“Nothing to Do”

Chris and Byron shared everything—their toys, their clothes, their books, their bedroom, and even their colds.

“I’m bored,” sniffed Chris. “I wish we could go outside.”

“There’s nothing to do in the house,” Byron said, coughing.

“Nothing at all,” Chris agreed, “except ride my horse.”

“You don’t have a horse,” Byron declared.

Chris wiped his nose. “I do so.”

“Prove it!”

Chris opened the door to their bedroom and pointed. “See?”

Byron blinked his eyes hard. “There’s nothing there but our bunk beds.” He snorted and started to turn away.

Chris walked over to the bunk beds and said, “Good horse,” as he gently patted one of the headboards.

Byron stopped and stared at the beds.

“Want to ride him?” Chris asked. “Or are you afraid he’ll buck you off?”

Byron stepped a little closer. “He’s your horse. You go first.”

Chris slowly climbed up the ladder and sat on the bed very carefully. He gripped the bedpost and whispered, “Giddy-up, horse.”

Nothing happened. He looked down at Byron.

“Try it again,” Byron urged.

“Giddy-up, horse,” Chris said louder.

Still nothing happened.

“Wait a minute,” Byron said. He lay on the bottom bed and lifted his legs up until his feet were touching the underside of the top bunk. “Now try kicking the horse,” he suggested.

Chris put one foot over the side and kicked the side rail. “Giddy-up, horse!” he yelled. With a little help from Byron’s feet, the mattress bucked up and down. “Yippee! Wahoo!” Chris bellowed.

Suddenly Mom appeared in the doorway. “Byron! Chris! Stop that right now before you break your beds,” she scolded, then disappeared back into the kitchen.

Chris swung his legs over the side. “What do you think?”

Byron sneezed, wiped his nose, and stood there staring at the beds for a long time. “I don’t think you have a horse,” he finally said. “What you have is a tree house in the middle of a dark, scary jungle.”

Chris screeched, “Look out behind you! There’s a tiger!”

Byron scampered up the ladder. “Where?”

Chris pointed his finger at Cat, who was sitting in the corner, busily licking his paws. Cat looked up at them with big, gleaming, hungry, yellow eyes.

“Should we shoot it?” Byron asked.

“No guns,” Chris reminded him.

Cat stretched, then stalked toward the bed.

“I don’t like the way he’s looking at us. Let’s get out of here before he decides to eat us.”

Byron pulled a long string out of his pocket and made a loop in one end.

“Here comes an elephant!” he shouted. “I’m going to capture it.” He swung the string over his head and neatly lassoed the bedpost. “Got it!”

The boys rode the big elephant away from the man-eating tiger, out of the jungle, and across the hot, white sands of the desert. The string slipped down in front of the bed and mysteriously came alive.

“Rattlesnake!” Chris exclaimed.

The elephant reared back, and the boys almost fell off. They had to hang on tightly while the elephant galloped past the rattlesnake.

“Whew! That was close,” Chris said.

Soon they came to a big lake.

“Let’s leave the elephant here and take a boat across the lake,” Byron suggested.

“Good idea,” Chris agreed. “I’ll go out on deck and steer the boat out of the harbor. You hoist the anchor.”

The boat hadn’t gone very far before it ran into a big storm. Hundred-foot waves crashed onto the boat and tossed the boys back and forth.

“Better head for port,” Chris shouted down to Byron.

When they were safely anchored in the harbor, Byron suggested that they take an airplane back home and get something to eat.

“Coming in for a landing,” Chris announced. “Check the landing gear.”

Byron learned over and looked under the bed. “There aren’t any wheels. Prepare to make a belly landing, and hope that the plane doesn’t explode.”

The plane skidded and jumped across the runway and came to a jerky stop.

“Everyone out before she goes up in flames!” Chris yelled. He and Byron bailed out just as the doorbell rang. They ran to open the door. It was George from across the street.

“Come outside and play,” George said.

“Can’t,” Chris sniffed. “We have colds.”

Byron coughed. “I wish we could go out,” he said. “There’s nothing to do in the house.”

“Nothing at all,” agreed Chris.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Taia Morley