Dirk Destroyer’s Less Destructive Brother is at a critical juncture.
Well, a stinky one, anyway. They are surrounded by a vast hoard of sheep.
Thousands of years earlier Uriculous Wisehind had reinterpreted Really Good Idea number 35 to Thou Shalt not bug the sheep (previously it had been, Thou shalt not bugger the sheep,) making the survival, or at least escape of our company of travelers, difficult.
Heroically, they turn on each other.
Tossing Pols and Throwing Mud
Running From the Sheep
“We’re surrounded,” said Tease. “Ranks upon ranks of sheep, circling the woods and stream.”
“An army of snap rattle march sheep?” asked Ono.
“So it scheems,” sputtered Jonma Claim.
“Correct me if I’m wrong,” sang Lustavious, “but that’s just a little unsheep-like.”
“Moron,” said Swampy.
“How do we get out?” asked Mage-e-not.
“I could perhaps get out,” said Tease. With sufficient meditation, I could walk a sunbeam up into the atmosphere, and then ride an errant pollen molecule back down behind the sheep army.”
“Could you bring all of us out?” asked Jonma Claim.
Lip Ton Tease reached his hand to the heavens and paused. “I need a shower,” he said.
“I take it that means no,” said Mage-e-not.
“So what are we going to do?” the sputtering Jonma Claim of Uriculous Wisehind asked me.
“Uriculous,” I said, “aren’t I some kind of prisoner, or bait, or something like that?”
“And heretic,” Jonma Claim added helpfully.
“So why,” I asked, “do you expect me to come to your assistance in an enterprise that is clearly not in my interest?”
Dirk once told me that he rated people on the scale of paragon to waste of skin. Uriculous Wisehind, he said, was the most wasteful, (though not the skinniest) waste of skin of them all. It wasn’t one of the more clever things that Dirk ever said to me, but for some reason it stuck with me – perhaps because of what he said afterwards. “But no one can hold a candle to Uriculous for showing disdain.”
I had to agree. If showing disdain became a sporting event, Uriculous Wisehind could have represented the planet Two in the inter-galactic showing disdain games, and done us all proud.
The fact that he was no longer in the skin that he once (as Dirk put it,) wasted, but was in a Jonma Claim that was still largely strange to him, and was still able to show disdain at such an intergalactically elite level, was a tribute to his sole talent.
“Because,” said Jonma Claim (in a manner in which ‘because’ was meant to indicate how incredibly stupid I had to be to ask the question,) “it is for the greater good.”
“But what if I don’t agree that it’s for the greater good?”
“Well, that’s not surprising,” said Jonma Claim. “You are a heretic, and a co-cause of the entire calamity on the planet Two. Of course you won’t agree.”
“Then why should I wish to help?”
“For the greater good!” shouted Akwar, which creeped all of us out because we figured there was no way she was going to pop up so far from the ministry.
“But I believe,” and I addressed myself to Uriculous/Jonma Claim, because I didn’t want Akwar to feel justified in hanging around, “that you are the cause of the entire calamity on planet Two.”
“Sacrilege!” shouted Akwar. “Uriculous Wisehind is an ancient prophet, a holy high priest, a pillar of our beliefs! We are not even allowed to make representations of his likeness!”
“No,” said Mage-e-not, “that’s another ridiculous belief system.”
“All right,” said Akwar – “we ARE allowed to make representations of his likeness, but he is STILL Uriculous the Great! the most ancient and holy prophet and priest.”
“But I’m older than he is,” I said. “I’m considerably older. I remember him when his nickname was…”
“None of that, Heretic!” said Uriculous/Jonma Claim.
“All right,” I said, “but I still remember him long before he was the high priest of the thirty-seven really good ideas. I remember before he reinterpreted idea number thirty-five. I remember what idea number thirty-five was before he changed it. I even remember ideas seven and nineteen, though no one bothers to ask what they are, and I remember what people used to think about the thirty-seven really good ideas before it got all…”
“I was going for religious,” I said.
“Same thing,” said Jonma Claim.
I did my best to give a withering look of disdain, but like telekinesis, it has never been my strong suit, and in the presence of the master it probably only looked as if I was suffering with gas.
I read somewhere that it’s always good to end your excerpt with your protagonist suffering from gas.
Or maybe I dreamed it.
Will the Fellowship of the Bring escape the army of the decidedly unsheep-like sheep?
Tune in next Friday and find out.
Speaking of unsheep-like.
Speaking of unsheep-like.