Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Bad Roberta Goes to the Bank

Bad Roberta Goes to the Bank

One day, Bad Roberta's mother had to go shopping downtown. Normally she did not take Bad Roberta shopping because Bad Roberta always caused so much trouble. This time, Bad Roberta begged and pleaded. She promised to be good. She even put away a few toys and didn't break anything all morning. So, her mother relented. When they got downtown, Bad Roberta said she wanted to play in the park.

"OK," her mother said, "but be sure you are here when I come back in one hour. And don't get into any trouble." Then she set off down the street. As soon as she disappeared into a clothing store, Bad Roberta took off as fast as she could in the opposite direction. She stole candy from the drug store. She untied a dog's leash in front of a shoe store. She kicked over a trashcan at the corner. Then she went into the bank.

There were six people in line waiting for tellers, and two people at the tellers' windows. There was one security guard and a couple of people were visible through an open door that led into the bank offices in back. Bad Roberta went over to the table where the bank kept blank deposit and withdrawal slips. She began folding deposit slips into paper airplanes. A woman finished her business and left, and the man at the head of the line went up to a teller. He pulled out a gun and said "Give me all your money!" The teller screamed and fainted. The security guard reached for his gun, but the robber whirled around and pointed his pistol right at the guard. "Go ahead," he drawled, "make my day!" Bad Roberta had a big pile of paper airplanes now, and she started throwing them. Airplanes arced high above the lobby floor, swooping around the room in lazy curves. The robber was startled and fired at one of the airplanes. The bullet hit a fire alarm and it started to go off. Then another airplane hit the robber in the eye. He fired again, blindly upward as he rubbed his eye, and hit the light fixture directly above him. It exploded and caught fire, and the sprinkler system went off. Bad Roberta kept on making and throwing paper airplanes. Airplanes were flying all around the room, getting soaked by the sprinkler system, and falling to the floor with soggy "plops." The robber fired a couple more bullets in the air and shouted "Stop!" Just then, the security guard got out his gun and shouted "Freeze or I shoot!" The robber saw the guard's gun aimed right at him, and he dropped his own gun. Water dripped off him to puddle at his feet. The security guard made the robber lie down on the floor while a teller called the police. When the guard looked around to thank Bad Roberta, she was nowhere to be seen.

Bad Roberta left the bank and walked on down the street. Soon she came to a movie theater. She saw two teenagers sneaking out the side door into an alley, and she ran up and slipped into the building. The first movie she came to was "Bambi." She stole a big bag of popcorn from a little boy in the back row and ran out again before he could say anything. She ran down the hall and ducked into the next room. The movie was a horror movie about bugs that land on your head and eat their way into your brain while you are still alive. People were screaming and covering their eyes. Bad Roberta stood at the back of the room and tossed popcorn high up into the air so that it fell onto people's heads. It felt like bugs landing. People started screaming even louder, jumped out of their seats, and ran for the exits. Soon the room was empty except for Bad Roberta. She went around the room spilling all the drinks that had been left in the panic, and then she walked out the front of the theater.
Bad Roberta went back to the park. There were several kids flying kites. Two boys were standing side by side. She picked up the trailing string from each boy's kite and tied it to the other boy's shoe laces. Then she let the air out of all the tires of several cars that were parked nearby. Suddenly, the two boys moved away from each other and each one's kite was jerked by the other one's shoe laces. One boy fell down, and the other boy's shoe came off. It went flying through the air as the wind blew the kite across the street. The shoe hit the window of a candy store across from the park and broke the plate glass window. A huge display of gum balls in the window fell over, sending thousands and thousands of gum balls rolling and bouncing out into the street. People slipped on the gum balls and fell. One man was carrying a huge stack of packages higher than his head. He did not see the gum balls. Whoops! The packages went flying. One hit another person in the face. This was unfortunate, because the package had been filled with tomatoes. Bad Roberta saw her mother walking up to their car. Bad Roberta ran over to the car and smiled sweetly.
Bad Roberta's mother looked suspiciously at the confusion and shouting out in the street. "Have you been a good girl?" she asked.
"Oh yes!" Bad Roberta replied, "I caught a bank robber!"
"Yeah, right," her mother muttered. "Let's go home."

Signing Saturday

So, this Saturday, I will be signing "footprints in stone," along with my co-author Ron Buta, in the Barnes & Noble in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. We will be there from 1 until 5 PM and we are going to have some actual trace fossil specimens for people to look at


surprise lilies
telegraph their punches
late summer drought

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


There was a young slug name of Keri
munching a hole in a berry
the berry was plucked
the slug out of luck
icky, she tasted, but very!

Bad Roberta and the Fancy Restaurant

Bad Roberta and the Fancy Restaurant

You would think that Bad Roberta's parents would have learned by now that they should never take her with them when they went out. But, if they left her home then no babysitter was willing to stay in the house, and who would watch Gerald? Also, Bad Roberta got into so much trouble when they left her home that they liked to bring her along where they could keep an eye on her. So one night, when it had been a very long time since they had been able to go out, they decided it would be nice to have dinner at a restaurant. They got a neighbor to babysit Gerald, and they took Bad Roberta with them. They went to the nicest restaurant in town, an Italian place called Gino's Classico. Big mistake!

At first, Bad Roberta was very well behaved. Of course she tripped a couple of waiters and played with the sugar packets at their table, but this was normal stuff that any kid might do. Bad Roberta's parents began to think that they might have a nice evening together, and they even started thinking that Bad Roberta might not be SO bad after all. Bad Roberta's parents began to relax. Even bigger mistake!
When the first course came, she struck! The first course was salad. Bad Roberta had ordered hers with French dressing because of the disgusting color. At the table behind her sat a lady wearing a white dress. When no one was looking, Bad Roberta dumped her salad down the lady's back.

"Aaaaaaaa!!!" screamed the lady, as she leaped into the air. This caused her table to tip over, and barbequed shrimp mixed with fettucini in a light cream sauce spilled into the lap of her companion. He screamed and jumped up too, because the fettucini was very hot, and he bumped into a waiter who was passing behind him. The waiter was carrying a tray with food for five people. The five people got their food all right...on their heads! One lady got a plate of spaghetti and meatballs in her hair, and some oysters went down her dress. A man got a face full of beans and macaroni, and some of the pasta went into his pocket. Another man was completely drenched with cream of mushroom soup, and lightly sprinkled with stuffed mushrooms and little sandwiches. He was so mad that he picked up a roll soaked in gravy and coated with bits of mushrooms and threw it right at the waiter who had spilled the food on him. The roll hit the waiter right in the eye: "splock!" The waiter, a college student with a lot of food-fight experience, bent over, picked up a quarter of a cantaloupe delicately seasoned with spaghetti and meatballs, and threw it at the man. The man ducked, and the cantaloupe hit a woman behind him right in the hair. She reached behind her, grabbed a handful of chocolate pudding, and threw it at the waiter. The chocolate pudding broke up in the air, and tiny bits showered about eight people, but not the waiter, because he ducked behind a fat old man who received the brunt of the pudding bath. From there it quickly degenerated into a general food fight, with half the people throwing food, and the other half running for the door, bent over in hopes that no food would get on them. Few of them made it out of the restaurant unscathed, because Bad Roberta had poured a slick of mixed salad dressing and raw vegetables from the salad bar all over the floor in front of the door. Food was flying all over the place, getting on the walls, dripping down onto the floor, splatting all over the plate glass windows, in people's hair and on their clothes, and even on the ceiling. People walking by outside stopped to stare. Some took pictures. Others laughed and pointed.

Bad Roberta's parents were hiding under their table, and only a few small bits of food hit them. "Look dear," Bad Roberta's father said once in the middle of the food fight, pointing at a pile of disgusting slime on the floor, "there's our dinner!" Then someone stepped in the slime, slipped, and went sliding out of sight across the room. "Shut up, dear," Bad Roberta's mother replied.

Finally everyone calmed down. Everyone in the whole restaurant had some food on them, and some people were completely covered. No one remembered how it got started except Bad Roberta and the lady in the white dress. However, the lady was hysterical because she was covered with salad, marinara sauce, shrimp, ice cream, pudding, spaghetti, and several other things, so she couldn't tell anyone what she knew. Bad Roberta's parents suspected that Bad Roberta was responsible, although they hadn't actually seen what she did. They snuck out to the car and stopped at the drive-thru window of Popeye's on the way home.


Amoeboid Politics

Glogg won,
a massive landslide of 3 to 1
(Fiblum had voted for itself);
after lunch, the runoff was a unanimous 3-0
just before dinner, Glogg, Jr.
was appointed Sec. of Provisions.