Monday, October 14, 2013

Got Milk? Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman

There was only orange juice in the fridge. Nothing else that you could put on cereal, unless you think that ketchup or mayonnaise or pickle juice would be nice on your Toasties, which I do not and neither did my sister, although she has eaten some pretty weird things in her day.

When Dad discovers the milk deficiency, he sees that there's nothing for it but to make a hurried run to the corner convenience store for the milk.

The kids wait.    And wait.    And wait.

At last they hear the door.

"Where have you been all this time?" asked my sister.

"I bought the milk," said my father. "I walked out of the corner shop, and heard something odd that seemed to be coming from above me. It was a noise like this: thummthumm

I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road."
Before he can move, poor Dad is beamed up into a space ship filled with green, globby, grumpy aliens.

"Fortunately I had put the milk into my coat pocket."

The only escape from this grumpy group seems to be through an emergency exit which seems to the opening to the space-time continuum.

Fortunately the milk makes the transit, and it and Dad splashes down in the Sea of Something-or-Other, where he and the milk are pulled up onto the deck of pirate ship.  Declining the offer to become a buccaneer with them, he offers to walk the plank and just as he drops toward the circling sharks, a rope ladder drops from a hovering hot air balloon, with a time-traveling stegosaurus in command.  Fortunately the milk was pushed deep in my pocket, he reports, and it's up, up, and away until their balloon makes an unwise landing on a ritual sacrifice platform of a group of woolly-haired savages with menacing spears.

"Are there any ponies in this?" asked my sister. "I thought there would be ponies by now."
Why, yes. There are, and and in the best tradition of And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, many another weird encounter with volcanoes and angry gods and wumpires with sharp teeth, and a just-in-time time machine, but fortunately the milk and Dad arrive back home just in time for breakfast, in Neil Gaiman's latest fantasy, Fortunately, the Milk (Harper, 2013). Ilustrated in decidedly but deliciously quirky illustrations by Skottie Young, executed in a dark  Dr. Seuss-ish style, this tall tale ends humorously, with Dad getting in the last shot at his two young skeptics.

I looked at my sister and my sister looked at me.
We looked around the kitchen.  At the calendar on the wall with the hot air balloons on it.  At my dinosaur models and my sister's ponies and vampire book, at the picture of a volcano I painted  still on the fridge.
"You know, we don't believe any of this," said my sister.
My father shrugged.  "It was all true.  And I can prove it.
Here's the MILK."

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