Welcome to Story Soup! If you need to catch up with the events so far, you can read the whole story in chronological order here. Thank you to everyone who voted for what happens to the bag with Einstein’s brain inside it. ‘Other’ suggestions included that he should become ‘in love with maths’ but with 63% of the vote, the winning choice was that he should become ‘Outstanding’…
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Gregory Bedcarrots and the dignified picnic.
Twenty minutes after making their crafty exit from Princeton Orphanage, Gregory and the gang were sat in the middle of a beautiful garden, gratefully eating the picnic which Penny had packed. What with all the scheming and hiding and running, nobody had noticed until now just how famished they were and all were thankful for the much needed rest. Penny took great pleasure in laying out their lunch, smiling proudly as Gregory recounted her genius in saving the day.
In her excitement, Penny made a bit of a mess opening the tins of soup, and the bag remarked jovially, “This may come as news to you, but theories hold that the earliest evidence of soup eating was Hippopotamus soup in as early as 6000BC.”
Penny and Gregory shot each other bemused grins. With Einstein’s brain inside him, the bag had become nothing short of extraordinary.
Upon leaving the orphanage, the bag had said very wisely that a person on the run should never look like a person on the run and that they ought to walk with purpose and confidence. He had then offered sound counsel to Gregory who was feeling somewhat panicky and then used his exemplary sense of smell to lead them to this secluded garden in which they were now reclining. His manner was one of deep confidence and aptitude; not in a cocky way; but in a rather meek and solemn way, bearing all the sophistication of modest learned gentleman.
He gave a serene smile and crossed his polyester legs, cocking his head to one side as he admired what he called the “majestic Helianthus annuus.” (That’s a sunflower to you and me). Unlike Gregory and Penny who were so hungry that they wolfed their food down faster than you can say indigestion, the bag was rather more refined; systematically tearing his bread into identical sized chunks which he dipped methodically into the soup, careful to shake off any excess soup before consuming each bite.
Gregory retrieved Darren the diplodocus from where he had been sitting patiently in the bottom of his trouser pocket. Darren gave a little shake and blew a few small bubbles. Then he began to trot gingerly around the tins of soup. Penny gave a yawn and leant over to stroke him. “Cute little thing,” she said gently. “How do you reckon he’s magical?”
Gregory gave a shrug and turned to the bag. “What do you think, Einstein?”
The bag shot him an affronted look and said simply, “A genius can’t be forced; nor can you make an ape an alderman.”
Gregory and Penny shot each other a quick glance and then turned away quickly, for fear of collapsing into giggles.
“And furthermore,” continued the bag, “If you are going to name me at this late stage in our friendship, kindly call me Stitch or Black Velvet. I may have the brain of the aforementioned scientist but I assure you, we have little else in common.”
Gregory smiled politely at the bag and said nothing. The bag was certainly far less unruly with Einstein’s brain inside him, but he was also a great deal more tedious. To be insulted by an idiot bag was one thing, but to be formally corrected by a bag of intimidating intellect was really quite something else. Gregory wasn’t sure which he preferred.
When they had all eaten, the bag said assertively, “Well then comrades, I think our work here is done!”
“Yes,” said Penny, grinning in agreement. “Shall we go?” She started to write their destination in the soil and then asked seriously, “Are we going home or somewhere else first?”
“Ah yes!” said the bag in excitement. “Why we’re as free as birds! Let us leave this coop, go out on a lark, feather new nests and really find something to crow about!”
Penny raised an eyebrow and said carefully, “Yes, quite.”
“We could leave this universe and explore the border of black…”
“Or…” began Penny apprehensively, “we could go to a nice zoo or something?”
“And free all the deprived animals from their abhorrent captivity!”
“Erm…” Penny looked at the bag nervously and then turned to Gregory. “What do you think, Gregory?”
Gregory gave a cough and said bashfully, “I need the toilet.”
The bag said that according to the laws of physics, Gregory would most certainly be able to restrain himself in the wormhole, but Penny said she didn’t want Gregory complaining all the way home and sent him into some nearby trees to relieve himself.
Slipping out of sight, Gregory began a lengthy discussion with himself weighing up their various options. They could embark upon a small adventure. It would be reasonably harmless now that they had fulfilled the bag lady’s mission… However, he felt rather tired and wasn’t sure he would be able to fully enjoy yet another expedition away from home. There was also the pressing matter of the stone Gregory that they had left behind in England. As much as he would like to ignore it, Gregory felt as though he really ought to go back and face up to it sooner rather than later. He gave it some serious umming and ahhing and then decided boldly that he would insist that they go straight home. If the bag wanted to go off by itself, well he was a grown bag and could fend for himself. Gregory would happily give him a handful of the time worms to embark on his own adventure; but as for he and Penny, they were going home. He was just about to go back and announce his decision when a rough hand caught him round the wrist.
“Well, well, well!” said a sinister voice.
If you are anything like me, the person you would most fear meeting whilst alone in the woods, would look a little bit like this guy: