A story with friendship, heartbreak, and vengeance. All because of a plastic platypus named Melvin.
By Ryan Snider, Staff Writer and Artist
Melvin was a plastic platypus. He was my best friend.
We met on my 10th birthday. My Uncle Louie gave him to me along with a stick of gum.
“He’s a duck or beaver or something, I think,” he shrugged as he chewed on a toothpick.
Uncle Louie was right; he was the best of both worlds. Not only was he the crazy combination of both duck and beaver, but he was also my friend. He could listen when no one else would; he always understood me.
So, my world was crushed when he was stolen.
There I was, at my best friend Gorlando’s annual Fourth of July party. We had just finished snarfing down three boxes of Cheez-Its and were ready to play four square outside. Since it was Gorlando’s house, he got to serve first.
That’s when disaster struck.
Out of nowhere, a water balloon of pure evil slams into Gorlando’s prepubescent face. The poor boy didn’t know what hit him.
Just as soon as Gorlando was attacked, the sky grew dark as a cloud of water balloons rained down upon us.
It was the heinous high schoolers. Their wispy mustaches were a badge of power held above our peach-fuzz faces. They would notoriously harass us, and today they weren’t holding back.
“RUUUUUUUNNN!!” someone screams. But before I could even register what was happening, they swarmed us.
Kids left and right were wedgied out of existence. A massacre if I’d ever seen one. I ran for the fence. Gorolando had woods behind his house, and I knew I could hide in them. But I didn’t make it.
Right as I reached the fence, a sweaty hand grabbed my shirt.
Drew, the leader of the high schoolers, was standing behind me.
“Where do ya think yer goin’, punk?” he sneered.
“Aw j-jeez, oh gawsh, p-please don’t hurt me, man!” I stammer.
“Oh, what’s this?” he says as he rips Melvin from my grasp.
“MELVIN! NO!” I scream.
“Melvin, huh?” Drew smiles. “Looks like Melvin’s gonna take a trip to Crotch Town.”
Before I could even answer, Drew stretched his greasy sweatpants band open and dropped Melvin into his underwear.
I was horrified. I grew dizzy and threw up in my mouth.
Drew shoved me over, and I fell to the ground.
I looked up and saw Drew running to the others. Still in Drew’s pants, Melvin rode off with Drew and the high schoolers on their bikes.
Looking around, all my friends were sprawled across the lawn. All wedgied, most crying. We were defeated.
But they had Melvin. And I saw only one possible solution.
I gathered my friends.
“Guys, we need to get revenge,” I announced.
“Yeah, right, man! They’ll kill us!” My friends shout. They were right. We stood no chance on our own. We needed a plan.
“Kent, your Dad let you drive once, right?” I ask.
Kent, absolutely bewildered, nods his head. “Well yeah, he did once. Why?”
I chew on my lip. “You think you could drive again?”
Kent scratches his head, “Well, yeah, probably, I guess. Why man? I’m so confused.”
I shake my head. “I’ll get to it. Yo, Peter! Didn’t your mom bring some extra fireworks?”
Peter nods, “Yeaaah. They were half off and stuff; she’s got loads.”
“Hey Gorlando, you still have those slingshots?” I ask. Gorlando nods his head, beginning to understand.
“Yeah, I do.”
I turn back to the group. “I have a plan.”
Kent revs the engine of his dad’s Chevy pick-up truck.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Kent asks.
“Positive,” I answered.
He slams the pedal, and we skid out of the driveway. Kent drove, and I sat in the passenger seat. In the back, Peter and Gorlando sat in the truck bed. The truck barrels down the road, clipping the curb more than a few times. The headlights illuminate our paths in the night air.
Soon, we arrive at Drew’s house. Drew and his posse are sitting on the lawn. They talk amongst themselves, voices cracking and drinking Sierra Mist.
“On my queue,” I relay to the others. They nod.
We draw closer.
“NOW!” I shout.
Drew looks over, confused.
Before he could react, the entire sky lit up. Peter and Gorlando light the fireworks and shoot them from the slingshots. Fireworks explode in the sky and all over the yard. Explosions of light blasting randomly across the once peaceful yard.
It was pure chaos.
The high schoolers lose their minds. They run in all directions screaming incoherently.
I gesture at Kent to pull over. He does, and I jump out of the car. My legs bend on impact, and I secure my footing.
I look up and am face to face with Drew, his face full of horror.
“Y-y-you?” he stammers. “N-no…H-how?”
I don’t say a word. I extend my hand.
His eyes widen. He reaches into his pants, and retrieves a sweaty Melvin, and places it into my hands.
“Thanks,” I say.
Drew stands alone, unable to speak. His friends abandon him as they run away in terror.
I hop back in the truck, and Kent slams the gas. We drive away laughing into the night.
After that, we were grounded for two months. Longest two months of my life. It was the absolute worst. BUT, the high schoolers never messed with us again, and we were free from their reign of terror. We also got mad respect from everyone at school. So that made up for it.
But most importantly, Melvin was safe. And that’s all that mattered. Because, well, yeah, he was only a plastic platypus, but he was also my friend. And friends have each other’s backs, even if their backs are made of plastic.