tasting the Royal food for the wedding and making ice cream and taming dragons.  All for nothing.  The 29 fish rubles in her pocket weren’t going to get Madebonne any closer to her Fairy Godmother.  Madebonne looked at Linda with a trembling lip.
“If I don’t get my mom home soon my Fairy Godmother might not be able to turn her from a goldfish back into a mom.”
“It’s the only way I know to get back to the other side of the drain,” said Linda sounding worried.  “Let’s go back to the Penguin Express Igloo and see if they have a waiting list.”  They started to walk towards the elevator when Madebonne suddenly stopped in her tracks.
“I’ve got it!” she said.  “I’ll call my Fairy Godmother and she can use her magic wand to get us back to Brooklyn.”  Madebonne pulled her butterfly phone out of her pajama pants pocket and started dialing.  Linda stopped her before the operator picked up.
“Your Fairy Godmother’s magic wand doesn’t work on this side of the drain.  That’s why she sent me to help you get back to Brooklyn.  Otherwise she would have popped you back home when you landed at the fountain at the end of the rainbow.”
“Oh” said Madebonne.  This was a real bummer.  Linda started waddling down the hallway towards the elevator.  Madebonne took her mom out of the water glass and put her back into her pajama pocket then added some water.  When her mom seemed settled Madebonne and Henry headed off down the hallway after Linda.  Madebonne rubbed her lucky necklace.  She had to think of a faster way to get back to Brooklyn.  She couldn’t be raised by a goldfish.  It wasn’t fair.
“I’ve got it!” said Madebonne again.  Linda stopped to listen.
“Maybe the Royal Magician can change her back.  If he can turn a bunch of folded paper into an army then he must be able to change my mom from a goldfish back into a mom.”
“I guess it couldn’t hurt to ask,” said Linda.  “Which way to the folding station?”  Madebonne looked around her.  The hallways were still bustling with people but she actually knew some of them now.  She saw Pixie, Trixie and Ollie who were heading towards the kitchens to finish icing the Princess’s wedding cake.  They could point the way to the Royal Magician.  Pixie saw Madebonne and waved, then fell abruptly to the floor. 
“Maxum!  Watch where you’re going” scolded Pixie as she picked herself up off the ground.  Madebonne saw people scattering as Maxum blew down the hallway.
“It’s Maxum!  He got away again,” yelled Madebonne.  “We have to catch him.”  Linda stopped and considered.
“I thought we were trying to find the Royal Magician” she said sensibly.  But Madebonne and Henry were already galloping down the hallway after Maxum.
“Come on.  He’s getting away!” shouted Madebonne over her shoulder.  Linda dove onto her belly and followed behind as they all tore down the hallway after the Royal Baby.  He sure was fast for a little guy.  They flew past the kitchens and were soon in a new part of the castle.  Madebonne realized that if they lost sight of Maxum they would be completely lost.  She stretched her legs longer so that she could keep up with him.  
They ran past sewing rooms full of luscious fabrics, dashed through the Royal shoe closet where thousands of shoes sparkled and shone, vaulted over musicians practicing the wedding march, and sprinted through a room of poets writing love songs.  Madebonne’s hair flew in the wind and her pajamas rippled and swooshed with the force of her running.  She smiled and then laughed as she ran along.  It felt great to run and run just for the fun of running.  She followed Maxum right out of the castle and across the lawn.  Luckily it had recently been watered and was nice and slippery for Linda to slide across.  They ran and ran and ran some more until the lawn started to shrink in front of them and just beyond they saw the sparkling water of the harbor.  Madebonne stretched her legs a little longer.  She needed to keep up with Maxum so that he didn’t speed into the water.  But he was fast and showed no signs of slowing down.  Madebonne could smell the salt water and feel the spray on her face.  A few more steps and they would soon be swimming instead of running.
“Stop Maxum.  Stop!” screamed Madebonne.  And he stopped.  Just like that.  Madebonne, Henry and Linda didn’t have time to put on the brakes and they crashed into a heap at the edge of the harbor.  Madebonne looked down into her pocket to make sure that her mom was okay, then lifted her head and looked at Maxum.
“You are one crazy baby” she said, laughing.  
A beautiful sail boat drifted in to the slip.  The captain stood at the helm, his crisp white shirt billowing in the wind.  He docked the boat, tied it up with some fancy knots and then hopped on shore.  He had a mop of blond hair that poked out from under a large straw hat.  Madebonne could tell that he had been sailing the seas for many years because his face was creased like a map and his eyes danced with secrets.  She stood up and brushed herself off then walked over to where the sail boat was docked.  The captain was busy tying off the boat to a pylon.  When he was finished Madebonne introduced herself.
“Hello, I’m Madebonne,” she said.
“I’m Walter Fletcher, Captain of the Maxum III, at your service” he said with a bow.  As he stood he swept his hand towards the sail boat and sure enough, right there on the side of the boat was its name “Maxum III” printed in purple letters.
“Is this Prince Maxum’s boat?” asked Madebonne.
“This is his Grandfather’s boat,” said Captain Fletcher.  “Prince Maxum is Maxum V.”  Madebonne looked around but Maxum V was no where to be seen.  Once again he had given her the slip.  She sighed and turned back to Captain Fletcher.
“I don’t suppose you know how to get to Brooklyn,” said Madebonne.
“I am one of the senior captains of the Royal Fleet,” said Captain Fletcher indignantly.  “Of course I know how to get to Brooklyn.  I can sail anywhere in the world.”  Madebonne stepped back, a little frightened by his anger.
“I’m sorry Captain Fletcher,” she said.  “I just didn’t know if it was possible to sail to the other side of the drain.”
“Well, you can’t take the drain or the Express tunnel,” said Captain Fletcher softening a bit.  “You have to go around the long way.  Depending on wind speed it could take up to seventeen hours.”
“Seventeen hours?”  Madebonne had no idea she had gotten so far away from home.  She looked down at her mom in her pocket.  Would seventeen hours be too long for her mom to be a goldfish.
“Yes, seventeen hours,” repeated Captain Fletcher.  “What’s all the interest in Brooklyn anyway?  It’s nice and all, but it doesn’t compare to this beautiful land now does it?”
“It’s where I live,” said Madebonne with tears in her eyes.  “And I have to get back there as quickly as I can so that my Fairy Godmother can turn my mom back into my mom.”
“Why what’s happened to her?” asked Captain Fletcher.
“She’s turned into a fish,” said Madebonne and she let Captain Fletcher look into her pocket where her mom swam around in circles.
“I haven’t ever seen that before and I’ve seen some crazy things in my lifetime,” said Captain Fletcher.  “Well good luck getting back home.”
“I don’t suppose you could take us to Brooklyn,” said Madebonne hopefully.  “We can pay you.  We have twenty-nine fish rubles.”
“Oh no, not a chance.  I am not a chauffeur.  I work for the Queen,” said Captain Fletcher.  “Besides, I have been invited to the Princess’s wedding.  It’s a great honor and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”  Madebonne’s heart sank.  If she had to wait two weeks for the next seat on the Penguin Express her mom might be a fish forever.  Suddenly her butterfly phone fluttered out of her pocket. 
“Hello,” said Madebonne.
“May I speak to Captain Fletcher please?”
“It’s for you,” said Madebonne handing the phone to Captain Fletcher.  She couldn’t put her finger on it but the voice sounded familiar.
“Hello, this is Captain Fletcher,” he said into the phone.  “Of course.  Yes.  I had no idea.  You don’t say.  That’s amazing.  Yes Your Royal Highness.  I’ll get right on that.  Good bye.”  Captain Fletcher handed the butterfly phone back to Madebonne.
“That was the Queen,” said Captain Fletcher.  “She has enlisted me to take you back to Brooklyn.  I apologize Madebonne.  The Queen said that there would be no wedding if you hadn’t captured and tamed the dragon.”  Madebonne blushed.
“How did the Queen know that to call you on my phone?” asked Madebonne.
“The Queen knows everything,” said Captain Fletcher.  “Shall we get going?  We have a long trip ahead of us.”  Madebonne was so happy that they had found another way home that she hugged Henry until he squeaked.
“Hop on board and I’ll show you our route to Brooklyn,” said Captain Fletcher.  Madebonne climbed on board the sail boat with her mom safely in her pocket.  Linda and Henry hopped up behind her and Captain Fletcher brought up the rear.
The sail boat was massive.  Captain Fletcher led them below deck to a wood paneled room where everything was dedicated to maps.  There were maps everywhere, pinned to the walls, rolled up on shelves, in books and folded up in stacks.  Captain Fletcher hunted around for a moment and then spread out a map on a large table in the center of the room.  Madebonne peered at the map.  She recognized some familiar spots like the rainbow at the end of the drain, the ballerina fountain, the sled shack, the Penguin Express igloo and the Castle.
“As you can see, we’ll depart from the Royal Harbor here” said Captain Fletcher, pointing at the map “and sail through the Straits of Maxumus which will lead us to the Atlantis Ocean.”
“Don’t you mean the Atlantic Ocean?” asked Madebonne.
“An excellent question.  I see you are a lover of geography.  On this side of the drain we sail through the Atlantis Ocean.  When we are ten degrees south of the Isle of Gertrude we dive.”
“What do you mean we dive?” asked Linda.
“We dive, like a submarine, through the Porthole of Atlantis and right out the other side to the Atlantic Ocean.  From there we turn left at the Statue of Liberty and then it’s a short sail up the East River to Brooklyn.  Piece of cake.”  Captain Fletcher traced his finger along the map, landing in Brooklyn.  He looked very pleased with himself.
“How does a sail boat dive?” asked Madebonne.
“It’s very technical but entirely possible,” said Captain Fletcher.  “I’ve done it many times.  We just have to make sure to close all the hatches.  I forgot the rear hatch one time.  What a mess.  Luckily I had on my scuba gear or I would have been a goner.”
Madebonne looked at him with alarm but Captain Fletcher was already heading out of the room.  Madebonne, Linda and Henry followed after him.
“What do you mean you would have been a goner?” asked Madebonne as she followed Captain Fletcher above deck.
“It’s all part of the adventure on the seas my dear,” he said with a wave of his hand.  “Now let’s set sail so that we can get you back home.”  They all stood on deck as Captain Fletcher untied the boat from the dock, hoisted the sails and then steered the sail boat into the harbor.  As they headed out towards the Straits of Maxumus, the Castle faded farther and farther away.  Finally, they were headed home.  They were a couple of hours out to sea when the sun began to set and the stars came out.  Madebonne, Henry and Linda lay on their backs on deck and looked up at the stars. 
“Ggggrrrrrrruuuuuuunnnnnkkkkkkk.”  Madebonne sat up and looked around.
“What was that?” she asked.  Captain Fletcher rubbed his hungry belly.
“It’s getting late.  We should probably have some dinner,” he said.  “Let me set the controls to auto sail and then we can head below deck.”  Henry’s stomach growled in agreement.  

“Madebonne, let me borrow your butterfly phone and I’ll call your Fairy Godmother and let her know where we are,” said Linda.  “I’ll meet you in the kitchen in a few minutes.”  Madebonne handed Linda her phone and then followed Captain Fletcher to the kitchen where he rummaged around in the cabinets looking for something to eat.  He finally pulled a large bowl out of the refrigerator and four spoons from a drawer.
“Voila!” he said triumphantly.  “Dinner is served.”  Madebonne giggled.
“Chocolate mousse for dinner?” she asked not believing her eyes.  Henry growled a bit.  He preferred something a little saltier like chicken feet or camel whiskers.
“Who says you can’t have chocolate mousse for dinner,” said Captain Fletcher defiantly.  “We are Adventurers of the Sea and no one tells us what to eat or when to go to bed.” 
“My mom would never let me do this.” said Madebonne grabbing a spoon.  She avoided looking into her pocket although she could feel her mom wiggling away.  By the time Linda made it to the kitchen, half of the bowl of chocolate mousse was gone and Madebonne’s face was covered in chocolate.
“Oh no,” said Linda grabbing Madebonne’s spoon but realizing that she was already to late. 
“This chocolate mousse is so delicious,” said Madebonne jumping up onto her chair.  Then she hopped up onto the table, ran across it and jumped off the other side.  Captain Fletcher looked at her in amazement as Madebonne ran laps around the kitchen.
“What is she doing?” asked the Captain.
“This happens when she eats too much chocolate,” said Linda.  “We need to sing to her to get her to calm down.”  Captain Fletcher was only too happy to sing one of his seafaring songs and eventually Madebonne slowed down and exhausted, flopped into a chair.
“My stomach hurts,” said Madebonne rubbing her belly.
“Whatever made you think that you could have chocolate mousse for dinner?” scolded Linda coming over with a lemonade pitcher full of water. 
“Because I’m an Adventurer on the sea,” replied Madebonne sheepishly.  Linda gave Captain Fletcher a sharp look but he just whistled a tune and pretended to tie his shoes.  They carefully put Madebonne’s mom into the pitcher.  She swam around dizzily after the mad dash around the kitchen then finally settled down.  Madebonne felt her mom staring at her so she went over to the pitcher and leaned down and peered through the glass.  Her mom swished her tail and stared into her eyes.
“I know mom, I know better than to eat chocolate mousse for dinner,” said Madebonne.  “I’m sorry.  And now I have a terrible stomach ache.”  Her mom gave another swish of the tail then pressed her fish lips to the glass and swam away. 
“At least she’s still acting like my mom,” said Madebonne gratefully.
“I think that we should get Madebonne to bed,” said Linda to Captain Fletcher.
“Good idea,” said Captain Fletcher, happy to leave the kitchen before he got a scolding too.  He led them out of the kitchen to their sleeping quarters.  Madebonne would have been excited to see that they were staying in the Princess Suite if her stomach didn’t feel so terrible.  It was a beautiful creamy white room with portholes for windows, a four poster bed piled high with lavender pillows and a sitting area with a plush couch and a reading chair.  Captain Fletcher tucked Madebonne into bed and then strapped the lemonade pitcher with Madebonne’s mom to the lamp on the night stand so she wouldn’t slide off in the night.  Henry curled up at the foot of the bed.  And Linda, who didn’t need much room now that she was a penguin, hopped up on the couch and snuggled under a blanket. 
“Where will you sleep?” asked Madebonne.
“I never sleep when I sail” said the Captain.  “Plenty of time to sleep on land.”  He gave them a grand bow and headed back up top.  Madebonne, Henry and Linda were all asleep in minutes as the boat gently rocked over the waves towards home. 
The next morning the sun streamed through the portholes and woke Madebonne with a blast of light to her eyelids.  She stretched and turned and stretched some more.  Finally she cracked open an eyelid.  Henry cracked open an eyelid back at her.  They both sat up in bed and their stomachs growled so loudly that Linda woke up from the noise.  Madebonne and Henry hopped out of bed.
“Let’s go find Captain Fletcher and see how close we are to Brooklyn,” said Madebonne excitedly.
“You go ahead,” said Linda, who was not a morning person.  “I’ll catch up with you in a minute.  Let me know if you find any coffee.”  She pulled the blanket back up under her chin and closed her eyes.  Madebonne unstrapped her mom from the night stand and she and Henry dashed out of the room.
Up on deck they found Captain Fletcher at the helm of the boat gazing into the distance.  He looked like he needed some coffee too.
“Good morning Captain Fletcher,” Madebonne exclaimed.  The sun was shining and sparkled on the water which stretched as far as she could see in every direction.  They must have sailed far into the Atlantis Ocean during the night.
“Finally, you’re awake.  I thought you might sleep all day.”
“Are we close to the Isle of Gertrude?” asked Madebonne.
“I’m afraid not,” said Captain Fletcher rather glumly.  “We have a big problem.  No wind.  It’s been like this for hours.  And you need wind to sail.  At this rate we won’t get to Brooklyn until my birthday, which isn’t for months.”  Madebonne wasn’t expecting this kind of news on such a beautiful day.
“What are we going to do?” asked Madebonne.  “Are we stuck?”  She looked up at the sails.  They were a sad sight and hung limply from the masts.  This didn’t look good.  Henry curled up in a patch of sun and put a paw over his eye.
“There’s only one thing to do” said the Captain.  “We have to make a storm.”
“How do you do that?” asked Madebonne with wide eyes.
“Follow me” said the Captain as he strode below deck.  Madebonne hurried after him down some stairs and along a hallway.  Captain Fletcher stopped at a door marked “closet” and went inside.  Madebonne stepped in behind him and was surprised to see that they were in fact standing in a real closet not a broom closet.  There were racks and racks of clothing along the walls.  Captain Fletcher grabbed things off of hangers and out of drawers and piled them into Madebonne’s arms.

“Put these on” he instructed.  Madebonne pulled on a yellow rain slicker, some green rubber boots that came up to her knees, a pair of orange goggles and a rain hat.  The Captain stuck some silk scarves in her pockets.  He grabbed a rain slicker and some boots for himself and ushered her out of the closet.  They bumped into Linda as she waddled sleepily down the hallway. 
“What in the world are you doing?” asked Linda with an amused look on her face.  Madebonne shrugged.  She wasn’t sure what they were doing yet either.
“We’re making a storm” said the Captain as he climbed the stairs.  Madebonne and Linda followed behind.
“There’s no wind and the boat hasn’t moved for hours” Madebonne explained.
“Oh, that’s not good” agreed Linda.  She followed them up top.  
“What’s this about a storm?”  Madebonne shrugged.  She was beginning to sweat.  Rain slickers are not good in the sun.  They really are made for the rain.  Captain Fletcher was all business.
“We need to batten down the hatches” he bellowed.  “Madebonne go fore, Linda go aft, I’ll raise the gollywobbler.  Henry head up to the monkey deck and tighten the leech line.”  They stared at Captain Fletcher, not understanding a word he was saying.  But he didn’t seem to notice and ran around locking portholes and tightening lines until everything was set for the storm.  Henry did manage to wake up from his nap and watched with a certain amount of interest.  Finally, after strapping the lemonade pitcher with Madebonne’s mom to the mast, Captain Fletcher gathered them together.
“Now for the storm.  Ideally we would like to only summon the wind.  Unfortunately, once you get a good wind going the big fluffy, white clouds start rolling across the sky.  Then the rain clouds follow behind.  The wind shakes the rain drops out of the clouds and then there’s thunder and lightening before you know it.  So we must summon the wind slowly and carefully.“
“I sure could use a breeze,” said Madebonne, sweating in her slicker and her goggles.  “I feel like it’s raining in my coat.”  Linda snickered but Captain Fletcher looked at her sternly.
“You’ll be happy you’re wearing that get up, trust me.  Now, take those silk scarves out of your pocket and we’ll get started.”  Madebonne pulled three white silk scarves out of her pocket and handed them to Captain Fletcher.
“The wind is very playful and curious,” explained Captain Fletcher.  “When it sees a cloud it wants to dance and play with it.  We can trick the wind with these scarves by making them dance like clouds.”  Captain Fletcher demonstrated by taking one of the scarves from Madebonne.  He gracefully swayed and twirled across the deck and his scarf flirted and rippled above his head.  Madebonne clapped wildly. 
“Let’s get this wind brewing” said Captain Fletcher.  “Madebonne and Henry will perform the cloud dance on deck.  Linda, I’d like you to hop in the water and make some waves that tickle the sides of the boat.  I’ll stand by at the helm with my wind sounder and as soon as we get the slightest breeze I will steer us towards Brooklyn.”  Madebonne grabbed a scarf in each hand and Captain Fletcher tied the third scarf to Henry’s tail.  Linda waddled to the side of the boat and dove over the edge.  Captain Fletcher stood at the helm and pulled a conch shell out of his pocket.

          “Ready, set, wind!” he said and then blew into his shell and made the most beautiful swishing windy sounds.  Madebonne started her dance with a gentle fluttering of her arms, two twirls and a saunter.  Henry leapt nimbly from deck to mast to mast to deck with his scarf billowing after him.  Linda’s swam in dips and circles and her waves dreamily lapped the sides of the boat.  The tiniest of breezes began to tickle Madebonne’s cheeks.  She looked at Captain Fletcher whose eyes sparkled excitedly.  He gave her a nod.  Madebonne added a warble and a swoop to her dance.  The sails fluttered.  Captain Fletcher put one hand on the helm and blew a little harder into the conch shell.  The waves gently rocked the boat and the breeze blew a little harder.  The sailboat crept forward.  Captain Fletcher pointed up at the sky where several clouds had gathered.  Madebonne sashayed to the left and jelly rolled to the right.  Henry jumped onto the deck and started chasing his tail.  The sails plumped up with wind and the boat picked up speed.  

              Captain Fletcher put his shell back in his pocket and steered the ship towards the Isle of Gertrude.  More clouds danced across the sky as Henry spun around and around in a flurry of white as the boat sliced through the waves.  Madebonne laughed at Henry who had turned into a swirling white tornado.  She spun around with him and laughed and laughed.  The boat picked up speed as they danced and spun in a frenzy.  Clouds flew across the sky and Captain Fletcher shouted into the wind but his voice carried away from Madebonne and she couldn’t make out what he was saying.  Madebonne fell to the deck, dizzy and tired and felt the cooling winds sail them along.  Linda shot straight up out of the water and landed on the deck.  They were racing along and would get to Brooklyn in no time.  The boat picked up momentum and the waves sprayed over the sides of the deck.  Water misted over them and Henry began to growl.  He sunk his belly low to the ground and another wave crashed over the side.  A flash of lightening lit up the sky and some pearl grey clouds appeared above them.  Henry hated getting wet and he growled louder.  A thunder clap roared back at him.

“Uh oh” said Madebonne.  Henry slunk low to the ground and ran below deck.  The boat rocked wildly and the rain started to fall in buckets.  Madebonne pulled her goggles over her eyes and ran over to her mom who was still securely strapped to the mast.  Water was sloshing over the sides of the lemonade pitcher as the boat sailed over the gigantic waves.  Captain Fletcher raced over and helped Madebonne untie the pitcher from the mast.
“Get below deck before you fall overboard,” ordered Captain Fletcher.  Madebonne grabbed the pitcher and she and Linda headed to the stairs.  Captain Fletcher headed back to the helm.  Linda hopped down the stairs and as Madebonne closed the hatch they heard a loud crash.

Question to Madeleine:  What is the loud crash?