Friday, September 18, 2015



Terri DelCampo

Kid Joey didn't get bored often, it seemed there was always something to do at Grandma Crystal's. 
But most of what was to be done he'd been into today.  He'd visited the worms inching along the back path and put them into Grandma Crystal's flower beds, he'd raced Kato back and forth in the yard and had only beaten Kato to the back boundary once out of five races.  And that was because Kato had been napping and Kid Joey had been halfway across the yard before the dog had realized there was a race going on.  Kato's speed came in handy on adventures. 
He'd checked the mailbox twice, spied on Rosie and Grandma Crystal who were baking cookies in the kitchen but they weren't out of the oven yet, so he left the kitchen, since they were peanut butter cookies and not the kind that got decorated with icing. 
He sat on the steps, chin propped on hands, elbows on knees, not exactly pouting, more like thinking - trying to come up with something to do. 
Kato came bounding into the room, chin still soggy from the water Kid Joey had just heard him slurp out of his massive bowl in the kitchen. 
His Blue Tick Hound eyes implored Kid Joey to come up with an adventure as he sat down right in front of him and rested that soggy chin of his on Kid Joey's knee. 
"I know.  You're bored too, right?  Any ideas?"
As luck would have it, Kato did have an idea, and he took off up the stairs knowing his buddy would follow. 
"You want…what?" Kid Joey said to his spotted pal who planted himself expectantly in the middle of nowhere in the upstairs hallway. 
Kato lifted his eyes toward the ceiling. 
And the rope. 
The rope attached to Kid Joey's doorway to adventure - Grandma Crystal's attic. 
"We will get in trouble," Kid Joey said.  Kato lifted his chunky paw and batted Kid Joey's leg, whined his impatience and looked up again.  Kid Joey rolled his eyes and dragged Rosie's desk chair out of her room. 
Kid Joey had thought Kato climbing the ladder to the attic was hilarious - especially coming back down, but after the first time, Kato's climbing skills had improved and he moved carefully up the steps and only slipped once. 
With his best buddy right behind him, he didn't fall, so the duo reached the attic in no time flat, without even anyone downstairs hearing them.  Not even Kato's furry sister, Brie who was down in the kitchen hoping for errant cookies to slip off of moving spatulas, and make it to her territory on the floor. 
But that wasn't for Kato.  He wanted real adventure and he knew right where to find it. 
He batted the drawer and Kid Joey shook his head. 
"No way!  Grandma Crystal will have a cow!  I thought you were up here to chase bugs!" 
Kato whined, now grumpily.  Sometimes his friend could be such a goober!  What's a little trouble when it came to adventure?!
"We'll be in time out - or Grandma Crystal's hard labor - for a week!"
Kato's tilted head and grumpy, slightly pathetic whine did it.
Kid Joey slid the drawer open with nary a squeak, and removed the object of Kato's desire.
They sat right there on the floor with the velvet cloaked thing between them.  Kid Joey looked into Kato's urgent eyes and shrugged as he slowly slid the smooth midnight blue cloth from its place covering the crystal ball perched on its moon and stars stand. 
They had only wanted a peek at the swirling fog inside the mysterious orb. 
Who knew they'd see it from the inside? 
And today it wasn't fog. 
Just blackness. 
And suddenly Kato and Kid Joey were inside it - inside the blackness. 
And their arms and legs disappeared!
"What?" Kid Joey yelped and Kato whined, kind of shaken up. 
"Wiggle," came a voice behind them.  "You don't need arms and legs if you just wiggle.  It's what worms do." 
Kid Joey looked over and saw a worm face close by him in the grass.  He looked on the other side of him and saw the funniest-looking worm ever - white with black spots and fur!
Kato worm. 
Kato worm made another muffled whine, there in the shade of the giant grass that was already in the shade of the side of the house, which was why the ball had been dark.  But things were about to become darker. 
Kid Joey, looking pretty hilarious himself, began to take their new friend's advice and wiggled. 
Funny or not it worked, and Kid Joey moved forward, (he guessed, it was hard to tell front and back of worms), towards the pansy bed. 
Wendy worm, who'd introduced herself by then, dove into the topsoil, slowly disappearing into it, tunneling in between the roots of the little purple flowers - Rosie's favorites because of their color, and they sometimes had little faces, it seemed.  But his sister wasn't on Kid Joey's mind this afternoon, just his fascination with moving through the soil as if it were water.  And since Kato was right beside him, he wasn't frightened in the dark, unfamiliar territory, so he followed Wendy into the soil and around the roots of the little flowers.  Funny, they usually looked tiny and fragile to him when he helped Grandma Crystal plant them, but now they looked like tree roots to him, considering his diminutive size. 
 With the cookies cooling on the stackable racks in the kitchen (one or two in Rosie's belly, and half of one in Brie's), Grandma Crystal made her way upstairs to her room to find her book and take it downstairs onto the porch with a cup of tea and read for a little while. 
Finding the chair in the middle of the hallway, even though the attic ladder was drawn up after the two conspirators, put a frown on Grandma Crystal's face.  She knew the shenanigans a boy and his mutt could get into up in the attic.  And she didn't like it one little bit! 
Up she went, her book forgotten for the moment, and immediately spied the crystal ball on the floor, (didn't even get it to the table!) black inside, which puzzled her, and then she saw the light at the end of one of the tunnels in that blackness and knew just where her grandson and his fur-ball sidekick were. 
She started back down the ladder, and then thought better of it and just walked over to the crystal ball, closed her eyes and let herself be sucked into its vortex. 
Grandma Crystal, of course had no intention of tunneling this afternoon (though it was good for her garden, which was the only thing that would save her grandson and his furry conspirator when she grabbed hold of their no-doubt slimy little bodies), strode over to the tiny holes that Kid Joey and Kato had left behind them when they followed Wendy into the flower bed.  She stood shaking her head for a moment, knowing she would have to serious up when she pulled their sorry butts (well, once they were back to being human and canine, they would have butts again) out of the soil that they were aerating and fertilizing (worms just poop, there are no toilets underground), and carted them back out of the crystal ball.  She used her fingers to rake away some of the topsoil from the area around the tunnel entrance and there they were. 

Hey, Kid Joey thought as suddenly he and Wendy Worm and Kato Worm were blinded for a few moments with the bright sunlight, their tunnel disappearing in the instant it took Grandma Crystal to swipe away the soil around them. 
Then he was sailing through the air, Grandma Crystal's giant fingers securely around his middle, and that of Kato Worm. 
"What will you boys get into next?  You're lucky you were transformed into worms!  I know the spell that can change you back from that one!  And you're lucky you helped my little flowers or your butts would be grass and me a lawnmower!"  She reprimanded, holding the little worms up in front of her face to give them a good talking to.  She shook her head as they dangled before her, almost laughed, and gave a little hop at which point Kid Joey and Kato found themselves being sucked upward in a gust of air, sort of; it's hard to describe what it feels like to be sucked into and back out of a crystal ball - you really have to experience that for yourself.  You'll have to ask your own grandma to show you her crystal ball - yes, almost every family has a 'special' grandma who has a crystal ball, but it's hard to get them to fess up. 
Suddenly Kid Joey and Kato found themselves standing in front of Grandma Crystal in the attic, streaked with mud, covered with it, actually, and looking pretty wretched. 
"Proud of yourselves for sneaking around and getting yourselves buried in my pansy bed?"
Kid Joey looked at his dirt-caked furry friend, not daring to smile, except inside, and let Grandma Crystal have her say.  Her very stern and furious say, (though she didn't feel that way inside; inside she was howling with laughter.  The ball had changed them into worms - priceless!  Hahaha!  That would fix them…well maybe not, they were boys after all).  She scolded them for sneaking around instead of coming to get her and including her in their adventure, and then she ordered them to the bathtub.  "After which you will write me a story, complete with pictures, of your garden adventure.  Understood?" Even Kato seemed to nod as he and Kid Joey were ushered into the bathroom.  "And clean that tub and the floor and put your clothes immediately into the washer, young man!"  She bossed them all the way down the ladder and into the bathroom where she got them towels out of the linen closet - old ones, because she figured they would probably miss spots of their cruddy bodies as usual. 
Kid Joey scrubbed himself and Kato under the shower, and it felt good to wash off the mud, but he would never forget how much fun it had been to tunnel through it with his friend Wendy Worm. 


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