by Dan Bolles
Many moons ago, in the queendom of Burlingtonia, an enchanted land filled with faeries and hippiegryffs — the latter a strange and hairy beast whose only known weakness was said to be the mystical strains of the electrifyed lyre, the mere sound of which would induce the creatures to ritualistically convulse like a phish on dry land for days on end — a newly minted chronicler offered these words in one of his first ever Sowndebites scrolls:
Last week, I ran a blurb about the Walt Whitman birthday celebration at Club Metronome. The show featured the poetic stylings of several local bands including Cccome?, Swale and Activists/Dictators.Note the “s” at the end of the word “Activists,” because apparently Ididn’t. The following day I received this email from someone in theband:
“Casey and Dan, you fucks. Activists is PLURAL. Activists/Dictatorsare all about EQUAL relationships between opposing forces. If theActivists part of the name were SINGULAR it would be an ADJECTIVEdescribing the Dictators and there would be no need for the /.Seriously, you’re good people but you NEVER get it right. Please comeand rock out with us at the shows but don’t write about us anymore.Love/Hate, Yin/Yang, Life/Death, Create/Destroy, T."
Well, “T.,” my face is red. I goofed. I would have respondedpersonally but, curiously, the return address was blocked and Icouldn’t. I know it’s unusual to respond to an email publicly, but as awriter, I understand how some typos cut deeper than others and Icouldn’t stand the thought of not offering my sincerest apologies andtaking full credit for the mistake. Casey Rea had nothing to do with it — he’s far too busy planning his evil escape. So, “T.” — who is certainly not Tom Lawson — I promise never to write about Activists/Dictators again. However, can I still write about ¡The Pant!?
The scribe, though unquestionably talented and witty (and strikingly handsome), was very young, at least in writer's years, which are quite different from normal years. And as such, he had yet to fully comprehend the true depth and strength of the powers at his command. Though his intent was merely to address his folly with levity, his actions were rumored to have quite the opposite effect, indeed. For you see, Burlingtonia, whilst a fayre and beautiful barony, was also a small and talkative place.
Throughout the local meadhalls and town squayers, whispers of an unseen evil lurking in the shadows leapt from lips to ears, and as weightless notions tend to do, twisted and deformed with each successive telling until finally it no more resembled the truth than a wind-blown feather does the bird from which it came. Though the Dark Lord had recently been banished to the outer realms, it was said he may still be conjuring from afar, using this new scribe as but a conduit to continue his reign, as if some deranged puppet master.
As we've already noted, Burlingtonia was but a provincial hamlet, and it took very little time for these whispers to reach the ears of our young scrivener. Though he considered himself to be quite strong, the allegations saddened him nonetheless. And for good reason.
To begin with, the object of his perceived ire was none other than the young bard's boyhood champion, Sir Thomas, Son of Law. As a squire, the boy greatly admired Sir Thom and his noble roundtable of pants-wearing knights — for pants were quite rare in those days, you see — and kept the melodious odes to their heroics close to his heart in many of his own endeavors. He felt no small tinge of remorse at the thought of offending a personal hero, and moreso at the notion that from that fateful moment on, a spell so powerful had been cast that not even his mighty quill could summon the strength to break.
Secondly, the mysterious Dark Lord, though viewed by many to be a fearsome creature, was, at his heart a kind and generous and misunderstood soul who had bequeathed a great deal of knowledge to the lad during his apprenticeship. (Though in truth, he was correctly assumed to dabble in the dark arts — and some of that knowledge was passed on as well.) Still, those who spake ill of his mentor did so at their own peril, for, as the boy was quickly coming to know, the pen truly is mightier than the sword and perhaps even the axe — though that certainly depends on the axeman or axewomyn.
Summer waxed and waned and gave way to Fall, a truly wondrous time in the Queen's City. The young quillsmith continued to diligently hone his craft and explore the the scope of his abilities, encountering a great many daemons, dragons and ne'er do wells along the way. Sometimes he failed — for which he was often reprimanded by the citizenry. Sometimes he succeeded — for which he was still sometimes reprimanded by certain factions. But such is the way of learning and the burden and responsibility of power. (Such also is the fickleness of the citizenry, truth be told)
As the harvest moon laid its head upon a bed of fallen leaves for the last time, the first snows of Winter began to fly. Winter in Burlingtonia can be cruel and harsh. For many of its denizens, it is a time for introspection. For writers, who are a notoriously self-reflective — and some would say self-absorbed — lot, this is especially true. For writers of musick, even moreso, for Winter also tends to be a quieter time in Burlingtonia, when many of its finest artisans spend the long, bleak eves crafting new sonnets and tunes to offer the world when it awakens.
During this time, our young writer found his own thoughts often drifting to that early letter, and despite his numerous victories — which he took no shame in recounting in great detail, I'm afraid — he very much wished he could go back in time and reverse the events of that day. But as we know, such thoughts are the wishes of fools and dreamers. To slay this daemon, he would need be more brave and cunning than mere boyish fancy allows. He continued to work and play with his art, hopeful that one day he might seize an opportunity to right what had been made wrong. Made wrong by his own hand. And so he plotted.
To Be Continued . . .