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Deleted Scenes

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This section includes character background, scenes, and alternate openings not included in the final book. These are unedited drafts and may contain errors.

Zack Visits a Shrink
An Edit Removed From: Chapter 5
“This is decidedly not normal, Zack. Decidedly not normal!” Mrs. Goodspeed said, as they rushed through the city streets the next day. Her hand held his like a vice. Her knuckles were white. She wore an austere tan dress with a high collar that fit her like a straight jacket. They turned a corner and found the hospital ahead.

“Sleepwalking? My eye! Goodspeeds do not sleepwalk! I’ve never known a Goodspeed in my life to do anything so absurd.” She paused for a second and peered at him out of the corner of her eye. “Well, except for your grandfather, that is,” she said and rushed on.

They entered the front door of the hospital.

“You’re lying,” Mrs. Goodspeed whispered. “You were trying to see your grandfather again. Zack, why? Your father warned you about this. And in the middle of the night! This behavior has got to stop”

As they approached the reception desk, her voice became flowery, as if she was talking to a kitten, “But your father wants us to have you checked out anyway, honey, to make sure you are okay. So, that’s what we’ll do. Hi!” They spoke with the stone-faced receptionist who directed them to a small room at the end of a long, white corridor. The room held a circle of blue chairs half-filled with people of different sizes, shapes, and ethnicities. Zack noticed they all had one thing in common though. They all appeared perplexed. Mrs. Goodspeed led Zack to a chair and pressed him into it. She sat next to him, and forced a smile at the group. A woman on the far side of the circle looked at them. She wore her grey hair pulled back so far it seemed to stretch the skin of her face. Spectacles perched on the end of her thin nose.

“Welcome to the group,” she said. She eyed them as one might eye a cockroach in the kitchen.

“Thank you,” said Mrs. Goodspeed.

“So, are you the afflicted?” the woman asked Mrs. Goodspeed. The woman adjusted a large tablet she had in front of her and straightened the white lab coat she wore like the mantle of an emperor.

Mrs. Goodspeed laughed nervously, “The ‘afflicted’? Me? Oh dear, no. It’s my son. My son says he sleep walks.”

A murmur passed through the crowd as people nodded and stared at Zack.

“Ah,” the older woman said. “I see.” She scribbled some notes on her pad.

Zack felt like he could die of embarrassment. He slouched down in the chair, but the back ground into his spine. He crossed his arms and looked down.

“So,” said the old woman, looking at Zack. “When was the last incident?”

Zack did not answer. So, Mrs. Goodspeed spoke up.

“Last night,” she said.

“I see,” the old woman replied. “Do these incidents happen often?”

“No,” said Mrs. Goodspeed. “Last night was the first.”

“Ah,” said the old woman, stroking the side of her head to make sure her crown of gray hair remained in place. “And what were the circumstances of this event? Was there anything out of the ordinary that occurred that night?”

Mrs. Goodspeed looked at Zack with a scowl then, back at the woman, “Well, not everyone agrees that this is the case, but my husband is concerned that it was spawned by an intense conversation we had that night.”

“An argument?” the old woman inquired.

“A disagreement,” replied Mrs. Goodspeed, smiling through thin lips at the group.

“And what was the subject matter of this disagreement, as you put it,” said the old woman.

“His Grandfather.”

“And who is the boy’s Grandfather?”

Mrs. Goodspeed paused, and then said, “Fyodor Goodspeed.”

The old woman looked up from her notes. The people in the circle murmured again, pointing fingers at Zack.

“Fyodor Confucius Goodspeed?” the old woman asked, taking off her spectacles and leaning forward.

“Yes,” Mrs. Goodspeed replied. Her cheeks were flushed.

The old woman reared back at this and cackled. It was a terrifying sight to behold, like the baying of an old wolf. Zack, Mrs. Goodspeed, and the rest of the group watched in horror. Zack was afraid that her tightly stretched face might crack.

“Your grandfather is Fy Goodspeed?” she asked, laughing again. She wiped her eyes and put on her glasses.

“Yes. So what?” Zack retorted.

The old woman looked at Zack for the first time. Her smile faded.

“Your Grandfather is an old fool, that’s all,” she said, her eyes narrowing to slits.

“No, he is not!” Zack exclaimed, standing up.

“Yes, he is!” the old woman said, pointing a wicked finger at Zack. “Yes he is. I knew him growing up and I know what I am talking about now. He is a joke.”

“No, he is not!”

“Yes, he is!” she exclaimed again. “Your Grandfather never paid attention in school. He always had this blank look on his face, like he was somewhere far away. All he ever cared about were his stupid gadgets, which never worked anyway. What has he produced that matters to anyone?”

Zack was dumbfounded but finally found his voice to say, “He builds great things! Just yesterday I was in a flying aircar of his.”

“An aircar? Are you hearing this?” the woman said. She put down her tablet and stared at Mrs. Goodspeed. “The boy is not sleepwalking ma’am; he is testing you, just like his grandfather would have. I see much of his grandfather in him. He cares nothing for what the rest of us think. Take him home. Make sure he doesn’t leave his room for a week. Then, you’ll see these mysterious sleepwalking fits end.”

“I don’t have to listen to this,” said Zack rising.

“No you don’t” said the old woman, pointing a wicked finger at him again. “But you know in your heart that your old grandfather is a fool. He may be intelligent, but he has nothing to show for it -- nothing to give back to the world -- but a lifetime of dreams and failed inventions. Thoughts and failures count very little in this world, Zack Goodspeed.”

Zack turned to leave, but his mother grabbed him and held him firmly in place. She stared at the old woman, and Zack, for the first time, saw something different in his mother’s eyes. She looked unsure. She studied the therapist. Her cheeks were red. Mrs. Goodspeed paused for a second then stood and led Zack out of the room, closing the door just a little too hard behind them.  

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