The Boy With Orange Hair
by Bill Bowler
Table of Contents
appeared in issue 242.
The adventures of a boy with orange hair, a friendly groundhog, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as they chase arch-villains Crabby Crayfish and Q.Q. Quigley III from Mt. Everest, to outer space, to Idaho, to Miami Police Headquarters, to the Bermuda Triangle, to the Forgotten Sea, to the Land of Little, to Molecule World, to Earth-2, through the space-time continuum, to the bottom of the ocean, to Mrs. Groundhog’s house, to the Oval Office, making friends, rescuing people, having fun, in hot pursuit but never quite catching up, until right at the end...
“There’s only one thing I can think of,” said the boy with orange hair. “Turn him over to the custody of Officer Ollie Osmussen of the Miami Police Department.”
They all agreed. The boy put the little jar in his pocket, set a course of 135 degrees south southeast, and flew at Mach 9 at an altitude of 50,000 feet straight to Police Headquarters in Miami, Florida.
When they landed in Miami and entered Police Headquarters, the Desk Sergeant looked up and asked them, “How can I help you?”
“We’re here to see Officer Ollie Osmussen,” said Gerry. “We’re good friends of his.”
“Oh dear,” said the Desk Sergeant sadly, “haven’t you heard?”
“Heard what?!” asked Gerry
“Heard what happened.”
“We haven’t heard anything,” said the boy with orange hair.
“What happened?” asked General Rickrack.
“Well,” said the Desk Sergeant, “it’s extremely unfortunate. We’re all terribly upset about the entire incident.”
“WHAT incident?!” asked the boy with orange hair.
“Come on! What’s happened to Ollie Osmussen?” asked Gerry the groundhog.
“It’s the strangest thing,” said the Desk Sergeant. “I don’t think it’s ever happened to anyone before. I can hardly believe it myself.”
“But what IS it?!” shouted General Rickrack.
“Well,” said the Desk Sergeant, “that door there across the hall, number 17, is Officer Osmussen’s office. Why don’t you all just knock and go on in.”
In a state of bewilderment, they walked across the hall and knocked on door 17.
“Come in,” croaked a faint raspy voice.
They opened the door and entered Officer Ollie’s office. There was no one there but a frail little old man, very very old, with long white hair and a long white beard, and bushy white eyebrows, and a wrinkled face, and crinkled little eyes.
“Hello,” said the boy with orange hair. “Excuse me, but we’re here to see Officer Ollie Osmussen.”
“You say, you want a toasted muffin?” croaked the little old man.
“No,” shouted Gerry, “We don’t want a muffin. We want to see Officer Ollie Osmussen. He’s a young, handsome man with dark hair, six feet tall and very strong. He’s our friend.”
The little old man squinted and said in his weak, raspy voice, “Step a little closer. I can’t see you.”
The boy with orange hair stepped closer and the light from the desk lamp fell on his face. “We’re looking for Ollie Osmussen,” he said, and he noticed something, he couldn’t quite say what it was, but the boy noticed something about the little old man’s wrinkled little eyes. They seemed familiar somehow and reminded him of someone he may have known.
“Osmussen!” they all shouted, “We’re looking for Ollie Osmussen.”
“Osmussen??” croaked the little old man and he burst into tears. “Why, that’s me. I’M Ollie Osmussen.”
“OFFICER OLLIE!” everyone gasped. “Officer Ollie! What happened! Why are you old now?!”
“Well, I don’t know,” said Officer Ollie in a weak, old, raspy voice. “When I woke up this morning, I was young. Everything was normal. I put on my uniform, had breakfast, came to the Police Station, and everything was still normal. I was still young.
“Around noon, I got hungry and was eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich here in my office with a glass of milk. Let’s see, that’s when Queezy Q. Quigley III was brought in for questioning about the stolen ice cream. I was questioning Quigley and eating my sandwich and he was standing next to my desk near my glass of milk and I took a big bite and then drank some milk and, well, the milk looked a little funny, it was a little yellowish, and it smelled a little funny, and it tasted a teeny weeny bit sour. But I drank it anyway to wash down my peanut butter sandwich and wiped my mouth and hands with a napkin and finished questioning Quigley. He refused to cooperate and we locked him up to let him cool off a spell and think things over.
“After that, I began to feel exhausted. I never get tired but I felt exhausted, so I just lay down for a minute on my couch in my office and was just resting my eyes for a minute and, when I woke up, my hair had turned white, I had this long white beard, my face was wrinkled, my teeth had fallen out, my back hurt, I couldn’t stand up straight and felt very very weak.
“Now what am I going to do?? I don’t want to be old yet! Later maybe, but not now! I want to be young again!!” And Officer Ollie began to cry.
“Don’t worry, Officer Ollie!” they all shouted. “We’ll help you!”
“But what exactly happened?” wondered Gerry the friendly groundhog.
“It’s a mystery,” said General Rickrack.
“It was Quigley,” said the boy with orange hair. “Yep, Quigley.”
“But how did he do it?!” they shouted.
“Quigley put something in Officer Ollie’s milk,” said the boy with orange hair. “Probably sprinkled in some old age powder.”
“Old age powder!” they all gasped.
“Yep,” said the boy with orange hair. “We’ve got to get Quigley to give us the antidote. Where’s Quigley?”
“He’s in Cell 19,” gasped Officer Ollie in a weak, old raspy voice. “Sergeant!” Officer Ollie cried out weakly, “Sergeant!”
The door to Officer Ollie’s office opened and the Desk Sergeant, Sergeant Smith, came in. His face was very sad when he saw his formerly young friend, old Officer Ollie.
“Sergeant! Get Quigley from Cell 19 and bring him here immediately!”
“Yes, SIR!” said Sergeant Smith and he ran from the room. A moment later he returned looking very worried.
“Well?” asked Officer Ollie, “Where’s Quigley!?”
“Gone,” said Sergeant Smith. “Cell 19 is empty.”
“Oh NO!” gasped Officer Ollie. “Now I’ll NEVER get young again!” And poor old Officer Ollie burst into tears.
“Don’t worry,” said the boy with orange hair. “We’ll help you. We’ll find Queezy Q. Quigley III wherever he is and we’ll get some youth powder and make you young again. Right, guys?”
“RIGHT!” they all shouted.
Copyright © 2007 by Bill Bowler