The Corner of the Sidewalk through which It Flows

Miss Marvel stood patiently at the city limits of Kokomo. Her breath could be seen from a block away; she was very impatient.

Frank was sitting a few feet away from her on the corner of the sidewalk. He had taken out a can of Coca-Cola from his backpack to drink, but he put it down on the sidewalk after noticing water flowing underneath him toward the nearest drain to the left of him. The water was coated with a film of oil, and the colors were highly refractive.

"What a placid day!" he thought.

Frank had already tried getting Miss Marvel's attention several times but had finally given up. She could not see him, she could not.

The sky was overcast and a bit chilly. Frank loved days like that. He stared at the colors intently, like a kaleidoscope of every color…

"Frank!"

Frank lifted his head and looked around.

Sarah, jogging over toward him, caught his eyes. She looked so much older.

"Sarah!" he yelled back, getting up.

She passed Miss Marvel, who did not notice her, and hugged Frank.

Frank hugged her back, a little harder than she was doing.

"Frank, what happened?" said Sarah as they let go, "You still look sixteen. It's been three years!"

"I don't know. I guess it's just the way I look."

"Now we look almost the same age."

"I know! How have you been?" he said trying to avoid the subject of age.

"I've been working in a laboratory in Silicon Valley for about two years now. I've made a few new inventions, the good ones at least. Then I got stuck in a box outside of the universe where I found the Universe. I went inside of it and ended up about a block down from here. What have you been doing?"

"I've just been looking for treasure and booty. I can't have the greatest adventure ever without you guys!"

"I remember. We still have to get that thing-"

"The Lamp."

"Right. Why do we need it?"

"To make the world perfect."

"Okay. Are we still going to do it?"

"You tell me! It's all up to you guys!"

"I'm ready! What do we have to do now?"

"We still have to complete some tasks for Robby so he'll give us what we need to go to space."

"Where's Robby, anyway?"

"I don't know. He could be anywhere…"

"Even in that can of Coca-Cola?" she asked.

Frank looked down at the can. Suddenly his stomach sank.

"Oh gosh," he said reaching for the can, "Robby's in here!"

"What?"

"You were right! Robby is in this can of Coke!"

"Frank, I was making a joke-"

"No! You're right! He's in here, I can feel it!... I'm not opening it!"

"Frank, Robby's not in that can. That wouldn't make sense."

"He's a fairy!"

Then Frank noticed the lettering on the can.

"Look! It says 'Cocoon Cola' on the side! I don't want to open it! I don't want to see Robby! He's so…"

"Just because it says 'Cocoon Cola' doesn't mean Robby is in there! If anything, it's probably a butterfly that disguises itself as a can of Coke."

"You open it, then!"

Frank handed Sarah the can. Sarah grasped it and put her finger on the stay-on tab when the thought hit her: "What if I'm wrong?"

She handed the can back to Frank and said, "You know what? I don't want to risk it."

"You think Robby is in there too!"

"I'm sorry, but I don't want to see him. He's-"

"Exactly! We- Brandy!"

Brandy was walking lightly and dreamlike on the other side of the street. She had already seen them and yelled, "Hi!" back.

"Brandy!" he yelled as she neared, "Can you open this can for us?"

"What's wrong with it?" she asked reaching them.

"It may have Robby inside of it-"

"No."

"Are you sure? We're too afraid and we thought you would be brave enough-"

"If there's any chance of avoiding Robby, I'll take it."

"Oh come on, he's not that bad."

"You do it, then."

Frank tried bringing himself to it, but couldn't.

Then Frank remembered…

"Guys!" he exclaimed, "We have to talk about something, and soon! Seeing as how we all arrived here, I assume Freddy will be here, too! I need to tell you about something I discovered!"

"What?" they asked.

"We need Freddy more than ever now! Freddy has a probability of 72% for getting the Lamp!"

Neither of them responded as Frank had wanted them.

"That's a good thing," he added.

"What are our chances?" asked Sarah.

"You're 13%, Brandy's 5%, and I'm 50%. So pretty much not going to get it. We need Freddy because frankly he has a better chance of succeeding than any of us."

"Is there anyone with a better chance than him?"

"A few. I saw some eighties and nineties, but we don't know any of them."

"Maybe I do."

"Let's just stick with Freddy, alright?"

Brandy asked, "So we can't tell Freddy about this?"

"No! He can't know!"

"Why not?"

"Because those were the chances if he didn't know his chances."

"How do you know this, Frank?"

"I got to know some guys who are friends with the Ultimate Creator of Everything."

"Wait, really? That sounds suspicious…"

"Don't worry! They also told me some things about you guys."

"Like what?" asked Sarah.

"Truthfully I only know about Freddy, but you can't tell him this either: He's sick."

"With what?" they asked.

"In the head. Notice it in the way he talks and the things he says, and you'll see."

Brandy said, "Freddy's a little shy, but I don't think he's-"

Brandy stopped, looked, and yelled, "Freddy!

Freddy was walking from where Sarah had come from. He was waving at them.

Frank motioned them to stop. And a few seconds later Freddy arrived.

"Great! We're all here," said Frank.

"Hey guys," said Freddy. He had a blue, squirming backpack with little voices coming out of it. Freddy had bags underneath his eyes.

"What's in there?" asked Sarah.

"I got some Barfs in my backpack. They wanted to explore the world with me."

"Barfs?!" asked Frank, but then he said, "Freddy, could you please open this can? It may have Robby inside."

Freddy grabbed the can and said, "Sure."

"What? You mean you'll actually do it?"

"Yeah. Robby's a nice guy."

They all stood silent. Freddy lifted the tab and released the pressure inside.

Puffy, white gas came out and dispersed. It smelled of vanilla icing.

A little metal box flew out of the round opening in the can. It had miniscule lights for eyes and a glowing, oblong speaker that was its mouth. It also had a spinning alarm light on the top of its head and some thick butterfly wings for ears.

"Thank you, kids!" said Robby as he flew out no bigger than a fly, yet with a voice like a bull's, "I was afraid you weren't going to open it. I would have been stuck in there forever. What can I do to repay you?"

The kids were silent. They looked blankly this way and that, as if they had something to do, but weren't exactly sure what it was.

"Oh gosh! The Fairy Froth! Darn it! Well, now that your minds are erased, I can take advantage of you. Remember those tasks you said you were going to do for me so many years ago and you still have not completed?"

They all slowly nodded their heads.

"Oh good. I guess I don't have to reteach you your entire lives. You're going to have to follow her until she can finally see you. When she does, ask her for her father's number. You're going to need it for the Dark Side of McDonald's. Oh, and hurry up with the tasks! Time is running out! I'm going back to my room to build the rest of my body. I do not want to be this small forever. I'll see you guys later, okay?"

They nodded their heads once more.

"Goodbye."

The fairy flew off.

The four looked around and individually noticed Miss Marvel was walking away, footsteps stomping like falling meteorites.

Click-clack click-clack

They followed.