This continues an excerpt from Mad Science Institute, a novel of calamities, creatures, and college matriculation. The novel will be available 12/16/2011, but you can read the beginning here first!
But I did have my reasons for not wanting to go. First, who ever heard of the Mechanical Science Institute? I was still hoping to get into some really well known science program like MIT or Stanford or Georgia Tech, even though I had no idea how I could afford one of those big-name places. But the real reason I didn’t want to go came down to this: I just didn’t want to leave my Dad.
For five years now, it had been just him and me and the occasional cockroach living happily in this little apartment. Sure, I was planning on leaving after I graduated high school, but that gave me two more years to adjust to the idea. And now this woman from this crazy school wanted me to pack up and leave my entire life to travel a third of the way across the country with less than two week’s notice. It sounded seriously mental. Thinking about it made me lose concentration on what I was doing and I accidentally cranked the power a bit too high. The autogyro’s motor emitted a loud POP as it erupted into orange flames and zinged upwards in one last burst of speed. Trailing a line of black smoke, it ricocheted off the ceiling and streaked down onto the stack of bills my Dad was trying to pay. What can I say—my experiments always explode.
My Dad knocked his chair over as he jumped up in surprise. I was already on top of the mess, smothering the flames before they could spread too much. The only problem was that I pushed the papers off the table and they fluttered all over the place.
“Sorry, sorry!” I yelled, stooping to gather up the bills.
“Don’t worry about that,” he said a bit shakily. “Better shuffled then burned, I suppose.”
I started reading the papers as I handed them to him. Water bill: first notice of overdue payment. Electricity: second notice. Rent: warning of eviction.
I unfolded the last one and started reading it.
“Soap, don’t—don’t read that,” he said, but it was too late. I had seen enough.
“We’re being evicted?”
My Dad was quiet a really long time. “Not until next month,” he finally said. “Then we have 30 days to move out. Don’t worry, we’ll work out something.”
“We’re getting evicted and you tell me not to worry? What part of working out ‘something’ is supposed to make me feel better?”
He put his hands up in a gesture that told me to calm down, but we both knew the electrician job market was in the toilet right then, plus there was the matter of repairing the gym and replacing all those cell phones. All because of me.