The Fellowship of the Bring is in dire peril of mortal boredom, hemmed in a cave with a phalanx of un-sheep-like at the entrance, and All Bore in the cave’s bowels. Read on to find what crap proceeds.
I had no idea why Jonma Carry stopped digging. It was still early but it looked like people were settling in to spend the night in the cave with All Bore. It wasn’t because anyone wanted to be around the man, but because a phalanx of sheep formed and blocked the entrance.
“That’s very un-sheep-like,” said Lustavious.
“I don’t like caves,” said Mage-e-not.
“No showers,” said Lip Ton Tease.
“You may as well get used to it,” said All Bore. “We’ll all be living in caves soon.”
All Bore must have studied with the same teacher that taught Uriculous, because the look of disdain he gave me was first rate. “Global swarming,” he said.
“That’s right,” said All Bore, “but don’t say it again without permission. I already have the copyright on it.”
As I thought about it, it made sense. “So you’re saying that the swarms of sheep covering the earth eating everything that grows except tobacco, is a threat to the livability of our planet?”
“Sacrilege,” sputtered Jonma Claim.
The dull face of All Bore stared at me with slack mouth. “I had never thought,” he drawled, “that I would ever hear something so stupid in my life.”
“Global swarming isn’t about the sheep?” I asked.
“Of course not – it’s about the honey bee.”
I scratched my head and tried to understand how the honey bee was a threat to the planet. It’s true that bees might sting you if you’re stupid enough to bother them, but I could think of nothing more innocuous than honey bees. They helped plants grow, and the planet Two was in desperate need of plants.
What could be wrong with honey bees? I thought.
So I asked, “What could be wrong with honey bees?”
“Nothing,” said All Bore, “if they were left in the natural balance. The problem is man-tended honey bees.”
“But,” said Mage-e-not, “there are maybe a hundred wild honey bee hives for every tended one.”
“But that’s enough,” said All Bore. “That extra one percent has thrown off the whole balance of nature, all because of mankind’s greed, and desire for honey.”
It occurred to me that a man who was patenting and copyrighting things he didn’t invent just to gain wealth might lack the moral standing to preach against greed. I kept that particular thought to myself.
“But what about the sheep?” I asked, and pointed at the hundred or so sheep soldiers keeping us shut in.
“Sheep are natural,” said All Bore, “don’t worry about them.”
“Wolves were natural too,” I said, “but humans wiped them out because they were eating sheep. We used to eat sheep as well.”
“Vicious rumor,” said Jonma Claim. “It never happened.”
“I was there!” I said. “So were you. That RunPol fellow is probably eating sheep right now.”
“I wonder,” said Mage-e-not, “if I turned invisible, I might be able to get by the sheep and have a chop… I mean get us help.”
All Bore shook his head in a paternalistic derisive way that strangely did not make me like him much. “It’s all about man-tended honey bees,” he said. “Consider the plight of the pola-beers.”
“Pola-beers,” squeaked Ono. “Uncle Sudsy was snatched and squished splat by a Pola-beer.”
Pola-beers were the most vicious, carnivorous, dangerous trees in the world. A single pola-beer sprout immediately destroys all vegetation growing within its reach, and establishes a hard cap of ground where nothing can grow. As it matures, the pola-beer produces sap that smells like the most enticing brew you can imagine. Anyone unaware, drunk, or too stupid to notice the hard cap of earth surrounding a pola-beer is seized by its branches and slowly consumed. The victim frequently lives for hours once it is trapped, which sometimes allows the pola-beer to grab fellow drunks and stupid people who come to attempt a rescue, or who come to see what all the noise was about.
There are those who claim that the pola-beer perform a public service. I might agree except pola-beers don’t eat sheep.
All Bore went on with his monotone lecture. My mind wandered as words like the pola caps, and hockey stick – whatever that was – vibrated in my ears.
“I like honey,” I heard Mage-e-not say at one point, but the drone went on. Jonma Claim was blinking like he was trying to stay awake. Lustavious was staring at Ono’s butt. Jonma Carry was leaning stiffly against the wall of dirt he’d excavated. With his stone-like features, it was hard to tell if he was awake or asleep. Lip Ton Tease looked like he was meditating – until I heard him snore.
All Bore didn’t seem to care if people were conscious. He just went on in a monotone drawl.
I looked in my fanny-pack and saw a single match. I considered asking Lustavious for a light, but I didn’t figure there was much hope there. There wasn’t any wood in the cave, so we didn’t have a fire going. I wandered out towards the sheep to light a cigar with my last match. The sheep held their formation as I approached, and didn’t say a bah. There was a nice rock ledge one rank in. It would be simple to brush past the corner ram and sit up there.
The corner ram glared at me in a fashion not much different that Uriculous Wisehind’s look of derision.
I sighed and sat on the loose soil.
The cigar almost didn’t catch. That would have been upsetting, but not unexpected considering how my life was proceeding. I took a deep draw on my cigar and wondered if they had tobacco in oblivion.
Speaking of things that might drone you to death.