December 16, 2015 at 1:32 am #118EricKeymaster
Beware, this story is for the light of heart and laughter inclined, not to be confused with Dafletown and the Tone Dancers of Dustard or Mapletown and the Mown Mancers of Mustard which are stories made of an altogether different cloth…
January 29, 2016 at 8:31 am #3887February 2, 2016 at 3:00 am #3888
This morning was quiet, but his mind was not.
There were always the nagging thoughts that something ought to be done, the restless fear of forgetting something of importance.
But this morning was quiet.
A bit too quiet in fact.
No raucous cackling to stir the soft velvety dust from the wooden floorboard.
Quentin was wondering whether the story makers had lost all interest in moving his story forward. Yet, he was more than willing to move it notwithstanding, his efforts seemed of little consequence however. Some piece was missing, some ever-present grace of illumination shrouded in scripting procrastination.
His discussion with Aunt Idle had been brief. She’d told him with great intensity that she had a weird dream. That she looked into a mirror and saw herself. Or something like that,… she was not a very coherent woman, the ging wasn’t helping.
Maybe his task was done. Time to leave the Pickled Pea Inn.
His friend Eicnarf seemed eager to see him. Or maybe that had been a typo and she really meant to sew him, or saw him,… she could be gory like that…
No matter, a trip out of the brine cloud of this sand coated place would do him good.February 2, 2016 at 3:06 am #3889
“Did anybody see our last guest?” Mater couldn’t help but regularly count her herds (so to speak), and although she wasn’t as authoritative with her guests as she was with her family members, she couldn’t help but notice that her last count was one person short —enough to start worrying her.
“Hmm lwwft thws hhmmmng” said Idle, her mouth full with cookies.
Mater shrugged. It was still better than when she used to talk with sauerkraut.February 3, 2016 at 6:22 am #3893
“I’m just going for a walk,” he replied, irritated. “And what are you doing skulking around at this hour, anyway? Shouldn’t you be in bed?”
“What are you doing with an orange suitcase in the corridor at three o’clock in the morning?” the young brat retorted. “Where are you going?”
“Owl watching, that’s what I’m doing. And I don’t have a picnic basket, so I’m taking my suitcase.” Quentin had an idea. “Would you like to come?” The girls local knowledge might come in handy, up to a point, and then he could dispose of her somehow, and continue on his way.
Prune narrowed her eyes with suspicion. She didn’t believe the owl story, but curiosity compelled her to accept the invitation. She couldn’t sleep anyway, not with all the yowling mating cats on the roof. Aunt Idle had forbidden her to leave the premises on her own after dark, but she wasn’t on her own if she was with a story refugee, was she?February 4, 2016 at 1:03 am #3897
Good riddance she thought, one less guest to worry about.
Not that she usually thought that way, but every time the guests leaved, there was a huge weight lifted from her back, and a strong desire of “never again”.
The cleaning wasn’t that much worry, it helped clear her thoughts (while Haki was doing it), but the endless worrying, that was the killer.
After a painful ascension of the broken steps, she put her walking stick on the wall, and started some breathing exercises. The vinegary smell of all the pickling that the twins had fun experimenting with was searing at her lungs. The breathing exercise helped, even if all the mumbo jumbo about transcendant presence was all rubbish.
It was time for her morning oracle. Many years ago, when she was still a young and innocent flower, she would cut bits and pieces of sentences at random from old discarded magazines. Books would have been sacrilegious at the time, but now she wouldn’t care for such things and Prune would often scream when she’d find some of her books missing key plot points. Many times, Mater would tell her the plots were full of holes anyway, so why bother; Prune’d better exercise her own imagination instead of complaining. Little bossy brat. She reminded her so much of her younger self.
So she opened her wooden box full of strips of paper. Since many years, Mater had acquired a taste for more expensive and tasty morsels of philosophy and not rubbish literature, so the box smelt a bit of old parchment. Nonetheless, she wasn’t adverse to a modicum of risqué bits from tattered magazines either. Like a blend of fine teas, she somehow had found a very nice mix, and oftentimes the oracle would reveal such fine things, that she’d taken to meditate on it at least once a day. Even if she wouldn’t call it meditate, that was for those good-for-nothing willy-nilly hippies.
There it was. She turned each bit one by one, to reveal the haiku-like message of the day.
“Bugger!” the words flew without thinking through her parched lips.
That silly Prune, she’d completely forgotten to check on her. She was glad the handwritten names she’d added in the box would pop up so appropriately.
She would pray to Saint Floverley of the Dunes, a local icon who was synchretized from old pagan rituals and still invoked for those incapable of dancing.
With her forking arthritis, she would need her grace much.February 4, 2016 at 4:38 am #3902
On the empty road, Quentin realized there was something different in the air.
A crispness, something delicate and elusive, yet clear and precious.
A tiny dot of red light was peeking through the horizon line.
It was funny, how he had tried to elude his fate, slip through the night into the oblivion and the limbo of lost characters, trying so hard to not be a character of a new story he barely understood his role in.
But his efforts had been thwarted, he was already at least a secondary character. So he’d better be aware, pretend owl watching could become dangerously enticing.February 8, 2016 at 8:50 pm #3927
“There hath he lain for ages,” Mater read the strip of paper, “And will lie Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep..” Buggered if I know what that’s supposed to mean, she muttered, continuing to read the daily oracle clue: “Until the latter fire shall heat the deep; Then once by man and angels to be seen, In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die…..”
Mater had become increasingly irritated as the morning limped on, with no sign of Prune. Nobody had seen her since just before 3:00am when Idle got up for the loo and saw her skulking in the hallway. Didn’t occur to the silly fool to wonder at the time why the girl was fully dressed at that hour though.
The oracle sounded ominous. Mater wondered if it was anything to do with the limbo of lost characters. She quickly said 22 Hail Saint Floverly prayers, and settled down to wait. If Prune had accidentally wandered into the lost characters limbo, battening upon seaworms would be the least of their problems.February 15, 2016 at 8:24 am #3929
“You should have thought about it before sending me for a spying mission, you daft tart” Prune was rehearsing in her head all the banter she would surely shower Aunt Idle with, thinking about how Mater would be railing if she noticed she was gone unattended for so long.
Mater could get a heart attack, bless her frail condition. Dido would surely get caned for this. Or canned, and pickled, of they could find enough vinegar (and big enough a jar).
In actuality, she wasn’t mad at Dido. She may even have voluntarily misconstrued her garbled words to use them as an excuse to slip out of the house under false pretense. Likely Dido wouldn’t be able to tell either way.
Seeing the weird Quentin character mumbling and struggling with his paranoia, she wouldn’t stay with him too long. Plus, he was straying dangerously into the dreamtime limbo, and even at her age, she was knowing full well how unwise it would be to continue with all the pointers urging to turn back or chose any other direction but the one he adamantly insisted to go towards, seeing the growing unease on the young girl’s face.
“Get lost or cackle all you might, as all lost is hoped.” were her words when she parted ways with the strange man. She would have sworn she was quoting one of Mater’s renown one-liners.
With some chance, she would be back unnoticed for breakfast.February 15, 2016 at 5:29 pm #3931
Prune turned to look back at Quentin as she made her way home. He’d have been better off waiting for a new chapter in the refugee story, instead of blundering into that limbo with that daft smile on his face. What a silly monkey, she thought, scratching under her arms and making chimpanzee noises at the retreating figure. Look at him, scampering along gazing up into the treetops, instead of watching his step.
A deep barking laugh behind her made her freeze, with her arms akimbo like teapot handles. Slowly she turned around, wondering why she hadn’t noticed anyone else on the track a moment before.
“Who are you?” she asked bluntly. “I’m Prune, and he’s Quentin,” she pointed to the disappearing man, “And he’s on the run. There’s a reward for his capture, but I can’t catch him on my own.” Prune almost cackled and hid the smirk behind her forearm, pretending to wipe her nose on it. She wondered where the lies came from, sometimes. It wasn’t like she planned them ~ well, sometimes she did ~ but often they just came tumbling out. It wasn’t a complete lie, anyway: there was no reward, but he could be detained for deserting his new story, if anyone cared to report it.
The man previously known as the Baron introduced himself as Mike O’Drooly. “I’m a story refugee,” he admitted.
“I’ve nothing left to lose, child. And no idea what my story will be or what role I will play.” Perhaps it’s already started, he wondered.
“Come on, then! If we don’t catch him quick we might all end up without a story.”February 23, 2016 at 2:19 am #3947
Mike wasn’t as courageous as his former self, the Baron. That new name had a cowardly undertone which wasn’t as enticing to craze and bravery as “The Baron”.
The idea of the looming limbo which had swallowed the man whole, and having to care for a little girl who surely shouldn’t be out there on her own at such an early hour of the day spelt in unequivocal letters “T-R-O-U-B-B-L-E” — ah, and that he was barely literate wasn’t an improvement on the character either.
Mike didn’t want to think to much. He could remember a past, maybe even a future, and be bound by them. As well, he probably had a family, and the mere though of it would be enough to conjure up a boring wife named Tina, and six or seven… he had to stop now. Self introspection wasn’t good for him, he would get lost in it in quicker and surer ways than if he’d run into that Limbo.
“Let me tell you something… Prune?… Prune is it?”
“I stop you right there, mister, we don’t have time for the “shouldn’t be here on your own” talk, there is a man to catch, and maybe more where he hides.”
“Little girl, this is not my battle, I know a lost cause when I see one. You look exhausted, and I told my wife I would be back with her bloody croissants before she wakes up. You can’t imagine the dragon she becomes if she doesn’t get her croissants and coffee when she wakes up. My pick-up is over there, I can offer you a lift.”
Prune made a frown and a annoyed pout. At her age, she surely should know better than pout. The thought of the dragon-wife made her smile though, she sounded just like Mater when she was out of vegemite and toasts.
Prune started to have a sense of when characters appearing in her life were just plot devices conjured out of thin air. Mike had potential, but somehow had just folded back into a self-imposed routine, and had become just a part of the story background. She’d better let him go until just finds a real character. She could start by doing a stake-out next to the strange glowing building near the frontier.
“It’s OK mister, you go back to your wife, I’ll wait a little longer at the border. Something tells me this story just got started.”February 23, 2016 at 3:21 am #3949
Aunt Idle was craving for sweets again. She tip toed in the kitchen, she didn’t want to hear another lecture from Mater. It only took time from her indulging in her attachments. Her new yogiguru Togurt had told the flockus group that they had to indulge more. And she was determined to do so.
The kitchen was empty. A draft of cold air brushed her neck, or was it her neck brushing against the tiny molecules of R. She cackled inwardly, which almost made her choke on her breath. That was surely a strange experience, choking on something without substance. A first for her, if you know what I mean.
The shelves were closed with simple locks. She snorted. Mater would need more than that to put a stop to Idle’s cravings. She had watched a video on Wootube recently about how to unlock a lock. She would need pins. She rummaged through her dreadlocks, she was sure she had forgotten one or two in there when she began to forge the dreads. Very practicle for smuggling things.
It took her longer than she had thought, only increasing her craving for sweets.
There was only one jar. Certainly honey. Idle took the jar and turned it to see the sticker. It was written Termite Honey, Becky’s Farm in Mater’s ornate writing. Idle opened the jar. Essence of sweetness reached her nose and made her drool. She plunged her fingers into the white thick substance.March 6, 2016 at 8:06 pm #3955
But wait! What is this?
Her greedy fingers had located something unexpected; something dense and uncompromising was lurking in her precious nectar. Carefully, she explored the edges of the object with her finger tips and then tugged. The object obligingly emerged, a gooey gelatinous blob.
Dido sponged off the honey allowing it to plunk on to the table top. It did not occur to her to clean it up. Indeed, she felt a wave of defiant pleasure.
The ants will love that, although I guess Mater won’t be so thrilled. Fussy old bat.
She licked her fingers then transferred her attention back to the job at hand. After a moment of indecision whilst her slightly disordered mind flicked through various possibilities, she managed to identify the object as a small plastic package secured with tape. Excited, and her ravenous hunger cravings temporarily stilled in the thrill of the moment, she began to pick at the edges of the tape.
Cocooned Inside the plastic was a piece of paper folded multiple times. Released from its plicature, the wrinkled and dog-eared paper revealed the following type written words:
food self herself next face write water truth religious behind mince salt words soon yourself hope nature keep wrong wonder noticed.March 7, 2016 at 6:46 am #3956
“What a load of rubbish!” Idle exclaimed, disappointed that it wasn’t a more poetic message. She screwed up the scrap of crumpled paper, rolled it in the honey on the table, and threw it at the ceiling. It stuck, in the same way that cooked spaghetti sticks to the ceiling when you throw it to see if it’s done. She refocused on the honey and her hunger for sweetness, and sank her fingers back into the jar.March 7, 2016 at 6:50 am #3957
The paper fell from the ceiling on to Dido’s head. She was too busy stuffing herself full of honey to notice. In fact it was days before anyone noticed.March 7, 2016 at 7:00 am #3959
The honeyed ball of words had dislodged numerous strands of dried spaghetti, which nestled amongst Aunt Idle’s dreadlocks rather attractively, with the paper ball looking like a little hair bun.March 7, 2016 at 7:07 am #3960March 7, 2016 at 7:10 am #3961
“Right, that does it! I’m moving the whole family back to the right story!” said Aunt Idle, invigorated and emboldened with the sweet energy of the honey. “Bloody cackling nonsense!”March 7, 2016 at 9:33 am #3968
Then she collapse, her body rigid like stone. Actually her skin began to take on a shade of grey, and several colonies of moss found their way into the wrinkles and meanders of the granite like hair.
Mater arrived at that moment.
“Oh! my! Dido, what did you do ?”
The old lady looked at the table, saw the empty jar, the lines of ants already pillaging the sweet spots on the table and on Idle’s fingers. Some of them had already turned into stone. Mater tried to forage into the jar to find the small package. It contained the mantra to release the hungry ghost from the stone trap of the termite honey.
The jar was meant for rats, Mater would feed them with termite honey to change them into stone and sell them on the market. A little hobby. She would never have thought Idle would eat that stuff. It smelled quite awful.March 9, 2016 at 6:19 am #3979
“What are you doing here?” said Mater, aghast.March 9, 2016 at 8:11 am #3982
“Are you following me, cousin ?” added Liz with a snort. “I never understood why you chose to hide yourself in that stinky town with your dead fishes. Maybe you are looking for a way out. There is nothing for you where I come from. I’ll never give you the teleportation ab-original codes.”
“Oh you never understood anything about me, or did you ?” said Mater, “You were too preoccupied by your followers. Is Big G still with you ? And that suspicious maid of yours. Is she still moulding dust critters ?”
“Dust critters ? What are you talking about?”
“What codes ?” asked Mater, squinting her eyes.
“Nothing,” said Liz, realizing she might have talked too much. But she couldn’t help it, her body was unable to contain all the words in her mind, they had to get out. She tightened her lips, trying to resist the outburst.
“What was that ?” asked Mater looking around, “did you hear that noise ?”
“Nope”, said Liz, “maybe an earthquake, or a storm approaching.” It had to get out one way or another she thought.
“Don’t talk nonsense with me, I tell you I heard something.”
Devan interrupted them. Liz looked at the young man, her cougar senses on alert.
“I got the paper”, he said.
Paper, with words.
“May I ?” she asked, showing the paper.
“Don’t try to seduce my boy”, said Mater, “I know you.”
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