Lance And The Invisible Realm: Part 1
By Randy Fairbanks a.k.a. Greasy Kid Stuff's Uncle Randy
Art by Sarah BedfordOne afternoon, Lance was pacing back and forth in the school library, feeling very uninspired. An oral book report was due very soon. All of the other children had chosen books, and were now sitting at a table nearby, chattering and giggling, showing off their selections. Watching them, Lance grew more and more depressed. He just couldn't make a choice.
Glancing at the clock on the wall, Lance realized that the library period was almost over- just two minutes left! Frustrated, he slammed his fist on the table beside little Annie Brickhouse. "These books! They're all so lame!" he complained. "There must be something more! There has to be something more!"
"Oh Lance," she replied. "Stop being so dramatic! Just pick a book and read it. Like me! I'm doing Paul Revere! You know why? Because every time I do Paul Revere, I get an 'A,' that's why!" Then she flipped open her book to Paul Revere and began taking notes.
Wandering away, Lance wondered if Annie Brickhouse was right. Maybe he was being dramatic, pretentious, difficult. Maybe he should just calm down and do an oral report on someone like Paul Revere, or Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin.
"No!" Lance shouted out loud as he stormed across the room to confront the school librarian at the checkout desk. "There must be something more! There has to be something more!"
The librarian, a quiet, stern, stoop-shouldered, old man named Mr. Gordon, looked up slowly. He stared at Lance through thick glasses that made his eyes look very big. After studying Lance for a moment, he spoke softly.
"There is more, Lance. You just never asked for it."
Then with a sudden jerk, Mr. Gordon snatched his cane, stood up and hobbled away.
Following behind, Lance found that the old man was moving with surprising speed. Lance even had a hard time keeping up. As they proceeded through the library, Lance began to feel strange, disoriented. The room, which only moments ago, had seemed small and inadequate, now seemed boundless, full of mystery.
Farther and farther they went, away from Lance's class. The giggling and chattering of the children grew quieter, more distant, until Lance couldn't hear it at all. In fact, he couldn't hear anything. Even his own footsteps were inaudible. Then, Lance began to detect an odd smell-some kind of perfume or incense. The odor grew more intense with every step Lance took. It made him feel dizzy, giddy.
Suddenly, Mr. Gordon stopped short. He pointed to a rack of dusty, old books. Taped to a high shelf was a sign labeling the section: OCCULT SCIENCES.
Lance was very impressed. He had heard of Indian fakirs, who walked on hot coals, slept on nails and had themselves buried alive, but he never imagined that he would actually encounter an entire section of books devoted to the subject-especially right here in the school library!
Lance was just about to say all this and more to Mr. Gordon when he realized that the old man was no longer standing beside him. The aisle was empty. Lance was completely alone.
Shrugging, he turned back to the rack and eyed the books before him. They seemed incredibly fragile, as though a breath could cause them to crumble and blow away. One book, in particular, grabbed Lance's attention. It was bright red and had gold lettering on the spine. EASTERN MYSTICISM FOR KIDS, Lance read aloud in a voice breathless with awe.
Impulsively, Lance pulled the book down from the shelf. In his hands, it didn't seem delicate at all. In fact, it felt amazingly sturdy, heavy, maybe even indestructible!
Inside the front cover was a library card. Lance noticed that the book had been checked out repeatedly, always by the same boy-Dominick Mistrot.
"Dominick Mistrot!", Lance repeated to himself. "He was that funny-looking, reclusive kid with the creepy, squeaky voice. He had disappeared last year. No one ever found out what happened to him!"
Closing the book, Lance realized that he had been away from the others for quite a long time. "Oh no!" he thought. "Library period is probably over! I bet they've started Gym! I hope I can catch up! I hope I can find my way back!"But suddenly, Lance realized that he was back! He was standing in the middle of the library. Gone was the old rack, the odd smell, the unnatural silence. Before Lance was a room full of children, all of them chattering and giggling just as they were.
"That's kind of weird," Lance remarked to himself.
Then, glancing at the clock on the wall, he noticed that the time hadn't changed since he had last checked. There were still two minutes left before the end of library.
"Hmmm. That's also kind of weird."
Of course, Lance was far too excited to get upset over such minor inconsistencies. Hugging his book, he marched up to Mr. Gordon, who had returned to his place behind the checkout desk. On the old man's face was a smile so tiny, only Lance could see it.
"Did you find a book for your oral report?" asked the librarian.
"Yes I did!" Lance announced as he slid the ancient text onto the counter. "I found the perfect book!"
After school that day, Lance rushed right home. He ran past his sister, Mallory, and her friends playing in the yard, past his mother preparing dinner in the kitchen. He just couldn't wait to begin dabbling in Eastern Mysticism! Alone with the library book in his room, he decided to start at the very beginning, rather than flipping to the end to see what happened, as he usually did.
In the first chapter, he learned that, in order to become a mystic, he would have to start meditating, and, in order to meditate, he would have to find an object to contemplate: an object whose essence could lead Lance to the essence of life itself!
Lance looked all around his room for such an object - In his closet, his dresser. He even looked under his bed, but he couldn't find one anywhere.
The search made Lance tired and hungry. Deciding to take a break, he reached into a gummi candy assortment package. He was just about to give himself a treat, when he stopped suddenly. He stared at the candy, and saw that it was staring back at him: It was a dark, black, gummi eyeball.
"This is it!" exclaimed Lance. "This is the perfect receptacle for Yogic meditation!"
Carefully, Lance placed the gummi eyeball on his pillow. Then, sitting at the foot of his bed, he gazed upon it. As his mantra, Lance decided to use the word "Gummi," along with other rhyming words, such as "Tummy," and, more significantly, "Ventriloquist's Dummy."
"GUMMIGUMMIDUMMYTUMMY," Lance repeated. "GUMMIGUMMIDUMMYTUMMY,"
Meditating, Lance realized that gummi candies can be made to look like anything. Therefore, anything is potentially gummi. The universe is united in potential gumminess. Gumminess is therefore the glue that holds the universe together.
These deep thoughts made Lance feel very encouraged. He knew that he was making excellent progress in his mystic studies.
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