***Disclaimer: I do not own Drop Dead Fred or any parts of it, this story was written not for profit. Any similarities between the characters in this story and any actual persons, real or imaginary, is entirely coincidental and would be a miracle.***
** NOTE: This story is based on the movie Drop Dead Fred, which is about a little girl named Elisabeth who had an imaginary friend. One of the funniest things in the movie is the fact that anytime Lizzy sneezed, Fred would bounce off the walls uncontrollably (turns out to be useful near the end of the flick). This story is my own idea of how the two of them came to realize this effect and why Fred gets scared when Lizzy gets too close to the gladiolas. Hope you enjoy it, fans!**
Elisabeth Cronin loved to play in the park sometimes. It was a great escape from the house, especially after she had been grounded by her mother. Her mother, Polly, was very mean most of the time, especially after Lizzy made a mess or did something that brushed against Polly's strict way of life. Leaving toys out all over the floor, bed unmade, spilling milk on the counter, any little accident or mistake that made her mother furious always got her punished. This time though it wasn't her fault. Not at all. Where in the world would a five year old like Lizzy get the nerve to throw a red shirt in with the white laundry so all her mother's white linen sheets came out pink? Or rub dog poo into the carpet? Or set up a bucket of dirty mop water to upend itself over her mother's head? No, that wasn't Elisabeth.
It was her friend, Drop Dead Fred. The only problem was while Lizzy would continuously blame Fred for these pranks, she would still get the blame. The reason for this was because Fred was her imaginary friend, and nobody else could see him but her. He always wore a bright green suit and red shoes, and his short, red hair was always messy; yet whenever he appeared, he seemed to light up the room and Lizzy would cheer up instantly just by seeing him.
This last adventure, they had been punished for spraying silly string all over the living room overnight, and Lizzy was punished by being sent to her room in spite of her story that aliens had invaded the house and puked all over the place. Fred didn't want her to stay inside all day however, and as a direct defiance to her mother's wishes, Lizzy and Fred ran away to the park to play for the whole day.
They had already swung on the swings and climbed all over the jungle gyms, and they were just starting to play a game of safari where they would track animals and monsters when they were startled by a clap of thunder. They had been too busy having fun that they never did notice the dark rain clouds that drifted overhead. Lightning flashed, and the first drops of rain started to fall.
"Snotface! Lets go!" Fred called out as the rain started to fall down harder. Lizzy froze for a moment, scared by the lightning, but then Fred grabbed her hand and they started to run in the pouring rain. Elisabeth slipped a few times, but Fred was always there to keep her from falling, and by the time they got back to the house, they were both soaking wet.
Fred, deciding to cheer up Lizzy a little, pretended to scream and shrieked, "Snotface! Help! The water! I'm melting! I'm melting!" And being the magical imaginary friend that he was, he indeed started to melt as though he were made of butter. Lizzy knew of course that he was only pretending and laughed as Fred flailed about. In a matter of seconds, Drop Dead Fred was a puddle of red and green goo on the floor. Now he might have been invisible to everyone else, but the mud and water that was dripping off Elisabeth was quite visible on the tile floor.
That was the first thing Polly saw when she came out from the kitchen. "Elisabeth! I told you to stay in your room until I—" her mother stopped with a gasp as she saw the muddy water all over the floor. She went over to her daughter, not at all concerned that she had been out in the rain, and started scolding her for tracking mud and rain water into the house. "Elisabeth! Look at this mess! I just mopped the floor not ten minutes ago, now this! Young lady, you are grounded for the rest of the week!"
"Buy mommy!" Lizzy pouted. "I only went outside to play! I didn't know it was going to rain!"
"Don't argue with me! You weren't supposed to go outside anyway! I grounded you and put you in your room for a reason! Now go upstairs and get out of those messy clothes. WAIT! Take your shoes off, I don't want the stairs to get mud on them. Okay, now go and get yourself cleaned up! NOW!"
It wasn't until later that night when everyone else was asleep that Lizzy woke up with a cough. She coughed a few times, then sniffled, and finally sat up and looked around her room. "Fred?"
Drop Dead Fred was currently asleep. He slept by hanging upside down from the ceiling like a bat with his arms crossed over his chest. He tended to snore, but it was never loud enough to disturb Lizzy or anyone else. Fred did not stir when Lizzy called out his name softly in the darkness.
But a moment after she did, she wrinkled her nose, and then she sneezed.
What she and Fred had no idea was the effect her sneezes would have on him. The force of her sneeze hit Fred at full strength, and it was so powerful on poor Fred that he woke up as he was thrown against the wall, then the floor, then the ceiling, then from wall to wall before crashing down on top of a pile of dolls in one corner of the room. It was too dark, so Elisabeth didn't see this too well, but she heard Fred yelling and saying, "OUCH!" as he bounced from one surface to another. Once he had stopped, he stood up and brushed himself off in the dark.
"Snotface, what was that for?" Fred asked, sounding annoyed. Lizzy coughed again, and now Fred went from being grumpy at this awakening to being concerned. "Snotface?" He headed to the bedroom door and flipped on the light. Lizzy looked up at Fred.
"Fred? I don't feel good."
Fred knelt down next to the bed and looked Lizzy over. "What's wrong?"
"I don't know, but my throat hurts, and I can't stop coughing," she said, and she coughed a little right then.
Fred had never dealt with a child who was sick before, but he knew some things that he could do. He felt her forehead and knew she had a slight temperature, so he took her by the hand and said, "C'mon. I'll get you something."
He led her down to the kitchen and fetched her a glass of orange juice, and he was just looking through the cabinets for some canned soup when Lizzy started saying, "Ahhh… ahhh… ahhhh-" and Fred looked around just in time to see her sneeze in his direction. Instantly he was blasted backward and smashed against the cupboard, then against the fridge, the floor, the ceiling, and then smacked right into the pantry door, causing a lot of noise as he did so. He had bounced around so much, one would have thought he was a tennis ball.
"Fred! What happened?" Lizzy ran over to her friend who was just getting back onto his feet.
"You sneezed at me, Snotface," Fred said. "That must have been what happened in your bedroom when you woke me up!"
"I'm sorry," she said.
"Nah, it's okay, just be careful," Fred said.
"I'm… I, I… Fred, I," Lizzy was trying to say, and Fred saw all the telltale signs that she was fixing to sneeze again. He yelped and dodged behind the counter, hands over his head and eyes squeezed shut as though he were preparing for a tornado to hit. Lizzy sneezed, but thankfully Fred was out of harm's way.
That was when Nigel, Elisabeth's father, had come into the kitchen. He had heard the slamming noises that had resulted from Fred being bounced around earlier and had come down to investigate, and he heard Lizzy sneeze as he walked in.
"Bless you," he said, then asked, but not unkindly, "Lizzy, it's three in the morning, what are you doing up?"
Lizzy rubbed her nose and said, "My throat hurts, and I keep coughing and sneezing, and when I sneeze, Drop Dead Fred bounces off of things. We can't sleep."
Now everyone in the house knew of Elisabeth's imaginary friend, and Polly was the only one who had a problem against it. Nigel on the other hand didn't mind Fred at all. So when Lizzy talked about Drop Dead Fred like this, he thought it was cute and didn't reprimand his daughter about it. Although this time, the idea of this imaginary friend being bounced off of things by a simple sneeze, made him blink. He actually reasoned with himself how something like this would happen, and decided that maybe it was his daughter's excuse for making so much noise. Either way he didn't mind. The first priority was his daughter, and he felt her forehead and saw that she was indeed feeling a little too warm.
"Okay honey, sit down here," he said, and he got her a tissue so she could blow her nose and he found a can of soup and fixed her a small cup of it to eat. Fred sat at the table with Lizzy and Nigel, but when Lizzy showed any signs of sneezing, Fred would dive under the table to hide before she could let it go. She'd then tell Fred when it was okay for him to come out, sometimes giggling about it, and Fred sulkily would say how it wasn't funny. After Lizzy ate as much soup as she could, Nigel helped her into bed, fetching an extra blanket and tucking her in for the night.
After that, Nigel went back to bed. It was dark once again in the bedroom, and Lizzy tried to sleep.
But then… "AH-CHOO!"
"OW! Ow, ow, ow , ow, OUCH!"
The next day and the rest of the week was pretty much the same. Nigel told Polly about Lizzy's cold, and Polly had to go to the store and get boxes of tissue, more soup, and some medicine to give to Lizzy. Elisabeth had asked for grape flavored medicine, but Polly got cherry, and it tasted terrible to Lizzy who had to take the medicine almost three times a day. In retaliation, Fred poured out all of Polly's most expensive perfume and replaced it with oil.
Because she was sick, Lizzy wound up having to stay inside all the time, and when she wasn't trying to sleep, Fred was the only one keeping her entertained. He told her stories, played games with her, did everything he could to keep her spirits up.
The only downside to all this was the fact that every time Lizzy sneezed, Fred would get blasted backward from the force of it. While Lizzy thought it was funny, Fred sometimes allowed him to get caught by a sneeze or two just so she'd get a kick out of seeing him get bounced from wall to wall like a demented tennis ball. Eventually though, Fred got tired of it and started resorting to hiding behind furniture or ducking out of the room real quick to avoid her sneezes. Occasionally he was not so lucky and would get blasted back anyhow.
One time Elisabeth sneezed and Fred was blown out of the window, and he flew all the way across the backyard and splashed down in the neighbor's pool. Another instance she sneezed once, and just as Fred was coming out from behind the sofa, she sneezed again without warning and sent him smashing up into the ceiling, bouncing up and down between that and the floor a few times before winding up on the rug, looking up at her giggling face. Then there was the time when she sneezed just as he appeared and he got blasted right through another window and this time landed on a cat. At one time or another when Lizzy sneezed and Fred was caught in it, he would get blasted back and sometimes something got broken because of that. Neither Fred nor Lizzy knew why this kept happening, but it was a new annoyance for Fred and a new amusement for Lizzy. He broke the coffee table, a lamp, knocked a phone off its hook, spilled coffee and milk all over the table, smashed a chair, and scared pigeons into flight from these blasts, but he never really complained about it to Lizzy. After all she was sick.
A week after she had first started sneezing, Elisabeth was feeling better, but for some reason or other, both she and Fred noticed that she might sneeze when outside near the flowerbeds. They never knew what it was that caused her to sneeze outside…
Until Polly cut some of the gladiolas she had been growing and put them in a vase inside the house. On the one occasion Lizzy saw them and went to smell them. And then…
"YIKES!" Fred yelled as he was blown backwards by the sneeze, smashing into the china cabinet. After he got up, Lizzy looked the flowers over and sneezed again. Fred barely had the time to duck and hide from her this time, and thankfully was not thrown back.
"Snotface, you aren't sick again, are you?" he asked.
"No, I don't know why I'm sneezing!" Lizzy said, and then she started scrunching her nose again, preparing to sneeze again. Fred saw this and ducked once again. But nothing happened. He peered up from his hiding place, and Lizzy seemed alright, as though she wasn't going to sneeze after all. One of those instances when you feel the sneeze come and then it doesn't. So he came out of his hiding place.
Caught off guard once again, Fred was blasted back, much to his annoyance. He came back once he stopped being bounced around the house and investigated the flowers.
"Hey, snotface," he said, "Smell this…" he held out a flower.
She did. And she sneezed. And poor Fred was blown backwards again. "That's it!" he yelled from across the house as he flew. Then he went "OWIE!" as he hit something in another room.
Shortly afterward he stomped back into the room with the flowers, grabbed them and threw them out the window. Then, an idea coming to his head, he climbed out the window and returned with an armful of sticks that had fallen from an oak tree, and he stuck those in the vase.
"There, now you won't sneeze, right Snotface?"
"Right!" Lizzy said cheerfully.
"And if you ever see a gladiola again, we'll tear them up and rip them into tiny pieces! Promise?" Fred asked.
"Promise!" Lizzy answered.
Fred offered a pinky, and Lizzy shook it.
Polly never did believe for one minute that Elisabeth was allergic to the gladiolas, and always thought that Lizzy threw the flowers out because she either hated her mother or just didn't like the flowers at all. Either way, Polly insisted on growing them and having them around because they were her favorite flower, and Fred was always trying to dispose of the flowers so as to protect himself from the sneezes that would surely come if Lizzy ever got too close.
But there would come a time, every now and then, when Polly would sneak some into the house without Fred's knowledge. And whenever that happened…
"Yahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! OUCH! Oof! Oh! Ow! Ow! Ouch!" *smash*
"Are you alright, Fred?"
And Fred would answer sarcastically, "Yes, I'm alright!" while rolling his eyes, and secretly vowing to use the weed hacker on the garden of gladiolas the next good chance he got.