November 1, 2010 – Part 6
I had to stop walking. Now.
I just had to. I needed a moment to collect my thoughts, bring things back down to Earth. Only thing is, I don’t know if this is Earth, or if I’m from Earth or ohhh … It was just, so, I don’t know – call it a ridiculous cascade of the absurd for lack of a better name for it.
Here I am walking towards a wooden gate accompanied by a cloud, a shadow, a man only eighteen inches tall and a cat.
“And you can talk!”
“Yes, I believe we’ve established that already. You appear to be quite put out by that.” Hara paused in mid stride and cast at me with a curious gaze. “And yet, you are not concerned by the presence of Cloud or Shadow or Thistledown for that matter. Pray tell, what does this have to say?”
“I don’t know; that’s just it. A talking cloud and a talking shadow and a fellow only a handful in height, these are extremely unlikely for me to ever see, let alone meet and carry on a conversation, weird as they were. But, you’re a cat; I’ve met cats before, I know this quite plainly. I also know that I like cats, and am generally liked back.”
“Yes, I can see this; you reek of cat friendly.” Thistledown piped up, wondering what all the commotion was about. He hadn’t noticed that I had stopped walking, so had continued on a ways. When he realized what was going on, he backtracked.
“So, Boris, what’s the devil now?”
“Thistledown, can you speak cat?”
“Hmmm, no, as a matter of fact, I can’t; it’s never been a requirement to getting by.”
“Yes, but apparently, I can.”
“Goodness, aren’t you a man of many hidden talents.” He danced about in maniacal whatever you call that.
“But, but, that’s just it. Who the hell am I that I can talk cat? I don’t think this is something I’m normally associated with knowing. How the hell did I acquire this ability? And what else can I do that I don’t know about? This is infuriating …” I raised my fist at the sky, just as Cloud was coming by.
“Don’t look at me, I’m just happy as a tree. I’m here to see you done well, please, don’t go back to Hell. I hear that’s an unhappy place, and I kind of like the grin on your face.” Cloud gave his goofy best at trying to cheer me up. I don’t know about him, he’s rather soft and mushy and not so grim.
“Hold on a moment. You’re telling me that Cloud and Shadow are still traveling with you? How long have you been here, sir?” Hala sat comfortably on the trail as he directed his query at me.
“I don’t know; Thistledown says a couple of weeks, I feel like it’s a couple of hours. It makes no sense to me.”
“Ahhh, I see; you’ve still not fully become accustomed here. That must be why Cloud and Shadow are still here. They usually only follow the new blood that arrives to the land. Totally understandable now; for you, to them, must still be as new.” Hala purred with understanding.
“Hey, we are right here, you know; it’s not like our stink don’t glow. But if you’d rather, we could happily go.” Shadow sounded a bit miffed at being relegated to such a lowly status of welcome mat.
“Cloud, Shadow, I’m happy you’re here. Even if I don’t understand what it’s about; what any of this is all about. It makes about as much sense as a hill of beans in a doctor’s office.”
“Whoa; beans? Where? Now you’re just making me hungry. Can we please pick up the pace and head into town? I’m absolutely positive that I can smell some fresh bread cooking somewhere nearby. Can’t you smell that?” And then Thistledown, lost in his own little world within the world seemed a tad preoccupied at the moment.
“No. I want to stop here for a few more moments and try and wrangle out some details. There’s just got to be a reason for why I’m here, and here and here and now. What is it?” I just happened to look at Cloud first.
“I think it’s because of the beer. It tasted stale, so was probably full of fear.”
“Naw; I think it’s because of a girl. Somehow she got you to twirl.”
“No, it’s the fear, that eats from inside; something gory and crispy besides.”
“Sir, you are mistaken, for surely it must be the bacon!”
“Well, now. That is just too odd for even the likes of I.” Hala shook his head, which quickly quieted Cloud and Shadow.
“Thistledown; I can talk to a cat, why is that?”
“Oh no! You’ve become infected, you’ve started to rhyme.” He stared and pointed at me and ran behind Hala, who looked suddenly affronted. Thistledown continued to duck behind the cat, and to pop up every now and then to point at me and look shocked.
“Un hand me, cur. I don’t care if you are about my size, you shall not be hiding behind me as if I were a tree.” I laughed at that. Thistledown stared at me uncomprehendingly at first.
“Hey, what did he say about me?”
“Nothing you need to worry about, Thistledown. Fine; OK I get it. No answers that will be simple to read, simple to hear, simple to receive. I’m going to have to go through this whole damn mess just to reach the point at which it makes sense, right?”
“Indeed. Shall we proceed then?”
“Yeah, well, I guess. Lead on. Let’s get to town and see what we can see.”
I let the cat lead the way; we were only a few paces from the gate anyway. Thistledown capered behind him, followed by me and then by Cloud and Shadow. I wondered what the locals would make of us, as we walked into town? I wondered why it didn’t strike me as odder than the simplest of things? For surely, such as we together was more than a normal sight?
I still have no clue what’s going on.