Last week we began the endless Chapter 11 of Dirk Destroyer’s Less Destructive Brother. This week we reach the end… or do we?
The answer is – kinda.
Last week Elmer, the bland and helpless hero of this saga was chatting semi-romantically with Ono, who clearly wanted something from him in spite of an age difference of several thousand years.
“So,” she asked, “the school is full of these great teachers who will teach you anything you want to learn?”
“That would make sense, but I didn’t run into any teachers there.”
“No other students,” I said, “unless you count Dirk.”
“So how do you learn?”
“From the building. There are switches and dials, and other such devices all over the school. You shouldn’t move any of them unless you know what it will do – most of them won’t budge for me anyway.”
“So you can fly?” she asked, and I knew what she was thinking, why didn’t I fly up and grab Jonma Claim when he was thrashing around.
“I can’t fly,” I said. “I haven’t learned how. I can’t control animals, or stop time, or any of hundreds of other things that must be in that building. I can make dirt jump off my clothes; I can get nutrients from the soil, or gather them into algae bars. I can do a few other, simpler things, but nothing flashy.”
“Can you stop Lustavious from banishing you to oblivion?”
I shook my head. “I have no idea how Light Bringers do that. Every time the Light Bringer banishes Dirk, I’ve been there to watch. It’s different every time. They say something, or do something, and suddenly, he’s gone.”
“So if you don’t know how…” she didn’t finish her sentence.
“It’s a bit like the school, I guess.”
“I see,” she said.
Neither of us said anything for a while. Our cigars got shorter, and as they shortened, I realized that my moment alone with her was coming to an end.
“So All Bore made me an offer,” she said.
“He saw that Lustavious was…”
She blushed. “I guess that’s right. He said I could go with him and that with all of his wealth and international prestige, he could protect me from Lustavious.”
“Oh,” I said brilliantly.
“Things didn’t work out with his first wife. He was a bit fuzzy about why.”
“Wait,” I said. “He made you that offer in front of Lustavious, and everyone else?”
“They’re all asleep,” she said. “Well, it’s kind of hard to tell about Jon.”
“The Jonma Carry?”
“He prefers Jon. Anyway, All Bore made me the offer, and I thought that maybe…”
“Maybe what?” I asked.
“Well maybe if you could shush Lustavious or maybe whollop him with tinkle whizz pop ping…”
Ono looked like she was about to hyperventilate. I took her hand and her breathing slowed. “You thought I could save you?” I asked
“We could save each other,” she said tentatively, hopefully, and at that moment I realized that she was right. I needed saving as much as she did.
“I don’t know how.”
“You could go to that school and figure out how!” she said. “We could be together.”
Silence. It wasn’t complete silence. All Bore was still talking, though I have no idea why. Maybe it was one of those dream talking things practiced by the Sublimin people.
My throat was dry, and it wasn’t because of the cigars. She was asking me to be the hero, the guy who comes through and makes things happen. I’d never been that guy. Dirk was that kind of guy, if you count upsetting everyone in power as coming through and making things happen.
“I can’t,” I said.
“Oh.” She didn’t say anything else until our cigars burned down near our fingertips. “What do I do now?” she asked.
“You push the lit end into the earth and grind it out.”
I watched as she ground out her cigar, and watched my hopes die at the same time. I finally knew how incomplete my life was and now I would be going into oblivion to contemplate that forever.
I watched her walk away. Swampy’s head swiveled all the way so he looked me in the eye.
“Idiot!” he squawked.
And he was right. I got angry – not at Swampy, but at me.
And so (seemingly) Chapter 11 ends with our protagonist giving up on the love of his incredibly long life. His chance has past, the chapter is written. What can save his sorry heart now?
What is DMI? Come back next Friday and find out.
Poor Elmer, He never had an older adviser like Luke did.