Small Minds, Ch. 8

Small Minds, Ch. 1

Small Minds, Ch. 2

Small Minds, Ch. 3

Small Minds, Ch. 4

Small Minds, Ch. 5

Small Minds, Ch. 6

Small Minds, Ch. 7

Was this the right one?  Cole peered at the number with his flashlight.  No, the next one down.  He moved to that one, his feet making no noise on the carpeted floor of the hotel hallway.  Gene, however, made considerably more noise behind him.

“Is this the right one?” Gene asked loudly.

“Be quiet!  There are lots of people in this hotel, and we don’t want anyone to wake up!”

“Are you sure this is the right hotel?”

“It’s the right address, and here is the room.  Did you bring the key?”

“No, I gave it to you.”

“Oh, that’s right.”  Cole checked his pocket for the hotel key card.  It had been easy to get it.  They had just walked into the hotel lobby and said, “We’re staying with Boswick Ruminton III, but we lost the key he gave us.”  She had given them an extra without any questions.  Now they were at his room.  Let’s hope the key works, Cole thought, and used it.  The light flashed green on the lock and he opened the door.

“Where do you think it will be?” asked Gene.

“Probably on a table somewhere,” said Cole, remembering Steve’s favorite places to sit.  “In a nest of crumpled paper.”

“Like this one?”  It was the one.  Steve lay there, giving the impression of being curled up, though he didn’t have any way to do that.  It was amazing how many positions the ball implied.

Cole reached down and picked up Steve.

“Help!  I’m being abducted by alien life-forms that probably will suck my brains out with blue plungers!” yelled the ping pong ball.  “Die, aliens!  Die, die, die!”

“You know that in Italian that means ‘Go’, don’t you?” Cole whispered, trying to quiet Steve down.

“Cole?  Well, you could have told me it was you!  I would have killed you a bit quieter.” said Steve.  But the damage had been done.

“Hello, room service?” a voice said.  It was Boswick on the phone, calling the lobby.  “There seems to be someone in our room, and this isn’t the regular time for the cleaning service.  At least, I hope it isn’t.  What time is it, anyway?”

“Get out,” Cole hissed at Gene.  “Out, out!”

“By the way you guys are running, a fellow would think you didn’t want to be found in here or something.  Weren’t you invited?”

Cole held his hand over Steve’s mouth and kept running, pulling Gene along with him.  They took the stairs, Gene falling more than he was running.  They reached the door to the outside and exited, Cole sighing in relief.  If the police knew what they were up to…

Then a flashlight shone in his eyes and he heard Gene’s least favorite police officer say, “Put your hands up!  This ain’t some movie, so you can just keep your guns where they are, if you have any.”

They woke the next morning in jail.


Boswick, once he was dressed, knocked on Karen’s door.  She had a separate hotel room just across the hall.

“There was someone in my room,” he told her.  “I think they were looking for Steve.”

“Hopefully this will make you even more famous,” she said.

“But they took Steve.”


“They did no such thing!” yelled Steve from the end of the hallway.  “The dumb guy dropped me a second time!  I don’t think he cares about me.”

“What guy?” asked Boswick, picking the ball up.

“Cole.  He dropped me before at the party, then he tried to abduct me and dropped me again!”

“That’s the same boy I helped with his car the other day!” exclaimed Boswick.

“I know.  His grandpa was with him this time, too.  He must have gotten out of jail.  Not for long, though!”  Steve giggled.  “I heard them get arrested.”

“Are you Cole’s ping pong ball?” asked Boswick.

“Yeah, but he’s got—“

“Then we’d better give you back, if he wants you enough to steal you.”

“He doesn’t want me, though!  He’s dropped me twice!”

“Accidentally, I’m sure.”

“I’m not,” said Steve darkly.  “Anyway, he’s got my sort-of-brother.”

“You have a brother?” asked Karen, finally waking up fully.

“Yeah, his name is Sam and he’s a wimpy excuse for a—“

“None of that, Steve,” admonished Boswick.  “We need to get you back to Cole.  Do you think they’re still at the police station?”

“Probably.  This is their, what, second offense together?  And it’s the grandpa’s third.  He bad-mouthed a police guy.”

“Well, let’s go visit them, then,” said Boswick.  “Later.”


“You!” exclaimed Gene when he saw Boswick.  Cole, Gene and Boswick were sitting in the police station.  Karen had decided to stay at the hotel.

“Me,” Boswick agreed.  “What about me?”

“It’s you.”

Boswick nodded.  “I know.”


“Yes, Gene, we know,” said Cole.  “It’s him.”

“I believe this is your erm, ping pong ball?” asked Boswick, holding Steve out to Cole.

“I’m nobody’s ping pong ball!” yelled Steve.  “I’m—“

“Yes, it is,” said Cole.  “Sorry about trying to… well, you know.”

Boswick nodded.  “So Steve was yours anyway?”

“Yes, he was,” broke in Gene.  “And you stole him from us, just like you did so many years ago with that miniature blimp…”

Boswick looked confused.

“No, wait, that was someone else,” said Gene.  “Let’s start over.  You have wronged me, Boswick Ruminton III, in more ways than you know.”


“See?  You don’t know.  You were the one standing in the background at the Burkle Elementary School as I was punched in the nose!”

“Burkle…  Are you Gene… something-or-other?  I don’t think anyone ever knew your last name.”

“That was me,” said Gene proudly.

“The same one who picked fights with everyone at school, and then often was beat up for it?”

“Exactl— No, not at all!  I was always the one who—Well, maybe I was.  But you were behind it all, and I have sworn to revenge myself!”

Boswick glanced at Cole.  Cole shrugged.  “Really?” asked Boswick, just to be polite.

“Well, it was more of an ‘I’d like to’, not an oath, really.  But it still stands!  I want revenge!”

“For getting punched in the nose while I was going to your school?”

“And for taking the second-to-last cookie at that one party when you knew I was two people behind you in the line, just so I wouldn’t get one!”

“I don’t even know what he’s talking about,” Boswick said apologetically to Cole.

“Me neither,” said Cole.

“Neither have I, just for the record,” said Sam.

“There’s another one?” asked Boswick.  Cole nodded.

“Yes, there’s another one!” shouted Gene.  “I can see the shock on your face as you see that your evil plot to steal our ping pong balls has failed!  Ha!”  He did a little handcuffed dance.

“I heard lots of yelling.  Is everything all right in here?” asked the police officer.

“Of course it’s all right,” said Gene.  “I was just pointing out to my so-called friend here that his evil plot failed, and miserably too!”

“That’s it, time’s up,” said the officer, taking Gene away.

“So you two are in league with each other!” spat Gene.  “I should have known…  The evil was right there before me and—“  Gene’s words were cut off as the officer shut the door.  He came back for Cole, who went rather more quietly than Gene had.  As the door was opened for Cole, Boswick could hear Gene still ranting, “And then there were the peanuts!  That was the last straw—“ and then it was silence again.

Boswick went back to his hotel, thoroughly confused.

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  1. I like it. I rather like Steve, for some reason.

    • He’s mine, too. I think he and Sam might be the only good characters in this. *glowers at Small Minds as a whole, wishes he could just burn the word document*

  1. Small Minds, Ch. 9 « This Page Intentionally Left Blank

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