The Static of the Spheres
Chapter 15: Up to My Knees
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CAME THE FLOOD. Gumma and Guppa lived near Bolotomy Bay, about half
a foot above sea level. Every fall, during the hurricane season,
high tides during storms would send a couple of inches of bay water into
Gumma and Guppa’s cellar. This year had been without hurricanes during
the usual season, but a whopper of a storm struck during the weekend after
When I got up that Saturday, the whole world was howling and whining. The house felt cold, the cat wouldn’t come out from under the living room sofa, and the toaster wouldn’t work. I had taken to inspecting the radio alone in the mornings before Guppa woke up. I opened the door to the cellar and started down the stairs. When I got two-thirds of the way down, I was up to my knees in water.
Anything buoyant bobbed lethargically on the surface of the water, including, here and there, the vacuum tubes that were supposed to go into the radio. I knew that I was up to my knees in a disaster. My first thought was that the radio was doomed. It would never be completed now. Disappointment mingled with an odd sense of release. There was a lump in my throat, but my mouth was twisted into a strange smile, not unlike the one that I had seen the Regular Joes use on our visits to their store.
When Guppa saw the damage, he sprang into action at once. He had, years ago, built a powerful pump from parts of a cement mixer and an outboard motor, for just such an occasion. He improvised a ramp and wheeled the pump into the kitchen. By the afternoon he had pumped the cellar dry, flooded No Bridge Road, and filled the kitchen with oily soot.
Gumma and I worked at cleaning the kitchen, while Guppa rigged up the fans that he had built for drying out the waterlogged contents of the cellar. (“Surplus Wind Machine Makes Neat Rig for Drying Waterlogged Cellar Contents,” Impractical Craftsman, Volume XVIII, Number 3, pages 48-52.)
By the following weekend, Guppa was back at work on the radio, and I was sitting on the metal stool watching him. He began winding the coils.
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Little Follies is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, dialogues, settings, and businesses portrayed in it are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.
“My Mother Takes a Tumble,” “Do Clams Bite?,” “Life on the Bolotomy,” “The Static of the Spheres,” “The Fox and the Clam,” “The Girl with the White Fur Muff,” “Take the Long Way Home,” and “Call Me Larry” were originally published in paperback by Apple-Wood Books.
Little Follies was first published in hardcover by Crown Publishers, Inc., 201 East 50th Street, New York, New York 10022. Member of the Crown Publishing Group.
For information about publication rights outside the U. S. A., audio rights, serial rights, screen rights, and so on, e-mail the author’s imaginary agent, Alec “Nick” Rafter.
The illustration at the top of the page is an adaptation of an illustration by Stewart Rouse that first appeared on the cover of the August 1931 issue of Modern Mechanics and Inventions. The boy at the controls of the aerocycle doesn’t particularly resemble Peter Leroy—except, perhaps, for the smile.