The Wizard of iPad

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A Modern Day Fairy Tale for Children and Teenagers

«The Wizard of iPad» is a modern day fairy tale by popular author Alexei Lukshin, written about and for teenagers. This adventurous book is about the world of childhood and true friendship and the many wonders that accompany it.

The young wizard, Mozart, came to our world from a parallel world through the iPad tablet. Mozart learns a lot from Kester, the main hero. Kester also absorbs the knowledge Mozart imparts readily. The boys become the best of friends with each new chapter. Together they take part in an extraordinary bicycle race, find a way to teach a bully a lesson, and help to make children give up smoking.

The strings of events in «The Wizard of iPad» will make the reader feel excited and will be a cause for many big smiles on their faces.

A long time ago, when I was a lad, our parents used to pack us children off to spend the summer holidays in the countryside, to enjoy nature and the open air, to eat hearty fruits and vegetables, and to be exposed to all of life’s natural vitamins.

Allow me to share with you the most important reason why all of my friends enjoyed spending their summers in the village. They enjoyed going to the country in order to tire themselves out by running, to play at long intervals, to wander about vegetable gardens, to swim all day long, and to chat with friends. They were able to do this without anyone watching over them. And, at the end of the day, they could finally listen to Grandpa Andy’s tales.

In the evening, at sunset, we used to go to Grandpa Andy’s house and perch ourselves out in the large courtyard. Some of us would sit on the well-made benches or on various pieces of wood that were scattered about. Those of us who had no need to look at Grandpa Andy while listening to his stories, lied down on the grass.

We had a significant agreement with Grandpa Andy; only one tale each evening.

Once, when we grew older, Grandpa Andy warned us that the next story would be very long. It would be so long in fact that one, two, or even three evenings wouldn’t be enough time to complete the story. It would probably take a long time to tell it until the very end because Grandpa Andy spoke in a slow and unhurried fashion. He would form the plot in a manner which allowed him to recall the smallest of details and facts about the main heroes of his stories.

Not all children could listen to the entire story as many of them had arrived at the countryside only to attend for a weekend or a few weekdays. But still, there were those who stayed in the village for the entire summer. Many years thereafter, there were ones who had been asked to tell Grandpa Andy’s tales, always to the finish.

When I became an adult, I found myself remembering all of those tales and had decided to write them down. This would enable those children who didn’t have the time to listen to them in their childhood to read them and learn from them.

Chapter I
How «Daddy Crumb» Promised to Make the Best Kid’s Computer Game in the World

This story came from an old district in a big city. There were little parks and gardens all around. All of the courtyards near the two and three-storied houses were filled in by trees, and because these trees were very old, they were also quite large. It often seemed like some houses had actually been built in the woods.

A nine year old boy, Christopher, had lived in this neighborhood. His friends called him «Kris» or «Kester».

Also, all his friends knew his father, Alex, whom since their childhood and until now, they had known him as «Daddy Crumb». That was how it had all began.

Kester’s father was very kind, responsive, understanding, and a soft-hearted person, somewhat like a marshmallow. He was highly capable on computers to the point that he could be referred to as an expert. It can be said that he was a computer geek. Even though he wasn’t a professional programmer, he was keen with computers and could install any game or software. But where did he acquire this knowledge? Nobody really knew. It was assumed that he probably created this ability alone.

He turned on the computer, which glowed like a Christmas tree. Tapping the keys first gave vent to strange and weird sounds and then, shortly thereafter, it started up. As he stood up, the table lamp nearly hit his head. Then he ran joyfully around the room and came to a sudden stop. With staring eyes and spiked hair, he addressed only himself and noted, «Mercy me! I am only wearing one slipper».

Looking every now and again with wonder at his feet, barefoot and wearing only one slipper, Daddy Crumb asked himself, «Where had the second slipper gone?» Then he scratched his head so enthusiastically that a sound arose like a cat scratching somewhere nearby. Then he wiggled his toes, as if he were playing the piano with them.

His sock couldn’t stand up to such intensive wiggling, so finally the big freedom-loving toe made a hole and popped out.

Kester and his friends, all sitting side by side on the couch, laughed at Daddy Crumb. He didn’t take offense to them laughing and only teased them, «Ah, you little people!» and shook his head funnily. After that, the boys stretched out their arms, and all pointed at the lost slipper.

Kester’s father, skipping out from behind the table, hardly noticed that this sudden movement caused his leg to jerk and the slipper went flying like a cannonball far from the place where he had been seated. This rendered Daddy Crumb and the boys quite amused!

Laughing out loud, they all sat down together for tea. While they talked, Daddy Crumb promised the boys to write the best computer program of all time for kids.

«But, don’t prompt me, please! I must have time to think about this program». Daddy Crumb opened his mouth to say something more, but instead shut his eyes and reveled with delight from his thoughts and ideas.

As he was sitting with an open mouth and eyes closed, he was frozen in place as if he had witnessed great wonders. It was a pleasure to see him like this. He appeared magnificent in the form of an inventor! During moments of inspiration, he would simply forget what he had wanted to say.

After a moment, heaving a loud sigh and waking up from a profound reverie, Daddy Crumb continued to speak as though nothing had happened, «I know now that I am able to boast of my new program, but I will not. I’m not completely convinced that everything will work smoothly».

The boys listened with the utmost curiosity. They expected the miracle to happen any day now. When at last will Kester’s father show this much-needed invention to the public?

«What is this and when will it happen?» the boys asked.

«Hold on, hold on! I need time to make this program compatible with the most up-to-date models of the tablets», Daddy Crumb thought aloud. «Which tablet is the most trendy?»

«iPad!» the boys responded simultaneously.

«Right!» Daddy Crumb agreed with them. «We’ll try it together only after all of the bugs have been fixed».

The curious kids all waited, but with a high degree of impatience. The most impatient of them was Wally Spenser.

One day, the little friends were out for a walk in order to take in some fresh air. Wally Spenser, as usual, started in with his voice of resentment and complaining, «Kris, tell you father that we cannot wait any longer. Before you know it, we will have grown up. By then, we might not even want his kid’s game».

«Oh come, Wally!» Slobber cried mischievously. «And you, Kris, tell your father», he reasoned, «that we know he works ahead of a schedule. Bravo for him!»

«What’s that about schedule?» Wally repeated, amazed.

«Slobber, defending his position, offered, «Daddy Crumb wants his grandchildren, those that are the children of the future, to play this computer game. And now he has promised that even we will be able to play. Perhaps we would play more than once. What I believe is that Kester’s father will have time to bring us, the kids, pleasure through his game».

Slobber was given his insulting nickname because when he saw sweetmeats, it made his mouth water. And, he always had such a focused expression that it always seemed like he couldn’t restrain himself from eating».

In fact, he was very fond of sweet things, but only when he was in a certain mood. Actually, he could easily refuse to eat sweets. But even though he refused, he wasn’t able to stop his mouth from drooling, especially when he saw a picture of a Snickers or a Bounty Bar.

But then their attention was called to matters of much greater importance. Wally pulled on the elastic band of his pants and showed the other boys his swimming trunks. «Look!» he boasted.

Both of his friends, as if by common consent, gave a hostile sideways glance at Wally’s pants which revealed a part of his swimming trunks.

«Those swimming trunks are ordinary, nothing particular,» Kester shook his head, scowling. «Its color is too girlish.» He continued to walk along, even more swiftly.

But, in fact, he secretly liked Wally’s swimming trunks. His own swimming trunks weren’t tight and they snagged on his feet when he pulled them on. Kester’s parents had always bought him swimming trunks with the idea that there would be room for growth. And while he grew, his swimming trunks became out of date, discolored, and shabby. So, because of that, he never had the opportunity to wear close-fitting swimming trunks.

At first, Wally seemed to be angry with Kester. He had guessed that Kester was envious of him and was trying to restrain from showing his true feelings. Because of this, Kester just could not feel at ease.

«It is important», Wally emphasized, «to know the kind of material with which it is made. The material should become dry speedily so that there is no need to be afraid to wear the swimming trunks while heading home. Our parents won’t even suspect that we were swimming without permission».

«As for my family, nobody is preventing me from going to the lake!» Slobber interposed, thereby putting others beneath him.

«Me too», Kester agreed. «I don’t care about the kind of material of which it is made or the fact it is able to dry quickly. It won’t take long at all to get it to dry quickly. We can merely stand in the hot sun or in the wind».

But Wally wouldn’t relent and made a case for its advantages. He even tried to introduce some new points.

«It’s made of such a special material», he said aloud to be fully convincing, «which provides for faster swimming. The smaller size and the type of material break down the resistance thereby making it easier to swim. For example, if you suddenly find yourself out in the middle of the ocean, it would be easier to get back to the shore wearing this type of swimming trunks».

Kester and Slobber glanced at one another, and then looked solemnly at Wally. This was a turn of events that had struck a chord. Since Wally had provided them with such a cogent reason, the boys didn’t wish to quarrel with him about this any longer.

Wally waited patiently for them to say more. Slobber looked the swimming trunks over once again and concluded, «They’re fine. But I certainly don’t like the color».

«It was my idea to have the swimming trunks of this particular color, as it was the only color that I liked», Wally lied. He really wasn’t at all pleased with the color himself but didn’t want to admit it. Had he admitted this, his concern was that his friends wouldn’t envy him so much.

«If you find yourself far from the shore out in the ocean, you’ll need all the energy you can muster. And, if you feel weak, you can sink». Slobber felt the material and said, but these appear to be technologically quite good!»

Kester, hearing these discussions, noticed that his friends stopped only a few steps behind him. He turned around, hurrying back to them, repeated Slobber’s movements, and studied the material of his friend’s «high tech» swimming trunks.

The three of them were standing in the middle of the street. Wally was proud of his swimming trunks and of the fact he had managed to hold his friends» attention. His purpose was to enable the other boys to share his feelings of pride. Wally’s parents managed to please their son and, as result, the boys were intrigued. In his own eyes, he was transported higher, as if in the clouds.

«Take care of it», Slobber said at last. «Perhaps we can borrow it when we grow older and travel to Africa or somewhere else. In that time, a lot may happen».

Wally nodded with approval.

«Don’t wear the swimming trunks until they look shabby», Slobber cautioned again. «Keep them in good condition!» he announced, his eyes staring into the eyes of his friend.

«No fear of that!» Wally assured them. «I’ll use them in a gentle manner».

Their earnest conversation ended at that point. They were headed to the park to take a swim in the lake.

Chapter II
How Spenser was given the nickname «Wally»

Spenser was given the nickname «Wally» a few years ago when he had seen the cartoon «Wall-e» in the nearest cinema. After the cartoon was over, all the boys and girls were scattered throughout the street. The pouring rain had just let up; the freshly-washed street looked fresh and clean. The trees seemed to be greener and the wet asphalt walkways appeared blacker.

The boys and girls walked out into the middle of the courtyard and began to discuss interesting moments from the cartoon. Suddenly, a very scary and equally weird sound was heard. They all turned swiftly in the direction from which the sound had been heard. A monster was approaching.

It had an iron top with legs sticking out of it at the bottom. It grew closer by taking small steps and began making louder noises, ones that were nasty, crackling, and thumping, like a drum.

The monster was coming closer, beating the top part of itself with sticks as if it were a drum, making mooing sounds, and also crying. When it finally reached the children, the monster stopped. It suddenly became clear to the kids that somebody had put a metal tank on his head and was attempting to act just like the robot from cartoon they had just watched.

«What’s on your mind?» the children asked.

«Spenser!» One of the kids knew him instantly.

«I. Am. Not. Spenser», droned the monster. «Bong-bong», two whacks resounded loudly. «I’m Wally. Bong-bong», the voice stated and rang out of the metal tank at the same time as the repeated whacks. «Which of you is Eve? Own up to it at once! Bong-bong!» the knocks were heard once again. «I want to meet her. Bong-bong!»

His words chimed as if they came from the depths of a mine, and through various pauses, from the owner of this remarkable treasure, the metal tank, the knocking continued again and again, making a lot of noise.

The kids were becoming quite tired of these nasty noises. Many were surprised as to how Wally himself could tolerate these crackling and drumming sounds.

His head was in the epicenter of the horrific noise. Spenser seemed to be deafened and dazed by it all. Under the influence of the cartoon, he was dumbfounded and could only repeat the same words over and over again in order to make a great impression on all those present.

It was a long time before Spenser’s friends could persuade him to take off the metal tank. The boys told him they had already found him out. But Spenser would not yield to these persuasive requests until some of the older kids forcibly removed his iron shell.

He stood before them, dusty and dirty, smiling foolishly, and asked, after a silence, «Tell me, did you recognize me instantly? Did you?»

«Of course we did, at once», the voice assured him. «I was able to recognize you by your shoelaces. You are the only one who wears orange shoelaces».

At once Spenser found himself really upset. He looked keenly from one to the other and at last convinced himself that he was the only one with orange shoelaces.

«And what if my shoelaces were of another color?» Spenser asked, again smiling foolishly, hoping that everyone would feel sorry for him.

The older one interrupted, «Look! Don’t you worry about it, Spenser. If you want to be called Wally, we’ll let you. We’re not greedy about handing out names».

Having said these words, the older one turned up his nose, as he was proud of such a clever and adroit deal. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the younger ones looking at him with undisguised admiration.

Spencer was very confused, and blushed shamefully. He actually had tried to appear like the robot Wall-e from the cartoon, but he was too embarrassed to admit it. And what sudden luck! He was now given the chance to be called Wally without even having to ask.

The sense of shame left; Spencer’s face beamed happily.

«Now I’m Wally! Hurray!» he repeated enthusiastically. Now his friends would agree to call him Wally without his having to try to convince them and, at the same time, it also kept anyone else from taking this nickname.

«It’s something you see every day, and that’s for sure. One person dreams up a cute nickname for himself; but the next day another person arrogates it. Or, imagine another situation. The guys had discussed the idea of giving the nickname to another boy because they considered that it fits him better. So, as a result, that particular nickname would be used neither for me, nor for the other guy. But, everything will be different now. Since the older guy had decided, so it shall be! None will be able to dispute it!»

That evening, Spenser turned in early knowing only that at last he would be called Wally. He almost certainly would be in the tale and miraculous things would indeed happen.

Much time passed but miraculous things still didn’t happen. And, by that time, he didn’t like the nickname Wally as much. Spenser even asked his friends not to call him Wally. But the nickname became so attached to him that many kids from the courtyard had already forgotten his real name. They even banged on his door and, from force of habit, asked his parents, «Where’s Wally?»

«Who?» Spenser’s parents, with surprised looks on their faces, replied by asking, «Who is he? Who is this person?»

«Wally!» another friend responded, glancing curiously around, while he wondered if he really had found Spenser’s house or not. But, after a little time passed, he became quite sure of his choice of the correct door, and he repeated, «Where is Wally, then?» He could hardly imagine the fact that Wally wasn’t Spenser’s real name.

Chapter III
As Thick As Thieves

One evening, Kester and Daddy Crumb were alone at home. Kester’s mother and her companions had gone on a vacation to the seaside for a fortnight.

Before leaving, she prepared some meals, bought additional food for a week in advance, and made her son and husband promise to make soup when the pre-prepared food she had cooked had run out. She showed them how to make simple soups, chicken or noodle, so that they would not have to be standing at the stove too long.

Daddy Crumb promised and assured her that he it would be easy for him to cook porridge in the mornings, to make soups for lunch, and boil water for spaghetti with sauce for supper.

Kester’s mother believed him but the only way to check on him was to ask Kester about it. And when she called by telephone while she was away, Kester told her honestly about all the food they had eaten while she was gone.

Actually, Daddy Crumb and Kester had an agreement. They would agree to share a big secret between them.

The agreement was that neither of them would ever tell anyone what items and in what numbers that they had cooked and eaten while mother was away. It was especially forbidden to tell mother about it. They never told Kester’s friends about it either as Slobber and Wally could quite accidentally blab their secret.

As soon as the prepared food which was cooked by mother ran out, Kester and Daddy Crumb began eating their favorite items. They ate cookies with jam or butternut squash for breakfast. They were also able to eat hearty portions of honey, marmalade, and other sweets which had been placed on the table earlier.

Though Daddy Crumb was an adult, he liked sweet things a lot. He often sat at his computer consuming the collection of sweets which he kept beside him. At times, forgetting to remove a candy wrapper, he sometimes would slip the wrapped candy into his mouth, chew it up, and only then did he discover that the taste of the wrapped candy differed from the taste of previous ones. It seemed to him that it was less sweet and less tasty. After having taken it out of his mouth, he noticed it was still wrapped. After having made this mistake, Daddy Crumb looked around to see whether Kester had seen him or not.

Of course Kester had been watching and decided to play a gag on his father. Kester sometimes would push folded empty candy wrappers beside Daddy Crumb just as if they were real candies.

When Daddy Crumb finally caught on to this little joke, he was not angry at his son at all. They were not only father and son, but also best friends. Their age difference didn’t matter to either of them.

Daddy Crumb poked fun at Kester in his own way. When he noticed that Kester was putting on his jeans inside out, he kept silent. But when they were far enough away from home, he would say, «Kris, where are your pockets? Your mother and I haven’t bought jeans without pockets for you, have we?»

This little trick didn’t seem funny to Kester at the time. He was angry with his father and worried sick about meeting people that would recognize him.

Meanwhile Daddy Crumb was ribbing Kester even more, «Look Kris, that girl from your class is passing by!»

Kester became alarmed, stopped, and turned around. At the same time, Daddy Crumb already began to retract his words, «Maybe I’ve got it wrong. I have forgotten what your classmates look like».

«Where, Dad? Who did you see?» the son asked several times while his eyes flicked left and right until he finally grasped that his father had joshed him.

Once Daddy Crumb was able to extricate his son from his friends» derision, they headed out to the country where other parents and their children were participating in a sleepover. They had a campfire burning and were playing various games.

Suddenly, someone discovered that Kester was wearing different colored socks. Just as soon as someone was ready to make fun of Kester, Daddy Crumb interceded and explained why Kester was wearing different colored socks. The friends allegedly had wagered on whether someone else would notice Kester’s different colored socks. Those who noticed would be presented with some type of cake. So, Daddy Crumb and Kester invited those who had noticed the different colored colors to visit them and received their gift. It would have even been better, of course, if he and his friends could drink tea and discuss the funny incident.

Daddy Crumb was highly respected among the children. They even shared their secrets with him because they knew that he would never reveal them.

Prepared without the help of their mother, dinner was, in their opinion, the tastiest and the most proper for their needs. They usually ate their favorite noodles with sausages. When they wanted to vary their diet, they bought pizza or Chinese food. However, regardless of whatever else they ate, sausages were still their most favorite food. They could eat it for breakfast, for lunch, or for supper. They even ate sausages into the night, if impulsively one of them would feel hungry.

How did they do this? They would take a pair of boiled sausages and a piece of bread, add sauce, and as they had been taught in their childhood, they chewed their meal slowly and thoroughly. As the old friends sat around eating, they continued to chew thoroughly while looking at one another. Available for dessert was ice-cream and soda pop.

Their supper was moderate. Daddy Crumb placed the sausages on a plate, carefully cut small slices into them with a knife to prevent an inadvertent «sausage explosion», placed the plate into the microwave and waited until the sausages were thoroughly cooked. When the cooking process was complete, he called Kester and together they both sat down to eat their supper. They added ketchup to the sausages, broke a loaf of French bread in half, and dipped a bit of their bread into each of their goblets. Kester usually drank milk, while his father placed his glass of water aside and filled his goblet with unsweetened tea. They would eat in this manner and patiently waited until mother would call and ask, «What’s for supper? Or should I say, what was for supper?»

So, Kester and his father outlined what they had eaten that day. Daddy Crumb claimed that at that moment, they had eaten a salad with fried zucchini and meatballs. For lunch, it had been soup and goulash. Kester and Daddy Crumb grinned at each other, making signs with their hands and facial movements. There was nothing else for mother to believe as their voices were both cheerful and happy.

Early that evening, mother warned in advance that she wouldn’t call again that night because she was going on an excursion and would be returning too late to call.

Daddy Crumb stopped his work on programming the game and went into the kitchen to cook supper. He did not notice that his son was sleeping, and he called him, «Kris! Let’s eat some sausages before going to sleep. I have bought a new bottle of ketchup!»

Having said this, he did not receive a reply. Daddy Crumb looked directly at the boy’s face and noticed he was already asleep.

«Oh! This is typical of the youthful ones. He has been tired», he gently stroked his hair, hoping not to disturb him. But soon, after he had noticed that his son was lying in an uncomfortable position, he decided to wake Kester up.

As soon as Kris awakened, he pretended that he had not been sleeping, but had merely been deep into his own thoughts.

Daddy Crumb called him, leading the way to the kitchen, «Come to supper, Kris, come along!»

«What’s for supper?» Kester asked.

Daddy Crumb turned around to answer and noticed that Kris had stood up and while half-awake, was shambling like a sailor at sea.

«For tonight’s supper, we will have our favorite sausages. It’s the most appropriate supper for us!» On saying these words, Daddy Crumb accidentally slammed into the door jamb, thereby causing his son to laugh.

Kester laughed merrily and staggered also, stumbling over his slippers, tottered, lost his balance but was able to hold on. Then, they both merrily entered the kitchen.

Daddy Crumb placed four sausages in the microwave and got ready to press the «cook» button, «Ready! Steady!» he said as he glanced at his son.

«Go!» Kris gave the final command.

The microwave started with a faint hum, warming the sausages. Daddy Crumb took the bottle of ketchup and started to turn it over and over in his hands. Finally, he placed the ketchup on the table, pushing it towards Kester.

«Kris, I’ve forgotten to turn off my computer. I’ll go shut it down».

Daddy Crumb began to move slowly, his bare feet slapping the floor. Kester took the bottle of ketchup and read the title, «Sweet Ketchup». He removed the cap from the bottle and smelled the contents. Next, he placed the cap back on the bottle without closing it properly. The microwave was still humming. As soon as Daddy Crumb returned to the kitchen, the microwave started beeping, thereby informing them that their supper was ready. Daddy Crumb opened the microwave, removed the plate with hot sausages, placed them on a clean plate and having been scalded, quickly pushed it toward Kester and blew on his fingers.

«Pa, you have burned yourself, haven’t you?» Kester worried.

«Ah! Ow! Whoops!» Daddy Crumb squeaked.

Kester became alarmed about his father. «Quickly, put your finger in some water!» He was urging Daddy Crumb on and jumped up from his seat to grab hold of his father and lead him to the washstand as quickly as possible.

Daddy Crumb raised his burned finger, ran up to the cold water tap, turned the tap on, and put his finger into the stream of cold water.

Kester could finally relax when he heard a sound, «Psh. Psh». The sound was a hiss, a sound like molten metal being quenched in water. «Psh. Psh», Daddy Crumb continued to make the hissing sound and smiled.

Kester finally understood what was happening and, tickled by father’s joke, burst into a howl of laughter.

The father and his son sat down at the table, looked at their plates, and licked their lips. Daddy Crumb snatched up the bottle of ketchup with the intention to shake it and add the sauce to the sausages.

As he did it, the opened cap popped off and the entire contents shot into Daddy’s Crumb face. Over half of the red mass of ketchup was now on his face, shirt, and pants.

The large, red glob of the ketchup caused sweat to stream down his forehead.

«Pa, I am sorry to say this but, that’s a funny thing I am witnessing now! The ketchup father!» Kester said with great satisfaction. He couldn’t remember having ever laughed so hard in his life.

While Daddy Crumb was taking a shower to remove the ketchup, the sausages got cold. Later, both father and son ate them even though they were cold by then. Regardless, both were in excellent spirits!

Later, Kester’s father opened a can filled with jam and put it on the table. Kester immediately, like a bolt of lightning, hooked his finger directly into the can and quickly pulled it out. The finger became twice as thick with the jam on it. Trying not to allow the jam to spill all over the table, Kester sucked the jam from his finger and looked up, smacking his lips.

«Kris, what are you thinking!?» his father asked and pointed to the finger. «It is savage to do that and it’s not polite. Teenagers should not be doing that!»

«Oh, come on, Pa! Am I really a teenager already? I’m still a kid. But jam is tastier when you eat it in such a manner!»

Daddy Crumb looked at him, gravely, thought a little and said, «You say it is tastier to eat the jam in such a manner? But, what about good manners?»

«Pa, please, enough! Mother is away. Why are you criticizing what I am doing?» Kester became upset.

«Fine. You say it is tastier…«exclaimed Daddy Crumb.

«I promise!» Kester confirmed. «Have I ever let you down?»

Daddy Crumb looked at his son in a stern manner. And, saying nothing else, he put his long forefinger in the can holding the jam, dunked it several times to get more sweet liquid, and then placed put it in his mouth.

«Yea! It’s not only tastier, I say, it’s much more delicious!»

Kester was gazing at his father as if he couldn’t believe his eyes. Meanwhile, Daddy Crumb silently held the can with his one hand and began putting his forefinger alternately in the can and then into his mouth. So, he ate half of the jam at one sitting just by doing it like that.

His mouth wide open in surprise, Kester stretched out his hand to take the can. But Daddy Crumb actually appeared not to notice his son’s gesture and continued putting his forefinger in the can.

«Hey, leave me something, Pa!» Kester cautioned his father.

Kester began to feel sorry for revealing his secret to Daddy Crumb, especially since his father forgot that he had to share the jam with his son.

«Pa, leave me a little, too!» Kester said, looking at his father with a piteous look on his face.

«You know, Kris, it’s indeed tastier eating in such a manner! It’s good thing that you stopped me. Otherwise, I might have eaten it all».

Daddy Crumb set the half-empty can on the table. Kester tried to put his finger in it, but its contents had been reduced to a just a single measure. He would no longer be able to eat jam with the help of his finger. He then took the spoon and scored an entire spoonful as he was aware that his father might want to gorge himself again. If that happened, Kester would once again be left without sweets.

But Daddy Crumb stroked his belly, with no intention of eating more jam. To be honest, he was completely satiated with the jam, but he wanted to teach Kester a lesson. Daddy Crumb took the opportunity to tell his son about his progress in programming his computer game. «It will be finished soon. The only thing remaining is to think about other typical items for computer games such as names, adventures, and feats. Also, I need to place some pictures in the game as children usually are fond of beautiful pictures».

Listening to his father intently, an idea had floated into Kester’s head, but he decided to leave it alone until the morning.

«Kris, let’s go to bed. I should get back to work tomorrow morning. So, I will not be at home until the evening. Tomorrow you’ll be alone at home all day. Be a good boy! Alright?»

«Pa, why would you say that? Of course, I will».

They embraced, left the kitchen, and each retired to his own bed.

Chapter IV
Acquaintance with a New Friend

In the morning, Kester woke up at the same time as his father. But, he had been pretending to be asleep until Daddy Crumb began to awaken him to let him know that he was leaving. Then Kester yawned, seating himself upon the side of the bed, and looked to see if his father had actually left. After he heard the door locks click and the door closing, Kester, already cheerful and alert, leapt out of bed.

He thought about doing some pushups on the floor as he usually did in the morning. But after doing just a few pushups, he stopped, ran to the kitchen, poured himself a cup of tea, picked up a few other goodies, and went to his father’s room.

Kester quickly switched on his father’s computer and began to drink tea while waiting for the program to load. After the computer had booted, Kester opened the program which his father was working on.

After a while, Kester realized that he understood nothing about the program. The only thing he was able to understand was that he needed to get the iPad tablet and to turn it on.

Without giving it much thought, Kester took the tablet, turned it on, and with the tablet in his hands, went to the kitchen for cookies. He placed the plate with two sausages on it into the microwave to warm it up. The microwave started with a faint hum.

Settling himself more comfortably around the kitchen table, he chewed his meal and continued touching the screen.

The words «Enter the password» appeared.

Kester’s father had always taught him to use a password that would be familiar only to him. For example, he could use his home phone number which might include the first letter of his name.

So Kester entered his home phone number, but he added the first letter not of his own name, but his father’s name. The program belonged to Daddy Crumb; that is why Kester decided it would be better to use the first letter of his Daddy’s name.

He entered the letter «A» on the screen. The tablet iPad started loading. Kester was delighted! It meant he had done the right thing.

The little wheel on the screen began spinning. Kester was shaking his head merrily while an unfamiliar song played. At that very moment, just when the program was about to start working, the tablet suddenly died out. It appeared as if the tablet was broken. Kester thought that the program had caused the failure. But, in that very same instance, the light in the apartment went off. Darkness fell all around him.

Kester became scared and tried to look around. It was pitch dark. It was impossible to distinguish anything in the darkness. He shut his eyes and then opened them again. Nothing had changed. Kester tried to feel the table but was not able to. It was almost as though the table was not in the room.

Then Kester reached his arm out to the right where the wall should be. There were no walls there either. He was dreadfully bewildered.

All of a sudden the entire room lit up with a bright beam. The beam was racing about the room when it stumbled on Kester abruptly. The room was washed in a multi-colored and iridescent sort of radiance. The lights glistened and glittered as they cheerfully engaged a new partner in their game. Kester became enthralled.

Soon thereafter, the usual light came back on; Kester was back in his own kitchen, but not alone. An unknown boy of about the same age as Kester stood before him. With the iPad in his hands, Kester saw the same boy on the screen saver of the tablet.

«He-e-l-l-o!» Kester marveled and scratched his head just as his father usually did when considering anything seriously. And, just like Daddy Crumb would, Kester stiffened in surprise.

«Wow! Who are you?» the unknown boy said, eyeballing Kester. He seemed to be just as surprised as Kester was when each spotted one another. The boy had never seen anything like that before.

«I’m Kris. Whoopee!» Kester answered, breathing hard. «And who are you?» he sighed in surprise. «What are you doing here, in my kitchen?»

Kester, of course, was stupefied with astonishment from such magic. It was the very first time that he was faced with a miracle; he actually didn’t believe it really had happened. Kester looked closely at the stranger. The boy was dressed in a shirt with a pattern, brown jeans, and amazing running shoes with crescent-shaped high soles. Kester called them «Moon Boots» to himself. Kester was looking directly at the stranger when the boy began to speak.

«I’m Mozart! I’m from a school for wizards», Mozart took a step or two and opened the fridge to get a better look at this novelty. The fridge drew his attention because of the microwave beginning to make sounds nearby it. The sausages inside the microwave had just been warmed.

«Which school, where?» Kester said, not quite believing a real wizard was standing directly in front of him.

«Well, do you not believe that I attend a school for wizards? What school do you attend?» Mozart asked.

«I’m from the most common schoo». And then the school’s name came into his head, «Alexander Graham Bell’s school!» Kester stood up as straight as a rigid pole, giving himself a look of dignity, and then paused.

Mozart’s mind ran through all of the wizards which he could recall. But there was nobody named Alexander Graham Bell among them. That embarrassed him a bit and seemed somewhat disconcerted.

«And for what miracle is your Alexander Graham Bell famous?»

«What miracle?» Kester cut him short. «He had accomplished a major feat», he said emotionally. «He’s a hero! Do you understand? A Hero! Everyone wants to be a hero!»

«What is his „major feat“?» Mozart asked again. «Why do you consider him a hero?»

Kester hesitated again. «Frankly, we have yet to study it at school. Er…» Kester grew confused. «A few years from now, our teachers will ask us to read what Bell was famous for. I only know now that he was an inventor. But I don’t remember what his famous invention was».

In the meantime Kester had collected himself, became more composed, and said, «If you would like, we can ask Wally or Slobber. One of them will surely know».

Not liking Kester’s answer, Mozart said, «Look, Kris. You know nothing about this person, a man for which your school was named. You’re a confused boy, Kris!» Mozart concluded, «I have wanted to be friends with you. How can we be friends?»

«Okay, come on. Why is this such a big deal?? Wait a minute or two». Kester walked into his room with Mozart close behind him and searched «Alexander Graham Bell» on Google.

Mozart was now standing beside him. Together they read quickly, «An eminent scientist, inventor, engineer, and innovator who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone».

«Mozart, this indicate something to you, doesn’t it?» Kester glanced at his new friend.

«No. This doesn’t indicate anything to me. But judging from his photo, he was a good man. He was surely probably a great man. Such people often protect the needy. We are taught to tell the difference between good and bad people. That man for sure was a good friend and a great man!»

«That’s it, Mozart! Like I told you, he was a hero!»

«It is true that you did say that», Mozart agreed. Then he remembered the kitchen appliance beeping and asked Kester, «Kris, what was beeping in the kitchen? Where was that sound coming from?»

«Ah!» Kester drawled. «Let’s go. I’ll share my sausages with you. They have already been warmed. Sausages with ketchup are my favorite breakfast food. You can’t imagine how tasty they are! All boys think sausages are cool!» Kester became more serious after saying it. «And what do boys from your school usually eat?»

«Oh, they eat many different items for breakfast, and then they drink Kumis, after they have breakfast, lunch and supper. They may also have some apples for snacks before bedtime».

«What do you mean? You eat all day long, don’t you? You’ll turn yourselves into fat boys there», Kester kept his eye on Mozart, sizing him up. «But, look at you! You don’t look like fat».

«Here, take it», Kester handed Mozart a fork with a sausage on it. He placed the plate of ketchup on the table. «Go ahead, dip and eat», as he showed Mozart how to do it.

Mozart did the same and took a big bite of the sausage which he had coated with relish, chewed it, dipped it in the ketchup, and then bit off another bite. He ate the sausages in silence and when he had finished said, «Do you have any more? I still don’t understand the taste».

Kester demanded, «You are greedy!» He smiled, «I too would have eaten more sausages, but those two were the last of them. There are no more sausages! Yesterday, my father and I ate too many of them. Those two sausages were left for my breakfast».

Mozart rolled his eyes with delight; his eyes were so large in fact that they became as big as plums.

«You’ve shared your last meal with me, haven’t you?» Mozart reached his palm out to shake hands with Kester. «You’re my true friend!»

«Oh come!» Kester was filled with confusion. «Could you even imagine if I ate the sausages without sharing some with you? However, I have the feeling that you would not share yours with me in the same situation!»

«You’re right. I haven’t thought about that. Of course, I could eat a meal without sharing or even without asking whether you want it or not».

«What? If that’s the case, we’re not even going to let you get close to our group».

«Do you have a rule that requires you to share?»

«Of course, we have! Otherwise we would consider you to be a dog in the manger».

Mozart registered all that Kester had said.

«What’s that in your hands?» he pointed to the tablet in Kester’s hands.

«What? What, this? It’s an iPad tablet. Why, you don’t happen to have such a device, do you?» Kester marveled. «You call yourself „a wizard“ after all, don’t you? How can you be a wizard if you don’t have a tablet?»

«But what am I to do with it if I had one?» Mozart asked curiously.

Kester took the time to think and wonder.

«What? Don’t you need the tablets? …Yes, yes, I understand now. Of course you don’t need them», Kester said with a disturbed look on his face. «Why would a wizard need tablets? They can learn or conjure up everything even without a tablet!»

Kester went over to the table, took a glass in his hand, and placed it on the windowsill.

«Look, Mozart. I’d like to test you now to determine whether you’re a true wizard or if you’re lying!» Kester’s eyes narrowed slyly, studying Mozart curiously. «Can you move the glass from the windowsill to the table without touching it? If you are able to do that, I’ll believe that you are indeed a wizard». He seemed to be happy with himself with this little test.

«Of course, I can», Mozart said reluctantly. «But why should I do it? Why do you not believe me?»

«Aha!» Kester cried. «Why should I believe you? Do you think I regularly face wizards? Even if you move the glass to the table without touching it, I won’t believe you. If you are able to do it, I’ll think you’re an illusionist, not a wizard, and I have seen that trick before. Look!»

Kester tried to remember the illusion that makes it appear that he is tearing off his finger. He lifted his left arm with his palm facing himself, grabbed his thumb with the right hand, and began tearing it off. At the same time, he pretended to scream and writhe as if he was experiencing excruciating pain. Then — OOPS! — His finger disappeared as if there was no finger at all. Kester waved his hand with the missing finger in front of Mozart’s face. «Well, what do you see?»

Mozart shook his head fervently, opened his mouth with wonder, was a little taken aback and said quickly, «Cool! Would you like me to return your finger to you? Does it hurt?» Mozart asked awkwardly. He was still frightened and worried for Kester.

«Oh, no! What are you going to do? I… I…» Kester also began to worry about it. He imagined his palm with two or three thumbs in it.

«Mozart, I’m not a wizard. I’ve just performed a conjuring trick!» But at the same time, Kester again pretended to writhe with pain. He decided to continue playing the trick on Mozart. He would attempt to replace the lost finger before Mozart would show his generosity and provide him with new fingers.

Kester waved his hand near his mouth and made a coughing sound as if he wanted to get his finger back. Kester removed his hand from his mouth. And… Oh, wonder! His thumb returned to its original place.

Seeing that Kester, his new good friend, managed to replace his finger, Mozart beamed with happiness.

«Did you see that?» Kester said with a note of satisfaction. He was quite sure at that moment that Mozart wouldn’t want to provide him with new fingers any longer.

«Will you catch me by surprise? Huh?» Kester thought, raising his eyebrows with the strain. «Well! What would be a better way to ask him to prove if he is a true wizard or not?» Kester swiveled his head from side to side, seeking something to choose. Kester couldn’t even imagine that he was so naïve, that he could be tricked.

He tried to remember the fairy tales that he had once read. He mentally scanned those tales, in particular the one where the main hero met a wizard and made a wish. And, as ill luck would have it, he was unable to think of that particular tale. He could only recollect «Flounder» who fulfilled wishes from a Brothers» Grimm fairy tale. But Kester was afraid to wish for too many things as he remembered that at the end of the tale «The Fisherman and His Wife» there was an unhappy ending.

That is why he decided to make a simple wish. But certain thoughts still just didn’t come into his head.

«Look, Mozart. Let’s begin to test your magical abilities with the original task of moving the glass without touching it. You’re the real wizard, aren’t you?»

Wondering, Mozart glanced at Kester and said, «Why are you upset?» His eyes became gray in a flash, too.

«You know, Mozart, I have now met a true wizard for the first time in my life and I can’t think of any test for you. I can prove the fact that I’ve met a true wizard only by seeing some results by having you fulfill my wish».

«Will this be the last time we see one another?» said Mozart as he looked at Kester inquiringly and thoughtfully. Mozart felt quite uncomfortable as he felt sympathy for his new friend. Kester had been speaking about whether they would see each other again.

«But no!» Kester calmed him. «It is so unusual for me to meet a true wizard! We don’t know what will happen in the future», Kester said, defensively. «Where do you intend to sleep? Though, you, a wizard, may not need sleep at all. If I was a wizard, I would perform miracles all day long. I would not sleep at all!» Kester sprang up and became more serious. «Wait! I’ve wandered from the subject at hand». Kester thrust out one leg and put his hands on his hips. «I still have not checked to see if you’re a true wizard or not!»

«Come, show me what you can do! Then, we’ll decide what to do with your knowledge and talents. I’ll call Slobber and Wally. For sure, we’ll be able to come up with an idea about how to use your abilities».

Kester moved to the far side of the table and stood between Mozart and the window.

«Mozart, this is your first test. Move the glass from the windowsill to the table and back again without touching it. I’ll be watching to see if you’re cheating or not». Kester spoke seriously thereby showing Mozart that he would not be receiving any help or related privileges. The test should be fair!

«I’ve performed conjuring tricks myself but in a real way. Now it’s your turn to show me what you are capable of», said Kester as he appeared deep in thought. «Otherwise, I’ll consider you to be nothing more than just a chatterbox!»

Mozart was slightly offended by Kester. True friends should never share insulting words. Kester detected an expression of dissatisfaction on Mozart’s face and hastened to remedy this situation.

«Mozart, it’s just a test!» The intonation of Kester’s voice was not as severe, as it seemed before. He came across now as being very kind.

Of course, Kester could admit that he hadn’t been thinking harshly. But the boys“ rules obliged him to show a sense of strictness. Trying not to offend Mozart, Kester once again added, „Of course, I’ll tell everyone that you’re a good guy! But in case you’re not a true wizard I would prefer not to mention anything about your ability or inability to perform wonders.

Rather pleased with himself, Kester noticed that Mozart understood and even smiled. But, once again, Kester said with a more stringent expression, «Mozart, how long can I stand here and wait? There is the glass, and there is the table. Come, why don’t you move the glass?»

Mozart paused as if he was trying to recollect something. It appeared that he was calculating a formula in his mind. Mozart was so excited that sweat was forming on his forehead. His cheeks became rosy and his eyes began shifting left and right.

Kester looked at Mozart and, to tell the truth, he didn’t believe the magic could happen. He sensed that it was improbable. Suddenly, the glass was in the air and moving slowly toward the windowsill, swaying uncertainly along the way.

Kester’s eyes were wide open with surprise and about to pop out of his head. He seemed quite at a loss and rubbed his eyes. Then he thrust out his hand abruptly and tried to snag the glass which was floating in the air.

«Ugh», Kester screamed as he missed the glass. He missed it not because he aimed inaccurately or snagged awkwardly. He didn’t snag it because the glass fell to the floor, shattering into a thousand shards.

Kester looked down at it, not knowing what to say.

«Why are you waving your arms?» complained Mozart. «It was your fault that the glass fell to the floor. You’ve frightened it!»

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