So here we are, more than half-way through the story, and the guy whose name is in the title finally shows up. (I’m not sure if he’s the title character or Elmer is.)
For those just joining us, Elmer, Dirk’s brother, is traveling with the Fellowship of the Bring, a group dedicated to hunting down Dirk in order to cast him, along with Elmer into oblivion. In the process, Elmer has fallen in love with Ono, a magical if somewhat clumsy member of the fellowship of the bring, and though he probably wouldn’t like to admit it, Elmer has also befriended another member, Mage-e-not, an only slightly magical and largely pathetic guy who can disappear from the neck up.
We were free of the sheep. We had food, and Lip Ton Tease had stayed so long in the shower that he was serenely pruned. We were all very tired, but Uriculous, now back in command of Jonma Claim insisted that as we had daylight we push on.
He got tired after a couple of miles, curled up under a tree, and so did the rest of us. Ono slept with her head on my stomach. As I looked down, I thought how delightfully delicate and pretty her nostril cavities were.
Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. No, I can’t tell you what was so pretty about them. Well, they were small, which is a good quality for nostril cavities in general – unless you need to take in a lot of oxygen all at once. But she was sleeping peacefully, with only a hint of snoring, so I think her oxygen supply was not only sufficient but probably delighted to be inhaled by such delicate and attractive nasal apertures.
There’s not much more I can tell you about her nostril cavities – at least at this present moment. If I think of something else later on in the story, I’ll let you know.
So we slept through the late afternoon and through the evening, and that’s how it came to be that all of our party was wide awake in the middle of the night, watching for sheep armies, and without anything much to do.
“Anybody know any jokes?” asked Mage-e-not.
“How about songs?”
“No!” sputtered Jonma Claim. “Try to sleep. We need to go farther tomorrow.”
“Do you know where we’re going?” asked Mage-e-not.
Jonma Claim turned away as if he hadn’t heard.
“If you don’t know where we’re going, maybe we’re already there.”
“I know where we’re going,” snapped Jonma Claim.
“Farther than we went today.”
“That’s just a trick answer.”
“Go to sleep.”
“I can’t sleep.”
“Find a way to amuse yourself.”
“Know any jokes?”
Ono and I decided to go for a walk. Ono kept her pretty nostril cavities fashionably pointed downwards while she walked. It significantly reduced her chances of drowning in a rain storm. It was just one of the wonderfully clever things I was discovering about her at the time.
Strangely, Swampy left us alone this time.
“Do you have any more cigars?” asked Ono speaking again without her sound words as we were alone.
“I have two,” I said, “but I don’t have any matches.”
“Maybe we should ask Lustavious.”
“But you’re afraid of him,” I said.
“Not so much with you.”
Here it was - the first evidence I’d ever come across to indicate that infatuation diminishes not only the thinking ability of men, but of women as well. Without Swampy around, I was about as much protection from Lustavious as Mage-e-not’s torn and tomato pasted shirt. Thankfully, in this matter at least, my thinking was not so muddled.
“Maybe they’ll make a campfire tomorrow, and we can light them then.”
“Need a match?” A light flared a few paces away, illuminating a very familiar face.
“Dirk!” I said, too loud as there was a Light Bringer not very far away.
“So ‘Mer,” said Dirk. “You going to light those cigars, or let me burn my thumb.”
“Sorry,” I said, and pulled out my last two cigars, which I lit simultaneously by putting both in my mouth. That Ono didn’t complain was testament to how perfect a young woman she was.
I handed one toward her.
“Oh, no,” said Ono. “Dirk should puff and wheeze.”
“Brought my own, Little Lady,” said Dirk, and Ono clapped her hands together, actually excited that she got to have a cigar that only moments before had been in my mouth. Instead of taking the cigar, she concentrated on it and it lifted from my hand. At first I thought it would fly directly to her mouth, but then it started flying erratically, nearly burning Dirk’s whiskers at one point.
“Telekinesis!” said Dirk – impressed in spite of the danger to his facial hair.
“Magic,” said Ono and I at the same time.
“You’re talking in unison?” Dirk remarked.
The cigar found its way to Ono’s dainty lips where she drew on it with relish.
What a woman.
“Dirk,” I said. “There’s a Light Bringer’s party over that way.”
“Yup,” said Dirk, just managing to light his cigar before the match burned down.
“You know about it?”
“Yup,” he said again. Dirk wasn’t very talkative once he’d lit a new cigar.
While Dirk isn’t saying much, it might be customary for me to give a description of my brother. Well, you know about his whiskers – let’s see, what else? The problem is that Dirk has been around as long as I can remember, and for all but the first couple of decades of our lives, he really hasn’t changed much. What’s changed has been my description of the people I meet. I might have described someone as tall, before I met the Alcinder Jabbar people of the Laker region.
But Dirk was always Dirk, and he appeared to me just about as Dirk-like as it gets. I’ve met a number of people who have similar features, or attitudes to my brother, but not a single one was as Dirkish as Dirk.
Here are two guys that, like Dirk, were more themselves than any others I've ever seen.