Myka was finding it extremely difficult to concentrate on her book, for pieces of her hair were being wrapped around a finger (not her own) and tugged with some energy. “You are annoying me,” she said to her traveling companion.
“No, I’m attempting to determine the tensile strength of each curl in your hair.”
“I’m pretty sure you’re annoying me.”
“Then I’m multitasking,” Helena announced.
“I don’t think you understand what that word means. Didn’t you bring a book?”
“Of course I did. But reading seems far less interesting right now than attempting to determine the tensile strength of each curl in your hair.” As if to emphasize her interest, she began using both hands.
And so Myka was, at least momentarily, pleased when her phone rang.
Helena admonished, “I told you to turn that off. We are Christmas-vacationing in the tropics.”
“We are not Christmas-vacationing in the tropics yet. We are sitting in the airport in Sioux Falls, I am trying to read, and you are annoying the living daylights out of me.” She answered the phone. “What’s up, Steve?”
In response, she heard a slightly panicked, “Are you on the plane yet? Please tell me you’re not actually on the plane yet.”
“Well…” And what tumbled out was a difficult-to-follow tale—made even more difficult to follow by the fact that Helena plastered her face next to Myka’s so she could hear too, and that was extremely distracting—about Pete and Claudia having seemingly disappeared from their snag-and-bag mission, and Mrs. Frederic having done a similar vanishing act. “She was standing right here talking to me about shelving artifacts, and then she looked around and said, ‘Tomorrow is Christmas! It’s practically here!’ And then, poof!”
“She’s not wrong,” Helena pointed out. “Tomorrow is Christmas.”
Steve said, “Right, but it was the way she said it. Really not like herself. She also looked a little… I don’t know, greenish?”
“Like she was sick?” Myka asked.
“No, like she was green. So something weird’s going on, and I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to leave the Warehouse, do you?”
Myka sighed. Helena gave her a hostile glare.
“And you and H.G. are already at the airport, so if you could please change your tickets to Springfield, Massachusetts and find Pete and Claudia please.”
Myka sighed again. “Okay.”
“What?!? You…. what?!?” Helena sputtered at her.
“What would you like me to do about it? Wouldn’t you want Pete and Claudia to come save us if we disappeared?” When Helena didn’t respond, she said, “Well?”
“I don’t like it when you’re right about things like this,” Helena said. “It generally leads to a reduction in fun.”
To Steve, Myka said, “Listen, call Artie. See if he has any ideas.”
“I tried him first. But his phone’s off, and he’s not answering the Farnsworth either.”
“Imagine that!” Helena exclaimed. “Someone who wishes to be unreachable while vacationing with his significant other!”
Myka told her, “If you do not shut up, you will no longer have a significant other to vacation with.”
“Right now, I don’t.”
“Did we break up when I wasn’t looking?”
“No, I mean I don’t have a significant other to vacation with. Because the vacation is off, as I understand it.”
“It is just on hold, okay? Calm down!”
Helena muttered, “I was promised fruit-juice-based alcoholic beverages adorned with small paper umbrellas. I don’t know why such things are considered particularly desirable, but this is what I was promised for Christmas. Pete and/or Claudia had better have quite the explanation for this.”
Myka ignored her. Mostly. “So do you think this is about the board game thing they were looking for?” she asked Steve.
“No, they bagged the hippo prototype, which I know because Pete Farnsworthed me and wouldn’t quit singing its commercial jingle. This has to be something else. The last time I talked to Pete, he said they were going to the zoo for some Christmas Eve extravaganza, if that helps.”
“Of course they were. All right, Steve. Fine. Fine.” She hung up and pushed her hair out of her face, where Helena had left it. Then she started working on the plane tickets.
“It is not at all fine,” Helena whined.
Myka snorted. “I agree. If only because I’m going to have to sit next to you for the next several hours.”
After those several, seemingly interminable, hours, Myka and Helena parked a rented car near the entrance to Springfield’s Forest Park and walked up to its gates. “Since that’s Pete and Claud’s car back there in the lot,” Myka said, “I’m going to assume they’re still here. Somewhere.”
Helena didn’t respond. She’d moved into a full sulk at some point on the second plane, and she hadn’t yet begun to emerge from it.
“Here’s what I read online,” Myka went on. “The big deal at the zoo, this time of year, is that they have lighted displays of tableaux from Dr. Seuss books.”
“Books?” Helena sniffed. “I don’t know who that is.”
Myka chuckled. “Some love of literature you have. He’s an incredibly famous author of children’s books, and he’s from here.”
“Pardon me for my ignorance, but at present, I do not care in the slightest.” And yet she chuckled slightly too.
Myka hadn’t heard Helena make an even vaguely positive noise since their layover in the Detroit airport, so that small laugh led her to regard the padlocked chain around the gates with a slightly more hopeful attitude. “Okay, so they’re closed for the night. How are we going to get in?” She looked around. Maybe somebody had left the spare key under a rock nearby…
“All done!” Helena said brightly. Myka looked up to see her dangling the lock from an index finger.
“Even for you, that was fast,” Myka said. “And you suddenly seem like you’re in a better mood.”
“I’ve realized that the faster we solve this puzzle, the sooner we get ourselves back on schedule,” Helena told her. “And no matter how irksome I may at times find your willingness to drop everything in order to save the world, or perhaps even only a few people in it, my exasperation is generally outweighed by my desire to continue to rip your clothes off regularly. And I genuinely don’t want to reduce those opportunities.”
“You turn up to save the world sometimes too, you know,” Myka reminded her.
Helena raised an eyebrow. “Not when I have my telephone deactivated.”
“You’re kind of vindictive. I’m not sure I actually want to get back on schedule with you.”
“Yes, you do.” Helena kissed her then—not protractedly, but very skillfully, and that, along with the earlier mention of clothes-ripping, was certainly enough to convince Myka that Helena was right: getting back on schedule would be a good idea.
She called Steve. “Can you get a signal from Pete or Claudia’s Farnsworth? We think they’re still here at the zoo, but it’s a big park.”
Steve took a minute, then said, “Yeah, got it. I’ll send the coordinates. No sign of them?”
“Just the rental car,” Myka said. “We’ll find them, don’t worry.”
They trudged through the park, past displays draped in miles of wires’ worth of Christmas lights… the Seuss scenes were, at this late hour, illuminated solely by security floodlights from the animals’ enclosures, rendering them spooky instead of charming.
Helena whispered, “I don’t think I like this author. What are all these strange creatures?”
“That’s the cat in the hat,” Myka said, pointing. “And that’s Thing One and Thing Two with him. And over there is Horton; he’s an elephant. And okay, this is where the Farnsworth signal supposedly… right. And there it is.” A Farnsworth was nestled in leaves, about a yard in front of her feet, before a massive display.
Helena was squinting at the air above the Farnsworth. “Does something seem a bit odd to you?” she asked Myka. She began to move forward, saying, “Something about the color…?”
Myka caught Helena’s hand and said, “Don’t!” right as Helena seemed to be sucked forward—and Myka, who was absolutely not going to let go, felt herself caught up and propelled too.
Suddenly they were standing, still holding hands, in the silent square of a snow-covered village. Small houses shaped something like cupcakes surrounded them, and Myka said, “This seems kind of… two-dimensional. Do you feel flimsy? And judging from what we were just looking at… I think we’re in Whoville.”
“Not What, Who,” Myka said.
“No, I mean, what?”
“I heard you. Who. As in, Horton hears a.”
Helena squinted. “Horton hears a what?”
“A Who!” Even as she said it, Myka was quelling a slightly hysterical desire to laugh. She suspected that giving in to that desire might get her killed.
“I am going to close my eyes,” Helena said, softly but with intensity. “And when I open them again, I will wake up, and we will have been on an airplane headed for a tropical destination this entire time.”
“Good luck with that. In the meantime, I think we’re in Whoville.”
“I give up,” Helena declared.
“It is about time,” Myka told her.
Helena narrowed her eyes again. “All right. What does it mean, this Whoville?”
“It’s kind of a long story. Actually, no, it’s not that long. See, the Grinch doesn’t like Christmas, but the Whos really do. So he decides he’s going to steal all their Christmas stuff so Christmas won’t come.”
“Ah, I see. A lesson in the futility of attempting to arrest the passage of time.”
“No!” Myka said. “Do you do this on purpose? It’s about how Christmas doesn’t come from a store!”
Helena sounded unaccountably disappointed as she said, “Oh. Well. I suppose an anticonsumerist message would be… heartwarming, or something, as well. But I think the question remains, what are we doing here?”
Myka shrugged. “I would not at this point want to hazard a guess.”
But the next thing she saw suggested that they might want to start hazarding something, and pretty quickly, too.
Helena asked, impressively calmly under the circumstances, “Why is Mrs. Frederic wearing a poorly constructed red shirt and hat adorned with cotton wool? And driving a sleigh in a somewhat maniacal fashion?”
“I’m guessing it’s because she’s the Grinch,” Myka said.
“All right. And why is Pete pulling said sleigh?”
“Because he’s Max.”
Helena noted, “He has a tree branch tied to his head.”
“Yeah, because it’s supposed to be his antler.”
“Because he is not in fact antlered.”
“Right,” Myka said. “He’s a dog.”
“Excellent. Progress indeed. Now all that remains is for us to find Claudia.”
Myka thought for a moment. “I have an idea.”
“Wonderful,” Helena said, though it was Myka’s considered opinion that Helena did not mean that literally.
“We need to see which house they go to first.”
“Because there’s basically only one other character in the story.”
Myka and Helena watched through the window of a Who house as Mrs. Frederic slid down the chimney—clearly getting stuck the one story-prescribed time; she took a while to emerge through the fireplace—and began filling her bags with the Whos’ Christmas accoutrements.
Helena said, and this she did seem to mean, “That is simply ingenious, using the magnet to pull out the tacks holding the stockings. Is that Mrs. Frederic’s idea or the Grinch’s?”
“The Grinch. He is no dummy.”
“I can see I will have to acquaint myself with this bit of purported literature.”
“Yeah,” Myka said absently. “Hey, I was right: there’s Claud. Or I guess I should say, Claudia-Lou Who.”
Helena watched for a moment. Then she said, in a tone of some alarm, “Myka…”
“What’s the matter?”
“Where are Claudia’s feet?”
Myka nodded. “That is a very good question. I think generations of TV viewers have wondered the same thing… anyway, I guess we’re in the TV version and not the book version. No wonder Mrs. Frederic looks a little green.”
“In any case, Claudia has caught the Grinch in the act. The Who police will now be called to resolve the situation, correct?”
“That’s kind of not how the story goes,” Myka said. “Watch.”
She stared at the Grinch and said, “Santy Claus, why, why are you taking our Christmas tree? WHY?”
“Why, my sweet little tot,” the fake Santy Claus lied, “There a light on this tree that won’t light on one side. So I’m taking it home to my Warehouse, my dear. I’ll fix it up there. Then I’ll bring it back here.”
“Is that anapestic tetrameter?” Helena whispered to Myka.
“Yeah. It is. The whole book. Are you a little more impressed with Dr. Seuss now?”
“Perhaps.” Helena paused. “But shouldn’t we then be speaking in anapestic tetrameter?”
“I am not going to look a gift horse in the prosodic mouth, thanks.”
“Nor will I, my sweet Myka, annoyed though I am.”
“Now you’re just showing off,” Myka said.
Helena smiled. “Perhaps a little.”
“Wait a minute. I didn’t notice it at first, because it scanned, but Mrs. Frederic said ‘Warehouse.’ She’s taking the tree to her Warehouse. In the book and on TV, the Grinch says ‘workshop.’”
“And you think that’s significant?”
“Well, it means that this isn’t a perfect, you know, rendering.”
“Given that Pete does not physically resemble a dog in the slightest, I will have to agree.”
“Maybe that’s significant.” Myka looked up to the roof, where Pete sat atop the parked sleigh. “He’s the one who looks most like himself, right?”
“Fortunately for the sleigh-pulling activity, he does seem to have feet. And he is still wearing all of his customary clothing. I will say Mrs. Frederic’s pink tweed skirt looks a bit incongruous when paired with the poorly constructed red shirt and hat.”
“That makes me think that Pete did this.”
Helena said, with what Myka thought was a bit more volume and exasperation than the situation demanded, “Oh, as if there were any question at all about who did this? Some Christmas ‘episode’ or other happens with regularity, and whose fault is it, almost without fail?” Myka had to admit that yes, it was usually Pete’s fault. Helena went on, “Usually he manages to bring these things to pass by touching something.”
“Something on the display, maybe?” Myka tried. “But no, that doesn’t do us any good, since we don’t know how to get back there… we’d better hope he managed to carry whatever it is in here with him.”
They continued to watch as Mrs. Frederic, taking seemingly no time at all, moved now from house to house, stealing Christmas.
“How is she doing that so quickly?” Helena asked.
“It takes only two pages in the book for the Grinch to do the rest of the houses,” Myka said. “And they just repeat the animation a few times in the TV version. You know, I really thought Claudia made you watch all the classic Christmas specials last year.”
“I fell asleep during the one about the antlered ungulate who was ostracized by his peers. As you well know, because you woke me up soon thereafter and took me to bed and told me I was precious.” She looked sidelong at Myka. “Have recent events changed your opinion?”
Myka shook her head. “Of course not. You’re completely precious. It’s just that sometimes it’s easier to see when you’re asleep. Or when you’re yawning at me while you decry the injustice of Rudolph being ostracized for, as you put it, having the temerity to be born with an evolutionary advantage.”
In response, Helena said only, “Hm.”
“You know, if Pete brought whatever it was with him, it’s probably not down here in Whoville, anyway. The story starts with Max and the Grinch up in the Grinch’s cave, so we’d better get up there,” Myka said. “And I think to do that in a timely fashion, we’re going to need to hitch a ride.”
And thus they found themselves ascending Mt. Crumpit, Myka standing in the tiny bed of a small red wagon tied to the back of the sleigh and Helena balanced precariously on top of a similarly tied train engine, both clinging to the rearmost Christmas-filled bags as Pete struggled to pull the vehicle.
“I feel guilty,” Myka mouthed at Helena.
“It’s his own fault!” Helena mouthed back.
When they passed a dark, yawning opening that had to be the one that led to the Grinch’s home, Myka jumped off her wagon. A second later, Helena leapt from the train, fell, and lay for a moment face-down in the snow. Under normal circumstances, Myka would have tried to help her up, but the expression on Helena’s face when she did raise her body suggested that that would be a mistake. “They’re going to go up to the peak to dump all the toys and food and decorations off the mountain,” Myka said. “Let’s see what’s in the cave.”
They put on gloves and began rapidly bagging whatever they could find, but nothing sparked; nothing even jumped suspiciously. Everything in the Grinch’s cave that they bagged just sat there, inertly, until it was fished out again and replaced with something else.
“What will happen next?” Helena asked as they worked.
“Mrs. Frederic’s small heart is going to grow three sizes, and then she’s going to give all the stuff back.”
“Thus sparing them the lesson about consumerism after all, I take it.”
“No, because they sing about Christmas anyway. They don’t really care about the presents.”
“That is heartwarming. But what I actually intended my question to mean was, what do you think will happen when the story ends? Are we all simply going to… blink out of existence?”
“Oh,” Myka gulped. “I guess we could. We’d better hurry. Think! What could Pete have touched?”
Helena huffed. “Anything and everything, generally.”
They continued to work until eventually Myka groaned. “None of it. None of it, none of it, none of it. We’ve bagged everything, and it’s none of it! Scissors, fabric, needle and thread, cotton…”
“Do I hear singing?” Helena asked.
“Oh, no, not the singing already! I always liked the part where the Whos sing, but now it means we’re running out of time… c’mon. That’s what makes the Grinch’s heart grow. We’d better take that sleigh back down with them.”
So they jumped back on as the sleigh passed them again, rode down the mountainside, and snuck into the Whos’ banquet hall.
“I don’t know what to do,” Myka said as she helplessly regarded the happy Whos. “Mrs. Frederic’s going to carve the roast beast, and she’s going to give some to Max—to Pete, I mean—and then that’s going to be it! Maybe it’s the knife?”
But Helena pulled at her arm. “Myka, Myka,” she said, “you remarked that Pete looks like himself. But not entirely: he is wearing a dog’s collar. What if that’s it?”
And suddenly, Myka had it. “I don’t think it’s the collar, but I think you’re close. Remember where we were, right before we found ourselves here?”
“We were at the zoo, in front of a display depicting some aspect or other of this story.”
“Right. But we were also by whose enclosure at the zoo?”
“That, I don’t remember,” Helena admitted.
“Well, I do.”
“All right. Whose?”
“A particular kind of antlered ungulate,” Myka said. She looked at Pete, blinking ecstatically at Mrs. Frederic, ready to wolf down his roast beast. She was almost… almost… sorry to have to take that joy away from him—but the show was about to end. So she sneaked up behind him, untied the string that held his “antler” to his head, and popped the “antler” into a static bag.
To her great and abiding joy, sparks ensued; she closed her eyes and turned away from the show of bright flashes.
When she turned back around, eyes open, she found that she, Helena, Pete, Claudia, and a forbiddingly stern Mrs. Frederic were grouped together in front of an extremely unrealistic, yet blessedly three-dimensional, rendering, in unlit Christmas lights, of the Grinch on his sleigh. Everything was covered in a thick layer of fresh snow, and more was falling. Helena smiled, leaned over, and kissed Myka on the cheek. “What was that for?” Myka asked.
“You solved the puzzle. I’m still not quite sure how, but you did it.”
Myka kissed her too. “And what was that for?” Helena asked.
“I wouldn’t have solved it if you hadn’t noticed the collar.”
“We do make a good team, don’t we.”
“Just as good here as in a hotel room at a tropical destination?”
“Well…” Helena said. Then, with a hint of a smile, “I suppose so.”
“What all just happened?” Pete asked. “Why are you guys hanging out here, flirting?”
“Pete,” Myka said, “did you happen to look at the Grinch display? I mean, when you and Claudia were doing your tour of the lights?”
“And I’m betting you also looked at that reindeer over there, right?”
“Oh my god,” Claudia said. “And then he picked up a stick and held it on top of his head and said ‘hey look, I’m a reindeer too!’”
Myka said, “My theory is that that particular stick might have been used that way before. Did you know that Dr. Seuss’s dad—or rather, Theodor Geisel’s dad—used to run this zoo? It turns out that little Ted used to spend a lot of time here. And that translated into inspiration for a lot of his books.”
Claudia groaned. “And of course Pete managed to pick up exactly the right—or I guess exactly the wrong—stick.”
“Just a moment,” Helena said. “Let me see if I understand this. Your explanation for all of this is—to put it as succinctly as possible—Pete picked up a stick? I am at this moment not enjoying a fruit-juice-based alcoholic beverage adorned with a small paper umbrella because Pete picked up a stick?”
“Well, when you put it like that…”
“When I put it like that what?”
Myka shrugged. “When you put it like that, you are pretty much right.”
Helena glared at her. Then her face melted into a smile. “Now you are showing off.”
Myka smiled back.
Mrs. Frederic, whose tweed suit was beginning to look like a marshmallow-topped bubblegum landscape, said, “Let me see if I understand this: Agent Lattimer needed to cast someone as the Grinch who stole Christmas, and I was the person who came to mind?”
Pete made a little feint, as if he might take off running, so Myka grabbed his arm. “Here’s what I think happened there,” she said. “Pete needed a representative of the Warehouse to steal Christmas. Because, you know, we don’t get to go places for Christmas sometimes on account of Warehouse business.” Helena snorted, and Myka tried mightily to ignore her. “Anyway, he really needed the Warehouse to be the Grinch… and you’re pretty much the Warehouse as far as we’re concerned, Mrs. Frederic.”
“That may be the most diplomatic explanation for anything I have ever heard, Agent Bering,” Mrs. Frederic said. “Well done. Nevertheless, Agent Lattimer will be on Christmas duty for the foreseeable future.”
Claudia reached over and patted him on the arm that Myka had grabbed. “Don’t worry, big guy. I’ll be Caretaker someday, and once I am, I’ll make sure you get a few hours off to put your feet up—because you actually have feet, and why couldn’t I have been the Grinch instead of that weird Who kid, huh?—and eat some roast beast.”
“Not if I have anything to do with it,” Helena muttered.
Pete said to Helena, “I totally should’ve picked you as the Grinch, you meanie. I bet your heart shrunk three sizes today.” He stuck out his tongue at her.
Helena lunged for his throat, but fortunately Myka was quick enough to grab her and hold her back. “She just needs a little time off,” she assured Pete.
Myka checked her phone once she and Helena got into their car, after having waved Pete, Claudia, and Mrs. Frederic off to Pete’s SUV. “Okay. Don’t freak out, but they’ve shut down the airport. The snow. We’re stuck till at least tomorrow, probably the next day.”
“Alcoholic drinks,” Helena mourned. “With a fruit juice base and also umbrellas.”
“I have an idea, though,” Myka told her as she continued to work with her phone.
“Do you? I hope it involves beating your partner with the very stick he picked up to get us into this mess.”
Myka couldn’t help laughing. “We are not turning Pete into a piñata. No matter how upset we are with him.”
“You’re genuinely upset too?”
“Of course I’m genuinely upset too. Do you think I wanted to give up the tropical paradise? The drinks with the umbrellas? What was likely to happen after the drinks with the umbrellas?” She looked up, and she reached up, too. She ran her hand through Helena’s hair.
“Somebody had to be an adult about the situation,” Myka said. “And it clearly wasn’t going to be you. This time, I mean.”
“Anyway, just for your information, Dr. Seuss isn’t the only famous literary figure from around here.”
Myka turned her phone’s screen toward Helena to show her a picture. “There was somebody known as the belle of Amherst. She was very reclusive. Stayed in. Probably during snowstorms. Maybe—but there’s some dispute on this point—doing the kinds of things you and I might do. If we stay in. During a snowstorm.”
“I was thinking we might try staying in tomorrow, then visit her house the next day. That’s my idea.”
“So do you want to sit here and keep steaming up these windows, or would you rather head for the hotel where I’ve just made us a reservation and steam up its windows?”
Myka had half expected Helena to say “oh” again, but her answer was actually “both,” so they took the time for a few anticipatory moments of car-window-steaming before setting out for Amherst. Myka veered off the snowy road once—not because of the wintry conditions; Helena had put her hand on Myka’s thigh without warning—but an hour later they were ensconced in a quiet and cozy, if not tropical, hotel room.
“Why don’t you go back to figuring out the tensile strength of my hair?” Myka suggested.
“Will you still find it annoying? I do enjoy multitasking.”
Myka ignored that, mostly, because Helena did in fact start winding her fingers through her curls, one by one. And she did not in fact find it annoying. “That feels… really nice. Really really nice. Given where we are… do you figure Emily wrote any poetry suitable for the very early hours of what I’m hoping will turn out to be a romantic Christmas morning?”
“Poetry that is not anapestic tetrameter,” Helena advised. “After what just happened, I don’t find that meter at all romantic. Clever, yes. Romantic, no.”
“Mm,” Myka agreed. “Iambs. Aren’t Dickinson’s poems mostly iambic?”
“‘Wild nights, wild nights, were I with thee…’” Helena quoted.
“You are with me.”
Helena said, “That isn’t the next line.” Myka’s phone rang. “Neither is that. Don’t answer it.”
“I don’t care if it is Emily Dickinson herself. Do not answer it.”
Myka was no more capable of ignoring her phone than she was of ignoring Helena’s hands in her hair. “Hi, Abigail,” she said. She felt those hands give her hair a frustrated tug. “What’s happening?”
“Here’s the thing: Steve just came in from the Warehouse.”
“Well, he sort of looks like a caterpillar landed on his upper lip.”
“What?” Myka said, as Helena mouthed “hang up” at her.
“And he said—you’re going to think I’m crazy, but he said, ‘I am the Lorax.’”
“Yes, he did.”
“No, what I mean is: no. Call Pete or Claudia on this one. Helena and I are incommunicado.”
“Except you’re not, because you answered your phone.”
“What? What was that? Abigail, I can’t hear you; I think the call got dropped!” Myka hung up. “How was that?”
Helena kissed her, a lingering mix of lips, tongue, and languid promise. “Delightful,” she pronounced. “Consider me mollified.”
“Don’t get too mollified; I want you at least a little wound up. Weren’t you quoting something about wild nights?”
Myka was very familiar with the tensile strength of Helena’s hair, so when she put her hands to it, she was content to let it run through her fingers. In response, Helena hummed a low, pleased noise and said, “Wild nights… why yes, I believe I was. The correct next line is, ‘Wild nights should be our luxury…’”
And, in fact, they were.
So there aren’t actually any reindeer at the Forest Park Zoo. The zoo itself is closed in the winter, and the Dr. Seuss scenes with the lights are set up elsewhere in the park. Having said that, Theodor Geisel was in fact from Springfield, and his dad did run the zoo—well, the park system—so it’s conceivable that some stick somewhere in that park might have been held to a child’s head in simulation of reindeer antlers. And Pete would totally be the one with the luck to pick up exactly that stick and goof around with it, decades later. Finally, Milton Bradley, the game/toy company, was founded in Springfield, and I gotta think that the story of Pete and Claudia bagging a Hungry Hungry Hippos prototype basically tells itself.