Saturday, May 5, 2012

"Bumper Clouds" by Tim Tobin

I live on a cloud and we love games up here. This game I’m going to play with you is called “Guess Who I Am?”

No, no, no, I am not a bird. My clouds are too high for birds. And I am not a person. A person would fall right through most clouds I know. Nor am I a storybook character who lives on a cloud, although I have met some of those guys and they have great stories to tell me.

Living on a cloud can be fun. Usually they are nice and soft, especially those girly, powder puff clouds. And they drift all over the world. Boy, oh boy, have I been places!

I saw Peter Pan dodge a cannon ball while he was sitting on my next door neighbor. Then there was the time a big red balloon drifted by. I grabbed it before it could pop and it is my favorite toy. But life on a cloud has its dangers too. Believe it or not, a space shuttle almost hit me. Let me tell you, it was big and it was loud. My poor little cloud got quite a jostling that morning!

And life on a cloud can be a nuisance. Winds blow the clouds around so you have to have really good balance. And then the winds actually blow clouds apart. Now, you guys know how much hassle it is to move. Just think of the hassle of moving every day, sometimes more than once a day. That’s why I don’t own much.

Lots of airplanes soar above my cloud. And people do look out of the windows. But I guess if they could see me, I would have heard by now.

You might think that living on a cloud is boring. But it’s not. I actually have a lot of friends up here. I guess my closest friend is Johnny Appleseed. His job is really hard. He plants apple trees way up in the clouds. And he calls me “squirt”. That makes me laugh.

But the fairies are the most fun. They fly really high and really fast. They zip among the clouds and dart through clouds. They ride the winds and holler “Hello!” to me as they race by on their way to all of the exciting places they go.

I’ve gotten to know the tooth fairy pretty well. You may have wondered what she does with all of those lovely white teeth she collects. Well, for gosh sakes, I know. Where do you think all the white comes from for the clouds? Children’s baby teeth, of course! The only thing is, clouds made out of teeth aren’t very soft. So those clouds are nice and white, but I prefer to live on the puffy ones.

Are you still wondering who I am? Any more guesses? Everybody give up? Well, I am the soul of a little boy. I died of something horrible everybody calls “The Big C”. I really don’t remember it, but I don’t remember much from when I was a real boy. Except I sort of remember a mommy and a daddy who read me stories.

There are a lot of souls up here, on the clouds. Most of them are old and really don’t want to play with me. But I told you about my friends, so I am not lonely at all.

One day, I was just sitting on my cloud, absently looking down at the earth. Suddenly, a girl’s soul crashed her cloud into mine. She giggled and raced away with me in hot pursuit. Bumper clouds are our favorite game!

A few more days had passed when I heard a kindly voice from above, “Son, it’s your turn.”

“So soon?“ I asked him. “Do I have to go?”

 “Yep,” he answered, “You sure do.”

“Do I have time to say goodbye to my friends?”

“Okay. Just don’t take too long.”

I steered my cloud into the jet stream, looking for Peter Pan. He was sitting on a cloud, watching a lovely green island in the middle of an ocean. A pirate ship anchored off the coast held his attention. When I told him I was leaving, he looked at me quizzically and reminded me that little boys don’t ever grow up. I promised to always have great adventures and with a cock-a-doodle-do, Peter waved goodbye.

I found the tooth fairy stuffing last night’s teeth into an old, grey cloud. I thought it looked better already! The tooth fairy kissed me and gave me a going away present. One of my own teeth.

My final stop was Johnny Appleseed. I looked up, down, and all around, searching for rows of clouds like plowed fields. Aha! Finally, I spotted one and flew up onto it. Johnny rested his hoe on his shoulder and poured some seeds back into his pouch. “Leaving us, huh, squirt?”

“Yeah, I guess so, Johnny. Say, Johnny, will you ever come up?”

He shifted his hoe and told me, “I suppose so, squirt. But I still have an awful lot of apple trees to plant. Take it easy, squirt,” he smiled at me, tossed me an apple, and went back to work.

The voice in the sky spoke to me again, “Okay, son, it’s your turn now.” I asked him if I could take my treasures -  the red balloon, Johnny‘s apple, and my very own tooth. “Of course,” he said.

I turned to see a tall ladder made of the fluffiest clouds ever. It was so high, I wondered if I could climb all the way to the top. The voice told me not to worry; he was there to help me. So, I started up.

I had only gone a few steps when I felt a little sad and looked back towards my home in the clouds and to my friends. “Don’t worry,” the voice said. “They’ll all get a turn soon.”

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Want to learn more about this author? Look Tim Tobin up on the Contributors page, where you can see everything that each individual writer has contributed, visit their personal webpages, and more!

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