Gib Finney’s sequel to THE POWER OF UN
The Three Musketeers
1 February 2008, Finney @ 5:27 pm

The Three Musketeers and D'Artagnan I hate to admit it, but the science fair thing was not my idea. I mean, I like experiments, but only when I can do them my own way. To me, a good experiment is like a vacation where you just take off for parts unknown. My dad and I took a vacation like that once, just the two of us.

We stuffed a bunch of clothes, some jerky, and a big bag of peanuts into a duffle, tossed it in the trunk along with two sleeping bags, and got in the car.

“Which way shall we go?” said Dad.

I said, “I dunno. South?” It was gray and chilly out, and I was in the mood for warmer weather, and back then, I still connected “south” with “warm.”

“Sounds good.”

So we went down the driveway and turned south. We didn’t know anything about where we were going except at the end of the day, if the sun was shining, for sure it would be streaking through the right-hand window. It was great. If we saw a sign for something weird, like a limestone cavern, fainting goats, Indian petroglyphs, you name it, we turned off the road and drove till we found it. If it got dark and there weren’t any motels around, we would look for a good place to spread out the sleeping bags. We’d fall asleep looking at the stars, and we’d wake up with our hair sticking out all over the place and nobody said we had to comb it.

That’s what I like — discovering stuff you never dreamed of, and nobody bothering you.

So I was not real hot on the idea when Rainy Frogner started talking about a three-way collaboration for the science fair.

“Come on!” she said one night when she and I and Ash Jensen were hanging out at my house. “It’ll be fun.”

“Are you serious?” said Ash. “Science fairs are for dweebs.”

He said this even though, at that very moment, he was conducting an informal experiment to see how much Tang one glass of water could hold before it turned to paste. He took a sip. “Whoa, intense!” he said when his face got back to normal.

“What about Un for All and All for Un?” said Rainy, who does not give up easily.

Un for All, and All for Un has been our motto ever since last year. It’s from The Three Musketeers, which is a book about three cool guys — well, technically four cool guys — who have a whole bunch of swashbuckling adventures, and save each other from certain death about a million times. Whenever they’re about to risk their lives, they put their swords together and say, “One for all, and all for One.”

A while back, Rainy and Ash and I really did risk our lives. Maybe not a million times, but a few anyway, and we did it together. In a lot of ways, we have felt like The Three Musketeers ever since. The question of why we say “un” instead of “one” is a separate matter, which I will get to eventually. Trust me.

I gave Rainy a meaningful look and said, “Un for All and All for Un doesn’t mean we have to do everything together.”

“But this would be so awesome. We could blow everybody else away, I know we could. I mean, we’ll be the only team with a famous scientist in it.”

“Just hold on a minute. Nobody here is a famous scientist,” I said.

Rainy squeezed her eyes shut and said, “Rrrrrr! Gib Finney, why are you always so stubborn? You’re a famous scientist. You know you are!”

“Whoa, whoa, let’s stop right here,” I said, scooting my chair back, fighting an urge to get up and walk away.

“You have to do this, Gib,” she said. “Think about it. If you don’t, you might never invent the unner.”

I froze.

“It’s possible she’s got a point,” said Ash, scratching under the bill of his baseball cap. “You have to grow up to be a scientist. Otherwise, you’ll never invent the unner, and never be able to give it to yourself. And if you never give it to yourself, Roxy will die.”

So there it was, another one of those moments I’ve dreaded ever since the Power of Un drastically complicated my life. A moment of awful possibilities — this time, either do what Rainy wanted, or let my little sister die. Again.

3 Responses to “The Three Musketeers”

  1. Rainy Says:

    Good start, G. I hope you have noticed by now that we would not be going to Antarctica if it weren’t for me! Nyah nyah nyah.

  2. Clarion Workshop at UCSD Says:
  3. Jamie Shaffer Says:

    Hi Nancy,

    I’m excited to explore your site. Talk soon!

    Jamie Edward Shaffer

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