The Fellowship of the Bring and their target, Dirk Destroyer (whose real last name is McFarland,) are in close proximity. Between them is Dirk's brother Elmer (who is narrating this story and is also named McFarland,) and Ono, a magical, confusing young woman who makes Elmer's 8000-year-old heart go pitter-patter.
In hindsight, mentioning that Dirk was going to meet me was probably not a good idea.
“Ah hah,” said Jonma Claim, now thoroughly possessed by Uriculous.
“The inverted stewpot has shutdown for the day,” Mage-e-not explained. “Now all the pols are out eating rubber chicken and looking for Champagne money,” (or something like that.)
“Too shmuch shmoney in shpoliticsch,” said Jonma Claim who was apparently not thoroughly possessed by Uriculous.
In spite of the occasional blurt, Jonma Claim was not about to let me out to wander freely and meet with Dirk.
“Ish our Schance,” said Jonma Claim in an increasingly bothersome lisp. “Wesh getsh shou botsh togesher.”
“Which we could have done where we were last night,” said Mage-e-not.
“Doeschent schmatter,” sputtered Jonma Claim.
“The other place had better showers,” said Lip Ton Tease.
“And fewer pigs,” said Lustavious, who had mistaken a mound of pig excrement for a mound of dirt to sit on.
“Doeschent schmatter!” repeated Jonma Claim around great gobs of spit that found their way to the few remaining un-besmirched areas on Lustavious’ bandage. “We wash shim, and we getsch boschhh.”
“We wash him?” asked Tease.
“Wash shim!” corrected Jonma Claim. “Wash shim, wash shim, wash shim!” He was pointing to his eyes, until we all got the message.
“I don’t think you lisped this badly when we started out, High Priest,” sang Lustavious.
“Wash shim!” Jonma Claim snapped.
So they washed… watched me – all of them, even Jonma Carry – even Swampy. I started pacing, not because I felt like pacing, but to see what they would do. Every pair of eyes watched me back and forth. I started jumping. Whatever other skills I might lack, I have always been a fine jumper. Every pair of eyes watched me up and down.
I was about to start somersaults, when Tease said, “The sheep.”
“Washaboutem,” said Jonma Claim.
“Wash a bottom?” asked Tease.
“I think he means,” said Lustavious, “what about them.”
“Baaaaaaaaaack,” said Mage-e-not.
A phalanx of sheep, rams in front, ewes in back, and little lambs eating ivy on the side, marched lock-step toward our position.
“Not sheep-like,” said Lustavious.
“Schut upsch!” said Jonma Claim.
They formed up twenty paces away, then their phalanx split.
“What are they doing?” asked Mage-e-not.
“Schut upsch!” said Jonma Claim.
“Should have stayed where we were,” muttered Mage-e-not.
Through the opening in the phalanx came eight sheep with branches across their backs forming a crude platform. On the platform was a large ram.
“Completely un-sheep-like,” said Lustavious.
Jonma Claim didn’t say ‘Schut upsch,’ or ‘quietsch,’ or ‘do shnot dischturb,’ or even ‘no moleschte por favor.’ He, like everyone else in our party but Ono and me, were focused on the ram standing on the platform.
“Dirk?” mouthed Ono quietly, and I marveled that she could mouth as difficult a name to mouth as Dirk, as perfectly as she did, with such a subtle question mark inflection.
I clawed out of my marveling enough to grab the scratchwing that Dirk had given me and nodded my head in the affirmative – (except in the land of Pogo on the other side of the planet, where such movement of the head meant a negative, or ‘hey, the water in the loo is moving the wrong way,’ depending on the occasion.)
Apparently Ono was not from Pogo, because she understood my affirmative nod – at least she didn’t go off to watch the water in the loo, which was a good thing, because we were quite distant from the nearest flush toilet which happened to be at the inverted stew pot, where at that very moment, they were flushing the day’s legislation to make certain that no voters ever read it.
I have to be honest. I had no idea if they were flushing the day’s legislation at that very moment.
The ram opened its mouth and did not say Bah. It said instead, “Uriculous Wisehind!” which is something I had rarely if ever, heard a mammal other than human, or politician say.
“Uriculous Wisehind,” repeated the ram with a lovely little goat vibrato through the hind part. I mean to say the vibrato vibrated through the end part of Uriculous’ last name – or “hind.” As far as I could tell the ram’s hind part was unaffected and remained unvibrated – not that I habitually study the hind parts of rams or other male mammals.
“Uriculous Wisehind… answer me!”
“Yesh?” said Jonma Claim.
“Ewe… Ewe… ewe… BUG ME!”
The words bug me were not capitalized in speech, of course, but they were very loud, and on further reflection the ram might have been saying “you” as opposed to “ewe.” Of course, it being a ram, and rams having a fondness for ewes, it was a natural mistake on my part, as I’m sure it might have been for many people – especially those who were accustomed to the preferences of sheep, both sexually and by association to think that the ram was speaking of the female of his species, and not a short, bald, possessed human male.
Though Jonma Claim did not enunciate his reasoning, he chose that moment to leave the area, as did all the party, even Ono, who mouthed a rather lengthy message to me, which though I am certain must have been mouthed perfectly, my inadequacies in lip reading left me with only, “so long.”
“So long,” I said to all of them, including Ono, hoping that it was a sufficient response to her mouthed message.
I walked up to the ram on the platform and said, “You know, I could really use a cigar right now. Do you have any?”
“Eat me,” said the ram. Then he climbed down from his platform, and moments after reaching the ground the phalanx became a much less un-sheep-like flock.
“Come on now Brother,” said Dirk standing up from the back of the flock. “That was some first rate work.”
I had to agree. No one can do simultaneous animal control, telekinesis, and ventriloquism like Dirk. Each was a natural ability, but it takes talent and thousands of years of practice to make them work in concert so well.
“You have the scratchwing,” said Dirk, handing me a cigar and match. “Good, come this way.”
So I went, which is the mirror reflection of come, which would make Dirk the mirror…
I’m not sure what that last sentence meant, but I went with Dirk.
Of course we know that sheep never do stuff like they did in this chapter.