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By RdotTornello © 2014
& The Village idiot Press
Harvey’s father Dr. Frederick Von Dickskoph, was an Amerindian archeologist. His mother, Cynthia d’Ren, was an MD, and also a Computational Physicist. They were not the best of parents in the classical helicopter sense that we now accept as correct parenting and as adjudicated by the California Civil Code. Harvey was left to his own devices many times while the two of them went about their professional careers, presentations and conferences. They did make sure Harvey was in good hands - Harvey had caretakers. His caretakers tended to make sure Harvey was alive; leaving him to do what he did best. They were more afraid of him than his parents or the law. Harvey was not your normal child. At an early age, he demonstrated a propensity for languages and computer software and an uncanny ability to fend for himself rather well. In fact by the time he was 10, he had invented a scanner, indexing-translator that broke the most stubborn languages known to humankind. He had automated most of the necessary functions within the house to work under his voice commands. Harvey could, for the most part, take care of himself short of driving the family vehicles without getting stopped for obvious notable physical age related reasons and signing binding contracts.
He was working on that.
Harvey had a pet cat named Speed-bump. She was a red-orange long-haired tabby that blended in with the oak wood floors and at night was all but invisible until Harvey or someone tripped over her on their way to the hall bathroom in the dark. There upon this dark shadowy mass would move ever so slightly to one side or the other and become invisible again.
Harvey had been interested in communication with animals ever since his caretaker read Dr. Doolittle to him at the age of 1. The translating device was a result of this effort. Harvey and Speed-bump could talk in a matter of fashion. She had a different take on life and basically didn’t care about much except food, toys, mice and Harvey. Oh yes, I forgot, and a clean litter box.
Officially, for security reasons, Harvey was never supposed to go into his dad’s laboratory unescorted. There were always things that should not be touched. His mother just locked her computer system. However, that never stopped Harvey and they all knew it. As long as he caused no great harm, they let him be.
One evening, Harvey went into his dad’s lab rooting around for that new set of photos from a new Mayan dig. His dad had been grumbling about how different these glyphs were from any others. “Harvey I don’t want you near these until I’ve had some time to figure out when they were written. I mean it this time too.” Rules, be-they-as-they-may, usually meant that Harvey had permission to dig. So he did and discovered the articles on top of the desk under a file marked “GLYPHS run in Harvey’s translator.” There was another note taped to the page, very different?? not Mayan??
Speed-bump looked up and said “Merowwwer.” This meant, ‘Now what are you going to do with these and can I eat them when you’re finished?’"
“Speed-bump, this is food for the mind, not your stomach.”
“Meroroew,” ‘(phooey why bother then?)’"
Harvey grabbed the data and ran up to his room. He scanned all the data into the computer and let it run.
Harvey looked down at Speed-bump and gave her a kitty treat, and a kiss on her furry head. As he did the computer beeped and the screen read “NEW LANGUAGE TEXT, DIFFICULTY LEVEL EXTREMELY HIGH.” Harvey usually had a backup plan when this sort of activity appeared but it would eat up a lot time. He sighed in frustration. “I have to figure out how to make this system work faster.” He headed out to the kitchen. Speed-bump followed along knowing Harvey’s next move would be to the fridge for milk and pie.
Harvey was a creature of habit and sure enough that’s exactly what he did.
Harvey grabbed a small carton of chocolate milk and a whole fresh cold apple pie. He looked at the carton and saw HAVE YOU SEEN ME with the associated pictures and wondered if anyone would even know if he were gone. “Speed-bump, other than you, do you think they would miss me if I disappeared?”
Speed-bump shook her big furry head in a no. She said, “If they fed me I might not either. Can I have a piece of pie?” She loved pie. She rolled over on her back and did her best version of a spread eagled dead kitty.
Harvey scratched behind her ear and cut her a piece of pie a bit smaller than his. His phone indicated that his computer wanted him back at the screen. He quickly finished most of his pie leaving all the rest for Speed-bump. She was a four legged food vacuum cleaner. She loved people food. She scarfed it up and quickly followed Harvey, pie bits hanging on her long white whiskers.
Off to his room he went. The computer said it had translated the data. Harvey read the notes aloud to Speed-bump. “It was not a language of any known on the planet and indicates a possibility of an alien origin. It further stated, that it thought the data translated was a recipe, and that if correct, might explain the origins of human sacrifice if it could be linked with other cultures. The recipe follows.”
It gave the full translation for Noids as follows:
In search of a good solstice snack? Tired of the same old-same old? Our food tasters, experts in this sort of search, have combed over 35 planets in order to bring you the best of the best. Of these we chose just one that was exceptional. I don’t know how we missed them but they were right under our radar. NOIDS, you’ll love them!
So when you get the urge for something new and tasty, come to our booth at the ABELL 520 FOOD COURT, you’ll be glad you did.
For a bonus here’s our favorite recipe:
Cook Noids no more than 10 revolutions old. Older ones tend to be tough and shall we say, taste nasty because of hormones, except when made into a stew. Do not freeze until prepared, and fresh is always best if you have the facilities to keep them alive until ready to prepare in the usual methods. We suggest you pass on frozen and only purchase the fresh ones.
1: Skin and cut into bite sized pieces. Then soak in dihydrogynoxide until the meat absorbs all the fluid. Keep refrigerated until you’re ready to cook. Battered with a grain covering of your choice is fine using some form of food bonding agent. We recommend a number of them if you inquire. Twice covered is even better.
2: Heat the cooking lubricant till it smokes, just before ignition. Deeply dip the Noids for a flash, remove quickly and drain. You don’t want to saturate the Noids with the lubricant. The extreme heat of the lubricant combined with the dihydrogenoxide will cook the covered Noids instantly. If you’re not sure try a few to get the dipping time down. We cannot recommend raw or undercooked Noids
We suggest that you mix the deep fried NOIDs with your favorite plant food groups and top with a variety of fermented fruit based treats.
The computer added aloud, my best guess is that NOIDS, the equivalent of “Tastes Like Chicken.”
Harvey looked at Speed-bump thought about all that for a bit and queried, “To what end did this play in ancient civilizations? Computer go both to voice and print out.”
The computer hummed and then stated, “Acknowledged. Based upon the data and the history of the planet as I have researched, I conclude that possibly staving off war, limiting population growth within these early civilizations, and fomenting the development of the metaphysical fairy tales that exist today are the end results of this alien effort. It appears that the young were tasty morsels to these beings. Do you want more analysis?”
“Not for now. Thank you computer.” Harvey was always polite.
Harvey though about what the computer indicated. He studied the recipe muttering “Noids? Noids are what.. are…oh my! Humanoids! Speed-bump, that’s what’s going on with these children on the milk cartons and why there is so much conflict on the planet. We are their treats. They're McNuggets! We’ve got to warn the others before…what’s the use, no one will believe us. We have to get off this planet, but how?”
The cat stopped and looked at Harvey in a manner it had never done before. She stood up. Harvey said “Speed-bump, are you okay? You’re scaring me.”
Harvey looked at Speed-bump, gave her a pat on her head and nodded as they both faded into wherever it is that Speed-bump had promised.
The next week, Harvey’s picture was on every milk carton on the planet and in every quick food establishment.
micheledutcher - jbaumgartner13 wrote: Great characterization and fun plot. The use of a 10 year old to as a protagonist is genius and allows the ending to actually work better than it should.
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