This is the eighth Friday installment of Dirk Destroyer’s Less Destructive Brother, a novel that is already giving Fridays a bad name. We’ve been introduced to Tip Ton Tease of the Showr Rinn order. Elmer, our largely non-heroic hero has just impressed the socks off of Lip Ton Tease (or would have if the Showr Rinn wore socks,) by reciting a memorized sequence of numbers.
Not exactly action-packed, is it?
And now the balance of Chapter 3.
A master monk, wearing his braid in nine cords approached, riding a mote of dust. “Brother,” said the master, “is all at peace?”
The initiate bowed low, “Master, I am granting admission to Elmer Destroyer and his bird.”
“That is well,” said the master with a face of serenity, and impeccable cleanliness. He produced a loofa from robes and handed it to the initiate. “You might wish to freshen up.”
Lip Ton Tease took the loofa and whispered to his master, “A most formidable man.” The master inclined his head, and Tease stumbled on his way to the showers.
The master gestured for us to follow. His gesture brought the crushed spring flower back to wholeness as we passed.
Then a lamb ate it.
You’d think that somewhere among the Showr Rinn archives would be a record saying that I had memorized the first several digits of Pi. Come to think of it, I’d never seen any Showr Rinn archives, nor had I seen a Showr Rinn use paper. I guess that’s not too surprising. Paper doesn’t mix well with water.
“This way,” said Akwar needlessly as she followed the Showr Rinn master.
The ministry was much like any other lavish government building filled with overpaid, self-important, and unproductive civil servants. Except this one had horns on it.
“They were supposed to be ram’s horns,” Akwar explained, though I have no idea who she was explaining it to. The master, Ono, and Mage-e-not all worked in the building, and I had first seen it a century before any of them were born.
“The building was built just after the last Light Bringer Lauralady Bushinsider retired and transformed herself into a coffee table.”
Even though she was among the most timid Light Bringers, I had a little trouble bringing Lauralady to mind. She spoke so softly and looked around like she expected someone else to take over at any moment. I think Dirk almost felt bad for that particular Light Bringer, but she, like all the Light Bringers before her, somehow managed to send Dirk back into oblivion.
Excessive politeness must have had some mystical powers. She made a fine coffee table of herself, and never complained when people failed to use a coaster.
The door to the ministry was one of those that revolved, and each chamber of the door was too small for a grown ewe or ram to fit. A sizable flock stood outside the door bleating piteously as the door panels smacked the nose of those who tried to enter the building.
If there was one place on the planet where sheep were being bugged, it was here. I’d given up pointing out hypocrisy when it came to the ministry. Like many in government and law enforcement, they believed that rules were things for someone else to do. They had too high a calling to follow their own ideals.
But they had a really nice buffet.
Breakfast was over, but brunch had begun when we arrived. For the fleshtarians, there were various cuts of beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, and non-union bureaucrat. For the plantarians, those whose conscience forbade them meat, there was a lovely salad bar, complete with imitation cheese, sour cream, and bacon bits. For the inanimatarians, those whose conscience forbade them from eating anything living, they had a lovely arrangement of chemically sweetened sand.
The nothingtarians, those whose conscience forbade them everything sat near the wall, and tried not to erode anything.
I thought of the Ceasarans starving to death and sat next to one of the nothingtarians. She was a painfully thin woman who wore clothing made out of photons, and an illumined barrier mask to make certain she didn’t consume beings or objects that live in the air.
“I draw all my nutrients out of the ground,” I said.
“Barbarian,” she muttered weakly. “I suppose all those molecules just volunteered to be assimilated into your bloated existence?”
“I didn’t ask,” I said, and pulled a cigar from the bag (there were too many to fit them all in my fanny pack,) and struck one of my few matches to light it up.
“The holocaust!” whimpered the nothingtarian woman.
“Hey,” said a grossly obese man across the table eating fillet of non-union bureaucrat, “smoking is evil.”
“Splish splosh,” said Ono, who plopped down on my other side sending a wave of airborne beings across me and into the photonic mask of the nothingtarian.
Ono took the cigar out of my hand, and put it in her mouth. She levitated the lit match to light the end of the cigar, allowing the match to float away aimlessly after she was done. She drew in the smoke and held it.
“Puff and flutter,” she gasped.
“You get used to it,” I told her.
A weak cry of protest sounded from the nothingtarian’s side. The errant match must have shorted out the photon clothing generator, exposing her featureless body. She shambled out of the room with as much urgency as her captive emaciated physical matter could manage.
“Serves you right, energy enslaver!” said a naked man by the door.
Mage-e-not took her chair. “You’re not eating?” He had a thick pork chop on his plate which he put down on the table.
“I had a big breakfast,” I explained.
Mage-e-not nodded as he cut his pork chop, then his head disappeared as he took his first bite.
“Why are you invisible?” I asked.
“Wait,” said Mage-e-not, “can’t talk with my mouth full,” though he was clearly doing just that. I watched in horrid fascination, for though I could see nothing of Mage-e-not’s head, the bite of pork chop being slowly masticated into pulpy solids and greasy liquids was in plain view.
Mercifully, the man swallowed, and his head reappeared. “Us meat-eaters sometimes get a hard time from the others,” he explained, “especially when we eat pork chops, ‘cause they look like…”
“Not so loud!” Mage-e-not hissed. “Anyway, if they can’t see me, they can’t give me a hard time.”
“Clever,” I said, and that seemed to please him. I looked away when he took his second bite, and that’s when I first saw, Lustavious Brachenhun.
“Whimper yikes,” Ono whispered beside me. Swampy, who must have been helping himself to the fleshtarian buffet, chose that moment to land – once again without defecation – on Ono’s shoulder. The young woman smiled and caressed Swampy’s hideous head. The bird looked over at me as if to say, ‘why don’t you do this?’ The mixed scent of sardine and bureaucrat wafted from his mouth.
Lustavious Brachenhun pointed his finger straight at Ono, playfully turning on and off its two inch flame. “I think it may be your turn, Babe!” he warbled.
“Groan yelp!” Ono whispered.
Next Friday you can read ALL of chapter Four. But if you do, it’s your own fault. I may write hideous stuff, but I don’t make people read it.
And now, the video