Listen and read-along with this fun story by, Jacob Lockett.
“Hubble’s bubbles, Mom!” Allen shouted, racing into his mother’s movie theater after school. “It’s gone!”
Mom was making hot, buttery popcorn at the snack bar. “What’s gone?” she asked.
“I’m not sure,” Allen said, slinging his Neil Trekker, Space Inspector backpack off his shoulders, “but at recess, I realized I lost something very special here last night. Only, I can’t remember what it is!”
“If your memory was half as good as your imagination, maybe you wouldn’t forget so much!” Mom teased.
“I know,” Allen replied. “I wish I were more like Neil Trekker. He never forgets anything. Can you help?”
“Sorry, pumpkin,” she said. “I have to get ready for the next showing of Neil Trekker 8. Try looking around.”
So he did. First, Allen scoured the large, echoey lobby. Then, he explored the mysterious projector room. Next, he searched Mom’s cluttered office from top to bottom and even peeked into the bathroom. He found lots of things, but nothing that seemed like something he had lost.
Allen slumped onto a bench. He gazed at a Neil Trekker poster.
“I wish you were here,” Allen said. “You would know how to find my Great Lost Something.”
Allen closed his eyes and imagined working with his favorite movie hero.
Allen’s eyes popped opened. A man in a spacesuit stood beside him.
Allen jumped. ‘Could it be?’
The man lifted the visor of his helmet.
“I’m Neil Trekker, Space Inspector,” he greeted. “I hear you need some assistance?”
Allen nodded excitedly. “I lost something yesterday. I’d like your help to find it.”
Neil whipped out his magnifying glass. “What seems to be missing?” he asked.
“I’m not sure,” Allen said. “But I know it’s special.”
“Hubble’s bubbles!” Neil exclaimed. “This sounds trickier than the time I had to find a pet rock in an asteroid field!”
“Where should we start?” Allen asked.
“I’d say we should trek deeper into this moon cave,” Neil said. “It looks dark and scary—the perfect place to lose something.”
“It’s just a movie theater,” Allen smiled. “Dark, sure. But scary? No way!”
“Terrific,” Neil said. “I hate caves.”
In the hallway that led to the screening room, Allen and Neil spotted a trail of peanut shells on the carpet.
“Booster’s roosters!” Neil shouted. “What a find! Is this your GreatLostSomething?”
“Nope,” Allen said. “I definitely know I’m not looking for a trail of peanut shells.”
“Let’s follow it,” Neil said. “Maybe it’s connected to our mystery. Onward and rocketward!”
Soon, they arrived at the entrance of a screening room with a number three printed over the door.
“Hey, I was in here last night,” Allen said in surprise, pointing at the three. “This is where I watched your new movie.”
“Curious…” Neil grumbled to himself in thought.
They walked into the room and followed the trail to a half-empty peanut bag in the aisle. Neil read a message that was written on it: “To Trunks, My Favorite Pal. Happy Birthday!”
“Trunks . . . ,” Allen whispered, thinking. “That name sounds very familiar.”
Neil smiled. “Mercury’s turkeys! What if your GreatLostSomething isn’t a something at all? What if it’s a someone?”
“Hmm.” Allen examined the seat closest to the bag. It was covered in peanut shells. “This Trunks guy was super messy,” he observed.
“And I thought my Martian dog, Venus, was the sloppiest life form in the galaxy!” Neil plucked a hair off the seat. After scanning it with a laser, he tapped a few buttons on his space watch.
“According to my Space-o-pedia, this isn’t human hair,” he said. “Which means . . . ?”
“Trunks is probably an animal!” Allen finished excitedly. “But what kind?”
Looking at the screen of his space watch, Neil frowned. “It could take a while for my computer to find a match.”
Allen smiled. “Just put all the clues together. He’s an animal. His name is Trunks, and he eats peanuts. My GreatLost Something is an elephant!”
Allen’s imagination suddenly went wild, and he remembered his imaginary friend, Trunks. At the same moment, a small, peanut-covered elephant appeared on the chair.
“ALLEN!” Trunks trumpeted.
“TRUNKS!” Allen cried, hugging his friend. “What happened to you yesterday?”
“For my birthday, you brought me to see Neil Trekker 8,” Trunks said. “When the movie started, you got so caught up in the story, you completely forgot I existed. Once you forgot me, I disappeared. Thank goodness you remembered me again!”
“I feel terrible about forgetting you, Trunks. Especially on your birthday. Can you ever forgive me?”
“What are imaginary friends for?” Trunks replied, reaching for the rest of his peanuts.
“Case closed!” Neil announced. “Stellar job, Allen!” He tapped Allen on each shoulder with his magnifying glass. “I do believe you have earned the title of Junior Space Inspector.”
“Thanks, Neil!” Allen cried. “I couldn’t have done it without you.”
“No problem,” Neil said. “Now if you’ll excuse me, my skills are needed elsewhere in the galaxy! Onward and rocketward!”
Allen blinked, and Neil vanished just as the theater lights dimmed. Kids flooded into the room with bags of salty popcorn and found seats.
“Neil Trekker 8’s starting,” Allen told Trunks. “Since you missed the ending yesterday, want to watch it again?”
“Sure!” Trunks said.
The movie began. Trunks continued to eat from his bag of peanuts. Allen got caught up in the movie but made sure not to forget his friend.
When the film faded to black, Allen smiled. “Hubble’s bubbles, that was great!”
Allen glanced at the seat beside him. Trunks was still there, excited that he had finally finished the movie.
“What a fantastic way to end my birthday!” Trunks shouted, lifting up his trunk in glee.
Allen wrapped an arm around Trunks. His friend was back by his side, right where he should be. Trunks was no longer Allen’s GreatLost Someone. He was Allen’s Great FOUND Someone. And Allen was determined to keep it that way.
He wasn’t going to lose Trunks ever again.
About the Author
Jacob lives in the highlands of central Pennsylvania, where mysteries of all shapes and sizes abound. He loves movies and hopes to one day own his own movie theater. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys to write. “The Day the Dragon Cold Came” is his first published story, appearing on the Smarty Pants Magazine for Kids site.
He recently got a second story published, “The Sweetest Treat.” It celebrates cultural traditions and is available to read on the Skipping Stones website. Jacob is currently working on a Middle-grade novel, as well as more stories aimed at younger readers. Check out Jacob’s twitter link: @jacobwlockett24.
Click to read The Day the Dragon Cold Came.
Categories: Audio Stories/Poems