The Fiction of Philip Kaveny
Ffaldschaddar Part III
As Uncle Philip continued, Melanie became progressively more impatient and irritable. She felt like she was trapped inside of the story of Joshua the Unlikely and she had to get out. She was feeling as if she were walled in a room with no exit, and now the windows were being boarded up. Yet she knew she had to listen because her fate, and that of her children and her husband Paul, whose six-thousand ton steel hulled clipper ship, laden with the first and best of this year’s imperial Chinese silk harvest, was missing somewhere in the stretch of ocean between the North Pacific and Arctic, known as the Bering Sea.
Recently, other ships had gone missing and reports were filed of kraken large enough to hold a ship in one tentacle then devour her crew like a can of peanuts, with a cruel beak at the center of its horrible maw that could turn a sperm whale into a bloody mass of festering blubber in the space of a minute’s racing heart beats.
Melanie was about to tell Uncle Philip to get on with the story when she noticed that little Eddy III and Anna had gotten up and were standing in their bed clothes holding little candles that made their eyes as big as saucers. Melanie had not told them that their father’s clipper, the St. Georgiana, was out of wireless telegraph contact ever since she had entered the Diablo Straits, which was nearly choked with icebergs as tall as her main masts two days ago, but somehow Uncle Philip knew and she knew, too, without talking to each other, because there are a million different ways of knowing, besides being told things.
Melanie was going to say, “Get along with it, you old windbag,” but did not get a chance, as little Eddy III broke in and said, “So, did Joshua take the sword, kill the Dragon, marries the princess, become king, has six boys and girls, and lives happily ever after? Because if he did, Anna and I already heard that story about a zillion times and it is getting, really boring.”
Anna and her mother nodded their heads in agreement. Uncle Philip did not like being upstaged, and when pushed, it was clear that he was a lot more than a kindly old duffer, as he appeared. So he said, “Well, sadly children,” and he included Melanie with an eye gesture that reminded her that he did not tease well, “though Joshua tried as he might and was as brave as could be, he remembered that he had forgotten to do his chores, and his mother would withhold his allowance if he did not finish cleaning the pig pen before he faced the Dragon.”
Eddy III smiled and both he and Anna held their little candles under their chins, making their faces glow with an unearthly light. Little Eddy III howled with laughter as he said, “Well, what happened next? And what happened next made even Melanie, who had had it with what she called Uncle Philip’s unrealistic dimensionless characterizations of women; gave him her full attention again.
Great Uncle Philip Continued,
“Well, what happened was that Mara the Beast from the East and the Princess of Worms really got offended, because she thought she was about to engage in an epic battle with Joshua the Unlikely, who seemed to be becoming the Hero of a thousand faces, fighting for the destiny of his people. And Ffaldschaddar simply did not work in the hands of Joshua, who was more worried about his family’s chores than his date with the Dragon, and a chance, too, for Joshua the Unlikely to replace Beowulf on the all-time saga bestseller list.”
Both Anna and Eddy III giggled as Uncle Philip continued,
“Yes, and Princess Leya wondered if she should go into nunnery and spread Joshua the Unlikely’s ashes on her forehead and wear sackcloth until she got bed bugs, because she had sent Joshua to certain death with her goodbye kiss“
Uncle Philip continued with the PG version of the story and said, “Then Leya heard a voice much like the one that was heard around the heretic Galileo’s cell, and a flapping of wings. And a feline-sounding voice said, ‘ Sister, he was a wanker. He got off to such a great start, but in the end, the best he could do was take us halfway there. Joshua was a day tripper, just like it happened in the song.'”
Melanie was not amused, and Anna wanted more cookies, but Little Eddy cut right to the point as he asked, “What happened to Ffaldschaddar after Joshua the unlikely got fried?”
Yes, Uncle Philip thought, someone who gets just what the hell I am trying to tell them. Yes, there is still hope, where we thought there was none.
“What happened was Leya’s brother Isaac was a clever little demon, and his six little friends, John, Paul, James, Philip, Peter, and Thomas, went out to the site of Joshua’s incineration and found Ffaldschaddar all covered with burned-on residue, and in their little hands they took some of that same pumice that Leya had washed their mouths out with, and they lovingly cleaned her of all her burned residue till she no longer looked like a burned bar of rusty iron, but rather like the great white blue hot iron that fell from the sky and was forged by the dwarves, and covered with sky signs.”
Little Eddy III was not to be distracted. He was like a heat-seeking missile locked on target, and he would not be deflected.
Just at that time, five thousand nautical miles to the North and West, Paul, Melanie’s husband and Anna and Little Eddy III’s father, was loading a harpoon nearly as thick as a telephone pole into the steam cannon, knowing he would have only this single shot to drive the steam cannon’s harpoon into the ten meter wide beaked maw of the monster kraken who was kin to Mara, Beast from the East and Princess of Worms. But Kojac the Kraken shared no affinity or amusement with humans, only seeking to crush their bones and feast on their souls. Perhaps Kojac the Kraken was mother Gaih’s revenge for what had been done to her fair sister the Earth, and the mother of Titans was going to make humanity pay.
Ffaldschaddar End of Part III