The Gypsy's Address
“This is Something Strange,” Penny doing the same.
The man opposite them, leaning to pet Alias to put her at ease after the last outburst from above, pondered a moment. “So what’s so strange about you?” he asked, comforting Alias at her shoulder.
“Never mind,” forgoing an attempt to explain. ”Just call me Something.”
“OK. Since it’s strange you don’t mind what I call you, I’ll name you Strange, if that doesn’t gall you.”
“Bull’s-eye,” Something smiled. “Let Strange be my claim to fame.”
The man returned her smile, shaking his head that this new acquaintance was so quizzical. He nestled his flintlock inside his pants beneath his wide leather belt: “I’m Captain Kidd. Most just call me the Kidd,” walking up to Penny, then Strange, to offer his hand.
“That’s Alias, our hound who outruns the speed of sound. And Cuddly, our psychic pig.”
Alias and Cuddly, sitting on their haunches, each lifted a foreleg for the Kidd the shake. The Kidd obliged: “Honored, I’m sure. I ain’t never met a psychic pig.”
“Watch your grammar or cut the clamor,” spoke the man who had just poured himself a cup of coffee. He walked past a glass cabinet, containing his collection of old blunderbuss and flintlock pistols, then sat down to his dining room table before a window bathing him in bright sunlight.
“And who is that?” inquired Strange, pointed her thumb upward.
“I’m the Boss,” rumbled the electric skies.
“I’m the Boss,” responded the Kidd.
“Were you the Boss we’d be six feet into the ground, no proof of life in us to be found,” answered the heavens.
“Were you the Boss you’d be such a bore that everywhere you went you’d be shown to the door! ‘Cause no one could bear to be around you anymore!” the Kidd replied.
Penny and Strange shrugged their shoulders as they traded glances. Penny queried, “Are you that kind of ego which rocks a boat, such that its self alters into a kind more remote?”
“That’s me,” the Kidd crossing his arms across his chest, taking a bow. “I’m the Good Guy.”
The gravel hauler at his table took a sip of coffee. Anyone peeking through his window would have been amused to see him talking to himself: “If you’re the Good Guy then why is your brain not a grain compared to mine?”
“Because mine, compared to yours, is more fine! Just look at all these rocks in your skull! Mine’s full of thinking, nor my memories so dull!” Now the skies grew dark, its lightnings fewer and more dim, quite other than when the dirt hauler spoke.
“Say something nice,” suggested Strange. “Be sincere.”
“You must be joking,” the Kidd replied. “Something nice in this sphere walled in from free frontier?” lifting his arms and eyes to indicate the skies. He then sighed upon estimating the expression of insistence on Something’s face. He looked up at a floating rock and read it aloud: “’We have to go to the dentist today.’ Wow! What a thought!” rolling his eyes.
Strange put her hands to her hips and cocked her head. The Kidd rolled his eyes again. Then agreeably, though unwillingly, raised his voice: “I can’t believe you remembered that!”
Strange cocked her head to the other side, folding her arms across her chest, noting that the Kidd’s sincerity contained an element of sarcasm. The Kidd, now exasperated, now lied: “I forgot all about that!”
Strange cocked her head yet again, smiling in disbelief that this personality before her found it so difficult to be genuine to his other self. But the heavens began to glow a little more brightly. The Kidd walked over to Penny and spoke into his ear: “He’s stodgy. With a sense of life so meager he’s quite the fatiguer.”
“What?” lit up the skies, lightning engraving another rock. “If of what you’ve said you can be proud then shout it out loud!”
“I said I’m glad I’ve no choice as to hearing your voice!” The Kidd couldn’t help himself, adding, “Because it makes such a dareless noise!”
“Really?” the gravel hauler silently thought to himself, then said, “For a voice in my head you don’t speak too well-bred. Perhaps for your quark-sized brain you’ve a stale loaf of bread. Since passion is your fashion here’s, for a dolt, a less annoying and more courteous thunderbolt.” Whence the truck driver closed his eyes to concentrate.
The skies grew more calm as the Kidd waited. After nine or ten seconds he smirked, folded his arms, tapped his foot impatiently: “Well? Of lightning with attitude from out of the altitude I see no instance! Your words and your acts want consistence! Perhaps my quark-sized brain presents too much resistance!”
“Can he do it?” asked Penny softly.
The Kidd nodded affirmative, then suddenly leapt away. That very instant to his previous spot shined, so brilliantly as to blind, a thunderbolt of lightning by design. Old Penny and Strange, ten feet away, were sent sprawling as bits of rock went flying into the air from the point of impact. Alias, who had at first found the force of mind to ignore the electric sky in the interest of Something’s defense, scrambled beneath the engine of her truck along with Cuddly, the latter not a fraction so worried, but thinking it wise. They could see the smoke which replaced the trail of the lightning bolt upon its disappearance as rapid as its appearance.
The Kidd, himself, had lost no composure, as if he did this all day every day. He stood with his hands to his hips and shouted, “Missed! You’re thinking would have greater consequence if your skull held more than somnolence!” To which the gravel hauler replied with another blast of lightning, striking a hovering asteroid, the others running to avoid a shower of small boulders.
This was getting too violent for Strange who had a dog, a pig and damn nice truck to think about: “Why do you treat yourself so unkind? That’s one less memory that you’ll find!” she shouted up at the heavens as she recovered with Penny.
“That’s true!” contributed Penny. “You’ve unfit a bit a wit!”
“Don’t worry!” appended the Kidd. “It was a counterfeit bit of wit! Nothing new!”
There was suddenly a great flurry of lights in the sky, smeary and blurry in all directions until the heavens became a great dome of light. “I feel something strange in my head,” glowed the heavens, now intermittently fading dark and light.
“That’s me!” answered Strange.
The gravel hauler, sitting in a sunbeam, opened his eyes and took a sip of coffee. “Say who you are or I’ll have you banned. Something strange in my head isn’t what I’ve planned. On my days off I have but one law: that I be pleased in all ways without flaw.”
“My name is Strange!”
“That’s true!” backed the Kidd.
“I’ve heard enough out of you,” blinked the truck driver, sending a lightning bolt, out of which path the Kidd hopped as if he knew if was coming. The driver then addressed Strange: “Have you any flaws? If a headache you give it won’t be long that you live.”
“She has no flaws but those with potential to become flaws should you think it essential!” Penny breached.
“Great. Now I’ve a treasure buried in my head for which wealth not ten feet would I tread.”
“That depends on your point of view,” Strange replied. “Were you in my head what to me is a Penny would be no small fortune to you.”
“Well?” expected the Kidd.
“Well what?” asked the rock hauler.
“Introduce yourself to our friends.”
“So when they call you their messages will arrive to where your address sends.”
“Hmm. . .” the hauler considered as the Kidd parted his hands, rolling his eyes again to Penny and Strange. “BB,” the driver decided.
“BB!” the Kidd exclaimed. “What does that stand for?”
“Big Butt,” a feminine voice now swept across the heavens.
“You stay out of this, Alice!” the gravel hauler replied.
A woman looking much like Sigourney Weaver now chuckled over her scrying bowl before a treble of candles. If she leaned to the left she could see BB in the house next door through her upstairs window. Wearing a black sleeveless shirt like Something’s, she viewed Penny and Strange in the water of her bowl.
“Who is Alice?” Strange and Penny asked in harmony.
“His wife,” the Kidd informed. “She lives next door. Which doesn’t prevent her from getting under his skin.”
“Airhead,” now the heavens pronounced. Alice blew across the surface of the water in her bowl, causing the image of the Kidd to ripple. Now he, Penny and Strange all leaned into the increasing wind.
“All right, Alice!” shouted the Kidd. “You’re the Boss!” The wind abruptly abated.
“Traitor!” the heavens nigh thundered with BB’s voice.
“Just having fun,” Alice smiled with satisfaction. “Oooh! Big Boss!”
“What goes on in her head is a mystery. But war of the psychos . . . I mean psyches . . . has been it’s history,” the Kidd explained in a hushed voice, looking upward, bewaring Alice.
“My head isn’t a pail of lard, please regard,” Alice replied, reinforcing her remark by rapidly thrusting a needle into the water, then withdrawing it. A lance suddenly pierced the ground before the Kidd’s feet, then disappeared into nothing.
“Ouch!” BB slightly uttered at his table. Alice leaned over to her window and smiled, looking down at him across the fence separating their yards. She pursed her lips and squinted her eyes as she observed BB place his hand on the lid of a Scrabble box. He, too, was a student of magic, Scrabble his instrument. But he was a dabbler, especially in comparison to Alice who tricked in an easy and offhanded a style. She didn’t blink her eyes like Jeannie, wriggle her nose like Samantha or concentrate like the Hoodoo Hare. Magic was as natural to her as speech: “Desist,” she said softly, “Or I’ll spell a charm to your no small alarm.”
“Again?” whined the Kidd, his palms outspread, looking upward with an exasperated expression. “It can get rattling when they start battling,” he explained to the trespassers in his quarry.
“You want to argue with me, you stuffy fogy?” Alice said beneath her breathe, watching BB continuing to set up his Scrabble board. With slow determination she withdrew a kitchen match from a box on her table. She lit it, then pierced the surface of the water with its flaming tip. A great ball of fire suddenly flared above the heads of Penny, Strange and the Kidd. It then vanished as quickly as it had appeared.
“Mmm!” BB winced, shaking his head.
Alice laughed, so delicious her magic. She peered into her bowl again: “What’s this?” observing Makin’ and the Punc driving up the gravel road toward the trailers blocking the entrance to the quarry.
“I still can’t get a signal,” Makin’ said over her walkie. “There’s too much electrical interference.”
“That pig is near that prophetically oinks. He’s somewhere up here. Told by my joints,” the Punc answered.
“You have germs, Big Butt,” sounded Alice’s voice in the skies.
“And you’re a psychotic nut,” speaking to himself as he thought twice about another one on one with Alice. She had the big guns. So long as he didn’t fire anything at her he had the advantage of it being his own mind. He pushed the scrabble board across the table and lit a cigarette instead.
“Headlights,” the Kidd alerted Penny and Strange.
“Conference,” BB called.
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