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After a strange lady curses the town of Midvale, a series of mishaps has everyone worried, until Sean and his sister Melissa can figure out what is really happening.
(...but has anyone seen my lucky rabbit's foot?)
SUNDAY, 8:15 PDST
Sunday morning is always a little hectic in the Hunter household.
Did I say "a little"? Better make that a lot....
On this particular morning, Dad was trying to get a quick look at the Sunday paper while shaving, polishing his shoes, and tying his tie...all at the same time.
Sean was frantically searching the house for his Bible, the same thing he does every Sunday morning before Sunday school. Of course, it might be a little easier if he actually looked at the book some other time during the week. But that would mean reading, and reading has never been his strong point.
"Dad," he suddenly cried, "what's that smell? Did somebody scare a skunk?"
Dad nodded toward the kitchen. "Your sister's fixing breakfast."
"What...again?" Sean groaned. "Dad, you know she shouldn't—"
"Your sister is turning into quite a good little cook," Dad said. "And I'd appreciate it if you would try to give her a little encouragement."
"What? You mean like actually eating the stuff she makes?" Sean shuddered at the thought.
"Well, uh...sure," Dad answered. "I mean...if you can."
"That's a big ‘if,' Sean said.
Dad nodded in understanding, then decided to change the subject. "So, Coach Nelson wants to hire you guys?"
"Yup. Had us go to his office yesterday so we could look at films of Friday night's game. What a disaster!"
Dad sighed. "I've talked to three or four families in the last week who've told me they're thinking about moving out of Midvale. What a shame. All over a little prank."
"It's more than a prank," Sean said. "I mean, the stuff that's happening in this town is just crazy! And dangerous!"
Dad shook his head. "Well, whatever's going on here, it's not because of some curse. And even if it were, you two wouldn't have to worry."
"Why do you say that?"
"The Bible says that ‘No weapon forged against you shall prevail.' "
"Meaning?" Sean asked.
The scream came from the kitchen. Immediately Sean and Dad raced down the stairs to Melissa's rescue. When they arrived, they saw her bent over the sink, choking and gagging. And for good reason. Her necklace was caught in the whirring garbage disposal! She couldn't reach the Off switch, and the disposal kept pulling her down...down...down!
Dad lunged for the switch, but before he could turn it off, the necklace broke, and Melissa staggered backward across the kitchen. Which might have been a good thing, except for...
"LOOK OUT!" Sean cried.
Too late. She fell across the stove, which immediately caught the back of her blouse on fire. Thinking fast, Sean grabbed the sink hose and...
...dowsed his sister.
The good news was he put out the fire. The bad news was he got it in her eyes, which caused her to wave her arms in self defense and...
...knock a skillet full of greasy scrambled eggs onto the floor. Which, in turn...
WHOA! LOOK OUT!"
...caused Sean to go slipping and sliding across the kitchen floor. He grabbed the tablecloth in an attempt to keep from falling, but it didn't work. Instead, he...
...sat down hard on the kitchen floor. Even that wouldn't have been so bad if he'd remembered to let go of the tablecloth. But he didn't, which, of course, meant both it and the breakfast dishes...
KER-ASH! TINKLE! TINKLE! TINKLE!
...fell down on his head.
Slobs, the kids' huge bloodhound, thought this was great fun. She raced into the kitchen, barking and running around in circles, slurping up the scrambled eggs (no doubt hoping Melissa would throw bacon down on the floo,r as well).
But the dishes were still falling on Sean, right along with...
KA-PLOP! K-PLOP! K-PLOP!
...the stack of pancakes. And what good were pancakes without...
GLUG! GLUG! GLUG!
...you guessed it—syrup. Lots and lots of syrup.
At last the catastrophe was over. For the longest moment Sean just sort of sat there in a daze as Slobs ate the pancakes off his head and licked the syrup dribbling down his face.
When Melissa saw that her Sunday-morning breakfast had turned into the biggest disaster since...well, since last Sunday's disaster, she raced from the kitchen in tears and bounded up the stairs to her room.
"Don't cry, Melissa," Dad called as he stooped down to his son. "I can tell it would have been delicious!"
But instead of answering, she...
...slammed her bedroom door.
"Really!" Dad shouted back. "Slobs loves it!"
Apparently she opened and slammed her door twice more, just to make it clear how upset she was.
"Unbelievable," Dad said as he helped Sean to his feet. "Are you okay, son?"
"Yeah," Sean muttered. "I'll be all right."
"Are you sure? A couple of those dishes whacked you pretty hard. And you've got pancakes and syrup all over your head."
Sean nodded, picking off the pieces and handing them to Slobs. "I'll tell you something." He glanced up the stairs and lowered his voice so he wouldn't be heard.
"When it comes to her cooking...I'd rather be wearing it than eating it."
SUNDAY, 14:15 PDST
Melissa zipped along on her Rollerblades, while Slobs pulled Sean down the street on his skateboard. Church had been good and, fortunately, the morning had passed without any further disasters. Now the kids were on their way back to Doc's house.
"You think she'll know something more about helping us discover the curse than she did yesterday?" Melissa asked as they headed up the sidewalk toward their friend's front door.
Sean shrugged. "You got any better ideas?"
Melissa shook her head.
"She's always thinking," Sean said. "Maybe she's come up with something."
Doc was in her laboratory—where else?--bent over a sizzling, smoking experiment. A foul-smelling green liquid bubbled up and down in a test tube that she held with tongs over a small burner. In her white smock, with the flame reflecting on her face, Melissa thought she looked a little bit like a mad scientist. In fact, the whole scene reminded her of something she'd seen in an old Frankenstein movie. She half expected Igor to come shuffling out of the darkness with a brain in a jar.
But this was not the movies. It was only Midvale, and nobody had any brains in a jar here—just the greenish liquid in that test tube. She wondered what wonderful benefits that liquid would bring to the world. Could it be a cure for cancer? A formula that would grow crops in the desert? Maybe a new fuel that would cause an ordinary car to travel at the speed of sound. Whatever it was, it had to be amazing. Doc was always inventing something amazing...even when those inventions backfired. (Which they usually did!)
Now the woman was removing the test tube from the flame and pouring the liquid into several small bottles to cool. As she did, Sean stepped to the keyboard on her workbench and typed, What is that stuff, Doc?
Doc signed something with her hands, but Sean, who was still learning sign language, couldn't quite understand.
What did you say? he asked. Something about a canoe full of grizzly bears going over Niagara falls?
Melissa, who was only a little better at reading sign language, gave him a look. "I think it's something to do with the head or brain," she said.
Doc shook her head, grabbed the keyboard, and typed, It's a hair restorer.
"A hair restorer!" Sean exclaimed. Then he signed, You mean it grows hair?
I hope so, Doc answered.
Melissa tried to hide her disappointment. A cure for cancer? Yeah, right. So much for Doc's great and noble inventions.
I got the idea when I saw that reporter on TV, Doc typed.
"Cool!" Sean said. "Can this grow hair on anybody?"
It should, Doc typed. Why?
"Oh, I don't know," he said. But of course Sean's thoughts had already turned to his face...or more precisely, the lack of hair on his face.
"You're beautiful, babe!" a high-pitched electronic voice said. "I love ya! Don't change a thing!"
"Jeremiah!" Sean and Melissa both turned and shouted in unison.
There he was in all of his green glory. But instead of appearing on Doc's monitor, Melissa's video game, or Sean's digital watch, he stood out in the open—like a real person! Though you could also see through him, like he wasn't completely there.
He was still wearing Rafael Ruelas's ridiculous wig and clutching a microphone in his hand. But what was with the pair of sunglasses he wore? And why was he acting like some kind of TV celeb?
He winked at Melissa. "Have your people call my people!"
Before Melissa could respond, he turned to Sean. "Hey, babe. Let's do lunch sometime."
Sean nodded, but he was still too busy eyeing Doc's hair-restoring liquid and daydreaming about how great he'd look with a goatee.
Melissa turned toward Doc. How did this happen? she signed.
Doc typed, That reporter stepped in the puddle and—
"I understand that," Melissa interrupted. But Jeremiah's never been able to stay out in the real world this long before.
I think it has to do with the sunspots, Doc typed. We're passing through a time of tremendous solar activity and—
Suddenly Jeremiah turned toward Melissa. "You want an autograph, little lady?" he asked. "I'd be happy to give you one!"
Melissa just stared.
Doc resumed typing. He seems to be trapped out here until the sunspots pass. That could be another week, maybe more.
"Oh no, Misty groaned. That could get dangerous.
Doc nodded, but Jeremiah didn't seem to hear. "I'd like to stick around," he said, "but you know how busy we reporters are. Gotta get to the bottom of this curse story."
"Get to the bottom of it?" Melissa asked. "The last thing you told us was you didn't want anything to do with the curse, that you were scared and leaving town."
"Scared?" Jeremiah asked. "You got me mixed up with somebody else, kid. There's no fear in this reporter." He stood at attention and saluted. "So, until we meet again, from all of us at Channel 34 News, good night and God bless!" And then...
...he was gone. Just like that. Off to who knows where.
Needless to say, it was quite a shock. But as Melissa turned to Doc to discuss what had happened, it was obvious Sean had something even more important on his mind...namely, his looks. Already he had moved closer to the hair-restoration tonic. It wouldn't hurt anything if I took a couple of drops? he thought. What harm could it do?
While Doc and Melissa remained distracted, he gently picked up the beaker and, ever so carefully, sprinkled just a few drops into his hand and rubbed them onto his chin.
A moment later, Melissa asked, "So, Sean, what do you think?" She started turning toward him. "Is what's happened to Jeremiah somehow related to everything else that's—EEEEEEEK!" She stopped midsentence and let out the world's scariest scream. In fact, it was so loud that it made Sean's hair stand up.
And believe me, Sean had plenty of hair to stand up! Because, as usual, Doc's invention had even more power than she'd planned. Now there was hair all over Sean's face. And it was still growing. In fact, he was already looking like the Wolfman on a bad hair day!
But of course Sean saw none of this. "What's wrong?" he asked.
"What have you done with Sean?" Melissa screamed at him. "And who are you?"
"What do you mean, who am I?" Sean asked. "It's me!"
Hearing her brother's voice come out of someone who looked like he'd just arrived from the Planet of the Apes was more than Melissa could bear. Without a word she suddenly collapsed into a heap on the floor.
"Sis," Sean raced to her and kneeled at her side. "Sis, what's wrong? "
Slobs, who had been asleep on the floor, was now standing. His hackles were raised and he was growling. Growling at Sean.
"Slobs," Sean called, "what's wrong. Here, girl, come here." He held his hand out to her. And that's when he got a glimpse of it—it was covered with thick, coarse, dark hair.
"AAAAGGHHH!" he screamed...and a moment later joined his sister, passed out on the floor.
The Curse of the Horrible Hair Day
Copyright © 2001, Bill Myers
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.