Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

Life on Ruru

          Sue is a girl with the most extraordinary life. She lived on a planet called Ruru with her family. Every single planet in the galaxy was predicted to explode in a few months . Her parents were the only thing that was keeping their planet from not exploding. They were bakers and they made special chocolate cookies for every single person on their planet. Then when the sun went down everyone on the planet held their cookies up high, sung their national anthem and the whole galaxy would rumble, then stop, and the planet would be okay for another day. Doing that was the only thing that kept them alive. If one single person didn’t do that, it would be over for all of them. When Sue was older she and her brother, Josh, would take over the bakery. Her brother absolutely loved baking. Her whole family loved baking except one person and as you probably already guessed, it was Sue. Sue hated baking. What she really wanted to be when she was older was an inventor. The only thing is, her parents loved her so much and tried to do everything they could for her and she also loved her parents. So she never was able to tell her parents she hated baking. She didn’t want to let them down.


          One day, she was helping her parents get ingredients when, behind her back Sue saw her parents winking at each other. Sue suddenly felt uneasy. Whenever her parents winked behind her back at each other it usually meant that they had something very important to tell her. Sue decided to ignore it and start cracking eggs for the special cookies. Her parents came over to her and said,
          “Sue we need to talk to you.” Sue shouted to her brother, knowing her parents only meant her,
          “Josh, mom and dad want to talk to us about something!” Her parents shouted back, “ No we don’t ignore your sister!” Her mom turned to her and whispered, “Privately.” Sue knew she was stuck. Her dad said,
          “Come to the couch.” Sue obeyed. Her mom started to speak,
          “We thought of this long and hard.” She paused for 5 seconds but it felt like a minute. Sue felt quite uneasy. Her dad started to speak,
          “We can see that you aren’t very enthusiastic about baking.” He started to get choked up so her mom continued.
          “We found your kit of inventions in your underwear drawer.” Sue thought in her head, “darn it!” But she didn’t dare to say it out loud. Her mom spoke again so muffled Sue couldn’t hear her. Sue said,
          “I beg your pardon.” Her mom ran out of the room and her dad stood up from the chair he was sitting in. He said,
          “We are disappointed in you.” Then he too walked out of the room. Sue felt like a lump of jelly. She tried to open her mouth and speak but nothing came out. It didn’t matter anyway. No one was listening. Sue barely ever cried but she definitely cried now. She cried so much it actually made a pool on the couch. After all of that crying she felt so tired so she fell asleep right there on the couch.
          Sue woke up and tried to open her eyes. The sun was blinding her. When she succeeded in opening her eyes, everything fell upon her. She remembered where she was, she remembered what had happened and she was devastated. She tried crying more but she couldn’t because her eyes were dry. Here eyes were so dry it felt like they were sand. She would do anything at the moment to forget what had happened the night before. She even thought she would rather be a baker when she grows up then remembered what happened. So she finally decided she would have to do something about this. She used all her energy and ran up to her room. She didn’t even get breakfast. She opened her underwear drawer and found a note inside it that said:

Dear Sue,
We have taken your inventing kit to our room. That is your punishment.

Love Mom and Dad

          Sue thought, “Darn it!” She decided she would sneak into her parents’ room and get her inventing kit. She started to slowly make her way to her parents’ room. She knew where all the creaky spots on the floor were. She peaked into her parents’ room. All clear. “Whew!” thought Sue. She went inside and looked around. Their room was a mess! “And they tell me to clean my room!” she thought. She looked around and sure enough, there was her inventing kit lying on the bed untouched. She grabbed it and slowly crept back to her room. She put it on her bed and opened it. She knew what she had to do. She was going to try and invent a mini robot that could help her brother around the kitchen. Then she wouldn’t have to help her brother when they were older and she could follow her passion of being an inventor.


          Sue had never invented a robot before. She didn’t believe she could do it, but she kept think- ing of how if she didn’t make this robot she would have to be a baker when she was older and she definitely didn’t want that. She worked on it until lunch time and even when her mother screamed upstairs,
          “Lunch time Sue!!!”
          She didn’t come down. She worked on it all afternoon and even until her bedtime. Her mother came into the room and Sue hid her invention under her pillow, lay down and pretended to sleep. Her mother turned off her light, closed the door and left Sue’s room. Sue grabbed a flashlight that was on her bedside table. It really was only meant for emergencies but this was an emergency. Right? Finally Sue finished. The mini robot looked pretty good she thought. She hid the invention under her pillow and tried to go to sleep. She was having a hard time going to sleep because tomor- row she was going to try out her invention.


          When she went to sleep she had a terrible nightmare of her parents dying and her screaming, “NO!!!” Then she woke up. She checked her clock. 9:00 am!!! Oh no she slept in!! She might not have enough time to try out her invention! She hopped out of bed, grabbed her invention and tiptoed to her parents’ room. Good they were still asleep. She checked her brother’s room. Good he was still asleep. She crept downstairs and went into the kitchen. She turned on her robot and gave him instructions. It worked! He did exactly what she said!!! Now there were yummy muffins who smelled delicious too!!! Her mom ran downstairs. Her father followed. Her mom said,
          “What is happening down here?!” Sue explained everything. Her mom and dad ran over and hugged her.
          “We’re so sorry for forcing you to cook.” They hugged Sue so tight she thought she was going to faint but she still hugged them back.

After that, Sue became the best inventor on their planet, her brother and the mini robot continued on their families’ tradition and they all lived happily ever after.