This squeal echoed across the Double-Press Ranch, an ecstatic cry of warning. Seconds later, on a souped-up unicycle, Magnolia DuMont tore across the field like a hog with a belly full of firecrackers. Chickens scattered. Horses reared up. Cows raised their heads, then returned to grazing. Magnolia, or Maggie as her friends called her, realized Geronimo was normally a cry reserved for jumping from a great height and not tearing across the field, but because Geronimo had a better ring to it than, “Look out,” she chose the more aesthetically pleasing option. She also liked to say “Timber,” right before she sneezed.

When I say the unicycle she was perched upon was souped-up, I mean to say she had tied a speedboat motor to it and set it on fire. Most unicycles don’t have speedboat motors tied to them, let alone flaming motors. And all unicycles, including the one Magnolia DuMont was currently perched upon, have no brakes. The Double-Press Ranch had a hay loft, though. A beauty of a hay loft, in fact, which Josiah DuMont was extremely proud of. So when Maggie crashed into it with her unicycle, she knew she’d be in deep trouble. And when the flaming speedboat motor set the whole thing on fire, she knew the depths of her troubles had just descended considerably. Running from the crumbling hay loft, she watched helplessly as it burned to the ground, clearing hay from her hair and face. “Timber,” she said woefully, and sneezed.

She knew once her Dad came home from the market to find his prized hay loft a pile of ashes, she’d be confined to her room for the rest of the summer, until fifth grade reared its ugly head. For someone as addicted to adventure as Magnolia DuMont, grounding was akin to the plague. Which is why she decided the only prudent course of action was to run away. She dashed a note off and set it on the kitchen table, grabbed her hat, a handful of jelly beans, and a change of underpants and set off for parts unknown. The letter she left is below:

Dear Papa,
I’m mighty sorry about the hay loft. Seeing as how you and I both know how I do with grounding, and seeing as how I can’t see the point in fifth grade, I’ve decided to set off on my own. May we meet again.


As she walked off the ranch, nodding solemnly at cows and chickens, she grabbed her lariat. “Might need this,” she thought. And she left the Double-Press Ranch for good. Her father would have been furious at her for her transgressions had he ever learned of them. But sadly, on his way back from the market, he dropped a roll of duct tape, and chasing it as it rolled down the street, fell into a Mysterious Infinity Hole.

But that’s a whole other story.

NEXT: Robot? Unicorn? Etc.?

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