Authors: David Lubar
STARSCAPE BOOKS BY DAVID LUBAR
In the Land of the Lawn Weenies
and Other Warped and Creepy Tales
Invasion of the Road Weenies
and Other Warped and Creepy Tales
A Tom Doherty Associates Book
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This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed
in this novel are either fictitious or are used fictitiously.
Copyright © 2007 by David Lubar
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book,
or portions thereof, in any form.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
A Starscape Book
Published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
First Edition: March 2007
Printed in the United States of America
0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
For Bruce Coville,
with affection, admiration,
and a pinch of awe
which takes place
on the longest Wednesday
any guy has ever lived through
THE GORILLA WHO
clung to the ceiling was wearing a Princeton t-shirt. It must have been an XXXXL. Exxxxelll. Exxxxelllent. That was funny. I laughed. He didn’t seem to mind. He just kept playing with his cigarette lighter, sparking tiny fireworks through the air. His glasses had thick, black frames. They made him look smart. Laughing made my head spin, so I closed my eyes.
He was gone when I woke up. The walls were still rippling. They always rippled. Sometimes, they hummed movie music. They’d been painted by Vincent
Gogh. A fuzzy man wearing a vanilla coat came in through the door and gave me a sandwich. Grilled cheese. Gorrrilllad cheese. The dark and light-brown patterns looked like George Washington. The father of our country winked at me. George Winkington. Everyone knows he washed down the cherry cheese.
The cheese was sort of tangy.
That’s a taste. I rubbed my tongue across my front teeth and tried to remember the last time I’d tasted something. I knew I’d had other meals. I could remember the clack of a
plastic knife and fork against a tray. But I couldn’t remember any tastes or smells. It was all cardboard. I stared at my right hand. My fingers grew longer. I stared harder. They snapped back. But the crumbs on my fingertips kept singing. It was a nice song about fractions.
I finished my sandwich and took another nap.
The walls didn’t ripple at all when I woke. Picasso had snuck in and painted over Van Gogh’s work. Vincent would be furious about that. Picasso better keep an eye on his ears.
I sat up to look around. My body got there first, so I waited for my head to catch up. There was nothing much to see in the room. A wooden chair. Walls made of cinder blocks. An open door to a bathroom. A small table. No gorilla. Too bad. He was funny.
I didn’t have any idea where I was. Or why. My brain started to spin, so I flopped back down. My pillow smelled like sweat.
I heard footsteps, followed by the swoosh of a bolt sliding free. I wasn’t in any shape to deal with people. As the door opened, I shut my eyes and slumped deeper into the mattress.
A hand touched my shoulder, and then shook it.
“Come on, Eddie. It’s time to play our game.”
What was he talking about? I tried to think. It was like jogging under water. Or under syrup.
That was me. Eddie Thalmayer. I knew who I was. But I had no idea who this guy was or why he wanted to play a game.