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Doohickey and the Robot


( I )

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Chapter 1

Doohickey had just moved to a new town when he spotted a notice. It was stuck outside a big house at the end of his street.

Professor seeks young assistant to help with exciting experiments and interesting inventions.

Please ring the bell.

'That's the job for me,' said Doohickey. 'I need some more pocket-money.'

He pushed the doorbell. Then he jumped.

Weeeyow-weeeyow-weeeeyow ! Kaaabooooom !

A loud alarm sounded inside the house, followed by a terrific explosion.

A window flew open at the top of the house. A cloud of thick smoke billowed out.

'What do you want ?' coughed a voice from inside the cloud. 'Can't you see that I'm busy ?'

The smoke cleared. The professor's face peered down at Doohickey.

'Excuse me,' said Doohickey. 'My name's Doohickey. I've come about the job.'

'What job ?' snapped the professor.

'As assistant,' said Doohickey. 'The notice says you need one.'

'Oh, absolutely !' said the professor, beginning to grin.

The notice had been up for over a year, but Doohickey was the first person to ask about it.

'Come on up !' said the professor. His head disappeared.

A moment later, the front door sprang half-open.

Doohickey peered inside. A huge mountain of post had stopped the door from opening properly. But there was no one there.

Doohickey felt sure that the door had opened for him, so he squeezed through into the hallway.

A buzzer sounded in Doohickey's ear. He was surprised to see a little air-ship bobbing in the hallway beside him.

Tiny propellers spun the ship around. Doohickey saw the words, 'FOLLOW ME' written in big red letters on its side.

Chapter 2

He followed the ship up a tall, winding staircase. He passed room after room stuffed full of strange-looking machines. Were they the professor's inventions ?

Doohickey knew that he was supposed to go straight up the stairs, but he couldn't help himself. He popped into one of the rooms to take a closer look.

The first thing Doohickey came across was a computer screen fixed to a huge metal cage. The cage seemed to be stuffed full of straw.

Doohickey pushed his hand into it.

'Ouch!' he squealed, pulling it out again. A tiny needle was sticking out of his thumb.

There was a label fixed to the computer screen.

The X-ray-Grasso-Graph ( for finding a needle in a haystack)

'Well, it didn't find this one,' said Doohickey crossly, as he stuck the needle back into the straw.

The next machine had lots of electric fans fixed beneath a large metal funnel. There was sand all over the floor. The label said:

The Pneumatic-Forto-Fabricator (for building sand-castles in the air)

'This looks like fun,' thought Doohickey. He switched it on.

Sand began trickling out of the funnel and the fans started spinning. Then the strangest thing happened.

The sand didn't fall on to the floor. It hung in the air. And slowly, it shaped itself into a floating castle.

Doohickey walked slowly around the machine. He couldn't believe what he was seeing.

Then all of a sudden, he bumped into someone else. When he saw who it was, he nearly jumped out of his skin.

The other person was him !

It was like looking in a mirror, except that there was no glass.

Doohickey reached out his hand and the other Doohickey did the same. Their fingers met in mid-air and he felt the warmth of his own hand pressing back. It was too creepy !

'Ughhh!' shivered Doohickey. He stepped backwards straight into the floating sand-castle.

The castle exploded and Doohickey found himself in the middle of a sandstorm. Sand blew everywhere, into his eyes and up his nose.

Coughing and sneezing, he groped his way back tot he switch and turned it off.

The sandstorm disappeared. And so had the other Doohickey !

Then Doohickey noticed a large metal plate on the floor. There was another label on it.

The Stereo-self Doubler (for being in two places at once)

'Of course !' sighed Doohickey.

The metal plate was another of the professor's inventions. It had made the other Doohickey appear when he had stepped on to it.

I won't try that again, he thought. It's a bit too spooky.

A buzzer sounded. Doohickey saw the air-ship bobbing up and down in the doorway. It had come back to find him.

'I got lost,' said Doohickey. He couldn't think of a better excuse.

The ship buzzed again crossly and glided back towards the stairs.

'Coming,' said Doohickey.

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