A.N. Written April 5, 2015, this one was saved as "Untitled Document." Which is probably why I forgot it existed. It was a pleasant surprise as I was looking through. I've since fallen out of love with the name "Syx" for young Megamind, but I didn't bother changing it since I don't think it's what my dumb younger self would have wanted.
I've renamed it, "Tricycle."
Syx had never before been exposed to machinery this big.
Actually, no. He had definitely been exposed to buses, which were technically bigger than this. Also the vacuum that was used through the mess hall, whose engine might actually be bigger than the engine of a bus. He debated silently the horsepower required for both machines, and how large they actually were, going by the main compartment where the engine was held. the vacuum's engine was probably just much less efficient somehow. He wasn't allowed to actually pop the hood on anything, so he wouldn't know. Another thing to read about, supposedly.
This machine he had been directed to manage was very big, but not too hard to understand. The conveyer belt was powered by a neat little engine in the back, and moved two thick rolls that managed the thin sheets of steel by rolling them along the stretch of the machine. All Syx had to do was pull the lever to make them stop every 4.2 seconds. This would allow Uncle Mike to clamp the press down onto the sheet and cut it into proper pieces, so that they could be run through another press.
He had begged and begged for this job. He had wanted to know where his uncles went during the day and help them make "pictures on the metal." He had gone straight to the warden's office, knocked on his door, and began to present his argument. "Look how many push ups I can do! Look how good a draw-er I am!"
Minion had begged too, because he didn't want Syx to go without him. But he couldn't do any push ups, and his artistry left some to be desired. "I know almost all my letters! All the way to P!"
"Oh wow!" The warden had said slyly. "How high can you count?"
Minion had looked at Syx for help. Syx had stood behind warden and mouthed the numbers to Minion whenever he forgot what came next. He got all the way up to "three-teen."
Chuckling, Warden had agreed to give them jobs making license plates. He told them the rules, whom to listen to, and a very specific and thorough description of what they were and were not to touch. Promises were made with crossed fingers.
It was not long before Syx and Minion started stealing license plates.
"Can you turn my page?" Minion whispered. The shadows on the walls of the cell shifted as Syx got up on his elbows and reached over to comply. The glass binky in his mouth cast a blue light that allowed them to study after lights-out. He had an old college textbook about animal psychology. Minion had a picture book.
"What's this letter?" whispered Minion.
"That's a Y."
"What does it say?"
Minion sounded out the word. Ya-e-l-ow. Yellow? Yellow bee. The yellow bee sat on a fl-ow-er. The bu-tt-er-fl… ya?
"Siiiiiiir!" Minion whined.
"Shh!" Syx hunched his head over his book, which blocked the light from Minion.
"Sir, I can't see!"
Huffing, Syx took the binky out of his mouth and set it on the floor between them. Their shadows were cast on the ceiling, and Minion looked up to observe the effect of the light shining through his spherical bowl. It shone through his fins, giving softer shadows.
"I can see my bones," said Minion, mystified.
Syx glanced at him, and then followed his gaze up to the ceiling. "Cool," He said. He went back to his book.
Minion could no longer focus on the strange letters on the page. His brain didn't do as well with symbols. Audiobooks were better.
He glanced at Syx. "When are we going to make something with those license plates?"
Syx paused and furrowed his brow. He looked at where the plates were hidden, in the dark space between his bed and the wall. The stack had become somewhat significant. He smiled. "How 'bout a bike?"
Over the weekend, the machines were stopped, and everybody found other stuff to do. The sound of dribbling basketballs could be heard through the whole west side of the building. The tiny little library had been taken over by book-loving prisoners, and the weightlifting room, though reeking of body odor, was packed full, mostly just because there was a TV in there. There was a TV in the library too, but nobody knew where the remote was, so it was eternally stuck on some local cooking channel.
Syx knocked on Warden's door to check if he was there. He wasn't. The secretary said he was in the gym, keeping the peace. So he'd be a while, then. Time to find Minion.
Minion was several hallways down, traveling easily in his little orb. He was tormenting the old janitor, rolling circles around him, under and between the wheels of his trolley. The old man responded in gravelly, nasally hollers.
"Hey mister! Hey mister! Can I help push the trolley?"
"Ack! Go away! Freaky fish!"
Minion giggled and did a backflip inside his orb. He bulged his eyes, unhinged his jaw, and stuck his tongue out.
"Ew! Ugh! Get away! Disgusting creature! Leave me alone!"
"Hee hee hee hee hee!"
Minion rolled over the old man's shoe, provoking a yelp and a sharp kick. The sound of it actually hurt worse than the impact, but it sent Minion rolling away several feet. The man sped up, but Minion was quickly after him.
He could hear Syx's light footprints behind them. Perfect! He rolled in front of one of the wheels, forcing the trolley to a halt. It distracted the janitor, and allowed Syx to get close enough to snatch up the man's keys.
"Stupid varment! Watchu want from me?"
"I was just playing!" giggled Minion as he rolled ahead. "Bye!"
Minion escaped at the janitor's front, and Syx retreated backwards, keys clutched tightly in his fist. They circled around and met in front of the cell block.
"I got them!" said Syx. "You okay?"
"Uh huh! Which one is it?"
"I don't know! Let's see!"
Syx grabbed their license plates, picked up Minion, and run down to the workroom. He tried every key. The thirteenth one opened it.
It was dark inside, but Syx wasn't quite tall enough to turn on the lights. He set Minion down and dropped the plates, sticking his binky in his mouth. They would have to do their work on the floor.
Syx pulled his folded up, crayon-drawn plans inside his shirt. Minion raised an eyebrow at him.
"When I grow up, I will invent onesies with pockets," Syx declared in his defense.
"Don't you need tools?" Minion asked.
"Yeah, but I know where they are."
The Blowtorch, the hammer, the screwdriver, and all the little screws were located in a tiny, rusty, smelly closet at the back of the workroom. The foot ladder they found in there was also quite helpful. And there was a bag of cat food in there, but it was too heavy to move, and they weren't to that point yet.
Minion was the one to discover the goggles. Syx very much enjoyed the goggles.