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Pete Invents the Cold Suit, Part I

It was a quiet, icy afternoon at the South Pole and Pete was bored

No one had seen the sun for days. But that was life at the South Pole. Still, it was kind of a big deal for a teen pop. Even at 14 years old, Pete and his adventurous spirit already dreamed of living somewhere else. He had heard stories about the United States, especially sunny, Southern California. Pete couldn’t help but imagine living his life in a warm climate where the people were many and a big, blue ocean was nearby. “Holy brain freeze!” worried Pete. After all, he was a frozen pop! Surely, Pete would melt in seconds if he lived in a warm climate. His life depended on the frozen temperature of the South Pole. These thoughts troubled Pete for he was an ambitious confection who believed in following his heart. For the past generations, none of Pete’s ancestors had ever ventured beyond the South Pole because if they did, they would surely melt. To live out his life in a place such as the South Pole where he was not entirely happy sometimes frustrated him. Sure, Pete was a good son and loved his family dearly. As much as he never wanted to be apart from them, he imagined swimming in a warm ocean. He thought about sunrise walks on a beach with seaguls flying above. He dreamed about riding his scooter down palm tree lanes. He pictured sipping grape soda at a local café with friends. How could Pete accept living in a place that he had no say in?

Whenever he got bored, Pete enjoyed creating things and making them work

His favorite hobby was collecting stray bits, parts, and pieces that he could use to make stuff. He was kind of a scavenger – always looking for anything he could find to build his inventions. And the more things he built, the better he got. On this particular day, neither Pete’s parents nor his brothers and sisters were home, which meant he had the igloo all to himself. The situation inspired Pete’s imagination to get a little mischievous. Looking around, Pet decided to snoop in one of his mother’s closets where she kept a lot of old items that she no longer used. In fact, she had stashed stuff there that none of the Cold family had seen in years. Even so, Pete knew very well about Mama Victoria’s rule that the closet was off limits to the kids. Normally, Pete was an obedient son who respected his parents’ wishes. But on this day, temptation got the best of him. Something inside Pete motivated him to open the forbidden closet. When he did, he came upon a heaping pile of thick, gray fabric. He recalled years ago that Mama Victoria Vanilla had wanted to make a sofa for their living room using this material, but she never got around to it.

Could Pete invent something to protect himself in warm climates?

“This hunk of fabric is perfect!” the young inventor thought to himself. But for what? Well, this icy treat had a vision. Pete felt that if he could somehow capture the freezing, South Pole weather inside the suit, maybe he could wear the suit and travel to warmer places! At first, it did seem like a crazy idea, but Pete had no fear. Driven by a sense of wonder, he wanted to test his idea. “But how can I keep the inside of the suit permanently cold?” wondered Pete, gearing up for the challenge. There was also the issue of making the suit. To do that Pete needed a sewing machine. He recalled that in another one of Mama Victoria’s closets sat her sewing machine covered in cobwebs along with all the items that Pete needed to stitch up his future suit. But he had to do it fast since he only had a few hours before the family arrived home. Super excited, Pete set up the sewing machine on the desk in his room. He had no clue how to sew. But how difficult could it be? And so, the brave sweet treat set out to literally construct a suit that might become the answer to his dream. Snipping away at the bulky, grey fabric, he crafted something that roughly looked like a body suit, from head to toe. Within the next hour, Pete had stitched the suit and even inserted a long zipper right up the front so that he could open and close it. Okay, so it wasn’t the best-looking suit. But when he tried it on, it fit! More inspired than ever, Pete thought hard about how he could insulate the suit so that it always remained cold. The next step was to insert some sort of freezer system into the suit. “Flipping frosty frills, I’ve got it!” With a fresh idea popping in his head, Pete dashed into the kitchen and threw open the freezer where the Cold family stored all their extra food. He spent the next 30 minutes carefully studying the freezer and how it worked, inside and out. Pete already knew that he wanted to be an engineer when he grew up because he loved building things and making them work. So, studying the way a freezer works was not unusual for the future engineer because it might give him new ideas. And so it was that the freezer did indeed reveal the key to Pete’s new suit.

His brothers and sisters thought Pete was crazy for following his dream

At that moment, Pete raced to his closet bursting with a massive collection of gadgets, pipes, pumps, wire and just about anything else you can think of that a junior inventor might need. His brothers and sisters thought he was nuts for keeping such a collection. Suddenly, Pete realized that the junky collection could hold the answer to his dream of living outside the South Pole. Faster than a melting icicle in a desert sun, Pete bolted to the sewing machine where he zipped up another suit exactly like the first one. Gathering all the skinniest, longest, tiniest pipes from his gadget collection, he wove them into a vast web inside the suit. With some wires, he fastened a little pump to the end and attached it to the front of the suit. The inside of the suit looked as though it was filled with a thousand skinny straws, each one connected to the next. With a bucket in hand, Pete rushed outside and shoveled it full of snowy grains of ice. Back in his room, Pete cleverly filled the massive but tiny piping system with the frozen ice bits. For the next step, he grabbed some wires and attached a little electrical circuit to two batteries and then put the whole thing together. Making simple circuits was easy and something that he learned at school in science, his favorite class. Then, he attached an ON/OFF button to the tip of the circuit and then to the front of the suit. He immediately put it on. Now came the real test. Practically melting from excitement, Pete flipped the switch.

Lickity sucker sticks! It works!

To his amazement, he could feel it growing cold by the second. In fact, the entire suit was fully frozen within a matter of minutes. Best of all, he could move around easily. Pete was so proud of himself as this was his most advanced invention yet. But more testing was necessary to make sure the suit would be 100% reliable as one day his life might depend on it. Pete was thrilled to announce his invention to the family. But there was one problem. “I’m going to have a lot of explaining to do,” he thought, since he had broken one of this mother’s important rules. This was not the first time Pete had violated a house rule. But wasn’t it for the greater good of his creative invention? Surely, Mama Victoria would understand that. Then, Pete remembered a huge lesson that Papa Randy Rainbow taught him when he was a small, ice pop. It was a big word called ‘consequences’. Breaking Mama Victoria’s rule for the sake of his invention and ultimately his future didn’t make it right. That’s why Pete prepared himself for a possible punishment. However, Pete did have one regret. He should have asked Mama Victoria before he stole her fabric! But what if she had said no, not believing in Pete’s grand idea? Then, Pete’s invention would not exist. Surely, he could not take that chance. Once again, Pete’s adventerous spirit and fearless attitude had gotten him into a sticky situation. “What if they take the suit away from me?” thought Pete, now in a state of panic. Nope. He decided to put that thought right out of his mind. Mama Victoria had taught him about the power of positive thinking. Instead, he imagined in detail how proud his parents would be even if they punished him for his actions. Suddenly, Pete heard the front door open. It was his family! How could he greet them since he was still wearing the suit! Within seconds, Mama Victoria and the entire family stood in the doorway of Pete’s room, with their jaws on the floor. “What on earth have you done?” shouted Mama Victoria. “And what in heaven’s name are you wearing?” Glaring at her son, a shade of cherry red washed over Mama Victoria’s face as she recognized her prized fabric from inside the forbidden closet, now in the jagged shape of a strange-looking suit. The Cold Suit. To be continued…

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