DayDream Academy
The First Junior Chronicles Chronicle
by Robert Alan
(not yet illustrated)

 

Chapter 0. This is "The Junior Chronicles," and don't you forget it.

The name is Chronicles. Johnny Chronicles. But you can call me Junior, like my family and friends do.

This is my story. My Chronciles Chronicle. Not the infamous George Chronicles. That's my Dad's story…it caused quite a commotion, they say, but since it's not G or even PG rated, I wasn't allowed to read it, so I have no idea what all the fuss is about...

Anyway....

Yeah. That's right. My Dad's name is George.

Don't get me started on why I'm called Junior when my name is Johnny and my Dad's is George. That's the way things go in my family. Everything's a little … well … bizzaro.

Yep. This is my story. Let's just call it "The Junior Chronicles."

And why shouldn't I have my own chronicle. All the other Chronicles have been chronicled. Why shouldn't I be, too?!!!

Actually, they haven't done Mom's Chronicle yet, have they … hmmm… perhaps another sequel?

Possibly. You know how Hollywood loves sequels…

But then would Mom even want her own Chronicles Chronicle? Mom's never exactly gotten used to the Chronicles life, now has she? She never exactly says it, but you can't help get the feeling that she thinks the Chronicles are a little too… well … like I said before … and I hate to use the word most used in both the best and worst editorial reviews of our Family Chronicles, but I guess it best fits our family saga … bizarro!

The shoe fits and I'm not afraid to wear it. And fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your shoe size) this story is bound to be pretty much the same…

Poor Mom. But maybe she's never gotten used to the Chronicles life because she never gets a chance to really be someone in these chronicles… I mean, other than a devoted wife and mother and occasional lost pumpkin … (if you don't already know about that one, believe me, don't ask!)

Mom's Chronicles Chronicle. Full of poignant bittersweet tales of longing and sacrifice. Of heroic deeds and other slices of motherhood pie…

Hey, what's going on … Mom … you'll get your chronicle one of these days! Do you have to get your Narrator editing here in mine? This is my Chronicle!!! So, it's supposed to be about me … and the things I want to chronicle... wizards and dragons and super-fast flying spaceships. You know, Fantasy-Sci-Fi-stuff. Thank you.

Right. So let's go. On with MY story.

Okay, let's start…

In the beginning and all that…

Hello? What's the hold up?

Hey, why isn't this Chronicle chronicling?

Huh?

Excuse me a moment …There's an annoying snail whispering in my ear. He's claiming to be "My Editor." Looks like a snail, but I'm 11, what do I know?

Apparently my "Editor" doesn't think I should be playing with my new wii and my old Game Cube and my Nintedo 2 and watching Sponge Bob on my ipod WHILE I'm telling this story …

Uh huh…

AND this so-called editor (who REALLY looks exactly like a snail! Maybe that is what editors are supposed to look like?), is insisting that I have "a bit too many plot lines running through my rough draft."

Apparently (or a-childly as I like to say) this story SHOULD NOT be about a 'dream academy' AND a 'peace wizard' AND the fabled "Peacetopia' -- land of peace and harmony -- AND a hit TV series called 'The BetterWorld Show' AND the 'The BetterWorld Kids meet the Chronicles' all in one book. (Yeah, I know, all that 'better world'-stuff for a kid my age seems a bit strange! I admit I'm a bit of a PeaceNik, but you'd be one too if you'd spent as much time with Peace Dude, the awesomely green alien foreign exchange student who stayed with us for the first half of this term, before he went back to his own universe. Gosh I miss him! Sounds a bit out of this world, I know, but you'll have to take my word for it until you get a chance to read about our totally radical adventures. But not here, of course - that's definitely another story -- it's called Peace Dude, available at a fine bookstore near you or online at PeaceDude.com!)

Apparently, I'm supposed to "increase sales" by turning this story into a whole series of tales, and only pick one plot line to start (and preferably one without 'peace' in the title - apparently peace is a hard sell, according to this annoying snail who keeps whispering in my ear while he makes red notations all over this manuscript that has my name written all over it).

Dude, I'm in the Fifth Grade. I have the attention span of a Mario Game-Cube warrior who can battle ten foes at once WHILE brushing my teeth, farting the National Anthem, and cutting my toe nails. Of course I can fit all those plot lines into one Chronicle (not to mention make 'peace' as exciting and nail-biting as any action-adventure movie out there!).

Although…

It would be nice to have a whole series of Junior Chronicles.

Sweet. Dude.

Hey … what's that you're wheeling in here. Looks like the set for "The Mom Chronicles."

Wait … hang on, okay, you win.

No really … I'm putting down these controllers, and I'm picking just one plot line … honest …

Okay, let's go with the daydream one. I love daydreaming. It's my lifestory. May as well start there!

Yipee…

 

Chapter 1. Daydreaming… As Usual

I always wondered why teachers got so upset when I daydreamed in class. I found out on Tuesday!

It was in Social Studies 5A. Mrs. Clementine was telling the class something about ancient Egypt...

(By the way, that's not my Social Studies teacher's real name. I'm just barely getting a C in Social Studies, and I'm hoping Mrs. Fra..., I mean, Mrs. 'Clementine' won't realize this story has her in it, so she won't give me a worse grade than I'm already going to be getting. So the names have been changed to protect the innocent, and all that.

((The innocent being me, of course. But I haven't changed my name, in case you're wondering.))

(((And while we're telling the truth, in real life, this story actually took place in Algebra class. But it made no sense to me then that we'd be talking about Ancient Egypt because of a word problem in Algebra class, and so I'm sure it wouldn't make any sense in this Chronicle either, so I changed it to Social Studies class so you wouldn't get confused. I'm like that, as you'll see.)))

((((But then again, I was daydreaming at the time, so it could have been Social Studies class after all, now that I think about it...))))

(((((Anyway, back to the story -- just go back to the part before all these parentheses- thingys and start the chapter over and then skip all this parentheses-stuff -- and do yourself a favor and skip all the parenthetical stuff you find throughout the rest of the story, too ... you'll thank me later!)))))

I'm not exactly sure what boring details Mrs. Clementine was going over, because I was daydreaming a way cool archaeological trip back to ancient Egypt, myself.

I was riding on the Sphinx over to check out some pyramid or other one of the locals had told me I just had to see. I'm pretty sure it was King Tut's pyramid, but I'm not exactly sure because the guy had a turban or whatever that thing is called over his head, and he was mumbling through it, and probably speaking ancient Egyptian, now that I think about it, which would definitely explain a lot of things, like why I had no idea what he was saying.

It was a long gallop through the desert, but fortunately, that Sphinx has long legs, and I had a six-pack of ice cold sodas for the journey that a street vendor had sold me real cheap. Unfortunately, the sodas caused me to have to make several brief sidetrips to find a bathroom every can or two, and of course a recycling container to drop off the cans when they were empty. I don't think I have to point out that bathrooms and recycling containers are not that easy to find in a desert. Even in a daydream desert!

We finally arrived and I decided to scale Tut's pyramid, pulling myself up on this snake who'd graciously turned himself into a rope for me, after I hummed a tune or two for him and coaxed him out of his wicker basket.

When I reached the top, my grumbling stomach reminded me it was getting close to lunch time, so I stopped for a sandwich. (I'm pretty sure my mom packed peanut butter and jelly Tuesday morning, but when I pulled lunch out of my backpack up there on top of Tut's pyramid, it was definitely falafel!)

I didn't get to finish my lunch because just then a genie flew in from Arabia on his flying carpet, and of course I couldn't pass up a magic carpet ride, even if it had nothing to do with ancient Egypt.

As you can well imagine, the carpet ride was AMAZING, and the best way to sightsee in a daydream through ancient Egypt. (They should think about incorporating magic flying carpets into ancient Egyptian history books, so daydreamers like me won't have to stretch their daydreams this far to work them in.)

The genie was totally awesome as a tour guide, I must admit. The way he pointed out and described all the sights we were seeing … he made it pretty interesting …

At least for a while. Truth is, it wasn't that long before I started daydreaming on my daydream.

Want to hear something funny? I was daydreaming about Social Studies 5A! I chuckled at the irony as we hovered on the magic carpet outside the school while I peeked in through the classroom window, eager to see Mrs. Fra... I mean Mrs. Clementine's reaction to my daydreaming absence.

"Johnny Chronicles you open your eyes and pay attention!" she was screaming. I should point out that she was yelling it at the top of her lungs with her face an inch away from mine. Well, not mine, but the me who was sitting there in the third row in Social Studies 5A, who just happened to look a lot like me.

That me was sitting up straight in his chair with his eyes closed with a silly grin on his face (and I hate to admit it, but a little drool was oozing down his lower lip onto his chin).

"Yikes," the real me (the me out on the flying carpet outside the window) gasped. "Why do they hate it so much when I daydream?" I muttered to no one in particular.

The genie sitting beside me (with his arms folded and his face pouting because he was still mad at me that I was daydreaming while he had been delivering his best sightseeing guide schpeel) muttered a reply. "Because no one wants you to realize that your daydreams can become just as real as their reality."

"Huh?" I and the other drooling me in the classroom said at the same time. That didn't make much sense in a daydream or in the cold fluorescent light of a boring classroom on a typical Tuesday, either.

But I didn't have much time to think about it, because Mrs. Clementine was yelling even louder than before, if that's possible. "John Chronicles, go to the Principal's office this minute!"

She had yelled so loud, the flying-carpet-riding-daydreaming-me's ears were ringing, and the poor drooling me in the classroom was being jolted out of his reveries.

"Darn," I gasped as I could feel myself slipping back into reality-consciousness. "I wish there was a place I could go where people would let me daydream in peace."

The genie started bouncing excitedly. "A wish, a wish! And the perfect one for a daydreaming fool such as you!"

My tour-guide genie blinked his eyes and bowed his head, and all this magic dust burst all over me, making me feel all magically tingly.

But the next thing I knew, I was smelling Mrs. Clementine's breath (and it definitely did not smell very good) as she was leaning over my desk screaming, "Go to the Principal's office, NOW!"

(Now you see why I had to change Mrs. Fra... I mean Mrs. Clementine's name. Her breath really was so awful, and rather than have to lie about it to you, it's much safer just to change her name to protect me, the innocent one in all this.)

I swallowed, disappointed that even though that magic dust had sure felt real, it definitely didn't look like the genie had granted my wish. My daydreams never included breath that smelled that bad!

Kids giggled as I grabbed my books and walked somberly past their desks, trudging off to Principal Quigley's office. But they didn't really pay too much attention. This wasn't my first banishment to Dr. Quigley's, and they and I were quite sure it wouldn't be my last.

Little did we know.

(Spoiler alert ... You probably figured my Princiapal's name is not really Dr. Quigley, either. Wrong! The truth is, there's nothing I can do to fix things with The Quigmeister anyway, and I have a strict one small fib per Chronicle policy, so, as I've fulfilled my quota already in the First Chapter, you can rest assured that everything from here on in is EXACTLY true to life! Honest!)

 

Chapter 2. Busted Again… Or Am I?

Secretary I'm-not-sure-what-her-name-is (Honest, I'm not saying that just to get out of any trouble in real life, it's just that even though I'd been to Quigley's at least a thousand times over the past 4 and a half-years at Clairmont Elementary school, for some reason my mind always wanders before I remember to look at her name-thingy on her desk) rolled her eyes when I turned the knob, and slowly, sadly, entered through the door marked "Principal Quigley."

Secretary-What's-Her-Name used to give me a pleasant smile when I went through this routine. But now she just rolled her eyes and went back to what she was doing on her computer screen.

Which was daydreaming as she did some online window shopping. Unfortunately, I think I'd pushed the envelope a little too far, even for a fellow daydreamer like Mrs. … um … you know, Something-or-other.

"Principal Quigley will be with you in a moment… Johnny…" she sighed, not bothering to look up.

That's the same routine I received from Principal Quigley.

"Good morning, Mr. Chronicles," he said and sighed as he continued to stare at his computer screen after Secretary… um…. Uh… you know, Whatever, eventually buzzed me in.

He had my 15-inch wide folder-slash-dossier in front of him, and he reluctantly tore his eyes away from his computer screen and nonchalantly flipped my folder open with a sigh, while he clicked his ballpoint and got ready to write yet another notation.

But then his face got all perplexed-looking as he peered at the page inside and he looked up at me with a very odd expression, and looked down at the page, and back up at me as if he were trying to figure out how to stick a square peg into a round black hole, refusing to believe that I was the subject of the page before him.

"Huh," he said, still befuddled, as he stared yet again and again back and forth at me and then the page and then back at me and then at the page.

"Um, well… Mr. Chronicles … it looks like you've won the prestigious and coveted Blah… Blah… Academy Scholarship."

I have to point out in all honesty, that it sounded like Dr. Quigley had said 'Daydream Academy Scholarship' but there was a mosquito buzzing around my head just as he was speaking, so of course, that couldn't be what he said, which is why my brain registered "Blah, Blah Academy Scholarship', and that's why that's what I'm relating to you, even though it turns out 'Daydream Academy Scholarship' is EXACTLY what he said.

 

Chapter 3. Bon Voyage. Ariverderci Dude. And Sweet Dreams

I don't have to tell you that the bus-ride home was the wildest Daydream Express I'd ever been on. As I sat there clutching the sealed-manila envelope addressed with my name, filled with The Daydream Academy Scholarship details, my mind raced with a hundred different excited daydream adventures. Each one was more exciting but stranger than the last.

I was sailing across the ocean on a luxury yacht, and drag racing across the country, and rocketing to the outer reaches of the galaxy, all to get to the strange, mysterious Daydream Academy.

The Quigmeister was no help when I had asked him for any details at all to help guide my daydream wanderings along the right track.

"It's all in the envelope, Chronicles!"

But he wouldn't let me open it. He flipped the envelope and showed me this really fancy gold seal on the back. The Official Daydream Academy Seal, and it could only be opened at Midnight on the full moon. Scholarship rules!

Fortunately, that evening there would be a full moon.

My best friends Artie and Merle kept interrupting my daydreaming on the bus, annoyingly asking me one question after the next, like "When do you go?" and "Can we come, too?" and "Can I have your wii controllers and Brawl cartridge while you're gone?"

"I don't know," was all I could say, and although I felt pretty proud because I could see how jealous they were (they like daydreaming, too, but of course, they'd long ago accepted that my daydreaming abilities are bigger than life, and we always figured, well deserving of an Award...Lo and behold...), I was starting to realize I was really going to miss everyone, although you can rest assured that my peeps are almost always featured cast-members in my daydreams. In supporting roles, of course.

I also couldn't help wondering how my folks would take the news. Dad's a world-class daydreamer himself; Mom, not so much, but then she did marry Dad, so I know she has an appreciation for all-things daydreaming. Or at least a strong tolerance. Or, maybe just a high pain tolerance? Anyway, would they be proud? You bet they would!

But, maybe they'd think that they'd miss me so much, they wouldn't want me to go? I honestly wasn't sure what I expected, but I didn't expect what happened, that's for sure.

Mom was out in the garden when the bus pulled up across the street from our house. She glanced up smiling as I got off the bus, but when she saw the manila envelope clutched under my arm, her mouth fell open, and her hair burst out of its braids and stood up in the air. She dropped her gardening shovel and leaped over the hedges and grabbed my arm, dragging me towards the house.

At the same time she grabbed her cell phone out of her pocket and dialed crazily.

"George!" she gasped into the phone. "CODE GOLD!"

"Uh, Hi, Mrs. C" Artie and Merle said together as they stood mystified in the middle of the street watching my Mom drag me away.

"Sorry, Boys, can't talk right now...but tell your parents we have a gold code, would you please…" she gasped and practically carried me into the house. She slammed the door closed behind us, pulled the curtains down tight on the foyer window, and stood without the lights on in the darkness, against the wall, her eyes staring wildly at the envelope.

"Mom, what's going..."

Her eyes got wider, like she was trying to disintegrate the envelope with them. "Junior, don't move and don't say a word until your father gets here!"

Just then my sister Ellie came bouncing down the stairs with her ipod blaring.

"Code Gold, Ellie!" Mom gasped, but Ellie didn't hear over the ipod's roar.

"Hey, Mom, Wassup?" Ellie hummed to the beat on her ipod as she saw Mom.

"CODE GOLD!" Mom screeched.

Ellie's eyes widened, her ipod headphones popped out of her ears, and her face turned pale as a ghost. "Really ... it came for me ... again?"

Mom shook her head and Ellie followed her gaze to the envelope I was clutching. Suddenly she looked a little relieved. "Oh, Junior got it this time..." she whispered.

"What's going on?" I wanted to say, but before I could, I heard an awful screeching car-brake sound outside. Sounded like Dad. Then I heard the car careening into the porch. Yep, definitely Dad.

I didn't flinch at first though, even though I was standing at the front door, directly in line with the driveway and the porch. You see, long ago Mom installed a heavy-duty rubber bumper all around the front porch. Dad's one of the worst drivers on the planet, and she was getting tired of the daily dents in the porch he created every night when he came home from work.

I did jump a few seconds later, after the familiar sounding 'boing' of the car bouncing off the bumper. Dad must have really plowed into the porch, because then there was an unmistakeable sound of his back-end smashing into the street light clear across the street.

Forget Mom's 'don't move' command. I rocketed into the living room.

Mom and Ellie followed me, but both dashed around pulling down the shades, as Dad rushed through the door and slammed it behind him.

"Where is it?" he screeched. "I can't believe it came for me ... again!" he croaked and he was shaking like crazy, and beads of sweat were dripping down his face.

He followed Mom's burning gaze and saw me clutching the envelope.

"Oh ... Junior's got it ..." he swallowed, and I couldn't help seeing a sense of relief wash over him as it had for Ellie.

"Guys, what's going on?" I whispered, looking down at what I though was a perfectly harmless-feeling manila envelope under my arms. While I spoke, I unconsciously tried to throw it to the ground, definitely starting to see it as the hottest potato ever.

I had to use every ounce of strength to yank it out from under my arm. And then when I did manage to toss it, it only made it halfway to the ground before it flew back up at me and wedged itself back under my arm.

"We've got to tell him ...." Ellie whispered as no one spoke, and no one's gaze wavered from the envelope.

"You're right, Honey," Mom whispered. "Junior, you know all those crazy tall tales your Dad's always telling you guys?"

(Dad's been telling us the strangest stories since we were little kids about the bizarre adventures he and Mom had before we were born. Until that moment, of course I'd attributed them all to his overactive daydreaming imagination. But in that moment, I suddenly KNEW every word had been true!)

Mom nodded, reading my thoughts. "Yeah, it's all true, and all his crazy adventures happened after your Dad got that very same manila envelope... and then went and destroyed it..."

"Well I was only 12 at the time, and it's not my fault that creepy snail had delivered it. You know I hate snails…and the envelope had snail slime all over it!"

"Well, when he destroyed it," Mom sighed in exasperation, "it set off a chain reaction, altering the course of time, space and every dimensional universe! Your Dad spontaneously yodeled into the void of forever and ... well ... like I said started a series of events that ended up causing him to lose his memory and set off on the craziest adventures ever, eventually causing reality to completely fall apart, and sending us on the run, hiding in obscurity ever since."

You would think this would all sound like nonsense to me, as I'm sure it does to you, particularly if you've never read any of the original Chronicles Chronicles. But for some strange reason, it didn't sound strange at all. In fact, the wierdest 'memories' starting creeping into the corners of my mind.

Everyone saw what was happening. "Don't Junior ..." Mom gasped. "You're not supposed to remember...it's our only protection."

But of course, then she realized we were all remembering, and suddenly I REMEMBERED everything. How we all lost our memory each time we had to 'relocate' to another reality, so that the Time Catcher and his hired mercenaries wouldn't be able to locate us.

"What do we do?" I gasped as our predicament was suddenly all too apparent.

No one had a clue, but then that very second, we all reflexively ducked for cover as something crashed through the roof and then through the second floor, landing squarely in the middle of the living room.

Nervously I and the rest of my family opened our eyes. "FLORA!" we all happily exclaimed at once as our beloved fortune-telling housekeeper, fully attired in her jujitsu robe, crouched in the striking position, shook wood shards, plaster and roof shingles off her body, and scanned the room.

"Alright, were is it ..." she whispered slowly and carefully before she saw the cursed envelope under my arm. "Junior..." she said softly. "I knew it'd be coming for you soon ..." she sighed. "But I didn't think it would be this soon ... sorry it took me so long to get here, but the line at the supermarket was murder, today!"

She looked down at our cat, Muffy, who'd wandered into the room and was rubbing against her leg.

"We'd better call Sly and the others..." she said, to Muffy, apparently.

"Yeah, I did," Muffy said, plain as day.

By the time I realized that I wasn't shocked that our cat had spoken, our attention was diverted by the blaring sound of something crashing through the front door. We all jumped to the side as a big van screeched to a halt in the middle of the room.

...to be continued...

 

Not yet illustrated.

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