meanwhile, at Suicide Hill
Scotty Peanut was standing on his front porch when he heard a far-away voice say, “Don’t go sledding today.” But he did anyway.
Everyone was so concerned with what happened to little Scotty that no one stopped to wonder whether the poor boy was even dead or not. Sure, a man had knelt by his side and put his fat fingers around a thin wrist and declared, “This boy is dead!” and the crowd did hem and haw, which probably wasn’t the correct reaction for them, but eventually the point came across that more or less everybody was upset at the recent turn of events.
In actuality, which is that little place just beyond fantasy where the road to insanity crumbles off into the dull sidewalk of normalcy, Scotty was very much alive and breathing, just a little, but breathing just the same. Nobody noticed except Fat Emily Pratt, who was as skinny as a toothpick both in length and width. Indeed she only came knee-high to an ice cube; a real one, not those half moon types you see in modern ice boxes these days. No, these were the regular cubes, actual cubes! And colder than the half moons. Everything was better back then altogether.
Fat Emily Pratt was standing at the top of the hill watching the commotion at the bottom and in fact had been playing with Scotty Peanut not twelve short minutes prior, digging a hole into the side of the mountain under a snow drift. When she saw Scotty’s red and white sled embedded in a chain link fence ten feet off the ground, she immediately started down the hill on her tube-sled, sitting in the mesh her dad had stitched into the opening, trailing a piece of cardboard behind her to use as a spoiler so she wouldn’t get airborne. That had only happened once, by the way.
Scotty Peanut took off down the hill in his sled after climbing out of an ice hole where Fat Emily Pratt had kissed him and struck the ground in angry little punches that propelled him much too quickly over the snow and into the launch chute. Rule number zero of sledding down Suicide Hill was never to get caught up in the launch chute because that’s where the big kids had carved out a rut and packed it down using water bottles that froze the ice in place. It was slicker than the kids with oily hair and cigarettes that Scotty thought would inevitably set their heads on fire if the thing ever flared up. But now he was in the tube and peaches if the thing wasn’t fast.
It was so fast that Scotty Peanut actually traveled six minutes backwards in time, to the snow cave where Fat Emily Pratt again kissed him on the lips. This only made Scotty angrier. And the angrier he got, the more he hit at the packed ice below him. And the more he hit, the faster he went. And the faster he went, the further back in time he went. Except that he was still going forward when he went backwards so every time he just ended up with Emily’s lips on his. Not one to spin his wheels in the mud for lack of a proper metaphor, Scotty decided that the only way he could stop getting kissed by Emily Pratt was to slow down. He put his gloves down on the rapidly passing ice. That’s where the problems began.
Twenty minutes earlier, Lollipop Erin had been sliding down the exact same chute in the sled of and lap of an older boy named Neeko. Neeko was holding on to the braided strings connected to the front of the sled and Erin was hanging on to his arms. And faster and faster they flew, not quite fast enough to go back in time, but enough to catch a glimpse of themselves sitting at the top of the hill, preparing for take off. The sight alone was enough to ruin Neeko’s concentration and thusly he let go of the ropes which in turn, broke rule number one, that is, to never, ever, under any circumstances, let go of the ropes.
As the ropes fell into Erin’s lap, the sled suddenly gained ten miles per hour over the incredible speed it had already been traveling and not only that, traction started to give way and suddenly Erin and Neeko were spinning around and around, careening down the ice chute, completely out of control. “The ropes!” cried Erin, but it was too late, as the sled found the rut again and Erin found herself staring at the top of the mountain and because they were now facing backwards, they started seeing forwards in time and Erin saw herself walking alone up the mountain. And where was Neeko, she thought. As the sled approached the ramp, she wondered what would go so wrong in their relationship in the next ten seconds as to make them break up.
Fat Emily Pratt stood at the top of Suicide Hill and watched as Scotty Peanut climbed up the steeper side with his sled slung over his shoulder. The red and white molded plastic bounced off his back as he tried to fit his feet into the holes left by the bigger boys, who had strides much wider than his. A lot of snow fell away as a result of his efforts and just as he pulled himself over the ledge, he sent a snow shower down on Neeko Price, who sent a cold glower back up the hill.
Scotty Peanut ran and ran and noticed Emily Pratt motioning for him to come over and hide so he did but all he found was a small hole under a snowdrift. “This won’t do at all,” he said. “Help me make it bigger,” said Emily, beginning to dig. So they dug together like dogs in the dirt, shuffling the snow out between their legs. Eventually the hole got big enough for them to climb into, so they did, and there they waited until they saw Lollipop Erin (with orange Tootsie Roll lollipop in her mouth) climbing up the hill. And oh how his little heart palpitated when she waved to the space above them and said, “Hey, Neeko!” Then, as she got even closer, “Hey, Peanut!”
Mrs. Roendecker thought Scotty Peanut was most certainly dead. After all, there was a little boy’s hand sticking up out of the snow almost three feet away from where his body lay. Any kind of accident that could separate a boy’s hand from his arm would certainly have the ability to kill him instantly. Mrs. Roendecker made the sign of the cross and said a quick prayer for Scotty and hoped that his death was quick and painless even though she had once been down the chute herself and crashed through the ramp and landed square on her back in the small ditch beyond it and in front of the fence. And that had been quite a painful ordeal.
Mr. Blasenhoff thought Scotty Peanut was very much alive and sat in the snow next to the detached hand and put it in his and squeezed it gently and remarked how cold it was to nobody in particular. He tried to comfort poor little Scotty and tell him that everything was going to be okay but try as he might, he never felt a squeeze from the fingers he cradled nor any sign of a pulse on the damp wrist.
But both he and Mrs. Roendecker were deceived, for you see, at three a.m. that morning, for absolutely no reason whatsoever, Randy Yamada, the famous child prodigy (gymnastics, cycling, alphabetizing), had walked along the chain-link fence at the bottom of Suicide, randomly burying plastic body parts in the snow. He had six hands, eight feet, and a full-length arm that he put just beyond the ramp at the edge of the ditch.
When Lollipop Erin got to the top of the hill, her boyfriend Neeko asked her if she had seen an ugly little urchin with a red and white sled. Erin said no, but that she had seen a cute little boy with a red nose and white skin. Not albino white, just, regular white.
Scotty turned to Emily and said, “Thanks, you saved my life.” And for that, Emily smiled at him because of all the people in her class, Scotty Peanut was the only one who had never put the fat in Fat Emily Pratt.
Six hours prior to this whole ordeal, the older boys had been shooting the chute and laughing and making a heck of a lot of noise for seven in the morning. Reginald Overbow was among them and constantly remarked to his companions that it was quite dangerous to be making a chute so early in the morning because the sun would warm the inside and melt it and then freeze it and then it would be one big ice tunnel to the bottom. Everyone looked at him, told him that was the whole point, and pushed him backwards onto an inner tube, and then sent him flying down the mountain.
Erin could think of nothing else to do but grab the ropes and try to yank the sled around sideways, but since it was already deep in the rut, she couldn’t budge it at all. Neeko had both his hands to one side of the sled, trying to get it to rotate, but that wasn’t helping either. Nevermind that they were both trying to rotate it in opposite directions. Even if they had been in sync, it wouldn’t have done any good. As mentioned, the rut was incredibly difficult to escape.
Scotty Peanut and his incredible red and white bullet sped down the last leg of the chute with Scotty’s terrified screams being lost to a little understood doppling effect, or whatever his teachers had called it. Finally he had gone far enough ahead in time to only be transferred back to his first moments in the chute and for a second he considered leaning over to himself and mentioning that he should bail out as quickly as possible, before it was too late, as it was for him, as in him from the future him. It was all very confusing and also unlikely that he could have explained it all to himself before hitting the ramp, which he did, and at a terrible velocity.
Fat Emily Pratt wasn’t very much concerned for Scotty Peanut but even she knew that he was traveling at a terrible velocity and headed straight for the ramp at the end of the chute. If Emily knew anything about physics, and she did, she calculated that based on his terrible velocity, his trajectory would also be terrible. Terrible velocity times terrible trajectory meant a square of terrible, which she knew meant that it was all going to end up horrible. Terrible squared equals horrible, it said so right on the arm of her ski jacket, which, incidentally, weighed three times what Fat Pratt could carry safely on her fragile knees.
When Erin and Neeko hit the ramp, they slowed wayyy down, bringing them out of their time warp and right smack into the side of the ditch. Lollipop Erin lost her orange Tootsie Roll lollipop somewhere in flight and some say it sailed far above the chain link fence and became the property of the Japanese people. Why they would want her candy was beyond Erin, but she figured it was better that they had it than some ungrateful Italians. Erin landed on Neeko, and Neeko was sandwiched between the hard ground and Erin. They landed with a double splat. The first splat was the impact. The second was Neeko throwing up in Erin’s hair. It wasn’t orange.
Neeko Price, after calming himself down following the snow shower incident, walked quickly through the deep snow to the starting hill, which was like a miniature hill on top of a much larger hill, or by other standards, a little hill on top of a larger mountain. Either which way it was sliced or diced, it gave an extra five feet of lift from the bottom of the ditch, and that was not bad. “Do I have to?” asked Erin, when Neeko motioned her into his sled. He didn’t answer, but made like he was going to leave her. “Fine,” said Erin, getting into the sled. She spit into the snow next to her. It was orange.
For a tense several minutes, Scotty Peanut sat in the ice hole next to Fat Emily Pratt, wondering why she was wearing such a large jacket and whether the thing actually kept her warm and if, as an added bonus, it provided enhanced shock absorption during sledding mishaps. Emily asked what he wanted to do and Scotty replied that he couldn’t leave the fortress of solitude until Lex Luthor had left the mountain once and for all. And at that moment, a crying Lollipop Erin ran past them and it looked like someone had poured oatmeal in her hair and it wasn’t until the smell hit them that they realized that no one had and it wasn’t.
Mrs. Roendecker turned away from Scotty’s body when she could no longer handle the emotions only to see Blanket Williams pull a severed arm out of the snow and right then and there she fainted and fell into the ditch.
When Scotty Peanut hit the ramp, at his terrible velocity, he did not slow down as Erin and Neeko had, but instead, sped up even faster, rocketing him exactly one hour into the past for exactly six minutes, except that he appeared on the roof of his house, two stories up, with no way to get down. Normally the roof would be a fun place to be, except that it was covered with melted and not-so-melted ice, making it slippery and not-so-slippery. Scotty found a football, a skillet, a radio-controlled car, and a folding chair, but nothing that would help him get down.
Not long after Lollipop Erin disappeared down the hill, Neeko Price came stumbling and bumbling after her, calling out her name and apologizing for something he was, as he put it, extremasciously sorry about. Scotty looked at Emily and Emily looked at Scotty and Mrs. Roendecker looked at Mr. Blasenhoff and Mr. Blasenhoff looked at Mrs. Roendecker but neither the boy, girl, woman, or man knew what extremasciously meant. Fat Emily Pratt thought it was a crack about her weight.
Scotty disappeared from the sled long before it climbed ten feet into the air and embedded itself in the chain link fence, which, by the way, was the first documented case of plastic breaking metal in the entire history of amateur sledding. It had been done once in professional sledding, but it was all about the money for those guys and plus, they were all on steroids. When Scotty reappeared, he was eight feet off the ground and falling very quickly towards the snow. For a second, he thought he had fallen off the roof, but then he remembered where he was and was relieved to have to fall from only a short eight feet.
“Thanks again!” said Scotty Peanut as he started crawling out of the ice hole. But before he could get too far, Fat Emily Pratt grabbed onto his face with her skeleton fingers and pulled him in close for a smooch. The shock made Scotty stand up, but as the ice hole was poorly designed with respect to average heights, he struck his head on the hard underside of the snow drift. Both of them scrambled out of the hole just as it collapsed in a hail of snow and ice and hail. When Emily pulled her head out of the powder, she saw Scotty had already taken off running towards the long side of Suicide Hill.
Scotty smashed face first into the snow and the pain was considerably less than he had expected, all things considered, which they most certainly were. If anything, it made him very sleepy, so he decided to take a quick nap before getting up. Besides, his head was half buried in the snow and his legs were doubled up under him. He looked kind of like a kneeling snow ostrich, except for the feathers, and this position was very much optimal in the matter of sleep. And as he dozed off, he couldn’t help but think how noisy the mountain had become. People screaming, men shouting. He couldn’t even hear himself think anymore, but that was probably for the best, as he was doing fractions in his head and found that to be much more annoying than shouting.
Fat Emily Pratt shot down the hill just a few short inches away from the actual chute. Several times she had come near the edge, but using her spoiler and three theories of aerodynamics, she managed to steer herself away from it and plop comfortably into the ditch a few feet away from the crowd of grownups. “Help me up, dear child,” said Mrs. Roendecker to Emily, then upon seeing her stature, added, “never you mind, I’m liable to break you!” Emily stuck her tongue out and then got down on all fours to crawl between the legs of the adults.
“Someone call an ambulance!” said Mr. Blasenhoff, but nobody ran to find a telephone. “Quiet please!” said the man who was pretending to be a doctor, but everybody kept talking very loudly and importantly about what to do about little Scotty Peanut. “Look what’s all over my jacket!” said Mrs. Roendecker, who had found Neeko Price’s contribution to the landing area. “Somebody wake him up,” said Emily, but nobody did. Instead, all the adults turned to her and looked at her the way her mother once looked at her when her pet fish Pizza had died.
Since the adults weren’t going to do anything, Emily kneeled down next to Scotty and put her face in the snow and kissed him on the lips. Instantly, Scotty’s head shot up and he began spitting and wiping at his mouth. Everyone screamed. The man pretending to be a doctor gasped. Mr. Blasenhoff grabbed at his spectacles. Spectacles. And Mrs. Roendecker put her hand to her forehead and promptly fainted, once again falling into the ditch. Emily smiled.
When all the commotion had settled down, each of the adults took turns lecturing Scotty Peanut on the dangers of sledding and of pretending to be dead. It was all very long and very boring and more than once, Scotty caught himself falling back asleep. When the adults had finished, they all escorted him home and told his parents. Then his mother lectured him. Then his father lectured him. And then he was grounded for two weeks.
And with water seeping into his jacket, Scotty crawled on his stomach to the edge of the roof, which was poorly designed and quite flat. He peered over the edge at the porch below and saw himself from the past, or himself in the past, one of the two, walk out the front door with a red and white sled. Even as he felt himself returning to the future, he managed to call down to himself, “Don’t go sledding today.”
But he did anyway.