Archived: Henry: Now in 3-D! by Stephen Lehman


Henry Herbert Hildebrandt woke up and looked upon the world for the first time on a clear January morning, a Monday specifically, if you’re so inclined to know. His first gasp of air was taken into his lungs and immediately he felt more alive than he had ever felt before. Perhaps this was because Henry Herbert Hildebrandt had never actually been alive prior to this monumental event.

After gulping down his first mouthful of oxygen, Henry promptly let out a series of three different sounds emanating from his mouth. The first of which resembled the sound, “Goo”, followed by another, “Goo”. The last of which sounded somewhat like a howler monkeys call, much to the surprise of the doctors and especially the howler monkey standing in the back of the room. The howler monkey soon returned to the jungle after realizing an animal such as himself had no place in a hospital.

Henry Herbert Hildebrandt was, in fact, a baby; quite a peculiar baby at that, one that would go on to surprise everyone around him on a daily basis. First he would be reading the newspaper at only age two. Next thing you knew he would be shaving his beard at age three! Don’t even get me started on what he was doing by age four.

Naturally, a gifted baby such as the wee little Hildebrandt was given the royal treatment from wealthy individuals all across the world looking to gain some notoriety for, and I quote, “Lining the proverbial diaper.” In a turn of events that no one could have foreseen, one day little Henry Herbert Hildebrandt up and left his life of fame and fortune at the ripe age of five, instead looking for a nice quiet life in the countryside. Using his unnaturally large baby-brain, he decided to live as simply as possible. All he would bring were his sandals, his shirt, and his dignity. And his speedboat. And his wet-wipes. No poo-poo pants for Henry.

For the next few years Henry lived relatively disconnected from the outside world in his tropical beach bungalow. Every morning he woke before the dawn to feed the baby ducklings nested comfortably by his ocean-side swimming pool. On warm summer evenings, Henry would look up to the stars to catch the perfect view of his own personal international space station orbiting the earth, projecting his big baby face onto the moon for all to see. Truly, he was living the quiet, simple life he desired for so long. Every night as he curled up into his cozy, warm racecar bed made from real racecars, and he slept soundly and dreamt of all the simple joys and immaterial pleasures his new life provided him. But little did Henry know, his life was about to change. Coincidentally, he also had to change his diaper.

But little did Henry know, his life was about to change. Coincidentally, he also had to change his diaper.

He awoke to the shrill sounds of Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice, Baby”, accompanied by a picture of the President of the United States. He immediately regretted setting this as the president’s ring back tone, but still giggled at ridiculousness of the situation. He chose to take the call on speakerphone so that he could continue his morning ritual of watching Dora explore.

“Mr. President, you of all people should know I don’t appreciate being disturbed before the eggs in my dinosaur oatmeal have even hatched.” answers Henry in his soft, yet strong voice. The sweet, dulcet tones of Boots the monkey carry on in the background.

“Well Mr. Hildebrandt, I thought that you would like to know about a certain piece of news concerning one ‘alien invasion of New York City’?” the president replies. “Seriously man, have you been living under a rock?”

Henry straightens up. “Well actually, I happen to live under the top bunk of a racecar bed, and occasionally I live on said top bunk when I’m feeling especially empowered. What could an alien invasion possibly have to do with me?” Harry’s exhausted features contort in confusion; the very image of a wee lad who stayed up a tad too late reading Corduroy again.

“Well Henry, you have the strongest, most naturally complex mind in the World!” the presidents responds, with visibly increased enthusiasm. “We would be fools to not use your incredible ingenuity to help put an end to this grave threat! Surely you remember when you helped us solve the great shampoo crisis a few years back?”

Harry remembers it all too vividly. The shampoo industry was experiencing the worst shortage since the Great Pantene Revolt of 69’. From the ashes of the conflict rose L’Oréal, salting the earth with their shampoo for gullible children. The only shampoo available for ten long years was L’Oréal’s patented “No Tears” shampoo. Millions of innocent children around the world, Henry included, bought into this evil marketing scheme. All that awaited these unsuspecting children was the burning realization that “No Tears” shampoo may as well have been crafted by the Devil himself. Billions of eyes were reddened and billions of tantrums erupted, unceasingly, for a grim ten years. Oh Henry remembers, alright. The nightmares still haunt him to this day. L’Oréal had lied to him once, and Henry vowed never again.

After waiting patiently for the narrator to finish ranting about shampoo, Henry then continued with his conversation with the president.

“Well why don’t you guys just try talking it out with the aliens? Make a compromise? Maybe they can invade half of New York? Sharing is caring, Mr. President.” says Henry, sleepily.

The president looked unamused. “You think we haven’t tried that already? We tried to initiate peace talks, and they replied saying they refused to speak with anyone who wasn’t Henry Herbert Hildebrandt.” Henry shot straight up in his bed, bruising his head on the automobile mobile hanging above him.

The president continued. “After that we launched multiple failed attacks on them. Each time they told us the same thing; that they would only speak to you, Henry. Yet again we launched fifty-five more attacks on these aliens. Fifty-five times they reiterated that they ‘Really really just wanted want to speak with Henry, if you would be so kind please’. We’ve still got our top analysts trying to figure out exactly what they want from us.” The president said, without any doubt.

Henry recoiled from this back-blast of startling information. In fact, he recoiled so hard that he fell back into his bed and took a 30-minute power nap. When he awoke he had to re-dial the president and explain that he was very tired, and that he simply wasn’t used to receiving information regarding ‘saving the world’ this early in the morning.

When he awoke he had to re-dial the president and explain that he was very tired, and that he simply wasn’t used to receiving information regarding ‘saving the world’ this early in the morning.

He continued stalling for a subsequent 30 more minutes, before finally saying what he knew needed to be said.

“Fine, I’ll do it! But on one condition…” says Henry. He was clearly worn-out from all the stalling. “I’d like a dinosaur sidekick, please.” Secretly, this is what Henry had wanted all along. The alien invasion of New York would simply serve as the catalyst for the realization of his dino dreams. After all, Henry was positively fascinated with dinosaurs. Especially the big bitey ones. ‘Mmm, bitey bitey, snarl’ thought Henry, musing to himself.

The president let out a relaxed sigh and said, “Oh Henry. If we were living in any other time in Human history a request such as that would probably be met with laughs and accusations of madness. Such an investment into dinosaur cloning would take years of hard labor and intensive research to even scratch the surface of such a field that is decades upon decades beyond any hope of human comprehension.” The president smiled. “Luckily, thanks to modern technology, we just happen to have created America’s first cloned Tyrannosaurus last Tuesday. It’s all yours, little buddy.”

Henry recognizes the highly improbably coincidence in the scenario and casts it aside, too focused on saving the Human race to worry about plot holes. The world required saving and he would answer the call with or without the approval of story enthusiasts.







I’m a sophomore here at Aims and I’ve taken multiple English courses and most recently a creative writing course, and these are some of the stories I’ve written.