Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Eleven; Mischief Makers

"Yes, a joke," Zain Zorinski shuffled his feet and looked nervous. Bocco went and sat back down on the bench and continued staring silently into space. "It's not something we like to talk about very often. You see we haven't always been the highly sophisticated people you see before you."

I looked at the leprechaun and the giant blue bear, and then at the cave cell we were in and decided not to say anything.

"Once, long ago, our people lived in chaos. We were pranksters of the worst kind, we caused all sorts of misery and discontent in the world." Zain's brow knitted as he continued, "And not just in Zugar-Zipperat, we were every where, causing mayhem. We loved it, the bigger the prank, the more inconvenient the inconvenience the greater our delight. It's what we lived for, even as it was destroying us."

"What happened," I asked, interested despite myself.

"We were on the brink of extinction, we'd practical joked ourselves into oblivion and were almost at the point of no return."

"Practical joked yourself into oblivion?" I couldn't keep the scepticism from my voice.

"Oh yes," said Zain. "A society can't survive like that. People were too busy playing practical jokes on each other to think about the important things in life. People didn't go to work, most of them didn’t even have jobs. Nobody paid their taxes, nothing got done, it was utter chaos."

"I see," I said.

Zain looked at me for a moment before continuing, clearly doubting that I understood, "A great leader emerged in that time of chaos, Zipper Zoos, who taught us to tame our inner beast. He showed us the way to enlightenment, and taught us that we only hurt ourselves with our childish practical jokes."

"Zipper Zoos?"

Zain ignored me, "Now only the very young play practical jokes. By taming our inner demons we have achieved many things, built a vast civilisation..."

"Let me guess," I said, "The problem is, not all of you folk are enlightened, and I'm on the brunt end of one of these practical jokers practical jokes?"

"Yes," Zain seemed relieved he wouldn't have to explain that, "Ziggy Zorinski, was released from rehab a month ago, we thought he was doing well, he seemed to be..."

"Zorinski," I asked, "isn't that your name?"

"Yes, Ziggy is my brother."

I nodded, "Well here's an idea, how about you send Ziggy to bed with no supper, and send me home?"

"That won't be possible," said Zain, "I'm afraid you're stuck here."

"Stuck here?" I was suddenly feeling very light headed.

"Yes," Zain nodded seriously, "At least until we can catch Ziggy, he's the only one that can send you home."

"You're joking?" I asked.

Zain looked sternly at me then said, "No, I would never do that."

"Oh, yeah, right," I said, "enlightenment."

"Catch Ziggy," rumbled Bocco from his spot on the bench.

"How do we do that?" I asked.

Zain smiled, "You're going to provide him with an opportunity he won't be able to resist."


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