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THREE

JimJim was in his room but it wasn’t Tuesday anymore. It was Friday. He wasn’t timeouting either. He hadn’t had any timeouts since Tuesday. That was three days with no timeouts.

He thought, “It’s totally terrific not to be timeouting. It’s too boring. I hate timeouting. I definitely won’t get the world timeout championship this week. PosterGuy is wrong about that champion stuff. I am definitely not going to be the champion this week.”

JimJim stared at something. It was a very good day until right then. He had gotten up that morning, feeling fine. He had gotten dressed and eaten breakfast. With his book bag over his shoulder, he was off to school.

Okay, it wasn’t a perfect day. He got two warnings from his teacher. He got a short timeout during recess. It wassn’t a big deal. He had most of his homework done. He didn’t get yelled at even once, all day.

“That was very good,” he thought. “I would have gotten yelled at if the lunchroom lady had seen us fooling around and tossing peanuts. She wasn’t looking at us. It was my lucky day.”

JimJim was supposed to be doing his homework. Instead, he wrote a note to his pen pal. He carefully addressed the envelope. He finished sticking the stamp in the corner of the envelope. He stared. His mouth dropped open. A huge moan started far down in his chest. It filled his room with a strange noise. He couldn’t believe what he saw.

At first, JimJim didn’t hear the voice coming from behind him. When he finally did, he took a big breath. He let it out slowly. He said, “What are you doing back here? Do you think you can just pop up and start talking to me whenever you feel like it?”

“JimJim, I heard you moaning. I slipped in to see what is happening. You sound like it’s not a good day anymore. You look like you saw a ghost. Anyone who sees you will turn green from fright. You look like you are going to be sick.”

PosterGuy folded his poster into a paper airplane and flew over to JimJim’s desk for a better look. He landed on the corner of the desk. He looked around and then he saw it. JimJim was staring at the stamp on the envelope.

PosterGuy hopped off of the paper airplane and leaned against JimJim’s computer screen. It took JimJim a few seconds to notice him. When he did, he started whining, “This isn’t fair. I haven’t gotten anymore timeouts. Well, okay, I did get that short timeout at school. That does not count. You can’t count that. It only counts when I get caught and sent to my room. It only counts if I end up doing some timeouting. It’s not fair.”

“What is going on here, JimJim? I’ve never heard you whine before. You are really good at it. You may be the world champion whiner. Where did you learn to whine like that? Did you have to go to whining school or something?”

JimJim didn’t say anything. He just sat there. He chewed on his lip. He stared at the stamp.

It seemed like a year but it was really only a couple of minutes before JimJim spoke. “It’s me. There is a trophy on that stamp. It’s me in the trophy. It’s my picture in the trophy. I’m not a President or someone famous. Why is my picture in a trophy? What am I doing in that trophy? I’m just a kid. My picture does not belong in a trophy on a stamp.”

“JimJim, my best bud, this isn’t your lucky day. I tried to warn you when I was here on Tuesday. It took a tad longer than I expected but you made it. You are famous. You are the new world champion timeouter. Congratulations, Champ. You are so famous that they put a picture of you in a trophy  on a stamp. Maybe you will soon see yourself on a billboard or even on TV. It won’t be long now until you get to move into the championship trophy. You should start thinking about what all you will take with you. There won’t be room for your computer but you can take most of your stuff. It’s getting close. It’s almost time.”

The purple shadow floated out from where it was hiding. It drifted up to the ceiling and across  the room. It was directly above JimJim’s head. It moved down to completely cover him. He didn’t see it but he could feel it. He knew that something very strange was happening to him.

The moan started way down in JimJim’s chest. “Ohhhhh, no, no, no. Get away from me. Leave me alone. It’s not fair. I don’t want to be the new timeout champion. I don’t want my picture in a trophy. I don’t want to live in a trophy. I won’t do it. You can’t make me do it, no way, no how.

“PosterGuy, you have to stop this. We have to talk. Get me out of that trophy. How do I get out of that trophy?

“PosterGuy, I’m talking to you. Stop just standing there and leaning on my computer screen. Stop grinning at me. You have to help me right now.”

It happened again. The purple shadow got smaller and lighter. This time, it didn’t float. This time, it crashed back to the shelf and into the corner behind TT’s old ball cap where it was hiding. It was like it was jerked off JimJim and thrown into the corner.

PosterGuy didn’t say anything for a while. He just stared at the stamp and then at JimJim. He closed his eyes and thought. He said to himself, “Maybe this is the guy we need. Maybe he should join us. I don’t know. It’s hard to decide if he can handle it. Maybe he can. It’s hard to decide.”

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