This is the first section of the annoyingly durable Chapter 11 of Dirk Destroyer’s Less Destructive Brother. There will be moments you will think this chapter has ended – but no – it’s like that last bit of snow at the end of your driveway that hangs on into June. I thought of putting all the aspects of Chapter 11 in one post, but that would be over 5000 words.
I just can’t do that to you.
So find a comfortable spot as we begin to delve into the abyss of Chapter 11.
A Moment in Time
I’d say I was in deep thought, but as Dirk would tell you, I’m not really known for that. I was in deep fuzziness though. The drone of All Bore, the stench of the sheep, the pleasant effects of the smoke, had me suspended in that hammock of thoughtlessness that isn’t asleep, but isn’t aware either.
Otherwise, I think I would have noticed her.
“Wake up, Stupid,” said Swampy. Ono was standing there looking down at me.
“Um…” I said wisely – at least by my standards, “you want to sit?” As if Ono needed my permission to sit on the cold earth.
“I think,” said Ono. “That I’d like to sit on that ledge.”
“But the sheep.”
“I’ll try not to bug them.”
Slowly, ponderously, the corner ram began to rise. If he was bugged, he gave no sign of it. I resisted the temptation to try to help her. My telekinesis and her magic might make the ram into a wooly blood spot on the wall. Besides, I didn’t want to draw any attention to what she was doing. If Jonma Claim woke up she would probably be condemned to oblivion with me.
The thought made me smile.
Surprisingly, the ram touched down without complaint or mishap, and together, we clambered up onto the cliff.
“There’s still the smell,” said Ono.
“But it’s an improvement.”
“You don’t have another algae bar, do you?” she asked.
I cursed myself silently. “No, I’m sorry,” I said. “I gave the last one to Mage-e-not.”
“And he ate it?” She laughed. It was a pleasant laugh, not timid or loud, but like the sound of a brook bounding down a rocky bed.
Sound of a brook bounding down a rocky bed? Alright, I admit, my mind was getting a little flowery. Then I noticed the way she was talking.
“You’re not using your…”
“My sound words?”
“Most people make me nervous, and I talk that way when I’m nervous.”
“But I don’t?”
“But I thought you were angry at me.”
Ono smiled, and it looked like sunrise in the dark cave. “Swampy explained about that.”
Swampy explained? When did Swampy explain anything?
I fidgeted even though I was trying to look comfortable and not spoil the moment. “I could offer you a cigar,” I said off-handedly.
“Please!” she said. I reached into my fanny pack and removed two cigars and what might have been a small food item, or something less pleasant. There was still enough of my first cigar for us to use it to light two more. “Teach me,” she said.
I showed her how to draw on a cigar. Seeing her lips moving on… Well, it was a happy sight, even the ever-present Swampy looked content.
“Now if I could just learn how to eat dirt like you do,” said Ono.
“It was Dirk that taught me how,” I said. “It was back when the first Light Bringer was hunting him.”
“The one with the glorious hair?”
“Something like that. It was the night before he went off to oblivion for the first time. I didn’t know it was only going to be for a while. I thought it was forever back then, and maybe he did too.”
“Remember,” croaked Swampy.
“That’s right,” I said. “That’s when I met Swampy. Dirk brought him to me, and showed me about the school.”
“The school?” asked Ono.
“Yeah,” I said. “I know it sounds strange, but all the really interesting natural powers can be learned at this school building that doesn’t exist as far as all of us can tell.”
“That’s where you learned telekinesis?”
“No,” I said. “That’s a basic ability. Many people learn it in a single lifetime, but almost anything else you can imagine, flying, soaking up nutrients from the soil, controlling wildlife, even stopping time can be learned at the school.”
“Magic,” said Ono.
“No, not magic. It’s all logical. It all makes perfect sense once you learn it, or figure it out.”
“And it comes from a school?”
“It looked like a school to me.”
Tune in next week and see if Elmer screws up his romantic interlude with Ono – or if you’re confident he will screw up, you can see how. Of course, chapter 11 goes on forever so you won’t necessarily see how anything turns out next week. But if you enjoy annoying narrative and dialog, there’s no place more reliable.
Speaking of learning odd things in school, here's a clip from the greatly-missed Robin Williams