Archive for November, 2013

“Make sure your aim is straight and true.” Koufax levels his pistol, squinting his left eye. The other crew members do the same.

Unless I want to chuck my sword, I won’t be able to aim with anything; I wonder how much more time it’s going to take till they trust me with a gun? Probably forever.

Boom! Crash!

Was that a boulder?

“Incoming!” Beauregard shouts.

I spit out gritty, disgusting dirt; I would thank Beauregard for shoving me to the ground if my head didn’t hurt so much.

Rocks, metal, and trash fall everywhere; no one really seems to care about my well-being right now. I guess that’s what happens when you endanger everyone, it was an accident! I want to live as much as any of you guys! That’s what I would say if everything wasn’t shaking…and if I wasn’t trying to find cover.

“Hold on! Hold on crew! Squirrel and the others will be here in no time!”

I wish I could believe Koufax. I know he’s trying to keep the others’ spirits up, but how many close shaves can we have until we finally get nicked? Are we all going to end up like Wooden Pete?

Bwwaaaaaaaahhhh! Rwwaaaarrrffff!

Oh snap! They’re right on top of us!

Oh…it’s just Beauregard. Trying to play the trolls at their own game; maybe he’s just happy to find another being with the same intelligence as his?

Wait a minute! The flying objects are mysteriously absent. Are the trolls actually watching Beauregard? I mean, he is garbling and drooling like a rabid dog; it’s kind of hard for anyone not to look at that.

Grrrraaaaaaaa!

That was definitely a troll.

“Then come and get it puke-face!” Drool dribbles down; good thing Beauregard doesn’t have a beard.

I feel like I’m watching insults from that movie The Sandlot…good movie. Beauregard is chubby but he has nothing on The Great Hambino. Well…calling Beauregard chubby is generous, he’s fat; big and fat…and ugly. You know what? He kind of looks like a troll now that I think of it…smells like one too. Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on him, he did save my life twice, but that makes me a little sick every time I think about it. Is the ground shaking?

His gait is slow and heavy, mud, slime, moss, and metal sling high into the air. The earth shudders with every step, ringing bells in my head. It’s like watching a bull charge a matador, but Beauregard doesn’t have a red cape-thing to go ole! with.

Shaapow!

The troll grunts as it takes a hit to the shoulder, I wonder if that blunderbuss has another shot in it?

Nope.

Why aren’t the other crew members shooting?

Steel shines, spinning through the air, finding firm hold in the spongy ground. Crimson sprays on man, beast and dirt alike; unstoppable force plowing through Beauregard’s body.

It swatted away Beauregard’s sword like a fly!

It’s giant foot rests next to me, while I hunker under some junk. I should let the others shoot the stinking beast, I can already hear their guns cocking.

Beauregard lies still like a moldy sack of potatoes.

He saved me. Twice. Uggh, I don’t feel so good. Focus…got to focus…he’s hurt because of me. Got to stay safe…but I have to do something. I’m about to do the second most stupid thing in my life (we all know what was the first). Oh goodness…I think I’m going to be si—”

Pssssssst. This is the part of the story where you skip a paragraph or two…okay? Just because it’s so awesome, I don’t think you guys can handle it. I don’t want you all to go blind from over-exposure to pure awesomeness; I’m just thinking about your well being. It’s not like I’m trying to put up a front or distract you or make up stories like accidently puking on a troll’s foot thereby revealing were I was hiding, instead of stabbing it like I had planned.

But I did something so awesome I can’t even tell you…oh snap, I think it’s going to sit on me.

I’m dead. I am sooooo dead.

Boom! Ker-Crash! Nails, bolts, gears, rocks, broken glass…an occasional rat or two, spray out from violent impact to the ground.

The pain is agonizing, the anguish unbearable, the weight crushing…and it’s really loud too. What!? I’m not supposed to be paying attention to the noise when my whole body is getting crushed? But my body is perfectly fine; I’d just hate to be one of those rats.

Lithy Louis happened to see me struggling with my sword and snatched me before the garbage became my makeshift grave. Well ‘snatched’ is rather generous, more like ‘almost yanked my head clear off’, but hey, at least I’m alive to complain.

But I’m still dead. Not from Koufax, although he wanted to, “I would strangle you if you weren’t the curse-lifter. Do you know what you have just done!?”

Of course I do, I did something bad, but I’m not about to tell him that; it wouldn’t be specific enough for his tastes.

“You have jeopardized the lives of my crew!” Koufax may not be very tall, but his grip is impressive, dragging me back towards the piece of precious steel.

Rooooaaaaar! Grrrraaaaaaaa!

We are so dead.

“Form a circle and dig in. Drag what you can for cover, we will hold them here.” Koufax is barking commands like, well…a captain. He pulls me up to my feet, I’m still rather shaken from almost dying; guess you don’t get used to it. “Let’s see if you can use that sword you thought was so important for all of us to die for.”

My head reminds me of my concussion, pounding, pounding, pounding; blood rushing to my face, everything has a fuzzy edge to it. Or maybe that’s just Offrey.

“Sorry I don’t have another gun to give you friend.” He readjusts his fedora. “You’ll have to make do with what you’ve got on hand (which isn’t very much I admit, but that has been the sort of trip has it? If only we could get a day or two to go our way, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen anytime soon.); there’s a lesson there.” Paw outstretched, he sweeps it in a wide circle, “There’s a lesson in this too, if you’re willing to take it; and you must if you are going to lift this curse.”

“I never asked for this! I fell from the sky. I have a concussion. I’m in an unfamiliar land where things are trying to kill me! And you’re telling me to take lessons!?”

Skin tingling, Offrey’s whiskers and nose are shoved to my face. Why is everyone grabbing me by the collar? “If you don’t learn, you will never see your home again. If you don’t learn, the sacrifices that have already been made will be for nothing. If you don’t learn, we may not even survive this ordeal (although even if you did I don’t know if our chances of survival would be that much greater)!”

I would be surprised by seeing a rabbit getting angry, if there weren’t the hulking figures tromping over the mountains of trash behind him.

Trolls.

The bandanna is around my face now. I hope the whole Scrapyard doesn’t smell like this; at least I won’t have to worry about getting my new duds dirty, because I’m not wearing them…the new duds that is…not clothes period…whatever.

Koufax is out of his typical regalia, trudging around in rather plain clothes, pistol in hand, asking for silence.

I turn to Bojangles, “Why’s he doing that?”

“It’s said there are some things buried here in the Scrapyard; undead robots from millennia past, the spirits of their masters, the Boogeyman. But none of that stops people from dumping their trash here; at least at the edges. But go further in…and you hear stories, ‘bout trolls and Medusalings, and other vile creatures. We’ve got firepower, but after Pete, even cap’n wants to be cautious.”

I almost feel sorry for the man, until he decides to pick his nose.

Koufax signals a stop. I don’t hear anything, not even the wind; which is good because it would only assail us with the stench of this place. Babe isn’t with us, so at least we won’t have to be afraid of any ox noises, although

Beauregard isn’t much better.

Koufax detensifies, marching forward. Still wish I had a gun or a sword; I’d even take a stick at this point. They seem to think I am somehow unable to protect myself, give me a ball to kick, I’ll show them. Guess I’ll have to get my own weapon, OOOOH! Maybe I could find one here! Have to keep my eye out for one, although everything here looks like it’s either covered in dirt or moss.

ALL BEWARE AL THE CURSE-LIFTER AND HIS MOSS SWORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For some reason I don’t think that is going to inspire fear in The Raven and his shadow soldiers. Man, who am I kidding? I’m just some kid from Dallas, and no one named Al ever did anything important…well Albert Einstein did, but I don’t think he went by Al. My name isn’t even Al, it’s Pedro, but Alvarez is my middle name. Al always stuck. And now I’m just going to be another faceless Al in the Sea of No One Cares…at least here in Whimsy, once I get home it’s back to practice and training. Practice! How long has it been? I haven’t felt the sweet caress of a soccer ball between my feet in I don’t know how long.

An empty can clatters across the junk, why is everyone glaring at me? Oh yeah, I kicked the can, whoops.

“The captain looked like he was about ready to flay the skin off yer’ back. Best not do that again.” Like I need Bojangles’ warning to remind me.

“Nothing is going to happen, you guys are afraid of everything. Sure there are those shadow things, but the worst that could possibly happen to us here is death by stench.” I wish I had a hacky-sack. Beauregard growls at me; let him growl, I can outrun him.

Koufax signals again, but this time he points ahead, “we have it my friends: The Dodger will soar again.”

The particular piece of metal Koufax has his mind set upon is about thirty feet up a pile of rubbish, honestly I don’t even know how he saw it, it’s covered in mud and other…things; is that paint or dried up blood? Only a little corner of it actually still reflects of the sunlight; but Squirrel says the piece looks in perfect condition, excepting the cosmetics of course.

“Alright Squirrel, go get Johnny and the cart; we’ll need Babe to haul this out of here.” Slapping Squirrel on the shoulder, Koufax sends him off. “Everyone else, set up a perimeter and look for anything that might be useful, we still need some copper pipes and wiring; but stay quiet.”

Then why was Koufax yelling commands…well not yelling per se but speaking loudly, louder than my can ‘incident’.

I wander aimlessly, I have no idea what I’m looking for. I mean I know what a pipe or wiring looks like but I don’t know if it’s something Koufax wants. Wait! The sword! There’s lots of cool stuff around here, gears and flappy-things, and…is that a robot arm? Cool! Why don’t we have things like that on earth? My uncle could have used an arm like this after his tour in Afghanistan; it even looks like an arm, a real human arm, with wires like veins and everything.

The arm catches on something, a handle of some sort. A sword handle!? The trash-dirt smears into my hands, I’m going to get the best possible grip I can, it’s pretty far into this heap of garbage. The handle looks rather plain, but that doesn’t matter, I’ll have a sword!

Dagblasted thing won’t budge, where’s Beauregard when you need him? I’m going to have to put everything into this tug. I feel like I’ve been put into a pressurized container, my head feels like it’s about to burst, eyes bulging out like a pug, arm veins popping. Breathing is for wimps, I have to get the sword out, even if I grind my teeth to dust or black out from lack of oxygen.

The ground moves beneath me, is it my feet stumbling? No, because there is the sword, the beautiful sword, in my hands! Sharp pain jabs at my back, arms and chest as I tumble down, resting in pool of mud. Great. Some odds and ends follow my not-so slip-and-slide, I’m probably going to get an earful from Koufax. What’s that rumbling sound?

A avalanche of debris surges down…at me by the way. R.I.P Pedro Alvarez Cooper. Died for a sword of moss.

“I hate to tell you Koufax, but I’m rather short of steel plating.” Pin adjusts the goggles on top of his head, face covered in grease and sweat.

I check my clothes…need to make sure I didn’t rub up on anything, although everything else in the store looks clean; but still, new clothes and all…need to make sure they stay clean. Not to mention I look kind of cool with the overcoat, breeches, and boots. Bojangles gave me a bandanna, and the shirt is rather common, but comfortable. I look like a cross between one the crew and Koufax, so that’s okay…I guess. Now if I can only get a sword…

“Allan cleaned me out a while back.” Pin takes a towel to his filthy arms and face.

“You gave all your steel plating to Mad Allan?” Koufax takes off his hat in disbelief.

Mad Allan must be pretty crazy if people here classify him as ‘mad’.

“Sold. Sold my steel plating. Not to mention most of my gears, copper tubing, and lead. I’m sorry Koufax, but Allan is fighting the Raven. Mad or not, he keeps Tinkertown safe with his robots and contraptions. You might be able to find some plating in the Scrapyard.”

“The Scrapyard!? You know what lives there! Besides, I will not put a moss-covered piece of anything on The Dodger, sky-pirates have standards you know.”

“I know Koufax, but I have to put the Resistance first. I know you do as much for it as Allan, but he was here first. Besides, where do you think I get all this stuff for my shop? I tell you what, you get me the parts you need and I’ll have them working and shining like new.”

“Are you sure this is the only way? You know why we crashed…the Raven grows stronger. You help me and you help the curse-lifter; who will bring vengeance for your father’s death.”

Koufax’s feet leave the ground, the huge hands of Pin holding him by his collar. Pin grits his teeth so hard I swear they’ll break, “don’t bring up my father to motivate me. He is the reason for this shop, he’s the reason I didn’t swear fealty to the Raven, and he’s the reason I will fight till either he or I die.”

Koufax smiles, “very good Pin, now if you would kindly let me down; I never doubted your loyalty to the cause.” He smoothes out his coat, “thank you Pin, this coat was very expensive.”

“And you expect me help you, when your curse-lifter has done nothing and you continue to jest about everything. I’m sorry but I’ll put my efforts where I will see fruits.”

Why is it that everyone is so hard on me? Granted I haven’t done any ‘heroic deeds’ but I haven’t committed any blunders or catastrophic mistakes…although that time I almost fell overboard could probably count, but no one on the crew has talked about it. Which is good, because my stock in U-16 could drop if the coaches catch wind of me being a klutz or making bad decisions.

Koufax’s hat defiantly rests upon his head, I don’t think I’ve seen Koufax mad before.

“I ‘jest’ because everyone takes everything so seriously. People tend to forget what it is I do; I bring good dreams, I bring hope. Why do think the Raven has overwhelmed us like a wave? He has gotten us to despair, he has made us to no longer believe; and what is Whimsy but belief?”

“Humph. Then you should believe in Allan.” Lowering his welding goggles, Pin gets back to work; sparks flying.

“Never said I was perfect, but Al is the curse-lifter, I believe in him…just as your father believed in you. I suppose we shouldn’t be so surprised the Earthlings don’t believe in us if we won’t believe in each other.”