In a Pickle

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Just a little story about friendships.

Submitted: July 19, 2019

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Submitted: July 19, 2019

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"Ohhh!

If I were a Taylor

Or maybe a Cobbler too

I sell my finest clothes

To the monkeys in the zoo

I craft some beautiful boots

With leather and some suede

Then I'd dance around

And stomp the ground

And show-off what I'd made!

 

Ohhh!

La-de-dah-de-dilow

La-de-dah-de-due

How fine they look

Like a picture book

Those Monkey's in the zoo!"

... ...

 

And so it was that Elliot Blinker, the summertime tinker, sang his tunes to pass the monotonous travel-time between farms, hamlets and the occasional town.

Late fall saw Elliot back home, cutting wood and making ready to weather the winter. But when spring arrived Elliot set about checking his wagon's inventory for sell-able goods and stocked it with travel provisions.

He would be gone from home for three months, give or take a week or two, then he would start the whole process over again.

Some would say that it was a dull life, but to Elliot it was a secure and dependable one, and he liked that.

 

On the Roundabout Road his self-crafted wagon creaked and gowned with every rut and bump it encountered, but it always managed to survive even the worst of them.

 

Yes, Elliot was a self-made man, independent, self assured, and stocked full of any answer that you might have a question for.

Seeking advice was not Elliot's fondest pastime, in fact he hated the thought of not having an answer to any given problem. But yet, when he did need an answer to a perplexing problem, he always asked for a stranger's help.

 

"Get along, Claudius," Elliot would yell whenever his dear friend and wagon-pulling Clydesdale would wander towards a patch of roadside clover.

"Get along and you'll get an extra helping of oats tonight," Elliot would say with a chuckle in his voice.

"You do like oats, right? Elliot mockingly asked Claudius. Then Elliot would answer, "Well of course you do, you're a horse!

 

"Now how does the song go?" Elliot would ask but then he would answer by saying, "Oh, Mares eat oats, and Goats eat oats, and little Lambs eat ivy, ah kid-dilly-divvy too."

And so the conversations between these two old friend always went. Elliot would ask the questions and then he would answer because he always knew the answers.

 

This was just another summer of long days and hard to sleep nights, a day just like all the other summer travel days; --- or so it seemed.

***

 

As Elliot sang his songs, a bank of dark clouds suddenly rolled in from the east and a warm, gusting, wind began to howl thought the nearby trees.

"She's Goanna Blow!" Elliot yelled. "Let's take shelter in that stand of trees," Elliot said as he guided Claudius to a clearing in a tree cluster; the trees being in and among some rolling hills.

But what Elliot didn't see the cave entrance that the clearing led to, a very large cave.

 

CRACK!!! A bolt of lightning hit the ground and it struck not a stone’s throw from the travelers.

Claudius was taken by surprise and bolted, all the while pulling the wagon and its content's progressively faster.

Elliot was frantic, desperately trying to slow the horse, but there was no doing that.

Ever forward Claudius raced and soon Elliot found the lot of them on a pathway leading into a valley, a valley the likes of which Elliot had never seen before.

Finally, Elliot was able to get control of Claudius and brought the wagon to a halt. Then both friends, who were drained from the frantic ordeal, just looked on at this strange and bewildering valley.

 

After a time Elliot looked back to find that they had been traveling downhill and that going back would take a lot more time and energy than either of the two travelers had stored away.

So Elliot stated, "Well Claudius, I surmise that we are in a pickle. I doubt that even you could haul this heavy wagon up that steep incline and I am not willing to leave the wagon here. So I have decided that our only choice is to go forward and see what we can see. Hopefully we will meet someone who has knowledge of the way back to Roundabout Road."

And with that said the two sojourners pressed forward into the unknown valley.

***

 

As the wagon rambled along it became apparent that there were eyes watching them; Claudius became uneasy and stopped.

"What's the matter?" Elliot asked, not expecting an answer and all the while feeling the same uneasy feeling.

 

A voice was heard coming from a nearby stand of brush, and it said, "Hell-woo!"

Claudius stirred a little and Elliot replied, "Hello Back. And who are you?"

"I am Bushel Green the Pathway Encounter Counter. How many breathing creatures do we have passing me today?"

Elliot thought for a moment and then replied, "Hmm, I'm saying that there are two of us, I am Elliot Blinker, the summertime tinker, and this is my wagon manipulator and horse-around friend, Claudius the Clydesdale."

Suddenly one of the bushes swelled up very large and on it's very top branch two new leaves grew out, they were easy to see because they were gold-ish red instead of green.

"Duly noted and recorded," stated Bushel. "Welcome to the Valley of Change, and may your journey be a pleasant one."

"Well, thank you, but I have questions that need answers," Elliot stated.

"I am Bushel Green the Pathway Encounter Counter.

For answers to Questions you need to talk to Toucan Knows-a-lot, the Question Coordinator. You will find him in the third banana tree to your left. --- Thanks!"

Then Bushel Green shrunk down to its normal size and blended into the other bushes; it was like he was never there.

 

Not wanting to be a pain in anyone's posterior, Elliot kept silent and directed Claudius to the third banana tree, just as instructed.

"Hello, Toucan, are you there?" Elliot called out.

Toucan replied, "No, I'm not There, I'm Here! Now what do you want Elliot Blinker, the summertime tinker?

"You know who I am?" Elliot questioned.

Toucan jumped down from a lofty perch and replied, "Of course I know who you are! I know everything except what I do not want to know. And what I do not want to know, I ignore."

Elliot smiled and asked, "Then tell us how to get back to Roundabout Road."

"Oh No," Toucan stated, "that is a geographic question and it requires a geographic answer. You will have to ask Atlas, Atlas handles all such questions."

Elliot was getting upset, but he thought it best to keep calm, so he just asked, "OK, where do I find Atlas?"

As Toucan disappeared into the trees, he said, "You don't ever find Atlas, you read Atlas."

 

"Well that was no help at all," Elliot said to Claudius. "Now what will we do?"

And for the first time in their long friendship, Claudius was asked a direct question that required a real answer. And for the first time Claudius replied, saying, "Let's open the Atlas and have a look inside."

 

Elliot looked puzzled by the answer, but hardly seemed to notice that Claudius had spoken to him for the very first time.

Then Elliot asked, "Do we have an Atlas?"

To which Claudius stated, "Sure, it is on the driver's side of the wagon, in the second drawer down, fourth drawer to the left; right next to the travel maps. --- Don't you ever use it?"

"I guess not," Elliot stated. Then he said, "I guess when one leads a secure and dependable life, one just never gets lost.

Claudius thought for a moment and replied, "Or maybe one never gets found."

 

Shortly thereafter, the Atlas was checked, a road-map was referenced, and the two old friends were soon turning right onto the trail that leads back to Roundabout Road.

 

"So, how-come you never talked to me before," Elliot asked Claudius.

Claudius replied, "Words don't always make a relationship better."

"True," Elliot stated in agreement. But why did you pick today to talk?"

Claudius whinnied, snorted, and then said, "You asked me a direct question, and that was a first, so I figured that you really needed an answer."

"I did," Elliot stated.

"I know," Claudius said.

 

***

 

And as the two friends wandered along the trail leading to Roundabout Road, Elliot begins to sing,

 

"Ohhh!

If I were a Taylor

Or maybe a Cobbler too

I sell my finest clothes

To the monkeys in the zoo

I craft some beautiful boots

With leather and some suede

Then I'd dance around

And stomp the ground

And show-off what I'd made!"

 

Then Claudius joined in,

"Ohhh!

La-de-dah-de-dilow

La-de-dah-de-due

How fine they look

Like a picture book

Those Monkey's in the zoo!"

 

 

 

D. Thurmond / JEF

07-19-2019


© Copyright 2020 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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