Brian W. Antoine
September 18, 1993
After the third attempt, I finally got the gate to the main lab to open. I was not exactly unimpaired as I stepped through the gate, and after bouncing off one of the work benches, I collapsed into a heap on the floor.
"Boss, you're drunk!"
"Sister, you're right!"
I'd just finished watching StarTrek and had decided that the evening was just too good to waste. Both eye's were working, though things did seem to be a little blurry at times. "Must be those damned eye drops."
"What did you say?"
"Never mind. Hey, know where I can find a good looking redhead?"
"Why don't you go sleep it off..."
"Naw, this is more fun! If I can get the gate open, I'm not to bad off yet."
"The damned gate is pre configured. All you need is the power to open it."
"Spoilsport... Hey Smaug!" My tiny draconian friend peeked his head out of his cave when he heard his name. "Come on, lets find something fun to do." I saw him looking back into the cave at his mate and then back at me. "Come on. Lets go tease Jabberwocky!" That did it. Mate or no mate, he wasn't about to pass up a chance to tease his latest arch enemy.
He flew out of his cave and landed on my shoulder, or at least that was the plan. I wasn't exactly the most stable landing platform at the moment and he had to settle for the workbench that I was sitting under at the moment.
"Ok, what should we do to him?" I hoped he had an idea, because I was not in any condition to be inventive at the moment. "We could turn him bald, or how about painting him bright purple?"
Neither of those idea's seemed to impress him. He just sat there and looked at me like I was stupid. "Ok. YOU come up with something then."
For several minutes he sat there and stared at me. Then I began to pick up a mental picture of this humongous egg that when opened, spilled out large numbers of tiny dragons. "And you thought my ideas were lame? Oh well, he's your enemy so it's your choice." I was going to need something to help my focus, so I started looking around for my staff.
"Hey sis, have you seen my staff?" I started grumbling to myself and crawling around on the floor looking under all the work benches. "I know I left it around here someplace..."
"You haven't replaced it yet."
"Huh?" <slam> "Damnit, shit that hurts!" And I sat under one of the benches holding my head. "Don't to that!" I took me a few minutes before I quit cussing. "Where did you say my staff was?"
"You never replaced it after you decided to play light bulb."
"Oh. Yeah, I guess I forgot about that. Ok, I'll manage on my own." I held out my arm and whistled for Smaug. He looked at the arm, at me, and at the arm again. "Don't worry, I won't drop you." He didn't seem real sure, but he did fly over and land on my arm so he could slide up onto my shoulder. "Come on, we don't need those silly women anyway. Lets have some fun!" With the picture of Bob's back yard in my mind, I teleported the two of us. We came in a little high, and I landed flat on my butt as we dropped the final two feet, but nothing broke. "Ohhhpppphhh..."
When I got to my feet, the two of us ducked behind the garage and got ready. "Ok, how big an egg should it be?" Smaug looked at me and then at the yard. In my mind I caught an image of an egg about twenty feet in diameter and started to snicker. "Shit, that will drive him nuts!" Holding my arm out, I coaxed Smaug to step off my shoulder. "Ok, I'll need a model for the dragons. Hold still for a moment."
Either he was moving, or I was. It was a little hard to tell, but after a moment or two I thought I had everything set. After a couple of tries, I managed to get the illusion of the egg to form in the middle of the backyard. It wasn't exactly egg shaped, or even the correct color, but it was close enough. I turned to Smaug and told him to get moving. "Ok, lure him out here." His eye's began to swirl in this odd pattern as he launched himself into the air.
It was a fairly warm evening and Bob had left the front door open to get a breeze through the house. Smaug landed in the at the top of the porch and began to sing quietly to himself. No one inside besides Jab seemed to be paying attention as the only person who poked his head out of the door was Jab.
As soon as he appeared, Smaug launched himself into the air and flew back to land beside me. The two of us peeked around the edge of the garage to watch for Jab. "Jab hungry?" A few seconds later, Jab strolled around into the backyard and spotted the egg. "Jab in heaven!" And he jumped at the egg.
The moment he touched the egg, it exploded into hundreds of tiny copies of Smaug. Or at least they were supposed to look like Smaug. Some of them had extra wings or legs, and more than a few of them were colors that made me sick to look at. But no matter what they looked like, they all ganged up on Jab and began to tease him.
"No fair, Jab out numbered!"
I could see him running around the yard trying to evade the illusions that were chasing him. Everything was fine until he ran behind the garage and spotted us. "Oh oh. I think we're in trouble." Smaug must have agreed as he vanished off my shoulder. "Some friend you are!" I turned to face Jab and I didn't like the look he was giving me.
I stared at him and stuck out my tongue. "Jab ate my fish. Jab gets what he deserves." I don't think he believed me.
"Bob say Jab not eat pets. Bob not say Jab not eat Mage!"
"Oops, I think I hear my mother calling." He was just starting to grow when I teleported back to the lab. Smaug was still hovering in the middle of the lab when I appeared a couple of feet above the floor. When I picked myself up, I looked at him and gave him what for. "Some friend you are. Leaving me there to face that damned cat by myself. Next time, you can take him on alone!" Crawling over the living area, I collapsed onto the couch and closed my eyes.
Jab careened into the house like a runaway train. He shot across the living room and slid under the chair I was sitting on. He stayed in the dark under the chair making a growling noise.
"What the hell's a matter with you?"
"Hey, don't growl at me, fuzz ball. What's your problem?"
"No smug -- Smaug" he spit.
"Smaug? You mean Brian's little dragon?"
"What about him?"
"Many friend come Jab"
Huh?" I got up and went to the door. I peered out, looking around but I didn't see anything. "What are you talking about?"
"Come here and show me."
<Hiss> <Growl> <Spit>
I went back to my chair and culled the Meenzal out from under. Holding him on my lap, I could feel him shake. "Wow! You're a frightened little kitty."
"Pissed? What's going on with you?"
"Whoa! Little fella. No weapons. What are you going on about?"
"Brian make many Smaug"
"Huh?" I went outside and looked around. Nothing in the front yard so I went out back. At first I didn't see anything, but then I heard some faint chirps. My eyes got more used to the darkness, and I could make out a few tiny dragons. Some were in the trees, some on the roof of the house or garage. At least, they were sort of like dragons. A few were not quite shaped right, and some had extra or missing limbs. As I looked, they were fading from view and disappearing.
"I get it" I mumbled to myself. It was a fairly sure bet that Brian had been messing with Jab's head --probably a retaliation for a certain missing fish...
"Jab! Come here, cat."
The Meenzal padded carefully around the corner of the house, looking from side to side and up and down. No stealth, but great wariness. "You've been the butt of a joke little guy."
"Jab eat Brian"
"No, let's not go changing the menu."
"Jab not like"
"Aw, he was just funning you. Don't take it too personally. What we need to do now is find an appropriate come-back."
Jab hissed. "Smaug no come back!"
"No, no. You don't understand. You got joked, so now you get to do a payback."
Jab sat down and cocked his head to one side. Even in the dark I could see the wheels spinning in his brain. "So funny eat Smaug"
"Uh, look. You aren't getting it. This is supposed to be fun. Not make a line at the undertaker store."
His head cocked the other way, and then he got up and walked back towards the house. His tail was switching furiously as he walked. It was a sure thing that I was going to have to get him to understand the concept of friendly pranks. If I didn't, there were going to be big problems on the horizon. I followed the cat into the house.
I stepped in the door, and all I could see was fangs. Jab was tall enough that he barely fit the room. He bellowed a roar that shook the walls. The adrenaline in my body suddenly went up by a couple of magnitudes, and I jumped backwards out of the house, falling hard on my butt.
"Very funny?" Asked a normal sized Jab.
I glared at the Meenzal. "Yeah, very goddamn funny." I guess he figured it out.
"We do Mage now?"
Penny and I were both listening to the conversation that was being secretly recorded by the hardware I had installed in Bob's PC the last time I was there.
>>> "We do Mage now?" <<<
I looked up at the monitor on the wall. "Ok, this means war."
"Uh, boss. Don't you think you should sober up first?"
"What? And let that inflated excuse for a dragon snack catch me when I'm not expecting it?" I turned to Smaug, who was sitting on back of the couch and looking at me. "Are we going to let him get away with this?" No response. "I said, ARE WE GOING TO LET HIM GET AWAY WITH THIS!" And I started bouncing up and down on the couch.
"Damned right we aren't! What shall we do, shave him bald?"
"How about stuffing him in a small box and let him try that little trick of his in there?"
"I got it! How about an aversion spell that causes any egg he gets close to to vanish!"
By this time, both of us were bouncing up and down on the couch and having a great time. I vaguely caught a comment from Penny about locking the doors until we calmed down, but ignored it. "And that's just the start! We'll make that cat wish it had never seen either of us!"
I bounced my way to one of the chests along the walls and began looking for my Super Soaker 2000 (don't try this at home kids). "Penny, where is the whipping cream. That cat is going to be toast!" Smaug was circling the roof of the lab, screaming out his war cry. Then he landed on my shoulder and the two of us stood there in the middle of my lab with truly evil grins on our faces. Penny had already washed her hands of both of us, and Smaug's mate was giving him a look from their cave that said he better not return home in the near future.
I turned my head sideways to try to look Smaug in the eye and the two of us got tangled as he had been trying to hold onto my head. When we got it sorted out, I was grinning like an idiot, and Smaug was making a low rumbling sound. "That cat is never going to live this down" and the two of us vanished into the night.
*Ok, Jab. We have to be very cautious...* The Meenzal looked at me with a confused expression.
*Shhhhhh. You have to know that our adversary is always expecting some retaliation to his forays into humor... at least, this kind. Now, here's what we need to do.*
*Is make sneak*
I nodded. *Right on, kitty*
*No say kitty*
* * *
Brian and Smaug landed in the backyard. The sodden Mage had once again misgauged the height, and had appeared about four feet from the ground.
"Shhhhhhh!" Hissed Brian at the dragon. "They'll hear us."
"I think we should do something really spectacular. Maybe we should fill the house up with pollywogs, or, how about I raise the whole house about six feet off the ground. It'd be fun to watch someone come out the door!"
Smaug looked disapproving.
"Ok, ok. So those are bad ideas. Maybe we should just teleport the two of them to about fifteen different destinations in rapid succession. When they're disoriented, we can..."
A high powered spotlight suddenly illuminated the pair.
"THIS IS THE POLICE. YOU'RE SURROUNDED. DON'T MOVE OR WE'LL BE FORCED TO FIRE!" Crackled a bullhorn.
Brian's head swivelled back in forth as he tried to see who was talking. An instant later, he teleported himself and the dragon back to the lab at his home. No sooner than they appeared, alarms began to go off all over the place. The Mage instantly teleported again, only to return a couple of seconds later.
"Greetings, Pilgrim," said Bob from the desk chair. "Have a nice trip?"
"It's not nice to fool a Mage," sulked the swaying wizard. "You wouldn't have gotten away with that if I'd have been sober."
"If you'd been sober, you'd have remembered that I know you have a ton of ways to monitor me."
"How did you get here? Did you --teleport?"
"Yeah. Me teleport, right. No, I drove over here. Had to go like a bat out of hell to do it."
"Then who was that with the bullhorn and spotlight?"
"Karen" I answered simply. Smaug landed on Brian's shoulder and looked at me fiercely. "What's the matter fire-breath, no fun being on the receiving end?"
The tiny dragon raised his nose and snorted his diffidence. Then he hopped from Brian to his little cave. As soon as he landed, Jab's head protruded from the opening, swelled by twice and emitted a loud snarl. Smaug lost his footing and fell almost to the floor before catching himself. His little wings fluttered furiously for a second and then he flew back to Brian's shoulder. The cat hopped off the ledge and came to stand next to my leg.
I don't think he wanted to, but Brian started laughing. I started to speak, but Brian waved his hand and Jab and I were back in my living room --with the Mage's chuckles a fading echo.
"No, I think he was saving your life. Smaug was about to get really pee-oh'd there."
"Was good joke?"
"It worked. The tell of a good joke is whether or not the victim laughs at it."
"Smaug laff none"
"Yeah, well you weren't laughing after the egg trick either. But I think we can all write this off as fun."
"We go back?"
"No, jokes that go on and on tend to get bigger and bigger. Somewhere in there, it stops being fun and starts to get ugly."
"Yep. Well, let's get a snack and head for bed. You want an egg?"
"Huh? You don't want an egg? You sick or something?"
"Funny... Oh well. Day's over, joke's over. Everything back to normal."
Jab looked disbelieving. I found out why a minute later when I hopped into my bed. It was full of shaving cream.