The Fellowship of the Bring has come close to its prey. Dirk McFarland, more commonly known as Dirk Destroyer has been spotted, shared a smoke, and played a duet with two members of the fellowship.
It’s not that tight a fellowship, really.
Never Compliment Your Girlfriend’s Nasal Passages
Things must have deteriorated between Mage-e-not and Jonma Claim while we were gone.
“Go to sleep! Go to sleep! Go to sleep!” Jonma Claim was standing over Mage-e-not sputtering vociferously. I looked for signs of foam, and wondered if that might indicate the sickness you kill wolves for – at least when the planet Two still had wolves.
Mage-e-not had no ability to stand up to Lustavious, or Akwar, but he didn’t seem to have the same problem with Jonma Claim. I knew that would drive old Uriculous crazy.
“Elmer,” said Mage-e-not, “you settle this. I say…”
“We saw my brother,” I said.
That got everyone’s attention. Even the frozen face of Jonma Carry turned in my direction.
“He gave me this scratchwing,” I told them. “We talked, we played some music, and he left.”
“And YOU,” sputtered Jonma Claim, pointing at Ono, “you didn’t cast them both into oblivion when you had the chance?”
“How?” said Ono.
Jonma Claim fumed; Lustavious leered, but neither answered Ono’s question.
“May I see the instrument?” asked Lip Ton Tease.
“Be careful,” sputtered Jonma Claim. “You don’t know what evil is found within it.”
Tease meditated upon the instrument, then lifted it to playing position and began to play glorious and dizzying runs from the scratchwing. I’d never heard such powerful playing since the days of Yeccky Pearlguy.
“Wow,” said Mage-e-not. “So what’s the verdict? Is it a normal scratchthingy?”
“I don’t know,” said Tease. “I’ve never seen a scratchwing before.”
“It’s possessed!” shouted Jonma Claim.
Lustavious started laughing. “That’s the Showr Rinn for you. You should hear the music a freshly-showered master can make with an acorn and two pine needles.”
Tease took what might have been a serene bow and handed the instrument back to me. I had thought I might play some folk tunes for the group. It’s a sobering experience to go from the only – and therefore, the best scratchwing player on the planet, to a second-rate player in the matter of minutes. I looked down on the instrument as if it had betrayed me. It made no response.
“But I was right!” said Mage-e-not loudly enough to almost be a shout. We are here. There’s no reason to travel around. This is where the Destroyer is.
“This is where the Destroyer was,” corrected Jonma Claim. “Sleep now. We have a long way to travel tomorrow.”
“Sleep,” said Lustavious.
“All right,” muttered Mage-e-not. Jonma Claim shot out a look of disdain and mouthed something that was obviously foul, and it looked like it was aimed more at Lustavious than at Mage-e-not.
It was only a couple hours till daylight. I settled down on the ground, and Ono, with Swampy back on her shoulder settled near me, but not with her head on my stomach. I guess the nostril cavity thing was still bothering her.
Dirk was also bothering her. He was bothering all of us in different ways, but tomorrow I’d get some answers from my famous younger brother. Tomorrow night I might finally understand what was going on.
Of course I couldn’t sleep. Maybe it was Swampy talking in his sleep, “Stay with Elmer; stay with Elmer.” I couldn’t tell if he was repeating something he heard, or if he was talking to Ono.
But would she stay with me? Did I want her to stay?
Of course I wanted her to stay. I wanted to protect her from Lustavious. I wanted to make a home for her, provide her with algae bars, tomato paste, smoked sausage and cigars for the rest of our lives. I wanted her to live thousands of years like I did, or for me to start aging and live a handful of decades more like everyone else. Either was preferable to being without Ono.
This time the second chance wouldn’t give me any options even if I could get past the custodian to use it. Could I go back five thousand years and keep Uriculous from changing everything? Could I go back a couple of days and instead of coming with Akwar to the ministry, just grab Ono’s hand and run off somewhere… anywhere?
No, nothing would work – nothing I could think of, anyway. Thinking was never one of my strengths. Enduring was my strength. I had endured a long time – maybe just waiting for my life to make sense.
It made sense now. I finally knew what I wanted, and now I had to endure one more day for my ancient baby brother to appear and tell me if that was possible.
There was something wrong about that – something unfair. Maybe if I was the smartest guy on Two instead of the oldest, I might have been able to figure it out. Instead, I had to endure – find my opportunity, and take action.
I just hoped it wouldn’t take me another eight thousand years.
Yes, I admit that Argus Filch, the glorious custodian is my favorite Harry Potter character. But at least Ben Folds Five seems to agree with me.