Penny's Memories & Some Revelations:
By DJ Claw
It was a dreary day outside. The sky was overcast, and once in a while the rain would come down in torrents. Penny was lying on her bed staring up at the ceiling.
"There's nothing to do," she thought. "If only Brain were here. If only he wasn't at the kennel getting his annual vetrinary checkup! He'll be gone for two more days, and I have nothing to do. It's the same thing everyday. I get up, go to school, come home, watch some TV, and come into my room to stare at the ceiling. I really don't know anyone at school because I'm absent so much helping Uncle, and my dad was the only other family I had. I wonder where he is now…. Oh, well."
She turned on the radio, but all that was playing was some boring rock song. She turned it off and got up.
Penny had on her favorite outfit: green pants with off-white patches below the knees, a red t-shirt with a fat white stripe across the middle, and red sneakers. She had her golden orange hair in two ponytails, as usual.
Right now, her Uncle was working at Metro City Police HQ. He was the famous Inspector Gadget. She would've liked to have been able to talk to him about some of her problems, but her father he wasn't. Penny still remembered the day her father disappeared.
Her father's housekeeper, Mrs. Larson, was babysitting the seven year old Penny when the telephone ring. She picked up the phone and gave it to Mrs. Larson. She knew something was wrong when Mrs. Larson gasped into the phone and her face turned white. She slowly hung up the phone and turned to her.
"Penny, that was Chief Quimby. Your father's been missing for two days. They think he's been kidnapped by Dr. Claw," Mrs. Larson told her.
"NOOOO!" she screamed as she collapsed sobbing. Mrs. Larson did the best she could to comfort her, but it was to no avail.
Eventually, she calmed down. Mrs. Larson eventually got a hold of her uncle, Inspector Gadget. Gadget agreed to take her in for a few days until a more permanent arrangement could be agreed upon. Those few days had grown into six years. Ever since then she had given her all to not only protect the only family she had, but to get Dr. Claw behind bars.
Just thinking of that made Penny sad, which wasn't easy to do these days. It had been a long time since Gadget's last case, and Penny sort of missed the excitement of running around the globe after her uncle. Not having to, though, gave her more of a stable household, with her Uncle returning home from Police HQ everynight around 7:00 P.M. and making dinner for her. She valued to closeness of her relationship with her Uncle, and kept her hope alive that her father would return someday.
She looked at the clock. It read 6:00. Her uncle would be home soon. She walked to her closet and opened the door. All her clothes were hanging up on the racks, and Penny entered the large room and closed the door. She flipped on the light and thought about what she saw. Row after row of the same pants, the same shirts. Sure, there were a few jackets for colder weather, some boots, a pair of shorts for when the weather got hot, and some bathing suits, but the majority of her apparel was exactly the same. She had tried some different looks before, but could never stick to them. She always returned to the same pants and shirt. She also never took her hair out of those ponytails. She used to when she went to bed, but then even that became too bothersome and she just left them in. It was what she was wearing when she was told her father had been kidnapped, and she was still holding on to that link with the past. She used to get teased at school for wearing the same thing, but soon the other students got used to it. Now that she was in eighth grade, and many of her peers were dating, she still felt like a seven year old who had just been told she would probably never see her father again. Even though she had been all around the world and traveled into space. Even though she probably had the smartest mind in her grade and knew how to work even the most advanced computers. Even though she had faced what might be the greatest evil in the world, Dr. Claw, time and time again, she still felt like a second grader.
Penny opened a nearby photo album. In it she found a wealth of pictures of her, her Uncle, and Brain. The album started with the most recent vacation she took, with her Uncle and Brain. They had gone to Miami, Florida, to sort of "get away" from the pressures of Metro City, California. They had stayed in one of the best hotels and had gone to the beach almost everyday. There were pictures of her in her bathing suits, swimming in the ocean and in the indoor pool at the hotel. She had a photo of her arm after she got stung by a Portuguese Man-Of-War. It was all swollen, and hurt for a few days. There was a photo of Brain dog-paddling in the Atlantic, and one of her Uncle surfing and wind-sailing with his Gadget Sail.
She flipped forward a couple of pages and happened on a vacation she took with Uncle and Brain three years ago. They took a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea, and visited ports like: Rome, Italy; Alexandria, Egypt; Marseilles, France; Athens, Greece; Palermo, Sicily; and Istanbul, Turkey. She had pictures of all these stops, and some of the cruise ship. It was a huge ship, painted white and blue with a large upper deck. She had had Uncle take a shot of her dressed in a light blue sundress she got at Marseilles and a sun hat leaning against the railing of the ship with a beautiful red sunset in the background.
Closer to the back of the book, she saw the first vacation Brain, Uncle, and she had all taken together. It was a simple vacation, as Uncle Gadget had not had that much money back then. They had traveled north to Alaska and stayed in Anchorage. There were photos taken of all three of them dressed up to there faces in fake fur coats, and Penny could not help but laugh. Penny also had a picture of her on her first ski lesson. She remembered how the ski kept falling off her left ski boot, and how her instructor had to practically chase it down the mountain. Her uncle had tried his best to make it a memorable vacation, and made sure she had fun. She remembered having a picture of her father on the nightstand in the hotel room they stayed in. It wasn't a very big room, and Uncle and her had stayed in the same one. They each had a twin bed to themselves, and Brain slept on the floor.
Finally, Penny came to the last set of pictures. These were of just Penny and her father. Brain hadn't come to live with her yet, and her father wanted to go on a small vacation before his next case with the San Francisco Police. It was the last time they had really had some time together. Penny's mom had died the year before, and it had been hard on both of them. As she looked at the pictures, a tear formed in Penny's eye. What was really ironic was that her father was thinking about not going on the assignment in order to spend more time with his daughter. He ended up giving Penny a golden retriever to keep her company. She named him Brain after he showed tremendous intelligence.
She gently shut the album and opened up a cardboard box that was next to it. Inside were some old clothes that no longer fit her. There were the obvious green pants and red and white shirts, but there were also some things she brought with her from her old house in San Francisco. One was a pair of denim overalls. Beneath that was a red and white striped shirt. She remembered that wearing those two pieces of clothing was the time she began wearing two ponytails---to look "cute" for her mother. It was a habit that had stayed with her for nine whole years. She found her old plaid jumper and a pair of white kneesocks. At the bottom of the box she found her red and green velvet Christmas dress that she wore the year her mother died. Not wanting to cry again, she quickly put the dress back and replaced the cover.
Penny decided she needed to cheer up, so she opened up a smaller box. In it were newspaper clippings of Gadget's various defeats of Dr. Claw. The reporters always gave Uncle the credit, but they didn't know any better. Underneath all the newspaper stories were some of Penny's school pictures. The first few had Penny's hair in a variety of styles, and different clothes, but the majority had the same Penny: golden orange hair tied back into two ponytails and a red and white striped shirt.
A noise outside startled Penny. She got up and shut off the closet light and opened the door. As she emerged into her room, she realized that the sun was out, though not in full force, making for a sort of ominous effect. As she looked through her window, she saw the noise was from a blue jay near the house.
"Now that it's sunny, I might as well go outside. After all, it has been raining for a week," she thought.
She went downstairs and got her coat from the hall closet. She picked up her house key and went onto the front porch. She heard the door slam behind her. Suddenly, Penny decided she'd had enough. She put on her red sneakers that she'd left on the porch and got her bike out of the garage. She made sure she had her wallet with her, and rode to the mall, which was about ten minutes away by bike.
She arrived at the mall as the sky was beginning to darken for the night. She new she had to be quick. She locked up her bicycle in the bike rack in front of the main entrance and went in. She knew exactly where she was going. She went into the first clothes store she could find. She purchased four different pairs of blue and black jeans, two pairs of overalls (one blue, one black), five different t-shirts, a long sleeve shirt, and three different dresses. She then went into the shoe store and bought some black patent leather shoes, some white sneakers, and some blue boots. The final bill was high, but Penny had the money. She had been saving for sometime, but for what she didn't know.
When Penny arrived home the sun was just setting. Its rays glinted off of Penny's golden orange hair. She saw the GadgetVan parked in the driveway, and decided to sneak into her room. She ditched her bike in the garage and scaled the gutter up to her window with her new clothes in tow. She gently raised the window, which she had left unlocked, and climbed in. She put on a pair of blue overalls with a simple white t-shirt, and put on her new sneakers. She went into her private bathroom and undid her two ponytails. She brushed her hair out and clipped it up on both sides.
She opened the door to her room and could smell the aroma of Teriyaki chicken, one of her favorite dishes. She quietly made her way down the stairs. She didn't get very far, however, when she was almost knocked over by Brain.
"Brain!" she exclaimed. "You're back! I thought you wouldn't be back for another few days!"
As she was being surprised by Brain, Uncle Gadget came in the room in his usual trenchcoat and blue pants with a pink apron around his waist.
"Penny! Your clothes!" he said.
"I had enough!" Penny replied. "I though it was time to get on with my life. I know I probably won't see my father again, but, for the first time in my life, I don't care. You're almost a father to me, and I hope we can continue to have a special relationship. Capeman will be back from Secret Agent School soon, and all four of us will be together again. It would be nice to have a typical family, but what I have is fine with me. I really, really feel free!"
"I think this calls for a celebration. I'm making your favorite: chicken teriyaki. Come on and we'll eat together. And since tomorrow is Saturday, we'll take a trip to the country and have a picnic together with Brain. What do you think?" asked Gadget.
"Sure," said Penny, and they both laughed while Brain continued to lick Penny's face happily.
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