Author’s note: I’m doing a bit of an overhaul on the story Impulse. It should soon be released with a new cover. And there have been some tweaks made, though the story itself hasn’t changed. I had this notion, in my reading, to add a scene to better introduce an integral part of the plot, but I decided to release it on-line instead, so that those who have already acquired a copy of Impulse can enjoy this scene as well. In this scene, Toby is preparing for his adventure with Leon and Jendra. The scene helps to explain where he acquired the gem fish gems he will use later. Without further adieu…
Toby’s day couldn’t have gotten much better. He’d just been invited to accompany Cousin Leon for an adventure. He wasn’t certain where they were going, but any day with Cousin Leon was better than being stuck aboard this smelly old boat.
Being a ferry mechanic wasn’t so bad, really, though his fur had been tainted with oil, much darker than normal. He was sure he’d whine about that later, when he had girl cooties like Leon had acquired.
To be certain, Cousin Leon was still the coolest person he’d ever met. But Leon had become more distant since… Girls! Toby really hoped the cootie virus wasn’t contagious. But if it was, he hoped his years of loathing had rendered him immune. Anyhow, today wasn’t about pretty girls, though he had to admit Jendra was kind of cute.
Oh no! He felt the virus taking over. He grasped at his throat. He couldn’t breath. He was dying. Dying! He… False alarm. Meh.
He busied himself, pouring a cup of batter into the waffle maker. Sigh. His one true love. Particularly when they had a gem fish sandwiched in the middle. The gem fish waffle sandwich was an absolute classic. He always slowed down to savor each bite. Any other fish, he may have eaten faster. But there was still part of him that was convinced a gem fish could actually grow a second gem in its stomach, and one wrong bite could blow his head off his shoulders. Kablooey! It would have been a horrible mess, though incredibly cool in theory. Strange being the only one he knew to have discovered what the gems actually did. The river was filled with wonders that the city had never tapped into. To his pa, they were just an inconvenience, shiny, pleasant to look at, but of no intrinsic value.
Toby imagined proposing to a girl with a ring he’d just made from fish guts. The notion didn’t last long, naturally. More importantly, he imagined her winding up and smacking him across the face. She was appalled at his lack of good judgment. To give her a fish gut ring? Unheard of! Yet another reason why he didn’t see himself ever getting married. And actually, given his gem of choice, she’d probably throw the ring at him with a velocity that might shatter the gem and kill him.
He packed his gem fish sandwich—along with a variety of other food—into his backpack. If adventuring was going to take all afternoon, he wanted to be ready. He popped a small sliver of fudge into his mouth. His mother would have thrown a fit with him “spoiling his appetite”. Whenever she suggested such a thing, he rolled his eyes. He was Toby. Spoiling his appetite was virtually impossible.
“Toby?” Leon called from the deck. “Are you coming?”
“Be there in a sec,” he promised. He wasn’t missing this adventure for the world.
He opened his bag again, looking over the contents to make sure he didn’t miss anything. He contemplated slipping the rest of the pan of fudge into his backpack, though his mother really would have complained about that. He shrugged. “I’m about ready, I think.”
Coming out to the deck, Toby met his father’s eyes. “Now, mind Leon, hear me?”
“Don’t roll your eyes.
“Oh, by the way, I found you some more of these.” His pa dropped a few gems into his hand. It was difficult to determine what they did when he held them all at once. But Toby could use his imagination, as he settled them in his pocket.
“Have fun,” the captain bid.
Toby smiled, as he ran down the plank to join Cousin Leon and Jendra.