How can I explain our far-out fantasy, Lather: The Twinkle Jackson Story?
My writing and blogging group was bored and became excited to take on another Round Robin tale of extreme proportions. It’s rollicking fun to blend our various writing styles *think fingernails on a chalk board!* to produce a story like none other. Our first experiment, the Octopus Knows, was a grand adventure, definitely worth reading, and I think a lesson in group therapy! Here’s the link for brave Round-Robin Reading aficionados.
You can read Chapters 1-6 of our current tale on the links below. If, after reading Lather, the Twinkle Jackson Story, you experience any of the following: total brain crash, loss of saliva or Restless Toe Syndrome (RTS), please contact Laird Sapir – the creator of this maniacal activity. She also designed the beautiful Sparkle Sudz Soap graphic. Yes, she’s a mad scientist of the galactic-graphical kind, and we’re hopelessly devoted to her leadership in our RR *Round Robin* ventures!
- Tami Clayton – Chapter 1
- Mike Schulenberg – Chapter 2
- Liv Rancourt – Chapter 3
- Ellen Gregory – Chapter 4
- Richard Monro – Chapter 5
- Kim Griffin – Chapter 6
Without further ado, the Twinkle Jackson story continues. Note: If this yarn messes with your IQ, please don’t contact us. Thank you.
“Mom!” Twinkle gasped. With a cry, he grabbed his mother around the neck.
“Hang on, son!” Jupernia shouted as she half slid, half flew down the curve of the spaceship pulling Twinkle with her. She had been shocked, pleasantly so, that they were still planted in Geraldo’s vegetable garden and not soaring through the galaxies.
The big buffoon, she sighed, thinking of her husband inside the house. All this racket and he hadn’t once come outside. She could picture him snoring with his chin on his chest, slumped at his work table—a neon yellow Stanley Surform wood/plastic shaver in one hand and an unfinished toy in the other. How she did love that Earthling!
“Soon,” she said, barely above a whisper. Twinkle felt, more than heard her speak, as they swooshed toward the ground.
“Soon, what, Mother? And what in the name of all that’s chiseled from wood is going on? Where have you been? Are you really the Golden Goddess’ sister? What are you doing with that overgrown crustacean?”
Jupernia didn’t answer. Touching ground, she pulled from her dark cloak a glowing box encircled by a sparkly silver cord. Slipping off the cord, she twirled it in the air like a lasso. The circle at the end hooked the tip of an oxygen tube on the spaceship.
“Yes!” she said, immediately closing her eyes and humming Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The Crustaship, including the Shrimperators swarming the craft’s ramp like disturbed fire ants, disappeared in a poof of sappy mist. Twinkle knew it was sappy because he tasted it. He’d chewed enough tree sap in his young life to be a sap expert.
Jupernia crossed her arms over her chest in an X and smiled. “I’ve been saving my last lasso loop for a time like this,” she said.
Twinkle fell backward on his dad’s squashed squash plants. His mind was exploding. He looked at his mother. Who was she?
“Come,” Jupernia beckoned, leading the way into their open-air summer gazebo. Once inside, she removed the heavy dark cloak and placed it and the glowing box on the white painted iron table between the matching iron chairs. “Twinkle,” prepare yourself. I need to explain fast before Lord Lobstar’s minions break the sap-mist code.
Twinkle blinked rapidly and stroked his curls.
“My sister and I look like Earthlings, but we are really from Planet Juniper located in the Fir Galaxy – a place where trees and hair have the perfect conditions – you might say, conditioner – to thrive. You probably wondered why I became a professional tree climber. Now you know. It’s in my Tree-N-A. The lemon-mint conditioner I always made in a tub in the basement is the same mixture everyone uses on our planet.
“Why did you come to Earth in the first place, Mom?”
“I simply fell in love. I met your father while attending a wood class at Maple University, and oh, the things he could carve out of wood. It just filled my heart with joy! We Juniparians are allowed to visit other planets, of course, but certainly not to stay, or marry the inhabitants. I stayed, married, and my little sister followed me here. We were banned from returning, and Golden took a job with Sparkle Sudz Soap. Soap became her substitute for sap.
I became a wife and mother.” She ran her fingers through the top of Twinkle’s hair and smiled lovingly at him.
“Son, our national anthem is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Need I say more?”
Twinkle was angry. Not about being half Earthling, half Juniparian. No, that was kind of cool. He was angry because his Mother left them without a word. He was angry that his father was so weak he’d become a hoarder and shrink-wrap-bulk purchaser since she left. Mostly, he was angry at the torment he’d suffered at the claws of Lord Lobstar.
“I never thought my own mother would throw in with a Lobster Mobster,” he sulked. Twinkle dipped his hand in his pocket, withdrew it and blew through the “O” he formed with his thumb and forefinger. A medium-sized bubble slipped into the night sky.
“You’ve never met your Grandpa and Grandma Woods, Twinkle. I wanted to fix that. When I got word that our planet was in trouble, I went undercover to help. You see, we’re a gentle people, as trusting as limbs, uh, I mean, lambs. The way I heard it, when Lord Lobstar first showed up, Juniparians felt sorry for him. He’d lost the love of his life and had self-exiled himself into space. He seemed so humble, so peaceful. In time, he became a citizen and ran for Conifer Councilman. He won! His next office was President of Pine, our largest continent. In time, he became the Fir Forrester, our planet’s primary leader. He talked Juniparians into giving up their glowing boxes and silver cords, our only weapons, to show absolute faith in him.
“As he became physically weaker from being so long out of his own environment, he turned briny and bitter about his past. He made up outlandish stories about his home planet, denying that he was an Earthling. Son, you…you won’t believe where Lord Lobstar is actually from. I’m almost afraid to tell you.”
Twinkle jumped from his chair and ran onto the lawn. He twirled around three times and did a shoulder stand. “Tell me! Tell me!” he babbled, his eyes flickering like an old black and white television screen. Jupernia bit her knuckle. Her son was exhibiting symptoms of Wooden Head, a Juniparian illness triggered by stress overload. She needed to quickly tell him the rest of the story and get a ground-up bark malt down his throat before it was too late.
“Okay, son. Calm down. Lord Lobstar is from Earth. From the Pacific Ocean to be exact. His girlfriend was one of our undercover agents who masquerades as a squirrel under the sea. She fell in love with Larry the lobster, a simple lifeguard and weight lifter who loved to show off his muscles on the beach. Who could guess that Larry’s downfall and heartbreak would come from a crazy little guy who wore square pants…a mutant sponge they call SpongeBob?”
Twinkle’s rolling saucer eyes and dribbling mouth scared Jupernia.
“Yes, it’s true. Lord Lobstar is from Bikini Bottom. When Sandy dumped him for SpongeBob, it broke him. Messed him up pretty bad. Sandy, out of guilt, and due to his continual insistence, invented a Crustaship for him. He sailed away into the heavens until he found a planet to take over—ours. Now his only motivation is revenge.
His evil scheme is to destroy SpongeBob, Patrick, and even his distant cousin, Mr. Crabs. He desperately needs a half Earthling, half Juniparian to accomplish his goal, and that’s where you come in.
“My dear and only child, Earth and Juniper’s future is at stake.
“We have to find a way to save Bikini Bottom!”
Oh my…Bikini Bottom is in grave danger! What will happen? Can Jupernia save Twinkle from Wooden Head disease? Will the Sap-Mist wear off too soon? Is the Golden Goddess really on their side, or is she up to something more sinister? Stay tuned for the next chapter! The continuing lineup is sitting quietly on Laird Sapir’s blog. Thanks for joining us. We needed the sane brain cells you brought with you!
I always love to hear from you.
Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.