The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise of the Bungee Jumping Blumaroo
The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise of the Bungee Jumping Blumaroo.
How I could have made the title go on and on and on...
“Johnson, we are at J-minus-ten-seconds...”
“Okay,” sigh. “Fine, do it already, then. But do we have to go through this every time? It’s not even funny anymore. Just hurry up and jump already... and I’ve told you before, my name’s not Johnson.”
The green Blumaroo crossed his arms petulantly, and stuck out his bottom lip. “Not going to, now,” he huffed. “You’re ruining the moment, cramping my style.”
“Pfft!” the yellow Kacheek snorted with a smirk. “What style? You jump off a bridge, tied to an elastic cord, and you always come back up... no one’s excited by it anymore.”
The Blumaroo blinked profusely and looked around him as if for the first time. “I wondered why no one was gathered to watch me... thought they might have gone to the wrong bridge by mistake...”
“Luke, how many other bridges do you know of in Neopia?”
“Well... erm... well, there is that small one...”
“By ‘small’ you mean ‘two feet over a pond, back in the garden of that Neohome we passed on the way here,’ right?”
“Ah... well, then, what about the rope bridge in the jungles of Mystery Island?”
“The one where the ropes frayed and snapped? On both sides? At the same time?”
Luke blinked again. “It’s gone, then, Hutch?”
“Fell right into the Quiki-Tiki River and floated out to sea.” The Kacheek nodded.
“So... this is the only bridge left, then?”
“Uh-huh, and yet do you see anyone here?”
The Blumaroo frowned and hopped down from the rail on the bridge and looked around him sadly. “I don’t get it.” He unbuckled himself from the bungee cord and sat down heavily against the rail, his head in his paws. “I’m the only person who does this sporting activity in all of Neopia, so you’d think people would flock to see my jump, especially the Lennies.”
“Flock – Lennies?”
Hutch groaned, rolling his eyes.
“Did you put up the posters, like usual?”
“All over town, Luke... face it, no one’s excited about seeing the exact same thing time and time again.”
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking, Luke?”
“I think so, Hutch, but we’d never get the Pant Devil to dress-up in a tutu.”
“Oh, I get it! You’re saying I need to try and find something else to do.”
“What do you think, rock climbing or abseiling?”
“No, you’re right, too ‘up-down’, it’s too similar... kayaking, then? Or windsurfing?”
“NO!” Stamping his feet in frustration, Hutch glared across the bridge at the green, sock-eared Neopet ‘uhm-ing’ and ‘ah-ing’ incessantly on the ground. “I just meant that you should change your image.”
“Ah-ha!” Luke cried triumphantly, bouncing to his feet. “Of course, that’s it!”
“So, what do you suggest? What would work best for me, being a Zafara, Techo or Nimmo?”
“You got it – wait, what? What are you going on about?”
“You said I had to change my appearance...”
“Image, Luke, as in what you do, not what you look like.”
“Yes, you see, people are no longer excited by a Blumaroo bungee jumping off the same old bridge. So, how are we going to change things, improve them?”
“I could do it without the bungee cord...”
“And suddenly, the world seems a little bit brighter... I mean, no! Don’t be ridiculous, Luke. No,” Hutch mused thoughtfully as he stroked his chin. “No... where could we hold the next jump?”
“The Mystery Island bri – ah, yeah, washed away. Riiiiight.”
“I know!” the Kacheek cried suddenly...
“Uhh, ye-eah... I dunno about this, Hutch,” Luke stated, eyebrow raised as he looked out of the window.
“Oh, come one! It’s unique, a first!” Hutch begged. “No one’s done this kinda thing before!”
“Uh-huh, and there’s a reason for that...”
“What could possibly go wrong?” the Kacheek asked as he led Luke up the steps leading onto the deck.
“Buddy, you want me to try bungee jumping into the sea -”
“From a boat -”
“About fifteen feet from the surface.”
“So, what’s your point?” Hutch demanded with a scowl.
“Well, you see, there’s this little thing called ‘physics’...”
“Hah! You don’t have to worry about that!”
“Why not?” Luke frowned as he gazed out at the gentle waves.
“There’s no electrical current this far out, now go on, get ready.”
“Okay – wait, what?”
Five minutes later, Luke was perched on the crows nest (no, the irony wasn’t lost on him), his bungee cord secured to the mast of the Mary Sue, his mind buzzing with the thought of the thousand things that could go wrong with this insane stunt. Below him not an inch of the boat’s large deck could be seen as a sea (no pun intended) of faces looked up at him, the soft winds carrying up their muttered comments to his ears.
“He’s not seriously going to do this, right?”
“He’ll never reach it.”
“Better clear some space there, because if he falls short he’s going right through the deck! Do we have lifeboats and jackets? He may sink us...”
“Hey kid! Say hello to the Maraquans for me!”
“Aren’t we miles away from Maraqua?”
“Oh, so just because they live under the sea doesn’t mean they can’t go on vacation, huh?”
“Okay, Luke!” Hutch called over the bustle of the crowd. “Jump in five... four... three... twoo,” gulp, here it comes! “Aaaand, one!”
Pushing off and forward with all his might, Luke felt the familiar thrill as the air rushed past his face, But before he had a chance to close his eyes from the usual ecstasy, he caught sight of the waves below him. The calm waves... waves that looked ridiculously solid and ungiving.
“Waaah! I don’t wanna diiiie!”
The sound the young Blumaroo made when he hit the water was a mix of a ‘splash’ and a ‘thump,’ followed by a long, awful silence as his audience leant over the side of the boat to observe his prone, floating body.
“What was that sound?” one finally asked curiously.
“Sounded like a crash to me.”
“No, it was definitely a thump.”
“Crumpets? At a time like this? How could you?!”
Pushing his way through the crowds, Hutch leaned over the railing. “Luke! Hey, buddy, are you okay?” A series of bubbles answered him as the Blumaroo remained face down. “Er... no, sorry, didn’t quite catch that?”
“I said,” Luke sputtered, flailing uneasily, “my stomach really hurts... oh, yes, and that I hate you.”
“Oh, now don’t be like that... besides, I have a better idea!”
“Oh,” cough-splutter, “no.”
“This,” Luke yelled over the roaring winds, “is insane!”
“Don’t be like that!” Hutch bellowed back through cupped hands. “It’s completely safe! Besides, we’ve tried on land and at sea, so in the air was the only other logical alternative, right?”
“Well, I guess...”
“Guess, nothing,” the Kacheek assured him as he pulled Luke back from the observation deck of the airship. “If it wasn’t safe, then these contraptions would never have been built. I mean, they were used in the battles over Meridell! Now, you tell me this; since when was anything dangerous used in a war?”
“... Is that, like, a rhetorical question? Or is there a prize?”
“Ahhh, what do you know? Go and get ready!”
“I hate those four words...”
Ten minutes later Luke was back on the observation deck, his cord attached and firmly secured to the airship’s anchoring. Stepping carefully over the rail, he stood on the edge, hands gripping the rail desperately as the high winds buffeted him mercilessly, a sense that, other than this whole stupid idea, something was terribly wrong.
“Bet you he hits a kite or something on the way down,” one of his audiences announced over the roar of the winds.
“Ten-to-one the cord snaps and we never see him again.”
“Double that says he ends up back in the sea.”
Cute. “Luke, go in five!” bellowed Hutch. “Five... four... three... two,” here we go again!. “Aaand, one!”
Forcing his mind to put all nagging thoughts aside, Luke closed his eyes, threw his arms wide to his sides and leant forward. Quickly came the exhilaration, the thrill of the high winds whipping around him. Luke sighed; maybe this hadn’t been such a bad idea after all... and yet...
... and yet shouldn’t he be bouncing back up by now?
... Anytime now...
Meanwhile, back up on the deck of the airship, Hutch stared down into the clouds, his eyes following the line of cord that still wasn’t that familiar taut, vibrating, ‘about-to-come-back-up’ way yet. He frowned. “Did you extend the cord length like I suggested?” he asked his supplier.
The Kau at his side snorted. “Of course, why?”
“By how much?” the yellow Kacheek sounded suspiciously curious.
“Ten times its normal length... why?”
“Ten times two hundred feet? That’s two thousand feet!”
“Ah, yeah, but look, don’t worry, we’re three thousand, five hundred feet up.”
“Oh, that’s okay then – no, wait a minute! Bungee elastic, under such pressure, could stretch to well over half their original length or so, right?”
“Yeah, I think so... why?”
“Two thousand plus half-or-more of two thousand,” Hutch muttered darkly, “do the math.”
The Kau’s mouth ran in silence for a few seconds, her eyes finally widening as she came to the right answer.
“... PULL HIM UP!”
“So, you see, it really wasn’t my fault at all, but Sam’s, as she was the one who had made the extension too long... of course, she blamed it on the Meepits, claiming they told her to do it...”
“Mmpf,” grumbled the poor Blumaroo in a full-body cast.
“Aw, now don’t be like that,” Hutch pleaded. “I said I was sorry, didn’t I?”
“Mmm! Uhmph, muh muhmm!”
“Oh, so it’s going to be like that?”
“After all I’ve done for you?”
“Most of it against your will, mind you, but it’s still the thought that counts, right?”
Whirling round in his seat, the Kacheek looked from Luke, who sat up in his bed with no more than a few scrapes and bruises on his head, back to the completely bandaged Blumaroo. “Ahhhhhh... yeah. Heeeey, Luke! Looking good,” he added sheepishly as he dragged his chair over. “Uh,” lowering his voice to a whisper, he went on, “any idea what happened to your twin over there?”
“He fell out of a window and hit his head.”
“And they gave him a full-body cast for that? Man, they sure are thorough around here...”
“What? No, he was always wearing that. The window he was trying to climb out of was at Fyora’s Hospice for the Mentally Challenged Pets – he thinks he’s a mummy.”
“The dead, wrapped-up-and-put-in-pyramids sort.”
“Oh... so, er, are you okay?”
“Me, sure... just knocked my head, oh, on the peak of the Tyrannian Plateau before I bounced back up.”
“And boy, did you sure fly then!”
“I know.” Luke scowled. “I heard my ears pop as I left Neopia’s atmosphere... if you hadn’t reeled me in I’d probably still be in orbit!”
“Ah, some thanks at last.”
“Don’t flatter yourself, because I quit.”
“Quit?! You can’t quit! I have another idea, a much safer idea this time! Same as last time, only you would have a softer landing.”
“Oh? Your head, perhaps?”
“Don’t be silly.” Hutch snorted. “The Giant Omelette!”
Note: Well, it’s been a long time coming, but this story is finally finished! Hope you all enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it! - TC