I was in the counting house, counting all my money. Okay, our money. K-Mac sat counting the ways I needed to improve if I expected her to hang around for another 50 years.
She suggested I stop fantasizing all the time and start getting real. No more stories about being followed home by a sad elephant.
I’d known this day was coming. I knew it the day we first met, back in the days when it was still legal to carry a banjo in broad daylight. But I just said “Sure, no more fantasy.” Too glib? To show good faith I added “Heh, heh.”
But when I stood, I noticed I had a pocketful of rye. And no, not the drinking kind. I walked into the kitchen and struggled not to see four and twenty black birds sitting in a pie. It didn’t make sense. K-Mac is a vegetarian and doesn’t eat anything that has (had) a face (or beak). Or poops when it flies.
I stepped outside and found my other pocket filled with wry. Completely new territory for me.
I met Jones, the grouch next door. “Do you know the muffin man?” he barked.
“The muffin man?” I frowned. How long has Jones been barking?
“The muffin man,” he barked again.
Wow, no doubt about it. “Uh, the muffin man who lives on Drury Lane?”
“No, no, no,” said Jones, scratching his armpit with his foot. “You’re thinking of that Porgie idiot.”
“You mean Georgie Porgie?”
“How many other Porgies do you know?”
“Isn’t he the one who drives the pudding and pie truck?”
“He got fired,” Jones growled. “Little pervert kissed the girls and made them cry and when the cops came out to make him pay, Georgie Porgie lawyered up. He’s now in seclusion, asking everyone to respect his choice of ties.”
“By the way,” I said. “I found my pockets full of rye and wry this morning.”
“You don’t say,” he said.
“No, I did say,” I said. “I didn’t don’t say. That’s not who I am.”
In a bar I ordered a tankard of world peace. The barkeep, an elephant, said “Pease porridge hot or pease porridge cold?” I asked which he recommended and he shrugged. “Some like it hot, some like it cold. Some like it in the pot, nine days old.”
“It must be like cement.”
“It’s a very nice pot, though,” he said.
“How much you got?”
“I have a pocket full of rye.”
“Who doesn’t?” he said sourly.
“What about a pocketful of wry?”
“Is that the stuff that makes you speak wryly?”
“I don’t know,” I said, “but I’ll ask Reilly when I see him.”
Just then, Reilly rushed in and told us the village idiot, Old Man Dumpty, fell off the border wall separating here from there. I went out and saw all the king’s horses and all the king’s men galloping up.
“What are they doing?” I asked an acquaintance, Peter Peter.
“Isn’t it obvious?” said Peter. “They’re trying to put Dumpty together again.”
“Hmm,” I said, knowing from experience how quickly horses can go bucking crazy when trying to reassemble an egg. (And I wondered, not for the first time, why Mrs. Peter would name her son Peter Peter. I mean how could she know he’d grow up to be a professional pumpkin eater?)
By then, my pocketful of wry felt empty, bringing me semi-closer to reality. I hailed a passing tub and rode home with a drunk butcher, baker and candlestick maker. When I got out, the baker whispered “Rub a dub dub. Pass it on.”
K-Mac met me with some sad news. “Mr. Jones has been acting like a mad dog,” she said. “They came and put him down.”
“What?” I blurted. “You’ve got to be kidding.”
“Of course I am,” she non-blurted. “I was out making a random elephant check, when I saw you get out of that tub.”
“Heh, heh,” I hehhed. “Too much fantasy?”
No,” she said with a smile I hadn’t seen since the Orioles last won a game. “Not if you show me how you did that.”
I was overcome by an immediate, loving feeling that the next fifty years were going to be even more interesting than the last. Rub a dub dub interesting. Alert the media.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2019, all rights reserved.