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Bob and the Alien Wizard

Meet Gary the Wizard

He looked like he was a hundred years old.  No one could tell he was actually 500. Gary was a wizard, from another planet. Long time ago, this wizard had come across an ancient box. In it, he found the blueprint to build a portal to outer space.  Gary never ended up building the portal, and now that he was really old, he realized that it was time to pass on this blueprint to someone else.  So, Gary the Wizard decided to have a race where the winner would have to be smart enough to solve all the riddles they encountered along the way. After all, the winner had to be worthy of winning such an important treasure! Gary sent invitations to some of the best scientists from around the world.

Bob Gets A Letter

One day, Bob the Biologist got a letter in the mail.  He opened it to see a purple parchment paper with ornate golden letters.  The letter was an invitation to the race!  The reward was “The Key to Outer Space”.  Bob was intrigued. He immediately called his best friend and advisor, Tony the Teacher. Tony encouraged Bob to take a chance and told him he will come along with him.  The bottom of the invitation said “If you accept our invitation call 555-123-6789.”  Bob and Tony called the number and heard this recorded message: “Welcome to the contest. Now go take a bite out of the Big Apple you can’t bite.

A Trip to the Big Apple

Bob and Tony soon figured out that the first clue was to go to New York City, also known as The Big Apple.  So they flew from Los Angeles and arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.  It was so busy, full of people everywhere!  Bob and Tony were not sure where to find the next clue. Just then they saw a sign flash on the screen in front of them that said, “Let the French lady in green at the harbor light your way to outer space.” Before they could say “Statue of Liberty“, the sign disappeared.

The Green Lady on the Harbor

Of course, the French lady in green at the harbor had to be the Statue of Liberty! Although it was originally made from copper, the statue had turned green through a process called oxidation.  Lady Liberty – as she is fondly called – was a gift from France to the United States of America and she proudly holds aloft a torch that can be seen from afar in the darkness of the night. Lady-Liberty2Bob and Tony hailed a yellow taxi cab, and quickly arrived at the Statue of Liberty. But, where was the clue?  They took the elevator to the top of the pedestal and, then climbed up the stairs all the way to the crown.  From there they could see the date on the book that the Statue of Liberty was holding. It said “July 4, 1776” in Roman numerals.   Tony asked Bob “I know that is when the Declaration of Independence was signed, but is that the clue?”  A few seconds later they saw a small biplane that flew by the Statue.  It was pulling a banner that read: “View to Outer Space: 102 of 103.” That must be the clue!  But what did it mean?  Bob and Tony were puzzled.  Bob tried to figure out mathematical problems with those numbers but then Tony said, “Its about viewing something. I bet it has something to do with a New York landmark. A place with a view.”  As they climbed down the stairs Tony went online on his smartphone and typed “which landmark in New York City has 103”.  The Empire State Building.  Tony read, “Built in 1931 this New York City landmark has 103 floors but the upper observation deck is on the 102nd floor.  I am positive that is our next destination.”

A Scenic View

Bob and Tony got to the 102nd floor of the building.  They saw a person in a white lab-coat looking through the tower viewer.  Bob whispered to Tony, “Do you think that she is in the contest, too?” When the person turned around, Bob introduced himself, “I am Bob the Biologist and this is my best friend Tony the Teacher”.  The person introduced herself, “My name is Molly Coule”.  Bob asked her is she was visiting New York for the race. Empire-State2The moment she heard the word “race”, Molly realized Bob and Tony were competing with her.  She gave a quick shriek and ran down the stairs.  She must have seen something through the tower viewer! Tony quickly looked through her tower viewer to see it focused on a sign that said, “Our history will give us a glimpse to outer space”. This was getting harder.  Bob told Tony, “This probably means we need to go to a museum”.  But there are so many museums in New York City, which one? They decided to go to the most popular one known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, also simply called the “Met”. Bob and Tony hastened to the Met.

The Mummies Lie Here

Bob told Tony with a big sigh, “This place is huge.” And it was. Bob and Tony had no idea where to go.  They saw a person who was wearing a fedora and carrying a magnifying glass.  He was looking around the corners checking for clues.  Remembering their experience at their last stop, Bob and Tony quickly walked up to him and introduced themselves. Instead of running, the man stood his ground.  He smiled and said, “Hi! My name is Dr. Adam Bom”.  He seemed friendly enough. Bob asked him if they could work together to find the next clue.  Adam Bom wanted to win the race badly, so he said no. At that very moment, they all saw Molly Coule walk in.  She was shocked to see Bob and Tony again, shrieked and started running off in the other direction. Both Bob and Tony thought that she needed to cut down on the coffee. As they walked around the foyer, Bob told Tony, “If you think of history, the Egyptians predate all the rest; their exhibit represents the oldest civilization.”  So Bob and Tony decided to head in that direction. They walked past the sarcophagus and saw some nicely wrapped mummies. Any other day, Bob and Tony would have spent hours looking at the mummies.  But not today, they had a mission to accomplish. As they walked around, they saw a sign on the wall that said, “Ancient drawings are fun on walls, but Outer Space is through garden and ball”.

Ready for a Basketball Game?

Bob realized that the only place in New York City where garden and ball come together is at Madison Square Garden where the Knicks play basketball.  As he hurried down the stairs and out of the building, he waved his arm wildly to hail the closest cab. He excitedly wondered what would happen next. “Take us to Madison Square Garden,” said Bob to the taxi driver, who sped away. But Adam Bom and Molly Coule had sneaked up right behind them – they figured that Bob and Tony would find the clue, so they were quietly following them around. They hailed the next cab and told the taxi driver, “Follow that cab, Don’t lose them!” They all arrived together at the famous Madison Square Garden Arena. Usually packed with tens of thousands of screaming spectators, the place looked eerie in its empty silence. gary-the-wizard2From high up in the shadows of the stands above, they heard a deep, rumbling voice, “Congratulations! You have solved your final puzzle, this is your last stop!”  They looked up and saw a short, old man standing in the shadows. He wore a long, purple robe and had a long flowing beard that went all the way down to his stomach. He had a bushy, white mustache to match.  A tall pointy, purple hat stood tall on his head – it had stars on them that looked like they were blinking.  One moment, he was up there in the “nose bleed” section and, in a twinkling, he was standing in the middle of the basketball court.  “Gary the Wizard is my name, basketball is the game.  The blueprint is in the house, now play a game to pull it out.” “What? Now we have to play basketball?”  Adam Bom was the first one to speak up.  Gary the Wizard ignored him. He said, “Here are the rules. You are to play 2-on-2. Whichever group gets 10 points first will win. You can pick your partner. The game starts now.”  No-brainer, right? Bob and Tony got into a huddle to decide how to approach the game. Bob and Tony didn’t really know how to play basketball well.  But they realized they simply had to be better than their opponents. Tony used his geometry skills to figure out the arc and angles needed to have a better chance of scoring baskets. But Bob’s geometry skills weren’t that good. Gary the Wizard blew a huge whistle so loud that it seemed like Madison Square Garden came alive. The game started and Bob and Tony quickly scored two baskets. Then, Molly Coule shot a basket.  Tony shot one more, but Adam Bom quickly replied with another one.  The score was 6-4.  Then Molly Coule got one more. The score was level at 6-6. The atmosphere was electric. Then Bob surprised Tony (and probably himself too) by shooting a perfect jump shot into the basket, nice and clean. Bob and Tony were ahead again, score read 8-6.  Tony didn’t wait for them to get level. He pounced on a rebound and scored!  Bob and Tony won the game!

The Winners Take it All!

As soon as the scoreboard read 10, the display panels on the center of the court lit up and a long tube fell out onto the court. Gary picked it up and gave it to Bob and Tony.  “Congratulations,” he said, “You are worthy winners, I can see it in your eyes. You may not be ready to understand these blueprints quite yet, but study them carefully and keep them safe. Someday you may be able to visit me.” With that, Gary the Wizard vanished in a puff of smoke. Was it magic or was Gary from another world? Bob and Tony stared at each other, dumbfounded, wondering what these blueprints were all about. The-End  

vocab-words

Blueprint

Instructions on how to build something through the use of pictures.

Portal

A door or gate.  An entrance especially one with an imposing or big structure.

Parchment

A material that is made out of stretched and dried animal skin; was used for writing in ancient times.

Ornate

Very fancy

Invitation

Something that asks for someone to attend or take part in a certain event, usually for a party.

Immediately

Right away.

Liberty

Freedom

Disappeared

Vanished; could not be seen.

Harbor

A body of water that is deep enough for ships to dock.

Copper

A type of brown colored metal

Oxidation

A chemical process by which a metal reacts with the oxygen in the air and creates a residue on top of the metal.  (eg. Iron turns into rust due to oxidation)

Aloft

Floating up in the air

Pedestal

A supporting structure that holds up a statue or vase.

Roman Numerals

A number system used in ancient Rome that took the place of numbers (eg. I is the number 1, V is the number 5, X is the number 10)

Declaration

A formal announcement that is made.

Biplane

An old type of plane that had two seets of wings.

Puzzled

Confused.

Landmark

A place where a person travels to.

Observation Deck

A high-pitched scream.

Destination

Place that is the end point of a journey.

Tower Viewer

A telescope or binocular mounted on a stand, typically on a high place or by the ocean so people can view the scenery

Shriek

A high pitched scream.

Glimpse

A quick look at something.

Museum

A building that houses artifacts from different times in history.

Sigh

Breathing heavily in relief or dismay (sadness).

Fedora

A hat made out of soft felt with a brim.

Magnifying Glass

A piece of equipment used to make objects appear bigger than they really are.

Foyer

A room or hall at the entrance of a building.

Predate

To be older than.

Exhibit

A display that has artifacts from a certain time and, sometimes, a certain place.

Civilization

A way of life in a particular place.

Sarcophagus

A stone coffin that has sculptures and inscriptions on them usually used to bury ancient Egyptian pharaohs (kings).

Mummies

A dead body (typically from ancient Egypt) naturally preserved and wrapped in bandages.

Rumbling

A deep, clear and continuous sound.

Twinkling

Shining that changes between bright and dark.

No-brainer

Something that does not a lot of thinking.

Geometry

A type of mathematics that studies properties of shapes and space (like lines, angles, circles etc).

Atmosphere

The surrounding layer of gases around a planet; the mood of a place, situation, etc.

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