Elmer Destroyer, the brother of Dirk Destroyer is about to have his first exposure to oblivion. He might be more excited about it, but it means abandoning Ono, the love of his life, and Mage-e-not, who he doesn’t like that much anyway.
That Ought To Do it
“Chirp,” said Ono.
“Chirp what?” said Jo4n McLame who, as you may recall has been called Jonma Claim, Uriculous, Uriculous the Great, High Priest, Translator, Director, and possibly other names in this book, but not Jon, which is the name Jonma Carry wished to be called, and not Penelope Oddswart, who does not appear in this story.
“Chirp, cheep, cluck,” said Ono.
“I think what she means,” said Mage-e-not, “is that you were about to give your decision.”
“About what?” said Jo4n McLame who apparently was no smarter than Jonma Claim, Uriculous, Uriculous the Great, High Priest, Translator, Director, or for that matter Penelope Oddswart.
“About Elmer and Dirk Destroyer,” said Mage-e-not.
“Oh them,” said the character of so many names, adding ‘character of so many names’ to his burdensome list of names. “I don’t like them. Banish them.”
“Oh no,” cried Ono.
“It’s just politics,” said All Bore.
Ono and Mage-e-not rushed to my side. I held out my arms expecting an embrace, or at least a handshake, but as neither shook my hand or embraced me, I ended up faking a yawn so I wouldn’t look so stupid.
“No one is buying it,” Dirk whispered in my ear. I dropped my arms.
Swampy waddled over as well, jumped with far more effort than usual, and just managed to land on Mage-e-not’s shoulder, though he appeared to be aiming for Ono’s. A nasty streak of defecation accented the dried tomato paste on Mage-e-not’s increasingly disgusting upper garment.
I tried to look into Ono’s eyes. I wanted my last sight of Two to be of her. Instead, I was looking at the top of her head. She had a lovely scalp, and I’m not complaining, but I wondered why she seemed so much more interested in my scratchwing than she was in me.
“This is my task!” sang Lustavious in an impressively operatic voice. “I am the Light Bringer. You are the Destroyer (and his brother.)” He added the, ‘and his brother,’ line in a res-sis-a-tiff which always seemed like cheating to me, but opera is full of them so I guess it’s allowed.
“Today is the day,” Lustavious sang in a booming base. “Now is the moment,” he added in a lilting Irish tenor.
“What a show-off,” mumbled Mage-e-not, grabbing one of Ono’s hands with both of his for some reason.
Lustavious closed his eyes and made a building vocalization from the back of his throat, that is difficult to putting in type. It wasn’t really a, mmmmmmMMMMM. I mean that looks like I’m talking about a hum, and what Lustavious was doing had very little hum-like quality. It had plenty of M, but almost no hu, and it almost had an, ‘Ah,’ quality to it except there wasn’t any ‘Ah’ sound to it.
It was a vocalization. It built as it went. It was well done. That’s all you’re going to get for now.
There might have been a bit of ‘R’ in there somewhere.
As Lustavious was vocalizing, he very slowly rotated his right arm clockwise. Well, it would be clockwise if you were standing at his front. Then Dirk and I would be at three-o-clock, and the rotation began at six, and came around two hundred and seventy degrees. If you were standing at his back, the rotation would have been counter clockwise, with Dirk and I standing at nine-o-clock and he still would be rotating two hundred and seventy degrees counter clockwise.
So, you know, he was facing us, with his eyes pointed at two-o-clock, or ten-o-clock from the back, and his arm started behind him,(in front from the back,) then above him, (the same,) then began slowly descending towards Dirk and me.
Wait – I think I have the angles wrong. There was a hypotenuse in there somewhere.
The math involved is too complicated for me to describe. Dirk was right. I never would have gotten along in Phasia.
Just as Lustavious’ finger reached either three or nine-o-clock depending on your angle of observation, Lustavious, the Light Bringer, opened his eyes, and fire appeared at the end of his finger tip.
“That ought to do it,” said Dirk.
I felt a flood of sensations. None of them were interesting, so I’ll move on.
Dirk and I were in some sort of pod with lights flashing by us. Maybe we were flashing by them. I would have asked one, but there wasn’t time because some of us – either the lights, or Dirk and I were really moving.
“I’ve got the scratchwing,” I said.
“Good,” said Dirk.
“What should I do with it?”
“Just hold onto it.”
“Right! So where’d you learn to be a Light Bringer?”
“Oh,” I said. “Do you think Lustavious and the others went there?”
“Nah,” said Dirk. “Spontaneous human combustion is just a basic human ability. The hard part is learning to do it without setting your clothes on fire.”
“Right, so what about Swampy?”
“You mean is he a Jonma bird?”
“Yeah, he is.”
Dirk didn’t seem interested in elaborating any further. We sat there for a few minutes. There were dinging sounds, and the increasingly less impressive whooshing of lights going past the pod.
“So who is he?” I asked.
“You mean Swampy?”
“Do you remember Uncle Egburt?”
“Uncle Egg?” I grimaced. I had never liked Uncle Egg. He used to smell like dead cat soaked in bourbon. “Why’d you bring back Uncle Egg?”
“Oh, I made a promise once. I promised that if I ever discovered the secret to immortality, I would make him immortal.”
“So you brought him back as a swamp-rat bird?”
“Hey, you start out as a smelly egg, you end up a smelly bird. There wasn’t that much left of him when I finally got around to it. I was about to be cast into oblivion, and I didn’t want to leave you alone. I made Uncle Egg promise that if I made him immortal, he’d watch over you.”
As I thought about it, he had. Sure, Swampy was unpleasant and smelly, but he was no more unpleasant and smelly than Uncle Egg had been. “So why didn’t he tell me who he was?”
“Not sure,” said Dirk. “I don’t think he ever liked you that much.”
Whatever I was about to ask was interrupted by a pleasant female voice with Pogoian accent.
“Welcome to transfer queue Wombat. Please remain seated, with your seats and tray tables in the upright position. Our speed is incalculable at present, and our altitude is meaningless. As this is a short transfer, there will be no in-transfer meal served today. If you really want us to light up the barbi, you might want to consider our six-day Big Bang excursion.
“In the event of an emergency, we urge you to remain calm and relaxed. There’s nothing you can do about it.”
“Reassuring,” I mumbled.
“Qantas,” said Dirk. “They’re a bit sardonic, but they have the best trans-dimensional safety record in the business.”
There were more sensations including a flash of light followed by a voice saying, “G’day, trans-dimense us again.”
The next thing I was aware of, I was in the dark, drooling on a throw rug.
“Home again!” said Dirk, manipulating a device that illuminated the room. “So, you want a Stevens twin?”
“More for me. Come on, I’ll show you to your room.”
This bit from the Simpsons is in my head this week. It was funny in 1996. It seems more troubling this year. Why would that be?