THE LITTLE RED DRAGON continued...
Theo then goes to the escalator that goes down. But he is too scared to get on it without holding onto the handrail and he already has both hands full.
Meanwhile down in the toy department on the first floor Marie tugs at Matthews arm. “Where’s Theo?” she asks. Everyone then realises that Theo is not with them. Maybe he is in the next aisle? Or the next aisle? Or the next aisle? No, they can’t find Theo anywhere on the first floor. Maybe he is still on the third floor? And they rush up the escalators to the third floor but they can’t find Theo there either!
“Stop for a moment,” says Matthew. “He is in the store somewhere and we need to leave soon to catch our train. I have an idea.”
The store loudspeaker crackles. Then a lady’s voice says: “Would Theodore Acidophilus Junior please come to the information desk by the main doors. Your friends are waiting for you there. I repeat, would Theodore Acidophilus Junior please come to the information desk by the Main doors. Your friends are waiting for you there.”
Theo heard. But how was he to get there? He hurt all over from his fall. Sniff. Both his arms hurt from holding up his tail. Another sniff. His head hurt from holding back his tears. How can he ask anyone for help when he is invisible? I’m invisible…Yes!! I’m invisible! It was Theo’s turn to have a good idea. He quickly went over and stood next to a group of customers waiting at a counter to be served. The salesman was very busy.
Theo called out in his very best grown-up voice. “Excuse me sir, would you tell me how to get to the main doors without using the escalator?”
The salesman hardly turned around to see who had spoken. “The open doorway over to the left will lead you to the stairway down Sir.”
The lady at the information desk was not sure what went on. First there were six very upset children, asking her to use her microphone to call their friend Theodore Acidophilus Junior. But barely five minutes later, they were laughing and jigging around and rushing out the doors. They didn’t wait for their friend after all.
Jack stopped them for a moment when they were out on the street and clipped back up Theo’s tail. “Now we are late, we are going to have to run for the train.” And down the street they ran and caught the train just in time.
Next morning, before roll call and before the story, the class loudly sang Happy Birthday Miss Grey. And Miss Grey looked very surprised and very pleased.
“Fancy you remembering it is my birthday today.” She opened her big card with all their names in it. And said it was lovely and what lovely messages they had all written in it. Then she undid the red ribbon on her present. She took off the silver paper. She opened the box, and took out the shiny red cellphone. “Oh, it’s beautiful, and such a lovely red. It is just what I wanted. Thank you all so very much!”
“Miss, miss, it has a camera in it too,” called out Theo. And everyone laughed.
Then Miss Grey said why should they all have to wait until lunchtime to eat birthday cake and she cut the very big chocolate birthday cake into lots of big pieces. Theo was so excited he sang Happy Birthday all the way through in his deep grumble voice, and the class joined in at the end to add Hip Hip Hooray, and Miss Grey took a photograph of them all singing with her new shiny red cellphone.
Somewhere between eating birthday cake, singing happy birthday and the roll call, Miss Grey and the rest of the class heard all about the adventure in the city. Theo showed off all his blue sticking plasters that Marie had put on for him.
Miss Grey looked concerned. “It could be dangerous for Theo if ever gets lost again.
Would anyone mind if I gave him my old cellphone so he is always able to contact someone?” And when everyone replied they thought that was a good idea, “And Matthew, would you teach him how to use it?”
And that is how Theo had an adventure in the city, ate chocolate birthday cake and was given his own cellphone.
The Weekend of the Stay-over
Matthew had a very important question on his mind. He finished eating his dinner and before being asked, gets up and clears the table and washes the dishes. Afterwards he takes his parents a cup of tea each and a plate of ginger biscuits. It is time to ask: “Mum, Dad, can Jack come to stay for the weekend? And before you answer, Dad, you don’t have to pick him up. We have talked it over and he can come home with me on the train after school on Friday and go back with me on Monday morning.”
His Dad looks at his Mum. “It’s ok by me.”
We’ve met Jack,” says Mum, “he seems a sensible boy. I shall phone and organise it with his mother.”
What Matthew did not add was that he also had invited Theo to stay. In a couple of weeks the school was going on a beach picnic and Theo was worried that he could not swim. “We have a swimming pool at home, Jack and I can teach you,” he had said.
Miss Grey had to remind Matthew and Jack on Friday to pay attention and stop whispering in class. She noticed that Theo was also very restless. “Matthew, Jack, Theo. I would like you to stay behind at playtime. I want to talk with you.” It was then that Miss Grey heard about the coming weekend and what they were worried about.
“We don’t know if Theo can stay all that time with us. Normally, he tells us that after we leave for home he just goes ‘pop’ and arrives back at his house, just in time for his dinner.”
“Mnn,” answers Miss Grey. “Theo, you could leave the school grounds and go on the Nature Walk and also go to the city and you were with your friends until late that day. I think maybe it is as the class says: it is your friends wanting you to be with them that keeps you here. But Matthew, do make sure his cellphone stays charged.” She continued, “you can tell the class all about your weekend on Monday morning.”
Matthew’s mother was busy in the kitchen when they arrived. So she just briefly put her head around the kitchen door. “Hello Jack nice to see you here. Put your bag in Matthew’s bedroom. I have made up a bed on the floor for you. You boys can change out of your school clothes and have a swim in the pool before dinner time. Arion is already in the pool. It is BBQ for dinner tonight.”
Arion is Matthew’s older brother. Matthew had tried to tell him about Theo but Arion had laughed and said he was too old to believe in dragons anymore. Matthew grinned, his brother was going to get a big surprise today. And Arion did get a surprise.
He saw Matthew, and then Jack, jump into the pool. “Come on, jump Theo!” they yelled. Arion saw two float rings rise up in the air and then before they hit the water there was a huge, huge splash. Then he heard ho ho ho and ha ha ha in a deep grumble voice.
Arion thought the boys were teasing him because he was at the age where his own voice was changing. He could have a high voice, then a low voice even in the same sentence. But Matthew was saying, “Arion I would like you to meet my red dragon friend, Theodore Acidophilus Junior. Theo I would like you to meet my brother, Arion.”
Arion was so surprised he forgot he did not believe in dragons - at first he saw a big bright red dragon tongue with a purple stripe down it, then a smile, that quickly becomes a red dragon, right in front of him in the water.
“Gosh, a live dragon! Hello Theo.” Then Arion asks,” Does Mum know he is here?”
“No,” says Matthew with a giggle. “We checked up close. Twice.”
Time for Theo’s swimming lessons. Theo said he only had streams and ponds where he lived, but none big enough to swim in. Soon he was floating so well he could take off the float rings. By the end of Saturday he could swim from one side of the swimming pool to the other.
“This is fun.” calls out Theo, “Watch how long I can hold my breath and sit on the bottom!” But he sat on the bottom so long that Arion got nervous and dragged him up to the top.
“Did I stay down longer than any of you can?” asks Theo, taking big gasping breaths.
“Much, much longer. But please don’t stay down that long again. Your face has gone all blue and your eyes are bulging!” worries Arion.
Just at that moment there was a call. “Boys, boys. Nearly time for dinner. Get out of the pool now and get the table and chairs out of the shed and put them over there under the trees. The weather is so lovely we’ll eat outside tonight. Why just look at that ocean of water you boys are leaving on the floor! You better wipe it up.”
That was the only time that Matthew’s mother come even close to discovering they had an extra visitor that weekend. Though, she was left with a couple of small mysteries. The boys seemed to eat much more than she expected, the cupboards were nearly empty. And then there were the conflicting stories about the guinea pigs.
to be continued...
Copyright: Lois E Hunter