If you didn’t read the first part, please click here… Trust me, this will make no sense if you don’t!
But now, let us rejoin Bert and Nathaniel as they crouch in fear beneath the table:
Backwards with Bert and Nathaniel
“Well, what do we do?”
Nathaniel turned to stare at his friend, undecipherable brown eyes meeting soulful blue, and, as always, he found that Bert’s utter helplessness gave him strength to continue. “Okay,” he growled. “Let’s make a plan.”
Mere seconds later, he reached an impasse. “I’ve lost my pen.”
“I hardly think that matters at the moment,” Bert drawled.
Nathaniel scowled in response. “How am I supposed to compose a sufficiently detailed plan of our escape route if I can’t write or draw?”
“You should have thought of that before you lost your pen.”
Nathaniel opened his mouth with a ready retort, but paused. “Wait a minute …”
His hand emerged from behind him, clutching a broken pen that was bleeding black ink through his fingers. The two men stared, horrified.
“It’s foiling our plans before we even think of them!” Nathaniel hissed. “It somehow knew we were going to draw up a blueprint of an escape route, and so stole my pen and broke it, as a warning!” He drew a deep, gasping breath. “My God, Bert—it can read minds.”
His young friend shuffled uncomfortably. “Well, actually, about the—”
Nathaniel clenched his hand over Bert’s mouth. “Shhhh!” he scolded. “You must not think, okay? Not at all. But especially not about escaping, or of anything you wish to keep private.”
He pulled his hand away, and immediately Bert continued, “Okay, but Nathaniel …”
“What?” He pointed an accusatory finger. “You better not be thinking.”
Bert snorted and waved his hand dismissively. “No, no. It’s just … Well, I broke the pen. I accidentally sat on it. It wasn’t the toaster.”
Nathaniel stared, incredulous. “But if you broke the pen, why on earth did you look as horrified as I did?”
“I don’t know. I was just doin’ what you were doin’, I guess.”
“Oh, Bert.” He shook his head, his dark eyes full of pity, but Bert was oblivious as his face lit up with a sudden revelation.
“I just had a thought, Nathaniel.” The older man waved a hand in a silent indication for him to continue. “Well, it’s just … Maybe it is just a toaster.”
Bert shrugged. “It’s my understanding that a toaster is an inanimate object. It can’t think or move or plot our demise or any such thing.”
“Well, it just seems highly unlikely that an object of that nature could be planning the downfall of such a sophisticated race as we humans.”
Nathaniel gestured wildly. “But you saw it launch itself across the room!”
Bert folded his arms stubbornly. “I think it was pushed.”
Nathaniel rubbed his chin musingly, inadvertently giving himself an inky black goatee, as he concluded, “So you’re saying Humpty was pushed!”
Bert nodded, then frowned. “Ye… No. No, I’m saying that someone threw the toaster.”
“I was speaking metaphorically, Bert.”
“But who?” Nathaniel cried. “Who would do such a thing?”
Bert shrugged once again. “So, if this really is just a toaster …” he gestured loosely above him, his eyes patient and questioning. Nathaniel nodded his agreement, and the pair crept out from the shadow of the table, staring at the appliance. The final dregs of their trepidation trickled away as they stared at the battered, unmoving threat.
Bert slowly lowered himself into the nearest chair and then, even more slowly, slumped forward until his nose was an inch away from the toaster. He remained transfixed for several long moments, before pushing himself back with such force that he balanced on the back legs of his chair before landing safely with a dull thud. “Well, I’m stumped.”
To be concluded…
- Love The Bad Guy