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?"


  1. Hmm..I think she might be a parrot trainer who needs special costumes made for her circus extravaganza!

  2. Gorgeous illustrations? Who is the artist? You have me sucked into your world for sure.