In all his six years, the box in the corner of the room had been his constant companion. His friends lived in it. It played toe-tappin’ music, and it was always full of bright, alluring images.
Now, it sat there – dark, blank, and well … dead.
Little Bobby’s bottom lip began to quiver. What would he do instead? His whole life had been set on watching television day in, day out.
He checked himself, and took in a deep breath.
Clearly someone or something had turned the TV off, but who? Could it be the dame he called, ‘Mudda’ or da fella known as ‘Daad’? He didn’t know.
Little Bobby knew this mystery had to be solved, and he was just the six year old to do it.
He went to the dress-up box and swapped his baby-fedora for a tweed deerstalker hat, and dug is hands deep into his pockets.
But where to start?
He went to leave the room, but slowly turned back. He couldn’t draw his eyes away from the dead TV. He nodded to it and thought, “Don’t worry old friend. I’ll find out who done this to ya, and bring ‘em to justice.”
Then he strode out of the room, and headed towards the kitchen.
The kitchen had always been a strange and unusual place for Little Bobby. Sure, he loved the food the big dame cooked. He enjoyed the smells too, but as soon as his meals were ready, he would always head back to his beloved TV and sit and eat in front of it to eat.
As he approached this strange room, a bright warm light flooded the hallway.
“Ah, sunshine,” Little Bobby whispered. “What do you have to do with this? The plot thickens.”
Bravely, he went on.
As he approached the kitchen, he felt a cool breeze touch his cheeks, then much to his surprise he noticed the back doors were open.
“Strange,” Little Bobby thought as he looked around the empty room. “The other residents are usually in here. Don’t tell me they are outside.”
Little Bobby didn’t go outside much. He knew the place existed, but he never understood the attraction. Sure there was fresh air, sunshine, flowers and playthings, but there was no TV – what good was any place without a TV?
Under a large tree, Little Bobby could make out the dame, his mother, sitting. Her eyes were fixed on the object she held in her hands. She was biting her lip and her eyes were wild with excitement.
“What is da dame up to?” Little Bobby whispered.
He drew his hat further down over his eyes, and approached with caution.
He was only a few feet away when his mother jumped up and squealed. She fumbled quickly with the thing in her hands, turning over its insides. Then she relaxed and continued to stare at it.
“Whatever it is, it certainly has got her transfixed. Maybe it’s some sort of hypnotizing device or brain draining machine,” Bobby wondered.
He was considering his next move, when his mother looked up and saw him.
“Oh, you’ve come outside Bobby,” she smiled. “How lovely. Why don’t you get a chair and join me?”
Little Bobby stared at his mother, and shook his head.
“The TV is dead,” he announced solemnly, “And, I’ve come out here to find your brain is being overtaken by that thing in your hand.” He nodded towards the book.
His mother laughed.
“Seriously, you are strange. This is a book. It’s full of mystery, adventures, excitement and thrills,” she said, smiling at her son.
“How?” Little Bobby asked.
“Come over here and I’ll show you,” his mother smiled, and shuffled over so Little Bobby could sit next to her.
“See the book is full of pages, and on them are words.”
Little Bobby frowned and looked at her.
“How does it work?” he asked. “Where’s the remote that controls it?”
“You read it, silly!” his mother laughed. “Here I’ll show you.”
She opened the book and began to read. It was a story about a boy who had a pet dragon. It explained about the places they visited together, and about a great battled they had fought to save their kingdom.
Little Bobby closed his eyes.
He imagined the dragon was blue with sharp yellow eyes. He imagined the boy looked like him but had wild hair and wore clothes made of animal skins.
Best of all, Little Bobby imagined what it might be like to ride a dragon. He invented reins and a saddle made of pure silver. He felt the wind in his hair, and as his mother continued to read, he thought he could hear the beat of the dragon’s wings.
When his mother had finished she stopped and smiled at Little Bobby.
“Well, that’s the end of this book, Bobby. Do you want to go back inside and watch TV or shall we read the next book in the series, The Living Volcano?”
Little Bobby looked back towards the house. He knew the TV was still sitting in there, still and quiet.
He looked back at his mother and said, “The Living Volcano.”
He sat back and closed his eyes. Soon, he was standing on the edge of huge volcano and hot lava was oozing towards him. He wiped the sweat off his brow, and stared into the abyss.
Little Bobby smiled – the TV could wait.
About Susan Day:
Susan Day, children’s author and writer, has developed a 7 Step Guide to Help Children Fall in Love with Books and Reading. Her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips to help parents and grandparents engage children with books. You can download the guide here: http://www.astrosadventuresbookclub.com/
Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three boss cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo. Apart from writing and reading, she loves painting, and gardening.