I don't own Jimmy Neutron. Yeah, go figure.

Surprisingly enough, Jimmy was looking forward to middle school. Sure, he already knew the curriculum inside-out; Jimmy was capable of acing America's most prodigious college exams. Yes, he was only eleven, but Jimmy wasn't like other boys.

Jimmy was a genius.

Summer vacation was supposed to be fun. Children paraded the streets. Their hands were coated in melted ice cream. Some reenacted last night's horror film in their front yards. Others were content playing ding-dong ditch, running five blocks to Retroville Lake, and then curling up for the wettest cannonballs of their young lives.

Jimmy Neutron didn't join them. He was stuck at summer school. But geniuses don't have to worry about being re-taught their classes, oh no! Jimmy was there simply because he was scrubbing floors- to pay off a clown.

Those unfamiliar with Mr. James Isaac Neutron would think me a joker. Pay off a clown! Ha! It wasn't a shocker, however, to the rest of Retroville.

Jimmy was always getting himself into awkward situations. His big brain sometimes seemed to him more of a curse than a gift. Whether it was turning his fifth grade teacher into a fifty foot green monster with plenty of shrubbery growing out of her head or accidentally helping an army of blue pants try to take over the town, Jimmy had pretty much done it all. Of course, he always learned lessons from his mistakes, but he had to pay the consequences too.

Jimmy was an inventive boy, a man of science. He was always creating some new, fandangled invention that managed to wreak havoc one way or another. He couldn't help if his inventions were imperfect. They were brilliant, but they were unstable prototypes, and often times dangerous. Jimmy didn't care, though. He enjoyed experimenting in his lab.

That's what he longed to be doing right now.

Instead, he was stuck with a raggedy old sponge, a pail of soapy water, and the rest of the classroom floor to keep him company. Usually, Sheen Estevez would be here to keep him sane. Sheen had always been a poor student; he'd been held back twice. Finally, his dad decided to crack down: if Sheen didn't make it to the sixth grade this coming year, no more television, and that meant no more Ultralord. Sheen was more than happy to complete summer school in half the time it should've taken by taking two classes a day, but he still complained it dragged on forever.

Sheen left to visit Tokyo with family yesterday. Jimmy was alone. Every once in awhile, he wondered what became of Carl, his other best friend. He hadn't seen him in awhile, come to think of it.

The last two weeks of scrubbing duty shuffled by miserably slowly. When he finally finished operation: clean floor for the rest of the summer, he rushed home to his lab and slammed the door. He was already exhausted from scrubbing, but he was very ambitious. He couldn't wait to begin his next experiment.

He called it The Periphery Eliminator 9000. It temporarily erased the fine, invisible boundary lines that divide us from parallel universes. In other words, what we considered non-existent or impossible to get to: e.g. the land of milk and honey, television shows, or the past/future; could very easily become real. If he could get it up and running, he could just show it to his new sixth grade class, instead having to give another vapid What I did over My Summer Vacation speech.

As Jimmy worked on his invention, resembling a television remote with an antenna, he thought about what boundary lines he'd like to temporarily demolish. Maybe he could make Timmy Turner's holograms appear and share them with the class. He'd send them right back, of course. Or maybe he would let everyone think he was a magician, and make a dinosaur appear. Or he could just have a modest presentation, and let Sheen go gaga over his favorite television superhero.

Jimmy was deep in thought when his mom's face appeared on his computer, VOX's screen. "Jimmy! Jimmy, dear, I hope you're ready; we're leaving in about six minutes." The screen went black.

"Gas planet! I forgot my orthodontist appointment!" Jimmy sighed. He'd been going to the orthodontist so often lately that it didn't come as much of a surprise, however. Too bad, he was just getting intent upon his work.

Jimmy rushed into the house, gathered his things, and met his parents in the car.

They arrived at the orthodontist's office, and Jimmy made himself comfortable in the patient's chair while his parents read magazines in the waiting room. Hugh waved an ad in Judy's face like a small child. It was a picture of a duck-shaped pie dish.

"Dr. Suotimalac will be with you in a moment, Jimmy," the nurse said as she paced out of the room.

"Thank you, Dr. Kimberly," Jimmy said cheerfully, although his mind was on other things, like colliding dimensions.

A dark-faced man with short-cut, curly black hair and a very large nose walked in. He spoke with a Middle Eastern, rhythmic accent, "James! Great to see you!"

Jimmy perked up, "And great to see you Dr. S!"

"So, I see you've been taking care of them pearly whites, eh? You ready for your braces?" he said with a large, optimistic grin.

"Wh-what? Braces? I don't remember discussing this! I-"

"Oh come now, Jimmy! Sometimes I wonder if your head's big enough to reach the clouds! Hello! Come down Jimmy! Haha!" he chuckled. When Jimmy's expression remained in the outmost shock and surprise, Dr. S. became more serious. "Honestly, Jimmy, did you really think you've been coming here once a week since June just so we could share small talk? Nonsense! Now tell me what colors you'd like."

Jimmy felt this was all going a little too fast. Had he really been that out there during the conversation? Had he never questioned why they kept taking x-rays and molds of his teeth? Dr. S. continued to stare back at Jimmy, waiting for a reply. Apparently so.

"I'll take the black ones I guess."

"Just the black? No patterns? No other colors? How about red? Or maybe blue? The ladies would love that, I'm sure. Blue would match your eyes."

"No, just the black."

"Not much for color, are we?" Dr. S. retorted. He may as well have said,"Lighten up."

"Well, as you can see, I'm not in a very colorful mood," Jimmy replied monotonously.

"Yes, I can see. Braces aren't so bad, though, and you know, it is for the best."

"Yeah, I know. I just don't see why I couldn't have invented something to straighten my teeth myself."

"Oh, James, you shouldn't complicate things. You know that experimenting on yourself could be very dangerous. Why should it matter when you could just have braces?"

"Because everyone already thinks I'm a dork. Now I can look the part too."

"Don't worry so much about what other people think. In fact, just try to block everyone out, if you have to," Dr. S. began to cement the braces on.

"Bwock evweyone out? Wouldn't that mwake me vwulnerble?" Jimmy struggled talking while Dr. S. worked on his teeth.

"Vulnerable! Goodness no! It will make you stronger and a much better person at that. All that matters is what you think." Jimmy's eyebrows lowered as to reply, but Dr. S. hushed him, "Shh now. I can't have your mouth moving if I'm going to put these on now, can I? Don't worry. All will be fine."

Jimmy reluctantly closed his eyes and wished for this day to end.