Once upon a fruit bowl, there was a boy named Gabriel. He lived with his parents in a house in the sticks.
One day, an uncle who hadn't visited Gabriel in years came to visit. He had odd ears and pointy teeth.
On the day Gabriel's uncle visited, something strange happened. Usually, Gabriel's parents would tell him what they would be serving for dinner. Today, however, they had not. As he saw his mother preparing a large cauldron for dinner, he feared that he, himself, was on the menu.
As a result, paranoia ensued for him. After consulting with a friend online, he decided to hide under his bed with his blanket named Bobby.
Gabriel found his laptop under his bed. Quietly turning it on, he prayed that his parents and uncle wouldn't see it flicker as it crackled to life.
As soon as it was up and running, he got on AOL. His friend Danielle was still on.
He tried to explain the gravity of the situation to her, but all she did was talk about her cat and Eminem.
Finally, giving up on his daft friend, he logged offline. As soon as he did, he felt... bored.
Gabriel loaded up Solitaire and began to play, waiting for his uncle to go back to his hotel.
However, just after he had found all of the aces, he heard his bedroom door creak open. Gabriel's blood ran cold. He hugged Bobby and peeked out from under his bed to see a mess of slimy tentacles standing in the doorframe.
Suddenly, Gabriel was sucked into his computer screen!
A second later, he was staring his school friend, Danielle, in the face.
Danielle rubbed her eyes. "What are you doing on my computer screen?" she demanded. Gabriel realized he could see into her house, as if they were talking on the computer and Danielle had her computer camera booted up. He could see treadmills, a pile of well-read manga, and a lazy, fat-looking cat behind her.
Danielle looked at Gabriel's face on the screen awkwardly. Slowly, she raised her right hand, and began to wave at her computer screen.
"Yeah, Hi," said Gabriel on her screen, ending his sentence with the typical happy emoticon made up of two shifted six and an underscore. Danielle blinked in surprise.
"Hi Gabriel," she replied after a minute.
"-" Gabriel wrote a hyphen flanked with shifted sixes.
"...What are you doing on my computer screen?"
"Hiding from my alien uncle."
"Oh, yeah." Danielle rapped herself on the head, as if to say she was a big idiot. "I forgot. That's probably important, isn't it."
"I see you brought your towel."
"No, this is Bobby."
"Oh. Hi, Bobby." Danielle waved at her friend's blanket. Bobby didn't reply.
"Bobby likes to sleep," Gabriel offered. "He's been in a dreaming state since I got him."
Danielle nodded knowingly. "Same with my teddy bear," she said.
Gabriel once again 'said' the emoticon made up of shifted sixes and an underscore. All at once, Gabriel realized that he could hear music. It was rap, and sounded very,
"Um, what is that stuff you're playing so loud?" he asked.
"Oh.... sorry. I would turn that off, but since you've been on the screen I haven't been able to move the cursor."
"It's resting on your nose," she added.
"Shame; I would've liked some quiet."
"Where are you?" Danielle asked quizzically.
"Well, this isn't Kansas," Gabriel surmised. "I think I'm inside my laptop."
"So why are you on MY computer?" Danielle asked.
"Honestly, I'm at a loss for words now," Gabriel said.
"Ah. Was our AIM conversation still up when you got sucked in?"
"Ah. Maybe that's why."
"...Why would that make--"
"Honestly, I'm at a loss for words now, Gabriel."
A Britney Spears song began to play. "You LISTEN to this rubbish!?" he demanded.
"Maybe," she said slyly.
"Look, just help me."
"...Honestly, I'm at a loss for words now."
"Ok, we've said that 3 times."
Danielle stared awkwardly at the screen for a bit, then turned. She smiled.
"SCHUYLER! My fuzzy kitty! I wuv--"
"Your cat is fat."
"I'm sorry for that, too."
Gabriel rolled his eyes.
"Maybe there's some way I can... get out of the computer? And not appear in my room, but maybe in the room you're in, which may just be your room, but I can't really know for sure?" Gabriel wondered to himself.
"You think I have a treadmill in my room?" Danielle laughed. "I'm not THAT insecure about my weight. Hm... Maybe if I try to download you onto a floppy disk, you'll appear."
"Hey, you're the guy who has an alien uncle in his room. Why doesn't my computer spewing out human beings make any sense?
Gabriel looked perturbed. "I dunno, would I fit?" he asked.
"We'll find out," Danielle said. She opened up her Documents and dragged Gabriel from her Desktop onto a 3 1/2" floppy disk.
Then, she ejected the disk. Nothing happened except that Gabriel disappeared from the screen.
"Maybe," Danielle mused, "it only works with Zip disks..."
She began to work on proving or disproving that.
Meanwhile, Gabriel felt extremely cramped. Bobby was pushed up against his chest, and he felt like he was in a coffin that had been molded to be the shape of his body.
"Mommy, Daddy, am I dead yet?" he whimpered.Moments later, Gabriel felt himself being squeezed through a small hole. "This must be what it feels like to be born," he murmured.
"That's disgusting," came a reply. Gabriel looked up to see Danielle's feet. Repulsed by this, he looked up to see Danielle herself.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"I'm ejecting you from the zip drive," she told him. Suddenly Gabriel's body felt like it had more room. After all, zip disks had much more room than 3 1/2" floppies, so it made sense.
However, there was a problem: Gabriel's head was sticking out of the zip disk drive, and the rest of him was still... wherever it was.
"Um... this is odd," Gabriel commented.
"Yeah." Danielle suddenly grabbed a tuft of his hair and pulled until Gabriel was sure that he was going to become severely bald because of her fist.
After a minute or so, Gabriel was standing in Danielle's exercise room, his head of hair still whole.
"I think I've had enough of these space-time paradoxes," said Gabriel.
"Well, this is my house. It ain't no paradox," Danielle said. "...Want a cookie?"
"Cool then. Let's go get some."
"Me luvs cookies," Gabriel said, trying to add a shifted six, underscore, shifted six emoticonto the sentence. Alas, he was out of cyberspace now and had to result to actually phrases instead of emoticons.
After they'd snuck down the stairs, past Danielle's sister and her sister's friend,
Danielle snuck into the pantry.
"Danielle! Stop eating!" her mom shouted. "You'll get fat!"
"So, she doesn't want you to... eat in general?" Gabriel asked suspiciously.
"She just loves me," Danielle explicated as they climbed back up the stairs, opting to go through the guest room's bathroom in order to get to the exercise room without being seen. "She thinks that if I'm fat, some witch will come and eat me. ...Or maybe your uncle, eh?" They reached the exercise room just as 'Full Moon' by Sonata Arctica started playing. "This song is awesome," she said, plopping down in her red chair and reaching in the small, white bag they had grabbed for food. Her hand produced a Milano cookie.
She offered one to Gabriel, who ate it happily. "Now," he exclaimed, "we should figure out how I should get back to my house."
Danielle gave him a half-lidded stare that told him she thought he was an idiot.
"Don't you have some sort of cannibalistic extra-terrestrial in your house?" she asked.
"Yeah, but my parents will think I ran off. I might get grounded or something." Gabriel rubbed his chin. "Maybe my uncle's left by now... although he probably hasn't. We should probably think of how to defeat him."
"Use my pool water," Danielle said seriously. Now it was Gabriel's turn to look at her as if she was the moron.
"I'm serious," she insisted. "It rained a few days ago and now my pool's all green. Maybe your alien uncle's allergic to green pool water."
"...And you're basing this on what now?"
"Honestly, I'm at a loss for words now."
Gabriel rolled his eyes. "Again with that?" he asked. Danielle shrugged. "It's worth a shot," he said.
"Alright, then. I guess we should start loading up the buckets with the green water. We'll need a hose, too, I think," Gabriel said.
So, Gabriel waited while Danielle went to scoop out some of her pool water in a bucket. Lucky, she knew the location of a bucket in her garage. Gabriel monitored her progress from the window, while Schuyler, Danielle's cat, glared at him.
However, the door slowly stared to creak open. Seeing that Danielle was still outside, Gabriel began to panic. He nearly twisted his wrist trying to panickedly open the double doored closet in the room. He hopped in just before the exercise room door was fully open. Gabriel peered out through the crack in between the doors and saw no one.
For a moment, Gabriel thought that maybe some sort of indoor wind had blown the door open. Then, a girl in a white cheer shirt and red shorts literally jumped into the room. "DAN!" she screamed out.
Nobody responded to her; the computer spilled out Japanese lyrics. She looked at the computer as if this was completely normal.
"It's okay, Autumn," she called out, "my sister's not in here. We can go on MySpace."
Gabriel watched as two girls who were wearing way too much make-up entered the room and sat down in Danielle's chair.
About ten minutes later, Danielle returned to the room with a bucket full of water, dragging a hose behind her.
"It's for a science project!" she called over her shoulder. "An... over-the-summer science project! For Chemistry!"
"You don't even know what Chemistry class you're going to be in next year!" was the reply.
"Um... doesn't matter!" Danielle hastily closed the door.
"What's that for?" Autumn asked.
"Uh, a science project," Danielle replied.
"What kind of science project?" Autumn asked, flipping her hair back. Danielle eyed her. She was sitting next to her little sister, Allison, who had...
"Closed all of my windows!" Danielle roared. "You little jerk!"
"None of your windows had anything interesting on them," Allison said. Danielle growled.
After screaming and whining for almost five minutes, Danielle managed to get the scoundrels off of her computer. After she slammed the door after them, she ran into the guest room bathroom, where she locked the door so that they couldn't get it that way.
She then looked around. "Um... Gabriel?" she called out softly. Hearing Autumn giggle on the other side of the door, she whispered his name so as not to alert the two girls.
"I don't know if this is helping my evil uncle situation," Gabriel confessed, coming out of the closet. Danielle snickered and then turned to the computer.
"Well, I got the hose... of course it's not really connected to any water pump now... but I also got some slimy pool water for you." She moved the bucket carefully to the sink in the small room that connected the bathroom to the exercise room.
"Won't it spill?" Gabriel asked.
"Nah," she said, "a sink's a sturdy place for it."
"...Okay, you sound sure of yourself..."
"Well, I thought of a way to get you home," she said, "and with all this stuff." She gestured to the objects Gabriel was to use in the battle against his uncle.
"Really?" Gabriel asked, as the computer asked him if he knew what the definition of a balla was.
"Yeah." Danielle pointed at the computer. "Let's say that this is your laptop."
"It isn't my laptop."
"Let's just say that it is."
"But it isn't."
"Fine, it's my laptop," Gabriel said. He wanted to add an face made of a hyphen, an underscore, and another hyphento this, but it was impossible.
"Ok. Now tell me what happened when you got sucked into it."
"...I got sucked into it," was all that Gabriel could say.
"Anything else?" Danielle asked, bemused.
After half a minute Gabriel had something to add. "I might," he confessed, "I might have heard WOOSH SSHHHSHHHH sounds all over the place for half a second."
"...So we just have to get my computer to make wooshie noises while it eats a carrot," Danielle announced gladly.
"...Where did the carrot come from?"
"And where would it go?"
"I think it goes where the USB drive would go," Danielle confessed, unsure.
"Ah. Well, nothing else this evening has made sense, so let's try it."
"Alright." Danielle went downstairs to get a carrot.
To be continued…