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Warren sat in the second row of the theater, staring up at the screen. A piece of cold popcorn was in his hand, halfway to his mouth, forgotten. -We've tried everything. Everything! Nothing can stop the monster. -Wait There's one thing we haven't tried. -What? -The S-F-342 Photo-Atomic cloud. -But that's never been tested, Professor. There's no guarantee it will work. -it's our one hope. Tell Doctor Barronni to ready the machine. -But Professor "Warren Otis. " The theater manager was coming down the aisle. "Is there a Warren Otis in the theater? Warren Otis!" When his name was called for the third time, Warren straightened. "Oh, that's me. I'm Warren Otis. What do you want?" "Your grandmother called. You're supposed to go home." "Is something wrong?" "She just said you're supposed to go home. Warren got up out of his seat. Walking backward so he could watch the pink haze of the S-F342 Photo-Atomic cloud encircle the monster, he moved slowly, reluctantly, up the aisle. The monster inhaled some of the S-F-342 and began clawing at the sky. He threw back his head and roared. Drool came out of his mouth. A poor effect, Warren decided, walking slower. You could see it was a man in a reptile suit now, standing in a pond made up to look like the Pacific Ocean. Economy drool, too-probably corn syrup. -It's taking effect, Professor. The monster is shrinking. -wait! The wind is changing! -yes, Professor, the cloud is shifting. It's heading for Los Angeles! Warren stopped. In the crook of his arm was his half-eaten box of popcorn. It had been there for six hours. Warren ate between features. "Excuse me," a voice said. Warren - shifted to let twogirls pass. Eyes on the screen, he felt his way into an aisle seat in the last row. -We've got to stop it! -Professor! Look at the monster! It's still shrinking! The cloud works! -Yes, this means -This means that if the cloud hits Los Angeles, it will reduce the entire population to the size of Barbie dolls within ten minutes! -Yes, Professor, unless ... This was the third time Warren had heard that prediction this afternoon, but it was still awesome. His eyes gleamed. He envisioned millions of Barbies and Kens running helplessly around Los Angeles, trying to climb up into house-sized beds, making human ladders up to doorknobs, squeaking like mice as they scurried through the streets. "Excuse me." "Sure." A fat boy crawled over Warren's knees. He shifted impatiently to keep the screen in sight. -There may be time enough if Warren's lips were moving with the actor's now, forming the words. "If," he and the actor said together, "we. can send the cloud back out to-,, "Warren Otis!" It was the manager again. "Is Warren Otis still in the theater?" Warren sighed aloud. He got up, head down, and ducked quickly into the lobby. He went around the refreshment center and out into the street, where he stood for a moment under the marquee. He never came out of a theater without sensing all over again the cold drabness of the real world. The same dull line of traffic was in the street, the same dull sky overhead. Even the shadows seemed empty, nothing lurking inside. Warren zipped up his jacket and pulled his aviator sunglasses down from on top of his head. Frowning slightly, he started down the sidewalk. He felt as dissatisfied as if he had been interrupted in the middle of a dream. He began to eat his cold popcorn. He stepped off the curb at the light and waited for it to change. He glanced down at his feet. -What-lives in the sewer beneath the city, weighs two thousand pounds, and is coming out tonight to get you? That had been the advertisement for next Saturday's main feature. Warren looked down at the drain to see if he could catch the gleam of a two thousand-pound alligator's, eyes in the sewer below. All he saw were old candy wrappers and dead leaves. The light changed, and Warren crossed the street slowly. Could there really be alligators under the city, he wondered, alligators bought by tourists in Florida years ago and then flushed down the toilet when they got big enough to snap at the family poodle? It really could happen, he thought. His excitement rose. His sister had done that once with a goldfish-flushed it down the toilet. Warren walked slower and then stopped in front of Walgreen's. Could his sister's goldfish what was its name? Bubbles! Could Bubbles still be down there? A two-thousand-pound goldfish? -What swims in the sewers below the city, weighs two thousand pounds, and wants to slurp you to death? The movie would start with a picture of Bubbles. Her mouth would be opening and closing. Warren broke off, frowning slightly. It was going to be hard to make Bubbles look scary, but with the right special effects man, anything was possible. Warren's friend Eddie claimed he had once seen a horror movie about a giant tomato. A tomato! And all the tomato had done was roll around squashing people. And a girl in Warren's science class said she had seen a movie about giant, sixty-foot-tall rabbits that terrified the world, but Warren wasn't sure he believed that. Tomatoes, bunny rabbits-it was pitiful. It was as bad as a horror movie about a cow, something Warren had once envisioned. At least his cow, Bossy, had gone around squirting radioactive milk on people, but still Warren had never been able to make the idea work. As soon as Bossy would lift her leg (and how else was she going to squirt milk?), well, as soon as she would lift her leg, some low-minded people in the audience would be sure to snicker. Warren didn't care much for comedy science fiction. A woman bumped into Warren, and he mumbled, "Sorry," and started walking again. It would be one of those goldfish with the big, bulging eyes, he decided, and because of some chemical in the sewer water-say a chemical company had been getting rid of dangerous waste material by illegally dumping it into the sewer-this dangerous waste material, say, XX-109, which had been developed to make beef cattle bigger, had turned the unsuspecting Bubbles into an enormous flesh-eating creature with a special craving for human beings.
The Two-Thousand-Pound Goldfish. Copyright © by Betsy Byars. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Posted December 17, 2002
I really liked this book. It is about children¿s friendships and their imaginations. I enjoyed reading about the characters. The boy in this book uses his imagination a lot. He uses his imagination when he makes up his movies and when he day dreams. The boy and his sister really get to know each other and begin to be friends. I liked the characters because they are a lot like real people. If you like books with friendship and imagination, then read this book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.