Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 23: A Good Excuse

This entry is part 23 of 28 in the series Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Summer comes to a crashing end…

Ten-year-old Kevin Taggert prefers to stay home with his video games, but his parents insist he join a summer sports program. Exactly on the day the Vordac raid Earth. With his little sister depending on him for protection, Kevin must find the strength and wisdom to keep them both safe.

Before they both end up dead, or even worse: as life-long slaves of the Vordac.

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Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Part 23: A Good Excuse

After exploring the basement in more detail, Kevin decided that If he wanted a space in the basement, then he would have to make one. Move stuff to clear one of the corners. Deciding on which corner was easy: the one most well hidden.

Nanny-Bot found Kevin later as he was sorting through the shelves. “Kevin, what are you doing down here?”

Kevin kept working. “We’ve been needing to do a garage sale, so I’m sorting stuff.”

“We should ask Ms. Taggert about this.” Nanny-Bot left him. To go talk to his mother, he was sure.

He kept right on working. It was a good excuse to be down there. No one could accuse him of playing video games. If he kept moving things around, it might look like he was actually sorting. In the meantime, he could quietly clear out a back corner of the high-ceiling basement for his own stuff.

“Garage sale?” his mother asked as she came down the steps.

“We can’t do a lot outside yet, right?” Kevin asked.

“The Galactic Patrol report no Vordac activity in the solar system since yesterday. I haven’t heard if a new date for the programs have been set.” His mother’s uncertain voice belied the confident words.

Oh, good. Some of his old toys. Those he could clear out with no issue. He wouldn’t use them ever again. He pulled the box off the shelf.

“Didn’t you and Dad say we need to get rid of some of this stuff? I’m getting tired of games and tea parties. Thought I would do something productive.” While making a corner for himself, of course. “I don’t need these toys anymore. We can sell them.”

He set the box on the floor next to the stairs. His mother opened the flaps to look inside. “True. You’ve outgrown all of these. Sure you don’t want to keep any for any of your own children someday?”

Kevin froze. His own kids? He was only ten!

“I can get new toys.” If it ever happened. Marry a girl? Ick.

His mother smiled as she straightened. A highly amused smile with a twinkle in her eye he hadn’t seen since the Vordac attack. “Still, go through the box again. If there is anything you had a lot of fun playing with, put it aside in a keeper box.”

Kevin reluctantly came back. So much for only playing at sorting through the stuff.

“A garage sale isn’t a bad idea. Only one car in there right now. We can set up as we sort,” his mother said, studying the shelves in the basement. His mother disappeared for a short time before returning with help.

“A garage sale? Clean out the basement?” Greg demanded.

“You had to say something?” Sean said, scowling at Kevin as they came down the last few steps.

“Now, none of that.” His mother went down an aisle, stopping to point at two boxes. “Here are boxes labeled for you two. Be hard on yourself. Anything you won’t use or is especially important goes upstairs in the garage.”

Christy soon bounded down the stairs wearing blue polka-dot coveralls. She jumped off the last step and demanded, “Where’s my box?”

Christy didn’t have all that much she could do, but she insisted on helping. So, she worked with Nanny-Bot and their mother to set up tables in the garage. Then she carefully carried things to be sold from the basement to the garage.

Sean and Greg egged each other on about what to get rid of. Their pile at the bottom of the stairs grew faster than Christy could haul it out. Then there was the old furniture their mother decided was time to get rid of. Some of it took several of them to get out of the basement.

All the while, Kevin continued to move items from the back corner he’d silently designated as his. Transferred them to empty shelf space towards the front whenever he could. All while also sorting all his old stuff. Just to keep it looking like he was doing as much as the others.

Even after the others stopped, he kept working away, only this time setting up the corner without having to worry about anyone watching what he was doing. He snitched a foldable table from the sell pile and took it to the corner. The same with several lights. He moved a couple empty shelves to create a false wall.

“Kevin, time for dinner. You’ve done enough down there,” his mother called from the top of the stairs.

“Coming!”

Kevin paused at his little corner. Right now it sat in shadows, but it soon wouldn’t. Not with the lighting he’d set up. The long table would provide him with a proper place to spread out while working on the robot.

After dinner, that was just what he did. He managed to get the robot downstairs without anyone seeing. Next came the parts and tools. Then his computer.

That night when the nightmares woke him up he headed straight downstairs, turned on all the lights, and went to work. By the time everyone else was up he’d not only replaced the battery unit, but discovered the robot had another problem. Something in the logic boards?

Kevin mulled it over during breakfast, his mind racing over everything he’d read that morning. Coming up with tests to track down the exact problem.

“Not again!”

Kevin’s head jerked up at Sean’s exclamation.

“Yes, again. We almost have enough. This is a good summer project,” his mother said, pointing a fork with a bit of scrambled egg stuck to the end in his direction.

Sean glared at Kevin. “Thanks, Kevin.”

“Yeah, thanks,” Greg echoed, in both words and expression.

Kevin kept from saying he didn’t like getting dragged to games he didn’t like. They could consider the sorting of the basement as a little revenge.

“We would have done it sometime, anyway. No going after your brother,” his mother said, every word inferring she meant it.

Kevin gulped. Did he forget to turn off all the lights around the table? He didn’t want them to find his corner. Not yet. He wouldn’t get any peace!

TO BE CONTINUED…

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Come back for more reading! Look for the next exciting installment each Tuesday.

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Part of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Challenge.

Series Navigation<< Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 22: A Change in ProjectsSummer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 24: The Garage Sale >>

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  1. […] Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 23: A Good Excuse by J.A. Marlow ~ @jamarlow_sf ~ Between 500 and 1000 words ~ Science Fiction ~ Serial […]

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