June 7, 2021
“What’s it?” sputtered Grandma.
“We’ll make him hurl!”
“Great idea, Scarly. Tickle his epiglottis!”
“The dangly thing in your throat. It always worked on your father when he was just learning to lurch. He’d always eat any little object he could get his hands on. Buttons, marbles, thumbtacks. I don’t know how many times I’d have to induce puking. Never from the inside, of course. Still, worth a try.”
Scarlet found her balance and reached her arm up Barnaby’s throat. All she could feel was gullet stretching upward. How did I ever squeeze through that? she wondered. She pulled her arm back down. “I can’t reach.”
“Maybe that’s why your father’s so cautious now,” said Grandma.
“What? Grandma! Help me think!” said Scarlet. “Wait, what?”
“He’s so cautious. You know how he’s always saying ‘forewarned …”
” ‘ … is forearmed!’ Pokey!” Scarlet reached into her shoulder bag and hugged the arm to her chest. “I need you, my friend.” She slowly unclenched his fingers and removed Sniffy. Pokey convulsed. Scarlet held him close. When he’d calmed down, Scarlet whispered, “Make him hurl. You can do it.” She stretch Pokey, fingers up high into Barnaby’s throat.
Scarlet heard Barnaby cough, but that was all.
“It’s not working!” moaned Scarlet.
“What does your dead center say?” urged Grandma.
“I don’t know,” moaned Scarlet. She pulled Pokey back down and set him in her lap. She put her hand inside her cloak, over her heart, over her boa.
She pulled off a feather and stuck the feather in Pokey’s hand. He dropped it. She tried again and again he dropped it. And a third time.
“He’s so stubborn!” Scarlet sobbed.
Grandma Bone wrapped an arm around Scarlet. “Well, kiddo, got anything else in your bag of tricks?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.”
“Well, you’re just full of ‘I don’t knows,’ aren’t you?”
I don’t knows. I don’t nose. I …
“Grandma, get ready. I’m going to take this feather and stick it in Sniffy’s nostril.”
“Sniffy’s the nose.”
“I mean, which nostril?”
“I don’t know. Does it matter?”
“I doubt it.”
“Fine, the left nostril. I’m going to get on your shoulders. I’ll give Sniffy to Pokey to hold. He’ll protect her. I’ll reach him up again so he can tickle Barnaby’s dangly thing and puke us out. Arm. Nose. Feather. Hold tight. Got it?”
Scarlet climbed on Grandma’s shoulders and stretched as high as she could.
Barnaby felt a tickling in his throat. He felt a burning in his gullet. He felt a clenching in his belly. He wiggled and squirmed. Suddenly, he knew what was coming but was powerless to stop it.
To be continued next week.
© 2021 320 Sycamore Studios