The duck in the frock coat and spats walked to what Milo presumed to be his usual seat at the end of the conference table and sat down. He waited patiently while Milo, Zack, Melissa and Amanda sat down next to him.
“My name is Scrooge McDuck,” he said, “and just how did you get in here without tripping the security system.” Milo took a deep breath, wondering just how believable this duck would find his story.“My name is Milo Murphy,” he began. Milo gestured to his friends. “These are my friends, Zack Underwood, Melissa Chase and Amanda Lopez.” Milo took another deep breath before carrying on. “Our being here is an accident,” he said.
“Is it now?” asked Scrooge, sceptically, “You brought a backpack full of tools, and you took apart two of the biometrics scanners in Dr. Gearloose’ clean room. How did you get in there and what were you trying to do?”
“I pack my backpack every day,” said Milo.
“With four pairs of night vision goggles and pliers?” asked Scrooge, a little incredulously,“And a grappling hook?” Milo shrugged. “I use the contents of my backpack to help me manage Murphy’s Law.”
Scrooge looked confused. “You’re having me on,” he said. “Murphy’s law is just an old proverb. Anything that can go wrong-“
“-will go wrong,” finished Milo. “For most people, Murphy’s Law really is just an old proverb.”
Scrooge looked appraisingly at Milo. “But, not for you, I take it?”
Milo nodded. “No,” he said. “I’m different.”
“How?” asked Scrooge.
“Murphy’s Law is an inherited trait in my family,” explained Milo. “Every Murphy man for the last seven generations has been born with Murphy’s Law.”
“You were born with Murphy’s Law?” Scrooge looked at incredulously at Milo again.”But how is that even possible?” he asked. He studied Milo carefully. It was an absurd story, and yet from the way Milo spoke and the way he carried himself, Scrooge couldn’t shake the feeling that his story had the ring of truth.
“I don’t know,”replied Milo, “I can tell you how it works, though.”
“And how does it work?” asked Scrooge.
“My body creates a field of negative probability,” explained Milo.”Any energy fields in my immediate vicinity are automatically skewed toward negative out comes.” No sooner had Milo finished speaking than he heard the sound of a chain snapping overhead. He looked up and saw a large chandelier descending rapidly toward the middle of the table. He whipped out a hand and grabbed his backpack, pulling it toward himself, ignoring the protest of his cracked rib. A split second later, the heavy chandelier hit the table with the sound of splintering wood and metal. The table cracked under the force of the impact, sending Milo’s clothes and tools flying everywhere.
“Was that-“ Scrooge began.
“Yeah, that was Murphy’s Law in action,” said Milo.
Scrooge looked at Milo as if he were only just seeing him for the first time. “You’ve lived your whole life like this?” he asked, slightly amazed.
Milo nodded. “It’s not always easy,” he said, “but I’ve got the three best friends in the world to look out for me.” Out of the corner of his eye, Milo thought he caught Zack, Melissa and Amanda all looking at each other. They all valued their friendship with Milo for his optimism and his almost endless willingness to put others before himself as well as his sheer persistence in the face of the often daily challenges that Murphy’s Law threw at him, but they clearly had had no idea just how deeply Milo valued his relationship with them.
Scrooge sat back in his chair, studying the hapless teenager and his three friends, who he evidently though the world of.“There’s still the matter of how you got into the Money Bin,” he said at last.
“I told you, Mr.McDuck,”said Milo, “our being here is the result of an accident.”
Scrooge involuntarily blinked at the sound of Milo addressing him by name. Evidently they established a repor. ”What kind of accident?” he asked.
“It was an accident involving Murphy’s Law and an unstable wormhole,” said Milo. He quickly explained how Phineas had built an Einstein-Rosen Bridge in his backyard and that when he had tried to turn it on, Murphy’s Law had hit immediately and everything that could go wrong, had.
Scrooge was silent for a long time, wondering what to do. He would defer to Gyro and Fenton for the details, but his sense was that Milo and his friends had been very, very lucky. “I don’t exactly know how to help you yet,” he said at last, “but I would like help you if I can.” He picked up the phone next to his chair and made a call. “Launchpad, bring the car around, I’m sending some guests up to McDuck Manor.” He put the phone down for a second, then picked it up again. “Mrs. Beakley, please have four rooms made up, we’re having guests.”
The drive from the Money Bin through downtown Duckburg up to the gates of McDuck Manor took twenty five minutes. The limousine snaked its way up the winding road to the sprawling compound at the summit of Bear Mountain, stopping only long enough for the elaborate wrought iron gates bearing the legend MD, to swing open. The limousine wound its way up the long tree lined drive, circling around a large circular drive dominated by a huge gold dollar sign. The limousine stopped in front the large oak double front doors. The driver, a tall, barrel chested duck in a battered flight jacket, a baseball hat and boots named Launchpad, shut off the engine and got out. He walked around the rear passenger side door and opened. “Well, here we are at McDuck Manor,” he said, as Milo, Zack, Melissa and Amanda clambered out. Milo moved slowly, favouring his right side and his cracked rib.
McDuck Manor had the air of a baronial castle from the Scottish Highlands. Turreted windows stared down at Milo from all sides. He hefted his backpack and walked up the steps to the heavy double doors. He pushed them open and went inside, followed by Zack, Melissa, Amanda and Launchpad. They were standing in a large entrance hall lined with suits of armour and old paintings. A heavy set duck in a purple blouse, glasses and an apron was waiting for them at the bottom of an elaborate staircase. The room was lit by shafts of sunlight streaming in through large lead line windows.
As the door banged shut behind them, she walked across the entrance hall toward where Milo, Zack, Melissa and Amanda stood looking around. “Welcome to McDuck Manor,” she said. “My name is Mrs. Beakley.” She spoke in a slightly bored voice. “I am Mr. McDuck’s maid, cook, housekeeper and secretary. If you need anything, please ask me.” She cast a practiced eye over Milo. “If you like, I will prepare an ice pack for your chest.”
Milo looked slightly startled. At no point had it occurred to him to mention that he had cracked a rib. He wondered how she had been able to tell. “Uhhhh….thanks,” he said. “I’d appreciate that.”
Mrs. Beakley nodded. “If you will all follow me, I will show to your rooms.” Without another word she proceeded up the staircase. Milo, Zack, Melissa and Amanda followed along behind her, trying to take in everything as they went. Mrs.Beakley eventually stopped half way down a corridor on the fourth floor. “These are your rooms,” she said gesturing to four doors marching away down the corridor. She opened Milo’s door and he stepped inside. The room within was large and well appointed. In one corner stood a large four poster bed. In the others were a writing desk and a comfortable chair with a reading light. A wardrobe stood along one wall. A large window offered a view overlooking the expansive and perfectly manicured grounds. A closed door led to an attached bathroom.
When Mrs. Beakley returned ten minutes later, it was with an ice pack in hand and a bundle under one arm. Milo began to slowly pull off his sweater vest, then his golf shirt, body armour and finally his undershirt. Once again Mrs. Beakley examined him with a practiced and critical eye. “These bandages have been inexpertly applied,” she said finally. He stood still as she unwrapped the tensor bandages. The right side of Milo’s chest was a mass of purple and black bruising. There was a noticeable protrusion in his chest where his cracked rib was pushing outward, stretching his skin. She gently pressed the ice pack to his chest and he let out an involuntary breath as he felt the frigid numbness spreading through his body. “Keep that there, and I will return with proper bandages.” Milo nodded in understanding. As she turned to leave, she deposited the bundle on the low wardrobe by the door and Milo realized that it was clothing. “As you may be staying with us for some time, I have taken the liberty of procuring some additional clothing in your size.” Mrs. Beakley open the door and went out.
No sooner had the door swung shut, than it opened again, this time admitting Zack, Melissa and Amanda. They had been talking, but stopped upon seeing Milo with his shirt off, ice pack pressed to chest.
“That looks bad,” said Zack pointing to Milo’s injury, “even for you.”
Milo waved away Zack’s concern with a shrug. “It’s just a cracked rib,” he said. “It’s not the first time. I’ll be fine in a few weeks.”
“Milo,” said Amanda, “we wanted to thank for what you said about us.”
“Yeah,” said Zack. He coughed once. He suddenly felt a little self conscious. “We had no idea that you felt like that about us.”
Milo gazed levelled at his friends, “well, I do,” he said. “Being a Murphy is hard,” he said. Milo paused, wondering exactly how to explain how he felt. “Most people don’t realize that, but its true. They just see the runaway construction equipment and the chaos that follows me everywhere, but they don’t realize that Murphy’s Law doesn’t just affect my body,” he gestured to the ice pack pressed to his side. “It also affects my mental health and my relationships-“
“Does it?”asked Zack, surprised, “I never really thought about Murphy’s Law like that.”
“It does,” answered Milo, “I’m not really sure how to describe in a way that you’d understand, except to say that it can. As for my relationships,” Milo shrugged and looked at Zack, Melissa and Amanda again, “well, you guys know how unpredictable Murphy’s Law can be.” Milo paused again, wondering how to tell them what he wanted to tell them, “You guys give me a lot of stability. I’ve never told anyone that before, but it’s true.” Milo took a steadying breath. “Sometimes, I feel like you protect from myself,” he said simply.
There was what seemed to be at least a minute of ringing silence in the room. Zack, Melissa and Amanda looked floored. An image came unbidden to Melissa’ mind of the first time she had met Milo. It had been at the bus stop at the end of Milo’s street. They had both been six at the time and it had been the first day of first grade. She vividly remembered that Murphy’s Law had hit when a rocket engine had become lodged on the roof of the bus and she and Milo had been thrown out of the bus and onto the emergency exit door. She and Milo had become fast friends after that. For awhile, she had even tried to study Murphy’s Law, hoping that she might be able help Milo live a normal life free from its effects, but she had eventually realized that he didn’t want that. She had not realized just how much of stabilizing force in his otherwise completely chaotic life she had been over the last seven years and she guessed that Zack and Amanda had had no idea either.
Melissa blinked a couple of times. “Milo,” she began, “That means a lot to-“
Milo cut her off with a gentle wave of his hand. “It’s OK, Melissa,” he said, “you don’t need to say anything.”
“Milo,” said Amanda.
“Yeah, Amanda,” said Milo.
“You’re the best friend I think I’ve ever had.”