The Duckburg Incident
Phineas Flynn and Ferb Fletcher sat in the shade of a tall tree in their suburban backyard in Danville on a sunny afternoon. Phineas sighed morosely. He was ordinarily an optimistic and outgoing boy, but the disappearance of his beloved pet platypus had saddened him deeply. It had been several days since Perry had disappeared and there been no sign of him. Phineas had known Perry to seemingly vanish on more than one occasion before, but he always turned up eventually. Phineas wondered, for what seemed like the hundredth time, where Perry might have gone. “I hope Perry is OK,” he said out loud to no one in particular. They had systematically searched Danville to no avail.
“Well,” said Ferb hesitantly, as though he were about to say something sacrilegious, “he was just a platypus. He didn’t do very much.”
Phineas said nothing at this uncharacteristic comment from his stepbrother. Ordinarily, Ferb barely said two words a day. The two boys were rarely separated from each other and could read each other’s thoughts and moods without having saying so much as a word to each other. They were so attuned to what the other was thinking and feeling that to outsiders it often seemed as if Phineas and Ferb were two halves of the same person.
A girl with a round face and shoulder length black hair poked her head through Phineas and Ferb’s backyard gate. “Hi, Phineas,” she said, “what are you do-“ She stopped talking upon seeing the two boys sitting under the tree and looking morose.
“Oh, hi, Isabella,” said Phineas glumly. “We’re waiting for Perry to come home.”
“You mean, he still hasn’t come yet?” she asked.
“No,” replied Phineas. “Its been almost a week. I hope he’s OK, where ever he is.”
Poor Phineas, thought Isabella. He looks so lost without Perry.Isabella had always had had a soft spot for Phineas and didn’t like to see him upset. She walked into the backyard and sat down in the shade of the tree so that Phineas sandwiched between Isabella and Ferb. She took his hand in hers. Phineas looked surprised.
“Isabella, I-“ he began to say. She had never held his hand and he didn’t know how to react to her gesture.
“It’s OK, Phineas,” she said. “You don’t need to say anything.”
He gave her a grateful smile. “Thanks, Isabella,” he said. It was the first time he had smiled in several days. “I really appreciate it.”
The flight from Octalia back to Earth had only taken a week, but to Milo it seemed like several lifetimes. There had been no way to calibrate the Murphy’s Lawinator that had been built by Melissa and Doofenshmirtz. As a result, there had been no way to anticipate any unexpected side effects that using the Murphy’s Lawinator might have. The longer the Murphy’s Lawinator had been on, the more it had effected Milo. The effects of the Murphy’s Lawinator had on Milo had begun to manifest on the first full day after they had left Octalia. The initial effect had been minor. Milo’s pinky finger on his left hand had gone slightly numb, but he had eventually started to experience headaches, dizzy spells, muscle cramps and joint pain. He could feel all of the places where the Octalians had healed his broken bones and it made walking difficult. They had discussed turning off the Murphy’s Lawinator, at least temporarily, but had decided against it. In an attempt to minimize his discomfort, Zack and Melissa had scavenged the ship and rigged up a makeshift hammock for Milo to lie in. It hadn’t really helped, but Milo appreciated their efforts all the same. Earth loomed large in the window. With some difficulty, Milo extracted himself from his hammock. He got up and walked rather unsteadily to the window. The planet filled most of the window and Milo could see from pole to pole in a single glance. They were crossing the terminator from night into day. The transition for darkness to light was drawn across the planet as if with a ruler and happened with the suddenness of flipping on a light switch. Puffy white clouds dotted the oceans and islands were scattered here and there like crumbs of land. Milo momentarily forgot his aches and pains at the sight in front of him. Then a wave of dizziness hit him and he slumped against the control console.
Zack took hold of Milo’s shoulders and steadied him before he could fall. “Are you feeling OK, Milo?” he asked. Zack had to work to keep his concern out of his voice. Milo had been through a lot and it was starting show.
Milo took a deep breath and nodded. “I’ll be fine.”
Zack shook his head. “No you won’t,” he said. He steered Milo back to his hammock and gently pushed him down into it. “We’ll be home soon, but you should stay off your feet for now.”
As soon as he said this, the view out of the window suddenly slanted sharply to the left and Zack and Milo heard the pitch of the background hum change slightly. The two boys felt themselves settle slightly as though a weight had been settled on to their shoulders. In the distance, the horizon began to rise up toward the top of the window then disappeared. As they sank lower into the atmosphere, tendrils of ionized gas played across the windscreen as the outer hull began to heat up due to the friction of re-entry.
They burst out of a low cloud bank on the outskirts of Danville and arced into a wide circle. The ship settled to a stop and hovered in mid-air before lowering gently to the ground. They stepped outside. After being cooped on an alien starship for a week and on Octalia before that, it felt good to see green grass and feel the breeze on their faces again.
By the time Zack and Melissa walked Milo home, Milo was practically dead on his feet. He had been waylaid by the vagaries of Murphy’s Law for a day or two on several previous occasions, but he had never been gone for this long before. His older sister, Sara, practically flew at him, shouting, “Milo! Think god, are you all right? Where did you go?”
Milo winced a little as she threw her arms around him. At the same time he heard the usual clatter of various small objects falling to the floor as a result of Murphy’s Law. “I’m OK,” he said. “I’m just kind of tired.” He extricated himself from her embrace and head up stairs. He didn’t remember anything after the knob to his bedroom door coming off in his hand.