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Leigh Neuage (July 6 1983 - August 16 2003) --
Grandpa often said that he didn't like all the newfangled things in his house.
He could do without the fax-machine, computers, compact disks, video recorders and most of all, he could do without the microwave oven.
"Who knows what these microwave things could do to someone or something?," he often said.
But these were the modern days. Microwave ovens had their place. A fast cup of tea, instant meals soup in a hurry. What possibly could be wrong with having a microwave oven?
Grandpa's microwave oven had sat in his kitchen for a long time. Magazines and newspapers were piled on top of it. The grandchildren stored their toys inside. It had never been plugged in.
Grandpa's son worked as an advertiser. He loved the world of technology. Every new invention that came on the market he'd buy two of each, one for himself and one for his father.
His father or grandpa to the children, would leave the new things in their boxes. Grandpa had closets full of 'the latest things'.
Grandpa liked his wood burning stove. It had been good enough for his parents and it was good enough for him.
He'd make his pot of tea on it and it would keep the house warm at the same time. In summer he would create his meals outside over the barbecue.
Grandpa would not use his modern car. He preferred to ride his bike.
Grandpa was 90 years old. He had been riding bikes since he was ten. Why stop now? In the two years since his son had brought him the car it had never been out of the garage
The fax machine sat in its box. When grandpa first installed it the grandchildren, Sacha and Leigh, thought it would be fun to play with. They wanted to play spy so they sent coded messages to an army installation in a foreign
country. The Army sent several of their top people to grandpa's house, including a general - they were not impressed.
After that grandpa packed the fax machine back into its box and put it on a high shelf in a closet.
The video recorder, compact disk, cameras, computers and gadgets that grandpa couldn't even imagine what they did all ended up in their boxes in the closets or in the garage.
Some modern things were o.k. There was the washing machine that grandpa finally began to use. He was so use to washing his clothes in the sink that his son had to actually talk him into using it. It was easier to use than the sink but grandpa reckoned it was because he was getting old and lazy.
It was a weekend and the grandchildren were staying at grandpa's house for the weekend while their father was away on a business trip.
The children were playing military. Sacha was using the kitchen for his base. Leigh was in the shed. They were using walkie-talkies to talk to one other. Grandpa was taking a nap outside.
Sacha pushed the buttons on the microwave oven. He was pretending that it was a missile launcher. He set the timer on five minutes. Nothing happened so he plugged the oven into the wall-socket and turned on the switch. The microwave oven's light went on. After two minutes there was a very loud sound coming from inside of the oven.
Sacha yelled over his walkie-talkie to Leigh to come into the kitchen quickly. The two children looked at the oven. It was making more and more noise. Suddenly the five minute buzzer went buzzzzzzzzzz. The door popped open.
To the amazement of the children out walked a small dinosaur. It was a stegosaurus. It locked more like a model of a stegosaurus than the real thing. It walked across the counter top and jumped onto a window ledge. It walked up to a Philodendron and ate all its leaves.
"Oh no, that's grandpa's favorite plant," said Leigh.
After chomping away the leaves on the Philodendron the stegosaurus knocked the plant into the sink and stomped, in its little toy-like way, over to the Dwarf Umbrella Tree.
"Oh no, that is grandpa's second favorite plant," yelled Sacha.
As the stegosaurus ate, it grew. It grew too big for the kitchen window sill and fell off onto the kitchen sink.
Just then grandpa walked in.
"Who turned on the microwave oven?"
Grandpa stared at the two boys then at the plant eating dinosaur. He seemed to already know what would happen if the microwave was turned on. The children looked at each other then at grandpa. They had often wondered why he had put every modern thing away that he had except for that.
The dinosaur climbed out of the sink and jumped to the floor. There was a loud crash as it landed. It walked out of the kitchen and headed for the front door. It pushed open the door and stomped outside and into the garden. Grandpa and the children ran after it.
"NO! NO! NO!"
They all shouted as the rapidly growing prehistoric animal ate and ate and ate, and grew and grew and grew as it plodded through the garden. It ate the bushes. It ate the shrubs. It ate the flowers. It ate the leaves on the tree. It ate the corn the lettuce and then the spinach which the children were delighted to see because they didn't like it.
It ate the lawn.
Grandpa opened the garage door. There was room for two cars though he only had one. The stegosaurus strutted into the garage and laid down. It was bigger than the car.
Grandpa tried closing the door but the dinosaur's tail would not fit into the garage. The door could only go down to where the tail was, leaving it to stick about two meters out onto the driveway.
"We must get it back into the oven," grandpa said.
The three went back into the house and put the microwave oven onto a wagon and pulled it out to the garage.
They plugged it in.
"It won't fit," Sacha said.
Grandpa laughed, "of course not, we'll have to put him in a little bit at a time."
The three started with the tail.
"At least we'll be able to close the door - if we can shrink its tail", grandpa said.
They could only get a tip of the tail in, it was so thick. The children turned the oven on.
"It has to be on for five minutes," grandpa said.
Slowly the children and grandpa managed to shrink the tail enough to close the door by dinner time. They still had the rest of the weekend and the dinosaur was fast asleep from growing so fast, so they had a lot of time to do a lot of shrinking.
After dinner, cooked on the barbecue, the three humans went to work on the one animal.
"It is probably having a dream about the prehistoric days," said Sacha.
I hope it doesn't wake up and decide that it would rather be a meat eating dinosaur," said Leigh.
They tried to lift its massive paws but the feet were just too heavy. They had to put in one toe at a time. Next they worked on the huge spikes on its back. It took a long time but finally the points on the stegosaurus's back were all small.
"Look, he's bald," laughed grandpa.
But the children didn't think it was funny. They were tired and it was all getting to be an awful lot of work.
Getting the dino's head in was the hardest part of all. The three had to put a heavy rope around it's head and loop the rope around a large wooden beam at the top of the garage and pull and pull. The beam almost broke. When the stegosaurus's head was finally off of the garage floor they quickly pushed the microwave in front of it.
Because the head would not fit in they had to leave the door open. They set the oven for five minutes and ran out of the garage. The dinosaur was waking up. The feet were already very small, as small as a toy and the tail was the size of a pencil. The points on its back were hardly noticeable.
There was a very large noise in the garage. After the timer went buzzzzzz the three walked in. There was no huge stegosaurus there. In front of the microwave oven there was a very small dinosaur going on a walk-about. It was headed for the plants by the window.
The three ran over to the monster and quickly put it back into the oven. They unplugged it and lugged it back into the kitchen. They set it back onto its counter and put magazines and newspapers on top of it.
The two children and grandpa were exhausted and they all fell to sleep on the sofa in the living room.
When the children's father came to pick them up he asked if they had had a good time. Before they could answer he said that he had a surprise for grandpa.
It was a new type of microwave oven.
Grandpa and the children looked at each other and cried out,
Sacha and Leigh went home with their father and they never played games with microwave ovens again.
Grandpa put the new microwave oven into the garage and never took it out of its box.
And I surely can understand why.
© Copyright Terrell Neuage 6 1992 Victor Harbor South Australia
"(c)" Terrell Adsit-Neuage.