Calvin's family had just finished their vacation. They are standing in the terminal. Calvin and Hobbes were at his parents feet while they got their tickets validated. Calvin wasn't in the best of moods.
"Why do we bother seeing Uncle Max?" he grumped to Hobbes. "He never has anything interesting in his house."
"That's because after you broke everything of his on the last visit, he hasn't bought anything valuable since," Hobbes said, not looking up.
"Oh, come on! I wasn't that bad!"
"As I recall, you destroyed five vases, six lamps, twelve figurines, three candles and one house."
Calvin glared at him. "I didn't need that," he muttered.
Mom and Dad arrived.
"Okay, Calvin," Dad said, "we're going to the gate."
"About time!" Calvin grumbled.
They walked to the chairs and sat down in the gate.
"Why do we bother going on vacation anyway?" Hobbes asked. "We had a lousy time, just like we always do."
"It kind of makes staying on some rock in the middle of nowhere seem tame," Calvin nodded. "We never go anywhere exciting. I want to go on a road trip where just once, I decide where we go. I'd see the North Pole, the Amazon Jungle, Mt Rushmore, the Eiffel Tower and the Batman Building all in the same day!"
Hobbes rolled his eyes.
"This is the last call to Fill-in-the-Blank City," said an announcer. "The flight for Fill-in-the-Blank City is now ready for boarding."
"Finally!" Calvin shouted.
They all got up to leave. It was then that a large crowd was forming, and Mom and Dad were starting to lose sight of Calvin.
"Keep up with us, Calvin!" Mom called.
"Trust me," her son replied. "I have a natural sense of direction. I can keep up with you."
Suddenly, the people started to multiply. Calvin was finding it difficult to keep up with his parents. He managed to hold on to Hobbes, and they both looked frantically around.
"So much for that sense of direction of yours," Hobbes scoffed.
Mom and Dad looked around.
"Where's Calvin?" asked Dad.
"I thought he was with you," Mom replied.
"I'm right here!" said a voice. It sounded like Calvin.
"Oh, good. Come on, dear," Mom said.
They walked through the gate and boarded the plane, unaware that the real Calvin was still behind it with Hobbes.
By now, the crowd had dissolved a bit, and Calvin could see where he was going.
"I think I can see the floor again," said Hobbes.
"Good," said Calvin. "Hey, where're Mom and Dad?"
Calvin looked at the gate. He could see Mom and Dad in the crowd getting into the plane.
"Come on! Before we're too late!" Calvin cried.
They ran towards the tunnel that would lead them to safety, but Calvin ran smack into someone's hand.
"Hey, what gives?" Calvin shouted.
He looked up and saw a female clerk looking down at him.
"Sorry, kiddo, I'm gonna have to see your ticket."
"My parents have them."
"Where are they?"
"They just got on the plane!"
"What did they look like?"
"My mom is a tall brunette and my dad is balding and wears dorky glasses."
"What are their names?"
"What's with all these questions? I could be getting on the plane right now!" Calvin shouted.
Suddenly, the ground started to shake. Calvin looked out the window and saw his plane was taking off. He ran to the window and pressed his face against the glass.
"NO!" he cried.
"Don't worry, I'll call up the manager," said the clerk.
While she went to the phone, Calvin peeled his face off the glass.
"Mom and Dad must hate me! They wouldn't have left without us otherwise!"
"Maybe they didn't notice you were gone?" Hobbes suggested.
"That's crazy!" Calvin shouted. "Mom and Dad should know me well enough to know when I'm with them or not."
"Well, apparently not," Hobbes said.
Meanwhile, on the airplane, Mom and Dad were just sitting unbuckling their seatbelts when they looked around.
"Where's Calvin?" asked Mom.
"I'm not sure," Dad said. "Calvin, where are you?" he shouted. "We don't want a repeat of last time."
"Did you want something, sir?" a boy asked.
Dad looked down. "Excuse me?"
"You were asking me to follow you out there at the airport, so I followed you here."
"No, I was talking to my son, Calvin."
"No, you're not."
"Yes I am! Calvin Patterson! That's me!"
"You're not our Calvin," Dad said.
The boy shrugged.
"Perfect," Dad groaned. "We must have left him at the airport."
"What'll we do?" Mom asked.
"We'll call Max and have him pick him up. I'll call the airport and let them know."
Dad went for a cell phone, but a stewardess stopped him.
"Sorry, sir, but you can't use your cell phone on the plane."
"But we left our son at the airport!" Dad insisted. "I need to call my brother!"
"I'll have the pilot call the airport. Just give me your brother's phone number."
So the pilot made a radio message to the airport, who received the message. They called Uncle Max, who said he'd take Calvin and Hobbes to the subway station.
A few hours later, Calvin and Hobbes were waiting in the control tower for someone to take them home. It had been half an hour since the controller left.
"I'm bored," Calvin said. "Bored, bored, bored. I'm so bored. Bored am I."
There was a pause.
"In case you haven't caught on, I need something to do," he said to Hobbes.
"I heard you the first time," Hobbes moaned. Being stuck with Calvin wasn't a very nice experience.
Calvin looked to his left. He saw a radio control thingy that lets you talk to the airplane pilots. A grin spread across his face.
"I just got an idea," he said slyly.
"If it involves the fire hose and the poodle again, I'm walking," Hobbes said.
"No, we're not doing that, and just so you know, nothing was ever proven."
Hobbes rolled his eyes.
Calvin walked over to the radio.
"What are you planning to do?" Hobbes asked.
"Liven things up a bit. What else? Now get over here."
"No way. I'm staying over here so that they can hold me responsible."
"Hobbes, you say that as if when I do this, I'll get killed."
"You will get killed."
"Oh, how many times have you said that?"
"Nine thousand, four hundred and seventy-five times."
"And how many times has it actually happened?"
"Nine thousand, four hundred and seventy-five times."
"Oh, shut up. I'm just gonna try a few jokes."
Calvin turned on the radio and cleared his throat, hoping to deepen his voice.
"Ooooooooooooh…," he said.
"Control?" asked a pilot. "What're you doing in there?"
Calvin continued. "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…"
"Seriously, what are you trying to do?" asked the copilot. "Control?"
"Who is this control of which you speak of?" Calvin asked in a deep voice. "Oooh."
"You," the pilot said.
"The control is dead. I killed him. I am the ghost of the man he murdered."
"What!" the pilot cried.
"You yankin' our chains?" added the copilot.
In a moment of confusion, Calvin's real voice slipped in. "Huh?" He quickly changed it back. "I mean, uh, no! No! Of course not! I am Johnny."
"Johnny what?" asked the copilot.
"Er, Johnny Ala Pony? Anyways, I'm putting a curse on your plane. You must either land where you are, or your engines will burst into flames and you will all go down."
"Holy cow!" the pilot screamed. "Attention passengers. Your flight to Boston will be landing in the secluded field for some extended period of time until the curse upon our plane has been lifted."
"Very good, pilot. Over and out. Boo," Calvin said, and he turned off the radio.
"Guess the folks in Boston are gonna be a little late this evening," Hobbes said.
The Terminal Controller entered. "Okay, kid, your Uncle Max is here to take you to the subway station."
"Thanks," Calvin said.
He grabbed Hobbes and fled.
About fifteen minutes later, Calvin and Hobbes were standing on the platform, waiting for the subway to arrive.
"Awful interesting that your parents trust us to ride a subway," Hobbes commented.
"How long is this trip going to be?"
"Probably about a day."
Calvin's eyes grew to that familiar dinner plate size. He whirled around and jumped on Hobbes' chest, grabbing him where his collar would be if he had one.
"A day! It could've taken three hours by plane! Why's it taking a full day by subway?"
"Well," Hobbes said, "there were no other planes for home for the next three days and Uncle Max didn't want us in his home… No, wait. Scratch that. He didn't want you in his home."
Calvin jumped down. "Man, ya break a few fragile objects and suddenly all your relatives hate ya."
"Based on what I've seen, you've got that right."
"Subway to Fill-in-the-Blank City is now boarding at the Blue Line Platform."
"Well, at least we're going now," Calvin said.
Calvin and Hobbes boarded the subway with the blue line on it. They found a seat and sat on it.
"Boy, there sure are a lot of freaks on the subway," Calvin whispered to Hobbes.
They looked around. There was a man with weird hair and no mouth and a tie that flipped up, a man with brown hair and a blue shirt with a fat orange cat on his lap, a fat woman with no nose, and a man with messy black hair, a white and black Siamese cat and a light brown mutt.
"Except the cats," said Hobbes. "They have style."
Calvin looked down the aisle and saw a conductor coming for tickets. He checked his pockets and gasped. When he was sure the conductor wasn't looking, he grabbed Hobbes and ran down the aisle into the next car, which was empty.
"Hey!" Hobbes yelled. "What're you doing?"
"There's a hole in my pocket!" Calvin cried. "The ticket fell out! We'll be kicked off at the next station! Or worse, we'll have to walk through the tunnel with a bunch of rats!"
"You are such an idiot," Hobbes muttered under his breath.
The door handle started to jiggle.
"Oh, no," Calvin moaned. "We gotta disappear! And quick!"
They ran down the car to the other end and ran to the next car. The conductor entered and saw the door close. He started after them.
When they entered the next car, they found that it too was empty.
"Man, a lot of people don't trust the subway anymore!" Hobbes commented.
"Come on! I can hear him coming!" Calvin cried.
"Quick! Under there!"
They jumped under the chair.
"Wow!" said Hobbes. "Look at all the gum!"
"Shh! You'll give us away!" Calvin hissed.
The conductor entered, passed through the car, looked around, and then moved on to the next one.
"Quick, let's get out of here," Calvin said.
They ran back the way they came into the empty car.
"What'll we do now? We're trapped!" Hobbes said frantically.
Calvin looked up at a clock thingy on the wall that had the words ETA to Next Station on it, as well as a clock counting down.
"We'll get off at the next station in thirty seconds."
"But this subway doesn't stop there!" Hobbes said. "It goes straight to Fill-in-the-Blank City!"
Calvin looked around, spotting an emergency brake. He jumped onto the chair below it and put his hand on the lever.
"Tell me when to pull it!"
Hobbes watched the clock.
Calvin started to sweat.
The conductor turned the door handle and entered.
Calvin pulled the handle. The brakes came on and the train screeched to a halt. The force of the stop sent the conductor to the floor. Calvin jumped on top of him so he could reach the OPEN DOORS button. The doors opened, and he and Hobbes scrambled to the platform. Before the conductor could catch them, the doors closed and the subway screeched away.
"That was close!" Calvin gasped. "But we're closer to home at least."
"Well, what do we do now?" asked Hobbes.
"Well, I think… Wait a minute…"
Calvin felt his other pocket and turned red.
"The tickets were in this pocket," he muttered.
"EXCUSE ME?" Hobbes screamed.
Before Calvin could reply, Hobbes had pounced him and they were rolling around on the floor. They rolled past two old people, who looked at each other and tossed a few dollars bills to them and walked away.
Calvin and Hobbes stopped and looked at each other.
"Well, this oughta be enough to get us some food and a bus ride home," Calvin decided.
"Let's get some candy bars from the convenient store," said Hobbes.
A half hour later, Calvin and Hobbes stood in front of the bus stop. When a bus pulled up, they got on, put some change in it and got to the back.
"How do we know that this bus will go to our house?" Hobbes asked.
"It won't. We'll just ride several buses until we get to a point where we can walk home."
"But if it were to take three hours to get home by plane and a day to get home by subway, how long will it take to travel by bus?"
"How would I know?" Calvin asked. "I'm no mathematician!"
"I know," Hobbes retorted. "That's why I do your homework."
"You're cruisin' for a bruisin'!"
"You're walkin' for a clockin'!"
There was a pause.
"That doesn't make any—"
"I know, but I couldn't think of anything else."
A few hours later, Calvin and Hobbes were sound asleep. A sudden jerk from the bus woke them up.
Hobbes yawned and stretched the way tigers do. "Wha…What happened?" he asked.
"I think we stopped," yawned Calvin.
When they got off the bus, they found that they were in a bus depot.
"And you set that it wouldn't hurt to rest our eye for a while," Hobbes muttered.
"There's a difference between hurt and stranded in the middle of nowhere at some bus depot," Calvin snorted.
Hobbes sighed. "What'll we do now?"
"We use the last of the money we have and call home."
"Your parents are gonna go into conniptions when you tell them where we are."
"Who said anything about telling them the truth?" Calvin asked slyly.
"Uh..," Hobbes said nervously.
Once they found a phone booth, Calvin inserted the last of their quarters and took the receiver.
"Hello? Mom? Yes, this is Calvin. Oh everything's fine. Smooth sailing through calm seas."
There was a pause. Calvin put his hand on the phone.
"She wants to know how the subway ride is going. What do I tell her?" he asked.
"Anything but the truth, I'd assume," Hobbes replied.
Calvin gulped and returned to the phone. "Well, the subway broke down, but don't worry. They're taking us all to the train station."
Hobbes slapped his forehead.
"Yeah, apparently it's their Plan B," Calvin went on. "We'll be home within the week, I'll guarantee that. Don't worry. Bye."
He hung up.
"Well, now that that's out of the way, we need to get to the train station."
"But how are we gonna get tickets for a passenger train?" Hobbes asked.
"We're not going to. We'll temporarily become hobos and hitch a ride in a freight train."
"I guess it's better than nothing," Hobbes sighed, "but how'll we get to the train station?"
Suddenly, there was an explosion that shook the ground. They jumped to the ground.
"IT'S AN AIR RAID!" Calvin shouted.
Hobbes dared to open his eyes and look around. He then spotted a colorful tent about a block away, filled with applause.
"Wasn't that spectacular, ladies and gentlemen?" an announcer said. "That was the Amazing Stumpy and his Human Cannonball act! Now for the clowns to come out!"
There was more clapping.
"Look, Calvin! The circus is in town!" he cried.
They snuck around several circus tents, looking for means of transport. Then they spotted a two seat bicycle leaning against a tree.
"Come on! While the clowns aren't looking!" Calvin said.
"Are you crazy? You can't ride a bike, let alone two bikes in one!" Hobbes objected.
"Well, it's worth a shot! Come on!"
He ran towards the bike.
Hobbes sighed and followed. "God save my little broken body," he muttered.
It wasn't long before they were on the highway on the bike. They both wore goofy-looking helmets, just so you know.
"Why do I have to ride in the back?" Calvin whined.
"Because you can't reach the pedals and the front has more control," Hobbes shot back.
"Then I'm more deserving of the front!"
"Look, we either keep complaining or we make it home. Your choice."
"Fine! Sheesh! You sound like my mother," Calvin muttered.
Soon, Calvin and Hobbes (or Hobbes and Calvin) pedaled up to the train station. A freight train was about to leave. They jumped from the bike and ran up the station platform when no one was looking.
The diesel engine roared to life and started to move.
"Hurry!" Calvin cried. "This is the train that'll take us to the train station in our town. We've gotta make it!"
"I'm coming," Hobbes panted.
They took a chance and dove into the open car.
"That was close," Calvin moaned.
"What do we do now?" Hobbes asked.
"How many times have you asked me that?" Calvin demanded. "Why can't you come up with something?"
"Okay, let's wait and get off at the last station where your parents can pick us up."
Calvin's eyes suddenly went wide. "Wait a minute! Mom and Dad can't see us get off a freight train! They'll figure out we left the subway!"
"I still blame you for that," Hobbes muttered.
"No time for that. We need to come up with a plan."
"And that would be?"
"It's always questions with you! You never think! YOU NEED TO THINK!" Calvin screamed.
Hobbes rolled his eyes and pushed Calvin out of his face.
"Okay, okay! Give me a minute…"
Hobbes thought for a good minute.
"Got it!" he cried.
A few hours later, Mom and Dad were waiting at the train station when a passenger train pulled up. A crowd practically poured out of the coaches.
"Where is he?" Dad asked.
"There he is!" Mom cried.
Calvin emerged from the crowd with his stuffed tiger.
Mom and Dad ran over and hugged him.
"Oh, Calvin!" Mom cried. "We're sorry we left you behind. We thought you were right with us!"
"Forget about that," Calvin said. "I have something important to say."
"You never know how much you love someone until they're gone," Dad added.
"Ahem!" Calvin said loudly. "I'm being interrupted here!"
"Sorry, Calvin," Mom said, rolling her eyes. "What is it?"
"Read my lips, parents of mine. We are hungry!"
"Yes, of course," Mom said. "Come on, let's go!"
Calvin and Hobbes climbed into the backseat of the car.
"I must say that your plan worked like a charm, Hobbes," Calvin said.
"As always," Hobbes said smugly.
"Who'd uh thunk it?"
"Me, of course."
There was a pause.
"What was it again?" Calvin asked.
"I don't remember."
"Well, I'd say that we've earned some Bottle Caps of Valor and Rubber Balls of Cunning when we get home!"
"I should get two of each because I got us home without punishment."
"Fine, have it your way," Calvin sighed.
"Let's turn on the radio," Dad said.
He turned it on for the news station.
"…and in other news, Flight 436, which was bound for Boston, landed in a secluded field in Iowa last night and has taken off since, due to the fact that the pilots claim that a spirit has taken over their plan, due to a radio message from a ghost. The two pilots were taken to a rehab center to be cleaned."
"To think that those people could fly like that," Mom said.
"Shameful," said Calvin, who winked at Hobbes.