Happy Gets Squashed

A fantasy adventure set in a strange indoor universe, inhabited by puppets, which is told in the form of a child's book report that keeps wandering off the topic...

by Laika Pupkino
MY BOOK REPORT -------- Linda Avery --- ROOM #25
THE BIG TRIP UP is a book about a strange place called The Domain. And the story is sort of like that Who Killed Roger Rabbit movie, because it is about characters who I don't think could ever be alive in a World that is REAL like this one, except these are puppets and not Toons, and also there aren’t any regular human people in this book until the very end and then only one, and he is dead but then he is alive again...
The Domain is the inside of this big old dusty four-story mansion, the rooms and floors are different neigborhoods with houses and apartments made from furniture that got left there, and old boxes and sheets, cabinets too where the puppets live. The puppets know what all this stuff is and how they are inside a house, but they take it for granite and do not think there is anything weird about having houses inside another house, and one of them even says that everything must be made of houses, smaller and smaller like atoms, but they say You are Crazy, Professor Buttons!
So they say meet me at the Grey Couch or down under BIG BEN, which is this great big Grandfather Clock one of them has to wind up every day, a very goofy puppet named Mortimer who is the Village Idiot of the ground floor and saw the first murder, but no one believes him at first.
Some of these names like “Mortimer” are ones that used to be famous from old TV and movies that my Dad told me about. But these puppets don't act like they know this. My Dad read this book too and liked it a lot, which is by Jeremy M. Howard and The Dreamworks Young Reader's Club.
There are two main kinds of puppets, the kind that hang from strings and the kind you work with your hand, only no hands are inside these ones. The ones that hang ride on a trolley made from a big rack thing that runs under these close lines they put up, hooking themselves to it with their strings. The other kind take a wagon pulled by a big Robot Clown. He’s very strong because the stairs are steep with boards going up them for the wagon to go on. He is a machine with motors and gears and he ain’t got a soul they say.
They say ain’t and other bad grammar because what my dad said is it is suppose to be like some famous old movie called FILM NAWAR, with all shadows and crimes and being moody, and all the pictures are like this too. But then in PART TWO it turns into this myth Quest like in The DARK CRYSTAL, with more adventures and less talking in it so it gets even better.
BASEMENT PARK used to be nice and the puppets took their kids there but now they don’t, because of what happened to the stairs and also they are scared about the CLAYMATIONS down there like monsters. 
And some say there are no Claymations but it turns out there are, only they are not all bad. The Domain is getting run down and musty and they try different ideas like praying to the portrait over the fire place to keep it going. You don't really see the things running down, it’s not bad yet, just little things, and some of them say it is all just some hoax from those loony table-leg huggers who like nature too much but they are wrong and it is.
There is this one window with no wood or bricks over it and a hole scraped in the paint where the philospheres try to guess about The Outside, but there is just a narrow space with dirt and some weeds out there and then a big plain brick wall like the side of some other building.      
They think Outside is AFTER DEATH, because one of them tried a long time ago and climed up the chiminy then landed outside and never moved again until a big dog got him. They didn’t know what a dog is but you can tell they mean a dog. And the light is very different, they can barely see it is so bright out there, because you get the idea that The Domain is very dark with no electricity but they think it’s a lot more bright & lit up than it is.
Like I say its a weird book and there’s parts where they just talk about what seeing is, when your eyes are just fake ones stuck on your head but you see somehow anyway, or if only human shape puppets have a soul. This might sound boring but it makes sense that they try to figure out their world and “Why Are We Here?” like my dad says people should do instead of just living like dumb rocks and excepting all easy answers. He teaches Engish at Valley View Junior College and always talks about this kind of stuff.
But the plot is about two puppets named DOC AND MIMI who are trying to figure out who is killing different puppets. They are pretty sure it’s this gangster puppet named HAPPY who is behind all the crime on their floor, but nothing as bad as murder before and each one they think might tell them about it they find dead with the stuffing knocked out of them or dying and not making sense when they talk, but just clues.
Then Happy is on the lamb and they have to go looking for him, which is how these two leave their first floor village for the very first time. Mimi is a hand puppet and Doc is a string puppet, and these kinds don’t like each other much so it’s a big scandle that they are in love and another reason they volunterred and got out of town, to a crummy place called Hoody’s Hideaway that is on this cliff where the Basement Steps end now. But they don’t find Happy there and no one will talk to them except Dowdy Hoody, who only pretends to be nice until they are over the trapdoor he has for nosy two~bit gumshoes.
They fall way down into Basement Park, and they have to fix Doc’s leg. They meet the Claymations, who can go through cracks into the walls so they see and hear everything and who overheard that Happy is way upstairs someplace, working on a score that he said will rock the whole Domain. One of them named GOO turns into a thing like an escalater and helps them get back up to the start of the stairs. She is a shapeshifter and comes along for a sidekick, riding in Mimi’s rucksack. And then it is Part Two where their journey starts and it really gets good!
So it is about a trip they take going "up" through this old house and also a “trip up” like a mistake.This book is full of puns like this but to me it was sad, and also exciting, like when a mystery is solved that is bigger than the one they wanted to solve. I think my Dad laughed at it more than I did.
Then Mom said that is such an ugly-sounding laugh, what are you two reading that you laugh like that at, let me see that! She said these pictures are all so creepy, and this is a Marajana bush in this one, and why are the boy doll and the girl doll wearing each others clothes?! And I tried to tell her they weren't, but they had an accident and wound up with each other's heads, which was a real funny part, because then that big pirate puppet wanted to marry Doc, but this got her even more upset! She told Dad you need to watch out for junk like this, and showed him it was on her list from that Concerned Parent Media Resorses Committee.
The part I thought was funny was when they meet The Muppets up on the 3rd Floor, only they’re called the LUMPITS~  with names like Kramit U. Toad. They are in an abandoned playroom and want their kid back like the toys do in TOY STORY, and have drawn calenders and X~d off the days for 20 years. These are all up on one wall, a sad part of the room for them, so many Xes like that Vietnam thing we saw on our D.C. vacation, where that guy was yelling until the cops came.
But then it gets funny because the one who is suppose to be COOKIE MONSTER  starts having a withdrawl for cookies + goes bezerk throwing toys and things!
And they say Hey, It’s All in Your Head, you didn’t even EAT those cookies anyway, you just chewed them up and they fell out the sides of your mouth so get a Grip! And they have to lock him up in a crib until he gets calm.
They have different adventures like this in the different rooms all the way up there. Clown Robot is with them too. He can’t talk but he ran away from his Wagon Job because they were the only ones who were nice to him, so he really does have feelings at least if not much brains. And by the end they have used up all the gadgets Professor Buttons gave them, which are just tools and kitchen utensiles that he gave fancy names, like he didn’t know what they really were, and they find out there really is this place from legends called The Attic and here is HAPPY. But there is also this old man with long white hair in his rocking chair who is the one from the Portrait downstairs, but he'se all dead and shrivelled up like a mummy.
What happened was years ago the old man used to be on stage with Happy, and he was even in two old movies but was never good at not moving his mouth & his dummy wasn’t very cute or loveable even before he was alive, and he travelled around and got bood at until finally he was just opening act at HOT CLUB HOOCHI KOOCHI and was very poor by then, but he always held onto this house he had from when his family was rich before their stalks collapsed in the market. He built a lot of the puppets but bought the rest because he loved puppets & he collected them.
And after he retired he found out he was better at magic than puppets, and that he could do REAL magic he got from the old books and scrolls that he got at Istanbull.
Happy was the first he made alive, like the old foreigner did for his fake boy in Pinnocheo, but Happy wanted to be free with no one pulling his strings and killed him like the monster did to his builder in Web of the Cyberbeast, and also Frankenstein, and these Miracle Clone Tots might do this too when they are older......except my Dad says WORLD NEWS WEEKLY just makes those stories up so Mom shouldn’t waste good money on Baloney!
And she said well duh, of course it’s baloney it’s only for fun because it’s so stupid, you need more sense of humor. Then he said how her red~neck family only likes comedy that is stupid and is proud to be ignorant, and we are not low~down trash like that with junk all in the yard. And then he went wait, I didn’t Mean It like That! But she said I Think you did, Richard you are so Stuck Up, but I guess this really has nothing to do with this book.
Happy used more of the glowing gold potion on the rest of them to have company and to be Their GOD, which is the whole secret of this novel. But the others never took him serious and said if you were meant to be leader you would be the one with a crown sewed to your head, like King Vidor here, so he wanted that SPELL BOOK for revenge and to be obeyed totally by them, and now he has it! 
There is a big fight scened where they almost lose, even with Big Clown. He doesn’t have programs for fighting or know what “hit” or “throw that” is so he just starts stacking boxes like this will do some good. Until GOO escapes from the jar he had her in and flies out with a scream and turns into none chucks, and they tie Happy up with duck tape. They find a few last drops of the elixor and put it on the dead old man and it works for a little while, so his flesh is less dried up, but he says it wont last I’m too far gone, just maybe for an hour and then I’ll be dead again........Which is how he could tell them what he told them.
THE DOMAIN is still winding down but he says he can’t fix that. He takes them to the attic window to see the stars and they go WOW! He says there are worlds and suns and galaxies out there and these are all running down too. I thought the very end of this book would be like the NEVERENDING STORY where they can stop the running down, but it wasn’t. It was more like WIZARD of OZ, but what this old man gave them was even faker than the fake hearts and stuff that the Big Oz gave out; because what he gave to Doc and Mimi was really nothing.
He said he can see how Mimi and Doc really love each other alot, and this is all anyone ever has, even him. That LOVE can make it not so bad, and to enjoy this precious flower Life that most matter never gets to have, all that hydrogene lost out in cold space, and you can’t believe just what a tiny bit of the stuff in the whole Cosmo is lucky and gets put together with 2 hands or twelve eyes or just energy, and a name that might be words or the flashing lights that some aliens talk with, and even sometimes we are puppets~ but still we are all more the same then not. But life wouldn’t be worth much if it went on forever, because there is one world he knows about that is like this and they are miserable and nothing can ever change there.
All this maybe is true but still I thought it was a let down after all that chasing and building up to something. You want a happy ending. But still I liked it better than my Mom did, the way she frowned more every page. She especially didn’t like this attic part and said it was preaching at kids that there is no God or anything and this made me cry. And maybe I did cry, but it’s not like I was going to go OH NO!! and cut my neck over some STORY. It was sad, but what was weird was how some of what he said also felt good. Like that they did have some love and him telling them he was proud to see what his children had become, and how brave it was to find this out and go back to what was left of their life, knowing they need to make every minute together count. And how the Old Man cranked up his record player so he could hear his favorite Waltz one more time before he died for good, then they all danced, except Happy who was tied up and being all sacrastic!
My dad said see that’s good morals right there, and that my mom should not make a scene trying to get this book took out of the library! He said YOU ALWAYS GO OVERBOARD with this stuff and it's one thing then another. 
Like that place she ran away with me and joined for a month when I was little, which was weird being out in the boonies with no t.v. or eating meat (although they did have three horses and a pretty pond!), and waiting for this weird thing they had in this goedific dome to OPEN UP TIME, which it never did. Or I don't think it did...
Dad was mad that they washed my brain to believe in a bunch of junk and says it's lucky I wasn't there longer or I would get messed up even worse. And Mom said you always bring that up! That was “new age” believing, where anything you think you want is o.k ., but it’s not o.k.! And he said how do you know this Sunrise Pentacost isn’t exactly the same thing and they both got really mad!
But later she said she was sorry and I know I get carried away but only because I worry about Linda and you too not having Jesus! You’re for all these different minorites and everything weird except a Christian like me. He said I’m sorry too Penny, you found something neither of us expected back when we were young and full of beans and just trying to afford that nice sofa from Hillman’s Furniture, but I do respect if this is you now, and what a pair we make!!!
She said I remember that sofa, we finally, finally got it and then the next week Dickie McDowell wrecked it at that party and he STILL avoids me. And then they were laughing and whispering & acting silly like I wish they would do a lot more...
But you told me last time to stay on the subject and so I am. I mean this is MUCH more on the subject than my report on submarines. And you’re right it was the North Pole they drove under not the South, because I looked it up like you said and am sorry I yelled and called you a stupid Liar, because I know what it's like to get called a liar!
They take Happy to see JUDGE JUDY, who used to be in “Punch And Judy” and get knocked around and be stupid for laughs and not even know any better, so now she is this very tough Judge who hates all bullies and crooks and says we need a strong detergent for crime. 
Judge Judy says you two kids are big heros now, and so it is O.K. if you get married, even being from different kinds of puppet, us old fools were wrong. And since I am the Judge I can make you married right now, but first I have to give this lousy Dirt Bag some Justice.
She throws the book at Happy and it squashes him!


Very Enjoyable

Quite a story there -- both the book and Linda's. Cleverly done and a lot of cute ideas. Even some profundity.


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