What is That Thing?

story & illustration © 2001 Bruce Van Patter

U
sually, Casey didn't pay much attention to the playground equipment. For her, recess was all about avoiding Chester.
Chester Caldwell was the annoying kid who lived across the street from her. He wasn't a bully or anything, he was just a pest. He was always reading Star Trek novels and talking about the Alien Invasion games he played on the internet. And for some reason, he thought Casey was his best friend. Just because she didn't tell him to shut up like the other kids did.

But that didn't make her want to be his pal or anything. Jeez.

The day the new playground equipment came, Casey checked it out like everybody else during recess. There were the usual wooden climbing things with slides for the younger kids. But then there was The Thing. It was a big hollow ball, but with weird curving legs and some kind of a radar dish on top. She climbed up inside.

There was Chester. She turned to go. He grabbed her. "Let me go, Chester," she said. He didn't. He just pointed to a whole panel of switches and odd buttons.

"They work," he said excitedly.

"So what?" said Casey, yanking her arm free. "So you can move the switches. Very nice."

"No, I mean they really work! Watch this." Chester pushed a couple buttons. A video screen came down from the ceiling. It flickered on. The screen said: EARTH SCHOOL REPORT, DAY ONE.

"Oh no!" cried Casey. " You mean, this is...?"

"An alien ship," nodded Chester.


It's Your Story - Alien alert!! Who will write and ending for this?

What do you think will happen next? What would happen if they LAUNCH the ship? Where do you think the aliens are hiding? Can you write an ending in which Casey and Chester stop the aliens, or make friends with them? Or... will the kids just end up as a Show-and-Tell on another planet?

Have fun -- finish the story -- and be creative! If you write an ending, email me!

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