I Lost My Grandfather’s Brain
Chapter One (Pleskit)
A Letter Home
FROM: Pleskit Meenom, on the occasionally terrifying Planet Earth
TO: Maktel Geebrit, on the longed-for Planet Hevi-Hevi
I do not think I will ever understand this planet! I thought I was starting to get along in school. I thought I was learning how Earthlings think. I even thought I was starting to understand about being “cool.”
Unfortunately, there has been another incident.
The good news is that it was mostly not my fault that I lost the brain of the Grandfatherly One.
The bad news is, it was enough my fault that I still got in a lot of trouble.
Tim was involved again. Unfortunately, during much of the trouble we were barely speaking to each other.
I have discovered that Earthlings handle friendship differently than we do.
Also, they can be very sensitive.
Once again Tim and I have prepared an account of the entire appalling story. You’ll find it in the attached files. Some of them are entries from Tim’s journal, made during the time when… well, when things were difficult.
Are you ever going to come to Earth to visit with me? The place is strange but fascinating. I can almost guarantee you a trip that will be, if nothing else… interesting.
Chapter Two (Tim)
“Uh-oh,” said Linnsy, as my mother dropped us off in front of school on Monday morning. “Looks like things have gotten weird again.”
Linnsy is my upstairs neighbor. She’s screamingly normal herself, so she can spot weird from a mile away.
You didn’t have to be normal (something I, personally, have never managed to achieve) to realize something was cooking at the school. The sight of eight black limousines—not to mention all the sunglasses-wearing men and women dressed in black—was a pretty good clue.
Our school has been very security conscious ever since the first alien ambassador to Earth decided he was going to send his kid here. Even so, we hadn’t seen this many agents since the day Pleskit arrived.
I wondered if we were having a new infestation of reporters. Mom and I had already gotten several calls at home from newspapers and TV news magazines wanting to know what had happened at school the previous week. We hadn’t talked to them, of course. I figured probably someone would, but I didn’t have to be the one to do it.
Saying no to the media was a little difficult—especially because some of the reporters were offering big bucks for an exclusive interview. We could have used the money. But what price can you put on friendship? Pleskit was my friend, and I knew he wouldn’t really like it if I talked about him.
So I kept my mouth shut. As near as I could tell, everyone else had, too, because the reporters, who were banned from the school grounds, were desperate. Desperate, and annoying.
I gestured toward the guards and said “What do you suppose is going on?”
Linnsy gave me a “little punchie-wunchie.” (This is what she calls it when she socks me on the bicep because she thinks I’m being especially dippy.) “Wake up, Einstein. Did you already forget that our class was held hostage by a disguised alien last Friday?”
“How could I forget? I was the one the alien was looking for!”
“Don’t pat yourself on the back too hard, Tim. The alien wanted Pleskit, too. It was just that you couldn’t be found because you were only two inches high. Anyway, the point is, that’s why all the security. You can’t have an incident like that and not expect them to crank up the safety measures. I would think you’d know that from all that stupid science fiction you watch.”
I sighed. Linnsy used to be more fun to hang out with. Actually, we don’t really hang out at all anymore. But because we live in the same apartment building we still go to school together sometimes, especially if one of our mothers is driving.
When we got to the door of the school a tall Hispanic woman wearing a security badge asked for our names and what class we were in. Then she checked us against a page of photos to make sure we were really who we said we were.
I figured that would be enough. But when she waved us inside, we found another checkpoint. Here we had to step into a metallic-looking blue box about the size of a Port-o-pottie.
“What does this thing do?” I asked.
“Complete body scan,” replied the guy who was operating it. “Checks to make sure you’re not really an alien in disguise. Also makes a record of your DNA, so we can identify you in the future if necessary.”
I wasn’t sure I liked that.
Linnsy went into the box first. The thing hummed and whined for a minute. Then the door popped open, and she stepped out. Her eyes were wide and she was staring straight ahead like some kind of zombie.
“Did it hurt?” I asked anxiously.
She didn’t answer.
“Linnsy! Did it hurt?”
She turned to me slowly, moving almost like a robot. “Ninoo zannet dorko plink plink,” she said in a weird, high voice.
I felt a surge of horror. “Linnsy! Linnsy, talk to me!”
She burst out laughing. “Tim, you are such a dweeb.”
I heard a couple of kids who had come in behind us start laughing, too. Even the guy operating the scanner was smirking.
Blushing furiously, I stepped into the scanner myself. I was sort of hoping it would send me into another dimension or something.
It didn’t. In fact, it didn’t do anything very interesting. There was a flash of light, a tiny hum—so soft you could barely hear it—and then the door opened again.
“That’s it?” I asked, feeling disappointed.
“Neener bixbat rigrum dibbles,” said the guy operating the machine. “Translation: Welcome to the weird zone.”
I rolled my eyes in disgust. Like I was going to fall for that kind of thing twice.
Without even looking to see where Linnsy was, I headed for the classroom.
Pleskit was there already—which meant his bodyguard, Robert McNally, was there, too. McNally was sitting in the back of the room, wearing his sunglasses, just like he always does, and looking totally cool. I would like to be like McNally when I grow up.
“Greetings, Earthling!” said Pleskit when he saw me.
“Greetings, oh mighty Purple One,” I replied.
We both smiled.
“Oh, look,” said Jordan, who was sitting nearby. “The Dork Society has decided to hold its annual convention in our classroom!”
Brad Kent snickered. Brad laughs at whatever Jordan says, no matter how stupid it is. I don’t want to say that Brad is a suck-up, so let’s just say that if Jordan was a ship, Brad would be a barnacle.
Jordan is very good looking and very cool. He’s also, in my opinion, a total booger. He’s been on my case ever since he transferred into our class a couple of years ago, after the fancy private school he used to go to kicked him out for some reason. People have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what he did to get booted like that. My personal theory is simple: The teachers got tired of throwing up every time they had to spend a day with him in their rooms.
Linnsy gave me a little punchie-wunchie the first time I told her this theory, but personally I think it makes a lot of sense.
The day started with two announcements from Ms. Weintraub, one sad, one surprising.
The sad news was that we had lost two more kids—Robert Devine and Cissy Jupe—because their parents decided to pull them out after what had happened on Friday.
The surprising news was that we were getting two new kids—a boy named Larrabe Hicks, and a girl named Brianna Sawyer.
Larrabe seemed nice, but dorky—which meant I might get along with him.
Brianna, on the other hand, seemed like she was from another world altogether—and I don’t mean from another planet. But she was sophisticated, and, well… developed.
That’s this weird thing that happens in sixth grade. Some kids start to grow really fast. It’s like the hormone fairy comes and taps you on the head one night and all of a sudden, sproing! you shoot up about six inches in two weeks. The thing is, you never know when it’s going to happen. Or where.
Also, I think it happens to more girls than boys. At least, we have several girls in our class who are taller than most of us guys. Which is not, believe me, the way things used to be.
Jordan is one of the tall guys, of course.
The new kids seemed nice enough, but they were both really interested in Pleskit. That wasn’t really a surprise—who wouldn’t interested in an alien? But when I watched them talking to him that day, trying to make friends, I got a strange, unpleasant feeling in my stomach.
I wouldn’t have known what was going on inside me if Linnsy hadn’t explained it at recess that afternoon.
“You’re jealous, Tim.”
“Jealous?” I asked in surprise. “Of what? It’s not like Pleskit’s my girlfriend.”
She gave me a little punchie-wunchie. “If we hadn’t been such good friends back in kindergarten I would just abandon you to the savage forces of natural selection. Let’s think this through for a minute. First, you don’t have a lot of close friends.”
I started to object, but she cut me off.
“It’s not like anyone dislikes you, except Jordan, who doesn’t count, since he’s barely a member of the human race. But there’s no one you’re really close to, either, since you’re basically too weird for real life.”
“I’m not trying to insult you. I’m just here to cash your reality check. Most of the time I actually like the fact that you’re kind of weird, except when you act so dorky that you embarrass me. The point is, when Pleskit got here, two things happened. One, we finally had someone in class weirder than you. Two, you guys got to be friends pretty quickly—which was logical, since you were the closest thing we had to an alien already. So it’s no surprise that when you see someone like Larrabe or Brianna trying to be friends with Pleskit that it makes you nervous.”
“Because, genius, you don’t want him to be better friends with someone else than he is with you!”
“That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard!” I said.
But I only said that because I realized that what Linnsy had said was true.
Emotions. What a stupid idea.
I bet they were invented by a girl.
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