Will looked up at the big pine tree in disgust. Its lowest branches were too high to reach, even if he managed to drag the ladder here. The other two trees in the yard were new spindly little things. If he tried to climb them, the branches would probably snap off. Besides, what was the point? The ladder was taller.
Will stomped into the house. He fell back onto the couch and scowled. “What’s wrong?” Dad asked.
“Our trees are too tall or too short. I want to climb a tree and build a tree house and maybe look at a bird nest close up. Why don’t we have any just right trees?” Will said. He tried hard not to sound like he was whining, but he wasn’t entirely successful.
Dad smiled. “It’s not as bad as all that. You know what the obvious answer to your problem is, right?”
Will sat up. Of course. He just needed to build a time machine. It shouldn’t be too hard. “So I have permission then, right?” Will said.
“Certainly,” Dad said. “It’ll be fun. I’ll be right back.” Dad left the room.
Will jumped up. This was going to be great. He looked around the living room first. Hmmm. He’d need a clock, obviously. He pulled the fancy clock with the pendulum off the wall. It had the most parts, after all. He tucked it under his arm.
He looked around the kitchen next. The expensive blender went really fast. He wouldn’t want his trip to take too long. Even if he could arrive back just after he’d left, he didn’t want to sit around too long waiting for it to happen.
Now he needed a vehicle. Will went out to the garage. He considered the car. No, that was too complicated. He had no idea where to begin. Plus the parts looked heavy. He looked around. Dad’s bike was hanging up on some hooks on the wall. Perfect.
Will shoved some boxes out of the way and dropped the clock and blender on the floor with a clang and a clatter. He grinned and rushed to pull the bike off the wall. He propped it against the boxes.
He opened the toolbox on the workbench. Hmmm. He considered the hammer, but reluctantly set it aside. He didn’t want to damage any of the parts. He looked through the screwdrivers and wrenches. He wasn’t sure which ones he’d need. In the end, he decided to use his shirt as a basket and pile them all in.
Will dumped the tools in a pile next to the clock and blender. He looked down. There were black streaks on his shirt, the kind that never came out in the wash. That was too bad. He’d liked this shirt. Well, sometimes things like that happened.
He turned the base of the blender over and was trying to figure out how to open it, when the garage door opened. Dad stepped into the garage from the house and frowned. “Will, what are you doing? Is that the blender? And the clock? Why is my bike down?”
“You said I could. I want to climb the trees in our yard, remember? And you said the answer is obvious,” Will said. He set down the blender so that he could fold his arms and scowl. He shouldn’t be in trouble. He had permission this time.
“But why would you need any of this to climb trees?” Dad asked.
“I need all of them for the time machine,” Will said.
“A time machine?” Dad walked over and picked up the clock. He turned it over in his hands and straightened the pendulum.
“Obviously,” Will said.
“I meant that you could go and climb the trees in the park. I was getting changed so that I could take you there,” Dad said. “Anytime you want to take something apart, you need to ask. You need to ask separately for each item you want to take apart.”
“Oh,” Will said. How disappointing. “So can I take the clock apart?”
“No,” Dad said.
“No,” Dad said.
“No,” Dad said.
Will frowned. “What good was asking if you are just going to say no?” Will asked.
“Maybe it would be easier to ask what you can take apart,” Dad said.
“So what can I take apart?” Will asked.
“I’ll look around the house and see what I can find,” Dad said.
“Maybe you could do that later,” Will said. “Let’s go to the park first.”