Isaac was at the register at the hardware store when he saw the clear plastic tub of rubber ducks. They seemed so out-of-place next to the screwdrivers and gum and tape measures arranged on the shelves nearby. He shifted the dryer hose and wooden dowels he was carrying so that he could pick one up.
He looked down at the cheerful, smiling yellow duck. Charlie would love it, and he’d need some cheering up today. He added it to his purchases.
He arrived home just in time for dinner. “Did the new dinosaur book come today?” Charlie asked.
“We didn’t get any packages,” Marianne said.
“Maybe it will come later,” Charlie said.
Isaac sighed. “Actually, I got an email today that said that the book is delayed.”
“What? Why?” Charlie asked. “It was supposed to come out today.”
“There was some sort of printing error and they need to fix it,” Isaac said.
“But when will it come out? Tomorrow?” Charlie asked.
“The email didn’t say. But, look!” Isaac held up the rubber duck. “I got you something else instead. It’s a bath toy. I had one like this when I was younger.”
Marianne frowned. “Bath toys collect mold.”
Charlie shrugged. “I don’t like baths anyway. I like showers better.” He took the duck from Isaac. “He looks happy, doesn’t he?”
“Maybe instead of a bath duck he can be a desk duck,” Isaac said.
“Then he can help me with my homework,” Charlie said. “Do you think he’s any good at fractions?”
Isaac laughed. “Maybe, but I wouldn’t count on it.”
After dinner, Charlie took the duck to his room. Isaac helped Marianne load the dishwasher, and then went to check on him. Charlie was sitting at his desk, looking at the rubber duck.
“Are you okay?” Isaac asked.
“Yeah. Just disappointed, I guess,” Charlie said. “My friends and I were going to read the new book at school together tomorrow. I was really looking forward to it.”
“It’s hard when plans change last minute,” Isaac said.
Charlie sighed. “Yeah.”
Isaac sat on the chair next to the bookshelf. He looked at the shelf of dinosaur books. “Maybe we could write our own book.”
“But books take a long time to write,” Charlie said.
“Tonight we could just write the first chapter,” Isaac said. “It would give you and your friends something to read together tomorrow. If they like it, maybe we could write more.”
“But what would we write about?” Charlie asked.
Isaac looked down at the rubber duck Charlie was still holding. “The dinosaurs and the rubber duck.”
Charlie laughed. “It would have to be a big rubber duck,” he said.
“Big enough for the baby dinosaurs to ride on when they take baths in the lake,” Dad said.
“And then the aliens beam it aboard their spaceship when they try to kidnap a baby dinosaur,” Charlie said.
“And then they hold it for ransom,” Isaac said.
“I could draw the ransom note,” Charlie said. “They’d send it with a picture of the rubber duck and say it was a baby dinosaur. It would be funny.”
“Then the detective dinosaur could catch them and put them in jail,” Isaac said.
“I like the detective dinosaur,” Charlie said.
“Me too,” Isaac said. “And the baby dinosaurs can help him find clues.”
“I’ll get some paper out,” Charlie said. “This is going to be fun.” He put the rubber duck on the desk and gave it a pat. “Don’t worry little duck,” he said. “The detective dinosaur will save you.” Then he got out the paper and some pencils and they started writing.