Adam closed the note pad and set it on the marble counter beside the sink. “Okay, I think we’re ready.”
Connor knelt over the bath tub and turned the water on with a quick twist. Water splashed out causing pink bubbles to explode everywhere over the surface.
“Just need the person who’s actually getting in the bath tub.”
Adam’s eye’s widened. “Oh, right. I’ll be right back.” He left the bathroom calling out Mary’s name.
Connor smiled to himself. “You know she can’t hear you, right? You have to sign it.”
“Shut up and I know that.” Adam returned soon after, leading a ponytailed girl by the hand. However the moment Mary saw the filling tub, she yelped and pulled out of her father’s grip.
Adam gave chase but in his rush to catch her, his socked feet slipped on the hardwood floor outside the bathroom. He fell with a loud thump. “Wait, come back, Mary.”
Connor laughed as Adam scrambled to his feet and ran after their daughter. “You’d think by now you’d be prepared for that,” Connor said after Adam.
Connor’s phone on the counter vibrated and he stood to answer it. “Hi, Eve. Yes, just giving a bath to Mary. We’ll be going-”
Connor rolled his eyes at Eve’s response while a loud thump caused Connor to follow after his family. “Adam? You okay?” He stuck his head out. Mary kept running away from Adam while he couldn’t get any good traction on the wood floors causing the little girl to giggle.
“Hang on, Eve, your son is having a hard time catching our daughter. I’ll call you back.” Connor hung up the phone and set it back down on the counter. “Babe, herd her through the kitchen and I’ll catch her on the way out,” Connor said, taking up his position outside the second kitchen entrance.
“You got it.” Adam managed to herd the child away from the living room, where he chased her now and into the kitchen entrance. They both vanished from Connor’s sight until Adam returned through the kitchen entrance Connor guarded.
“Did you get her?” Adam asked.
“What? No, she never appeared. Dammit, man. How do you lose a child?”
Adam turned and looked throughout the kitchen. “I didn’t lose her. I don’t where where’s she’s at.”
“That’s literally the definition of losing something.” Connor followed his husband to look for Mary.
“I only lost sight of her for a second.”
They overturned every nook and cranny looking for their daughter until they passed some of the cupboards. The door flung open banging Connor right on the bone of his leg. Connor swore and hopped back as Mary dashed from the cupboard, still giggling.
Adam gave chase again. “Language!” he called back to Connor.
“Hearing!” Connor said through clenched teeth.
Mary hid underneath the dining room table and past the maze of chair legs, rungs and seats. Connor pulled the chairs out of from under the table and crawled underneath after Mary who continued giggling and running away.
“Mary, it’s time for a bath,” Connor said and signed.
“Is she coming out?”
Connor turned back. “I’m working on it.”
Adam pointed towards the table. “Babe, pay attention.”
Connor turned back as Mary slipped away from the table and ran back into the living room. “Wait, no, Mary!” Connor sprang from his crouched position and smacked his head on the underside of the table, shaking it. Holding his head, Adam crawled back out and stood. “God damn it that smarts.”
“How is she so fast?” Adam asked, running to catch Mary.
“She’s four years old.”
Adam groaned. “I can’t wait until this phase is over.”
Connor went into the living room to cut off Mary’s escape, but she wasn’t in sight. “I don’t understand how the hell she does this. It’s like she just goes invisible at will.”
“She can’t hear me swear, babe.”
“You still shouldn’t swear around her. It’s a bad habit.”
“How? She doesn’t know I’m doing it.”
Before Adam could reply, Mary dashed out from under the couch and back into the kitchen.
Adam gave chase. “Oh no you don’t. You’re not vanishing again.”
Connor entered from the other direction only to find Adam standing in the middle of the kitchen, dumbstruck.
“She vanished again,” was all Adam said.
“Come on, we need to get her bath started if we’re going to be on time. I’d like to not give your mother anymore reason to hate me.” They opened the cupboards on the ground. No four year old could be found.
They tried the fridge and the oven. Still no luck. Then, more giggling from the cupboard above one of the counters.
Connor stepped back, eyes wide. “Oh my god. She’s climbing now. Seriously?”
Adam opened the cupboard and sure enough, found Mary crouched inside.
“Alright, it’s time for a bath,” Adam said and signed to Mary.
Mary pouted but relented and held her arms out to be picked up.
Adam turned back to Connor, eyes wide. “Was she climbing before I moved in?”
“No, no she wasn’t.” Connor facepalmed with both hands. “This is moving too quickly. Come on, let’s get her started.”
They head back to the bathroom however a layer of water was spreading over the floor with an avalanche of pink bubbles tumbling out of the bathroom.
“Shit!” Connor dashed to the bathroom entrance. The entire room was covered in a sea of bubbles.
“What do I keep saying? And you forgot to turn the water off?” Adam chased him after putting Mary back down but the pooling water made the floors even slipperier. He lost his balance but stuck his landing right on Connor’s foot.
Connor swore again and hopped away into the bathroom and out of sight.
“Shoot, babe, I’m sorry. Holy cow, how much bubble bath did you add?”
“A lot, okay? She really likes the bubbles,” Connor said and slid to the overflowing tub and dived in, blindly groping for the water handle.
A loud squeak and the water stopped gushing out. A pop and the water began draining. Connor sat back, clothes drenched and stuck to his body like a second skin. He shook his head at Adam. Connor replugged the tub and refilled it.
They both sighed and went to chase down their daughter again.
Later, Mary laughed and splashed in her bubble bath as both Connor and Adam sat side by side in the soaking hallway, water dripping from their bodies.
“I’ll never get the hang of this,” Adam said.
“Babe, you already are. It doesn’t get any better.” Connor held up a tired fist to Adam.
Adam responded with an equally exhausted fist bump.
“But, next time we close the door before she runs off,” Connor said.
Adam smiled. “I’ll add it to the check list.”
They both sat, enjoying the silence of Mary’s laugh until Connor sighed. “Well let’s get this cleaned up or we’ll be late for Eve’s get together.”
Adam smirked. “Mom’s always going to hate you, don’t worry about it. How about a rain check?”
Connor closed his eyes and laughed. “Thank god.”
A wisened small man sat in his oversized computer chair, the back of it rising above his balding head. Behind him glass walls revealed a looming backdrop of a metropolis with several skyscrapers casting shadow sin the setting sun.
“Mr. Olenko,” said an assistant entering his boss’ office.
Olenko kept his arms on the armrests, sizzling cigar in one hand. “What is it, Mr. Black?” he asked, voice damaged from his smoking.
Mr. Black handed over a small pile of documents to his boss. “Just the regular things that require your attention plus one other matter.”
Olenko rifled through the papers, taking in the information each page offered. “Profit is down.”
“Afraid so, sir.”
Olenko sighed and tossed the papers onto his desk and turned his chair around to view the metropolis. “My metropolis,” he said, correcting his thoughts. “I built this city, and now the children are revolting.”
Olenko took a long drought from his cigar and let the smoke out from the side of his mouth. “Mr. Black, it’s time. Go get the papers.”
“I’m afraid Mr. Black can’t answer anymore,” said a different voice.
Olenko breathed in another drought. “He was my favorite assistant. I could’ve forgiven trespassing or even perhaps the threatening tone. But not the murder of those under my protecting.”
The mystery man laughed. “You speak as if you’ve never committed such crimes yourself.”
Olenko emptied the cigar ask into the ashtray on his armrest. “To get where I am today, I had to step on a few toes. You’re just upset your toes were stepped on.”
The click of a gun. “Turn around and face justice in the eye, coward.”
Olenko smiled. “No.” A semi-automatic gun rose out of the back of his chair and swiveled around, aiming at his unknown attackers.
They yelled and fired at him, his chair’s back deflected all the bullets while the gun shot each man once. Ten shots later the gun quieted. Olenko blew out more smoke and turned around. Eleven bodies littered his office floor and getting blood on his new carpet. His assistant sat slumped against the wall, unmoving. Outside his office, past his glass door and walls, in the hallway several more men came running towards his office.
Pressing a keypad on his armrest, two gatling guns lowered from his armrests. As if the chair had a life of it’s own, he rolled out of his office and fired the gatlings, mowing his enemies down. They returned fire and he sped into a side office. He reappeared, strafing across the hallway, and fired a small missile with a loud hiss. It collided with the enemy finishing that group. He tapped his cigar on the ashtray again just as another of his assistants appeared from further down the hallway.
“Mr. Olenko,” she said, seeing him and collapsing on the ground, shot in the back. More men appeared around the corner.
Olenko exhaled smoke from his nose and slammed a fist onto the keypad. A loud thoomp and a grenade crashed into the men. His gatlings clicked, out of ammo. He fired his last missile finishing the group off.
“I knew my little brother wasn’t up for this,” said another man appearing around the corner. “I told him to wait, but he needed to kill you himself, in the eye.” He shook his head. “What a mess.”
Olenko ground his spent cigar into the ashtray. “His mistake.” He pulled another from his suit pocket and reached up to light it on the still hot gun above his head. He took a deep breath into the new cigar. “The Brothers Fae. Still after my throne?”
The Elder Fae sneered. “We never wanted the your ‘throne’. Just your head.”
“Aah yes. For my supposed crimes. And here you are murdering my assistants.”
“Obstacles in our way. We simply removed them. Surely you can respect. We’re alike, you and I.” The Elder Brother stalked towards him, pistol in hand. He lifted his arm.
Olenko pointed his cigar at the brother and bit down hard. A single shot rang out and the brother collapsed. Olenko spit the bitter cigar end away. “We are. Difference is I’m on top.”
Turning around, Olenko surveyed the carnage. “It’s time to retire.”
Ziva rested upon her cheek, glaring at the vial of bubbling blue liquid in front of her. She blew a lock of brown hair out of her vision.
“Staring at it isn’t going to help,” said Pepper from across the countertop. She adjusted the safety goggles over her face and flipped a page in a heavy textbook.
“You’re not helping,” Ziva said, whining, and sat up making the counter vibrate and shake the vial. The safety goggles that sat above her face slid down obscuring her vision completely in a gray blur. She impatiently pushed them back on top of her forehead. “I can’t believe you actually wear these things.”
Pepper looked up and stuck her tongue out. “You’re just jealous I have 20/20 vision.”
“You do not!” She pointed to the glasses sitting beside the textbook. “Your glasses are right there in front of you.”
Pepper went back to reading.
“Okay, we need to try again. I need an A on this lab.”
Pepper looked at her watch and closed the textbook with a loud thump. “Fine. What’s first?”
Ziva grabbed a bunch of beakers filled with different colored liquids. “First the solvent.”
“We’ve tried that, what about the base this time?” Pepper grabbed the vial of red liquid.
“No, no, no. That’ll turn it into a foam if we start with it.” She grabbed a beaker of water and mixed it into a new vial of blue liquid. Water splashed everywhere. “Blast it.”
Pepper grabbed a roll of paper towels and dabbed at the puddles. “Remember last week’s lecture?”
“What? The one about safety? Well, yeah,” She grabbed a red vial and mixed it in. “But no one paid attention to it.”
“Well except you.” She amended. She sniffed the red liquid. “Pepper why is your cranberry juice in a beaker?”
“Oh!” Pepper grabbed the mixture and frowned at it. “Dang it. My bottle was leaking and I needed somewhere to put it. Guess I can’t drink it now.”
“Only if you want an upset stomach,” Ziva sighed and restarted. “Okay. Hydrogen Peroxide first. Then…” she looked at the remaining liquids. “We’ve tried watering it down already. Maybe no water?”
“Sure. Hey, how do we know if we’ll be successful?”
“Dunno, the teacher said everybody would know.” She grabbed a small hunk of salt. “Potassium Iodide reacts violently. Maybe that’s what he wants.” She dropped it in. It bubbled.
“Dang it!” she hit her forehead on the counter making the bubbling mixture topple over spilling everywhere. Pepper was ready with the paper towels and quickly had their workplace clean again.
Ziva looked at the clock. “Only ten minutes left. What else?”
“What reacts more violently?” Pepper washed her hands at a nearby sink and squirted some soap into her hands.
“That’s it!” Ziva said excited and jumped out of her seat making it topple over. “Gimme some of that.” Pepper squeezed some into a small vial and handed it over.
“Yeah,” She mixed in more of the salt and lifted the mixture above the Hydrogen Peroxide. “Ready?”
Pepper hid behind the countertop, only her goggles peaking over the edge. “Sure.”
Ziva dropped in the soap and salt mixture into the liquid. The reaction was spontaneous, a dark red mushroom cloud blew out of the vial and splattered the entire countertop in red liquid.
“No, my textbook!” Pepper grabbed her arsenal of paper towels and dabbed at the book frantically.
The teacher clapped from his desk making everyone turn and look. “Congratulations. First one to figure it out. A-.”
“A-?” Ziva asked, smiling.
The teacher poked his forehead. “Goggles.”
“Oh.” she said. Her goggles slid down her head and over her face again.
Thank you for reading my book. If you enjoyed it, please take a moment to leave me a review at your favorite retailer.
Nicholas Kovacevich is a Game Writer with a focus on fantasy, adventure and tragedies. He is a student at Full Sail University for Creative Writing and currently works at the Writing Center at Full Sail as a tutor. He enjoys Magic: the Gathering more then he should and will accept any fight. Contact him at [+ www.linkedin.com/in/nicholaskovacevich+].
VARIOUS PIECES contains three stories: "Bubble bath," "Crackalackin," and "Chemistry." "Bubble Bath" is about a gay couple trying, and failing miserably, to give their deaf daughter a bubble bath before leaving for a family party. "Crackalackin" is about a corporate executive tired of the corporate war but must nonetheless defend himself and his workers from an assassination attempt by rivals. In "Chemistry," two high school girls work out a puzzle for a chemistry lab to avoid a low grade.