The Translocation of Dr Pepper

Many residents of a small Oregon town have their lives uprooted when the soda fountain in a local diner begins to teleport, threatening the very existence of the planet at large.

This is meant to be a lighthearted, fun, and somewhat humorous story.

First draft.

Work in progress.

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1. The Translocation of Dr Pepper

.               Pinebill, Oregon was a small town founded in 1897 by a wealthy yet retired lamp salesman named Bill Pinebill who had made a fortune from selling lamps of exquisite beauty which had been designed by his wife, Fredna. The town began simply as a mountain cottage for the Pinebills and their children. As the children grew up and got married, they built houses of their own on the land. With a total of five houses, the Pinebills decided to have their property officially declared a town and renovated the original log cabin into a lavish mansion. The Pinebills loved to feel important. The population of the town experienced a boom in 1916 when it was discovered that the little family owned town of Pinebill, Oregon was the last known location of the cherry honey bee, a species of bee which earned its name from its pinkish color and had been previously believed to be extinct. From then on, Pinebill, Oregon was home to several florists of exotic flowers and bee keepers specializing in rare bees. The flourishing gardens attracted countless hummingbirds to the once wooded area. It was a beautiful town to say the least, for, in it, the color grey appeared not to exist.

 .         Our story begins in this quaint Oregon rural suburbia in the present day in a diner similar to, but not necessarily, a Waffle House. In fact, this particular diner was called the Baffle House on account of how baffled a person would be by the mere taste of the food. In reality, the food was only slightly better than mediocre with the exception of the homemade apple pies which were sweetened with honey from the local cherry honey bees. It was, coincidentally, this exact flavor of pie that three friends, one boy and two girls, each about twenty-six years of age, were enjoying while they discussed a movie they had just seen about two twins, separated at birth, who grew up on different sides of the law and encountered each other later in life. One of the girls, whose name was Wendy, said aloud that she thought the movie had been dreadfully unrealistic. Her friends, Elouise and George, both nodded in agreement. All three were unaware that sitting within earshot was a man whose life had followed the plot of the movie to the letter.

.             A young waitress working at the Baffle House was about to encounter the three friends. Her name was Leela, which she had changed from Lela because some of the diner patrons reading her name tag had believed it to be pronounced 'Lella', which it was not. Leela stood at the end of the booth where the aforementioned three were seated, ready to take their orders beginning with Wendy. Their exchange was as follows:

.           "What would you like to drink?"

.           "A Dr. Pepper, please."

.           "I'm sorry. Our coke machine is missing."

.           "Oh, was it stolen?"

.           "No, I just can't find it... It's around here somewhere."

.           "You misplaced it?"

.           "It misplaced itself."

.          "So, we're all going to drink water?"

.          "Yes."

.          "Then, why ask?"

.          The reason Leela had asked was not something she cared to explain so she shrugged and began taking orders for food. The truth was, Leela was too flustered to just tell the group that the machine was broken because, only hours before, she had watched the soda fountain vanish without a trace from the counter where it had resided stationary for more than twenty-five years. The young waitress had been mopping the floor near the machine when it simply ceased to be there. It was there, and, then, it wasn't. Leela fainted from witnessing this incomprehensible event. Now, she was pretending it had never happened. This was less about convincing others that the world always makes sense and more about convincing herself that she was not crazy.

.          While riding down a dirt road on their way to their respective homes in a strawberry colored convertible Ford Bronco belonging to Elouise, the three friends were surprised to see what appeared to be a metal box in the middle of the street. Elouise, believing it was probably cardboard but not wanting to take any chances of damaging her car by colliding with what could possibly be a metal cube, slammed her foot down on the brakes. The car jolted to a stop. When the dust cleared, the trio got out of the car to investigate. What they discovered sitting in the road was the missing soda fountain.

.         "I guess it really was missing," George remarked.

.         "We should return it to the Baffle House," Elouise suggested.

.         "I'll carry it to the car," Wendy offered.

.            So, that is what they did. Elouise and George sat in the front while Wendy sat in the back seat next to the soda fountain which she had affectionately buckled up with a seatbelt because it appeared to have a propensity for disappearing. These precautions were not as effective as Wendy had hoped, however, as it vanished before her very eyes halfway through the journey. Wendy, who was slightly startled, screamed, but not that loudly because she wasn't more than a little bit startled. She had mostly screamed to alert her friends in the front seat of what she had seen.

.           Her friends, Elouise and George, did not hear Wendy scream. Elouise was listening very intently to her favorite song, Papa's Got A Brand New Bag by James Brown, and singing along loudly, even though she did not know all of the words. George did not hear Wendy because he was looking at Elouise, who he had had a crush on since the second grade when she had given him a picture she had drawn of him being eaten by a Tyrannosaurus rex. It was truly a Crayola masterpiece. Elouise, however, would not give George the time of day until the sixth grade when they became friends because of their mutual friend, Wendy, who had just let out a barely audible scream from the back seat. Wendy rolled her eyes and remained silent until the trio arrived at their destination and turned the radio off.

.           Leela was closing up the Baffle House when the strawberry colored convertible Ford Bronco pull into the parking lot. The sun was setting as the young waitress watched the two people in the front seat look to the back seat in shock. This was, evidently, not the kind of baffling one expected to occur at the Baffle House. It was also not, however, a kind bafflement with which Leela was unfamiliar. The trio of familiar patrons ignored the 'Closed' sign and barged into the diner. The bell above the door announced their presence, but Elouise, who walked through the door first, did not need to be announced. She was fairly short, but people would always remember her as being tall. Just like Lady Gaga. She wore her gloriously curly textured hair at shoulder length and washed it often. Her pink striped shirt and heart shaped sunglasses were only accessories to her unforgettable nature.

.         "We found your missing coke machine," she declared.

.         "Where is it?" asked the timid waitress.

.         "It misplaced itself," Wendy explained.

.         The waitress knew exactly what this meant. It was like God was playing Sims and simply deleted a piece of furniture. Or moved it.

.            Over the next few weeks, a number of strange happenings had been reported around the town of Pinebill, Oregon. All were related to a soda fountain being where it should not be. One particular report came from an elderly gardener named Bethany whose recently deceased brother was a frequent drinker of Dr. Pepper, causing Bethany to believe it was a sign from her late sibling when a soda fountain appeared in her home and then vanished without a trace an hour later. George, Leela, Elouise, and Wendy kept track of sightings of the rogue machine on a Pinebill town map which they spread out and taped to the surface of a booth in the Baffle House.

.            Every night at exactly 1:48 AM, the soda fountain would return to its original place on the counter at the Baffle House for exactly one hour. Our four protagonists discovered that the machine was moving in a circular pattern around town and remaining in each location for one hour. One of the locations on the map was the glorious Pinebill Manor which was presently home to Bill Pinebill VI's widow, Marina Pinebill, who had killed her husband with a decorative silver spoon on the Fourth of July and was acquitted of all charges on a technicality. Marina was a dreadful woman who often terrorized local bee keeping businesses due to her severe allergy to bees which made her swell like a balloon when stung. Because the cherry honey bee was an endangered species, though, she was unable to call for an exterminator. Her demeanor was atrocious and she was generally unpleasant to be in the company of. Our four protagonists, who had been previously puzzled over what to do with the information they had derived from the path of the teleporting soda fountain, resolved to use the fountain as an opportunity to do something every Pinebill citizen had wanted to do for decades. They would rob Pinebill Manor.

.            Once the team was substantially prepared, they met on the banks of the Pinebill Pond. By their calculations, the soda fountain would be a short dive below the surface of the crystal colored water. From there, it would be transported to the mansion at exactly 9:48 PM and remain there until 10:48 PM at which time it would move again to Pinebill Cemetery. It was 9:45 when the band of robbers arrived at the pond. They were a rather ragtag bunch. Elouise was dressed head to toe in pink. Leela, who hadn't had time to change, was still wearing her Baffle House uniform which consisted of a lime green polo, a pain of kakis, and a black apron. Wendy was wearing a specially made pantsuit that matched the gold and red wallpaper that decorated the Pinebill Manor. Perhaps the strangest of all was George who was dressed as the late Bill Pinebill VI for reasons which will become clear later.

.          The four all set their watches for an hour and three minutes and dove into the water. It was dark outside already so our four protagonists brought a waterproof flashlight into the water with them. They swam for one full minute before finding the soda fountain. When they did find it, each member of the team held onto a corner of the machine and held their breath. At exactly 9:48 PM, Elouise, George, Wendy, and Leela suddenly found themselves laying on the floor of Pinebill Manor soaking wet and ready for a heist.

.          The manor was decorated as exquisitely as a palace. Each room had at least four gorgeous lamps from the original Pinebill collection, though most rooms had many more. All of the beautiful antique lamps were turned on as Marina Pinebill was very superstitious and believed that she must sleep with the lights on or else the ghost of her husband would haunt her for having murdered him. Tonight, she would be right.

.           Wendy was the first to stand. She matched the wall paper exactly. She had admired the blood red color and metallic gold floral embellishments ever since she had taken a tour of the manor at the age of nine. The next to stand was Leela. She was taken aback by the Victorian luxury that surrounded her. Even the light from the antique lamps somehow seemed more beautiful than the lights that lit the diner. George stood up and straightened his fake mustache. He jumped as he caught his reflection in a golden framed mirror and slipped on the wet rug. Elouise stood up and helped George to his feet. She took a ziplock bag from her pocket and took out her perfectly dry cellphone and pink headphones. She put the headphones on and plugged them into her phone. She hit play on her music and her new favorite song, Feeling Good by Nina Simone, filled her ears. Elouise nodded intently. That was the signal to the others to begin.

.            Leela and Wendy paired up to steal whatever they could carry in their pockets. This was particularly easy for Leela whose apron had a spacious enough pocket to hold an entire vintage jewelry box and was currently doing just that. Wendy, whose hands were full of jewelry and stylish old pocket watches, bumped into a turquoise china cabinet filled with glass figurines of Santa Clause and knocked a coral colored lamp off the top of it. When it shattered on the checkered tile floor, George ran up the spiral staircase to distract Marina Pinebill who had almost certainly awakened as elderly widows who sleep with the lights on are often prone to do.

.          His role was simple: find Lady Pinebill's bedroom and cut out the lights. Once he had done this, he switched on his waterproof flashlight and turned it towards his face. From this moment until 10:48 PM, George would become the ghost of the late Bill Pinebill VI. Before he could say anything spooky, Marina Pinebill, who had not inhabited a dark room in more than three years, immediately woke up and hit the intruder over the head with a baseball bat which she had hidden under her covers for the off chance that she be forced to fight the vengeful ghost of her husband. That moment had come at last. Or so she believed.

.            Elouise, with her headphones on, heard none of this. She had a particular treasure in mind. After the death of her husband, Marina Pinebill had a portrait painted of herself by a Swedish painter who had moved to Pinebill, Oregon for the beautiful landscapes after he read an article on Buzzfeed entitled 'The Top Ten Towns To Visit That You've Never Heard Of'. The portrait was of Marina's face and was painted in vibrant colors like one of Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroes. Hardly a show of mourning. It was just big enough to be impressive and just small enough for Elouise to carry away. If she could only find it.

.            The painting was rumored to be contained in what was called the 'Golden Room', a room where every wall, including the ceiling and floor, were plated with gold. When Elouise finally discovered the room, she was astonished. It was far more decadent than she had ever imagined. The brightly lit room was devoid of furniture. The golden tiles gleamed and glittered as Elouise walked in, astonished. Intricate blue and white marble columns extended to the ceiling. If Elouise could have taken the entire room, she would not have because it left her in such spiritual awe that she felt if belonged protected within the walls of the magnificent manor. At the end of the room was the fabled portrait of Marina Pinebill. It was sitting on a pedestal made of the same blue and white marble as the columns.

.            Lady Pinebill's stern face glared at Elouise as the girl in pink smiled and swiped the portrait from its perch. An alarm sounded. Marina, nearing seventy and hard of hearing, was preoccupied beating her husband's ghost with a baseball bat and simply dismissed the sound as paranormal activity and thought nothing more of it. Wendy, Leela, and George, however, heard the alarm loud and clear for what it truly was and, looking at their watches, which were counting down the final four minutes of their adventures in burglary, made a break for the soda fountain. The team all arrived at the same time with the exception of George who was running from a frightened widow who had been hitting him with a bat for the past fifty-six minutes with very little force. In truth, he only would have feared her had she been armed with a silver spoon like the one she had used to kill her husband.

.             When George reached the top of the staircase, he saw that he had only one minute and twenty-three seconds remaining before the soda machine would leave him stranded. Realizing he would not have enough time to run down the stairs, the young man who was dressed as an old man straddled the railing and slid all the way to the bottom. He was in a hurry, but not in such a hurry that he could not appreciate how much fun it was to fulfill his childhood ambition to slide down twenty-two feet of railing on a staircase that cost more than fifty-thousand dollars to build. The ride was much less sweet when it ended and he was launched onto an oriental rug at fifteen miles per hour. It became sweet again when Elouise helped him to his feet. With thirty-four seconds to spare, the band of thieves held all of their new belongings with one hand and the soda fountain with the other. Marina Pinebill reached the top of the stairs just in time to see the burglars vanish into thin air. The old widow would blame the event on aliens until she died of an ironic venomous snake bite on an insignificant day in the future.

.            The team found themselves transported to the Pinebill Cemetery where the four partners in crime counted their treasures on a warm summer night and walked home carrying them, including a somewhat large portrait of a murderer, for lack of a strawberry colored convertible Ford Bronco, which was sitting all alone by the shores of Pinebill Pond. The moon never shined so bright as it did that night at 10:48 PM in Pinebill, Oregon.

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