Sonic and I were finally able to measure how far he could go and came to the conclusion it was about four yards. He still wasn’t happy to be so tied down, especially since he was tethered to an Overlander, but I assured him I would do what I could.
I spent a night examining Grandpappy’s computer files. It was a very old monitor despite its size, and was difficult to navigate. It didn’t help that I was no mechanic, and often struggled with something as simple as changing a lightbulb. I was determined to prove to Sonic that I was trustworthy. However, the lingering fear of his endangerment plagued me. I was afraid of letting Grandpappy down, and I was afraid of letting Sonic down. In the late night, I was tempted to forfeit Sonic’s freedom.
“It’s for his own good,” I thought, “I know what’s best for him! I can keep him safe! Maybe one day he’ll understand…”
But then, I would be horrified.
“No! If I kept him here against his will, I’m no better than the ones who entrapped him in the first place. I have to do this!”
I turned on the news briefly, and it didn’t take long to find the story of the robbery at the Larhen County Supermarket. I held my breath, expecting to see revealing footage of Sonic and I. Though it was highly suspicious, the reporters were inconclusive, and Sonic was herald as a hero regardless. I just hoped that no one with evil intentions would catch wind of it.
The day came where I needed to drive to the Larhen County theater to assist with painting. As before, Sonic had to tag along, and like before, he wasn’t pleased about it. It was difficult for him to stay still. He tapped his feet the entire way into town. I tried my best to be impervious to the incessant noise. I understood he couldn’t entirely help it. More and more I observed that he had the mentality of a child, a high-energy child that would be tempted to misbehave and unable to keep still, without exerting an exorbitant amount of energy. I hoped that perhaps if I persuaded him to help, he could be more productive. But he didn’t seem to budge.
We had finished outlining the backdrop, which was to be an early 20th century town. There was a butcher shop, a seamstress shop, and a regular house.
“All right, let’s take a lunch break!”
Everyone put their paint brushes down, and there was a small clamoring.
“It’ll have to be a shorter one since we’re running behind! We’ve gotta get this done today, so prepare for an all-nighter.”
I walked up to Sonic, who was sitting in the audience seating, and handed him a sandwich.
“Careful, we can’t make a mess in here” I warned.
He took it and opened it up.
“So, what kind of play are ya doing?” He inquired.
“It’s called the Music Man. Well, the ‘Music Man Jr.’. It’s being performed by the younger kids.”
“Sounds fun! What’s it about?”
“It’s about a con man, a instrument salesmen, who comes to a chip-on-the-shoulder town in Iowa, who assembles a boys band, intending to chest families of their money and leave-“
“Geesh, nice guy” Sonic commented, sarcastically.
“-but-“ I continued, “-After he meets the local librarian, he falls in love with not only her, but also the children in the town. He, unintentionally, by giving the boys of River City joy and a passion for music, he gave himself joy as well.”
“Oh. Well that doesn’t seem so bad. So, who do ya play?”
“How old do you think I am, Sonic the Hedgehog? Six?”
“Nah, I was thinking ten.”
“You’re the worst.”
“Am I though?”
I didn’t answer, only rolled my eyes and chuckled.
After a moment of silence, after Sonic had finished his sandwich, and I was just about to wrap up my vine of green grapes, I said:
“For real though, I actually did do a Music Man play though. Long time ago.”
Sonic’s eyes widened.
“Really? Who’d ya play?”
“Jacey Squires. One of the mayor’s evil minions. Just a side character, nothing special. I only had six lines. But, I did get a couple solo lines in the music sequences, so that was fun!”
“Did you ever get to play a main character?”
I looked up and smiled.
“I was Princess Anna in Frozen Jr.”
“Anna was one of my favorite characters when I was younger, so it was a tremendous honor. It was also the chance to finally show off my pipes.”
“You sing?” Sonic asked, astonished.
I nodded again. I sighed dreamily.
“It was amazing…” I glanced back at Sonic. “Most kids would get stage fright, especially as the main character. But I had never felt so free to sing on the stage…”
I frowned. I slowly glanced away, and fumbled with my fingers.
“That was the only time I played a main character, or any other character for that matter.”
“Really? Why? Sounds like you really enjoyed it!”
I didn’t respond for a moment. Then, I hesitantly replied:
Sonic stared at me for a long moment, cocking his head, his ears flopping sideways, as he tried to read my thoughts.
Suddenly, he stood up.
“Hey, ya got a picture for what the set’s supposed to look like all finished?”
I was surprised he’d be interested.
“Er, yeah, I took a picture of it on my phone in case I was the only one who could oversee painting.”
I opened my smartphone and flipped over to the picture. Sonic took one look at it, then grabbed my hand. He pulled me up in front of the stage and let go. Then, I suddenly saw multiple versions of him, all with the brushes we were using to paint the set. Small drops of paint hit the cardboard mat covering the stage floor. The paint cans almost tipped over a couple times, but another version of him made sure it remained upright. He was moving so fast. Inch by inch, the set was being finished. Under any circumstances, I’d be screaming at him to stop, as we had planned to paint the set by layers. However it seemed he was drying it simultaneously with painting. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Five minutes later, the set was done!
My mouth dropped. There it was. All finished, and glistening in the show lights. Suddenly Sonic popped up next to me.
“I-It’s amazing!” I finally exclaimed, “I’m surprised you didn’t send paint flying everywhere!”
“Nah, I’m the best painter ever!”
I covered my mouth and giggled quietly.
Soon, the rest of the paint crew came in and were dumbfounded at the completed work. They were utterly clueless how it could’ve been finished so quickly. After a few hours of calling up people and debating how this could’ve come to fruition, they concluded that it was an elaborate prank, and someone replaced the outlined set with the completed one. Sonic and I happily returned home a lot earlier. I even decided to treat us to a milkshake (I ordered peach, while Sonic curiously chose peppermint. How the ice creamery had peppermint at this time of year, I don’t know).