HENRY ELBOW AND THE TREASURE OF THE CLOKEYSPHERE, PART SEVEN

It looked like your standard treasure chest, dark wood with a brass lock attached. A lock! Henry hadn’t thought of that. After all that work to find the treasure, now they wouldn’t be able to open it. But Slim was already walking toward it. He removed his ring finger from his left hand and inserted it into the lock, then he turned it, and the lock snapped open.

“Skeleton key,” Slim said, smiling. This time, the smile was warm and welcome. Henry had grown fond of his new friend, and wasn’t scared of him anymore. Much.

But now they had finally found the treasure. Henry rushed over to Slim to see what was inside the chest. Would it be diamonds? Doubloons? Rubies? He couldn’t wait to see. Slim gasped and reached inside, and he pulled out the contents of the treasure chest.

“It’s a sweater!” he shouted enthusiastically. It was, in fact, a sweater. An orange v-neck sweater, which Slim pulled on immediately, admiring himself. “How do I look?” he asked.

Henry was upset, angry, and even mad. “A sweater?” he shouted. “We snuck past Space Sharks, Fire Trees and a giant Cyclops for a lousy sweater!” As he moved closer to Slim, to facilitate throttling his neck, he noticed there was a banana embroidered on the sweater, which made him even angrier, for some reason.

“Hey, cut me some slack,” Slim said, looking apologetic. “I’m sorry I put you through all of this, but I really needed a sweater. It gets cold here in the Clokeysphere, especially for a skeleton like me. Besides, you had fun, didn’t you? I mean, at least it wasn’t boring.”

Henry had to admit, it had been scary, exciting and tons of fun. And it was definitely better than cleaning his room.

“But how will I get home?” Henry asked. Slim chuckled.

“That’s the best part. The treasure chest has a false bottom.” He pushed on the bottom of the treasure chest, and sure enough, it fell away. “Come on,” he said, and crawled down into the hole. Henry followed without thinking twice. They ended up under his bed, and pushed all the books away to get out and into his room. It felt like Henry had been gone all day, but only a little over an hour had passed. Slim helped Henry clean his room, organizing all of his clothes and books and balls and action figures and vehicles and stuffed animals so that they were stored away in drawers or on shelves or in bins. Then, it was time for Slim to go. “So long, Henry,” he said, shaking his hand. “I’ll see you when I see you.” He exited through the Door to Outer Space, which had been cleverly hidden behind a large stuffed elephant. Henry figured it would be the last he would see of the skeleton, and it was.

Until one boring summer afternoon, when he found a folded piece of paper on his desk…

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