The Mischievous Nerd's Guide to World Domination
Author: Stephen Oberauer

Chapter 38
The book of answers

The book of answers was the most incredible book I had ever read. For some reason, I was always a slow reader, but the enjoyment that reading the book gave me kept me up until late that night. The book was full of very fascinating information. It had lots of psychology, mainly about how to live a happy life. It had interesting trivia and incredible deductions.

I checked my email, and found my first mission from Einstein. It was simple; I was asked to do a bungee jump. According to the book of answers, the chance of dying from a bungee jump is about one in five hundred thousand, which sounds safer to me than walking across the street.

My brain could not contain all the information that I had read that evening, so I decided to pace myself, and only read a few pages at a time. According to the book it was best to read it first thing in the morning. That way I would think about the things all day. If I were to read them at night, which is what I did the first time, then I would struggle to sleep, and I did.

In the morning I was very tired. Kirsty and I went down to the factory to help Einstein with his research. He had about twenty different test tubes for us to smell. We sniffed them one after the other and had to tell Einstein if we liked the previous or the next smell better. It was a bit like an eye test, but with our noses. He then gave us some very strange drawings to look at and did a similar test, asking which drawings we preferred. After that he gave us various materials to feel, and then played some very unusual sounds. Einstein looked like he was concentrating very hard, so I didn’t bother to ask what the tests were for.

I booked a bungee jump. Despite having invited most of my friends on Facebook, no-one was available to join me. They were probably terrified, like me, but it still annoyed me. I rescheduled for the next day when Raymond was available. The two of us would go on an adventure together and the rest could go and jump... no, wait, that would be us.

The day of the jump arrived. By then we had managed to persuade Kirsty and Melissa to join us. Well, we had persuaded them to come with to the bridge, but not to jump; not yet. We drove off early that morning in the Batmobile, and after a couple of hours had arrived at some friends in Swellendam, which was about half way to Bloukrans River Bridge, the highest bungee in the world. A few hours later we drove off and by 4pm we had arrived out our destination, a perfectly safe bridge, 216 metres above the Bloukrans River.

It was scary enough just to be on the bridge. It was windy too, making my mind wonder how that would affect my jump, and what were to happen if I got tangled in the rope, or what if the rope broke, or was not securely tied, or what if they couldn’t get me back up, and how would I feel, dangling upside down. Raymond was first. He had his hands on his head, and was saying things like ‘Tell me again; why am I doing this?’ and ‘This is just insane’. Before his jump, Raymond said to me, ‘If I die, you can have my house.’

‘Thanks,’ I replied sarcastically.

Raymond stood, terrified, at the edge of the bridge, with the facilitators trying to calm him to down. ‘5, 4, 3...’, the countdown had begun.

‘No, wait! Stop! I’m not ready! Stop!’ he yelled. The counting stopped and he sat down. ‘Just give me a minute,’ he begged, as if he was about to be executed. ‘Okay, I’m ready, let’s do this!’

‘5, 4, 3, 2, 1, bungee!’

Raymond jumped. He shouted ‘Aaaaaah!’ on his way down, with his arms waving about. ‘Woohooooo!’ came the shout from the bottom, ‘I did it! I’m alive!’

When Raymond arrived back on the bridge he was ecstatic. He had a big smile and gave everyone hugs, saying ‘I love you guys!’

It was my turn next. I was probably more scared than Raymond, but my fear made me quiet. They tied me up securely, explaining how many tonnes the ropes could handle, while I tried to calculate, based on the acceleration, distance and my body mass how much my effective weight would be, but my brain would not co-operate. The thoughts in my mind were mingled with swearing, what would happen if I were to die, and whether or not it was possible to die from fear.

‘5, 4, 3, 2, 1, bungee!’

I had planned to jump, but my legs would not let me. The facilitators pushed me gently and I fell over the edge. It felt like I was flying. The seven second fall felt more like thirty. I bounced around for a little while after reaching the lowest point, and after stopping bouncing I realised that I had been holding my breath, and let it out with a big sigh. It wasn’t long before I was being lifted back up to the top. After reaching the top and having my legs untied I felt just like Raymond looked. All I wanted to do was jump again, but not before getting the girls to have a go.

After much encouragement, both Kirsty and Melissa had a go, with very similar reactions to ours. We felt invincible, as if we could do anything. That night we stayed over at a hotel in Plettenberg bay, and the next day we each had two more jumps. On my last jump I told them not to count. I wanted to do the jump by myself. I dove over the edge, without a care in the world, and simply enjoyed the amazing feeling.

The next 3 missions were all to do with conquering fear. The first was sky-diving, the second was to give a speech to over a thousand people. I had to dress up as John again, something I hadn’t done in a long time, and the third was a special trust experiment that Einstein had cooked up. I had to jump out of the four storey high north tower of the castle and be caught by a contraption that Einstein had made for me. To test it we made some of the robots jump first. It worked perfectly, but I was too scared. I had no ropes and no parachute. The only thing I had was the assurances of a robot that I would not die. Einstein realised that I was not going to do it, so he asked me, ‘Why don’t you ask Arnold to throw you off?’

‘Okay’, I agreed. It was worse than jumping, but, as I had learned from the author, Susan Jeffers, if you want to overcome your fear, you have to just go ahead and do it despite your fear. I asked Arnold to throw me off, and he did. It was the scariest thing I had ever done, worse than bungee jumping, and far worse than parachuting, but after being gently caught by Einstein’s falling people catcher, I ran back to the top of the tower and dived off without help.

Eventually we were all doing it, Raymond, Melissa, Kirsty and me. It was awesome. I was glad that Einstein had taken over like that. I would never have thought of having fun by throwing myself out of a tall building. What would Einstein think of next?


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