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Fizzopolis 2 floozombies, p.3
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       Fizzopolis #2: Floozombies!, p.3

           Patrick Carman
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  “I can’t believe you let him come up here,” I said. “What a blowhard.”

  “Can you believe I made the tiniest popcorn on earth?” Dr. Fuzzwonker said. “Too bad there’s no market for it.”

  Dr. Fuzzwonker changed the channel to the security feeds and Grabstack threw a fit.

  “Who has the gall to change the channel right when Romano is about to profess his love to Margaret? This is research, people! Research!”

  He looked up and saw me standing next to my dad. “What’s he doing here?”

  “I’m Dr. Fuzzwonker’s kid. I can come up here whenever I want.”

  “Oh yeah?” Grabstack said. He got out of the recliner like he was going to punch me in the nose.

  “You’re kidding me,” I said.

  “Uh-oh,” Dr. Fuzzwonker said.

  Grabstack knew a troubling uh-oh when he heard one, and he turned back to the television. I caught a glimpse of Floyd before I looked at what Dr. Fuzzwonker had found on the security tapes, and Floyd’s face was plastered against the glass of the time-out tube. His eyes were huge.

  What the heck is everyone looking at? I wondered. When I turned to the television, I finally saw what everyone else did.

  “Something has hijacked the Fizzomatic machine!” Dr. Fuzzwonker yelled.

  Whatever it was, it was crawling out of the Fizzomatic machine like a giant stretchy piece of green cheese pizza.

  “Looks like a zombie,” I said. And then I came up with an even better name for it. “A Floozombie.”

  “Floozombies!” Dr. Fuzzwonker agreed. “That’s exactly what I think they are!”

  There were more of them crawling out of the Fizzomatic machine. “There’s only one Fizzomatic recipe that could possibly create such an abomination. But it’s impossible! Inconceivable! Unimaginable!”

  There were seven Floozombies and they were about eight feet tall each. They looked like they were made of melted cheese. And they were walking. Like zombies!

  “Double uh-oh,” Dr. Fuzzwonker said.

  “What now?” I asked. I needed my best good buddy with me, so I went to the time-out tube and let him out. He jumped on my shoulder and left the Fabulayerous behind. And he’d only gotten through two hundred and seventeen layers. It said a lot that he chose me over that fabulous Fabulayerous.

  He whispered in my ear.

  “Floyd says you should rewind the tape,” I said. “Maybe there’s a clue to how this happened and what we can do about it.”

  “Good idea!” Dr. Fuzzwonker said.

  He rewound all the way back to earlier in the day until Floyd yelled “STOP!” so loud even my dad heard him. The recording started moving forward again and that was when we saw how the Floozombie situation got started.

  “Hey, isn’t that you, Grabstack?” I asked.

  In the recording, Grabstack was watching us put on the play. He turned toward the camera with an angry look on his face. Then he picked up the glob of Flooze he’d called the Floozemeister in his play. Grabstack shoved the ball of Snood’s Flooze into the Fizzomatic machine. This was an extremely dangerous thing to do, because you never knew what the Fizzomatic machine would make next. It was all about what you put in there.

  And no one had ever put a piece of Snood’s Flooze into the Fizzomatic.

  When I looked down, Grabstack was tiptoeing with his three legs, trying to escape.

  “Hold it right there, bub!” I said.

  Grabstack’s eyes got very big. He looked both ways. And then he made a run for it.

  “Grab him, Floyd!” I yelled.

  Floyd soared into action, but Grabstack was incredibly fast. The chase was on all over the lab. It was mayhem!

  “My experiments!” Dr. Fuzzwonker yelled.

  Anything Grabstack tried to hide behind, Floyd destroyed. There were beakers getting knocked over everywhere. One of them had about a hundred Exploding Jelly Beans in it and they flew into the air and exploded like firecrackers all over the lab. Floyd finally caught up to Grabstack and belly flopped on top of him.

  “Good job, buddy!” I said. I slowly rolled Floyd off Grabstack and held that tiny little blowhard by the legs with two fingers.

  “Let me go, you maniac!” Grabstack yelled, swinging his other leg at me.

  “I knew I shouldn’t have let Floyd up here,” Dr. Fuzzwonker said as he shook his head.

  I deposited Grabstack in the time-out tube and he stood on top of what was left of the Fabulayerous. Then he sat down and got sad on us. “I didn’t know this would happen. How could I? I’ve made a terrible mistake.”

  There’s nothing sadder than a two-inch-tall bummed-out British theater director.

  “We know you didn’t mean to do it,” I said. “We just need to focus on fixing the problem. We’re dealing with a Floozombie outbreak. That sounds bad, but there’s got to be a solution for it, right, Dad?”

  Dr. Fuzzwonker scratched his nose. He scratched his ear. He scratched his head.

  “This is a Fizzopolis-sized problem. I’m going to need time to find an antidote for these undead Floozombies. And clean up this laboratory.”

  Floyd was at the controls for the security footage, and we walked over to see what he’d found. He’d fast-forwarded to see where the Floozombies had gone.

  “Triple uh-oh,” I said, because it finally occurred to me what a big problem this might be. I’d found the Floozombie sludge that looked like my fart putty upstairs in the refrigerator.

  “They’ve escaped!” I screamed.

  Looking at the security footage, we watched as all seven Floozombies walked into the elevator, the doors shutting behind them.

  “They could be anywhere,” Dr. Fuzzwonker said. “We’ll have to divide and conquer.”

  “What does that mean?” Floyd said into my ear.

  “Dad, you stay here and develop an antidote,” I said. “Floyd and I will go searching for Floozombies in Pflugerville!”

  It was up to me and Floyd to chase after them, and I knew exactly where we needed to go first.

  “Come on, Floyd. We need to find Sammy.”

  It was going to take all three of us to track down an undead pack of Floozombies.

  “This is a big responsibility, Floyd,” I said. “We have to take it very seriously.”

  Floyd wanted to start the adventure off by watching a monster movie, so I had to remind him that every second counted.

  “Sometimes we have to skip the things we want to do so we can save the world.”

  Floyd grumbled, but then he came around and jumped into my backpack, which was full of all the stuff we’d need to track Floozombies.

  It was a crisp spring morning in Pflugerville as I pedaled my red bike as fast as I could. We took sharp turns on the winding streets of my neighborhood and pretended we were driving an army Humvee equipped for tracking massive virus outbreaks across the globe.

  “Approaching mission launch point,” I said. “Initiate Operation Floozombie in three, two, one . . .”

  I slammed on my brakes and fishtailed an awesome skid mark right in front of Sammy’s house. She was standing in front of her mailbox like it was covered in nuclear waste.

  “There’s something gross on my mailbox,” she said.

  “Don’t touch it!” I yelled, flipping open my backpack so Floyd could get out.

  Before leaving Fizzopolis he’d picked up his yellow hazmat suit so he could be our Floozombie goop collector. His full-body hazmat suit was made of rubber, and it went all the way over Floyd’s head. There was a glass shield that covered his face. Floyd used the hazmat suit to clean the bathrooms in Fizzopolis. It was perfect for protecting him from Floozombie sludge.

  “Why is Floyd wearing his hazmat suit?” Sammy asked. “Are you guys here to clean my bathrooms?”

  “Stand back!” I said. “My sensor readings are off the charts. This area is infected.”

  I didn’t actually have a sensor-reading device, but I was really getting into this Operation Floozombie adventure

  “Removal tools,” I said as I held my hand behind my head like I was searching for an arrow.

  Floyd disappeared into the backpack and slapped a spatula into my hand. I put my other hand behind my head. “Containment unit.”

  Floyd dove into the backpack and milled around for a while, making all sorts of wacky noises. When he finally reappeared, Floyd set a Tupperware bowl in my hand.

  “You guys are freaking me out,” Sammy said.

  “We’ve dealt with this before,” I said, inching my way toward the mailbox as Floyd jumped on my shoulder. “Earlier today we had a cheddar cheese incident, and my dad said we should never, under any circumstances, touch Floozombie sludge. And we should be prepared for it to try to attack us. Apparently exposure to the sun makes it more volatile.”

  “Huh?” Sammy said. She looked confused.

  “There’s no time to explain about the cheese event,” I said. “Not until we contain this Floozombie sample.”

  “I’m going in,” Floyd said. The hazmat helmet made him sound like he was on the moon relaying information back to NASA. Floyd jumped onto the pavement. When he started walking, his rubber suit made a squeaking noise every time he took a step. He thought this was hilarious, so he slowed down and sped up and did a couple of deep knee bends.

  “Floyd!” I yelled. “This is no time to explore the amazing world of silly sounds. We’ve got serious work to do.”

  He mumbled something I couldn’t make out and jumped up onto the top of the mailbox. I moved in close and pried open the metal door with the spatula.

  “Entering contamination zone,” Floyd said. He grabbed the edge of the opening with both hands and flipped over into the mailbox.

  I slammed the door shut.

  “Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Sammy asked.

  “Better if we keep it locked up until we know what we’re dealing with.”

  Floyd started banging into the sides so hard the pole holding up the mailbox began swaying back and forth.

  “Sounds rough in there,” Sammy said.

  I started to worry that maybe Floyd was in trouble. “Maybe we should let him out.”

  Sammy opened the little door, and as soon as she did, a glob of Floozombie goop landed on her face. It knocked her backward and she landed on her butt.

  “Floyd! It’s on Sammy’s face!” I said. “Red alert! Red alert!”

  Floyd came flying out of the mailbox and landed on top of the Floozombie sludge that was stuck to Sammy’s face. He peeled up one edge and I got the spatula between Sammy’s forehead and the green sludge.

  “Pancake!” I said, and Floyd moved out of the way as I slid the spatula across Sammy’s face and flipped the gob of green stuff like a short-order cook.

  “Clear!” I screamed as the Floozombie sample rose into the air. Sammy and Floyd rolled in opposite directions, and I held the Tupperware in just the right spot. SPLAT! I caught the Floozombie sludge and covered it with the plastic lid all in one fluid move.

  “Contamination contained,” I proclaimed proudly. “Begin cleanup.”

  Dr. Fuzzwonker had done just enough testing from the cheese incident to create a Floozombie cleaning solution.

  “Don’t move,” I told Sammy. “This Floozombie spray will fix you right up.”

  My dad had put the Floozombie cleaning solution into a nose-spray bottle. I shot Sammy in the face with it.

  “Hey! You got some in my eye!”

  “It’s okay,” I said, and then I sprayed her again. “Better to make sure it’s all cleaned up. According to my dad, an untreated Floozombie encounter could lead to Floozombie-like behavior.”

  “Wait, what?” Sammy said as she wiped her face off. “So I could turn into a zombie?”

  “More like a cheese zombie,” I said. “But you’re fine. This area is one hundred percent cleaned.”

  Sammy patted me on the shoulder. “You guys are the weirdest friends ever. Also, thank you for saving my face.”

  “You’re welcome.” I nodded and smiled.

  Floyd landed back on my shoulder and talked into my ear.

  “Floyd thinks we could use some help tracking down these strange creatures. I was thinking the same thing.”

  “I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I’d love to,” Sammy said. “I’ll get the Green Pickle!”

  The Green Pickle is Sammy’s bike. It has a banana seat and a sissy bar and it’s mostly green.

  Floyd stored the Floozombie sample in the backpack and stayed out of sight while we continued through the neighborhood. I figured if the Floozombies left my house and walked to Sammy’s, they probably kept going in the same direction. All we needed to do was follow the trail through Pflugerville.

  The hunt was officially on.

  While we rode, I filled Sammy in on everything that was going on.

  “Grabstack is such a dweeb,” Sammy said. “I can’t believe he created a Floozombie invasion.”

  We rode by the Pflugerville bowling alley and a family of four ran out the door screaming, got into their station wagon, and drove away.

  “Looks like trouble,” I said. “We better get in there.”

  Inside we found what we were looking for on lane number five. People were standing around in a circle, including Mo, the guy who owned the place. It was called Mo’s Bowl-A-Rama.

  “Coming through,” Sammy said. “Step aside, folks—we may be dealing with a virus outbreak.”

  That cleared the place in a hurry. Everyone but Mo ran for the exits. Dr. Fuzzwonker was the most famous scientist in Pflugerville, so Mo knew if Harold and his friends were talking virus outbreak, he had to take it seriously.

  “This is terrible for business!” Mo said. Mo was a short, round guy with a bald head and a bubble nose. Everything about him screamed bowling ball. “I’m calling the PPCD!”

  The PPCD was the Pflugerville Pest Control Department, and we definitely wanted to be gone by the time they got to Mo’s Bowl-A-Rama. While Mo went to call the PPCD, Floyd sprang into action. And by action, I don’t mean searching for Floozombie samples. He picked up the first bowling ball he saw and lifted it over his head. The ball was bigger than he was by a long shot, but Floyd is a strong little dude so he had no problem running down the lane in his squeaky rubber pants and throwing it over his head. Just before he threw the ball I realized what a big mistake it was: A glob of Floozombie sludge was stuck on the ball like a wad of gum.

  “Don’t throw that ball!” I yelled, but it was too late. Luckily, Floyd had no idea how to bowl, so he threw the ball straight up in the air. It landed with a giant BANG on the wood floor right in front of us and rolled into the gutter.

  “He’s good,” Sammy said.

  “Let’s get to work, team,” I said.

  The impact of being slammed into the floor must have made the Floozombie glob nervous, because it was moving fast along the curved surface of the bowling ball. Before we could use the spatula treatment, it slid right down into one of the finger holes.

  “Maybe we should just take the whole thing,” Sammy advised. “I don’t think it’s going to come out of that hole.”

  It was the fastest way to get out of here and keep searching, so I taped the hole shut with a strip of silver duct tape. Then I took the ball up to Mo.

  “I’m going to need to quarantine this bowling ball,” I said. “I’ll bring it back when I finish.”

  “Be my guest,” Mo said. “There’s no one bowling anyway. What a disaster.”

  I dropped the ball into my backpack and it was heavy. But it was already past lunchtime and we still hadn’t found the actual Floozombies. We had to keep moving.

  We passed the PPCD team on the way out. They were wearing normal clothes and carrying leashes and cages.

  “They don’t even have hazmat suits,” Sammy said. “Amateurs.”

  Our journey led us farther afield, past Pflugerville Elementary School and into the miniature golf course. We did an extraction there that took almos
t an hour on hole number twelve. The Floozombie sludge was hiding in the windmill feature where Floyd could go to work without being seen. “These Floozombies were really busy last night,” Sammy said.

  “We’re almost to the edge of Pflugerville,” Sammy said when we kept going. “I hope they didn’t wander all the way out of town.”

  We passed the Pflugerville supermarket but didn’t find any sign of trouble there.

  We visited a gas station, a Laundromat, a car wash, and the Pflugerville Hamburger Shack—all those places came up clean.

  “It’s getting late,” I said as I watched the sun touch down on the trees. “Another hour and it will be dark.”

  “Floozombies and nighttime,” Sammy said. “That feels like a bad combo.”

  We pulled into the only used car lot in town and did some wheelies in the parking lot.

  “Hey, it’s Loopy Len!” Sammy said. “I love Loopy Len!”

  Loopy Len owned the lot, and he did funny television commercials with magic and props. He was tall and lanky and he had big buggy eyes and hair like Albert Einstein. His arms swung like a gorilla as he loped over to us.

  “Hello, Harold Fuzzwonker. How’s your dad doing these days?” he asked.

  Loopy Len and Dr. Fuzzwonker were in the same bridge club.

  “He’s in the middle of a very important research project,” I said as I pointed to Sammy. “This is my super-duper palamino, Sammy. She’s a fan of your loopy commercials.”

  “I think you’re hilarious,” Sammy said.

  Loopy Len pulled a rubber chicken out of his back pocket and started having a conversation with it.

  “Listen, Len,” I said. I didn’t have time for him to go into a whole comedy routine. “Have you seen anything odd today? Dr. Fuzzwonker sent us out looking for . . . for . . .”

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