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ENERGY CHARGE: IONS 126–27

“ENERGY,” SAYS FRANK EINSTEIN, KID GENIUS AND INVENTOR. “Power that can be converted into motion, light, heat—energy in all its different forms! That’s what this is all about, Watson.”

“MMMmphh mmm rrrmmm mmm,” answers Watson.

Frank nods. “Oh yes. Of course—also forces. The way energy is applied. The way energy works in the world. Absolutely right, Watson.”

Watson wiggles. “Rrrrarr rrrr ruuhhhh ruhhhh!”

Frank Einstein scratches his head with an oversized metal finger. “Oh yeah! This is the perfect chance to test my HYPOTHESIS . . . and the ultimate challenge for my Electro-Finger invention.”

Watson, lashed to the front of a rubber raft drifting ever faster toward a roaring sound at the base of the dam in the river, would like to say, “Einstein, this is it! I’m done! You’re crazy. This is not the perfect chance to test anything! And: HELLLLLLLP!”

But Watson can’t say any of that.

Because Watson is not only taped to the raft.

His mouth is also duct-taped completely shut.

So all he can do is wiggle, bug his eyes out, and make noises.

“We are presently moving quickly toward a column of water being sucked under the dam,” says Klink.

“Uh-oh,” says Klank.

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CONTENTS

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FRANK EINSTEIN’S ENERGY NOTES

A WATSON FAVORITE INVENTION

KLINK AND KLANK PRESENT HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN ELECTRO-FINGER

A RECIPE FROM MR. CHIMP

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“STAND STILL, WATSON!” SAYS FRANK EINSTEIN. “THIS WON’T hurt . . . very much.”

“It’s the ‘very much’ that worries me,” answers Watson, trying not to flinch.

Frank shuffles his feet on the wool rug. He raises his index finger until it’s level with Watson’s nose.

Klink, plugged into an outlet in a corner of Frank’s laboratory, looks up and says, without any excitement, “Oh, how exciting. I cannot guess what is going to happen.”

“Me either! Me either! Me either!” beeps Klank.

Klink turns his single camera eye to Klank. “I know exactly what is going to happen.”

“What?” beeps Klank.

“What?” says Watson.

Frank moves his finger closer to Watson’s face.

A tiny bolt of electricity jumps from Frank’s finger to Watson’s nose.

Bzzzzzzt!

“Yow!” yells Watson.

“Success!” cheers Frank.

“Ha-ha-ha,” beeps Klank.

“And people call you a genius?” says Klink.

Watson rubs his nose and sits back down at Frank’s lab table. “What did you do that for?”

Frank adds a drawing and a quick note to his lab notebook. “Energy. Static electricity. The same thing as lightning, just on a smaller scale.”

“So you lightning-bolted my nose?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Why do we do anything, Watson?” Frank pins a photo of a lightning strike up on the Wall of Science under energy. “To find out how things work. To make our next invention. To get started on figuring out energy. But mostly to make you jump.”

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Klink unplugs his recharged self and autowinds his cord.

“Static electricity,” Klink explains. “Free electrons gathered from rubbing the wool rug are negatively charged. They jumped to Watson’s positively charged nose because the opposite charges attract.”

“Which is exactly like lightning,” explains Frank. “Storm clouds become negatively charged on the bottom. The lightning is the electricity discharging to the positive ground. Opposite charges attracting.”

“So . . . great,” says Watson. “You can make an invention to shock everyone’s nose?”

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“Oh, no,” says Frank. “This is about all energy! And energy for all. Energy is what makes everything in the world go. Without energy, nothing would happen.”

“This is true,” says Klink. “Energy comes in many different forms. You may be interested to see that I have improved myself with all-new energy attachments.” Klink shows off his newest additions.

“Mechanical. Electrical. Magnetic. Chemical. Light. Heat. Nuclear. I did not add sound energy.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” says Klank. “Because I have the sound energy. I am making a new Robot Boogie. Listen!

“Badang badang badang . . .”

“Perfect!” says Frank. “All forms of energy. But the most completely amazing fact about energy is that it cannot be created or destroyed. It can only change from one form to another.”

“Hmmm,” says Watson, clearly not that amazed. “And how does any of this help me with my new invention?” Watson fiddles with a pile of tiny paper balls, dried peas, and BBs, searching for ones that fit nicely inside his big plastic straw.

Watson fits a pea into the opening. He blows a quick puff of air and shoots the pea at an empty soda can that he has set up as a target. The pea curves wildly and pings! off Klank’s metal-canister body.

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“This is exactly what we’re working on!” says Frank. “Forces. Forces are how energy is applied in the world. Forces are how motion happens. And a lot of that was figured out by this guy.” Frank points to his Wall of Science. “Maybe the most famous scientist ever—Sir Isaac Newton. He figured out the Three Laws of Motion.”

“Nice hair,” says Watson.

“And we can use these laws about forces . . .”

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While Frank is talking, Watson loads a small plastic BB into his shooter. He aims at a metal pipe on the ceiling.

“. . . to direct the energy that—”

The BB misses the pipe and hits an aluminum duct—tink!

And suddenly a loud CREAK THUMP BOOM fills the laboratory. The walls shake. A whole section of the ceiling collapses and crashes to the concrete floor in a huge tangle of splintered wood and metal pipes.

“I didn’t do it!” yells Watson. He looks at his peashooter. “Did I do it?”

But before anyone can say anything else, a hulking figure with massive arms and a sinister, hooded head rises out of the mess, croaking, moaning . . .

“It’s going to attack!” yells Watson. “Everyone duck!”

Everyone ducks.

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“ARRRGGGHHH,” GROANS THE DARK SHAPE IN THE LABORATORY-DUST cloud.

“What is that?” says Klank. “I am afraid.”

“You cannot be afraid,” says Klink. “You are a machine.”

The menacing shape aims what looks like a bazooka on its shoulder.

“OK,” says Klank, dimly lit by his head antenna bulb. “Maybe I am just very nervous.”

Frank grabs a steel pipe. He hands Watson a baseball bat. “We outnumber whoever or whatever it is. Charge on three. One . . .”

“What?” whispers Watson. “Maybe I should use my peashooter again instead.”

“Two . . .”

The dark figure shakes itself, moans again, and points its bazooka cannon right at Klank.

“Do not shoot!” beeps Klank. “I am a friendly machine.”

“Wha—? Huh?” says the dark shape in the dust. “Oh, sorry, fellas. I didn’t mean to interrupt your chin-wagging confab.”

“Grampa Al!” says Frank, dropping his steel pipe.

And it is Grampa Al. Because who else would ever say “chin-wagging confab”?

Grampa Al shrugs the ripped piece of canvas off his head. He pushes the busted pipe off his shoulder and kicks his way through the rubble of the collapsed roof.

“Doodlebugs! I forgot all about that patched piece of roof. Fell through and pulled my whole windmill construction right down with me.”

Frank helps Grampa Al dust himself off. “Windmill? What are you doing with a windmill?”

Grampa Al sits down at the lab table. “Making my own energy. Getting off the grid. Midville Power and Light is under new management. And they’re sending electricity prices sky-high.”

“We were just talking about energy,” says Frank.

“And forces,” adds Watson.

“Let me show you what I got. Maybe you guys can help.” Grampa Al shuffles back to the pile of roof and windmill pieces. He pulls out a rolled-up piece of paper and lays out a blueprint of his building.

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Grampa Al traces a path through the blueprint. “This is where the electric runs. This place is a hundred years old. It was built when there was plenty of coal, and oil was cheap. All its electricity came from burning those fossil fuels.”

“Nonrenewable energy sources,” says Klink, projecting a diagram onto one of Frank’s laboratory walls.

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“Plant and animal forms squashed and decaying over millions of years,” says Klink. “Turned into coal and oil and gas.”

“Exactly,” says Grampa Al. “So I’m thinking we switch over to renewable energy.”

Frank nods. “Stuff that doesn’t take millions of years to replace.”

Klink projects another diagram onto the wall.

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“Nice,” says Frank. “Like geothermal energy—using the Earth’s temperature to cool water in the summer, and heat water in the winter.”

“And electricity generated from the windmill I was putting up top,” says Grampa Al.

“And who knows what else? Maybe a solar-powered phone? A hydro-turbine-powered television set?” adds Frank.

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“Cool,” says Watson.

Frank studies the plans. Scratches his head. And nods. “Very cool. But you know what would be even cooler?”

“A polar bear in a snowstorm?” asks Klank.

“Even better than getting off the grid? Doing without a grid.” Frank thinks out loud. “Totally wireless power. Available everywhere. No generators. No wires. Just tapping into the electrical power that is in the entire universe.”

Frank points to another picture on the Wall of Science.

“There was a scientist named Nikola Tesla who lived around 1900 and did some amazing experiments with wireless energy. He thought it could be done.”

“But that’s impossible,” says Watson.

Frank shuffles across his rug, lifts one finger, and—bzzzzzzt—zaps Watson’s nose.

“Not really . . .” says Frank.

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IN THE HILLS ABOVE THE TOWN OF MIDVILLE, A KID WITH SIZE-FIVE WING-TIP shoes, a floppy bow tie, and a bad haircut stands on top of the dam at the western end of Lake Midville.

The way he is waving his arms up and down, it’s hard to tell if he is happy or angry or both.

But he is definitely talking to the chimpanzee standing next to him. The chimpanzee wearing pin-striped pants, a white shirt, a dark tie, and no shoes.

“I’m still mad at you for running off and letting Frank Einstein and his idiot robots wreck my Antimatter Motor,” says the kid with the bad haircut, T. Edison. “But I have to say—your idea to buy the Midville Power and Light Company is pretty smart. For a monkey.”

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Mr. Chimp checks his phone, then puts it back in his pocket.