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Extract from Chapter  2 : In which two more people disappear or Simon discovers that he has lost three times as many marbles as he first thought.

Mom, can Chris come for dinner tomorrow?” asked Simon.

“That would be nice,” replied Mom.

“Will you make his favorite pudding?”

“That would be nice,” replied Mom.

“Then can we go on a spaceship to Mars?”

“That would be nice,” replied Mom.

Just as he thought, his mother was too busy watching her favorite TV soaps to listen.  Simon grabbed the remotes and the three televisions fizzled out of life.

“Mom! Listen to me! This is important!” he yelled.

“I am listening honey,” replied Mom, turning the page of her magazine. “Remind me what you said.”

“My friend Chris has disappeared,” blurted Simon.

“Oh that’s a shame,” said Mom, filling in the answer to Five Down on the crossword puzzle. “Never mind he’ll probably feel better by morning.”

“So you remember Chris?” quizzed Simon.

“Of course. Now let me think . . . is he the nice boy with the spotty face?”

“No Mom that’s Ross.”

“Oh . . . is he the horrid boy with the nice face?”

“No Mom.”

“Well then . . . what about the quite nice boy with the not so horrid face?”

 “Mom! Chris was here last night. Remember?”

“Last night . . . mmmm . . . ” said Mom, pensively and annoyingly slowly. “Did we have boiled cabbage for dinner last night?”

“Oh forget it,” said Simon, exasperated. “I’m going to bed.”

Simon lay deep in thought. “Either I’m going crazy or everyone else is, and, as there’s less chance of everyone else going crazy all at the same time, it must be me.” This was a very unpleasant thought. Then he had another thought. Not a thought that was more pleasant—just a different thought. He remembered the photo he’d taken of Chris and Ross at the zoo a few days earlier. He jumped out of bed and yanked open his bedside cabinet. There it was lying safely under a pile of used tissues and bits of bubble gum that, although well chewed, hadn’t completely lost their flavor. Simon snatched up the photo. To his great relief Chris was there. He wasn’t going crazy. Now he had proof that his friend really did exist.

But, as Simon stared in disbelief, the photo began to change.

“No!” cried Simon. “Oh no!”

The image of Chris faded. Within a few seconds only Ross and the three monkeys remained. Chris was gone!

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