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Charlotte Takes a Break

Go Right Ahead, Mr. Poirot

I finally put the book down just after dinner. My back and butt were starting to ache, so I stretched my arms up over my head and twisted back and forth. It didn’t do much, so I decided to move around a little. Plus, I had so many questions about what I had read! I needed some answers, so I headed downstairs to see if Elizabeth was around. Maybe she could help since she’s got a book as well. I still can’t believe she’s had one all this time and has never told me! I wonder if she’s actually even read it.

I found her in the crafts room working on a quilt.

“Hey.”

“Hey.”

I dropped myself into a chair opposite her. “Watcha working on?”

She flopped her hands down and let out a long sigh at the inconvenience of my sudden appearance. She picked up the quilt by the top and flipped it around so I could see.

I almost popped out of my seat. “Oh my gosh! It’s beautiful! Is that all the animals in the barn from when were down there in the morning!”

“Yep.”

I ran my hand over the intricately sewn animals, the amount of detail in each one was incredible. I could even make out the red Swedish Fish that Charlie had been eating. “This is incredible, how long have you been working on it?”

She dropped the quilt into her lap. “Well, Sherlock, let’s see, since this (she lifted the quilt a little) happened this morning and it’s still the same day, only later, I’m going to say that I’ve been working on this the same amount of time as how many hours have lapsed between then and now.”

I made a face at her and slid to the back of my chair. “Why do you have to be such a snot sometimes?”

She opened the quilt on her lap and smoothed it out with her hands. “It’s part of the responsibilities of a younger sister. I’m just doing what is expected of me according to societal norms.”

I leaned forward and asked her, “What eleven-year-old talks like that?”

She made a face back at me then asked, “Is there something I can help you with?”

If I hadn’t been so curious about the stuff I’d just read about, I would have left and spitefully turned the light out on her as I went through the door, but I needed answers. So, I had to swallow my pride and play her silly game if I wanted to find anything out. “I have some questions about the book. I assume you’ve read it?”

She pulled out a needle from the chair’s armrest and reached over for a different color thread. “Of course.” She unwound a length of thread and cut it with a pair of scissors.

“Do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions about it?”

“Go right ahead, Mr. Poirot.”

I ignored that remark and flipped open my notebook and scanned the questions I had jotted down. I had to waited for her to thread the needle then asked, “Let me see if you and I agree on this; Qbit, who is made up of neutrinos, has a friend, Tau, who’s a robot. It also says that Qbit is made up of neutrinos that surround dark matter. Do you know what they are?”

She tied off the end of the thread and said, “You mean the most abundant particle in the universe that, in the case of Qbit, surrounds matter that can’t be seen directly?”

I had to pause for a second because I was genuinely impressed that she knew that. “Exactly.”

“You should look at the Ice Cube project in Antarctica. It’s run by the University of Wisconsin; they have a lot of great information about neutrinos. They record their existence in a particle detector made out of ice. Do you know what that is?”

I actually had no idea what a particle detector made out of ice was, so I ignored her and continued. “Well, getting back to Qbit, I’ve never heard of a computer like that before let alone one that can take the shape of a human. Plus, Tau’s a robot that is so autonomous that Mrs. Privet can send it off to … (I checked my notes) … Miami to ‘get things set up’.” I looked up at her, “It sounds like some kind of science fiction movie. Do you think this is all possible?”

Without looking up from her quilting, she said, “Do you believe you can talk to animals or are you making that up?”

Darn, she had a point, I had to give her that. “Touche.” I looked at my list again then sat forward in my chair feeling a little excited about my next questions. “But who’s this Chad character? He says he’s ‘the head of the largest illegal animal smuggling operation in the galaxy’. The galaxy! Since when do people travel around the galaxy! I know we go to the moon and some people believe there’s a hidden base that trains astronauts for deep space travel but, the galaxy! That’s incredible!” I looked up toward the cieling and said, “Wouldn’t you want the chance to go and explore, find out about all those other planets and the aliens that must be out there?”

“No thank you. I’m satisfied to stay where the terra is more firma.”

“I don’t know. It still all sounds so fantastic! It’s hard to believe it’s real. And what about Mr. And Mrs. Privet!”

“What about them?”

“I mean she showed up in the leg of President Roosevelt who was being carried under the arm of a Sasquatch for goodness’ sake! And if that’s not enough, Mr. P has a huge state-of-the-art veterinarians office inside a small run-down barn!”

Elizabeth looked up. I seemed to have hit upon something that actually excited her. “Yeah, it’s so cool that he can make something look so small when it’s actually so big. That’s pure magic stuff.”

“Exactly! And what about the dragons? I can’t believe they’re real! Do you think we’ll ever get a chance to see one?”

“I sure hope so! I want to see it breath fire!”

I was happy to see a glint in her eye when she said that. It made me feel closer to her, like we were sharing something special. It used to be that way when we talked about where we were going for our annual family vacation.

We were quiet for a second, lost in our own thoughts. She went back to sewing. I asked her, “You know that dome they write about? Barantz Dome I think it’s called?”

“Yeah, (she put her hands in her lap) I looked into that and the only thing I could find was some story about a captain of a spaceship that had the same last name except it was spelled with an s-z and not just a z. I think he was in charge of some sort of classified space expedition. Maybe he found the dome and they named it after him?”

I sat back in my chair stunned that she had actually spent the time to look it up. “See I told you there had to be spaceships! This is so cool! I swear, it’s like it’s a movie.”

After a second or two of us creating adventures in our head, I watched as Elizabeth lost her twinkle as she bent forward with the quilt and asked, “Would you please cut this loose thread?”

I picked up the scissors and snipped it off realizing that our conversation was probably over. Feeling a little dejected I said, “Thank you for listening, this was fun.”

She folded up the quilt and put it on a shelf then stood up out of the chair. Much to my delight she said, “Would you like to share a piece of cinnamon crumb cake I made it earlier? It should be cooled by now.”

As she walked into the hallway I asked, “You had time to make a quilt and bake a cake?”

I got up and followed hereto the kitchen thinking to myself It’s Elizabeth, of course she did.

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