“You can give the scouts a tour of the ship,” Carla suggested. Mr. Hawley headed out to the museum floor to round the girls up.
This was less easy than it should have been for two reasons. First, Mr. Hawley made the booming announcement that the entire brownie troop should line up came off more like a drill sergeant’s order than an invitation for fun. When he realized this error (a bit of crying was enough to tell him that something was wrong, although it took him a while longer to recognize that he was the cause of it) he tried again, but his happy-fun voice didn’t have nearly the projection to reach everyone. Finally the troop leader took pity on him, or at least wanted to shut him up before he made things worse for her.
Once lined up, the girls as one remembered Marty’s bargain with them, and moreover assumed that it was instantly transferable to this person who was taller than them and also male. After the first little girl shouted out “Madison!” Mr. Hawley was treated to a solid minute of random names, ranging from “Ellen” or “Brad” to “Princess Pollywog” and “Mr. Tum-Tum Fiddle-Faddle DuPont Raisin Fruit Basket A Tisket A Tasket Montana the Third.” This last one wasn’t strictly heard over the din, but it is included here for the sake of absolute veracity.
The troop leader once again rescued him. “That boy you’ve got working here promised a prize for the best name,” she rasped.
“Oh,” Mr. Hawley said. “Madison, I guess.”
“That’s my name!” squeaked the girl who had originally said it.
“Well, then, you win the prize!” Mr. Hawley gushed. He had finally learned to adapt to changing business conditions. “And it will be waiting for you after the tour. But now, we all have to get inside.”
He was pleasantly surprised when the girls marched into Nathan’s original ship, and even reasonably quietly. He held the door for them to make sure there were no stragglers; the troop leader was last.
“That wasn’t so hard, now, was it?” she gloated as she passed.
This is one of the recent additions to Exile Issues. The set-up is that, having helped Nathan get reinstated to his home, Marty and Carla (and Marty’s father) have started a (reasonably phony) museum of alien technology.
So in this quickie, Mr. Hawley gets to deal with a group of little girls who have come to the museum, presumably for educational purposes. Specifically, he has cause to gather them all together in an isolated area so that hijinks can ensue outside of their view. Classic comedy, you know.