Pipeline Threat
Ch. 1 B-O-R-E-D
Albert Illington sat in his rocking chair on the front porch. It was the last day of summer; and he was bored. Except for going to camp for a week he hadn't done anything the entire summer. His mom kept telling him, "we have to watch our budget," and most of the time he would mock her and get grounded for the rest of the day. That was better than sitting outside with nothing to do. Eventually she wised up, and grounded him outside.

Today was one of those days. His best friend Robert was out shopping for school supplies, because they had been in Mississippi for three weeks until just yesterday. All of his other friends were somewhere cool, or at least that's what he told his mom.

Jimmy Fickler rode down the street on his daily paper route. He was riding his "new" bike his parents got for him when he got the paper route at the beginning of summer.

"How do you like my bike?" he asked as he threw the paper at Albert and skidded into the driveway.

"I learned the first time," he responded laying the paper on the chair," and you've asked me that 46 times, right?"

"I count 47" Jimmy replied looking at the skid marks.

"No, 'cause you got your bike the second day of your paper route, not the first."

"You're right," Jimmy said dumfounded.

"Of course I am," what do you think I am, stupid?"

"Well I better get going," Jimmy implied.

"That's the 49th time," Albert joked.

"How do you figure?" Jimmy asked as he hopped on his bike and started pedaling.

"You said it twice three days," Albert called," say it again, and it will be fifty."

"Shut up!" Jimmy yelled back. Albert sat there for a couple more minutes until his mom brought out some lemonade.

"Are you just going to sit there on the last day of summer," she asked while pouring him a glass. He shook his head up and down while guzzling it down. "You can go wherever you want, just has to be outside," she explained.

"Find me something better to do, and I'll do it," Albert smiled.

"Go walk your dog," she suggested sarcastically, then pointed her finger at his bedroom window.

"But I don't have a..." A queer look came over his face as he turned his head. Inside his bedroom on his bed was his stuffed animal dog, "ha, ha, ha, I guess those were funny in 1960."

"I've already grounded you today; I don't want to do something you actually end up liking." With that she walked inside. Albert noticed a moving truck pull up onto their neighbor's driveway, the Tolidos. For as long Albert could remember the Tolidos had always lived there, and why they were moving now, he had no idea. There were no moving signs that said for sale, or even sold, and they hadn't told anybody. Albert had never really cared that much about them, but this instant movement was peculiar, even for a 9-year-old. Albert went over to investigate. "Hi Mrs. Tolido," Albert said cheerfully.

"Albert, how many times must I tell you, don't walk on the pesticide!"

"Ooops!" Albert exclaimed as he jumped back, "sorry Mrs. Tolido, I just got curious about the moving truck, so I forgot."

"It's okay, they'll probably disinfect the lawn anyway."

"They who?" Albert asked.

"The Marquis," she said disappointedly, "they are nature freaks. They're even installing an irrigation system."

"Well, now I know who's moving in, but why are you moving. And why didn't we know about it?" Albert asked suspiciously.
No answer.

"Um, yeah that's right," she started, "we're moving, oh just go away Albert."

Albert took that as a warning, and went back home, on the sidewalk.

'Weird, weird, weird,' Albert thought to himself. Albert jumped up the porch steps, opened the screen, walked inside, and let it bang.

"GET BACK OUTSIDE!" barked his mom.

"I'm getting something from the garage," he answered, "it's locked on the outside."

"Well... hurry up," his mom was a bit edgy. Albert noticed it in most adults that didn't work. As the summer came to an ending, they seemed to wish it hurry up and be over with. Three months of stress was too much for stay-at-home moms. Maybe that was what was wrong with Mrs. Tolido. Then again, she didn't have any kids that lived at home anymore. 'Nah' Albert thought, 'it's got to be something else.' What it was, Albert didn't know, but he kept a mental note to do some investigating.

He stepped out the side door into a wild jungle. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. His dad's papers were everywhere. There were piles of them stacked all over the place. At nights when his dad was working late he could hear his dad saying, "no, no, please don't fall over. Pretty please with sugar on top?" Usually there would be a large crash followed by an, "ah shoot!" Then his mom would come out and ask what in heavens name happened. The he would explain that his leaning tower of papers fell on the toolbox causing the tools to scatter.

Albert trampled through the papers trying to find his soccer ball. His dad was busy working until he saw his son.

"Hey, hey, hey! Don't do that! I've got a lot of important papers out here." His dad was always working on something or another. On trips his mom was always driving because his Dad toted along all his junk. His excuse was that if he didn't, he would never catch up with all the paperwork. He never caught up anyway, so what was the point in wasting his vacation? None of his family could figure it out. What he needed was a secretary and an office too. They were both too expensive. "I don't need a secretary," he would always say, " I do fine by myself. Besides she'd just throw all my papers away." That was what the rest of the families' point was in hiring a secretary. They could never make him part with any of his junk. Albert's mom threw away some of his papers one time. He never noticed. Though if he saw one paper fly out the garage door, he would probably chase it half way across town.

"Why have an office, when you can work in our own garage, and spend quality time with your family?" His dad's definition of quality time differed from the rest of the families. Albert found his soccer ball in a pile of papers. He felt it with his hands. It was good and full. He turned to his dad.

"Hey Dad," he began.

"Yes," he answered.

"Uh, never mind." Albert already knew the answer. It wasn't worth trying. He obviously was too busy to worry. Albert pulled the overhead door open, and rolled his soccer ball outside. He walked outside, and started to close the door.

"Close that on your way out," his dad said, head stuck in the papers.

"Sure," Albert slammed it.

(Sigh) "What am I going to do with him?"
Albert fetched the ball from underneath his mom's car, and kicked it around to the side of the house. Albert kicked the ball at the house. It ricocheted off the wall, and came back to him. He had always seen shows where, when put in the last day of summer, the kids had bundles of fun. The media portrayed it to be the best day of the year, where kids get in a lot of trouble, and parents don't care. They come up with crazy ideas, and blow stuff up. Honestly to Albert the last week of summer sucked. All your friends go shopping, and when they're home your parents decide to take you. Getting back into a routine, was probably the worst part. Instead of sleeping in all day, you mom comes in at 7:00 a.m. to wake you up. Then she complains about your pigpen of a room.