“There! Almost got it” muttered the little snake as he tightened the last hold down screw for the framgadget in his new jetpack. “Now I just need to hook the torsion spring onto the flapcap, top off the tank with some go-juice, and it should be ready for a test flight.”
Jake the Snake, inventor, putterer, tinkerer and total science nut had been working on this project for months and was glad to finally be getting it off the ground. His new jetpack should let him soar above the treetops, fly over hill and dale, cruise the clouds, buzz the Ave, and other pretty cool stuff. Fueling was the final step before launch, but he had to be very careful. This wasn’t just any fuel. This was a specially refined, super concentrated, really potent derivative of lemon juice, and required the utmost care in handling. So powerful that the container was labeled CAUTION! EXTREMELY HIGH LEVELS OF CONCENTRATED, ENRICHED, FORTIFIED LEMON JUICE! FOR USE AS A FUEL IN JETPACKS AND CLEANING THE KITCHEN SINK ONLY!
“Fuel topped off, check! Flapcap shut, check! Little tiny straps for my little tiny snake body strapped on, check! Airbrake pressure up, check! Bailout Button handy, check! That should just about do it, except for one last thing.” His preflight checks complete, Jake placed a quick call to his best friend.
“Hi Prissscilla, Jake here. I’m just about ready for launch, all systems are go, and I’ve initialized countdown (Jake loved that kind of talk). I just wanted to let you know, in case anything goes wrong, that you can have the rest of my lemon jellied spiders, my scout compass, and my petrified fly collection. Oh yeah! And my specially modified backpack. You can have that too. (Jake still hadn’t been able to get the remnants of the lemon jelly out of it from his trip to Lost Lake.) Wish me luck!” And with that, Jake the Snake, inventor and would be test pilot, hit the launch button, juiced the jetpack, put the pedal to the metal, and let ‘er rip!
“This is really cool!” thought Jake as he climbed higher and higher, his house diminishing to a tiny speck far below. “I could get used to this…Whoa, what was that??!!” Jake just about hit something or something just about hit him. And whatever it was, another one was headed his way!
“Hey Buddy, watch where yer going! Ya durn near run me right off’n this here cloud!” said a big white bird with a long beak. “It’s a pelican!” thought Jake. “Susorry mister, I’m still getting the hang of this” said Jake, as politely as he could. “Wal, if ya don’t got wings then ya got no bizness flyin’ around up here. So scram! I’d tell ya to blast off, but it looks like ya already did, har har!” And just like that, the perniciously persnickety pelican was gone.
As Jake continued on his way, unaware of the gaggle of geese on his six (more pilot talk), he was startled by loud obnoxious honking. “Honk honk!” he heard. “Honk honk! Move over kid! If you can’t maintain the flow of traffic, then stay out of the fast lane!” said one particularly grouchy gray goose. “Great!” thought Jake, “a bunch of honkers. Might as well be on I-5 at rush hour.”
Moving to the right, allowing them to pass, his attention was drawn to a mockingbird in the slow lane. As he approached and drew up beside the bird, his ears were assaulted by raucous laughter. “Ahh you got no arms you got no legs, Runt. You got no feathers you got no wings. I bet your mother wears army boots.” Of course, Jake never knew his real mother, who had left him on the doorstep of his adoptive mother, the loving, kind, and generous Lemon Lady. But he’d bet a box of jellied spiders that she didn’t wear army boots. And for as long as he’d known Lemon Lady, not once had he seen her clomping around in such footwear.
Rolling his eyes as he passed the maliciously miscreant mockingbird, Jake thought “Man it’s more crowded up here than I would have thought. Oh well, I still have some testing to do.” Whereupon he hit the throttle, pulled back hard on the stick, and went into a barrel roll. “Yeehaw this is fun!” shouted Jake, and he did another, and another, and another. He did so many that he became dizzy and he blacked out! When he regained consciousness, he was plummeting earthward, straight down at full acceleration!
Jake frantically pulled back on the control stick, knowing he had only a few seconds until disaster struck. Pulling back with all his might, he finally seemed to be making some small progress when the stick broke off in his hand! “Rats!” thought Jake, “I knew I should have used something other than a stick to make the stick out of. Now what am I gonna do?” Thinking quickly, Jake realized he had only one option: The Bailout Button! “Here’s hoping I packed my parachute correctly” he thought as the harness fell away and he went from power dive to freefall.
Floating gently to earth, Jake was able to see his house below. Shifting his body weight to maneuver the parachute, he aimed toward his front yard. Looking down and seeing a small figure by the front gate, he thought “That looks like Prissscilla!” She was waiting at his house to meet him! “What an awesome friend!” he said to himself as he gently touched down.
“Jake! Jake! I was so worried! I saw you lose control of the jetpack and was afraid you wouldn’t make it down safely! Thank goodness you’re okay!” “Hi Prissscilla. Yes, it was a nerve-wracking experience, but us pilot types never panic. We must always remain calm and clear-headed in the face of the unexpected, so we can be prepared, and react decisively to any situation. But it does feel great to have my belly back on the ground. Say… is that a lemon jellied spider leg stuck to your chin?”