… And they lived happily ever after.
But for the Hill family that was only after living not-so-happily ever before. It all ended well for sure with little Rudy saving the world and all, but for his parents Jack & Jill, it had been an up the hill struggle for many years.
Jack first met Jill when he was out fetching a pail of water for his father. When he arrived at the top of the hill, there stood the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She was filling her bottles at the community well and as soon as she saw Jack she became totally enamoured. As Jack approached, Jill’s bottle runneth over. It was love at first sight. Gazing into each others eyes, within moments they knew they would be spending the rest of their lives together. They embraced in a passionate kiss, causing Jill to drop her bottle. Jack (being the gentleman he was) went to pick it up, but he tripped on a rock and fell down. Jill reached out for him, but his big bucket got in the way and that’s how they ended up tumbling down together for the first time.
Their first child was born nine months later, a beautiful baby girl whom they named Mary. Jack liked to call her his little lamb. A couple of years went by, when after another little tumble, Jill got up, brushed her petticoat off and announced to Jack she was again with child. Nine months later their second child was born, a handsome baby boy whom they named Tony. Jill liked to call him her little tiger. Life was bliss for the Hill family for several years after. They had a wonderful new town house in the city, all they needed and plenty of love.
Then one autumn morning after Mary left to school and little Tony followed her, Jill joyfully announced to Jack she was again with child. Nine months later, Jill’s water broke and they immediately headed out to the new Super Hospital. Unfortunately, it still hadn’t been built, so they were sent instead to the old, but well-respected City General Hospital. After ten hours in labour, Jill gave a final push and out popped a baby boy. Luckily Jack was at the end of the bed and his reflexes were quick, because the baby literally popped out.
Unlike their other two children, this one was rather small. In fact, he was unusually tiny, coming into the world weighing only 3 pounds and barely 9 inches long. When Jill held him in her arms for the first time she was deeply concerned. Perhaps he was born prematurely? Maybe they had miscalculated? The doctor assured them that he was a healthy child and perfectly developed.
“Is he a… a dwarf?” she asked the doctor.
“First of all, there is a no such thing as a dwarf,” he replied.
“Then is he a hobbit?” asked Jack.
“He is no hobbit, Mr. Hill,” the doctor smiled.
“Then why is he so tiny? Is he a… a Little Person then?” asked Jill.
“Nor that,” answered the doctor. “He is tiny because he is a Point Five.”
“A point five? I don’t understand…”
“I presume you already have two children, correct?”
“Why yes,” said Jack.
“Well then, it’s obvious. You’re an average family, therefore destined to have 2.5 children. He is a perfectly healthy boy… but being a Point Five child, he’ll only grow about half as big as the others.”
Jack and Jill were glad to hear their new baby boy was healthy and loved him with all their hearts. They decided to give him a big name to help make up for his size, so they named him Rudolph Braveheart Rambo – ‘Rudy’ for short. Mary and Tony were thrilled to have a new little brother and played with him whenever they could. They were very understanding of his differences and took care not to let him slip out of their hands or step on him.
At first, everything seemed normal and they went about their regular way of life, but soon they began to notice the stares and whispers of people whenever they were out and about. Above average families looked upon them with pity and those below average, with disdain. But that did not deter the Hill family as they proudly walked the malls, little Rudy giggling and cooing as they carried him in a special sling. But then other things started to happen, chewing away at their spirit. Jill was turned away at a PTA meeting (being told they had too many members!) and her friends stopped inviting her out for lunch. Jack was laid off from the water bottling company he helped to build and his buddies never seemed to have time for a round of golf. Mary and Tony were getting a bad rap from friends at school who taunted them like some bad nursery rhymes. Still they held their heads up high, Rudy on their shoulders.
Life at home even became a challenge. One day they lost Rudy in the house and went into a panic until Jack found him stuck, with the remote, between two pillows on the sofa. Another time he went missing for almost a whole day and Jill was on the verge of a meltdown, when Tony roared out from upstairs he had found him! He had been inadvertently thrown into the toy box when they cleaned up. Luckily, Rudy had a loud enough voice so Tony was able to hear him screaming out for help. Rudy took it all in short stride. He was a happy child and very little bothered him… until the first day he went to school.
At five years old Rudy was barely 16 inches tall and quickly discovered that the world was not built for Point Five children. The steps were too high, the chairs were a challenge, but Rudy held his head high (well… at least enough to see over his desk). He was there to learn. Unfortunately, he was the only Point Five child in the school and the other kids were not very kind to him. They laughed at him because of his size. They giggled and threw paper balls at him when the teacher Mrs. Polly did the first roll call using his name, ‘Rudolph-Braveheart-Rambo’. Even though she insisted every child be called by their full given names, she was a kind enough soul and when seeing the other children’s reaction, announced he would just be called Rudolph.
But things did not get better for Rudy. The toilets in the washroom were too high, so he used a little bucket which Mrs. Polly kindly had the caretaker set up for him in a corner of one of the stalls. He also had a terrible time with the large swinging doors, being tossed about several times until he learned how to dash through them at the proper moment. During gym class, he had to be rescued from the tangles of a basketball net after being thrown in there mistakenly during a game. One day they even used him as a doorstop, but Rudy still held his head up high (as he could), blushing only when the girls in skirts went by. The hardest thing of all for him was during recess times, when they were all sent outside to play. All the other children never let poor Rudolph join in any playground games… they even laughed and called him names. There were a few kids around who tried to bully him, but he quickly discovered just how fast he could run. In fact, Rudy discovered he was gifted with the ability to run very, very fast and could outrun all of the other kids. It also came in handy when he was chased by cats and dogs.
Mary and Tony could do nothing to help their little brother out, as they had moved on to high school. Jack and Jill were very aware of the situation and tried everything to help him adapt, even scheduling a meeting with the Principal to discuss possible solutions to the challenges Rudy faced. They went with ideas they hoped would make things easier for him and his school experience a little less harsh. The principal was very sympathetic but told them the school simply had no budget left for anything like ramps and step ladders, never mind an awareness campaign. Eventually Jill decided to homeschool him. She even tried to find a support group for Point Five children, but soon discovered none existed. Point Five children were sorely neglected, as if they were invisible to the rest of the world.
While Jill stayed home taking care of the house and Rudy’s education, Jack managed to find a decent paying job at the nearby Krap Cheese factory, but it was barely enough to make ends meet. He was so tired out by the end of the day that there was very little tumbling going on between him and Jill anymore. For the first time in their marriage they were growing apart.
Mary and Tony both tried hard to ignore the taunts and rejections they got from their peers. Tony got in with the wrong people and developed a drug problem. Mary became anorexic and developed a fear of all things made of wool. Things were going downhill fast. Jill started drinking and gained weight. Jack became depressed.
Years went by. Rudy grew up. Okay, well… Rudy grew up to about 32 inches, give or take. He was a very intelligent young man, earning not only his high school diploma (top of his class), but later on attaining several PhD’s through correspondence school, including Nuclear Physics, Computer Science, Social Anthropology, Quantum Mechanics and Foreign Languages. He loved learning and wanted to continue on with his education, wanted to soak it all up. When he wasn’t studying, he was running. He loved running, it made him feel free and kept him in excellent shape. Rudy tried to keep the smile on his face, but he could no longer ignore what was happening to his family, knowing it was because of him they were so unhappy. He loved them all so dearly and was heartbroken he was at the bottom of all their hardships.
One day Jack came home early from work and announced he had been laid off. Jill was distraught because they weren’t going to be able to meet their mortgage payments. That’s when Rudy realized it was time for him to go out into the world. He needed to find a way help his family and so decided to find a job, being sure with all his degrees he would be able to land a lucrative position with a good firm. He sent out his resume and immediately secured dozens of interviews, yet was never offered a position. He was constantly being overlooked. Literally. Finally he was hired by one of the largest Environmental-Green-Eco-Friendly companies in the world, a leader in clean air technology for large buildings. Rudy was offered the position of Air Quality Control Manager, which really translated into ‘little guy who crawls through air shafts and cleans them out’. Rudy didn’t mind, it paid well enough and he would be able to help his family.
But more importantly, it was because of that very job Rudy ended up saving the world.
A few months later Rudy was cleaning out the ventilation system inside a government building. It was a very heavily-guarded place and extra security measures had been put up that week because all the leaders of the entire world had gathered there for an emergency meeting. The leaders were there to discuss setting a date, to set a date, to discuss the official date – when they would address the very real threat of a horrifying plot, recently brought to their attention by very reliable sources. A video posted on Your-Tub of a previously unknown Peace group, went viral. The group was planning to Occupy the entire globe, put the largest banks under hostage until the wealth of the world was more evenly distributed amongst all. Their goal was to have every single child on the planet fed, educated and given access to good health care. They wanted housing built for every single homeless person in the world – and more horrors too ghastly to mention. They were going to do this by increasing the taxes of big (really big) corporations to make it possible. It would mean at least a 0.82% to 1.21% loss in annual profits for them and might even trickle down to the portfolios of the top 1% of the 1% wealthiest people on the planet. This was serious business and they had to move fast.
Rudy was working inside a ventilation shaft in the basement of the building when he heard some voices. Now Rudy wasn’t one to eavesdrop on a conversation, but he couldn’t help himself from listening in this time as his instinct told him that something was very wrong. He carefully positioned himself next to the vent opening and looked down. Several security guards were shuffling around inside a small room. They started taking off their uniforms, revealing a set of regular clothing underneath, laughing and snickering while doing so.
As Rudy listened, he heard things that almost made him fall through the vent. It soon became clear they were a group of very sophisticated terrorists with their own plot – a horrifying plan to detonate nuclear bombs all over the world! There was no way to stop them, as the codes had already been sent out and the countdown begun. Within two hours, nuclear bombs secretly deployed all over the world would explode, creating mass destruction. But not to the members of their terrorist group and their friends (and ‘friends of friends’, but not to the ‘public’). They had secret bunkers set up all over the planet and would be safe until they were able to come out and take over the world. One of the bunkers was even located underneath the very building they were in.
“In less than two hours comes the beginning of a new world… our world!” shouted one of the terrorists.
“There is no way anybody can stop us now! There are bombs hidden in every country on every continent on this planet!” shouted out another. He was holding up a large map. Rudy was close enough to see it was a map of where every bomb was located.
“Well, there is a way to stop it… only one way. Every bomb has a stop button, but they would all have to be pressed at exactly the same time for them to deactivate… and there are hundreds of them and nobody even knows they are there. Ha, ha, ha, ha… HA!” cried an evil voice. “Come, let’s get down to the bunker.”
Now Rudy, being quick on his feet and as well-educated as he was, immediately knew what he had to do. First he pulled out his cell phone and took a picture of the map before the terrorists left the room. Once they were gone, he scrambled up through the vents and made his way to the situation room where the world leaders would be sitting around a table discussing their… situation. Time was of the essence and he didn’t hesitate to jump right out of the vent directly on to the middle of the table.
At first they were all shocked and frightened, looking to the armed guards for protection, but then suddenly a few of the leaders began laughing, thinking it was simply special entertainment being offered to them by the hosting country.
“Oh look! A hobbit has come to dance for us!”
Rudy told them all about the plot he uncovered, earnestly trying to get them to act quickly, but they just laughed and said he was just being a silly little guy. There was no time to argue with them, so Rudy climbed back into the vent. He would have to do something about it himself. He made his way down to where the main computer system was located. The guards were stationed outside the room, so he quietly lowered himself down and set himself up in front of one of the terminals and began his work.
First he uploaded the picture he took of the map and then connected the hot spots to the GPS system. Once done, he posted the whole story with a link to the map on his Facebook page and then composed a Twitter message he sent out by hijacking Ashton Kutcher’s account, knowing it would reach thousands and thousands of people all over the world. The messages came flooding in, there were enough people who believed him and they wanted to know what they could do! With their help Rudy managed to find enough Point Five people situated close enough to each bomb’s location and explained to them what had to be done. They were the only ones who would be able to slip into these places unnoticed and not be stopped or delayed by questions. With just less than two minutes to go everybody was in place, their little fingers hovering just above the stop buttons of the bombs, waiting for his text message. Rudy took in a deep breath, counted to ten and pressed the send button. He exhaled. Moments later his inbox began filling up with return messages from the Point-Fivers. It worked!
The world had been saved and the terrorists all abducted. Rudy became an international hero.
Accolades and gifts came pouring in from all over the world. Lady Gaga even sent him a pair of custom-made shoes with a built-in power-lifter and announced a world-wide benefit concert to help raise awareness about Point Five people. Never again would they be overlooked she promised! China decreed that the number of children their citizens were legally allowed to have would be increased to 1.5 children.
The Hill family’s fortune changed and of course, as was told to you from the very beginning, they lived happily ever after!
Bonnie Wurst, from Montreal QC, has been writing since she could hold a crayon. Her first novel ‘Damaged Goods’ was published in 1987. She is also a professional ghostwriter, with 2 novels published in 2008/2009 and 1 novel recently completed in 2011. Although known more for her humoristic approach to writing, she is also an accomplished writer in many fields including adult contemporary fiction, fantasy adventure and children’s stories.