Chapter 13: Transportation
“Jumba! What’chu do to Stitch?”
The furry blue experiment’s gums, moments before having been continuously flapping from the force of air passing by them at a hundred miles per hour, were made still as he pulled his head through the window. What was remarkable was that the window was firmly in place and completely intact; in fact, there was no evidence that it had been disturbed at all, apart from the splattering of slobber that now covered half the outside of carriage A-4.
“Well, the matter making up Stitch’s head is right now out of phase with the matter making up the glass, or indeed, any matter at all,” explained Jumba.
Everyone looked stumped.
“Er… I am making it so his head can be going through solid matter,” he simplified. “He wanted to stick his head out of window like in car, no?”
“But you’re not meant to do you-know-what in front of other people!” whispered a highly annoyed Nani. “Did you learn anything from what happened the last time that happened?”
“I know, I know,” Jumba moaned as Nani’s voice started reverberating around his head. “‘Never be flying spaceship at low altitude through lightning storm.’”
“That’s not what I meant,” growled Nani through gritted teeth. “It was on The News At Five! We might as well have told everyone you’re an alien!”
Jumba tried to block his ears as the voice of Five’s anchorwoman joined that of Nani; this did not work, however, as they were in his head and as such not relayed through his ear.
“Look, it wasn’t my fault!” he argued back, making sure to keep his voice down. “We were not having enough fuel to be...”
“Well, you could have…”
“Um, yeah, hi,” 426 butted in. “You do know that whispering loudly makes you sound very suspicious?”
Nani scanned the area. Everyone in the carriage was looking at them.
Looking back at Jumba, she muttered, “Don’t.”
And then she stood up, and, addressing the passengers, explained, with 419 translating, that she was having an argument with her uncle about who would pay their train fare and hotel bookings, after which everyone went back to reading their newspapers, books, and other whatnot.
Wiping her brow as she sat back in her seat, Nani reflected to Pleakley, “He’s paying for the ticket.”
About two kilometres to the east, Eli took a rather large bite from a lettuce and tomato cheese sandwich while, at the same time, tried to block his ears.
Yap, yap, yap, is that all kids did?
Beside him, Zachary was chatting rapidly to the kids behind him, probably elaborating upon his previous tale. To his fore, the bus driver hummed and waved his fingers along with music heard only by him. Mr. Terada was in animated conversation with his mobile phone, apparently over overdue library books. The boys were strewn throughout the bus, arguing about cars and computers and whether the Y-Cube 180 was better than the FunPost; the girls were grouped at the back, chitchatting about boys, bands, and hair baubles. Eli found it all rather annoying; he couldn’t focus his energy when there was too much noise.
And it wasn’t like he was put on this earth to jabber his mouth off every second of his life.
Sighing, he turned his gaze to the quickly-passing scenery. The familiar suburban neighbourhoods had long since receded into the distance; tall skyscrapers replaced them, kissing the sky, the shimmering reflection of the sun bouncing off its windows. Inside, people hurried and scurried about, as if they were ants in a colony.
Eli sighed. People work too much now-a-days. Back in his day… well, back in Master Reed’s day, people took time to appreciate things. Now, it was nothing but work.
He silently returned to his chowder, trying, without avail, to ignore the rising noise around him.
Twenty seats behind him, Madison was dealing with this annoyance in her own way. She was filming it.
“And this,” she narrated into her voice recorder, “is the motley crew of shipmates, sailing on their ragged pirate ship towards the booty they so desire…”
“Madison!” laughed Sakura.
Turning the camera towards herself, she continued:
“And among them sits the three musketeers, lying in wait for… oh, c’mon, Li!”
“Hmf!” muttered Li, who had folded his arms over his head.
“C’mon, it’s not like it’ll steal your soul,” said Sakura jokingly.
“Says the girl who takes her advice from a stuffed animal,” retorted Li.
“Hey! What did you say!”
“Calm down, guys!” Madison implored, reaching her arms in front of her. “I mean, it’s not like the sky is falling.”
And with a snap, she turned off her camera. Li shot her a look of annoyance, which she returned with a look of frustration.
“What’s wrong with Madison taking a video of you?” asked Sakura, with a slight touch of venom in her voice.
“Well, firstly, she didn’t ask. Secondly, she didn’t respect my answer.”
“Li, you’re such a spoilsport,” Madison retorted, putting her camera back in her bag.
“And you’re such a pain,” Li nonchalantly replied.
“Surely you don’t mean that, Li!” said Sakura, sounding hurt by the implication.
“Well, it’s true,” he grumbled, shuffling in his seat.
The trio exchanged tongue-poking, and within two minutes, the two girls were chatting intently, with Li avidly trying to ignore them.