Zig-Bock O'lock

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


On a planet in a far off galaxy lives some very strange creatures, but in many ways they are not much different than us. The following story may help you to understand what I mean. I hope you enjoy
it.

Submitted: January 02, 2018

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Submitted: January 02, 2018

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{On a planet, in a far off galaxy, lives some very strange creatures, but in many ways they are not much different than us. The following story may help you to understand what I mean. I hope you enjoy it.}

 

Zig-Bock O'lock waddled his way down a sandy road when he heard a old familiar sound. It was the warning call from the Whisper-Tree Night-Snatcher.

Zig-Bock O'lock had not heard that sound for eons, you see, the Whisper-Tree Night-Snatcher was thought to be extinct.

"Such a specimen, alive or dead, would fetch a hefty bounty at Traders-Market," O'lock reasoned. "That Night-Snatcher would bring me three cycles worth of provisions if brought in alive, but only one cycle if its dead body still had feathers in tact," he calculated.

But there was only one problem, Whisper-Tree Night-Snatchers are invisible.

"I could trap it with a spinner-weave if I could get it to fly into one," thought O'lock. "Or I could bring it down with a Konk-Caster, if I could locate its snore while it was sleeping."

Again came the warning sound from the Whisper-Tree Night-Snatcher. And the sound seemed to be getting closer!

Suddenly O'lock heard a voice coming from the branches of a dead Whisper-Tree. The tree, a specimen with a massive trunk, had obviously been through a devastating fire.

Whisper-Trees collect oils from the ground and surrounding plants, then store the oils for nourishment, this makes them highly flammable. For the same reason, because of the oils, the Night-Snatchers would gather in these trees.

The Night-Snatchers use the oils from the tree leaves to preen and moisten their feathers. It is believed that after centuries of treating their feathers with this oil-mixture, and ingesting it, the Night-Snatcher became invisible.

"Greetings to Zig-Bock O'lock, traveler to far places and barterer of all things," said the voice. "I am Tag, the last child of Sky and Sandstone the Great. I believe that I am the last of the Whisper-Tree Night-Snatchers, and I have a proposition for you."

"How do you know my name?" O'lock demanded to know while desperately scanning the tree for any sign of movement.

Tag replied, "That inquiry is within my ability to answer, so I shall.

As you can see, I am invisible. Thereby I am able to sit in trees near human when they make camp at night, it can get very cold out here at night.

I have overheard many conversations about many things; some of those conversations were about you and your business dealings."

O'lock butted in and asked, "What about my business dealing?"

Tag quickly replied, "Oh, it was nothing bad, I assure you. You were often noted as a fair-minded individual, and a good bargainer."

O'lock butted in again and said, "Well I am, and I am honest too! Did they mention that?"

Tag assured O'lock that nothing bad was said about him and what good was said prompted Tag to seek him out. Tag had a bargain to present to O'lock that could benefit both of them nicely.

Zig-Bock O'lock was a cautious soul, so he was not about to be horn-waggled by some voice from a tree. So he asked, "What business could this O'lock and a supposed Night-Snatcher do? Any bargain we might make would have to be tested, after all, I am dealing with a voice from a tree."

"I thought that you might see it that way," Tag replied. "So I have fashioned my first request so that you will have no outlay of expenses, nothing but your time will be lost if this deal does not find it's way to completion. Besides, you will have something of mine and I will have nothing of yours until this bargain is completed. Fair enough?"

O'lock sent his next question reverberating through the charcoal-gray branches of the dead tree. He asked rather loudly, "What will I have of yours?"

Tag replied boisterously, "One of my feathers, of course! One of my invisible feathers to be exact."

"And how am I going to get one of those?" Asked O'lock.

"Do you see the large red rock just south of this tree?" Tag questioned.

O'lock look around and there was only one large rock. So he waddled over to it and asked, "Do you mean this one?" (Zig-Bock O'lock is color blind, as are all O'locks.)

Tag replied and asked O'lock to feel around on top of the rock until he felt the feather that he had placed there.

"I feel no feather, none at all," O'lock replied after some searching.

"Are you sure? That feather is worth a small fortune to you, and I fear that I will have to find another Bargainer to do this job if you cannot feel it. So do search the rock once more," Tag asked politely.

Well, after some time O'lock felt that he had the feather firm in hand and he quickly placed it in a pouch within his provisions bag.

"There, it is safely tucked away," O'lock stated. "Now what am I to give you in return?" he asked.

Tag replied, "Go to Traders-Market with the feather and sell it to the highest bidder. With half the proceeds you shall buy me as many Cluck-Peckers as you can, the other half of the proceeds will be yours to keep. Then bring the Cluck-Peckers to me to show good faith. If you fulfill this bargain then there will be more feathers to sell."

"Why would a Night-Snatcher want Cluck-Peckers?" O'lock questioned. "You are an invisible bird of prey and could easily ketch a meal anytime."

Tag stated, "I will let you in on a little secret, but you must tell no-one what I am about to confess to you. Agreed?"

"Well of course I agree, I am now a trustworthy business partner," O'lock stated rather matter-ah-factually.

The voice from the tree replied, "I have a minor injury to one wing. I can fly, but to chase after prey is not within my present ability. I have sustained myself on creepers and crawlies, but I must have something of higher quality to return myself to full health. Thus, the idea of this bargain was born."

Zig-Bock O'lock believed the very convincing story, after all he had no reason not to. So he set out for Traders-Market, straight-away.

Some time past before O'lock returned to the tree.

"Hello, Tag! Are you there? I have six Cluck-Peckers for you," O'lock yelled rather sheepishly.

"You certainly took your time getting back here," Zig-Bock O'lock.

O'lock was surprised by the grumpy sounding voice and asked, "Did you think that I had sold the feather and was never returning?

Tag laughed and replied, "Of course not, I am just hungry and ill-tempered because of it." Then the voice continued by saying, "I know that you have a good head for business, so when you are able to sell something that you didn't pay for and keep half the profits, well, I was sure you would return for the second part of our bargain.

Did you have any trouble selling the feather?"

"Yes, at first," O'lock stated, but I realized that I needed a better presentation for the feather, after all, it is invisible.

So I had a glass-blower blow a nice container with a fitted lid. Then I bought a clump of glowing-clay and I fashioned a nice looking feather-holder with a pinhole in the top. I slipped the feather's stem into the hole of the clay and sealed the top on the glass container. It was beautiful, even if I do say so myself.

Well, it wasn't long before a crowd gathered and everyone marveled at it. So the price for the one feather went up quickly!"

"And my half only bought six Cluck-Peckers. Are you trying to cheat me, Zig-Bock O'lock?" asked Tag, in a screeching sort of voice.

O'lock replied quickly, "Oh no my friend, to sell something invisible took preparation and financial outlay on my part. I had to replace the cost of the glass container and the other items I purchased. Besides, I made a great bargain for you; buy five Cluck-Peckers and get one free. That was the deal I struck!

Then I had to transport the Cluck-Peckers, which meant that I had to buy a Beastly and a Carry-Kart to transport the very heavy Cluck-Peckers holding cage. Now that I have the Beastly and a Carry-kart I will be able to carry even more Cluck-Peckers, that is, if you are wanting to continue this enterprise. I have six more buyers waiting for feathers. They are eager buyers and will pay handsomely for them; given that they are displayed in glass just as the first was."

After a moment the Night-Snatcher stated, "There are three feathers that you might have right now, but if you want six feathers then you will have to make camp for awhile and wait for more of my feathers to fall out. More will, eventually.

You see, I do not pull the feathers out, that would be very painful. Old feathers just fall out while I preen and I never know how many will come out, or when. But like I said, I have three ready right now."

O'lock had a disappointed look on his face as he stated, "Buyers are waiting, I must not keep them waiting. Where are the three feathers?"

"On the rock, just as before," the voice replied.

Zig-Bock O'lock retrieved the feathers after a good deal of time searching the rock-face. Then he climbed aboard the Beastly and guided the Carry-kart back to Traders-Market.

 

 

"Hello, Tag! Are you there? It is Zig-Bock O'lock and I have 35 Cluck-Peckers for you. I Made a good bargain; buy 30 Cluck-Peckers and get five free."

Tag shot right back by saying, "That is not a good deal!

The last deal was for five Cluck-Peckers and you got one free. So if you made that same deal again, times six, then you would have 36 Cluck-Peckers for me. I think maybe you fricasseed one of my Cluck-Pecker and ate it yourself!"

"Oh no! The fact is that the Cluck-Pecker seller only had 35 Cluck-Peckers left so I bought those. Then I bought you a half dozen Lake-honkers with the rest of your share of the proceeds; buy five get one. ..."

"Yes, yes, I know, Buy five get one free!" The voice from the tree replied.

"Well, I do love a well fatted Lake-honker. You have done well Zig-Bock O'lock, very well indeed.

Now, do you still have orders for feathers and if so, how many?"

"I still have the three hopeful buyers," said O'lock, " and four more that are interested but have not committed to a sale. Do you have any more feathers to sell?"

"Yes indeed, five came out while you were gone," Tag replied. "But because you have told me that there are no more Cluck-Peckers at the market and because I now have Lake-honkers to tide me over, I would like to have something different to feast on. You will bring me some Snout-snorters if they have any small ones. The larger versions give me skunk-gas. And if they have no small Snout-snorters then I would like to try some feathered Kwackers, the kind that swim but can not fly; I've been told that they are very tasty."

"They are indeed," stated O'lock.

Then O'lock continued by saying, "If the profit is great at this sale then I shall bring you some of each, Snout-snorters and feathered Kwackers. How does that sound to you, --- partner?"

"Good, very good indeed," replied Tag.

 

"Hello, Tag! Are you there? It is Zig-Bock O'lock and I have news.

"Hello Zig-Bock, and how went the barter?"

O'lock replied, "I sold four of the five feathers and have brought you five Snout-snorters, a male and the rest are females.

I also brought you 12 feathered Kwackers, the females are taster but the seller only had 10 of those, so he offered two extra males to seal the deal; buy 10, get two free.

The voice from the tree said, "It is just as well that there are no more buyers for the feathers. I am back to health now and I'm afraid we must end our partnership."

O'lock frowned and replied, "What do I do with the last feather?"

Tag answered by saying, "You may keep the last feather if you would like to, call it a memento from a very unusual business arrangement. By the way, it looks beautiful in that glass container. You have an artistic touch."

"Thank You," uttered O'lock, "it's all part of the sell.

Oh yes, what do I do with the Beastly and a Carry-Kart? Now that our business is concluded I have no use for them, and besides, it was your part of the profits that paid for them. I guess that I could trade them at market for more Snout-snorters but then I would have nothing to transport them back here to you."

The voice from the tree asked, "Do you know of the farm the sits near the river, just beyond this sandy place?"

O'lock questioned, "Do you mean that small place with fields not worth tilling, all lumpy and filled with rocks?"

"Yes, that is the one. The family there is very poor and I am sure that they could make good use of a Beastly and a Carry-Kart. If you are going that way would you be so kind as to take them there?"

"I could go in that direction," said O'lock, "and I would be happy to do you that favor."

And with that said Zig-Bock O'lock climbed aboard the Beastly and guided the Carry-Kart down the road.

***

 

Beastly and a Carry-Kart are not the fastest mode of transportation, but they were never intended to go fast. So it was no wonder that it took O'lock several days to reach the farm.

 

"Greetings Farmer, I am Zig-Bock O'lock and what might your name be?"

"I am Samland Tagwaller and I perceive that you are a barterer. But before you start talking let me assure you that I have no money to buy anything and the animals I have are not for sale, they are breeding stock."

O'lock laughed as he replied, "No, no, my dear Tagwaller, I have a gift for you!"

"A gift from who?" asked Tagwaller.

O'lock replied, "Well, let's just say a birdie told me that you needed a Beastly and a Carry-Kart and sense I was coming this way the birdie asked me to give them to you as I passed. So here they are, enjoy!"

Tagwaller smiled and said, "One good turn deserves another. The hour is late and I am sure you are tired. I have an extra bedroom, my Misses has Kwacker-stew cooking on the stove and Sage-bread in the oven. Perhaps you will stay the night and join us for dinner?"

 

Zig-Bock O'lock accepted the offer and over the coarse of time Tagwaller and O'lock became best of friends.

Every time O'lock travels brought him near the farm he would stop to visit the Tagwaller family for a few days. He always brought gifts and stories from far away places. The gifts were for their children and the stories were for them all.

One of the children's favorite stories, one they always ask Uncle O'Lock to tell, is the story about the Night-Snatcher bird and the invisible feathers. And when the children ask if Uncle O'lock has ever encountered Tag again, well, he says he visits him every time he is in the area.

"After all," he says, "they are now best of friends.

 

 

D. Thurmond / JEF

01-02-2018

 


© Copyright 2019 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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