The Gypsy's Address
Makin’ and the Punc were now close enough to hear BB’s voice in the distance. “It’s starting to thunder,” Makin walkied.
It sounded peculiarly like speaking thunder to the Punc, though not certain: “That or you’re hearing voices in your head.”
The two slowly made their way to the two trailers blocking the road. Something’s could be easily recognized by the bullets holes in the rear doors.
“I told you they were near,” Makin’ remarked, imitating the Punc. She dimmed her lights, pulled her tractor brake, then stepped down from her truck, still wearing her comical headgear.
“The only thing you’re near is a zap in the rear if you don’t capture that pig I hold dear,” the Punc said to himself. He pulled up behind Makin’, applied his truck brakes, toggled off his lights, then loosed a wicked smile as he pulled his secret weapon from the rear wall of his sleeper.
Makin’ had armed herself with a heavy-duty eight-foot chain with large hooks at each end. Once longer, it was meant to tow eighty thousand pounds of truck and trailer out of tight spots. But Makin’ had found a third of it’s original length to be a sweet weapon. As she waited for the Punc she let a practice swing at a boulder atop a pile of rock. It slowly cracked in half, each piece rolling down the pile.
The Punc returned to the driver seat with his prize, giving it a kiss: “Strange isn’t getting the message. Perhaps a laser to rephrase her will phase her.” He climbed out of his truck, adjusting his laser rifle as he walked up the side of Makin’s trailer. He watched as she took a swing at an old railroad tie once used for a fence post. She slung the chain around its top, ripped it out of the earth and released it high into the air. The Punc instantly sawed the post in half, length-wise, while it was midair. He and Makin’ smiled as they watched it smoke in two pieces to the ground.
“Were I her I’d prefer to concur this time,” the Punc referred to Strange. “Getting your limbs sliced off piece by piece isn’t a welcome thing to endure.”
“No mistake. I think that pudgy little squealer she’ll forsake,” Makin’ answered, snapping her chain taut with both arms.
They now stealthily began to make their way into the quarry, eventually sighting Penny and Something’s big trucks. Alias gave a bark. Which they followed to their left. Presently they saw the rather eerie spectacle of Cuddly sitting on his haunches inside a small circle of rocks, the boulders above slowly passing like clouds, casting shadows moving across the earth appearing now dimmer, now glowing brighter, beneath the heavens flashing the same.
“If this isn’t a trap I’ll be a fart aflame,” Makin’ nigh whispered.
“If it’s a trap or not, you’ll be, with or without the flame, an unpleasance just the same,” the Punc politely replied.
Makin’ rattled to what she was chained as the Punc kept his ray gun trained against any sudden threat, his finger itchy on the trigger. They slowly approached Cuddly, with Alias standing outside the circle of stones beside him. Once fifteen feet away the skies boomed:
“Halt!” followed by two lances which penetrated the earth, one between the feet of the Punc, the other between the feet of Makin’. Which impressed Makin’ not at all:
“You think with this toothpick to stop the likes of me?” she challenged whoever, pulling the lance from the ground to break it over her knee.
“Well, I’ll be a hungry minute with only twenty seconds in it,” Alice gasped as she pulled one of the halves of a broken needle from her scrying bowl. BB then gave Makin’ a light zap in the butt with a bolt of lightning.
“Aaah!” Makin’ released, hopping, holding her butt.
“Quiet!” BB commanded.
Now emerged atop a pile of gravel Penny with his knife drawn, Strange giving her whip a few twists, the Kidd with a sling in his right hand as he juggled two stones with his left. They slowly stepped down the heap of gravel together and stood forty feet away from Makin’ and the Punc, Cuddly in his circle between, to the side.
“Showdown,” Alice smoothly spoke across the skies. Makin’ and the Punc lifted searching eyes as Alice continued: “It would seem the pig in that circle is quite the prize. Because that pig is mental . . . B . . . B . . . is arranging a competition to which mental he finds incidental. You will all use the same weapon. The winner takes the prize.”
“Who is this dull empty hull, of himself so full, that I should care one iota what he arranges?” responded the Punc.
“Yeah!” Makin’ demanded. “Who in this world that’s a cave is this slave called BB?”
BB sent two strokes of lightning, each stopping above the heads of Makin’ and the Punc close enough to raise the hair on their heads from the static. Each looked at the other, appearing ridiculous, while yet in awe of the lightning sizzling in the air before each their uplifted stare. Presently the lightning disappeared, leaving nothing but smoke to waft away.
“It’s my world you’re trespassing,” BB let them to know.
“All right!” the Punc agreed, at least temporarily. “Show me the weapon.”
“Poetry,” BB replied. “We will all recite a sonnet extemporaneously. It must be original. If you cheat you’re disqualified.”
“Aaah! For crying out loud!” the Punc sickened, slumping his shoulders. “If this BB is mental it’s accidental!”
“Yeah!” Makin’ chimed, then reflected, not knowing quite what a sonnet was: “. . . Is that like Little Red Riding Hood?” She was sweating, but released a devious smile as she remembered what a delight it was as a child, just before bedtime, to imagine herself as Grandma with such big bad teeth. It was even better when her father read her Hansel and Gretel, loving to slip them into her oven as she drifted to sleep. Now she squared her shoulders, shifted her feet back and forth, ready for battle: “Ha! Let’s do it! I’ll give you a sample more than ample to win three little piggies . . . “ smiling sweetly at Cuddly, “. . . whose house . . . Never mind! No fear! Yeah! Bring it on!”
“And who’s the genius true who picks the winner, from his point of view?” asked the Punctuator.
“The one you pursue,” responded Alice.
Now the Punc smiled at Cuddly, giving him a slow wink to indicate they were allies. He then pierced the Kidd’s eyes with own, barely able to disguise his disdain: “And this . . . kid . . . over here?”
“He, too, gets a stroke, the triumph to evoke,” Alice wheedled BB.
“Well, I’ll be a pie through the sky which says ‘Hi!’ as I die!” the skies suddenly sounded with a voice not yet heard.
If one could peer inside Alice’s head one would view a female looking much like Mae West. Attired in fishnet stockings from mid-thigh down, from mid-thigh up she was the Good Witch of the North to the tip of her sparkling diadem. Just a touch indecently, she slothfully slouched on her throne with her legs crossed akimbo over one of its arms. In one hand she held a scepter, in the other a mirror. An attendant, apparently Makin’s double, set a dish of bonbons on a table to the side of her throne. The Punc’s double, dressed as a court jester, however wise, asked the Empress, ”Wanna hear another blonde joke?”
Alice groaned as the Empress shook her head no to her jester, then spoke up: “If the Kidd gets to play then so do I. Fair is fair,” viewing Penny, Strange and the Kidd in her mirror.
“No!” denied Alice.
“Yes!” said BB. “If the Kidd plays the Empress plays.”
“What do you say, Kidd?” the Empress asked. “How you been?” slipping a chocolate into her mouth. The Kidd smiled, the Empress a friend of his with whom he plotted mischief when Alice and BB were sleeping. All in good fun, naturally, and to the benefit, as they saw it, of their respective alter egos.
“Empress,” the Kidd addressed, bowing in acknowledgement as he noticed Cuddly wriggling his tail. “If Cuddly, who’s the claim of this game, has any claim the same, then you belong in this game.”
The Empress, pleased, batted her eyelashes at Alice, then punctuated the air with a little wave of her scepter with each word: “The matter is discussed, I trust. Can we adjust?”
Alice had no choice. The Kidd was instrumental, sometimes, to getting into BB’s head and achieving her way with him. Likewise was the Empress, sometimes, to BB an ally elemental. Thus to agree, sometimes, with the Empress was strategically fundamental. Alice pulled her lance out of the earth before the Punc, slumped back in her chair, raised her voice with lifted hands, her resignation clearly strained:
“All right, though shoal is your soul . . .”
“Without me you’re not whole,” the Empress interrupted something snootily. “It’s settled. Who shall begin?”
Poetry was how BB and Alice had met years ago. As the years went by complexities, differences, frustrations and pressures set hurdles across their path together. But now poetry again seized the day, and each deferred to the other at the same moment.
“Alice should set our example,” remembered BB.
“BB is the singer,” Alice recalled.
Penny took a quarter from his pocket with, “Heads Alice. Tails BB.” He flipped the coin. . . “Alice.” There were several seconds of quiet before Alice began:
“She met a tall poet from a nowhere town
Who had the worst job one could ever want.
Employed in no status of worth, his crown
Was invisible, yet rose from its font.
He wrote for years, gaining but Fortune’s frown,
Driving a dirt truck, as if Fortune’s taunt.
What beauty was he, his mind for her gown,
His verses strands come loose from her bouffant.
‘We, only we’ said he as he romanced her,
Feeding from his lips to hers melons ripe.
Yet ‘We, only we’ came to a detour,
From the bar many stains of scotch to wipe –
“We, only we’ soon became “As we were’,
Though to not trouble him she didn’t gripe.
Now ‘I, only I’ can hear her voice lilt,
‘Thank God he no longer hogs the whole quilt!’”
“Hodl – hodl – ay – ee – dee!” the Empress yodeled through an old bullhorn: “Two lines too long and the first with eleven syllables. Disqualified.”
The Punc’s twin, though a friendly jester, was also devious, placing a Screaming Meanie on the table next to the Empress’ throne: “In the event you’d like to give BB a toothache. Wanna hear a light bulb joke?”
“No. But as her talk is such a grating squawk I should like a vodka soda to buffer its knock,” the Empress directed Makin’.
“Your Majesty,” Makin’s double acknowledged, bowed, walked away to perform her assigned errand, rolling her eyes at yet another menial task.
Alice was about to protest, but was preempted by the Kidd’s confirmation of what the Empress had said: “That’s true. Line nine also had eleven syllables.”
“Hmmm,” BB lightly groaned, changing his mind as he lifted away a bottle of scotch from the lip of his coffee cup. “Let’s wait until this competition is over,” thought he.
“Well, then, BB,” Alice appointed, conceding her count was off. “Unscroll your soul.” She leaned over to her window to watch him recap his scotch bottle and place it on the table some distance away. He lit a cigarette, took a sip of java, then began:
“It’s a spoiled bichon frise I decry,
The very same who, when young, I married.
I saved eight years to take her to Versailles.
Then a steep loan for a house I carried.
Credit cards she used without asking,
Which forced me to work ever more tasking,
So she could have all kinds of things silly,
Like bows for the cat ‘neath a little hat.
The day I smelled that cat perfumed lily
Was the day that I blew my thermostat.
That bichon frise from her ride got trimmed,
No longer to buy whatever she whimmed.”
Everyone waited for several seconds, until Strange encouraged him to continue: “Go ahead.
“Done,” BB informed.
“Too bad,” the Kidd smiled. “Two lines short and line five only nine syllables.”
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