This week’s challenge from Chuck Wendig: writing pulp that is baby related. I’ve never written pulp, so I hope I didn’t fail too horribly at it, but it was fun nonetheless.
Jackie and the Case of the Missing Sippy Cup
Sometimes I wondered what these adults were thinking. With their pitiful attempts at reasoning and deduction, it was no surprise that when things went missing, they had to turn to me.
My name is Jack and I’m fourteen months old. But who’s bragging? Many in the business call me Jackie, but to my employees in the parental department, I’m known as Jackie-Pooh. I can’t take credit for that last one, it’s just a name that my reputation has garnered.
On any given day, you could find me sitting in my office, one consisting of alphabetized rubber matting and a myriad of devices crucial to the job. My “toys”, the parents so naively refer to them as, serve double purposes. The My First Farm Animals book actually assists in investigations pertaining to the agricultural industry. Last week it was the encyclopaedia I referred to while working on the Case of the Missing Barn Cat. It had been a gruelling one, but two days later, there he was, his back torn to shreds, begging for food, water, and reprieve from the pain. I suspect a rogue dog, but that’s a case for another day.
It was on a bright Sunday afternoon that it happened. I was sitting in my office, mulling over recent unsolved cases, chewing on the cardboard page of my Cookie Monster book. To deal with stress, some people crack their knuckles, some people drink, and some people go for a long run. Me? I chew. That’s right. I’ll chew through every damned thing in this office if I have to. That includes the possessions of the parents, their “favourite DVD”, gone! Their antique coffee table? Well, I hope they can convince the future buyers that it was built with the baby teeth-mark design around the edges.
Hell, I say the teeth marks tell a story. That day I had been though a dire hostage situation in which I had to convince the office dog—don’t ask me why we have a dog, all the stupid mutt does is lick my face as though I have some delicious food still stuck to it—to release Bobbles, my giraffe and faithful assistant. Oh, did Bobbles scream. It was those tortured cries that sent me snacking on the table. I couldn’t help it. I think I have a problem.
That Sunday afternoon, parent number one, known by me as Mommy, but to everyone else, Marla (who ever thought of that nickname?), approached me with that look fraught with worry that I have become used to in a position like mine.
And then she said the six words I never thought I would hear. The six words that changed my life. She said, “I can’t find your sippy cup!”
For a moment, I lost my breath. The colours of the world faded into a muted gray. Little lights flickered on in my head as though I’d knocked it on the coffee table again.
When I could at last breathe again, I mustered my courage from deep down and said, “I’m on the case.” I know that her weak ears probably only heard, “Bah!”, so I stood up to confirm my course of action.
The sippy cup had gone missing. I had never thought the job would hit so close to home. Goddamn it, the sippy cup was a crucial part of my life! It was as if someone was playing a cruel joke, wanted to test my devotion to the job, test my sanity, test all of me. I couldn’t believe it had come to this.
At once, without even taking the time to enlist my trusted Bobbles, I was on the hunt. I immediately returned to the last place I had seen it, in the office kitchen, on the floor beside the patio doors to the Outside World. But it wasn’t there.
This was no surprise. I mean, I put down the parental employees a lot, simply because they underestimate my own intelligence, despite my record of successes, but they do generally have the wit to complete easier tasks like that of finding and serving me my sippy cup.
But this time, it had eluded them.
This was a job for Jackie-Pooh.
I considered that maybe the mutt had taken it, vengeance for diffusing the hostage situation. Or maybe it had been the cats. Feline Number One had always had some weird thing with me. Wanted to love me but when we got too close, she pulled away. Maybe it was to lure me to her. Or maybe it was Feline Number Two. I don’t think she ever got over the fact that the parental figures had put up a gate at the top of the stairs, blocking her easy access to my office.
Since none of these suspects were around for questioning, I knew it would be a matter of simply searching. So that’s what I did. High and low I looked, in my box of devices, in the computer cabinet, the television cabinet, under tables, behind couches and chairs.
It seemed that my sippy cup was lost. How was I going to continue on without it?
It could have been my soother. I shuddered to think of it.
I just had to relax, clear my mind, and let the answers come to me, as they always did. That was why I was good at my job, damn it.
I decided, as a last resort, to check my bedroom. I tiptoed quietly into the room, knowing that Bobbles was likely sleeping in there, his blue fur and navy spots impossible to miss on the white carpet.
When I passed through the threshold, I froze. My heart stopped beating at the sight. I couldn’t believe it.
“Traitor!” I shouted, my silly parental employees probably hearing, “Ta!”
There sat Bobbles, sneer on his face, sippy cup sitting beside him.
You don’t take me seriously, Bobbles said. You think you can do the job all by yourself, don’t you? Why don’t you respect my position in your office? I’m here to help. I don’t think you even care about me.
“I fought Mutt tooth and nail to release you!” I shouted (“Bah baa bee bah.”). “You’re my best friend! How could you think such a thing?” (“Tee, tat.”)
I apologize for my mistake, my friend, Bobbles said. Please, take the cup, but spare me my life.
I hesitantly approached Bobbles, but he gave me no fight as I snatched the sippy cup—still full of milk, bless it. I patted Bobbles on the head and said, “I have a case I need your help with.”
Bobbles looked up at me with that smile.
“Apparently, the rooster’s been having trouble with the ladies. I think that’s one thing we can help him with, don’t you?” I offered a wink, tipped my sippy cup, and left the room.
© Lindsay Mawson 2011