A couple weeks ago, we published a little character story on Doc, the club’s founder. Now here’s Acme, the club’s resident super genius.
Again, you won’t find this stuff in the book. These are just little character studies we wrote to help us understand our fictional friends. If you like the style, keep following us for more.
Forest Webster-Morin was an only child. As such, his life was fairly structured. School from 8:36 – 3:28. Then walk to Harrison’s house for a vegetable snack until 4:15. Then to soccer practice at 4:30 on Mondays & Thursdays. Or to clarinet practice on Tuedays. Or stay at school Wednesdays for band practice until 5:00. Then one of his parents would pick him up for supper at home from 5:00 – 6:00. Then homework (or extra credit work if none was assigned), then music practice, then family meeting or game time, then room cleanup, then shower, then bed.
Saturdays brought grocery shopping followed by food prep for the next week (chopping and blending for homemade hummus, vegetable popsicles, applesauce, salsa, etc), followed by Family Foreign Language class at the library, lunch, and then friend time in the afternoon, when Forest could have a friend over, or visit an approved friend’s house.
Sunday was church, followed by a visit to Grandma’s house. Although the weekly Grandma visit did not hold the potential for a lot of excitement, it did have one fantastic feature. Grandma had snacks. Actual snacks: Cupcakes, Tootsie Rolls, cookies, ice cream, ice cream toppings, Twinkies. Grandma was rich in the sweet bounty of life. Here, Forest was permitted his weekly indulgence (and whatever he could stuff into his pockets to tide him over until the next Sunday). Sunday nights were also a plus, because during hockey season he and his dad had Sunday season passes to every home game. There, in section 302, seats 8 and 9, Forest witnessed another side of his father. While his home side remained reserved, his hockey side was a man unleashed: yelling, cheering, booing, insulting, out-of-his-seat for every fight, as if he wanted more than anything to be on the ice in the middle of it.
The weekly schedule contained one hole. Forest free time, it was called. The period of time after school on Friday until supper when his parents literally could not find anything else for him to do, so he had the house to himself for a little over an hour, 77 minutes to be exact. It was during Forest free time that Forest discovered what the TV had to offer. While his mother reminded him weekly of the benefits of educational programming, Forest soon channeled his way up to the Cartoon Network. In particular, he found the show “Losers Lounge,” an endless foray into the lives of empty headed kids who do nothing but sit on the couch, categorizing their farts, and yet still manage to have fantastic adventures. Forest became a Loser’s Lounge addict. That is, until his mother came home early from work one day, feeling ill. She only had to hear 45 seconds of dialogue describing a passing gas as “a category 1 Klingon,” and the lounge closed for good. In fact, cable TV itself was nearly dismissed from the household permanently, except that during an unusually tense family discussion time that night, Forest’s father brought up the issue that with no cable, there would be no hockey, and that this was a non-negotiable.
By the end of family meeting time, the issue was resolved. The cable plan was changed so that Cartoon Network was gone, but hockey remained, albeit in Spanish. All parties acknowledged that this would, in the end, help Mr. Webster-Morin improve his conversational foreign language skills.
The next Friday Forest searched in vain for a replacement show. Channel after channel produced nothing but “you are not subscribed to…” messages. Higher and higher he climbed into the blankness until finally, at channel 659, he found something. A channel called Red River Retro, devoted only to TV shows that were at least 30 years old. As it turns out, on Friday afternoons, Red River Retro featured a Roadrunner marathon. Every epic battle between Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner, every ill timed explosive, every hesitating fall off the cliff, and most importantly, every single Acme device, tool, trap, and weapon were there, retold for a new audience.
Forest was hooked. Even more than Loser’s Lounge, the Roadrunner appealed to him, resonated with him, touched him in a visceral, primal way. He began copying some of Wile E. Coyote’s better ideas into a little black notebook he had acquired, and then sketching out and running the geometry on what would make them work better, or actually what would make them work, period.
He could squeeze in exactly 3 episodes before his mom’s car pulled into the driveway. Off went the TV; outside went Forest (or Acme, as he began calling himself) to begin creating his own arsenal. Of course he didn’t have any weapons to work with—his mother all but scoured his friend’s houses for unusually sharp q-tips when he visited on friend day– but he soon transformed some bungee cords, gardening tools, and an unused plastic storage container into a pretty ferocious booby trap.
But what could he trap in it….