FLINT'S POV

Maybe if you met me in person you would be the one asking a bunch of questions. I would happily answer each one, but nothing about the death of my mother or my childhood. I'd answer why I had built the FLDSMDFR and maybe even tell you about Steve; my pet monkey. You might ask why I ended up being who I am. Well, that's my mother's side and how she once told me to believe in myself. All her years, she had encouraged me to do great and keep on trying. But by the look on your face, I will surrender and tell you about my childhood. Yes I will. When I'm done, NO QUESTIONS! Get that? Fine, I'll maybe answer a few…

Well anyway I'm gonna start. It's my life story up until the point I came up with the FLDSMDFR. If you don't want to hear, I think you should. You will learn secrets about me, my parents, Brent, the Mayor (do I seriously have to include him?), Earl, Steve and somewhere we will find out about Sam. Knew much about her? No? I thought so. Here we go…

xxx

That day when everyone at school laughed at my spray-on shoes, I ran home in tears. Of course after my mother explained that it was okay and I had to believe in myself, I ran to my miniature lab to construct another invention. My lab was tiny and only fit me, a table and a box filled with scrap metal and tools. The lab was like my treehouse. The tree under the lab was still young, but as it will grow I planned to make my lab bigger.

All night I sat with a sheet of paper and pencil in my fist. It was hard to think of anything. But after coming up with a brilliant idea, I sketched it out and began constructing my idea. Somewhere in the middle of the night, I snuck back into the house and stole out TV. I was so determined to get it all finished, that I didn't realize I had fallen asleep. It was only the next morning; I realized I had fallen asleep. A screwdriver was still gripped in my hand and my head was lying on the table. Drool was all over the tabletop. Thank goodness it was Saturday. A full day of new adventures and finishing the invention.

"FLINT LOCKWOOD! BREAKFAST!" my mother hollered from the kitchen window. I got up, and scrambled down the ladder. While hurrying to the kitchen, the hem of my too-big lab coat caught on a corner and I fell face first to the floor. Shrugging of the pain, I got up, lifted the bottom of my lab coat so I didn't fall anymore.

The kitchen was warm and toasty. My dad sat at the head of the table sipping his coffee and reading the Swallow Falls Weekly, while mom was making toast. I sat down beside my dad and peered at the newspaper.

"Dad, why is the point of a newspaper if adults gossip all the time." I asked and my dad lowered the newspaper. My mom put a plate with toast and handed me the butter. Swallow Falls didn't have much a variety of food. It was mostly sardines. Neighboring countries sometimes sent us bread, butter and the rarest was apples. Apples were very expensive when they did come in. We couldn't afford them, so I never tried an apple in my life. Down the street, Brent said he tried apples loads of times. I didn't blame him. He was rich and trailed after the mayor like a puppy.

"So people know things that other people don't know." Dad sighed and sipped his coffee. I nodded and spread butter all over my toast.

"What were you doing in your lab all night?" my mom smiled and sat across from me. She too, drank coffee. That was something else to ask. Why did adults drink coffee?

"I have a new invention ready!" I grinned and my mom beamed.

"You here that, Tim? Another invention!" my mom told dad. He nodded and sipped his coffee. I instantly wondered if I will read the newspaper and drink coffee when I was older. But I knew I wasn't. Someday I will live in a great lab and inventions that will change the world.

"I'll go set it up in the living room!" I abandoned my toast and ran outside through the back door. My mom nodded and put her coffee down with a slam, when I left. She leaned in and squinted at the headline on the newspaper. Tim lowered the newspaper and showed Fran. She gasped and looked down at the picture that came with the article. It was a blurred picture of someone running. You couldn't exactly tell.

"Robbery! But who, Tim? I know no one in Swallow Falls who is so thick! Who would rob the clothing store?" Fran Lockwood furrowed her eyebrows.

"There was also an order left on the countertop. The robber asked for the store to sell darker clothing. In particular—dark blue. I don't know anyone who wears dark blue, except for jeans of course." Tim whispered in case I heard.

"Dark blue is a nice color! My favorite sweater is dark blue!" Fran threw her hands helplessly into the air and then left the room. She had gone to find a camera to film me while I presented my invention. But when she reached the living room, I sat on the couch. She set up the video camera and called dad. Then she positioned herself behind the camera and dad sat down on the couch. I sprang up and stood between the couch and the TV on the table. The TV was my invention. Sort of.

"When you see the recording light, say the name of your invention." Mom leaned in and pressed the recording button. I gave a nervous smile.

"Remote Control Television!" I kept a nervous smile and held out my remote. I pressed the power button and the TV stood up on the table—on two legs. It climbed down and approached my dad; who watched with a worried expression. He turned the TV on, and the screen flashed. But then the TV shook and I think a circuit snapped, because before I knew it the TV shook, ran to the front door behind it and slammed it open. Still smiling nervously, I turned halfway to the doorway and kept pressing the off button on the remote.

Outside, I heard screams and saw people running away. My mom turned the camera off and my dad sat there looking into the doorway. I gripped the remote, and ran out the doorway after my invention.

"Stop! Stop! Stop, please!" I cried and chased after the TV down the street and onto Main Street. People moved out of the way and some found it hilarious to see me running after a runaway TV. I waved my arms, but quickly held them at my sides, to hold my lab coat. If I fell at a time like this, people would never stop laughing. The TV stopped at one point and I ran after, letting one hand click the off button on the remote. But the TV heard my clicking and once again and raced off even faster.

"Stop, you stupid thing!" I wailed and now didn't care if I fell or not. I let go of my lab coat and waved my hands in the air as I ran. I didn't even see where I was running, because before I knew it, I crashed into someone and fell on the ground. They didn't fall. They just stood there with their hands planted on their hips. Slowly, I sat up and looked up at the towering person. It was the Mayor.

"Oh! I'm sorry sir!" I apologized and hoped I didn't hurt him.

"You should be watching where you're going." He snapped coldly and I didn't understand why he was so angry. But then he was the Mayor, so I guess it wasn't a good sign when you crossed his path like that.

"I couldn't see sir. My invention was running away." I pointed behind him. He spun around and we both saw the TV running in the distance. His eyes lit up, and I wondered if he was proud. But when he turned back around it wasn't pride in his eyes.

"You better keep your inventions away from the rest of the town. You're disturbing other people. If your inventions don't work, then don't even bother inventing. I can already tell that your next ones won't work either. If you keep it up, people will dislike you more and more and don't even think about anyone taking you into jobs, in the future." The Mayor replied coldly.

I shrunk back and felt like I had been slapped in the face. No one ever said anything so mean to me. The meanest anything anyone ever said to me, came from Brent. Even his comments weren't so mean.

"Shelbourne!" came a sharp voice from behind me. I turned around and saw my parents standing there. Both had angered expressions. The Mayor was taken back. No one ever called him by his last name. But he tried not to look surprised. Slowly he straightened up.

"Mr. and Ms. Lockwood." He replied and raised his chin.

"How dare you insult my son in that way?" my mother dug her fists into her hips and she looked ready to explode. She glared at the Mayor in such a way, that anyone would be scared. As she spoke through clenched teeth, I knew she was about to blow her top any second. The Mayor leveled her glare and said nothing.

"If I ever hear that again, I will get you. You will regret you ever lived, Shelbourne. GET IT? MY SON IS TRYING HIS HARDEST! THINK YOU HAVE A PROPER JOB? HUH? WHAT DID YOU DO THAT LANDED YOU IN THIS POSITION?" my mom now shouted at the Mayor. People in the street stopped to look at my mother. Many grinned and nodded, as if to agree with her. Others shook their heads. The Mayor had the coldest look in his eyes. He looked ready to strangle my mom. No one had ever spoken to him like that. Suddenly, I forgot all about my Remote Control Television and stood up. Quietly I tugged on my mom's shirt. She looked down at me and I saw tears formed in her eyes.

Then she gently took my hand and we turned away and began to head home. I also took my dad's hand and felt protected. As we left, the Mayor stood there fuming. Some people from the crowd cheered. Ignoring the cheers, the Mayor turned on his heel and headed back to City Hall, muttering under his breath.

We returned home and I instantly scampered off to my lab. Who cared what the Mayor said? I will just have to try harder. One of these days, I will invent something that won't run or explode or anything like that. I looked down at my spray-on shoes. See? I didn't even feel them anymore! Though my toes were getting itchy…