Mom was a scientist who became ill.
While she was ill, a fellow scientist, Larry, made a toxic fume as he tried to develop a cure for cancer. The toxic fume drove him and the other scientists in the lab crazy.
Now, the scientists wanted to develop ways of hurting people!
“We’re going to get rich!” said Larry during a conference call I overhead him having with Mom. “Get well and get back here as soon as you can, so you can help us screw up the world.”
The plan was to sell a batch of ice cream that tasted great but made everyone who ate it crazy, too.
It was all wrong.
“You’ve got to stop him,” Mom said to me.
She was in bed with the flu.
“How?” I said.
She coughed up mucous, sneezed, and blew her nose in a tissue.
“Here, take this,” she said, handing me the dirty tissue. “Spread my snot around the lab. Then, steal a sample of the toxic fume. Bring it to me. I’ll take it from there.”
“Okay,” I said, wondering what she was thinking.
I put on Mom’s dress and sunglasses. I fixed up my hair. I grabbed her lab badge off the night stand and looked at myself in the mirror.
“You’re my spitting image,” she said with a snotty laugh. “Good luck, dear.”
I ditched my bike outside the lab and flashed her badge at a security guard.
“Welcome back, Dolores,” said a tall man with a weird grin. “How are you feeling?”
I looked at his name tag. It was Larry.
“Better,” I said. “I just need … some coffee to perk me up.”
“We have a fresh pot brewing in the break room,” he said, pointing that way. “Grab a cup, then meet me in my office. I want to tell you about our new line of ice cream. We’re going to call it Psychopath Strawberry!”
“Cool name,” I said. “I’m sure a lot of people will like it.”
“That’s the idea,” Larry said.
In the break room, I put Mom’s snot into the pot of coffee. I also rubbed it along the rims of clean cups.
I filled one of the cups with coffee and started roaming around the lab with a weird grin on my face like the other mad scientists. Everyone seemed happy to see me.
“Sick!” I overheard someone say. “Our star has returned! Now we’ll really wreak havoc in the world!”
Finally, I found a sample of the toxic fume. I stuffed it into my lab coat.
It was time to get away from this creepy place.
I turned a corner in the hallway. Larry blocked my path.
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” he said with his weird grin.
I had to think fast.
“Yes,” I said, handing him the cup of coffee. “This is for you. I have to go home. Now my daughter has the flu! Good luck selling your insane ice cream. You should add cashews, to make it nuttier.”
“Great idea!” Larry said with a wild laugh. “I love the way you think! Maybe you should take a batch of Psychopath Strawberry home to your daughter. It might make her feel better …”
“Another time, maybe,” I said. “Gotta run!”
At home, Mom felt better.
“I’m so glad you returned safe,” she said, hugging me. “How’d it go?”
I gave her the sample.
“Perfect,” she said, stuffing it into her purse. “Tomorrow, at work, I know just what to do …”
The next day, Mom called me from the lab. I was stuck at home, sick with the flu.
So were the other scientists. Everyone called in sick, except her.
“Thanks to you spreading my germs around here, I’ve had peace and quiet and time to figure out a cure for the toxic fume,” she said. “I poured the cure into the air vents. My fellow scientists will return to work and be back to their old selves soon. Psychopath Strawberry will be like a bad dream that never happened.”
“I’m so happy to hear it,” I said from bed. “Are you and the other scientists going to keep trying to cure cancer?”
“Of course, but first I’m coming home, to cure you,” Mom said. “Would you like me to bring you some ice cream?”
“Sure,” I said. “Just nothing with strawberries, or nuts.”