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Story [Disney] The Adventures of Milo Murphy

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Chancellor_Ewok, Jun 2, 2019.

  1. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    The nondescript looking van pulled into the vacant field and stopped, its engine idling in the air of the cold November morning. The side door opened and two men got out. They were both wearing nondescript looking black suits and sunglasses. The first man was in his fifties and had a tall, erect bearing. He looked as though he was used to being in charge. The second man standing next to him was approximately twenty years younger. He had dark hair which starting to recede into a widow’s peak and accentuated his lean, angular face.
    “Are you sure this is the right location,” asked Director Nibblet.
    Lieutenant John Tennant reached into the inside pocket of his coat and pulled out a small GPS tracker. He pushed a button and wide the for the device to activate. It pinged, and then pinged again as it acquired several orbiting satellites. It pinged a third time as it locked in on their current location. “We have the right location, Sir,” said Tennant.
    The Director nodded, “good.” He turned back to the van, made a hand gesture and several more people, this time dressed in white coveralls got out. They threw open the back doors and extracted several large black garbage bags. They opened them and proceeded to scatter their contents all over the ground. When they were done, they casually tossed out a couple of cube shaped objects, roughly the size of a baseball among the piles of refuse scattered all over the place. Then they got back in the van and drove off.

    Melissa didn’t appear at school for the next three days. “She must be really sick,” said Zack. “She hardly ever misses a day of school.”
    Milo nodded in agreement as the two boys walked up the front walk to Melissa’s front door. “I can’t remember the last time she came down with a case of the flu this bad,” he said. He reached out rang and the door bell. “I hope she’s OK.”
    Milo and Zack stood on Melissa’s door mat for what seemed to be an eternity. Finally, the door slowly creaked open. Melissa stood framed in the open door, wrapped in a pink dressing gown.
    “Hi guys,” she said thickly. She looked as bad as she sounded. Her eyes were watering, her throat sounded as if it had been rubbed raw by sandpaper and her sinuses had been filled with cement. She looked as though she had barely slept.
    Milo traded a surprised look with Zack. “Oh,” he said. “I’m sorry Melissa-,”
    “We haven’t seen you at school for the last couple of days,” continued Zack, reaching into Milo’s backpack. He pulled out an armful of textbooks. “So we brought you your homework.” He handed them to Melissa.
    “Thanks, guys,” she said, taking the armful of books from Zack. For some reason that he couldn’t explain Zack suddenly felt himself suddenly growing hot, despite the cold weather and he was suddenly glad that no one could see him blushing. Seeing Melissa standing in her doorway looking sick, tired and disheveled, as opposed to her usual smart, confident and assertive self, ready to take on whatever Murphy’s Law threw at her hapless best friend, ready to stick up for him whenever he was bullied and treated like a pariah, it was as if the person standing in the doorway wasn’t Melissa and Zack suddenly half regretted bringing her her schoolwork, even though he knew that she would have killed the two of them if they hadn’t.
    “C’mon Milo,” he said. “We should let Melissa go back to bed.”
     
  2. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    I have a feeling that this going to be a much bigger writing project than I initially thought it was going to be. I originally intended for each story arc to unfold over approximate twelve or thirteen episodes, as with The Duckburg Incident, however, my writing plan for Falling for Perfection is now seriously out of whack. Chronologically, it’s the end of November and American Thanksgiving, but I am just starting Ep. 22, which should be set in May or June. I am starting to wonder if this story should be broken into two separate story arcs, otherwise it will probably wind up being over a hundred pages long.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  3. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    I'm terribly interested in how tracking works. Poor sick girl! *brings her tea*

    Well, if the writing plans change, that's okay, you know. Sometimes I feel like any long work gets to feeling like Hercules fighting the Hydra:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    It’s not so much that the writing plan is changing, its more that it’s taking a lot longer to write this particular story arc than I initially expected. Case in point, I am in the middle of trying to write Thanksgiving at Milo’s house and wound up introducing a character who was referenced in A Christmas Peril, his cousin Reggie.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
    pronker likes this.
  5. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Episode Twenty-Two

    The first dusting of snow fell a few days before Thanksgiving. There was only just enough cover the ground, but Milo’s backyard looked as if it had been covered by a pristine white sheet and the snow had settled in a thin layer on the roof and window ledges of Doof’s shed, making in look as though it had been decorated with white icing. The only sign of life in the snow covered yard was a clearly marked set of boot prints leading from the shed the back door into the kitchen, as well as two sets of platypus tracks. When Milo woke up on the morning of Thanksgiving, the smells wafting up into his bedroom from the kitchen made his mouth water. He tugged on his bathrobe, pulled some clean clothes out of his closet and stumped down the hall to the bathroom. Milo pushed open the bathroom door and went inside. He flicked on the bathroom light, which flickered once and then went out. The emergency light over the bathroom door came on and Milo continued his usual morning routine unhindered. The mirror over the bathroom sink spontaneously cracked while Milo was brushing his teeth. After he had finished in the bathroom and gotten dressed, Milo casually sauntered downstairs to the kitchen.
    When Milo arrived in the kitchen ten minutes later, after picking up all the fallen pictures in the upstairs hallway, and after having put his foot through the stairs twice, it was to the smell of scrambled eggs and bacon, which spontaneously burst into flames as he entered the room. “Morning, Sara,” he said cheerily.
    “Morning little bro,” replied Sara, as she reached for the fire extinguisher to put out the grease fire on the stove.
    Milo eyed the charred mess on the stove. “Sorry about breakfast,” he said, looking slightly sheepish.
    Sara was just opening her mouth to reply, when Martin walked into the kitchen, still in his pajamas and slippers. Like his son, Martin cast an eye over the stove, which was now covered in a thick layer of fire retardant. “Oh,” he said, “I thought I smelled Murphy’s Law torching breakfast.”
    “Morning, Dad,” said Milo.
    “Good morning, kids,” said Martin. He eyed the mess on the stove again. “So whose idea was this?”
    Sara shrugged apologetically, “actually, it was mine. It was supposed to be a surprise.”
    Milo was rooting through the pantry for pancake mix and a mixing bowl. “It’s OK, Dad,” he said, “I got this.”
    Sara cast a half amused look at her brother as he enthusiastically set about making pancakes. “Milo, are you sure?” she asked. “The last time you tried to cook you covered the entire kitchen with mac and cheese.”
    Milo waved casually waved away Sara’s concern. “It was a lesson learned,” he said, reaching into the fridge for milk and eggs with his grabber arm. “Murphy’s Law and yeast don’t mix.” He poured the wet and dry ingredients into the mixing bowl and mixed everything together. Milo reached under the kitchen counter and pulled open a cupboard door, which came off in his hand. Milo left the doorknob on the kitchen counter, reached under the kitchen counter and pulled an electric frying pan. He plugged it in and got a shock, which left Milo’s hair smoking slightly and standing on end. He smoothed down his hair while Sara laughed at him. Milo spread butter on the hot pan and soon he had half a dozen pancakes sizzling on the griddle. He was shovelling pancakes onto a plate when Brigitte walked into the kitchen.
    She sniffed, taking in the mingled smells of burned bacon, hot coffee and chemical fire suppressant, and took in her family rattling around the kitchen. Martin was sweeping up the remains of a coffee cup which had shattered in his hand. Sara was cleaning up the mess of charred bacon and eggs and fire retardant on the stove. Milo was casually flipping pancakes at the electric frying pan on the other side of the kitchen. “Murphy’s Law torch breakfast again?” she asked to the kitchen at large.
    “Yep,” said Milo. He shovelled some pancakes on to a plate and handed them to his mother. “Morning, Mom. Pancakes?”

    The doorbell rang at around 2:00 that afternoon, as the smells of a turkey dinner came wafting out of the kitchen. Milo skidded slightly in his stocking feet as he ran to get the door. He threw open the door to find his aunt and uncle and cousin standing on the doormat.
    “Hi Milo,” cried Uncle Joe. A little snow drifted down out of the lead coloured sky.
    “Hi Uncle Joe, Aunt Laura,” replied Milo, “Cousin Nate.”
    A slightly surly looking, dark haired boy around Sara’s age stood between Uncle Joe and Aunt Laura. “I do not have Murphy’s Law,” said Nate Murphy by way of greeting. “It skipped me.”
    “Right,” said Milo, chuckling. Behind Uncle Joe, half way up the front walk from the road, a ten year boy was getting to his feet, having somehow managed to slip and fall on mostly dry pavement. He got to his feet, brushed himself off and walked very carefully up the sidewalk to Milo’s front door. “Hi Reggie,” he said.
    “Hi Milo,” said Reggie. He nodded at Nate, “you should see what he did when we went Italy this summer.”
    “Oh,” replied Milo, his curiosity aroused,“what happened?”
    Uncle Joe laughed and gave Nate a nudge, “go on and tell him.”
    Nate sighed and scowled again. “I didn’t do anything,” he said in exasperation. “It collapsed on its own.”
    Milo looked from his aunt and uncle, to his cousins, and back again in confusion. “What happened, Uncle Joe?”
    By way of an answer, Joe pulled his phone out of his pocket. He began tapping and swiping until he found what he wanted and then handed his phone to Milo, who took it and tapped play. On the screen, Milo saw a slightly shaky image of Michelangelo’s David, then a familiar, sullen figure slouched across the camera’s field of view. For a second or two nothing seemed to happen, then with the sound of splintering stone, the David collapsed into a heap of rubble.
    Milo had no idea how he was supposed to react. On the one hand, Nate had reduced a priceless work of art to the consistency of gravel, but on the other hand, “yeah, Nate,” said Milo, with a small laugh. He handed Uncle Joe his phone back, “you definitely have Murphy’s Law.” Milo turned to Reggie. “I guess you’re carving a new one?”
    Reggie shrugged. “A block of marble was waiting in my workshop when we got home. Don’t ask me how it got there.”
    Milo was about to open his mouth to say something, when Sara stuck her head out of the living room door. “Milo,” she started to say, “we’re waiting for you to-,” she stopped when she caught sight of who was standing on the doormat. “Aunt Laura! Uncle Joe!” She practically ran down the hall to give her aunt and uncle a hug.
    Milo turned to Reggie again. “C’mon,” he said, “I’ll introduce you to my friends.” Milo shut the front door after his aunt and uncle. He turned and went back down the hall into the living room with Nate and Reggie following behind him. He pushed open the living room door just in time to hear Dakota shout triumphantly, “yeah! In your face!”
    Zack shook his head. “No way Dakota, you got lucky.”
    “Oh yeah,” Dakota cast a sidelong a Zack, “you wanna go again big man?”
    Before Zack could reply, Milo entered, trailed by Nate and Reggie. “Hey guys,” he said to the room at large, “I think you remember my cousin Nate-,”
    “How could we forget,” replied Melissa, with only a very slight note of acid in her voice. Zack and Melissa had met Milo’s aunt and uncle and his cousin the previous Christmas when Milo and Sara had surprised their parents by bringing Uncle Joe, Aunt Laura, Nate and their grandparents to town for Christmas Eve dinner. Zack and Melissa had found Joe, Laura and Milo’s grandparents to be perfectly likeable, but even Milo, who was almost endlessly polite, even to people who hated him, like Bradley and Elliot, had later admitted that he found Nate to be more than a little grating.
    “-And my cousin Reggie,” finished Milo. “He painted-,”
    “-A perfect copy of the Mona Lisa,” finished Zack.
    Reggie looked at his older cousin and beamed. “You told them about me?”he asked.
    Milo shrugged. “I may have told them a couple of stories.” He quickly made the introductions. “These are my friends, Melissa, Zack, Amanda and Dakota. That’s Perry,” The platypus tipped his fedora and chittered a greeting, “and that’s Cavenpuss.”
    “Hello, young man,” said Cavenpuss politely.
    Reggie gave Cavenpuss a slightly bewildered look, which Cavenpuss studiously ignored. “What is he?” he asked Milo in a low voice.
    “A long story,” replied Milo. Milo looked around the room, and turned to Dakota. “Where’d Cavendish go?” he asked.
    “Probably talking to your parents,” replied Dakota, not taking his eyes off of the video game he was playing with Zack. “What can I say, sometimes he’s not that much fun at parties.”
     
  6. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    They spent the rest of the afternoon before dinner gaming and chatting. Reggie pulled his sketch pad out of his bag and began to draw. He was sitting on the floor with his back against the sofa casually sketching and chatting with Zack, Melissa, Amanda, Dakota and Sara.
    “Those are pretty good,” said Amanda peering over Reggie’s shoulder at the near photorealistic landscape flowing from the tip of his pen.
    “Thanks,” said Reggie. He finished the piece, then ripped it out of his sketchbook and handed it to her.
    Sara gaped at Reggie and then at Amanda. She leaned over and spoke to Amanda in a low voice. “He must really like you,” she said. “He almost never gives his drawings to anyone, even family.”
    “Really?” asked Amanda.
    Sara nodded fervently. “Milo loves Reggie’s art. He’s asked for one of Reggie’s drawings four times.”
    Amanda looked down the sketch in her hands and she suddenly felt slightly uncomfortable. She knew almost nothing about art, but knew enough to recognize that the drawing Reggie had handed her was clearly a masterpiece. If she hadn’t actually seen him do it, Amanda wouldn’t have believed that it came from a ten year old. “Ummm….thanks, Reggie,” she said.
     
  7. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Episode Twenty-Three

    Amanda gave Sara a confused look and then looked down at the exceptional sketch that Reggie had handed her. “I don’t understand,” said Amanda. “Milo is Reggie’s cousin-,”
    Sara nodded. “-But he doesn’t share his art, and Milo, being Milo, doesn’t want to press the point.” Sara paused, wondering how to explain. “Milo thinks there’s a connection between Reggie’s art and Murphy’s Law.”
    “And speaking of Murphy’s Law,” put in Zack, he looked as though he was about to ask something he had been wondering all afternoon. “Milo, your dad, your grandpa, your uncle and both of your cousins in the place at the same time?”
    Dakota saw Zack’s point at once. “Seven Murphys in one place,” he said. “That’s a lot of Murphy’s Law.”
    Sara nodded, wondering why that hadn’t occurred to her before. She thought for awhile before answering. “Well, it’s been awhile,” she said. “The last time there were this many Murphys in one place was before Milo was born and it didn’t go well, so we stopped having family gatherings.” She paused and looked around, as if in anticipation. “The house is pretty sturdily built, but I admit that I’m surprised that nothing’s happened yet.” As if on cue, Milo, who had been sitting in a corner listening to the conversation, suddenly fell through the floor and landed with a thud in the basement.

    Thirteen people made for a tight fit around the Murphys’ dining room table. Milo found himself sitting next to Amanda, who was opposite Sara, Zack and Melissa. Nate and Reggie were sitting with Milo’s aunt and uncle at the other end of the table. Cavendish and Dakota were sitting in the middle, between Milo’s immediate family and Milo, Sara and Milo’s friends. Amid the clatter of knives and forks, Milo and his friends continued their conversation.
    “Did I understand you right?” asked Milo. “Reggie actually gave you one of his drawings?”
    Amanda nodded. “Sara said he almost never does that.”
    Milo shook his head, “no he doesn’t.” He paused for a swig from his glass of milk to wash down his mouthful of turkey and mashed potatoes, wondering how to explain. “Murphy’s Law doesn’t affect all of us in exactly the same way.” He paused again, searching for the right analogy. “It’s a bit like a fingerprint.”
    “So what does Reggie have to live with that you don’t?” asked Zack.
    “Well, Nate for start,” replied Milo.
    “Wait, so Murphy’s Law manifests in Reggie’s life through Nate?” asked Melissa in surprise. “How does that even work?”
    “We’re not entirely sure,” Milo admitted, “but Reggie has a lot more accidents and mishaps than I do for a start and Dad thinks that Nate’s fingerprint is his denial that he has Murphy’s Law in the first place.” Milo paused again and drained the last dregs of his glass of milk. The glass shattered in his hand. A thin trickle of blood welled in his palm, which he cupped and held upright. Without looking, Milo reached into his backpack, pulled out his first aid kit and calmly tied a bandage around his cut hand.
    “So what’s the connection between Reggie’s art and Murphy’s Law?” asked Amanda. “Sara said you think there is one.”
    Milo nodded, colouring slightly. “He draws for companionship,” he said simply. Milo watched the expression on Zack, Melissa and Amanda’s faces as they absorbed this information. He eyed Amanda. “What did you say to him, anyway?”
    Amanda flushed. “Nothing,” she replied. “I just said that his drawings were really, really good, and he ripped one out of his sketch book and handed it to me.”
    “Wait, back up,” said Zack. “Milo are you saying, that Reggie has no friends at all.”
    Milo nodded. “I Skype with him sometimes, when I can get my computer to work,” he said, “but he kind of reminds me of myself, before…well….”
    “You mean before me,” said Melissa, “don’t you Milo?” Milo nodded again. It was typical Milo. In spite of the ridiculousness that was his life, he was trying to reach out to his cousin, in whatever way he could to give him a shoulder to lean on.
    “I don’t know,” said Zack, after a moment’s thought. “It sounds like Reggie just made some new friends.”
     
  8. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Milo, Zack, Melissa and Amanda were back at school the next day. They met in the library after school to continue work on their on-going school projects. As everyone had been tugging on hats and coats after dinner, preparing to leave before the inevitable turkey coma set in, Milo, Zack, Melissa and Amanda had taken Reggie aside, where they had all exchanged contact information.
    “Reggie, I’ve got the three best friends in the world,” Milo had said, “and my friends are now your friends.”
    Reggie had looked at Milo like a deer caught in on-coming headlights. “I-really?”
    Amanda had nodded. “If you ever want to talk, you know how to get us.”
    As the four of them sat together talking and checking each other’s homework, Milo was quietly proud of his friends. He had thought that Zack, Melissa and Amanda would probably like Reggie, as he was a very likeable kid, but he hadn’t expected the three of them to take his cousin under their collective wing in quite the way that they had. It was only Milo’s innate humility that prevented him from acknowledging to himself that yes he really did have a knack for picking his friends. After a while, when Milo realized that he’d been staring at the same paragraph in his social studies text book for ten minutes, that his brain was saturated and he decided to call it quits for the day. “See you later, guys,” said Milo, packing his backpack. He pulled on his hat and coat, shouldered his backpack and left the library.

    The weather continued to get colder. It was now dark in the morning when Milo walked to the bus stop at the end of his street. On a couple of mornings, Milo had had to exchange his winter coat for his heavy snow suit. The windows of the houses in Milo’s neighbourhood cast squares of warm yellow light on bare snow covered lawns and twinkling Christmas lights began to appear around the windows and eaves and garages doors of the houses in Milo’s subdivision. When he wasn’t thinking about his homework, which took up most of his time and had left little time much else, he was starting to think about Christmas, which was a little less than a month away. The way in which Zack, Melissa and Amanda had unexpectedly reached out to Reggie had reinforced the feeling that Milo had had after his birthday and he once again started to wrack his brain because he felt that his friends had earned something special, even though he wasn’t sure what that was.

    A few snowflakes drifted lazily out of a dull, lead coloured sky early one Saturday morning two weeks before Christmas, as Cavendish and Dakota’s battered van pulled up at the edge of the large empty parking lot. The engine grumbled for a moment in the still air of the pre-dawn gloom, then fell silent as Cavendish pulled the key out of the ignition. The side door opened and Milo, Zack, Melissa and Amanda piled out. Phineas and Ferb were absent. They were studying rings of Saturn. They had claimed that they were studying the planets of the outer solar system as school science project. Cavendish handed out the usual trash picks and garbage bags. It was so cold that they had forgone the usual white coveralls. Cavendish and Dakota were both wearing winter coats. Milo and Zack were both dressed in their snowsuits and Melissa and Amanda were equally bundled up against the cold weather. The site was a large one and there were only six of them. Additionally, the freezing weather kept forcing them to stop and warm up. As a result of the forced breaks to cover from the weather and lack of two extra people to make the job go faster, it took most of the day to clean up the site. By the time they were finished it was mid-afternoon and Milo’s hands were numb from cold, even through his heavy ski gloves and he wondered how Murphy’s Law would mix with frostbite, probably not very well he decided.

    It was snowing heavily on Sunday afternoon as Milo trudged through the snow across the parking lot at the Googleplex Mall. Between the snow and Murphy’s Law, a twenty minute bus trip from his house to the mall had take almost forty-five minutes and on two separate occasions Milo had had to talk himself out of turning around and going home. He still had no idea what to get anyone for Christmas, even though he had been wracking his brain for three weeks. The previous Christmas Milo and Sara had surprised their parents by arranging to have Uncle Joe, Aunt Laura, Cousin Nate and Grandpa and Grandma Murphy to come to town for Christmas Eve dinner. It had been the first time since before Milo was born that there had been that many Murphys in one place at one time. As Milo’s relations had come for Thanksgiving this year instead of Christmas, it meant that he would have to actually buy his parents a Christmas gift. And there were his friends, after the way Zack, Melissa and Amanda had immediately taken to Reggie, he felt though they had earned something special.
    Milo reached the mall entrance, pulled open the door and went inside, glad to be out of the bad weather. The mall seemed to be more crowded than usual, which Milo assumed to be the result of the bad weather. Deep green garlands hung from the ceiling under the skylights overhead, Christmas lights wound their way up the columns and red and white striped ribbons hung from the handrails on the upper floors. Christmas carols played quietly over the PA system. Milo unbuttoned his coat and pulled off his hat and gloves and stuffed them into a pocket. He walked over to the information board and studied it for awhile, until the LED lighting system inside shorted out and the outer plexiglass casing cracked.
    Milo avoided the escalators and elevators, deciding to walk up to the fifth floor instead. Reflections was Brigitte’s favourite clothing store and Milo decided that he would start there. As he reached the fourth floor he came up the stairs in front of Safety Barn and twenty minutes later he came out with three matching hard hats, the same sky blue colour as the one that Melissa had given him for his birthday. He had had Zack, Melissa and Amanda’s names stencilled onto the back over the axiom of Murphy’s Law, “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” He kept walking and made his way up to the fifth floor. He stopped again to orient himself and after a couple of minutes and another shorted out information board, Milo set out for Reflections.
    Reflections was tastefully decorated in pastel colours. As Milo wandered amid the various racks of women’s clothing and accessories he eventually settled on two silk scarves, one in lilac and the other in pale green. Milo paid for them and left, leaving several overturned mannequins and racks of clothing in his wake. As he left Reflections, he walked slowly, wondering where to go next. He eventually made his way up to the seventh floor to Burke & Gower, where he bought a pair of cuff links for his father before heading back down to the fifth floor and the Trashcandroid’s Dungeon.
    Milo lingered in the Trashcandroid’s Dungeon for a long time, looking at the various action figures, coffee mugs, T-shirts and other collectibles, wondering what to get Sara for Christmas. He knew she’d be happy with anything Doctor Zone related, but he wanted to get her something special, after she and Amanda had surprised him with his Weird Al tickets for his birthday and after picking out some T-shirts and a couple of graphic novels that he knew she wanted to read, he also picked out the chronotronic drill used by the Doctor in Trashcandroid’s Revenge, which was Sara’s favourite episode. Sara had a couple of high quality prop replicas, but she didn’t have any actual items from the show. Mom and Dad and Sara, thought Milo as he left the Trashcandroid’s Dungeon, half an hour later, that just leaves Zack, Melissa and Amanda.
    He walked down two floors to Waterstone Books, where he emerged fifteen minutes later carrying several books for Melissa, American Presidents: A History, Understanding the Universe and Planet Hunters: Searching for Other Worlds, Murphy’s Law having toppled several book cases in the cook book section. That only left Zack and Amanda. Zack played second string fullback for the Jefferson County Middle School Geckos and Milo knew that there was sports collectibles store called Champs up the eighth floor, and after hitting the food court for a quick lunch, Milo decided to walk up to Champs to see if he could find something for Zack, who he knew was a fan of the Danville Thunder. He stayed away from the display case full of gleaming Super Bowl rings, which started at $1,000 and escalated rapidly from there. He settled on a jersey signed by the Danville Thunder’s starting fullback, Buck Sanderson. That just leaves Amanda, thought Milo, frowning slightly. He really had no idea what she might like for Christmas. He had initially thought of a deluxe personal planner, as she was very, very organized, but he had rejected that idea as being a bit impersonal, and she already an autographed copy of the official Cake Splosion Cook Book. Milo slowly walked around the mall wracking his brain, then he remembered the pictures she had posted a couple of weeks ago from the Love Handel concert she had been to with her cousin. He had been surprised when she had told him that she collected vinyl records and that she didn’t have any Love Handel music in her collection. He seemed to remember that there was a record store called Notes on the ninth floor. Milo walked up to Notes and browsed through the various categories until he found himself in the section labelled “Classic Rock.” He found the L section and began flipping through the various albums until he found Love Handle: Ninja of Love. Milo took it off of the shelf and examined it. It appeared to be in good condition. He took it up the cashier and paid for it, then exited the store preparing to head home.
     
  9. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Episode Twenty-Four

    The last week before Christmas was a hectic one. A snow storm left Danville cloaked in a thick white mantle. At school, with exams over, all the kids were in fit of Christmas spirits and anxious for the holidays to begin. As a result, the teachers mostly gave up trying to keep their classes in order and allowed the their charges free reign to do what they wanted, so long as they kept things to a dull roar, which left Milo, Zack, Melissa and Amanda free to talk in the back of the class. They mostly just chattered and laughed and traded inside jokes about the various scrapes they had gotten into and out of together while the snow fell thickly out the classroom windows and gathered into snow drifts, which were piled against the side of the building.
    Two days before the Christmas holidays were suppose to start, Principle Milder came over the school’s public address system. “Hello? Hello?” she asked, “is anybody listening? Is this thing actually on? Yeah? It is? OK. Due to the inclement weather we have taken the decision to close the school early and-,” the rest of whatever Principle Milder was trying to say was lost in the scramble of bodies and stamp of feet as everyone made for the door.
    “I’ll meet you guys outside,” said Milo, as he, Zack, Melissa and Amanda fought their way through the press of bodies filling the corridors. Milo eventually made his way up to his locker on the third floor. He opened his locker and proceeded to pull on his heavy snow suit, hat and gloves. He put his feet into his winter boots, triple knotted the laces and walked downstairs to where Zack, Melissa and Amanda were waiting for him. He stopped just inside the doors, pulled his traction spikes out of his backpack and slipped them on over his boots. Milo pushed open the door and stepped out side. As soon as he stepped outside, Milo was hit with a blast of icy wind. It seemed to go through him as if he had nothing on. He pulled down the ear flaps of his trapper’s hat, knotted the cord tightly under his chin and set off with Zack, Melissa and Amanda trailing behind him. The snow was still accumulating and only came up to just above Milo’s ankles. As a result, walking wasn’t too bad, but the roads hadn’t been plowed yet, and there was enough accumulated snow to shut down the city transit system and the four of them mutually decided it would be best to wait out the storm at Milo’s house. The walk from the school, which normally took fifteen to twenty minutes in good weather took at least half an hour. By the time they arrived at Milo’s front door, their winter clothing was soaked through and they were all freezing. Milo’s hands were numb as he awkwardly turned the door knob, which came off in his hand, as he pushed open the front door and Zack, Melissa and Amanda piled in behind him on to the door mat.
    Diogee barked happily at the sound of his hapless master’s arrival and gambolled around Milo and his friends as they shrugged off their sodden winter clothing. A second later, Brigitte and Sara emerged from the kitchen, drawn by the mixed sounds of Diogee barking and Milo, Zack, Melissa and Amanda talking. “Oh hi, kids,” said Brigitte.
    “Hi, Mom,” said Milo. He was red faced from having been out the frigid weather. He pulled off his spikes and left them on the rubber mat by the front door to dry. No sooner had he sat down on the stairs to untie his boot laces, than the stairs gave way and Milo fell over backwards through the stairs and into the basement.
    “Are you OK, little bro?” asked Sara, staring down through the hole in the stairs.
    “Yeah, I’m fine, Sara,” replied Milo. He lay spread eagled on his back. His backpack and a pile of boxes had cushioned his fall. Milo levered himself upright and clambered out of the pile of boxes. He walked over to the basement stairs. Milo put his foot on the bottom most step and it broke. He put a foot on the next step after that, and it broke too. The third step held his weight and Milo carefully walked upstairs. He got the the top of the basement stairs, pushed open the door and walked back down the hall to the front door where he pulled off his boots and snow suit. Milo left his boots to dry on the mat by the door next to his spikes and hung up his snow suit in the laundry room to dry along with everyone else’s winter clothing. When he was done, Milo followed the sound of the babble of voices into the living room.
    He pushed open the living room door and found Martin, with a cup of hot chocolate in one hand and a Christmas ornament in the other, standing in front of a large spruce tree. Amanda was sorting the boxes of ornaments by size, shape and colour and Zack and Melissa were trying to untangle the Christmas lights.
    “Oh, hi Milo,” said Martin.
    “Hi, Dad,” replied Milo.
    “Did you fall through the floor into the basement again?” asked Martin.
    “Yep,” replied Milo.
    Martin hung the brightly coloured Christmas ornament on the end of a long, deep green spruce bough and a took a sip of his hot chocolate.
    “Milo, can you give us a hand untangling these Christmas lights,” called Zack over his shoulder. He held up a snarled tangle of multicoloured lights.
    “Oh sure thing, Zack,” said Milo. He crossed the room in a couple of strides and together with Zack and Melissa, set about untangling the several snarled green cords. After ten minutes the three of them managed to separate five or six strings of various lengths and colours. Milo took one and plugged it in. The lights in the house flickered a couple of times and went out. “Hmmmm,” said Milo thoughtfully, “must have blown a fuse. Be right back.”
    Milo rooted through his backpack and pulled out a headlight. He flicked it on, put it over his forehead and walked out of the room. He walked down the hall and opened the basement door. He put his foot on the top step and he was suddenly in free fall as the entire stair case collapsed. Milo landed with a hard thud on the basement floor, feeling the jarring impact momentarily compressing his spine. “Oh c’mon!” he muttered, “it’s Christmas.” Milo quickly checked himself, then got to his feet. He looked around and quickly found the fuse box next the furnace. He extracted his tool kit from his backpack, pried off the cover and examined the interior. Sure enough the main circuit breaker had been tripped. Milo made a couple of adjustments and flipped a switch. He heard a metallic click and the lights came back on a second or two later. Whistling causally, Milo put away his tools and walked over to where the basement stairs had been. He unfolded his collapsible ladder and climbed back up to join his family and friends.
    “Basement stairs collapse again?” asked Martin when Milo returned to the living room.
    “Yep,” replied Milo.

    The storm didn’t blow itself out until early the next morning. As a result, Zack, Melissa and Amanda spent the night, which bothered the four of them not in the least. Milo loaned his friends spare pajamas and sleeping bags, but none of them slept. They stayed up until well past three in the morning, laughing, talking and playing three long distance games of Skiddley Whiffers and Lard World with Reggie via Skype. When the four of them casually traipsed downstairs and walked, yawning, into the kitchen the next morning, they found Sara standing at the kitchen counter flipping pancakes. “Morning little bro,” said Sara brightly.
    “Oh, morning Sara,” said Milo, suppressing a yawn. He walked around to the far end of the kitchen table, where Brigitte was spreading cream cheese on a toasted bagel and studying a set of architectural drawings. Milo bent down and gave his mother a kiss. “Morning, Mom.”
    “Morning kids,” said Brigitte to the kitchen at large.
    “Morning Mrs. Murphy,” chorused Milo’s friends.
    At the same moment, the door from the kitchen into the living room banged open and Doof came through followed by Perry and Cavenpuss. Evidently the bitterly cold weather had driven them out of Doof’s shed in the backyard and they had spent the night on the pull out bed in the living room. The three of them appeared to be in the middle of some kind of heated argument.
    Heinz was shaking his head. “There is too much quantum flux if you do it that way,” he was saying, “the math, your math, by the way, said that the quantum flux would have a variance no more than 0.3, and now you’re telling me that the quantum flux has a variance of 0.6!” The round shouldered scientist threw up his hands. “Your math is either right or its wrong, Cavenpuss. It can’t be both.”
    Cavenpuss thought for what seemed like a long moment, then said, “the mathematical model is sound, Heinz-,”
    Doof interjected with a triumphant, “aha!”
    Cavenpuss ignored him and kept talking, “-it simply needs to be fine tuned, which I have explained to you twice.”
    Milo was standing at the kitchen counter mixing four cups of hot chocolate for himself and his friends. He had been listening to Doof arguing with Cavenpuss and, not wanting anything to spoil the good mood filling the kitchen, decided to mix two more for Perry and Cavenpuss. Doof was nursing a cup of coffee. He took two more mugs out of the kitchen cupboard, one of which cracked in his hand. He put it aside and took out a third one, opened two more packets of hot chocolate mix, added hot water and handed them to the platypus and his companion. Perry accepted the steaming mug with a tip of his fedora and a chittered thanks. Cavenpuss took the mug of hot chocolate from Milo with a polite nod of thanks for the hapless teenager and a sardonic look for the scientist.
    “Finally,” he said, “some civilized treatment.”
     
  10. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Somehow it doesn't seem that 7 years' bad luck would worry Milo.[face_tee_hee]

    [face_hypnotized]

    That's interesting - quite the synergy going on in the family.

    Scarves are perfect gifts, no wondering about sizes, etc.[face_good_luck]

    Good thing they have somewhere heated to head for around the Solstice.
     
  11. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Episode Twenty-Five

    For the last few days before Christmas, Milo was practically on pins and needles. He absolutely loved Christmas and couldn’t wait for Christmas eve. Following the storm, Danville lay buried in a fluffy white mantle. There was almost a foot of snow in Milo’s driveway and it took Milo and Martin an entire morning to shovel it out. Martin would have used his snowblower, and been finished in less than twenty minutes, but the gasoline in the gas tank had frozen solid as a result of Murphy’s Law, and Milo and Martin were forced do the job by hand. By the time they were finished, Milo was hot in his heavy winter coat, despite the still cold temperature, and his palms were sweating in his heavy gloves. Slightly red faced, more from exertion than the cold, Milo jammed his shovel deep into a snowbank that was taller than he was. I think I should have asked for a heat wave for Christmas, he thought, as he stiffly flexed his numb fingers. His hands often got very, very cold in winter weather due to Murphy’s Law. Ordinarily, winter was Milo’s favourite season. True, there were more opportunities for slip and fall accidents, but just as Milo usually wore body armour out of general habit, in winter he made a point of wearing traction spikes on his winter boots, which minimized the possibility of mishaps and accidents. Unlike concrete, which was the worst thing ever, snow was soft and easy to fall on. He also enjoyed seeing the city covered in a pristine white blanket. Frost sparkled on the roofs of the houses in Milo’s subdivision, the bare branches of the tree in Milo’s backyard were edged in delicate white tracery and the thick white blanket that over the city turned the few cars that had been left out in the storm into snowy hummocks and shone brightly in the late December sunshine.

    After the traditional Murphy family Christmas Eve dinner of turkey with all the trimmings, Milo gathered with his family and friends around the Christmas tree. There were three piles of gifts for Zack, Melissa and Amanda under the tree, in addition to the gifts that he had bought for his parents and Sara.
    Sara opened the card, which read. “To my wizardy big sister, Merry Christmas from your little bro, Milo.” Sara ripped off the wrapping paper and immediately let out a squeal of delight as a sleek looking cylindrical object fell out of the wrapping paper and into her lap. “Oh, Milo!” she said excitedly, “This is the Doctor’s chronotronic drill-,”
    “-from your favourite episode,” he finished for her, laughing at her obvious delight.
    Sara looked at the prop in her hand and then looked her brother again in amazement. “Really?” she asked slightly stunned, “This is from Trashcandroid’s Revenge?”
    Milo nodded. “Screen verified and everything.”
    “Really?” Sara was positively beside herself. She flew across the room and wrapped Milo in a hug, momentarily lifting him off his feet. She hugged him so hard that he thought his ribs might break. “Milo, you are the best little brother anyone could ask for,” said Sara. She lowered her hapless brother back on to his dangling feet. “Don’t ever stop being you.”
    Milo stood momentarily confused in the middle of living room. His face was scarlet. He had not expected to Sara to react like that. He was startled out of his stunned confusion by the sudden repeated pinging of his phone. He pulled his phone out of his pocket. Zack, Melissa and Amanda had all posted pictures of Milo in the middle of Sara’s bear hug to Facebook. Everyone was laughing. Chuckling along with everyone else, Milo turned his attention back to the pile of gifts under the tree. He bent down and pulled two gifts out from the pile and handed them to Martin and Brigitte, along with a card labelled “Mom and Dad.”
    Brigitte opened the card, which read, “Merry Christmas from your loving children, best wishes, Sara and Milo.”
    Martin took the wrapping paper off of the little midnight blue satin box. He opened the lid to reveal a pair of glinting silver cuff links sitting on a little cushion. Martin looked up in surprise. “Milo, these are wonderful. How did you afford these?”
    Milo shrugged and nodded appreciatively at Sara. “Well, Sara kicked in a little bit, and I saved my allowance and kicked in the rest.”
    Martin looked at his children with a look of heartfelt appreciation on his face at the gift they had given him.
    “You’re welcome, Dad,” said Milo.
    “And Merry Christmas,” said Sara.
    As Martin had been unwrapping his cuff links, Brigitte had been running two beautiful silk scarves through her fingers. One was a delicate shade of lilac and the other was a pale green with a floral pattern. Brigitte got up and thanked Milo with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. “These are beautiful,” she said.
    Milo shrugged again. “I went into Reflections a couple of weeks ago and I thought those colours looked nice,” he said. He turned his attention to the three piles under the tree for Zack, Melissa and Amanda, handing one to each of them in turn. “These are for you.”
    The three cards bore the same message. “To the three best friends in the world, Merry Christmas and best wishes, Milo.”
    Zack, Melissa and Amanda burst out laughing as they unwrapped the three matching sky blue hard hats that Milo had bought for them at Safety Barn. Zack took his out of the box and put it on. He grinned at Milo from under the brim. “Thanks, buddy,” he said. He turned to the second gift that Milo had give him. It was soft and shapeless. It felt like clothing. Zack ripped off the wrapping paper, revealing a blue and gold Danville Thunder home jersey. He started to say, “hey thanks Milo-,” but stopped as he held it up. He gasped, “oh, wow, a signed Buck Sanderson jersey!”
    Meanwhile, Melissa and Amanda were examining their gifts. Melissa was flipping through Understanding the Universe, which was a large hard cover book full of full colour astronomy photos. “Thanks, Milo,” she said, “this has some gorgeous pictures.”
    “Oh, Milo,” said Martin, pulling out a large flat gift from behind his chair.
    Milo looked up. “Yeah, Dad,” he said. He had been in the act of unwrapping a Tobias Trollhammer sixth scale figure from Melissa. “Hey, thanks Melissa,” he said excitedly, “This is from Krillhunter X: The Krilling Game.”
    “This one is for you, from Reggie,” said Martin.
    Milo looked surprised, and suddenly felt slightly embarrassed. He had not thought to send anything to Reggie for Christmas. He set aside Melissa’s half unwrapped gift and took the large present from Martin. He placed on the floor, balancing it on its edge and felt for the edge of the wrapping paper. He immediately found it and tore off a long strip, revealing something under glass and in carved wood frame. Intrigued, Milo tore off the rest of the wrapping paper. He gaped. He would have recognized Reggie’s drawing style anywhere. “I-how did-I mean-who-,” Milo took a steadying breath. “I’ve asked for his art four times,” he said. “He almost never gives away his drawings,” he looked around at his family and friends. “How were you able to get one?” he finally asked the room at large.
    “You can thank Amanda,” replied Sara.
    “Really?” asked Milo, looking at Amanda in amazement.
    Amanda nodded, “actually, its all of us, not just me,” she said, nodding to indicate Zack and Melissa . “He appreciated you introducing him to us,” she shrugged, “but for some reason he really likes me. I Skype with him a couple of times a week-,”
    “I’m glad to hear that,” interjected Milo.
    Amanda continued, “-I just told him that we’re your friends and that we understand that living with Murphy’s Law can be challenging and that you’d really appreciate having some of his art.” Amanda shrugged again. “He just said he’d see what he could do.”
    Milo finished unwrapping Reggie’s framed drawing and let out a low, “ohhhhh.” It was a serene
    landscape of a quiet lake surrounded by mountains. “It’s beautiful” said Milo. He turned to Amanda. “I-uhhhh-well, thanks Amanda.” And then he did something that took both of them by surprise. He leaned over and gave her a kiss.

    Milo spent the rest of the Christmas holidays in what seemed to be a bit of a daze. He had no idea what had possessed him to kiss Amanda. She had unexpectedly grown to become a very good and understanding friend over the previous year and he appreciated the unexpected effort that she had gone to for him over Christmas, and that she got along well Reggie, but actually kissing her? In front of his family and friends? On Christmas Eve? That wasn’t like him. He was still trying to work up the nerve to ask her out to lunch and he felt as though he hadn’t helped himself by acting so out of character. He wondered if she would ever agree to go out with him. Why is it that time travel, aliens and parallel realities are easy, he thought more than once during the holidays, but asking Amanda to go to lunch with me is practically impossible. Now that Christmas was over, everything seemed to be sliding down hill toward New Years Eve and the start of the winter semester. Once school started again they would be back into the usual grind of homework and studying and wouldn’t have much time to socialize. New Years Eve came and went and Milo, Zack, Melissa and Amanda stayed up to watch the ball drop over Time’s Square on TV. They were back in class four days later, and sure enough, their teachers wasted no time in putting their noses to the grind stone.
    “I hope you all had a good Christmas holiday,” sad Mrs. Camillichec on the first morning back after the break. Everyone nodded. “Good,” she said, “because we still have a lot of work to get through before you graduate at the end of the year.”

    Milo finally got his chance to talk to Amanda alone a week later. It was the end of the day, and two of them were waiting for Zack and Melissa to finish in the library. “Oh, hi, Amanda,” said Milo as he came down the stairs. He slipped and slid down the last few steps on his backside. He cursed inwardly. That’s exactly what I didn’t want to happen, he thought. He got up, dusted himself off, squared his backpack straighter on his shoulders and walked over to where Amanda was standing.
    “Oh, hi, Milo,” she said.
    Milo opened his mouth, but no sound came out. He had been rehearsing his speech all week, but now that it came to it, his mind had gone totally blank. His ears were suddenly filled with a loud buzzing noise. Milo closed his mouth and took a deep breath. He felt as though he had suddenly jumped from a very high diving board. His stomach fluttered nervously and he suddenly realized that his palms were sweaty. He wiped them surreptitiously on the seat of his shorts. “Amanda,” he began, “will you go out to lunch with me?”
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  12. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Episode Twenty-Six

    Milo suddenly felt as though he was rooted to the spot and standing in a bright spotlight. He realized all at once that he had been holding his breath and let it out slowly.
    Amanda turned to look at him, “I don’t know, Milo,” she said after what seemed like several eternities. In actuality, it was only a few seconds. “Let me check something.” She pulled her phone out of her pocket and began tapping and swiping through her schedule.
    She’s going to say no, thought Milo desperately, she’s not inter-
    Amanda put her phone away after another couple of seconds and said, “Oh, I’d like that. Where do you want to go?”
    He blinked, as though he hadn’t quite heard her. After a second or two he said, “I was thinking of the Diner Downtown, ummm, say on Saturday?”
    Amanda thought for a second. Milo realized that he had been holding his breath again and slowly exhaled. “OK,” she said at last.
    “Great,” said Milo. “I’ll meet you at your at your building, say at 11:45?”
    Amanda nodded, “OK,” she said again. “I’ll see you on Saturday.” Her phone pinged She pulled it out of her pocket. “That’s my ride,” she said. “I’ll see you later.”
    If Milo hadn’t broken his ankle skiing over the Christmas break, he probably would have skipped all the way home.

    The next week seemed to Milo to be almost interminably long. Sara, of course, was jubilant at Milo’s news.
    “So, how was school today?” ask Brigitte over dinner.
    Milo shrugged nonchalantly. “Not too bad,” he said. He paused suddenly feeling a little self-conscious, then said, “I asked Amanda to go out with me.”
    Sara squealed in delight. “Did you really?”
    Milo nodded. “I’m supposed to meet her at her building on Saturday at 11:45,” he said. “We’re going have lunch at the Diner Downtown.”
    Neal gave Sara a nudge. “Looks like your little brother has a date,” he said a with a grin.
    “Oh, it’s not a date,” Milo protested, “we’re just going out for lunch.”
    Sara chuckled. “Are Zack and Melissa going with you, little bro?”
    Milo flushed slightly, “well, no,” he admitted after a long moment.
    “Did you tell them that you were thinking of asked her out?” asked Sara slightly mischievously.
    “No,” replied Milo slightly confused. He hadn’t, now that he thought about it, and he usually told Melissa everything. That’s not like me, he thought. At the time he suddenly felt the strange fluttering sensation in his stomach return. Was it date or not? he wondered to himself. I always thought that a date was supposed be romantic. This is just lunch.
    Sara seemed to have guessed Milo thoughts, because she said, “it doesn’t have to be romantic to be a date, little bro.”

    The following Saturday dawned bright and clear. Milo got up, blearily shook the sleep from his eyes and stumped down the hall into the bathroom. After showering and brushing his teeth. Milo went down stairs for breakfast.
    “Morning, little bro,” said Sara from the kitchen table. She was half way through buttering several pieces of toast.
    “Morning Sara,” said Milo with a stifled yawn, still in his bathrobe. He walked over to the pantry and opened the door. It came off in his hand. He pulled a screwdriver out of his backpack and quickly reattached it, then he reached in and pulled a box of cereal off of a shelf. Milo took a cereal bowl down from a shelf and then took down a second one after the first one cracked. He poured himself a generous amount of cereal and added milk and sugar. Milo was halfway through his bowl of cereal when Martin entered the kitchen. He was still dressed in his pajamas and slippers.
    “Morning kids,” he said to the kitchen at large.
    “Morning Dad,” said Milo, between swigs of his orange juice.
    “Good luck on your date with Amanda,” he said.
    “Thanks Dad,”said Milo as he drank the dregs of the milk in the bottom of his cereal bowl, “but it’s not a date.”
    Sara chuckled, “no,”she said, “it’s a date.”
    Martin looked back and forth between his two children. “Well, I’m staying out of this one,” he said.
    Milo finished his breakfast and deposited his bowl, spoon and juice glass in the kitchen sink and went back upstairs accompanied by the usual clatter of falling objects. He brushed his teeth again, cracked the bathroom mirror in the process and unexpectedly spent a considerable amount of time agonizing over what to wear. In the end, he chose a a white button down shirt, navy blue dress pants, his black loafers, red bow tie and his usual sweater vest. He finished getting dressed and quickly pulled a comb through his hair. Milo rummaged through his closet and pulled out his blue and purple ski jacket. He pulled it on, shrugged on his backpack, tugged his matching ski hat down around his ears and pulled on his heavy winter gloves. Danville had experienced a January thaw in the couple of weeks between Christmas and the start of the winter semester, and some of the snow had melted, but it was still cold outside. Milo double checked his wallet to make sure he had money and his transit pass. Milo took a deep breath, his stomach was fluttering nervously again and walked casually down stairs.
    As Milo passed the kitchen, Brigitte was sitting at the kitchen table studying a set of plans and sipping a cup of tea.
    “Bye Mom, “ called Milo, as he passed.
    Brigitte looked up as her son passed the kitchen door. The coffee mug in her hand cracked and she suddenly had to move her drawings to keep them from being splattered by hot tea.
    “Milo,” she said, “don’t you look nice.”
    “Oh, thanks, Mom,” he said. “I’m meeting Amanda for lunch.”
    “Oh, I forgot that toady was your date with-“
    “-It’s just lunch, Mom,” Milo interjected.
    “Right,” replied Brigitte, “well tell Amanda that I said hi.”
    Milo nodded. “OK, Mom,” he said. He gave his mother a kiss. “I’ll see you later.”

    The bus ride from the bus stop at the end of Milo’s street, which normally took around twenty minutes, today took almost forty-five minutes. Milo had to change buses three times. The first time, the engine died four blocks from his house. The second time, the bus driver narrowly missed a garbage truck going in the opposite direction, skidded off the road and plowed into a tree. The third bus stalled in the middle of an intersection when its battery died three blocks from Amanda’s building. Milo got off and walked the three blocks in about ten minutes.
    Milo pushed open the door to Amanda’s building, stepped into the small anteroom and pulled out his phone. He quickly tapped through his contacts and found Amanda’s number. He tapped her number and put his phone to his ear.
    “Milo?” she said after a second, “Are you downstairs?”
    “Hi, Amanda,” replied Milo. “Can you buzz me in?”
    “Just wait right there, “ she said, “I’ll be right down.” As she spoke, the door chimed and swung open and Milo stepped inside. The lobby of Amanda’s build was large and spacious. The floor was covered with blue-grey granite tiles. Clusters of furniture dotted the space and large windows let in the late morning sunlight. Milo unzipped his jacket, took off his hat and gloves, shrugged off his backpack and sat down in a chair to wait.
    He had only been seated for a few minutes, when the elevator door chimed open and Amanda stepped out. Milo stood up as though he had sat something. He took a deep breath and slowly exhaled to calm the nervous fluttering in his stomach. “Hi, Amanda,” he said. Milo suddenly felt as if he were a little overdressed. Amanda was wearing her usual magenta pant suit.
    “Hi, Milo,” she replied. “You look very handsome.”
    Milo coloured slightly. “Oh, ummmm……thanks.” Did she just call me handsome? he thought. He began casting around for something to say to her in return. “Your hair looks nice today,” he said after what seemed like several eternities, which only lasted a few seconds. As soon he said it, Milo felt as though he could have kicked himself. Really? he thought, “Your hair looks nice today?” Why not talk about the weather?
    A pink tinge to match her clothes appeared in her cheeks. “Ummm…thanks,” she said. “It’s just my usual style.”
    “Oh,” said Milo, “right.” He slung his backpack over his shoulders. “Let’s go,” he said.
     
  13. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    The Diner Downtown sat on the corner of Maple Street and 9th Avenue, five blocks away from Amanda’s sleek, post-modern looking apartment building. It only took Milo and Amanda ten minutes to walk from the lobby of her building to the diner. The Diner Downtown was a low red and white building with a welcoming two tone blue awning, large windows and a slowly revolving coffee cup on the roof. Milo held the door for Amanda and they went inside. They sat down and the waitress came by with menus.
    “Hi,” she said, “my name Chantel, I’ll be by to take your order in a little while. Can I get you something to drink in the mean time?”
    Milo thought for a second. “I’ll have a chocolate milkshake.”
    Chantel scribbled his order on her notepad
    “A glass of Pep with ice and a slice of lemon, please,” replied Amanda.
    More scribbling. “OK,” said Chantel, “I’ll be right back with your drinks.”
    She left to get their drinks and an awkward silence fell. Milo knew he should say something to Amanda, but he wasn’t sure what to say. C’mon, he thought to himself, think of something, anything. He already knew what he was going to order, but scanned the menu again to give himself time to think. A buzzing noise seemed to fill his ears.
    “Milo?”
    Milo suddenly realized that Amanda was talking to him. “Oh,” he said, “yeah, Amanda?”
    “Did you watch any of Cake Splosion last night?” she asked.
    “Oh, uhhh, no,” he said, “Sara and I always watch Doctor Zone on Friday nights. We’ve done that ever since I was five. We hardly ever miss an episode.”
    Milo thought he saw something flicker across Amanda’s face. “That’s nice,” she said, “that you and Sara have such a close relationship.”
    The truth was Milo hadn’t really thought about. He had always taken it for granted that Sara had been in his corner and couldn’t imagine his life without her support.
    Before Milo could speak, Chantel deposited Milo’s milkshake and Amanda’s glass of Pep with ice and a lemon slice on the table in front of them. “Are you two ready to order?” she asked.
    “Oh, ummm, yeah.” Milo scanned the menu again. “I’ll have a cheeseburger with everything on it and a side of cheese fries.”
    Amanda quickly looked over the menu. “Chicken Caesar sandwich and french fries, please.”
    Chantel scribbled down their orders. “OK, I’ll be right back with your orders,” she said.
    Milo took a long pull from his milkshake. He was trying to think of something to say to her again, and drawing another blank. Why is talking to her suddenly so hard? he wondered. “So, tell me about your family, “ he asked after a couple of minutes of wracking his brain. It had occurred to him that they had been friends for over a year and Milo didn’t know very much about her.
    Amanda shrugged. “My family’s not that interesting,” she said. “My mother is an accountant and my father works in the District Attorney’s office.”
    “Oh, well that must be interesting,” said Milo.
    Amanda shook her head. “He’s a legal researcher,” she said. “Most of his cases are pretty dry.”
    “Oh,” replied Milo. He was about to say something else, but Chantel came by their meals at the moment and Milo was secretly relieved. Ordinarily, he has no problems talking to Amanda, but for some reason he suddenly couldn’t string two words together to save his life. It occurred to him to wonder if this Murphy’s Law trying to prevent him from simply enjoying lunch with a friend. He took a bite of his hamburger, trying to think of something to say.
    “So, how did you become a Weird Al fan?” asked Amanda. “I’ve never heard his music before, but I found him on iTunes and some of its pretty funny.”
    “Oh, he’s great,” said Milo enthusiastically, grateful for something to talk about, “Dad got me into him when I was little.” He paused to take a long pull from his milkshake. “I wasn’t as good at managing Murphy’s Law when I was little,” he shrugged. “I used to hurt myself more, anyway, Dad used to play his music for me to make me feel better.” He had been talking continuously while he had been eating and he speared the last of his cheese fries with his fork. “He taught me to be an optimist, and he’s the reason why I play the accordion. I’m really looking forward to meeting him in April.”
    Chantel came by again to collect their plates. “Can I get you anything else?” she asked.
    Milo glanced at Amanda, who shook her head. “Just the bill please,” said Milo.

    The walk from the Diner Downtown back to Amanda’s building took fifteen minutes. Milo rode up in the elevator with Amanda and they parted company at the door to her unit.
    “Thanks for inviting me to lunch,” said Amanda.
    “Uhhhh….yeah,” said Milo, “you’re welcome. It was a nice afternoon.”
    “We should do this again sometime,” said Amanda.
    “I’d like that,” said Milo.
     
  14. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Episode Twenty-Seven

    The unmarked, battered looking and weather beaten van pulled off of the road. It turned from the main highway leading out of Danville and on to an unmarked muddy track. It bumped down the unpaved road, bouncing up and down on its suspension, the hard jolts rattling the driver and the passengers, throwing them around the van’s utilitarian interior like dice in a cup.
    Lieutenant John Tennant instinctively grabbed the dash board as the van hit a particularly deep rut. He heard something bang loudly in the back of the van. “Slow down, Wolinsky,” he said as the van jounced it’s way over another deep rut, “you’re going to damage something.”
    Major Mike Wolinsky momentarily took his eyes of the dirt track he was driving down to look at his partner. “The equipment is fine,” he said. “It was designed for rough treatment.”
    The van hit another deep rut, splashing muddy water over the windshield. “You’ve had the same briefing I have, Major,” replayed Tennant, “the target destabilizes everything in his immediate vicinity just by being in a given location.” The van hit another rut. “The equipment has been designed to compensate for that, but only if it works.”
    “Yeah, I know all that, Lieutenant,” said Wolinsky, “but if I slow down in this mud, we’ll get stuck, and as we’re not supposed to be here….” he trailed off. There was a contingency for that, but it wasn’t supposed to be implemented unless there was no other choice.
    Tennant was about to answer, but the van rolled through a gap in the trees and came to a stop.The field was strewn with garbage. Wolinsky shut off the engine and the two men got out. They walked around to the side door and pulled it open. The back of the van was full of equipment, cameras, motion detectors, listening devices and particle sniffers, as well as a portable satellite uplink which would allow them to keep a remote eye on the site where everything was being set up. Tennant reached into the pocket on the back of his seat and pulled out a clipboard with a checklist and a diagram of how the equipment was supposed to be deployed. He pulled a piece of equipment out of the back of the van and checked it against the list in his hand and the placement diagram. “C’mon, Wolinsky,” he said. Wolinsky had also reached into the back of the van of the van and pulled out a particle sniffer. “Watch your step. This place has a few surprises.”
    It took them several hours to set up the equipment. Despite what Tennant had said to Wolinsky, the equipment had to be properly placed and calibrated in order to function properly. Some of the equipment required an unobstructed line of site in order to function, however, the equipment also had to be concealed, or the target would be spooked and try to bolt. The briefing they had been given said that the target was smart and had a high level of situational awareness. The equipment had all been custom designed for this mission by Kreitech, V Tech Industries and Sycorax. According to the briefing, Kreitech and V Tech Industries were providing communication equipment, particle sniffers and a dampening system. Sycorax was a leading biotech firm based in San Fransokyo. It’s CEO, Liv Amara was engaged in cutting edge genetic engineering research and had heard rumours through various sources of a fourteen year old boy with the unusual ability to alter all outcomes in his immediate vicinity toward negative results. Not wanting to tarnish its ecologically responsible image, Sycorax had approached the the Outfit for assistance and using a series of shell companies, Sycorax and the Outfit had approached Kreitech and V Tech Industries with the specifications for the equipment they had determined they would need and Kreitech and V Tech Industries had built it, not knowing what it was for.
    As he finished setting up and calibrating the equipment, Tennant reflected that had he known, Victor Verlizer would have appreciated the irony that kid he was help to catch was the very kid who had single handily destroyed his company the year before just by posting a video to Facebook. Tennant and Wolinsky made a last check of all the equipment. Everything was in place and working properly. Tennant recalled the picture of the kid from the briefing, his name was Milo, Tennant seemed to recall. It was shame, he thought, he seemed from his picture like he was a nice kid, and he was never going to know what hit him.
     
  15. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    The weak mid-January sunlight shone through the windows of the Jefferson County Middle School library on Monday afternoon. Milo, Zack, Melissa and Amanda were clustered together in a corner of the library with their heads bent over their school work. From behind a pile of his school books Zack stole a look at Milo and Amanda. The two of them had their heads together conversing quietly over their history project. Milo had caught them off guard waiting for the school bus that morning.
    “Morning guys,” Milo had said with a cheerful wave as he had met them at the bus stop at the end of Druid Drive.
    “Morning buddy,” Zack had said, still half asleep in the predawn light. “You’re in a good mood this morning,”
    “Morning Milo,” said Melissa, “have a good weekend?”
    “Oh, hi Melissa,” Milo had said, “yeah, not too bad,” he had said with a characteristic casual shrug. “I went to lunch with Amanda at the Diner Downtown.”
    Zack and Melissa had looked at each other in slight surprise. “You and Amanda-,” Zack had said.
    “-Actually went on a date?” Melissa had finished.
    “What?” Milo had said, “no, it was just lunch.”
    “So, you just happened to meet at the Diner Downtown?” Melissa had asked.
    “No, I picked up at her building,” Milo had replied. Why does everyone think we went on a date? he had asked himself, confused again.
    Zack had chuckled. “It’s OK, Milo,” he had said. “Amanda’s loosened up a lot lately, but she’s still kind of a perfectionist-,”
    “-And well, you’re you,” Melissa had finished for him. “Don’t get us wrong,” she had continued, “You and Amanda going out to lunch together is kind of surprising, but it’s a nice surprise.”
    Zack stole another glance at Milo and Amanda, who were still conversing quietly over their homework and suddenly experienced an unexpected twinge of jealousy. He pushed it aside. He shouldn’t be jealous at Milo. Zack knew full well that Murphy’s Law frequently reduced Milo’s life to utter chaos. If he had been able to spend a Saturday afternoon having a quiet lunch with Amanda, without Murphy’s Law turning everything into a chaotic mess, Zack felt like he didn’t have the right to be jealous of those rare moments when Milo actually got to live something like a normal life. Zack finished his math homework and pulled out his social studies book. His gaze stopped momentarily on Melissa, who was bent over their joint history project, making some notes. As he looked at her, he thought she looks nice today. The weak afternoon sunlight shining through the library window was in her hair, making it glow slightly. Zack stopped himself, wait, he thought, did I just think, “she looks nice, today?” He suddenly remembered his chance encounter with Melissa at the mall in October just before Milo’s birthday. He had had the same thought then, after they had spent the afternoon together shopping for Milo’s birthday presents. He felt himself growing hot and he was glad that his dark complexion meant that nobody could see him blush. She was wearing her usual jacket, tank top and skirt, and yes, thought Zack, she looks nice today. He sat up. Why was he thinking like this? He stole a look over the top of his books at Milo and Amanda. They were still talking quietly about their homework. He looked down at his social studies book, trying to concentrate on the chapter the were supposed to be reading for their next class, but he couldn’t concentrate. Zack sighed. He shut his text book with an unexpectedly loud thump.
    Milo, Melissa and Amanda looked up from their school work as one. Milo studied his friend with a concerned look on his face. “Everything OK, Zack?” he asked.
    “I-no,” said Zack at last.
    “Zack, what is it?” asked Amanda.
    Zack shrugged. “Its nothing,” he said. He suddenly felt a bit guilty about lying to Milo, “I just have a headache, is all.” He swept his homework into his bag. “I’ll see you guys later.” He got up and left the library.
    As he left the library, Zack thought he could feel Milo’s eyes on him. Milo was very perceptive and could usually tell when he was being lied to. For a second, Zack was tempted to turn around. He wanted to walk right up to Milo and say…..what, exactly? If Zack was thinking what he thought he might be thinking, about Milo’s closest friend, no less, he wasn’t sure what Milo would do. Probably nothing, thought Zack, Milo is usually pretty easy to get along with, but as soon as he thought this, Zack remembered what Milo had told the three of them in Duckburg. Murphy’s Law didn’t just affect him physically, it affected how he perceived his relationships with other people. And you want to get involved with his oldest friend? Zack asked himself, bad idea. Zack remembered again how he had unintentionally insulted Milo in the sewer on the day they had met, while waiting for the school bus at the bus stop at the end of Milo’s street. Zack had never apologized to Milo for that. Well, Milo never asked for one, Zack thought, then thought maybe you should start there, before you start thinking about Melissa. Zack sighed again. But he’s going out with Amanda, thought Zack a little hopefully, as he reached the edge of the school parking lot, he doesn’t think about Melissa like that. As soon as the thought occurred to him, he thought, No, Milo doesn’t think about her like that, but they’ve been friends since they were six. He’s been through a lot with her. His family treats her like she’s one of them. Zack sighed again as he crossed the street where Druid Drive ran into Waterford Road. If you get involved with Melissa and he doesn’t approve, Zack thought as he crossed the street, where does that leave you? He reached the other side of the street and turned right, away from the direction to Milo’s house, which he could see in the distance halfway down the block. Martin’s battered old Range Rover was sitting in the drive way. As he reached the intersection where Oakmont Street met Waterford Road, he reflected that maybe he should just talk to Milo about Melissa, and yet somehow that seemed like the hardest thing in the world to do.
     
  16. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    It's nice imagery here, snow over a car making it less utilitarian and more poetic.

    How do they hunt those little dickens?

    Yes, from what I can tell, it's backpacks to the fanciest places and probably the grand opera! :)

    Some more dithering, aw, poor Zack. He's not used to it.
     
  17. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Well, to be fair, its occurred to me to wonder if Milo has a bit of a subconscious brotherly protective streak when it comes to Melissa going out with other guys. There isn’t really a good reason for him to object to Zack taking her out, but Melissa is Milo’s oldest friend, and Zack doesn’t really to do something that would upset Milo and potentially damage their friendship. He’s sort of having the same debate with himself about Melissa that Harry had over Ginny in HBP.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
    pronker likes this.
  18. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Episode Twenty-Eight

    February began with a thin, freezing drizzle. It covered everything with a thin sheet of ice and left Danville looking as though the city had been encased in glass. The weight of the ice brought down tree branches and turned the sidewalks in Milo’s subdivision into a skating rink. Even with his spikes on his winter boots, Milo had to be extra careful walking to the bus stop in the morning, as his ankle, which he had broken just before Christmas skiing at Bluster Mountain had only just fully healed and was still very tender. There were a lot fewer kids waiting at the bus stop in the morning and more kids hobbling around the school hallways on crutches or with an arm in a sling and more than once the school bus had gone sliding through the intersection, having spun out on a patch of black ice that had formed the night before. It was as though all of Danville had suddenly been afflicted with Murphy’s Law.
    “Oh, hi Zack,” said Milo brightly one morning in the second week of February, as the other boy came crunching through the ice from where he lived on Oakmont Street. Both Zack and Melissa had taken a lead from Milo’s book and bought the same kind of heavy duty traction spikes that Milo habitually wore on his winter boots. Milo cast a glance over Zack’s left arm, which was in a sling. “What happened?” he asked sympathetically.
    Zack shrugged. “Tripped over Darius. We were helping Dad put salt on the driveway. He was fooling around and…..” he trailed off and shrugged again. Darius and Eli were Zack’s four year old twin brothers. Zack was always talking about how they could eat with their feet, an image that Milo had always found to be a bit creepy. Milo had yet to meet them. Milo patted the pockets of his heavy winter coat, as though searching for something, and eventually produced a felt tipped pen.
    “Do you want me to sign it?” he asked.
    “Yeah, sure,” replied Zack.
    He noticed that Melissa had already written on Zack’s cast. She had drawn a heart and written, “best wishes, MC.” With fingers made fat and a bit clumsy by his winter gloves, Milo wrote in his usual crabbed scrawl, “get better soon, MM.” As Milo scribbled his message on Zack’s cast, he caught a brief glance at Zack’s face. He thought Zack looked tired and a little wan. There were bags under his eyes, as though he hadn’t been sleeping very well. “Everything OK, Zack?” he asked.
    For a second, Zack considered telling Milo what he had been wanting to tell him for the last couple of weeks, but something stopped him. He shrugged again, “everything’s fine,” he said, with a slightly forced sounding note of cheerfulness in his voice. “It’s just that it’s February, you know?”
    Milo nodded in sympathy. He knew full well what Zack meant. Sometimes, Murphy’s Law could work in tandem with the weather to greatly alter his current mood. The shorter days and lack of sunlight in January and February sometimes left Milo with a very, very gloomy feeling. Zack had decided that he should talk to Milo about Melissa, but he couldn’t seem to find the right way to broach the subject, or to find the right opportunity. The rational part of Zack’s brain told him that he should simply talk to Milo here and now, but every time he tried, his mind went blank and his ears were suddenly filled with a loud buzzing noise that seemed to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Zack sighed to quietly himself again. He opened his mouth and had been about to speak when Melissa came crunching up from the other direction on her spikes.
    “Morning guys,” she said with a wave.
    “Oh, hi Melissa,” said Zack and Milo.
    “Hi, Milo,” she said, “how’s February treating you?”
    Milo shrugged. “February and Murphy’s Law,” he said. “About the same.”
    Zack gave Milo and Melissa a slightly confused look, “wait, does Murphy’s Law have to with February?” he asked. “Is there something that happens to Milo that only occurs in February?”
    Milo and Melissa both nodded. “In the right circumstances, the weather, especially the lack of sunlight can have a negative affect on Milo’s emotional state,” Melissa explained. She gave her best friend a sympathetic pat on the shoulder.
    “So it’s a bit like Seasonal Affective Disorder?” asked Zack.
    “Not really,” replied Milo, as a truck jackknifed through the intersection behind him.
    “It’s just Murphy’s Law in February,” said Melissa.
    “Is there anything I can do to help?” asked Zack.
    Milo gave Zack an appreciative look and shook his head. “Thanks, Zack, but no, not unless you can make it not be February.”
    Zack chuckled. “Sorry, buddy,” he said. “I guess maybe Cavendish and Dakota could have, but they’ve been banned from using time travel, haven’t they?” Zack looked at the truck that was blocking the intersection. He pushed back the cuff of his jacket and looked at his watch. “We had better get walking,” he said, “otherwise, we’ll be late for school.”
     
  19. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Milo’s low mood mostly pushed Zack’s desire to talk his best friend about how the feelings he thought he might have for Melissa out of his mind. Murphy’s Law frequently reached into Milo’s life in strange and counterintuitive ways, his inability to wear lace-up running shoes, for example, but Zack had had no idea that it could do that to Milo.
    “Is there anything we can do to help him?” asked Zack over lunch. Zack and Melissa were alone. Milo had arranged to meet Amanda in the library to finish some of their homework.
    Melissa gave Zack a sympathetic look. “It’s not normal to see Milo like this,” she said in commiseration. “He’s usually so out going, but unfortunately not every Murphy’s Law situation has a clever solution. Sometimes it’s a slog. Milo knows that. He’ll be fine.”
    Zack considered this information. He didn’t like the idea of simply letting Milo stew in his own juices, Murphy’s Law or otherwise. The previous winter, while trying to get school, Milo and Zack had drifted out sea on an ice floe. They had been swallowed by a whale and Zack had started to panic. In spite of his own fear, Milo had talked him through it, and they had been able to escape and get to school on time. “Still,” replied Zack, “do you honestly think that Milo wouldn’t try to make us feel better if the situation were reversed?”
    “No,” replied Melissa, “Milo would try to reach out if he could.”
    “He tried to cheer me up when I broke my leg last spring,” said Zack. He had suffered a bad fall and a compound fracture while unveiling a new interpretive dance routine the previous April. As a result of the incident, Zack had briefly considered giving up interpretive dance and once again, Milo had talked him around.
    “Yeah,” said Melissa, “I remember that.” Milo and Martin had both broken their little toe on their right foot, while Diogee had had a broken tail. In fact, almost everyone that Milo knew reasonably well had suffered a minor injury of one form or another on the same day. “I broke my foot,” she said. “So what are you suggesting?”
    Zack thought for awhile, considering what they could do to support Milo. “I’m not sure,” he said after a few minutes, “why don’t we call his parents? Maybe they might some ideas.”
    “Good call,” Melissa.
    Zack pulled his phone out of his pocket and proceeded to tap through his contacts until he found “Milo’s Mom” under and dialled her number. A second later Brigitte appeared on Zack’s screen. He positioned his screen so that Brigitte could both of them.
    “Hi Mrs. Murphy, “ said Zack.
    “Hi Zack,”she said, “Hi Melissa. Is everything alright with Milo?”
    “Oh yeah, Milo’s fine,” replied Zack, “it’s just we know how February leaves Milo feeling a little down sometimes and we wanted to do something to make him feel better.”
    Brigitte nodded, “that sounds like a great idea. Let me put Martin on.” She appeared to tap something out of sight on her phone and a second later, Martin appeared on Zack’s screen. He seemed to have just come in from outside. He appeared to be in an office and was wearing a yellow hard hat and a heavy winter coat.
    “Hi kids,” said Martin,”Is Milo OK? Did he forget his body armour again?”
    “No, it’s nothing like that Mr. Murphy,” said Melissa. “It’s just that it’s February and-,”
    “Oh, I see,”replied Martin at once. He gave them a sympathetic look. “Milo’s always found February to be a bit of slog. Somehow, Murphy’s Law gets into his head in February. There’s not much any of us can do about it, I’m afraid.”
    “We know that,” replied Zack, “but Milo’s always been there for us when we needed him and-,”
    Martin nodded. Of all of Milo’s many personal qualities, the one that Martin had always been most proud of was his son’s almost endless ability to put everyone around him before himself, even when other people didn’t want him around.
    “-Zack thinks his spirits could use a bit of a lift,” interjected Melissa.
    Martin nodded again. “Unfortunately it doesn’t really work like that,” he said, “but I think Milo will appreciate the effort all the same.”
    “I don’t think we should do anything too energetic,” said Brigitte.
    “I agree,” replied Zack. “Just us and maybe some kids from school.”
    “We could make it a surprise,” said Martin.
    Melissa nodded. Milo had been positively overjoyed the previous year when Zack, Melissa and Amanda had taken him go-karting and thrown him a surprise party for his thirteenth birthday. “I think Milo would really like that.”
    “So, I guess that just leaves when and where,” said Zack.
    Martin shrugged. “We’ll do it at our house,” he said, “but it’ll have to be next week. All the holes should be fixed by then.” Milo had fallen through his bedroom floor and landed in the basement while getting ready for school that morning.
    The bell signalling the end of lunch rang and all around them kids were pushing back their chairs and shoving their books back into their bags with a loud babble of voices.
    “Thanks for all your help, Mr. Murphy,” said Melissa, picking up her things.
    “Oh, you’re both welcome,” replied Martin, “I don’t think Milo could have ever found better friends than the two of you if he tried.”
    Zack shrugged again. “It’s the middle school code, Mr. Murphy,” he said.
    Melissa nodded. “Yeah, no one gets left behind.”
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  20. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Episode Twenty-Nine

    Zack and Melissa filled Amanda in on their discussion with Brigitte and Martin three days later. “That sounds like a good idea,” she said. “I had no idea that Milo could be affected like that.”
    Melissa nodded. “Since he was five,” she said.
    “I don’t suppose Milo has ever,” Zack paused searching for the right word, “seen anyone for this particular aspect of Murphy’s Law?”
    “You mean like a therapist or something?” asked Melissa.
    Zack nodded. “Why not?” he asked. He suddenly recalled the day he had met Milo at the beginning of the previous school year. He had just moved into Milo’s subdivision a couple of days before hand and the two boys had met while waiting for the school bus at the bus stop at the end of Milo’s street. The other kids waiting for the school bus had gaped open mouthed as Zack had casually struck up a conversation with the slender, unassuming looking boy of average height standing several feet apart the other kids waiting for the bus. Zack had been confused by the signs that the other boys had tried to give him. “What’s all that about?” he had asked.
    The boy had turned to him. “Oh,” he had said mildly, “you must be new here. I’ve got a bit of a reputation.”
    “So what are you, a tough guy?” Zack, had asked.
    The other boy had laughed mildly, “Oh, I don’t think anyone’s ever called me tough before.” The boy had casually thrust out a long fingered hand. “I’m Milo”
    Zack had shaken it. “I’m Zack.” The hair raising morning that followed, which began with Zack and Milo nearly being run over by a section of concrete drainage pipe and ended with the two of them drifting down the Danville River in the back of a dump truck, was the first of many such misadventures that Zack had found himself mixed up in as a result of becoming friends with Milo over the course of the following year. Since becoming friends with Milo, Zack had gradually learned to overcome his insecurities, yet even as he had, and had watched Milo grapple with the day to day instabilities that Murphy’s Law regularly him presented with, Zack had wondered how Milo managed to cope with the mental stress that Murphy’s Law placed him under.
    Zack shrugged. “Well, I mean I know Milo has his book of shark mantras-,” he began.
    Amanda gave Zack and Melissa a slightly confused look, “wait, Milo has a book of shark mantras?” she asked.
    Melissa nodded. “Yep. He packs it in his backpack fairly often.” She paused. “I gave it to Milo for Christmas when he was nine. I thought it was funny. I never though he’d never actually use it, but he does.”
    Zack had first encountered the book in question the previous year when Milo has run the Race for Runts, a charity race put on by the Danville SPCA. Milo had run the race every since he was ten, but until last year had never finished, on account of his backpack, which was heavy and slowed him down.
    “Mr. and Mrs. Murphy tried therapy for Milo a couple of times,” Melissa continued, “when this first started to happen, they thought that Milo might be experiencing something like PTSD.”
    “But I take it that something happened?” asked Amanda.
    Melissa nodded. “If by something, you mean Milo’s therapist emerged from the room crying fifteen minutes into his first session?” she asked, “then yeah, something happened.”
    While Melissa has been talking, Amanda has been typing on her phone. Zack and Melissa’s phon3s both pinged at the same time. They pulled their phones out and looked at them. Amanda had sent them a list of things they would need.
    Zack quickly scanned down the list. Overall, it looked good except, “I don’t know about balloons and party streamer,” he said. “This is supposed to low key.”
    “OK,” replied Amanda, “fine, no party streamers. Just make sure you get everything else.”
    Over the next two weeks, Zack, Melissa and Amanda quietly gathered everything on Amanda’s list of supplies, including several cases of Pep, in several different flavours, including original, cherry, Milo’s favourite, lemon and vanilla, as well as pistachios, Milo’s favourite snack food, and peanuts, pretzels and several different kinds of potato chips.
    “We’ll have to find a way keep Milo occupied,” said Zack in the middle of the following week.
    “Well, we could have Milo pick up the cake,” suggested Amanda.
    Zack, Melissa and Amanda all looked at each other. “Won’t that tip him off that something’s going on?”asked Zack, “and we want the cake to get to his house in one piece.”
    Melissa appeared to be thinking. “No, that’s actually a good idea,” she said. “One of us should be able to keep Milo distracted for a little while.”
    “Well, until Murphy’s Law hits,” said Zack with a chuckle. “OK, I’ll be the distraction. This was my idea anyway.”
     
  21. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    The next Saturday dawned cloudy and cold. Light snow flurries drifted down out of a lead coloured sky. Zack got up, showered, brushed his teeth and walked down stairs into the kitchen. Marcus Underwood was nursing a cup of coffee. Zack’s mother, Dr. Eileen Underwood was sitting at the kitchen table buttering some toast. She looked tired, having just finished a night shift in the ER. Dr. Underwood was trauma surgeon at Danville General Hospital.
    Marcus looked up from his cup of coffee. “Morning, Zack,” he said.
    “Morning Dad,” replied Zack with a stifled yawn. He walked around to the other end of the table a gave his mother a kiss. “Morning Mom,” he said. “How was the night shift?”
    Dr. Underwood gave a tired shrug. “Pretty quiet,” she replied. “A car crash victim, two gun shot wounds and a slip and fall accident.” She took a bite of her toast. “Pretty routine stuff mostly.” She washed down her mouthful of toast with a swig from her glass of orange juice. “So what have you got planned today?”
    Zack shrugged. “I’m suppose to meet Milo downtown,” he said, “and then we’re going back to his house. Melissa and I have a bit of surprise waiting for him.”
    “What kind of surprise?” asked Marcus.
    Zack shrugged again. “Nothing elaborate, just a get together with some kids from school, and Milo’s family, and I think Cavendish and Dakota are supposed to be there as well.”
    “OK,” said Marcus, “just make sure to be home in time for dinner.”
    Zack nodded. “OK, sure.”
    After bolting down a quick breakfast, he went upstairs to get dressed. Zack rummaged through his closet and pulled a clean pair of jeans and then tugged on his usual long sleeve T-shirt followed by a yellow T-shirt over that. He pulled on his winter coat, hat and gloves and walked back down stairs, putting his head in the kitchen door as he went. “Bye Mom, Bye Dad,” he said, “I’ll see you later.” He pulled his winter boots and his spikes, opened the front door and went outside. The snow was falling lightly but steadily, and had collected into a thin blanket that cover the patches of ice left over from the recent bout of freezing rain. He walked out to the end of his driveway, but instead of turning toward where Oakmont Street ran into Waterford Road, Zack turned the other way and up the street toward Watson Boulevard. The goal was to avoid running into Milo until after he reached the bakery and was on his way home with the cake.

    The ride into downtown Danville took longer than usual, owing to the slippery road conditions, as a result, it took Zack at least half an hour to get downtown and he doubted that Milo would do much better, even if Murphy’s Law didn’t trip him up, and Zack figured that it was reasonably safe to assume that it would. The bus finally dropped him off at the corner of Watson Boulevard and 54th Street. He looked at his watch. He still had some time before Milo could be reasonably expected to show up the bakery, which was located across the street. Just down the street on the other side was Danny’s Music Store. Danny was the lead singer for Love Handle. Zack crossed at the crosswalk and walked down the street. He pushed open the door and went inside. Electric guitars hung on the walls and and drum kits occupied the open space in the centre of the floor.
    “Oh, hey little dude,” said Danny from behind the counter. He was a tall, thin man with a goatee, long hair and a bandana. “Looking for anything in particular?”
    Zack cast a covetous eye over the over the racks of vintage Fenders and Gibsons. They started at $1,800 and escalated rapidly from there. He shook his head. “Not today, Danny,” he said. “I’m just killing time waiting for a friend.” He spent half an hour browsing through the store, ogling the guitars, making small with Danny and picking out guitar chords for some songs he wanted to learn. Zack glanced at his watch. He should check to see if Milo had shown up yet. He paid for his sheet music and went back outside. There was no sign of Milo. There was a Starbucks across the street from the bakery. Zack was about walk down and get a coffee. He could sit by the window out of the weather and wait for Milo. Zack was half way down the block when he hear a voice echoing across the street during a brief lull in the noise of the traffic.
    “-You are personally responsible for at least nine, I repeat, nine safety violations in the last ten minutes.”
    Zack turned. On the other side of the street he saw a tall, lanky figure with an unkept mane of auburn hair in a bright orange safety vest waving a hand held stop sign and haranguing a slender, shorter figure in a winter coat with a heavy backpack slung over his slightly rounded shoulders. Zack put on his most convincing indignant best friend face, which wasn’t very hard to do, and crossed the street, now devoid of traffic. “Oh, come on Elliot,” said Zack as he reached the curb on the other side of the street, “you know full well that Milo doesn’t mean to cause any of the stuff the happens around him.”
    Elliot turned to look down at Zack. “No excuses!” he said emphatically. “Milo is a menace to everyone around him.” He waved a hand up and pointed up the street to where a large truck was half sticking out of a deep hole in the road. “Look at all the damage he caused.”
    Zack ignored Elliot’s diatribe. “That’s just Murphy’s Law,” he retorted, “Milo can’t help it.”
    Elliot was about to open his mouth in reply when a muscular man with short brown hair and blue eyes walked up to three of them. Richard Chase looked down at Milo and Zack.
    “Hi, Mr. Chase,” Milo said.
    Melissa’s father, the Chief of the Danville Fire Department, sighed. “I should have guessed,” he said, “OK, boys, what happened here?”
    Zack suddenly felt a little self conscious. “Actually, I didn’t see anything, Mr. Chase,” he said. He was telling the truth, but he still felt as though he was pushing Milo under the bus. Milo’s relationship with Richard was complicated by both Murphy’s Law and Richard’s position as Danville’s Fire Chief. “I was on the other side of the street at Danny’s looking at guitars.”
    Richard scribbled some notes on a note pad, then turned to Milo. “OK Milo,” he said, “what happened?”
    Milo spent the next twenty minutes talking more or less without stopping, while Richard wrote furiously.
    When Milo was finally finished, Richard looked skeptically through his notes. “So, let me get this straight, Milo,” he said, “you’re saying that all of this,” he waved a hand to indicate the chaotic scene behind him, which was now being cordoned off with caution tape, “was caused by a single gerbil?”
    Milo nodded. “That’s right Mr. Chase.” He paused. “Is the driver going to be OK?”
    Richard softened slightly, “the driver has a mild concussion,” he said, “he’ll need to stay in the hospital for observation for a couple of days, but he’ll be fine.” He quickly flipped through his notes again. “OK, Milo you can go.”
    Elliot looked as though someone had just cancelled his birthday. “But he caused nine safety-,”
    Richard cut him off, “thanks Decker,” he said, “don’t go anywhere, I still need to take your statement.”
    “Bye Mr. Chase,” said Milo.
    “Good bye, Milo.”
     
  22. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Episode Thirty

    Zack and Milo watched as Richard turned back toward the mess that Murphy’s Law had made of the intersection. As they watched Richard’s retreating back, Elliot followed him, shouting, gesticulating wildly and pointing at Milo. They distinctly heard him utter the words, “public menace” and “threat to safety.”
    Zack put a friendly hand on Milo’s shoulder. “Are you OK, Milo?” he asked.
    Milo blinked and realized who was talking to him. “Oh, hi Zack,” he said. “Just wait right here,” he jerked his head at the bakery behind him. Its windows were full of delectable looking baked goods. “I was supposed to pick something up.” He pushed open the door and went inside.
    While Zack waited for Milo to come back, he pulled out his phone and fired off a quick text to Melissa and Amanda. “I have Milo. He’s picking up the cake and we’ll be heading back to his house shortly.”
    A second or two later Zack’s phone pinged. He had received a return text from Melissa. “OK, see you soon.” Zack turned his attention back to the bakery. The display in the window was mostly obscured by a thick, billowing cloud of flour. The door opened and Milo emerged. He was holding a large white cake box and he was covered from head to foot in a thin layer of flour. “Well, I guess now we know that Murphy’s Law and fresh baked goods don’t mix,” Zack observed drily.
    Milo opened his mouth, ostensibly to respond, but he immediately started to sneeze and Zack quickly thrust his hands under the large box, lest Milo drop it. He sneezed loudly and blew a cloud of flour into Zack’s face. Zack looked like a ghost. “Milo, why don’t I hold on to this,” he said.
    Milo nodded. “Good idea,” he said, “you know before Murphy’s Law hits.”
    The two boys turned away from the blocked intersection and started walking in the opposite direction. “Are you OK, Milo?” Zack asked again. “I saw you and Elliot and-,” he trailed off.
    Milo shrugged and settled his backpack higher on his shoulders. “Yeah, I’m fine,” he said. Milo had always had a complicated relationship with Elliot Decker. Elliot was much older than Milo and was the volunteer crossing guard for Jefferson County Middle School. When he was six he had gone the circus with his family. The previous spring, Elliot had accidentally been handcuffed to Milo, who had quickly deduced that Elliot’s animosity toward him was largely the result of Murphy’s Law. Martin had taken Milo’s then three year old sister, Sara, to the circus on the same day as Elliot. Martin’s prescience had triggered a chain of events which had resulted in the collapse of the circus tent. Elliot had always believed he was responsible and as a result, he had repressed the memory of the the event and had developed a pathological obsession with safety in the process.
    “I thought you and Elliot were getting along better, at least a little,” said Zack as they reached the bus stop. “He seemed pretty happy with the job you did last year looking after his dog walking business.”
    Milo nodded. “So did I,” he said, “I thought his line of safety gear might have helped him work out his issues.” A few months prior, Milo, Zack and Melissa had decided to spend a day at a sky diving simulator. When the turbine’s generators had inevitably malfunctioned in the prescience of Milo’s negative probability field, the three of them had wound up in open free-fall. Fortunately, Milo had thought to pack several parachutes that he had bought from Elliot, which had probably saved their lives.
    “Yeah, I remember those parachutes you bought from Elliot last year,” he said.
    Milo chuckled, “the Free-fall Incident is admittedly at little difficult to forget, even for me.”
    Zack and Milo arrived at the bus stop. There were several other people huddled under the bus shelter’s heater trying to stay warm. The bus arrived twenty minutes late. Milo and Zack took turns holding the cake, while they both dug through their pockets for their transit passes. They swiped them and sat down. Zack balanced the cake box on his knees. The bus’s engine rumbled and the bus pulled out of the bus stop. It took six blocks for Murphy’s Law to hit. The bus shuddered to a stop with the crunch of metal and asphalt and slanted over sideways with a thud. Zack watched the bus’s front right wheel go bouncing away down the street.
    “I think we just lost a wheel,” said Milo.
    Zack nodded. “Looks like we need to find another bus.” Milo and Zack got up and filed toward the bus’s exit. Milo hopped off the bus and Zack followed him, carefully balancing the cake box in his hands and he stepped off of the bus and on the road. Car horns blared angrily from behind the stopped bus, which had plowed a ragged furrow in the road. They set off walking down the street, weaving in and out of the pedestrians going in the other direction. They eventually got back on the bus and made it most of the way from downtown Danville to Milo’s subdivision before Murphy’s Law struck again and the bus slid through the intersection and jumped the curb. As Milo’s house was only twenty minutes away on foot and it had mostly stopped snowing, Zack and Milo decided to walk the rest of the way.

    They arrived at Milo’s front door fifteen minutes later. The door knob came off in Milo’s hand, as usual. He pushed open the door and together with Zack, went inside. Right on cue, Diogee came hurtling out from around a corner, barking happily at the sound of his accident prone master and launched himself in Milo’s arms, almost knocking him into Zack, who was still holding the cake. Zack stepped aside at the last second and Milo landed on his backside while Diogee happily licked his face with his long pink tongue. Milo chuckled. “Down boy,” he said, laughing. He shrugged off his backpack, then took off his winter coat and boots, got to his feet and picked up his backpack. He looked around, frowning slightly. The house seemed unusually quite. Ordinarily, with Milo out of the house, and no Murphy’s Law to interfere, Brigitte could often be found sitting at the kitchen table with a set of architectural plans and a cup of coffee. At the very least the sound of Diogee barking as Milo and his friends came through the door would have roused Martin and Sara from where ever they were in the house to see what the noise was about.
    “Where is everybody?” asked Milo.
    Zack walked into Milo’s kitchen and deposited the cake on the kitchen counter. “Maybe they’re in the living room?” Zack suggested.
    Milo nodded. “Maybe,” he said with a shrug. He walked past the kitchen table toward the door that led to the living room. Zack followed closely behind him. Milo opened the door and found Martin, Brigitte, Sara, Cavendish and Dakota, along Melissa, Amanda Chad and Mort. A banner hanging from the opposite wall read, “Milo Murphy, the best friend in the world.” Milo looked around at his assembled friends and family, a look of slightly dumbstruck confusion on his face. “I-Zack, what is all this?” he asked.
    Zack put an affectionate hand on Milo’s shoulder. “Surprise,” he said. “We’ve been planning this for two weeks.”
    “Really?” asked Milo.
    Melissa nodded. “You can thank Zack,” she said. “This was all his idea.”
    Milo turned to look at Zack, “you didn’t have to-,”
    Zack cut him off. “Yes I did,” he said simply. “Melissa explained to me about how Murphy’s Law gets into your head sometimes during the winter.”
    Milo nodded. “Yeah,” he said, “Mom and Dad sent me to a therapist once and well-,” he trailed off.
    Amanda nodded. “Melissa told us about that,” she said.
    “It seems that I don’t mix well with psycho-therapy,” said Milo. He chuckled in spite of himself. “I made my therapist cry fifteen minutes into my first session.”
    “We know,” continued Zack, “Milo, we’ve been through a lot together, from aliens to time travel to parallel realities to raccoons in the sewer-,”
    “That was one raccoon, singular,” interjected Milo.
    “Milo,” said Melissa, “the point is that despite Murphy’s Law, you’re always there for everyone else-,”
    “-even people like Elliot,” said Zack.
    “Even people like Elliot,” agreed Melissa.
    “You’ve given us a pick-up when we’ve needed it,” said Melissa, “and we’d be bad friends if we didn’t do the same.”
    Milo looked Zack, Melissa and Amanda as if he didn’t know what to say. “I-uhhhh-I really do have the three best friends in the world.”
    Zack pulled Milo into a bear hug. “So do we, buddy,” he said, “so do we.”

    The get together lasted for the rest of the afternoon, and only finally ended When Cavendish and Dakota departed at 4:00 PM, leaving only Zack, Melissa and Amanda.
    “Thanks again, guys,” said Milo appreciatively.
    Zack held up a hand. “No need to thank us Milo, “ he said.
    Melissa nodded in agreement, “yeah, you know the middle school code,” she said.
    Zack nodded. “yeah, no-one gets left behind.”
    Amanda looked as though she had suddenly remembered something. “Oh, Milo,” she said.
    “Yeah Amanda,” replied Milo.
    “I’ve been meaning to ask you if you’d be willing to help me plan the WIBAs this year,” she said.
    Milo looked a little a surprised. “Well, I’d love to Amanda, but I’d have thought that you’d want someone whose-,”
    Amanda cut him off. “Milo, I’m not worried about Murphy’s Law,” she paused. The previous year, Murphy’s Law had prevented Milo from appearing on stage to receive his WIBA Award for Greatest Perseverance. She paused. “Well, OK, maybe I am at least a little, but you did a very good job fixing the decorations at the school dance last year, so I’ve decided that I want you to help me plan the ceremony, no ifs, and or buts.”
    Milo still looked a little skeptical, “well, OK,” he said at last.
    Amanda nodded, “good,” she said. “Meet me in the library after school on Monday.”
     
  23. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    [face_hypnotized]

    [face_laugh]

    [face_nail_biting]I like how all these incidents are in the past, because reading about them in current time would be harrowing. Nice buildup of chapters toward a touching display of friendship.[:D]
     
    Chancellor_Ewok likes this.
  24. Chancellor_Ewok

    Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Most of the callbacks are from the show’s canon. Theoretically, Milo should have died on screen at least four times. I’ve always found Zack and Milo being swallowed by a whale in Snow Way Out to be kind of an interesting character moment for Milo, because the show is always going on about how he loves living with Murphy’s Law and is clearly very, very good at it, but in this instance he readily admits that sometimes Murphy’s Law absolutely terrifies him.
     
  25. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    See, this is the advantage of not seeing canon. It's all new to me.