Delilah Mayhew was a born performer.
And her first act upon entering the world can be considered what the doctors call a "Perfect Ten Emergence" (Or what they do now that they have some example to match up with the term they'd been throwing around the ER).
She sprang from her mother's womb in a perfectly controlled swan dive that landed her snugly in between her siblings for their first picture together, in which she didn't blink and, everyone realizes, would have begun her modeling career if she’d had the chance. Her unfortunately flawed brothers and sisters sat confused, providing a great contrast, while her effortless effervescence radiated from gummy smile and crinkling toes.
At five weeks old she'd perfected her own recipe and procedure for breast milk. Her parents shook their heads, said "What in tarnation?" as she sat at the door and sold the serum to Carnation.
At three months she negotiated a 3:30 nap time deal with her mother so she could catch the tawdry end of the soaps and not have to put up with the endlessly bumbling B-team that was the local afternoon news. She was also smart enough to include a clause for re-negotiation, upon sudden change of programming schedule.
At four months Delilah had developed a perfect attitude and a perfect laugh.
Scientifically. It's documented.
At five months Delilah took her first step…and it was a cartwheel.
And it was so perfect she couldn't stop.
She cartwheeled around the living room, over the sofa and underneath the dinner table.
Delilah's form was so perfect that her spine clinked into alignment and it never left, even as she started to roll up and down the wall.
After a few hours, Delilah's parents realized they couldn't stop their daughter. They could re-route her upstairs, outside, through the yard. But Delilah Mayhew was never going to stop spinning. She whipped from room to room in a spinning blur of pink and giggles.
Gordon Pruitt, 1107 Blossom St to the Mayhew's 1105 (and a big, big fan of the clearly gifted child) peeked through the fence and saw the girl roll around the bay windows of the kitchen and spin out the door into his back yard. He grabbed a water bottle off the counter and started jogging at a marathon pace after the girl as she skidded down the road.
The Mayhews called the police. The police called the fire department. The fire department called their moms.
By dinner time, the only way her parents and the town had devised to keep her close was directing her into the backyard pool with all of their couch cushions, where the sun had been shining on Delilah so much it'd dried up all the pool water.
After ten minutes in the pool, Delilah was consistently getting fifty feet of air. The sky was cloudless and deep blue (it was always gorgeous when Delilah was around) and people came from blocks away to watch the girl ride the pool like a Dogtown skater with a jetpack and brick filled backpack.
A helicopter came and both pilots were really scared of losing sight of the girl, like cold sweat scared, so they just kind of hovered at a distance and watched the wind.
The audience circling the Mayhew house grew to hundreds as emergency services just sat and stared at the girl, climbing higher and higher by the giggle.
But no one had ideas. Delilah bounced off barriers, ricocheted off cushions.
A shell of whipping wind protected the girl from contact as she exploded up the lip of the pool and into the air.
She was out of control.
The family cried.
The neighborhood cried.
But the newly christened Cartwheel Mayhew kept on laughing.
She was too perfect for the world the people said, stitched into a weeping tapestry of open arms and shoulders to cry on…and the physics teacher at the local high school quickly deduced (because it was his job) that she only had to put up with 8 more hours of it before leaving the Earth's atmosphere.
Sizzling, foot long burn marks signified her lightning fast visits into the pool.
People grabbed flashlights as the sun went down. They started camp fires, put up tents and contracted telescopes.
Eventually she started visiting them in longer intervals. Like whole minutes.
Mom had a breakdown.
Then it took five minutes.
Dad lost his cool.
Cartwheel's siblings tried to time their Polaroids as the news team camera buzzed on.
Eventually, like a shooting star, Cartwheel swooped through the backyard one last time.
She rocketed into the sky with an airy laugh that got caught in the pool and echoed out into the quiet air, over the hundreds of people there to watch her go.
Everyone watched as the little girl sped through the clouds, up into the sky, and disappeared.
No one moved. Everyone just looked up, bathed in the glow of particularly bright constellations as Cartwheel Mayhew sped into the stars in a perfect line.
When they were ready the Mayhews hobbled into their home as the crowd dissipated. They'd return later with food and gifts but for now they left. It was a crazy afternoon.
The men at the Observatory were some of the last to see the girl as he she left the atmosphere at thousands of miles an hour, recording it with their high powered, thousands of frames a second camera.
The footage came out excellent.
The men at SETI found a new anomaly the next day, speeding through space…emitting a remarkably clear aural pattern. Just like a laugh.
A perfect laugh that's continued uninterrupted since.
On particularly pretty days - and more clearly through the holes in the ozone layer - you can still hear the laugh of Cartwheel Mayhew, spinning back to Earth, bouncing off moons and dancing ‘round the stars, somewhere beyond the bright blue sky...