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The Big Gallery

Variable Tilings

The Adventures of Lulu Lizard and Bubba Bat

Bats and Lizards

Busy Beetles

Penrose Gallery



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Chapter 6

In Which Lulu and Bubba Investigate the Mirror

Lulu was eagerly looking forward to further explorations and adventures in the upstairs with Bubba that afternoon. She knew there wouldn’t be any food or water available upstairs, so she ate a big lunch and went out to the side lawn, where the sun did not reach till afternoon, and there she found plenty of fresh dew still on the lush green grass that flourished in the morning shade. Then, feeling satisfied, Lulu returned to the underhouse for a little nap.

“Lulu,” she said drowsily to herself as she curledherself comfortably in the sand, “you’re a lazy lizard, and you love your little naps.”

Which was sort of true, for her dreams were always nice, and a little nap left her feeling fresh and ready to do new fun things.

Almost an hour later she gradually awakened, in a drowsy noon-time-nap sort of way, and wondered what she should do until it was time to meet Bubba.

“Maybe I’ll go up now and just look at my room until Bubba shows up,” she said to herself, lifting a golden-eyed gaze in search of any of her pesky brothers who might have ideas about following her. Then, seeing none, off she ran.

A minute later she poked her head out her “door”, and there in the living room all she could see was a tall flat surface a few inches from her nose that completely blocked her view of the room.

“It must be something left by the men mother mentioned,” she said to herself, and settled down in the doorway to wait for Bubba.

Lulu had just gotten comfortable and had time to notice shadows of other large objects apparently standing both to the right and to the left of the one in front of her that blocked her view of the room, when Bubba’s voice reached her from the front hallway.

“Hello, hello, hello. Lulu! Are you here? Looo Looo!”

Lulu leapt down to the floor before answering, “I’m in here, Bubba. By our door.” Then she sauntered casually out from behind the big flat view-blocking object, just as though she had had perfect faith that he would show up, and had come down from the doorway and been walking around for ever so long.

“What are all these things?” asked Bubba just as Lulu became aware that the room was virtually full of tall sheet-covered wooden frames like the one just in front of her doorway.

“I really haven’t the faintest idea, Bubba,” replied Lulu. “My mother said a big truck with ‘Circus Magnus’ on it came early this morning and some men made a lot of noise up here. That’s all I know, except that my silly brothers were all excited about imaginary dogs and cats.”

“I’m pretty sure there aren’t any dogs here, and I don’t think humans would leave a cat shut up in an old house like this, so let’s find out what these things are.” said Bubba.

“How....” began Lulu, pausing to watch Bubba fly upward.

“Watch!” replied Bubba, who was always ready to show off a little. He swooped down to the top of the shape Lulu was looking at, gripped the covering sheet with his sharp-clawed hind feet, and then, flapping his wings as hard as he could, dragged it up and off the wooden frame and let it fall to the floor.

“ACHooo,” sneezed Lulu in the small cloud of dust from the fall of the sheet. Then she looked toward the frame and cried delightedly, “Ernestine!”

What she saw seemed the perfect image of her older sister Ernestine. It was Ernestine who had run off, when still quite young, with the handsome traveling sales lizard from another neighborhood. But it was also Ernestine whose large size Lulu’s mother always mentioned when she cautioned Lulu about eating and napping too much.

But in a moment Lulu saw that it wasn’t really Ernestine at whom she was looking. It was her own mirror image, reflected in a mirror that made her look very fat!

“Wow!” said Bubba, alighting beside her. “Do you look Fat!”

“What about you?” responded Lulu. “I look fat and nice, but you look really geeky in the mirror! Ha ha. Look at you! You’re so long-bodied and short-winged!”

Bubba, who knew he should have known better than to tell a girl she looked fat, even in a Fun House mirror, was nevertheless unabashed, and grinned ever more broadly as he watched his mirror image grin ever more geekily back at him.

“Ernestine and Eric the Red.” he replied. “They go pretty well together.”

“A bat like that probably couldn’t even fly,” persisted Lulu, trying to make a dent in Bubba’s self assurance. Why did you call him Eric the Red?

“For the Norse explorer who discovered, well-- Greenland,” replied Bubba rather distractedly, for he was thinking back to what his father had told him about the science of flight when he was a little bat and just learning to fly. “ Eric is what you would call a low- aspect-ratio design, with short broad wings. Maybe for low speed or maneuverability. Or maybe he’d fly really fast, like short-winged jet fighters do.”

“Well, I’m sure I don’t know anything about that,” said Lulu.

Encouraged by that, Bubba went on, “He’d probably be able to fly really slowly, at a steep angle of attack without falling out of the sky. And he could probably glide really really slowly in ground effect, -- that’s when he’s half his wing-span from the ground. Gliding is something bats don’t usually do at all.”

Lulu was completely mystified by all this, and was sure that was the effect Bubba was trying for, so she remained silent, winking first one eye and then the other at Ernestine in the mirror.

“Well, anyhow,” said Bubba, relenting, “let’s see what’s under the next sheet.” And with that he flew up and dragged the dust cover most of the way off another mirror, but left it to hang so it did not fall and raise another dust cloud.

“Thank you, Bubba.” said Lulu. “I think this one is different.”

“Yep. ‘Sure is,” said Bubba, alighting beside her. “That lizard is not as fat as Ernestine, and that bat is not quite as geeky as Eric the Red.”

I’m glad you admit that Eric the Red is geeky looking,” said Lulu. “I mean, he looks nice enough, but just a little bit weird.”

“I guess so,” conceded Bubba. “But what are we going to call this pair?”

“How about Willow, and,..uhh--.”

“Wilbur,” interjected Bubba as Lulu paused.

“I have an Aunt Willow who’s as sweet as can be, and she looks very much like this. Do you have an Uncle Wilbur, Bubba?”

“No,” replied Bubba. “It’s just another name of someone I admire, and the alliteration, I mean, using the same initial letter, W, will help me keep track of who’s who around here. There are lots more mirrors, you know, if that’s what all these covered shapes are. Let’s see what the next one is like.” And with that he flew up to uncover another tall wood-framed mirror.

As Bubba moved the sheet aside, Lulu stared intently into the now uncovered third mirror.

“In this mirror I don’t look very much heavier than I really am, Bubba.”

“Hmmm,” hmmed Bubba, “I think it shows both of us just as we are. This mirror is really quite flat. That’s Lulu and Bubba you’re looking at.”

“Oh,” said Lulu, somewhat taken aback. “Well, let’s see another.” Then she watched as Bubba neatly lifted the dust cover from the next frame and draped it to one side. Then the two of them positioned themselves in front of the mirror and admired their reflections.

“Ooo Bubba,” said Lulu. “That’s just the way I’d like to look. So slim! So svelte. So soigne!”

“Him?” said Bubba, smiling broadly and pointing at his own reflection to cover the fact that he did not know the meaning of “soigne”, and was a little unsure of “svelte”, “You’d really like to look like him?”

“NO, of course not!” replied Lulu. “Like HER, you conceited bat!”

“Just kidding, Lu. Though frankly, she seems a bit on the skinny side to me. But I look really cool in this mirror, don't you think?”

“He looks a little smart-alecky to me, but a very flighty shape, yes,” replied Lulu. “What shall we name them? How about Opal, after an old school-friend of mine?”

“And Orville, after Wilbur’s brother, Orville Wright. You know, Wilbur and Orville, the humans who built the first controllable airplane and were the second kind of mammal to learn to really fly,” rejoined Bubba, hoping the dignity of the name would help counteract the slightly smart-alecky look Orville seemed to have.

“Opal and Orville they are,” said Lulu. “Let’s see, we’ve got Eric the Red and Ernestine, Wilbur and Willow, Bubba and Lulu, and now Orville and Opal, is that right?”

“I guess so,” said Bubba, “though I’m not sure why we’re naming them.”

“ ‘Cause it’s fun,” replied Lulu. “One of MY heroes, Richard Feynman, said, ‘Only do what’s fun, and disregard others’, so let’s see the next mirror, Maestro.”

“Yes. Bubba The Magnificent will now present Magic Mirror Number Five!” intoned Bubba, and flew up to neatly uncover the fifth mirror.

This mirror proved to be as strongly curved as the first one, but in a different way.

“It’s Priscilla Lizard!” cried Lulu, looking at the dangerously thin-appearing image of herself.

“And lets see,” said Bubba. “How about ‘Percy’ for this emaciated morsel of myself. Priscilla and Percy. A perfect pair.”

“Oh dear!” cried Lulu. “I don't think I can get any skinnier than this. I wonder what the next mirror can be like.”

“ ‘Only one way to find out,” said Bubba, and uncovered another mirror. But it simply showed another Ernestine and Eric, and the next revealed another Willow and Wilbur. Some time later, when even Bubba was tiring, they uncovered the last mirror in the room, and it too seemed like a re-run, showing the fourth Opal-and-Orville pair.

“Well,” said Lulu, still full of energy, “maybe we could roll all these mirrors together so we could have some clear floor to slide on.”

That did not stir much enthusiasm in Bubba at all.

“I’m kind of tired of lifting and moving things,” he said. “Besides, sliding on the floor is not my favorite sport.”

“Oh,” said Lulu, whose favorite sport it had just recently become. “Of course. I didn’t think. I was just wondering what we could do next.”

On to Chapter 7!

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