This is another full chapter, and more than twice what I’ve been told (by people smarter than me,) what a blog post should be. The problem is that there are no natural breaks in the chapter other than a few hundred words into the chapter and a few hundreds words from the end. I considered offering you the beginning and end of the chapter in one post and the middle in another.
But then there’s the possibility that someone might actually be reading this story, so I’ll just post the whole chapter.
As old as I am, I was never much of a wanderer. By mid-day we were far beyond any place I’d ever seen and even closer the infamous Ton That Needs Washing. There was a loud creaking sound in the distance, and it looked like Lustavious was going to lead us right to it, when something went wrong with the Jonma Claim. He walked five steps towards where Lustavious was pointing, then turned, shouting, “No schishsway.” He walk five paces toward a pola-beer tree, then turned shouting, “No shishsway!” heading back toward Lustavious.
The patterned repeated four or five times.
“We’re in the land of entitlements,” muttered Mage-e-not. “Beyond the pola-beer tree is the inverted stewpot of politics. I guess the Jonma wants to get back to it, while Uriculous wants to follow Lustavious.”
Seeing the dual-possessed body alternate back and forth I realized how similar the original Jonma was to the Uriculous Wisehind I knew. Maybe that’s why Uriculous was having so much trouble controlling the Jonma.
That, and the fact that Uriculous wasn’t too bright.
“What now?” I asked Lustavious.
“We stay here,” sang the Light Bringer. “This is fine entertainment.”
“No schishsway,” said either Uriculous or Jonma Claim. It was getting hard to tell the difference.
After a hundred or so, “no schishway,” I lost interest. “I’m hoping the pola-beer tree gets him,” I said to Mage-e-not.
“Not likely,” said Mage-e-not. “My grandfather planted those trees all around the inverted political stewpot for just that purpose. It’s disappointing how few politicians they eat.”
“But the tree looks so healthy,” I said. “How does it survive? It doesn’t eat sheep, does it?”
“You’re in the land of entitlement,” said Mage-e-not, licking his lips. “This place is crawling with pork.”
The creaking in the background got louder, followed by a large crash.
“creaking rattling, kerplunking,” said Ono.
“Yeah,” said Mage-e-not. “I’ve seen the creaking rattling kerplunking before. It’s pretty interesting.” He didn’t say any more. Lustavious was still fascinated by Jonma Claims spasmodic changes in possession, Lip Ton Tease was training a small rivulet to form into a shower, and Jonma Carry was staring stone-faced at Jonma Claim, giving no indication how he felt about the other Jonma’s struggles, so the three of us, along with Swampy, went on to see what the creaking rattling and kerplunking was about.
We came to a wide valley set between three hills. On each of the hills were large beautiful homes. In front of one hill was a group of well-dressed people by piles of gold they had banked against the hill’s side. In front of another hill stood a group of people in work clothes with tools and building materials piled on their hill’s side. On the third hill was a double throne perched high on a pile of gold. On the throne was one of the strangest two-headed monsters I’d ever seen.
In the valley were scores of thin, poorly dressed people looking longingly on the cause of the creaking sound. The creaking came from a great plateau of land, balanced precariously on a spike of rock. As the plateau’s weight shifted, it tilted on the spike, making a creaking sound that we’d been hearing for miles.
And hundreds of pigs were running in all directions.
“That’s the FrankenDodd,” said Mage-e-not pointing at the two-headed apparition on the throne. “He’s such a great monster that he gets two thrones.”
“What’s a FrankenDodder doodoo?” asked Ono.
“Right now he’s just collecting,” said Mage-e-not. “See the little pigs running around? The bankers with the gold are sending coins with the pigs to give to the FrankenDodd. They don’t want the monster to force them to lend their gold. The builders are doing the same thing, but they want the FrankenDodd to force the bankers to lend so that they can build.”
“What about the poor people?”
“They don’t have any gold, so they’re offering their votes. After the FrankenDodd has collected enough gold and votes, it’ll decide whether the bankers must lend or not.”
“What are they going to build?” I asked.
“Homes for the poor people.”
“Ding dong!” said Ono.
Mage-e-not laughed. “Wait and see.”
For some time the only thing to see was the scurry of little pigs. The banks of gold shrank slightly, and the builder’s pockets got lighter. The people pleaded and pledged their undying loyalty until the FrankenDodd stood and declared – “We Build!”
The bankers groaned while the people and the builders cheered. The poor formed a line in front of each banker where they signed a paper and received a bag of gold. Then the poor took their bags and gave them to the builders. The builders took their building materials and started throwing them up on the plateau, causing the plateau to tilt and creak more energetically.
“Oh no,” said Ono. “They’re hammer-banging on the tippy-top?”
“Sure,” said Mage-e-not. “The poor can’t afford to live on builder hill, or lobbyist hill, and they certainly can’t afford to live on banker hill. Where else can they build their homes?”
“Somewhere stable,” I said.
“Stable costs gold,” said Mage-e-not.
“But they’re getting gold from the bankers.”
“But only enough to build homes on Nomargin Plateau. That’s the name of that area balanced on Variablerate Spike.”
“Cuckoo!” said Ono, “They should juggle ker-ching from knock-knock to splosh on firma-terra!”
Mage-e-not laughed. “That would actually solve a problem. You don’t understand the land of entitlement at all. You’d make a lousy politician.”
“Is that an insult?” I asked.
Mage-e-not made a face, which considering how strange looking he was to begin with was not any more alarming than his regular face. “Think of the politicians you’ve met,” he said. “Jonma Claim, Jonma Carry, the speakers, All Bore, do you think I insulted her?”
“RunPol didn’t seem so bad,” I said.
“That’s why RunPol never wins! Gee Elmer, for an eight thousand-year-old guy; you can be pretty thick at times.”
I wondered if that was an insult too, but decided not to ask. Instead we watched as the builders built all over the plateau. When they’d covered the entire area, they even started building on top of the houses they’d already built. The plateau was tilting from compass point to compass point so rapidly it almost looked like it was spinning. The people cheered as the builders built, and the bankers wrung their hands as the piles of signed papers got higher and their banks of gold got lower. They still sent pigs with coins to the FrankenDodd, but the builders sent other pigs and people danced and praised the FrankenDodd. The FrankenDodd smiled beneficently as its throne rose higher on an ever-increasing pile of gold.
And so it went on all afternoon and into the evening.
“Oh no!” said Ono, “The tippy-top…
Just then the whole area stopped tilting, and started tipping. One edge of the Nomargin Plateau slammed into the ground and all the new houses slid off the surface.
The poor people cried in dismay, and the bankers threw up their hands in frustration. The builders didn’t seem to mind. They just started pulling apart the building materials and putting them back in piles against builder’s hill.
“We lost our homes!” the people cried to the FrankenDodd. “What shall we do?”
“What was wrong with their homes?” the FrankenDodd barked to the builders.
“There was nothing wrong with their homes,” said the builders, still busily gathering up materials for the next build. “Nomargin Plateau was unstable.”
“You!” shouted the FrankenDodd to the bankers. “Why did you loan money to have homes built on an unstable plateau?”
“You told us we had to,” said the bankers. “We tried to avoid it. We sent you gold and petitions but you commanded us to loan our gold.”
“Shame on you!” shouted the FrankenDodd. “You should have known better.”
“We did!” said the bankers.
“See! You admit your fault.”
The bankers held up their papers. “We are owed,” they said. “Our banks of gold are low, and the homes are gone. Who will pay us now?”
FrankenDodd took his baby finger and pointed at each banker in turn. “Oinky-oinky, piggy-wig. Who has paid us most to rig? Who stays hale, and who gets jail, I pick the most corrupt one.”
And the banker he ended up pointing to, got all his gold back – except of course, the gold he had sent by pig to FrankenDodd. That gold was there to make certain that FrankenDodd got to keep its double throne right where it was.
After a couple more rounds of Oinky-oinky, FrankenDodd sent the remaining bankers to jail, and confiscated the remaining gold in their banks. It didn’t seem to matter. New bankers came down the hill with their gold, setting up for the next day.
“This is terrible,” I said.
Mage-e-not shrugged. “It’s politics.”
“We have to do something.”
“Jon and Jonma screech and snarl,” said Ono. “Whip and zip the FrankenDodd.”
“You’re right!” I said. “Let’s go tell the Jonmas.”
“Sure,” said Mage-e-not in a voice that made me doubt his sincerity. “Let’s go tell them.”
By the time we returned, Jonma Claim was showing the strain. His changes of direction were now lurches, and his shouts of, “no schishsway,” were almost indistinguishable sputters. Lustavious, arms crossed, was still watching. Tease was showering, and Jonma Carry was sitting upright against a tree, looking like a stone carving.
“What do we do,” I asked Ono.
“You bark,” she said, “I’ll purr.”
That was less clear than most of what Ono said, but we ended up standing on each side of the lurching and stumbling Jonma Claim, explaining the situation, and what the FrankenDodd was doing. While Jonma Claim was heading for the inverted stew pot, I told him he needed to act now; when he headed back towards the pola-beer tree Ono – in a surprising variety of sound words – pleaded with him to save the poor people.
We had no way of knowing if he could hear us at all. Finally Jonma Claim stopped. He turned to Ono and said without the slightest lisp, “That’s not our mission.” He turned to me and said, “That’s not my committee.”
“Oh no!” said Ono, rushing over to the immobile Jonma Carry. “You glug our pitter-patter?”
“I heard,” said Jonma Carry.
“You whizz and whomp the FrankenDodd?”
I wasn’t sure he heard her because he didn’t say anything for a while. Finally, he asked, “Were there any trees or bushes nearby?”
“Near the FrankenDodd?” I asked.
Jonma Carry’s head gave one stiff nod.
Ono looked over at me. It wasn’t a question I was expecting, but as I thought about it, there had been a short prickly bush not far from the double throne. “There was a bush,” I said.
Jonma Carry, and Jonma Claim spoke in eerie unison: “Blame the bush.”
At this point I'm supposed to tease what happens in the next chapter, but I've forgotten what that is... But won't it be terribly exciting?
So here's the video.
I first heard these guys this week.