Things are moving towards a conclusion in Dirk Destroyer’s Less Destructive Brother. May I point out that unlike James Patterson, I have not employed a hard-working patsy to do my writing for me. That may be because no self-respecting patsy (if there is such a thing,) would work for a novelist that makes considerably less than your average drone for each entirely original, non-James Patterson-inspired story he writes.
Full disclosure: I may have used a few (26 to be exact,) letters that I have seen in the one eighth of a James Patterson novel I’ve read (before becoming too depressed to continue.)
Maybe a few numbers as well.
There Shall Be Showers of Fish Sticks
Swampy was the first member of the party I found, or more likely, Swampy found me. He landed on my shoulder and defecated. I didn’t mind, I just focused the feces to fall to off my shirt and onto the ground. It was a handy skill to have with Swampy around.
“Hungry,” said Swampy. “Need a fish stick?”
“A fish stick?” I had no idea where Swampy had run into fish sticks before. Maybe they had them at the ministry. I walked over to the stream that Tease had reshaped to create his shower. There were fish swimming at the base of Tease’s manufactured waterfall, probably trying to figure out how to get back upstream.
“There are your fish, Swampy. They couldn’t be much easier to catch.”
Swampy hopped off my shoulder and was about to hunt when his head turned suddenly. “Fish stick,” he croaked, and flew off.
Even after all this time Swampy did stuff that made no sense to me.
I continued my search for Ono, and as I entered a clearing, I saw her sitting with Mage-e-not. Ono had a stick levitated in the air, and Mage-e-not was concentrating on it. Half his head was phasing in and out of visibility.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
The stick poked Mage-e-not in the nose, then spun off into the bushes. “Oh no,” said Ono, “poke and pick.”
Mage-e-not rubbed his nose. “What we’re doing,” he said to me, “is trying to get some food.”
“I’ll go make some algae bars,” I offered.
“Real food,” said Mage-e-not.
“From a stick?”
“Well it makes as much sense as a guy whose head disappears, a woman who makes things float, and a big jerk who sets his finger on fire being able to cast the planet’s greatest villain, and his algae-dealing brother into oblivion for ever.”
“You have a point.”
“No offense,” said Mage-e-not.
“Of course not.”
“We shuffle powers,” said Ono, “zing, whish, whoosh symbiotically.”
I nodded wisely as if I had any idea what sympytockicly meant.
“Do I smell fish sticks?” asked Akwar.
We all froze until she went away. Several seconds after she disappeared, Mage-e-not whispered, “That’s what we were trying to make, fish sticks.”
A number of things popped into my mind. First, I thought – that’s why Swampy was acting so strangely. Second, I thought – how can we stop Akwar from popping in on us like that – but I imagined that I was hearing her voice again in the bushes, so I stopped thinking that. Thirdly, I thought – what would ever lead Mage-e-not and Ono to believe their powers combined might turn regular sticks into fish sticks. I didn’t express this third thought because I was afraid that it was something obvious that I was missing, and I didn’t want to look stupid in front of Ono. Fourthly, I thought – I’ve been standing here for a while without saying anything, and they are both staring at me expecting me to say something, so I better say something fast. Fifthly, I thought – I can’t think of anything to say that sounds halfway intelligent. Sixthly, I thought – Maybe I can do that thing the monks do and trust that if I relax and open my mouth, truth will flow.
“Gum is sticky,” I said.
“I can’t argue with that,” said Mage-e-not.
Eighthly, I thought, (after cursing myself seventhly) – I have to remember that that trick only works with monks.
“I’m glad that monks came up,” I said, belatedly realizing that it had only come up in my inner monologue, “because I want to talk to you two about Phasia.”
“Big place,” said Mage-e-not.
“Zim, zing math,” said Ono.
For not the first time I considered how Ono’s sound words were not always a clear indication of what she wanted to communicate. “Do you like math, Ono?” I asked.
She nodded noncommittally.
“That’s good,” I said with more enthusiasm than I felt. “I’ve talked to Dirk, as you know, and I have good news and bad news.”
I’m not sure what either of them said, because for a few seconds my hearing, my field of vision, my sense of touch and even my taste buds broadcast the color red to me. I couldn’t believe I had said that I had good news and bad news. I tried to imagine the things I would rather have said to Ono. Phrases like, ‘I’m sexually unable to please a woman,’ came to mind. I couldn’t stand the old, ‘I have good news and bad news’ line. As far as I was concerned, the bad news was that I would have to go through with this stupid pattern of insincere exposition, and the good news was that I would die eventually – hopefully.
And why was it that while my sight, taste, hearing and touch was all red, that my nose was smelling fish sticks?
They were looking at me again. It was my turn to speak, and I had already used my, ‘gum is sticky,’ line. Best to say it straight out.
“The bad news is that I’ll be banished to the land of So-Ho with Dirk; the good news is that Phasia is free of the global swarming threat, so you can go to Phasia with Tease.”
“I fear not,” said Tease, who Akwar-like appeared behind me “because my order allows only one carry-on when we travel.”
“What’s your carry-on?” asked Mage-e-not.
From beneath his robes, Tease produced his loofah, which made Ono blush, and me to feel strangely inadequate.
“But Tease,” I said, “they have to go with you. You and Swampy are all that stand between Ono and Lustavious’ non-fraternal intentions.”
“Even so,” said Tease.
Ono looked me in the eyes. They were sad, beautiful eyes. They made me feel like going swimming. I don’t know why. “You want me to go with him?” she asked without a single sound word.
“I can’t take you with me,” I said. “Dirk tells me that the trip would kill you or that you would at least lose half your nose. This continent is doomed, and this is the only way to save you.”
“Is the continent doomed?” Mage-e-not asked Tease.
“Yes,” said Tease.
“What’s the idea of keeping it a secret?”
“I wasn’t keeping it a secret. You didn’t ask me until just now.”
“I can’t argue with that,” said Mage-e-not.
“Lip Ton Tease,” said Ono, “if I we sizzle for Showr Rinn, we shuffle to Phasia?”
“If you can prove your usefulness? yes, the masters would consent.”
“What about,” said Mage-e-not, “if Ono and I can create fish sticks out of regular sticks?”
“With or without tartar sauce?”
“We haven’t worked on tartar sauce yet.”
“Talk to me when you have.”
“Naught ought,” said Ono. “Mingle at tinkle creek.”
“I hope she means the brook,” said Mage-e-not.
We stepped over to the brook. Ono raised her hands and said, “sprinkle ups-a-daisy.”
Water rose up out of the brook and began showering down – mostly on Tease, but like most of Ono’s spells, not everything went where it was meant to. A bit of moss attached itself to her face, giving her a distinguished looking mustache. A small fish landed in Mage-e-not’s hand. He stared at it intently.
“Be a fish stick,” he said, and his head disappeared.
The fish looked resentfully at where Mage-e-not’s face should have been, wiggled out of his hand, and flopped its way back to the brook.
Water sparkled on Tease’s brow as he loofah’d his head vigorously. “Your ability,” he said to Ono, “is a truly useful talent. Can you tolerate being around hundreds of naked men?”
“Mutter, shrug,” said Ono.
“Then you may come to Phasia.”
“What about me?” asked Mage-e-not.
“What talent do you have?”
Mage-e-not’s head blinked back and forth between visible and invisible.
“I am sorry,” said Tease. “I would not be permitted to bring you.”
“Neigh,” said Ono. “Mage-e-not whoosh as carry-on.”
“What about Swampy?” I asked.
“Swampy has always been welcome,” said Tease. “Wise birds are honored in my order.”
“There are more birds like Swampy?”
“No,” said Tease as if he completed a masterful poem.
I searched folk tune on YouTube and got this. Pretty, but they should enunciate better. I couldn't understand a word.