The Missing Tides
by Sharyn Abdullah
(Perth, Western Australia, Australia.)
THE MISSING TIDES
Victor Acosto was the smartest kid in the world. He lived in a place not far from the Tropic of Capricorn, on a small island called Torque.
When Victor was five years old, he built a car for his mum. He built the car so that she could drive him to school. He got most of the parts from the people at the recycling factory. He visited them so often that they started up a junk pile just for him.
When Victor was six years old, he built supercharged go-karts for each of his friends and one for himself. They took the karts to an unused speedway and spent their spare time racing each other.
When Victor was eight years old, he'd read every book at his local library on how to build motorized things.
One afternoon a state of emergency had been called. The tides had disappeared. Without the tides things stopped happening all around the world.
"We can't fish. The water levels aren't rising and falling. We can't enter or leave the harbors with our boats," said the fishermen.
"We can't make sandcastles by the beach. The sand is too dry," said the children.
"There are no more shells along the shorelines," said the beachcombers.
Ocean liners got stuck, because the water was too shallow. The high tides didn't arrive to make the water deep.
Coastlines became dirty - there were no tides to carry the debris to deeper water.
The armies and national guards were called. But they only scratched their heads.
The scientists announced that the Moon was responsible for the tides. Tides were caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon on the Earth. They would need to investigate further.
The very next day, Victor went into his workshop and put on his spacesuit and shoes. Then he uncovered his space rocket. He'd read about the missing tides in the paper. He was off to visit the Man in the Moon.
Victor had visited the Moon on several occasions. He waited until it got dark before he started up the ignition. WHOOSH! WHOOSH! it went, waiting to blast off. The roof opened up by a switch near the rocket. He put it into gear and pushed down on the lever. The rocket shot up through the roof outlet. WHOOSH! He was away. He had built a micro-super computer. It pointed the rocket towards the Moon in the far away sky.
It was lunar-night time before he landed on the Moon. The rocket touched down on the dusty ground. His door slid back on smooth, well oiled rollers. He stepped out of his rocket onto powdery yellow dust. Victor looked around at the mountains of purple and blue rock and red craters.
"Astral, where are you?" he called.
There was no answer.
"Something's wrong," said Victor. Astral was always waiting for him when he came to visit.
Victor grabbed his rescue box out of the rocket. He jumped into the lunar rover which was close by. With a roar he raced and bounced over the rugged surface. He was going to look for Astral.
"What's that?" Victor yelled.
He slammed his foot on the brake. He turned the steering wheel hard to the right. Somehow he just missed a rock. Victor got out of the rover. He was sweating. His helmet fogged up.
"Hello. Is someone there?" Victor heard someone call.
Victor pressed a button for warm air to defog his helmet. He looked around to where the voice had come from. Victor saw a crater a few meters away.
"I'm coming, Astral," he yelled.
Victor grabbed a lunar-torch from the rover. He bounced towards the crater until he reached the edge. He got down on his hands and knees. He shone the torch around the crater as he peered down. He saw Astral lying at the bottom.
"Astral, I've been looking everywhere for you. What happened?"
"I'm glad you're here. I tripped over something. I've hurt my knee and can't get out," he said. "I can't do my job till I get out of here. I need to fix the tides."
Victor looked down into the crater. It was a long way down.
"I have my rescue box in the lunar rover. I'll go and get it," he said.
He sprang back to the rover and rummaged through his box. He found a long piece of rope.
"I'm throwing down a rope. Grab the end and I'll pull you up," he said.
"It's too short," yelled Astral as the rope dangled meters above his head.
"I'll have to find something else," shouted Victor.
Once again Victor rummaged through his rescue box. He found a small black box. He threw the box into the crater. When it hit the bottom, a trampoline sprang out.
Astral climbed on to the trampoline. He swung one arm while he held his sore knee with the other. He began to bounce. But he couldn't bounce high enough to reach the edge of the crater.
"It's no good. I'm going to be stuck here forever," Astral sniffed.
"Wait. I've just thought of something. I've made a special formula juice from a plant I found on Globoton. When you drink it, it'll give you all the bounce you need. I'll need to go to the rocket and get it." Victor told Astral.
Victor had first spotted the planet, he'd named Globoton, on his specially built telescope. He'd built the telescope specially for spotting not yet discovered space bodies. It hadn't taken him long to find the plants he needed amongst the hundreds of exotic ones that grew on Globoton because he had taken along his specially built plant finder. Then it had only taken a few minutes to extract the juice with his self made juice extractor.
Victor jumped into the lunar rover and raced back to his space rocket.
Inside his space rocket Victor put the special formula juice into a moon-ball. Within twenty minutes Victor was back with the juice. He rolled the ball down to Astral.
Astral drank the juice and bounced right out of the crater.
"It was getting boring sitting in there. I really will need to be more careful from now on. Lucky you came along," said Astral. His shiny, smiling face glowed against the darkened sky. "Let's go. I've a lot of work to catch up on."
But first Victor bandaged Astral's knee.
With Astral's knee nicely bandaged, Victor sat next to him while he worked on the gravitation force.
"The gravitation force is weak," said Astral as he studied the readings he punched out. "I need to work fast."
Sitting at the controls on his machine, he spun a dial until it reached full power. He reset his tide programme. He pushed a series of coloured buttons. Huge balls at the front of the machine began to spin. They went faster and faster. Astral pushed and pulled levers so that the balls rose up and down. The balls spun at great speeds. Sparks lit up the darkness. Then the gravitational pull was working at full strength again.
"Everything is now working perfectly again," said Victor as he checked with his telescope he had brought from Earth. The oceans rose, making the tides ebb and flow once more.
Victor checked the time on his workstation watch. "I must go home now."
"Bring your friends next time. We can have a lunar party," said Astral.
"That sounds like a good idea," said Victor. He hurried back to his space rocket. He rapidly nosedived for home before Mum realized he was missing.
No-one noticed Victor's space rocket slipping back down to Earth, into his workshop. The world was too busy celebrating the return of the tides.
Victor's friends were waiting inside his workshop. From his rocket, Victor had sent each of them a message from his specially built lunar phone. He told them what time he'd be arriving.
"You're a hero," Victor's friends told him. "Let's celebrate."
Victor brought out some of the purple juice formula he'd saved.
"Wow! This is the best juice I've ever had," Victor's friends screamed, bouncing and leaping high in the air.