At 7:00 am sharp, the alarm clock on Ben's bedside table began to ring. Ben reached for it, with every intention of throwing it against the wall.
The clock jumped out of the way.
"Aaaaakkkk!!!" Ben screamed and snatched his hand back. He gawked at the lively little appliance as it ran around the top of the table, still ringing.
Ben had never seen this one before. It was white enamel, with bold black Roman Numerals on its' face. It was perfectly round, with four brass legs jutting out on an angle from its' body.
It had a large red half round clapper on each side. As Ben made another grab at it, the clappers started beating against the sides like drums.
Grumbling profanely, Ben dragged himself out of bed. Mary Poppins was behind all of this, he just knew it.!
Ben tried to pick up the clock, but it jumped through the air to his bureau, where it began to dance a merry jig.
The ringing was getting louder, and Ben was getting a headache. He had to shut it up!! He made a desperate lunge at the thing, and somehow missed the bureau altogether.
He lay on the floor in a little heap and decided he might just as well get up. He stood up and looked at the clock, which was still dancing, still ringing.
"Please shut up!" he yelled. Amazingly, it did. Apparently it responded to requests better than violence.
Defeated, he grabbed his robe and headed for the shower with slumped shoulders. He hoped there was Aspirin in the bathroom.
When he was ready, he went down to the kitchen where he could smell bacon frying.This was surprising, since his dad was very cholesterol conscious, and they rarely had it in the house. Lily was sitting at the table buttering toast.
"It's about time you got up, lazy bones." She smirked.
He sat down beside her,and took a swipe at the side of her head. she ducked and stuck her tongue out at him.
Mary Poppins sat a plate of bacon and scrambled eggs in front of him. "Why are we all up so early?" He asked through a mouthful of bacon.
"Gentlemen do not talk with their mouths full." Mary remarked calmly."
Lily giggled so hard that she almost choked on her scrambled eggs.
Glaring at Lily to silence her, Mary Poppins said, " We're going to see Bert today after breakfast."
"I don't want to go, that guy is weird!" Ben announced.
"Indeed?" Mary Poppins said, as she folded her arms and planted her feet.
Just as Ben swallowed his last gulp of milk, he found himself standing up and walking to the door with no help from him. His jacket floated out to him, and he began to put it on.
Lily was already dressed for the outdoors, and stood in the open doorway, waiting for him. She was staring past him, and he turned to see what was going on.
He was not all that surprised to see the dishes washing themselves in the sink. His room had cleaned itself in much the same way.
When they got out to the sidewalk, Mary Poppins headed North. The two children followed meekly along behind, whether they wanted to or not.
Everything began to look unfamiliar after just one block. Ben knew his neighbourhood very well, and it consisted of a whole lot more than one block!
When they had been walking only ten minutes, Mary Poppins turned down a quiet tree lined lane. There were flowers still poking up through green grass, even though it was late October.
At the end of the lane was a quaint little stone cottage with a thatched roof. It had a lovely rose garden that was split in half by a very wide sidewalk, which led up to the house.
Bert met them at the door, and greeted them warmly.
"Such a beautiful day for adventure!" He said, as he knelt down beside the sidewalk. He pulled a box of sidewalk chalk out of his blue denim shirt.
He began to draw quickly, and a scene formed on the cement surface.
The children watched from the sidelines, without comment.
"Do you only draw at home, these days?" Mary Poppins asked gently, lest he be offended at her nosiness.
"Oh yes, " he answered without looking up. " I can't draw on the city streets anymore. I would have to clean it off and pay a fine for drawing graffiti on city property."
"What is graffiti?" Mary Poppins asked, puzzled.
"Done!!" Bert cried, without answering her question, because he hadn't heard it. He got up from his knees and appraised his handiwork.
Ben jumped from the sudden movement, but Lily was still engrossed in the picture on the sidewalk.
It was a beautiful summer meadow, much the same as the one that Lily had seen in her imagination when Mary Poppins first arrived.
There was even a stunning silver unicorn, munching daisies in the grass. That was all, just eating. No other bodily function was occurring this time.
"Come on then, kiddies, let's go meet Glisten." Bert said as he pulled them both toward the sidewalk.
As they reached the edge, Bert jumped into the middle of the picture. Out of the corner of her eye, Lily could see that Mary Poppins was jumping into the picture too.
Pftt!! All four of them were in the meadow that Bert had drawn on the sidewalk. The unicorn cantered towards Bert, who was holding a nice red apple out to her.
"This is Glisten," Bert told the children, as the unicorn daintily bit into the apple.
Ben and Lily stood in place and turned right around to see all that they could see of this astounding event.
"What a fine adventure we are going to have today," Bert declared, beaming widely.