As part of my Meet the Author Assembly Talks in primary schools, there will always be one segment where, together with 5 budding authors, I create a story. I always tell the students “We’re going to tell a brand new story now that has never been told before, and will never be told again—it will fly momentarily above your heads like a scintillating butterfly and then it will flit away, never to be seen again.”
This is because we never record the new stories that we spin on the spot. But I didn’t account for Lina, Readers House’s capable staff who, I discovered, is nimble-fingered as well. At Maris Stella Primary School, she plucked the words from the air even as we were chasing the butterflies in our imagination, and here is the story that we weaved. I’ve polished it a little; but note that I was working with Primary Ones and Twos:
Once upon a time, there was a lovely girl named Supergirl. She looked really smart in her cape and boots. She looked so smart that her planet in outer space, Planet Animbus, elected her to travel to another planet, Planet Bolimbo, as an ambassador for Animbus.
Stepping off the rocket ship upon landing on Bolimbo, the first thing Supergirl saw was a cockroach!
“EEWWWW! COCKROACH. I’m going to do this planet a favour by squishing this accursed insect to death.”
Planet Bolimbo’s President wandered up. His name was Mr Invisible. He ignored his Animbus guest and appeared to be searching for something on the ground.
“Roachie! Oh, Roachie! Now, where is that rascally Roachie of mine?”
Seeing Supergirl, Mr Invisible asked urgently, “Have you seen a cockroach? It is about this big and this tall. It has really cute antennae and a very shiny exoskeleton. It is my pet and my most favourite thing on this whole planet.”
Oh-oh. Could this be the very cockroach that had just gone SPLAT! ?
Supergirl was an honest person. She admitted, “I’m sorry. I think… I think I may have stepped on your pet cockroach. And squished it to death.”
Mr Invisible went pale. Mr Invisible’s hands trembled slightly. Without a single word, he turned on his heel and strode off.
He went to his office nearby and started strapping on his blue and red armour. Next, he picked up his signature weapon, called the saw-sword-knife, which can (as its name implies) saw and stab and cut off the heads of Mr Invisible’s enemies.
Then he went back to meet Supergirl.
Supergirl saw Mr Invisible coming from a distance. She noted his armour and his menacing saw-sword-knife. She put two and two together and decided to beat a hasty retreat into her waiting rocket ship.
“Set coordinates for the nearest planet, any planet will do,” she squeaked at the ship computer.
Ba-woom. The rocket ship zoomed off and travelled for a day and a half before making an emergency landing on a planet called Planet Carimba.
The ramp was lowered and Supergirl took her first look at Planet Carimba. It was full of lovable animals – there were naughty orang utans, slender giraffes, shy lemurs and many others. Supergirl loved animals!
The Carimba Zookeeper came to greet her. He had a blue and red uniform on and a birthmark on his chin that looked like a logo with a capital “S”. Supergirl’s eyes widened when she saw his birthmark.
“Hi, I’m Superman,” the Zookeeper said.
“Your birthmark!” Supergirl squeaked. “Look, I have one just like yours!”
She swept her golden hair away from her neck, and there was a birthmark that looked exactly like Superman’s!
“Are we… Could we be… related?” Supergirl marvelled.
Superman was very curious about Supergirl. “Where did you come from?” he asked.
“Oh, I’ve just escaped from an enemy. I squished the Bolimbo President’s pet cockroach, you see. But, don’t worry, he wouldn’t follow me here,” Supergirl said confidently.
As soon as she said that, a rocket ship roared above them!
“It’s Mr Invisible, the Bolimbo president,” Supergirl cried out.
The rocket ship landed. Mr Invisible opened the door and shook his fist at Supergirl.
Superman reassured Supergirl, “This is a fight we will fight together! As a family!”
However, Mr invisible made a signal with his saw-sword-knife and summoned his 1 million armoured tanks! The tanks started rumbling out of the door. Tank after tank, there was no end to them. What can our heroes do?
Superman said, “I shall deal with these tanks like how I deal with naughty animals!” He took a deep breath and exhaled fire! That was his talent—fire breath!
Phoo-aawh! Tanks rumbled to a halt; their caterpillar tracks and gun turrets melted.
Meanwhile, Supergirl had not been idle. Her talent was communicating with animals. She beseeched the Carimba animals to put up a fight for their planet. Lions and tigers, prickly porcupines and smelly skunks, all set to work. Combat squirrels dropped from the trees and landed on Mr Invisible’s head and tore at his hair. Fire ants swarmed up his boots and got into his armour.
Mr Invisible yelled and stomped around.
Giving up, he recalled his tanks into his rocket ship.
“Good riddance!” Superman yelled.
“And don’t come back!” Supergirl added.
Mr Invisible turned to go back into his ship. Just then, he spotted a cockroach. The cockroach had a long slender body, six perfect legs and two sets of shimmering wings.
“What a beautiful cockroach!” Mr Invisible said and swept the cockroach up with him into his rocket ship.
Blasting off, he shouted into his loudspeaker, “I’ll forgive you just this once, Superman and Supergirl, for the sake of my new pet cockroach.”
And that is the end of our mega Maris Stella interstellar tale!