We Didn't Do Anything Wrong, Hardly

by Roger Kuykendall

Copyright© 2018 by Roger Kuykendall

Science Fiction Story: After all--they only borrowed it a little while, just to fix it--

Tags: Science Fiction   Novel-Classic  

I mean, it isn’t like we swiped anything. We maybe borrowed a couple of things, like. But, gee, we put everything back like we found it, pretty near.

Even like the compressor we got from Stinky Brinker that his old man wasn’t using and I traded my outboard motor for, my old m ... my father made me trade back. But it was like Skinny said ... You know, Skinny. Skinny Thompson. He’s the one you guys keep calling the boy genius, but shucks, he’s no...

Well, yeah, it’s like Skinny said, we didn’t need an outboard motor, and we did need a compressor. You’ve got to have a compressor on a spaceship, everybody knows that. And that old compression chamber that old man ... I mean Mr. Fields let us use didn’t have a compressor.

Sure he said we could use it. Anyway he said we could play with it, and Skinny said we were going to make a spaceship out of it, and he said go ahead.

Well, no, he didn’t say it exactly like that. I mean, well, like he didn’t take it serious, sort of.

Anyway, it made a swell spaceship. It had four portholes on it and an air lock and real bunks in it and lots of room for all that stuff that Skinny put in there. But it didn’t have a compressor and that’s why...

What stuff? Oh, you know, the stuff that Skinny put in there. Like the radar he made out of a TV set and the antigravity and the atomic power plant he invented to run it all with.

He’s awful smart, Skinny is, but he’s not like what you think of a genius. You know, he’s not all the time using big words, and he doesn’t look like a genius. I mean, we call him Skinny ‘cause he used to be--Skinny.

But he isn’t now, I mean he’s maybe small for his age, anyway he’s smaller than me, and I’m the same age as he is. ‘Course, I’m big for my age, so that doesn’t mean much, does it?

Well, I guess Stinker Brinker started it. He’s always riding Skinny about one thing or another, but Skinny never gets mad and it’s a good thing for Stinker, too. I saw Skinny clean up on a bunch of ninth graders ... Well, a couple of them anyway. They were saying ... Well, I guess I won’t tell you what they were saying. Anyway, Skinny used judo, I guess, because there wasn’t much of a fight.

Anyway, Stinker said something about how he was going to be a rocket pilot when he grew up, and I told him that Skinny had told me that there wouldn’t be any rockets, and that antigravity would be the thing as soon as it was invented. So Stinker said it never would be invented, and I said it would so, and he said it would not, and I said...

Well, if you’re going to keep interrupting me, how can I...

All right. Anyway, Skinny broke into the argument and said that he could prove mathematically that antigravity was possible, and Stinky said suure he could, and Skinny said sure he could, and Stinky said suuure he could, like that. Honestly, is that any way to argue? I mean it sounds like two people agreeing, only Stinky keeps going suuure, like that, you know? And Stinky, what does he know about mathematics? He’s had to take Remedial Arithmetic ever since...

No, I don’t understand how the antigravity works. Skinny told me, but it was something about meson flow and stuff like that that I didn’t understand. The atomic power plant made more sense.

Where did we get what uranium? Gee, no, we couldn’t afford uranium, so Skinny invented a hydrogen fusion plant. Anyone can make hydrogen. You just take zinc and sulfuric acid and...

Deuterium? You mean like heavy hydrogen? No, Skinny said it would probably work better, but like I said, we couldn’t afford anything fancy. As it was, Skinny had to pay five or six dollars for that special square tubing in the antigravity, and the plastic space helmets we had cost us ninety-eight cents each. And it cost a dollar and a half for the special tube that Skinny needed to make the TV set into a radar.

You see, we didn’t steal anything, really. It was mostly stuff that was just lying around. Like the TV set was up in my attic, and the old refrigerator that Skinny used the parts to make the atomic power plant out of from. And then, a lot of the stuff we already had. Like the skin diving suits we made into spacesuits and the vacuum pump that Skinny had already and the generator.

Sure, we did a lot of skin diving, but that was last summer. That’s how we knew about old man Brinker’s compressor that Stinky said was his and I traded my outboard motor for and had to trade back. And that’s how we knew about Mr. Fields’ old compression chamber, and all like that.

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