The Gypsy's Address
“It’s a fly we’re after,” Whammy mused to Acid, hissing alike, as she lifted the lid from a box on her table containing various dead insects. “A little one, for we’ll not too abuse. . . Perfect,” as she lifted the dead creature into the air and carefully dropped it onto a mirror inlaid into the tabletop. Into this mirror she now peered. Wafts of smoke soon appeared, then Penny’s image as they cleared: “You seem a bright one, I’ll admit. But a wandering mind’s a better fit to my amusement.”
Penny was perusing his receipt, intending to step up into his truck with the trailer’s rear end in the garage. But as he stuffed the receipt into his rear pocket he veered away, beginning to walk across the parking lot toward Something’s Kenworth.
“Here comes Penny, “ Alias woofed.
“Light,” Cuddly advised.
The day was almost too radiant with afternoon sunlight. But that Strange and Penny were now rabbits, and Makin’ and the Punc waving on skates as they rolled past Something’s truck, all seemed normal. It was, however, the Crossroads Truck Stop, and it was the oddly named Hoodoo Hare Truck Repair, and Cuddly had warned Strange earlier that day, in a world now elsewhere, that they’d better get moving.
“Protection,” Cuddly explained in his measured manner.
Reckoning all of it together, Strange saw no harm to strike a match and light the candle on her shelf. Meanwhile, Penny had meandered away, toward the highway, as the pleasant breeze began to develop into a wind. Clouds began to canopy the sky until they formed a dome, as if to enclose the Crossroads Truck Stop, buffering the surrounding world from occurrences in its location.
“Powerful,” Cuddly noted as the sky became black. The wind began to blow with force to rock Something’s truck, blasting gusts of dirt against its windshields. Strange could now barely see Penny through the developing sandstorm as he continued to walk toward the highway. He stopped momentarily and turned about, appearing as if to look for his or Something’s truck, lifting his arm to protect his eyes from the blowing dirt.
“He looks lost,” Something observed.
“I’ll go get him,” Alias barked. “Give me the word.”
“Mirror,” Cuddly thought better to direct.
Strange was divided as to what to do. Immediate reflex would have compelled her to jump from her truck and go grab Penny, if not send Alias. But the day had too quickly become nigh tar black, and the wind too suddenly difficult to stand against, the whipping sand surely blistering to the flesh. It didn’t seem like phenomena which nature, alone, would perform. Suspecting something psychic was occurring, Something took down a mirror clipped to one of her sleeper cabinets and set it behind the flickering candle as her truck shook in increasing winds.
“No,” Cuddly instructed as Strange reached for a light switch.
Old Penny, by now, couldn’t see where to go. He decided to keep position where he was at. He sat to hunker against the cutting grains and pebbles, brought his shirt to his mouth and nostrils so he could breathe. Whammy gazed into her mirror, now quite pleased:
“If there to make your stand is your strategy, then when you stand there be glued and we’ll agree.”
Of a sudden Penny saw a light, which quickly became two headlamps fast approaching. He stood to run. But as he did his left foot stuck to the pavement. The headlamps now revealed that he stood between two white lines in the middle of the highway. They roared past at seventy miles an hour, missing Penny by three feet. All he could do is put his right foot forward into the other lane as the big truck blew past. Which Something’s mirror illuminated for her to see.
“Cast,” Cuddly told.
“Cast? . . A spell? . . I know nothing of casting spells!”
Something’s mirror now revealed Whammy in her sacred place, looking into her mirror. She could hear the Mammy say, “In the name of Tom Foolery we mix, mix, mix. For scepter and rod we’ve magic willow sticks. Let them inherit who my humor least merit. To do what no one can explain I am learned and vain. One free foot, I’ll leave you that. But for a hat wear scratching cat.”
Out of the dark suddenly leapt a shrieking cat, aiming to plant its claws in Penny’s brow. At the last instant Penny bobbed his head, his mind yet clear enough for that. But when he reached down to untie his left All Stars sneaker he was reminded that he was a barefoot rabbit. Another cat flew out of the storm and attacked the top of his head. Then came another big truck, this time from the other direction. Penny stepped back onto his right foot and was nearly knocked over from the blast of wind as the truck blew past. Nightmare cats. Vehicles screaming past while blinding him in their headlights. Flesh-tearing wind but for his coat of light fur. It was all Penny could do but to lean and duck, one shrill cat made road kill by a rumbling flatbed truck.
As Something had remarked, she’d never cast a spell, at least not that she knew of. But this was no time to be as helpless as ignorant. She knew not how her mirror obliged her to see what was occurring. It just did. So she quickly gathered together such as might be rudimentary to casting a spell. Perhaps concentration, energy and will would do it. Perhaps hopeful communication with some or other extraintelligence:
“Genies, if you hear, who are not eyeless, though not in trucking, in these arts I am mileless. Be as may, I’ve got some worries. Things need done at which one hurries. Not at leisure to be lost, let not knowing how be the cost, and expedient to us to put that hoodoo hare to fuss.” Strange watched Penny standing slim as can be between a Volvo and a bus, urging her on: “That hoodoo hare’s last spell we now dyke. As for her next, all force from her words we now strike.”
Whammy sensed her cats had disappeared with all their hissing. As for the words to her next spell, they came up missing: “Something’s wrong,” she said to Acid. “Someone interferes. When I find out who it is their dead flesh I’ll age for years, then serve it to the ghoul whom my heart most nears in his lurking molestations and his envious sneers.”
Makin’ Wind and the Punc meanwhile had striven against the storm. They slowly skated past the nose of Something’s Ken again. The Punc held down his flapping hat upon his head, grabbing onto Makin’s hand as she struggled ahead. She didn’t smile, but she waved as she went by, barely seen through whirling dirt by Something’s eye. This as a dancing flame appeared in Whammy’s mirror, then the glowing face of Something Strange:
“A rabbit! In the name of Domination, what nerve! Mine, mine, mine, fair and pretty! Not soon enough you’re going to reap what you deserve!”
Something Strange now quickly pronounced her next spell: “Thanks to that hoodoo hare did this darkness grow. Let’s see her clouds dispel that the sun, now brilliant, glow.”
. . . No, I’m not going to explain how magic works, nor give you reasons magic to chase. Enough for now but to accept, which doesn’t mean it’s to embrace. See the roiling clouds below our wings disappear. Hear Whammy curse as she views the bright sun appear:
“That rabbit as an icicle would our vision better please. Thus an illusion of cold that that rabbit hereon freeze.” Whammy peered into her mirror, expecting to see Something shiver. But no haunt by cold occurred. Protected by her candle, Strange but rhymed another spell:
“The winds abate and it’s easy to see. What once bound Penny now lets him free.”
I’ll not pursue an aspiration to tell the hoodoo hare’s frustration upon her observation of her magic undone. She watched Penny’s foot move from fixation, now decomposed her domination, for which her anger to describe no words exist beneath the sun. Yet response to her magic’s constipation with enraged agitation she allowed but an instant’s servation. She was the Whammy Mammy, not about to waste power on weak confidence or what in magic lessoned authority. She composed herself cool until her wrath she could swallow, then on the arriving duel focused consciousness and its shadow. She rose from her table, Acid yet about her shoulders. Hell-bent through her curtain, then the front door, she passed, props neither needing nor taking, for as a witch she all witches surpassed. Squinting in the sun, she now rasped:
“Now let’s have some dreadful fun.” She first targeted Penny, walking toward Something’s truck: “Each step you take the next half measures, for that you not cease to go nowhere gives my heart pleasures.” Whammy soon brought her hand to her chest with an “Ah!” as her charm came to pass, Penny attempting half a step as she’d said. The Mammy couldn’t quiet her laughter as she watched him behaving like an obsessive compulsive. For what was exactly the half of his last normal step he couldn’t, however aim, quite perfect. He was thus unable to put his foot to the ground, nor cease trying. Whammy next brought her powerful gifts to bear on what protected a common rabbit from the rule of a hare:
“You think with but a candle to displease my smile? Too bad, for they’ve not yet been invented but in bonfire style.” Mammy Whammy was quickly delighted to see through the windows of Something’s truck a great burst of flames as if lightning had struck. Alias barked as Something jumped to the other side of the sleeper. The Shepard pushed the button on the panel and helped Cuddly out the passenger door as Something rushed to grab the fire extinguisher from beside the driver’s seat. As she was able to extinguish the blaze nigh immediately it didn’t do much damage. But now she’d suffered enough nonsense from a hare. The fire caused what was yet a live ember to flare, the memory of a loss yet difficult to bear. Reminded what had been done to her home, her barn and her horses years ago, Strange became more even determined than before. She hopped from her truck and walked toward Whammy Mammy, the evil hoodoo hare. Penny stood between the two, stepping without stepping ‘cause he couldn’t reckon where. Into the Mammy’s eyes Something arrowed a stare such that, regardless of her rabbit ears flopping everywhere, it was clear to see that no more mischief would she bear. She then addressed the Whammy Mammy in a tone of “Au contraire” that not a sorcerer anywhere would dare against that atrocious hoodoo hare:
“It would appear that in secret arts you’re no mere muse. Be it no mystery, then, that I refuse the triumph of a hare.”
“Give me some clues that I can use,” Whammy challenged, smiling as if Strange were but the nuisance of a bug. Penny, meanwhile in between, kept stepping without stepping. Where to put his heel was inconvincible on principle. Nor could he compute where to situate his toe.
“Above the head of a hare appears to grow the image of a well-fed crow,” Strange answered, then imagined: “Which leaves an anal gem that my grace you know.” After which the crow flapped away in the breeze. Atop her scarf a dish that not all seek nor prefer, the Whammy thought such paltry and in dark arts immature.
“A ghost with a cane views a rabbit’s toe and strikes it,” returned the Mammy. “Too bad, ‘cause I don’t think that rabbit much likes it.”
“Ah!” shouted Penny, with sudden pain, in a whirl. Which was successful in tempting Strange to increase the magnitude of her next spell:
“Penny’s pain disperses as I utter other verses: A hare I now engross with the objects most close,” meaning the ground. . . But nothing happened.
“I’m already full of myself, ridiculous rabbit,” smiled the whammy of a mammy. “When it comes to spells you need sophistication. Such as this, which will boggle your brain in fascination: A rabbit’s belly now becomes too beet-full. Which, thanks to me, aren’t deleteful.”
Of a sudden Penny grew heavy at his waist. That he was stuffed to the limit was told purple-faced.
“Penny! Thank me!” shouted Strange.
“Do it!” barked Alias, hiding with Cuddly beneath Something’s trailer. As for us, you and I, we fly too high for Whammy’s spells to reach you. . . No, we’ll not get involved with the mess, all come about for lack of a helpful address.
“Whatever they are he looks stuffed with many,” said Punc to Makin’, waving at Penny as they skated past.
Penny, too bloated to easily turn his red head, looked now at Whammy, then at Strange instead. His delay was enough for Whammy to say, “Let’s give that amateur witch bad reception. Most rabbits hear ‘Thank you’ clearly but she’s an exception.”
All suddenly fell silent to Strange. She thought at first it was the world about her. Until she saw the Mammy laugh, recognizing she’d been hit with a charm that made her deaf. If Penny said “Thank you” now she wouldn’t receive it, thus not be thanked. “Penny! Wait! Don’t say it!” she shouted, Alias urging the same. Then countered Strange, “The last spell of that hare with that hare I exchange with this that I cast: What I wish you arrange.”
“Penny! Thank me!,” Strange quickly instructed.
Up to his throat full of beets it was all Penny could do to mumble to Strange a simple, “Thank you!” The belch he released would have echoed through a forest. But they were in a desert so his solo burped unchorused.
This infuriated the Whammy all the more. She and Strange approached one another like two gunslingers, then squared off with Penny, still gorged, in between. They pierced into each other’s eyes, knowing the next whammy would be the mammy of them all, a whammy that could even hoodoos hares appall.
“We give that rabbit flames for a foo foo ‘cause I don’t like his hairdo. . .” began the Whammy. But since she was deaf Something was quicker at the draw, which advantage she used to magnify the power of her words by increasing her rhymes. It would be a gutsy risk. Strange could assume that rhymes helped with spells. But she didn’t know if they worked with wishes at all. Yet as fast as it was possible her tongue to twist:
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