Zawmb’yee Paints the Palace
When I became an apprentice to Utcoozhoo and was given an apartment off the sacred corridor, I thought that was the ultimate privilege and luxury. But this little cluster of apartments and offices that have overt entrance doors are in sophistication a tiny fraction of what lies behind this secret entrance to the Kmpamew. There and beyond are where the actual elite have always resided. It seems to me there are levels of deception. Most of us have been lulled into believing that the world of our comfort zone is the universe, but mostly we are ignorant. Doug has walked down the sacred corridor and come to my apartment. I have let him feel that I had reached the upper class, but I have been a common and coarse acolyte who is dazzled by what could easily be a false magic, because I am never sure of the motives of any guru of miracles, or person of power. Some with powerful skills have no morals. Some with artistic talent express trivia.
I had been standing in the sacred corridor where I had meant to tell Doug to hang out and wait for me at my old apartment in the sacred corridor where he had been many times. I should have seen to it that I invited him to the Kmpamew but now he’s gone and offended. I wanted to cancel the day and go cry in my old apartment off the sacred corridor, but I had stood there stunned. Gavicte Yenkoi and Mieta Apacevj appeared suddenly in the corridor from some portal.
Apacevj was a short person with blond hair and gray eyes. But he was tall in presence, certainly more dignified than an elf, though he had a twinkle in his eye. I don’t know why I want to say he has a pixie nose — maybe because he looked mischievous. Actually the nostrils were on two faces of a rounded trihedron, symmetrical, in short, ordinary.
Yenkoi said, “Fevepo Zawmb’yee, I want to introduce you to your Mieta, Apacevj.”
“Pleased to meet you, Mieta Apacevj,” I said as he bowed and kissed my hand.
Yenkoi said, “If it pleases you, Fevepo, Apacevj would like to teach you how to open the door to the Kmpamew. May we proceed?”
“Yes please,” I said.
“Fevepo Zawmb’yee,” said Apacevj, “as you have seen, it is possible to open a door with the ‘ka’ sound procedure, but that generally requires two people and it is a bit crude and noisy.”
“Yes,” I said, “we’ve had a few random stones come crashing down.”
Apacevj said, “Yes, that is typical, and that is why learning Upper Utd’mbts can be beneficial. Shall we proceed?”
“Do you like the old sour pineapple?”
“Yes. Most of the ones today are too sweet and plain.”
“OK. Can you remember how succulent and strong the taste was?”
“Alright. There is a pineapple behind the wall. Picture it.”
“Yes, I see it.”
“If you would pardon my effusions, would you cut it lengthwise, not all the way through, open it like a book, and smell the mouth-watering middle between the covering and the core. It is a wonderful perfume that fills you with desire.”
“Yes, I crave to devour the flesh, and I am intoxicated by my anticipation for succulence, my pucker awaiting to fulfill a hanker.”
“OK. Now close the pineapple book along the hinge, and restore it to its original form.”
I was so hungry — an exercise in temptation, I thought, but I’d go with indulgence and a party in tart times. I said, “OK, but now you’ve made me hungry. Can we do this some other time — just open the door and the chef can make a …”
“No, no, no. Don’t lose focus. The desire is to be captured as an object. Now gaze at the rock and notice the change. See it?”
“Yes, it seems to be quilted and the divisions are orange and green … there are triangular husk-like drips over each section.”
Apacevj perked up. “Good,” he said, “allow it to turn more orange like a ripe pineapple.”
“Now when it looks like a pineapple, slice it lengthwise and open it like a book…”
“Yes, I feel like I want to rip it open.”
“Ay ya oh uh,” I grunted and the door to the Kmpamew opened.
“Careful: Hold on to the action feeling and remember the feeling in all its aspects. You must cling to this eksetyk memory however subtle it may seem …”
“How did I …”
“You don’t have to know how you opened the door. Just remember the feeling when you willed it. You don’t know how you move your arm, yet you just do it. Conjure this learned eksetyk and a door will always open.”
“Um, uh …”
Apacevj closed the door, and said, “Don’t think too much. While this eksetyk is fresh in your memory, do it again quickly without thought.”
The door opened again at my whim. I said, “Did I do that?”
“Yes,” said Apacevj, “very good.”
Learning to Fly
We had walked across the landscape mosaics of the Grand Ballroom in the Kmpamew to reach the flying desk, my Reksipj, when Yenkoi said, “I think it is time for Mieta Apacevj to teach you how to fly …”
I said, “Uh, well…”
“Tiglekso,” said Yenkoi, “I think you will enjoy painting a Gijlek on the ceiling. You must pass through the forest to get to the river…”
“Huh? Oh, the Reksipj. You mean how to make the flying desk move up and down… I don’t have to be a bird?”
“Well, no, not a bird, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, not today. Tiglekso.”
“Alright, OK, Gavicte Yenkoi. Very well, my faithful Regent and master of protocol. Proceed Yenkoi honey-babe Sir.”
“Oh sorry. I forgot we are to be formal…”
“Yes, as I’ve said: as much as I might have an affection for you under different circumstances, I can’t address you as the High Priestess Chick, and I’d prefer to be called Gavicte Yenkoi.”
“As you wish, Gavicte Yenkoi. Thank you very much and proceed.”
“May I leave you then to Mieta Apacevj?”
“Yes,” I said, and Yenkoi bowed, turned, and left.
Apacevj bowed and said, “This won’t be so bad, High Priestess Chickie Babe…”
I laughed. “OK. How do I do this?”
“Make yourself comfortable in the chair behind the desk. I will stand in front of it, and guide you.”
I sat down and sunk into the plush, form-fitting easy chair. “Mmm. Should I take a nap now?”
“Not quite. You’ll do a deep meditation and stay relaxed but alert, stay poised yet placid, in short, the mikwumpa. Alright?”
“Yes,” I said, and did some deep breathing for the mikwumpa.
“Picture the pfambuuwisen. Can you see it?”
Without effort the pfambuuwisen appeared. “Yes. The iridescent blue lights seem to beckon.”
“Good. Can you find the one that has an image of the Reksipj?”
“Allow it to expand and dive into it to explore and travel through every molecule and every atom. Tunnel down, deeper and deeper. Deeper and deeper. More relaxed and confident, and you hear my guiding voice soothe you. Yes?”
“Now I will lift us all up into the air. Here I do it. Do you feel my effort?”
“Now join me in this eksetyk. Let us all together rise up.”
“Now open your eyes and see that we have lifted off the ground and are moving upward toward the ceiling.”
It was incredible to control a flying desk without being a bird, and I said, “I can do this?”
“Yes. I give you this eksetyk. Now focus and remember it. Now I will subside and you will continue. OK?”
We started to fall as Apacevj let go of the Reksipj, but I willed it to rise with my newly learned eksetyk, and we resumed the rise in the air toward the ceiling. “Did I do this?”
“Yes. Remember this eksetyk.”
“Now I will move us downward. Here I do it. Do you feel my effort?”
“Now join me in this eksetyk. Let us all together lower the Reksipj.”
“Now I give you this eksetyk.”
“I’ve got it.”
And thus I learned to fly.
I had learned all the maneuvers when I said to Apacevj, “Now what?”
“Just practice, enjoy yourself, and when you’re ready, fly to the ceiling and do a painting. If you can’t focus on an eksetyk, there are mechanical switches on the desk — see: UP, DOWN, HOVER, EMERGENCY LANDING. Or use the joy stick. No problem. OK?”
“Um. Well, I’m not really much of an artist and…”
“Yes, I understand.”
“Good. OK. Have fun, and afterward I would suggest for homework that you read at least 600 pages a day for this week from the Ofuye.”
“Please, High Priestess Chickie Babe… When you’re finished absorbing the written context, I will show you the Upper Utd’mbts equivalent of those 4200 pages in about 5 minutes. That, I think, you will find astounding and worthwhile. But without the preparation it will be impossible to absorb. Yes, a bit arduous, but well worth it.”
“Thank you, Fevepo Zawmb’yee. Then may I have leave to go?”
Mieta Apacevj bowed and left. I started to think this might be fun.
I laid out all my paints and brushes and a jar of water on the top of the Reksipj. I flew it just below the ceiling so I could recline in my chair and brush paint onto the ceiling. I did a background like I did in Doug’s hallway. Doug… My eyes washed the hands he would have held, would have maybe added a suggestion, a praise. I rested: the artist reclining, declining to continue without his laugh, just in hover mode.
But this limbo didn’t last. There was a loud grinding sound in the ceiling and then the tapping of a pickax. It seemed like the explosive drill-pick-and-chisel music of a lunatic archaeologist, who in his mania to discover, has thrown his careful brush aside, and the sounds were coming closer. I jumped out of my chair, ducked…
Yeow ugh Kievifkwa hell: ceiling burst open — rain of plaster, rock, and a falling lunatic who crashed onto my desk, screaming and moaning, a drill bit in his lap.
I said, “James Ziohat, I presume.”
“Yes,” said the lanky manic man, flailing about. He had curly black hair, half straitened for vanity, half left curled for guilt. Ascetic by appearance, hypocrite by fat vulgar intrusion like the cork screw of a wild boar.
I hit the emergency land button, and we plunged to the floor. Four Kutibea agents ran to me and carried me twenty feet across the marble floor while ten Wipzib surrounded James Ziohat with drawn guns. A team in haz-mat suits charged across the floor and sprayed him with a foam.
An agent said, “Fevepo Zawmb’yee, are you alright?”
“Yes, I’m fine.” I watched from a distance.
More Kutibea stormed into the room. One took direct aim at James and shot him with a stun gun. He fell to the ground. The haz-mat team tore off his clothes, rinsed him with a water cannon that slid him around the polished floor, and handcuffed his hands behind his back.
“Fevepo Zawmb’yee,” said a tall muscular Kutibea with crisp enunciation, “the intruder has been neutralized and decontaminated to level one. We may approach, if you wish, for the questioning, but contact is to be avoided. Do you want to observe?”
“Yes,” I said, and we walked over to where they had pulled him to his feet.
What’s To Be Done With James Ziohat?
Yeah, I know, I was supposed to do a live blog(is that the term?), speaking extemporaneously as things happen and I started to it when I first took over the blog from Doug, but I can’t seem to just write to you all on the web in the middle of a crisis(and there always seems to be one). I just can’t seem to understand the up-top culture. Utcoozhoo told me to learn all about it. What do I do on a blog … um, is it: “today my breakfast was cold. I sent the kids off to school, and the old oak tree crashed into the kitchen that is being remodeled”? Kids? I can’t do that — I sent Doug away and … I can’t eat breakfast when I’m supposed to supervise the interrogation and torture of James Ziohat.
Did I say torture? Well, I don’t know — I’ve read the procedures to be followed for intruders who penetrate the Kmpamew, and I can see the goal is to prevent secrets from being revealed to the up-top world, but the various methods are … never mind. Oh, then, actually, I suppose this blog is treasonous but I doubt any of the elite read the up-top literature as it’s beneath them. But I do have to edit and interpret because most common daily chatter is boring and trivial. Isn’t it? (Oh God, I sound like Doug). You know, an execution here or there, quite ordinary. End of the world — that sort of thing.
How do I tell you everything? Oh, Kievifkwa, oh hell. Yeah, I know, I’m all over the place. I speak in present tense and then as I fail to record as I go, I pop up at random with a discombobulated rendition in past tense of everything I’m behind on. Yeah, no way to run a blog even for a High Priestess. Oh geez, Oh Kievifkwa, oh hell, I can’t figure out English past tense or Utd’mbts conglomerations. Yikes. I’m here, I’m there, I’m not quite what would have been if I were an amalgam of precious metal, mettle, and omnipresence in a narrative dream. Oh what precious gibberish, and look what I’ve done — Doug used to think I was precious. Oh Kievifkwa. This day hasn’t gone well.
I mean, what would you do if you were a High Priestess with absolute power and threatened by pip-squeaks like James Ziohat? (Oh yeah, I have to figure that out — “if you were” is subjunctive case.)
But anyway … more and more, I’m having an uneasy feeling about what my role actually is in this palace milieu of intrigue and deception. I am much too ignorant to be a leader. I fear, therefore, I am a puppet unaware of the strings attached to my undeserved honors. I’ve been having some incredibly weird and grandiose feelings lately. Maybe, maybe not, paranoid.
Perhaps to survive, I should call some hidden cabal’s bluff, and take the unlimited power that they assume, in my naïveté, I would never dare to claim, before evil forces can organize for a coup. Perhaps I must strike while I still can. At his moment, there are traditional forces who would blindly follow my every order, but I would be commanding blindly, sending troops into a remote battle foreign to my understanding, while certain generals position themselves to survive with whispers in a code I don’t understand.
But all of this is a fantasy unease like a child who fears monsters in the closet and under the bed, shadows on the wall. They must know what a child I am.
I could, at this moment, order the execution of an opponent, but I can’t even be sure who is my friend and who is my enemy. From what I’ve been feeling lately, I’m wondering if I’m my own enemy.
I need to learn a lot more to understand what’s going on. Can I trust Apacevj to teach me?
Geez, Kievifkwa, Utcoozhoo should have appointed Doug to this job — he’s more rational and in his own way not any more oblivious to reality than I am, but at least he can repress his feelings and take more control. I could see him say, maybe, everyone cool it, do nothing, write a report and I’ll decide when I’m up to it or something. No, that’s not it.
I should e-mail Doug and apologize and maybe I should tell him everything and let him take back the blog so he can expose everything and be treasonous with me. I’ll issue a pardon or something… I should look it up…
I’m in the High priestess’s library. It’s an extravagant abode, and they say I can remodel it if I wish. There are the books, but also the grp’nl is available. It’s like the Internet, but it’s a network that the gods have left and that the elite here in the Kmpamew use to chat, I suppose, but I don’t know exactly. Utcoozhoo started to teach me how to use it, but I never really got into it fully. I’ve been using the up-top Internet that Doug asked Utcoozhoo to install in the caves. I don’t think the elite care about it.
There are what one would expect in a library, y’know, shelves of books and dust, but no librarian, so I suppose I could shout and yell because there’s nobody here. Oh, Kievifkwa, I could make love to Doug on the floor and shout eureka! : his love is overflowing and … Oh, I’m so silly to cry so much, to worry if I’m pretty, when I would have been always, no matter what, pretty in Doug’s eyes. And now I primp and strut among the elite. Oh eujxami!
I’ve been trying to finish my 600 pages of the Ofuye and read the legal document of office also, but it’s so overwhelming that I do have to leave the daily operations of things, whatever that is, to Gavicte Yenkoi.
There’s a grand four-post, elegantly carved bed in the library, with a ceiling partially mirrored and partially decorated with odd abstract mythological paintings that I suppose are for contemplation and meditation. I suppose, one is to learn, and then meditate on it, or something, or nothing or maybe it’s all a colossal joke. Maybe it’s barbarians in priests’ clothing, wolves with weapons, but what would I know. Oh, Utcoozhoo, why have you abandoned me?
Oh Kievifkwa, I stare at a teddy bear on a shelf, but I hear Utcoozhoo say, “uebihukxa: ‘don’t give power to objects.’ ”
OK, yeah, I have to pull myself together. I am the High Priestess. I’ll study my options. I don’t have to visit James Ziohat today. They are doing the decontamination level 2 today: they’re shaving off all of his hair, including his eyebrows, and washing him again. I’ve been to the up-top world, so I have immunities to the various viruses, bacteria, allergens, and antigens, but the elite at the palace who have never been up-top may be vulnerable to poor James’ sweat and agony. Oh, Kievifkwa, look what his curiosity has brought him on his clumsy cat feet. If he was ever a friend of Doug, he couldn’t be that bad.
The false guru will be stunned and numb. Too bad: seems like a decent fellow. I guess they’ll handle it. They did determine that he doesn’t have epilepsy. If he had, they would have executed him immediately, unless I stayed it, because they’d have problems using flashing lights. I’m glad I didn’t have to decide.
Interrogation of Ziohat
It’s been an odd few days. James Ziohat doesn’t know who he is anymore, and I don’t feel like myself either.
I seem to blurt things out with a temporary air of certainty, but it’s as if someone else said it. But, of course, it’s me. I guess it’s what happens when you let emotions get out of control — something from the sub-conscious pops up. No, that doesn’t sound right. Maybe it’s just fatigue and overload from all the studying I’m doing. Could be I just automatically remember something I’m supposed to know for an appropriate few seconds. They demand that the High Priestess, me, make a quick decision, so I do it by barely plucking out something from the crash study-course swimming-headache pool of my mind that I’ve been thrown into.
This seems like a plausible explanation, but I have a feeling it’s just wrong, because…
I did finally have to visit James Ziohat in the interrogation complex. I came with Gavicte Yenkoi, and an entourage. James stood nude, hands behind his back with guards restraining him in a large rock chamber with cave entrances and rock staircases leading into what looked like endless mazes on narrow ledges and cliffs. Yenkoi had said, “What method should we use to handle this intruder?”
I blurted out, “Pzkpac.”
Yenkoi said, “Are you sure. That’s an ancient method. We have more modern and efficient methods to…”
“No,” I said, “Jevkwyi! The Wipzib can have you removed and executed if you refuse a direct order from the High Priestess. Jevkwyi!”
“As you wish.” Yenkoi was stunned and surprised. “Gacplk, would you begin please.”
Gacplk, a burly, ferocious looking man, who looked like some sort of ancient gladiator, approached James and said in an oddly gentle voice, “You must be thirsty after your ordeal. Would you like something to drink? Some whiskey perhaps?”
James seemed relieved. He said, “Yes. Now can you uncuff my hands. I was only just exploring and…”
“Not yet. Maybe, if you cooperate. Now, would you like some rye whiskey?”
“Open your mouth wide, so I can pour a little without spilling.” Gacplk picked up a clay cup from a small table. Gacplk poured a cup of salt into James’ mouth, and with one huge hand on James’ head and one under his chin forced his mouth closed while one of the guards taped his mouth shut. Gacplk said, “Explore if you wish James, but don’t fall down any stairs. See you tomorrow… ”
Gavicte Yenkoi said, “Fevepo Zawmb’yee, may I suggest that you confer with Mieta Apacevj to explain this procedure further.”
“No,” I had said, and blurted out, “Jevkwyi.”
“I will return to my library for study and contemplation.”
“As you wish.”
So, it’s been an odd few days to say the least. And here I am again, alone. Well, I did blog a little. Right? I gave you a little — I didn’t describe everything, but I’m all mixed up. I should give the blog back to Doug or not.
These are the yo-yo days that try the student’s soul, and I’m deep in study and worry, deep in remorse, bits of text on pages scattered across my desk, planes of emotion enabling the staining of paper planes crumbling like me. I know, I should use the ancient grp’nl computer, or use the modern computer to gather my thoughts, but my sorry brain can’t compute very well, and I’d rather draw things out.
Yeah, I should finish up on e-mail to Doug, and maybe, at least, have it set up on the computer to send it later so that if I ever think it’s ready, I can just hit send — um, and, if there were an impending emergency or crisis, I could quickly hit “send” without thinking. Well, what I mean is: I so much lately don’t feel like myself that if I were ever more “not in my right mind” I could in a lucid moment hit “send” before I lapsed into insanity again, if that’s where I was or where I am. Oh, hell, holy Kievifkwa, what am I saying. Never mind.
I don’t know where Doug is, but I know he checks his e-mail, or he used to. I heard a rumor he was living with Angela at the Moose Café.
Yeah, maybe I should tell Doug to do the blog — he could do it from wherever, but I haven’t even told him that I … never mind.
Oh, sorry, I didn’t even finish telling you about what happened to James …
After the last episode, Gavicte Yenkoi had timidly inquired at the door of this royal library where I’ve been crashing (Oh, I should know the name for this, um, it’s called the “kngacev”). Anyway…
Gavicte Yenkoi said, “Do you wish to observe the Pzkpac for James Ziohat?”
“Yes, thank you. I’m sorry for my outburst last time. Yes, I want to see it.”
“Fevepo Zawmb’yee, there is never a need for an apology. It is your prerogative to issue orders without explanation. I am gratified for your magnanimity and concern. Thank you. I have a security detail ready if you wish to visit the mevltikacle…”
“Oh yes, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, the interrogation complex that you saw the last time — it’s known as the mevltikacle.”
I gathered myself together as best I could. I didn’t want to have another outburst despite my privilege to do so. But you know me. Oh that’s just an expression. Maybe you don’t . Maybe I don’t. I’ll tell you in the next entry. Yeah, OK, Doug always said I was a tease … (yeah, I should finish his e-mail).
When we had arrived at the mevltikacle, James Ziohat wasn’t looking well. He was very weak and the guards had to hold him up as he stood with his hands behind his back.
Gacplk sat in front of him next to a small table as he moved several objects around on the table: a hinged steel neck collar, a tape measure, a pitcher of water, and a full glass of water.
Picking up the tape measure in his massive hands, Gacplk stood and pulled it around James’ neck. “Yes,” his insidious voice affirmed, “the perfect size.” Next, he picked up the collar, opened it onto James’ neck and snapped it shut. James Ziohat still had tape on his mouth, and struggled to make a sound. Another guard came from behind, put his hands on James’ face and tilted the head back a little.
Gacplk slid the collar up and down and said, “Perfect fit: firm, but not too tight.” He rotated the collar a few times. “Chafes a little though, doesn’t it. Oh, and here’s something interesting: there are many lines and buttons all around the collar. It’s hard to tell where the hinge is and where the opening latch is. Each button looks like it might open the collar. I wonder what would happen if I pushed the wrong button.”
James Ziohat struggled a little while Gacplk turned the collar around a few more times. Then Gacplk casually sat down and took a sip of water from the glass.
A guard yanked the tape off James’ mouth. James screamed, “You’ll never get away with this. My friend will have gone for help by now.”
“Oh?” said Gacplk, “you mean the friend who was waiting with your equipment at the mouth of the cave?” He looked across the room to a cave entrance. Two guards dragged a body across the room by the feet and dropped it like a lump in front of James. “This friend?”
“Charles?” James gasped.
“He’s dead, you know.”
James ranted incoherently, trying to jump up and down, but the guards held him up in place. He repeated, “You’ll never get away with this.”
I observed all of this, a safe distance away with my entourage. Gacplk turned and looked at Gavicte Yenkoi and me.
Yenkoi said, “Fevepo Zawmb’yee, Gacplk needs your permission to use an acacizg. May he?”
Without knowing what I was approving, I said, “Yes,” and nodded toward Gacplk.
A guard pointed an acacizg at the body and Charles vanished in a burst of light. There was a slight trace of ash and dust on the floor. Gacplk stood, took a deep breath like he was about to blow out the candles on a birthday cake and blew the ash and dust away.
The guards continued to hold James up while Gacplk walked around James like on an inspection tour. Gacplk came around to face James again. Gacplk turned the collar again.
James yelled, “Ouch.” Red marks were appearing on his neck.
“Hmm,” said Gacplk, “perhaps it’s not the right size after all.” He suddenly changed tone and put on his odd and sweetly warm voice: “Shall I remove it then? We can count on your cooperation, yes?”
James was confused. He said, “Yes.”
“Alright then, I’ll open the latch.” Gacplk pushed one of the buttons on the collar. “Oops, I think that’s the wrong one.”
The collar tightened. James struggled, went limp and lost consciousness. The guards let him fall to the floor.
Gacplk strolled over, bent down, and pushed a button on the collar. It loosened. After a few minutes James opened his eyes. The guards lifted him to his feet again.
After sipping a little more water from the glass, Gacplk said, “would you like a sip of water, James?”
“Um,” said James, “Yes, um, I mean no. Uh, what do you want me to say?”
“See, James, I took a sip — it’s just plain water…”
Gacplk brought the glass to James’ lips. James sipped a few drops tentatively, and then took a gulp. Gacplk pulled it away, carried the glass to the table and sat down again. Gacplk glanced over at Gavicte Yenkoi and me.
Yenkoi said, “Gacplk wants permission to begin phase 2.”
I carelessly said, “Yes.” Poor James.
Poor James. He has been enduring the punishment for the crime of blabbermouth, and curious cat, I guess. Well no, of course, there’s something more official. If he were to reveal to the world the GPS coordinates of an entrance to the caves, our entire society would feel under attack and would have to retaliate. (A bit harsh, but I can’t explain now). Actually, at this point, I’m so ignorant that I don’t really know all the motivations of the elite. Oh, I forgot, I’m the elite now. Oh hell, oh Kievifkwa.
But poor James. We had taken a break because they were just going to shave and wash James again. They kept him handcuffed and naked except that they added jewelry. They dressed him up with a hilukwil on each arm. A hilukwil is an ornamental-decorative armlet with a ring. It’s part of the traditional ceremonial jewelry that’s worn on special occasions, I think. I have some in my Nipusindi chest that I never did finish unpacking and sorting, or maybe it’s on one of my jewelry racks — it reminds me of the jewelry in one of those “sacrifice of the virgins movies” except that James is not a virgin… Oh, I lost my train of thought again.
Oh, I was saying, we had taken a break while they cleaned up James and fixed up the mevltikacle. It had taken time for them to set up the tikwitipj. The tikwitipj is similar in concept to the “wheel of fortune” that the ancient Greek “goddess of fortune” used to choose suitably capricious fates for humanity. But the tikwitipj is a large wheel with pegs distributed around the edge and it has a flexible pointer at the top that bumps and clicks over the pegs when the wheel is given a spin. Eventually when the wheel loses momentum and comes to a stop, the pointer rests between two pegs and points to a message. I guess I don’t have to explain it so much — you’ve probably seen such things for gambling at carnivals and seen it on quiz shows.
I did finally finish the email for Doug: I have it set up on the computer so that whenever it happens that I feel the need, I can just tap “send” and it’ll be gone before anything else can happen. I had just barely finished composing it when Yenkoi returned to my kngacev. He and I and the whole entourage went back to the mevltikacle.
Poor James was standing again with the guards while Gacplk sat on his chair next to the table.
Gacplk said, “I have good news and bad news. Which do you want to hear first?”
James twitched. He said, “The bad news.”
Gacplk smiled, and said, “The inner village of Eszkja, beyond the palace, has no need for workers, so you’re of no use to us. Consequently, your execution would be prudent since you have no real useful information for us.”
James said, “Um, uh, I could tell you, um, all about our construction company, um, or…”
“No, it doesn’t matter. We know everything. So, forward with the execution.”
“Wait,” James sputtered, “what’s the good news?”
“Yes, of course, you get to spin the tikwitipj. Round and around it goes — where it stops, no one knows.”
Over in a far corner, beyond and to the side of the maze entrances, there was a huge wall of orange and purple mosaic designs. It was well lit like at a carnival. In front of it was the tikwitipj about six feet in diameter. At the base of the tikwitipj was some sort of gear box and to its side, there was a large plank of wood standing at an angle like a pedal.
The guards dragged James over to the pedal while Gacplk followed. James’ hands were still handcuffed behind his back, and he wore only two hilukwili. Yenkoi and I got into a position, still a safe distance away, with our security detail shielding us, so that we could see the wheel.
Gacplk said, “Spin the wheel.”
“How? Uncuff my hands, and ..”
“No. Just step on the foot pedal.”
James stepped on the foot pedal and the wheel spun. Around and around it went and…
And I’m tired of typing the blog for now. Poor James.
James’ mind had been spinning, no doubt, and the wheel of the tikwitipj stopped at “Take Another Turn — Prize.” A guard brought over a can of peach juice, and handed it to Gacplk.
The sound of the top popping open made James jump. Gacplk said, “You’ve won a prize.” He brought the can to James’ lips and tilted it. James gulped it all down.
James said, “Does this mean we can stop now and…”
“No,” said Gacplk as he walked behind James and tightened the handcuffs. “Look over to your right — do you see the three doors?”
“Well, you can spin again, or you can have what’s behind door number one, door number two, or door number three. What do you want to do — spin or choose a door?”
“Um, uh, um…”
“Or you could choose to be executed now by acacizg — that would be painless, but there’d be no remains, if that matters to you. Of course, there are many methods of execution. There’s that old favorite: stoning to death, but a circle of your new friends throwing stones at you doesn’t work that well and can be messy…”
“Um, uh, door number… um, no…”
“But, of course, there have been refinements: stones can be thrown with slingshots that are more accurate. Then there are catapults that can be used and …”
“Um, uh, door number… ”
“Oh, why don’t we just see how you might feel about door number one.” The guards dragged him towards it.
There were two posts, a foot in front of door number one, with locking fasteners. The guards squeezed James between them, and attached him to the posts by locking the fasteners onto the rings of his hilukwili so that he faced the door, tightly restrained at his elbows.
Gacplk said, “So, shall we open door number one?” Suddenly, Gacplk and all the guards retreated backward until they were twenty feet away from James and the door. The security detail pushed Yenkoi and me back also.
James said, “Um, no, or maybe door number…”
Gacplk gave a signal. A guard placed a plate of raw meat up against the bottom of the door, and ran back. “So you can’t decide,” said Gacplk, yelling from a distance, “perhaps a spin, or door number two?”
James tried to get loose from the posts. He tried to kick at the posts to push them down, and tried to get the hilukwili to slide down his arm but everything stayed firmly in place, and didn’t budge.
Gacplk gave a signal, and the door opened a crack at the bottom. There were ferocious roaring and scratching sounds.
James tried to kneel down. The hilukwili slid up his arm slightly. He was able to turn a tiny amount, and he rocked from side to side. But he made no progress.
Gacplk said, “I don’t suppose you’re inclined to choose door number one?” He gave a signal. The door opened a little more and a paw reached out from under the door. “So, would you like execution by acacizg, or door number two, or a spin of the wheel?”
James struggled harder. He bent down, stood up, bent down, and pulled from side to side.
Gacplk said, “Have we decided?”
James, twisting his body back and forth as much as he could, shouted, “Um, no, um, yes, um …the spin, the spin.”
Gacplk gave a signal. The paw pulled back and the door closed. Everyone cautiously walked back towards James. “Unlock him from the posts,” said Gacplk.
As soon as the fasteners were unlocked from the rings of the hilukwili, James fell to the ground and started rolling away towards the tikwitipj.
Gacplk said, “Hmm, OK, roll out the execution platform, pick him up and perhaps we’ll let him take another spin if he chooses that or…”
James broke away from the guards and ran into a cave opening on the other side of the mevltikacle next to a cathedral stalagmite formation, and a pond.
Gacplk said, “Seems like a good time for an intermission. He can wander in the maze while we set up and call in a fresh team. Anyone for lunch? My treat.”
Yenkoi and I headed back to my kngacev, and he told me what the chef could make me for lunch.
I’ve almost finished reading the Ofuye. It’s very tedious, and I hope I’m absorbing it. The true test will be when I see Apacevj. It’s been a very long process and that’s why I’m behind on writing the blog.
I’ve added something to what I think I should call the emergency email to Doug. I had the computer create a random number which I haven’t looked at and I’ve blindly put it in the email and will have it blindly be a new password for the blog if I send the email. That way, I can stop access from here, even by me and turn it back to Doug. It seems peculiar to do this, but more and more I’m not feeling like myself because… Oh, I don’t know, oh hell, oh Kievifkwa. Sorry, I should get out of the habit of cursing at every turn. Not very regal.
Poor James. If I were more like my old self, I probably would have had him released, told him to promise not to say anything and sin no more. Oh, that’s silly. But it’s too late for that now. Poor James. What have I done.
We never did go back to the mevltikacle after lunch on that day, but the construction crew did finish installing the agroape. It’s an execution platform that has a wall at the back, and a giant turntable in the center. In the center of the turntable are shackles for the ankles. Cables hang from scaffolding at the top. The agroape was placed in front of the tikwitipj, and across from the agroape, they built the eksikmazm, the firing-squad platform. The turntable could be rotated to face either the tikwitipj wheel, or the eksikmazm.
Unfortunately, wandering in the maze, James had fallen into a crevice. He was pulled out but had a few minor bruises and scrapes. He was given first-aid and cleaned of mud, moss, and rock dust, but needed to be punished for attempted escape. They put him in a tilneskoyg.
They fitted its yoke over his neck and shoulders with the extra-long wooden beam firmly in place on his shoulders and extending outward. His arms were stretched out straight on top of the beam and his wrists were manacled to the far ends of the beam.
We had returned the next day. A new team was in place: there were twenty or more women from a special division of the Wipzib; they were called the Yacmyeep. Their hair was purple and their fingernails were painted the colors of the rainbow. They wore short yellow pleated dresses, decorated at the waist with equipment belts, and their immodest bodices had purple sun symbols on each breast with a blue triangle in the middle. Blue spiral designs were engraved on their calf-high green leather boots.
Libikzi, a tall woman, with blond hair and purple lipstick was in charge. She wore a white shirt, a silver necklace with a sapphire pendant, gold bracelets, a black leather skirt and black heels. She stood with a sword behind James who was standing at the pedal of the tikwitipj. He was locked in a tilneskoyg with his arms outstretched, and they had added to his waist, a ceremonial metal belt that had handles on short chains attached to the sides, but he was otherwise naked. Two of the Yacmyeep held onto the handles.
Libikzi touched the sword to his back, and said, “Spin the wheel.”
James stepped on the pedal and the wheel spun. Libikzi walked in front of James, put the sword in a scabbard and bumped him. Turning around, the Yacmyeep switched hands on the handles, and marched James backward up onto the turntable of the agroape. They put the shackles on his ankles, and attached cables to the beam of James’ tilneskoyg so that he would remain standing. They left the platform.
Libikzi gave a signal and James was rotated to face the wheel. James watched the pointer go past “stoning” and “arrows” and dozens of other choices that Gacplk had told him about, until it started to slow down. James squirmed. Finally the wheel stopped at “catapults.” A signal was given and James was rotated to face the eksikmazm.
Libikzi said, “Prepare catapults.”
There was a commotion on the eksikmazm as fifteen Yacmyeep assigned to the firing squad gathered their weapons and mounted the catapults into each firing station. The squad leader shouted, “Catapults installed.”
Libikzi said, “Load catapults.” She looked at James. “Any last words?”
James wiggled his fingers and shuffled his feet. “The FBI will find out about this and… Who the hell are you, you crazy damn bitch; what the hell are you doing, you, you… Stop, help, stop — look over there: the police and FBI are here.”
“Good stall,” said Libikzi, “but no one knows you’re here.”
“No, no. They’re on their way… You don’t want to be responsible for a murder,” said James, “and I could be helpful to you…”
Libikzi said, “Aim.”
James shouted, “Don’t,” and bent his knees slightly and leaned one way and then the other which made the turntable wobble slightly.
James winced, and a barrage of banana cream pies pounded his body from head to toe. James licked some of the cream from his mouth and quivered. “What…,” he said.
Libikzi said, “Re-load, aim, fire.”
More pies came flying through the air. One hit James straight on his face as he gasped. He inhaled a piece of it and choked and coughed. He made a gagging sound and spit some out. “Wait,” he said.
Libikzi said, “Re-load, aim, fire.”
James closed his mouth. He was totally covered in cream pie. He was rotated and they fired again. His back was covered. He was rotated again to face front.
“Cease fire,” Libikzi shouted. “Clean-up squad, attack!”
Five Yacmyeep ran onto the platform. Two licked cream off his shins and worked their way up his thighs. One squeezed in between them and sucked on James. One ran behind him, scraped some cream off his back, reached around and stuffed it in his mouth. A fifth Yacmyeep picked up a hose and sprayed him with water.
James said, “Uh aah uh. Stop. Uh, the FBI will hear about this, uh…”
Libikzi said, “This is your last meal, James.”
“What?” said James.
“Maybe, we’ll let you spin again. But for now I think you’ve had enough of a meal.” Libikzi commanded, “Clean-up squad withdraw.”
They left James standing there alone, quivering, while we all went to lunch. Yenkoi and I strolled towards my kngacev, and we had a pleasant conversation.
This time, we had gone back to the mevltikacle after lunch. James was still standing, tethered on the agroape. He was shivering. The Yacmyeep had left, and Gacplk and his thugs had returned. Fifteen of Gacplk’s men assembled on the eksikmazm. Gacplk turned his attention toward James.
“Well, James,” said Gacplk, “you’ve had your last meal. I think this time I’ll spin the wheel for you — you have a tendency to wander off.”
“Uh, wait,” said James, “release me from the platform, and I promise not to run, um, and…”
“No, shut up,” said Gacplk. He walked to the pedal of the tikwitipj and stepped on it hard. The wheel spun like a blur of fate. “Rotate James,” commanded Gacplk, “and let him look at the spinning wheel.” While James was looking at the wheel, the firing squad was preparing their weapons.
As the wheel slowed down, James could read the dire choices. He tried to pull his wrists free from the wooden beam. He shouted, “Wait, don’t I get to choose door number two…”
“No, James,” said Gacplk, “not this time. And what makes you think that would have been a better choice?”
James tried to lift his feet up, but the shackles kept his ankles tied to the turntable. James said, “Um, door number three?”
“No, James,” Gacplk growled as the wheel slowed down.
James leaned to one side and then to the other, but this time the turntable didn’t even wobble. “Uh,” he said, “it’s been a long time — a friend of mine will be wondering where I am and will have reported me missing and …”
“Oh, how interesting,” Gacplk said in his sweet insidious voice, “and what is this so-called friend’s name?”
“Um, no, it’s a real person, uh…,” said James almost blurting out a name.
“Perhaps, James, we have this person’s name on our list,” Gacplk suggested, “and if this person is already on the way there’d be no harm in giving us the name. Right? Or is this just an imaginary person?”
James turned his head as much as he could and shouted, “Oh Jack Chelka so glad you came with the National Guard and the police… Jack take cover…”
Gacplk laughed. “James, you can’t even turn your head far enough to see anyone at the entrance…”
“I heard his voice… Jack, watch out…”
“Yes,” said Gacplk, “I suppose you could hear an echo.” The wheel slowed down more.
James pursed his lips and tried to make a sound into a wall like a ventriloquist. His echo said, “Don’t worry James, we have them surrounded…”
“Wow,” said Gacplk, “good attempt, but I think you’re more like the ventriloquist’s dummy. And by the way, Jack Chelka is in Australia at the moment.”
“No,” said James, “the friends of Jack are here. He missed my usual phone call…”
Gacplk said, “Alright, shall we see: the wheel is about to come to a stop…”
“No,” said James as he saw that the section of the wheel that was coming into view had only horrendous names. “I’ve decided now: I’ll take what’s behind door number two…”
Gacplk laughed. “A little late for that fine choice. But now, you don’t get to choose.”
James said, “Door number four.”
“Ah,” said Gacplk. “We have a winner: ‘arrows’.” Gacplk commanded, “Rotate him towards the eksikmazm.”
“Wait. I see Jack’s men now…”
No one even turned to look. The firing squad was getting restless. Gacplk said, “Mount crossbows.”
James said, “Door number one, door number one…”
“Load arrows into crossbows.”
“I didn’t do anything, I was just exploring. I have top secrets I could give you. I have…”
There was a real sound at the entrance to the mevltikacle. Libikzi and the Yacmyeep came running in. Libikzi shouted, “Stop, I have a message.”
“Stand down weapons,” Gacplk commanded. Libikzi approached him with a letter. They met in front of the agroape, looked up at James, and began whispering.
After a few minutes, they both turned and looked at me. Libikzi said, “Fevepo Zawmb’yee, may we approach?”
“Yes, “ I said and nodded to the security detail. Libikzi and Gacplk came through, bowed, and stood in front of Yenkoi and me.
Libikzi said, “May I?” and handed the letter to me.
I glanced at it and turned to Yenkoi. “Gavicte Yenkoi, would you read this over for me.”
Yenkoi said, “May I take a few moments?”
“Yes,” I said. Yenkoi turned and walked a few steps away. Libikzi and Gacplk came closer.
Libikzi said, “Fevepo, the village of Uzpu has a work training program that may be appropriate for James.”
Gacplk said, “Fevepo, James is a dangerous person and he tried to escape. He’s impulsive, and judging by his lies is not very intelligent, liable to do rash and desperate things. He’s probably uncontrollable.”
“Fevepo,” said Libikzi, “he’s easily intimidated and eager to make bargains. Actually, he’s very intelligent but not very clever in negotiations. We can condition him with double-bind dilemmas and simple rewards.”
Gacplk retorted, “May I say, respectfully, Fevepo, I disagree with Libikzi. Given any freedom, he’ll turn violent and cause havoc. There would be less harm if we execute him now rather than later. Or I could propose a compromise: we could try to extract whatever useful information he would seem to have, try to confirm it and then execute him after — but so far he doesn’t seem to know anything useful…”
“I agree,” said Libikzi, “that he doesn’t have useful information, but a well-conditioned slave can be useful if fully re-programmed.”
Gacplk said, “Do you really think you can make him behave? You already had one escape into the up-top world of an incompletely trained agent…”
“We corrected that error,” said Libikzi.
“Thank you both,” I said, “I will consult with Gavicte Yenkoi.” They both bowed and withdrew.
Gacplk gave a signal and the turntable began to slowly spin James. They both walked over to the agroape and stared at James. Gacplk gave another signal and a soapy foam sprayed out from nozzles around the platform, covering James with soap. I overheard Gacplk say to Libikzi, “And his sweat is dangerous with toxins.” Gacplk gave a signal and James was sprayed with rinse water. The water stopped, but they kept him spinning while they argued.
Yenkoi came back. I said to him, “Did you read it, Gavicte Yenkoi?”
He said, “Yes, Fevepo Zawmb’yee. I’m familiar with Uzpu and their programs. They’ve produced some good workers and some good spies.”
“Gavicte Yenkoi, may I have your opinion on James’ disposition.”
“Yes, Fevepo Zawmb’yee,” said Yenkoi tentatively. “May I ask that we discuss this in the presence of the Wipzib leaders, Libikzi and Gacplk, if it would please you to do so?”
“Yes, Gavicte Yenkoi,” I said, and we walked over to Libikzi and Gacplk who were still talking in front of the agroape. James was still spinning. They turned and bowed as we approached.
I looked up at James and watched him turn once around. I said, “Gavicte Yenkoi has a recommendation.” Libikzi and Gacplk turned toward him and bowed. I said, “Gavicte Yenkoi, proceed please.”
Yenkoi said, “I think James would be of marginal value in the proposed program and would not adjust properly to the training. His immediate execution would have the least risk, and if I may say, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, a word about your good friend Doug?”
I was stunned. “Yes, Gavicte, what about Doug?” Gacplk and Libikzi looked at each other.
Yenkoi said, “James is an old friend of Doug’s, and if James escapes to the up-top world he could be a bad influence on Doug.”
Gacplk said, “Hmm. Shouldn’t we take Doug in for questioning? Did he mention to James Ziohat anything about a secret cave?”
“No,” I said. I turned towards Libikzi. “Can you guarantee that James will safely behave and you will keep him under control?”
“Yes, Fevepo Zawmb’yee. We will give him careful attention.”
I spoke, “I hereby give custody and supervision of James Ziohat to the Yacmyeep under the command of Pevfexo Libikzi. Thank you and proceed as required.”
Gavicte Yenkoi looked disturbed. Libikzi and Gacplk bowed. Yenkoi and I walked back to our observation area. I said to Yenkoi, “Are we needed here for the transfer of command ceremony?”
Yenkoi said, “No, Fevepo Zawmb’yee.”
I said, “I will take a half-hour break.” I nodded at Libikzi. “You may proceed.”
Yenkoi and I walked out. We had a pleasant conversation about a dinner proposed for the coming evening.
After the half-hour break for the changing of the guard, Yenkoi and I had returned to the mevltikacle to find the Yacmyeep busy unpacking boxes along the catwalks that surround the turntable of the agroape. They had stopped spinning James, and he had dried off.
Libikzi walked onto the now motionless turntable, and walked clockwise around James to inspect him, but very slowly the turntable began moving again in the opposite direction so that we could observe Libikzi as she traveled. She touched his back, shoulder blades, and buttocks, letting her hands slide along his body as she sauntered. Continuing around to the side, she placed the fingertips of her right hand on his left hip and her left hand on his lower abdomen. She let her hands travel as she made her way to the front saying to James, “Relax, I’ve gotten you a reprieve,” and she placed her hand on his scrotum. She turned towards the Yacmyeep and said, “Someone hand me a catheter.” She put it on him and let the tubing fall.
James was still in the tilneskoyg and could not look down. He said, “What are you doing?”
Libikzi said, “I see that you’ve risen to the occasion and there’s no need to worry. We don’t want a mess if we put some clothing on you, and you don’t want to wear a diaper, do you?”
“Uh no,” said James, “and what do you mean by reprieve?”
Libikzi felt his chest, walked to one side, turned, and nodded at Yenkoi and me. Libikzi looked back towards James and said, “Well, James, you will not be executed if you cooperate, behave, and do as you’re told. Pevfexo Gacplk and Gavicte Yenkoi wanted you executed immediately, but I, Pevfexo Libikzi, argued for you to be spared a horrible death. It is only through the good graces and magnanimity of Her Majesty High Priestess Fevepo Zawmb’yee that you were allowed to live.”
James said, “Fevepo Zawmb’yee?”
I looked at James and gleefully waved my hand from side to side. Yenkoi frowned.
Libikzi stifled a laugh, and slapped James across the face. “You will not,” she said to James, “address the Fevepo directly. You will speak to me only, and from now on address me as Pevfexo Libikzi. If you fail to obey any of my directives, you can be given back into the custody of Pevfexo Gacplk. Understand?”
“Yeah,” said James.
“You’re off to a bad start already. We can re-load the crossbows now. The correct response is ‘Yes Pevfexo Libikzi’. Understand?”
“Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James.
“Good, but you still get one demerit and we’ll see if any punishment will be needed. You will be well-treated if you behave, and you may receive rewards and inducements if things go well…” A few of the Yacmyeep giggled. Libikzi, finishing, barked, “Understand?”
“Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James.
“Fine. You may relax now James. You’ll learn and everything will work out alright. Just a few guidelines here and there. If I’m speaking to you directly, you may call me ‘Pevfexo’ for short. Enough protocol for now. Just relax James — you’ll get through the initial indoctrination in an easy way if you simple obey the instructions and directives you’re given.” Libikzi gave a signal. One of the Yacmyeep carrying a glass of rye whiskey stroked James’ face. Libikzi said, “This is Aipnica Naytuci. You may address her by her title: Aipnica.”
Naytuci said, “Would you like a sip of whiskey James?”
“Yes, please, Aipnica Naytuci,” said James timidly.
Libikzi nodded and Naytuci brought the glass to his lips and tilted it. He drank a little. Naytuci departed.
“Feel better, James?” said Libikzi.
“Yes, Pevfexo, ” said James.
“Well, then,” said Libikzi, “I know that you’re very cold, so let’s get some clothes on you. Can we count on you to be cooperative, James?”
“Yes, Pevfexo,” said James.
“Alright then,” said Libikzi, “no kicking.” She gave a signal.
Naytuci returned. She removed the shackles from his ankles, stroked his ankles, and massaged his calves. Naytuci departed.
“Good,” said Libikzi, “and you’re still cold, so let’s get on with this. We’ll start with some underwear.” Libikzi pointed to some Yacmyeep. Two began walking around the catwalk towards James. Libikzi said to James, “Alright, I see you didn’t choose to kick, jump, or fidget. Would you like another sip of whiskey?”
Libikzi gave a signal. Naytuci returned with the glass of whiskey and raised the glass near James’ lips. Two new Yacmyeep appeared on each side of James. He could not see them, his head restrained by the tilneskoyg. One touched James’ right thigh. Libikzi said, “This is Aipnica Hshwigi. The other touched his left thigh. “This is Aipnica Baynibi,” said Libikzi. “Would you like that drink now, James?”
“Aipnica Naytuci,” said Libikzi, “give him what he wants.” She brought the glass to his lips and tilted it. He drank heartily. She tipped it more. She handed off the empty glass.
Hshwigi said, “James, I have your underpants. Lift your right leg and I’ll help you put your foot through the leg hole. OK?”
“Yes, Aipnica Hshwigi,” said James.
Hshwigi took out a pair of pink panties with a hole for tubing. “Lift your leg…OK, now put your foot through here…there it goes.”
Baynibi said, “Lift your other leg…foot through here. There, OK.”
Naytuci threaded the end of the tubing through the hole. Hshwigi and Baynibi lifted the panties all the way up as Naytuci guided the tubing through.
Naytuci said, “James, I’ll be right back. I have to get something for you.”
“Fine, fi’, Aipnica Naytuci,” said James slurring his words.
Hshwigi and Baynibi massaged James’ legs all around. They massaged his chest up to his underarms.
Libikzi said, “James, your first work assignment is in the village of Uzpu. If you do well there, you might even be able to appear on a new television show they’re producing for the Inner Village Network. It’s new. It’s a quiz show called ‘The Elusive Truth’, but first you have to do some manual labor for the village. For your first assignment you will be pulling a wagon. Being a ‘horse’ is not a glamorous assignment, but you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. You could do this. Right James?”
“Sure, shuh, fi’, fine, your Pevfexo majesty, uh Miss Commander, um, Pevfexo Libikzi. Fi’, fine,” James slurred.
“Just a few more things,” said Libikzi, “and we’ll let you sit down.” Hshwigi and Baynibi went around and gave him a back massage, and when they finished returned to the front. “We’re almost done, James.”
“Fi’, fi’, Pevfee x oh,” said James.
“James,” said Libikzi, “as a horse we need to fit you with a harness to pull the wagon. It’s padded so it won’t cut into you when you pull a heavy load. The straps go around your chest and over your shoulders. If you’re willing to cooperate we can remove the tilneskoyg, but you must follow directions carefully. Are you willing to do this James?”
“Fi’, fi’, Pevee x oh,” said James.
A group of Yacmyeep gathered around James. Hshwigi and Baynibi unlocked the wrist shackles and neck yoke and the rest of the Yacmyeep lifted the tilneskoyg off James. James’ arms fell to his sides. The Yacmyeep carried the tilneskoyg away.
Hshwigi and Baynibi massaged his shoulder, arms, and fingers. Baynibi went round and massaged the back of his neck.
“Feel better James?” asked Libikzi.
“Perfecto Pevfexo Libi X Zee,” said James.
“Alright now, James,” said Libikzi, “a little game. Everybody hold hands and swing your arms.”
James took the hands of Hshwigi and Baynibi and they swung their arms back and forth. They took him for a little walk along the catwalk and back onto the same spot on the turntable.
Libikzi said, “Did we have a nice walk James?”
“Fun, fun, fun, Pevee x oh,” said James.
Naytuci returned with the harness. Hshwigi and Baynibi grabbed the ends. Naytuci went around to the back.
Libikzi said, “James, put your hands through the loops.” Hshwigi and Baynibi passed the ends to Naytuci. They lifted the shoulder straps into place, and Naytuci fastened it in the back.
“Almost done, James,” said Libikzi, “give Naytuci your hands.”
Naytuci handcuffed his hands behind his back. Yacmyeep brought him a chair. James sat down and fell asleep.
Naytuci came around to the front with the others. Naytuci said, “Doesn’t James look pretty in his bra and panties.” Someone said, “pretty filly”, and they all laughed.
I’m still reading the Ofuye. There is a disturbing question that comes to mind. Everything is based on the assumption that the gods were benevolent. The elite in the palace, and those in the inner villages are portrayed as descendants of those given special tools and knowledge by the gods. Some are assumed to be descendants of the prophets. They make no claims any more extraordinary than any other religion, and they have as many purported miracles and saints as any other culture, and have as much or more documentation and literature. There are convoluted explications on why bad things happen to good people. There’s a master plan never explained but constantly alluded to whenever a painful lesson is learned (could you teach me about fire without burning me — a good teacher would bring the child to the mountain cliff, but would be sure to hold his hand and not let him fall over the edge before he’s been given wings. Why would any god not have sense enough to do this? Why would any god be such a degenerate parent? If a god won’t teach, won’t help, won’t stop the children from fighting(even letting siblings kill each other, without even a stern and timely warning, ‘now children play nice — don’t hit your sister, don’t hit your brother’), if all of these are refused, no god is a benevolent supervisor, a god is at best indifferent, and at worst…
What if the gods were not benevolent. Then the elite of the book would be descendants of collaborators with tyranny, fooled by magicians.
And as in the up-top world, who is to say that we don’t suffer under the yoke of the descendants of an elite who were the greatest superstitious storytellers of all time, be it from one or many sources — talent of persuasion does not guarantee truth. Do not the innocent suffer under the unintended consequences of every exuberance foisted by the day’s extant ecstatics. Every epoch has had it’s absolute ‘Certainty of Faith’ in its primitive writing, and has had the blasphemies of the others, some of whom had noble lives off in some distant corner with compassion and kindness toward their own children.
What if a benevolent god spoke to me. Would what he said be untrue if my rhetorical skills were lacking, and no one would believe me? What if an evil god spoke to me and my rhetorical skills were great. Haven’t the Machiavellian ones always dominated with rhetoric and armies. The pacifists and idealists don’t lead armies. Don’t the greatest soldier orators steal the revolutions from the idealists?
Oh Kievifkwa! I’ve done a polemic and I’m not very convincing. What if a god told me something true — how would I convince anyone, and how would I explain its authenticity? Can I say to anyone, when I love you, I give you truth, for who am I to be a god even for a moment.
But then, there are the duties of the leader. If our enemies destroy us, how will we speak, be it even the voice of a god. Many a shaman have died when their warriors were weak, and their knowledge was lost, not for any lack of authenticity, but for a lack of weapons of war. No culture who let their warriors become weak were defended by their God. Were they? No, they were demonized by their conquerors whose weapons allowed them to claim a greater God.
And so what do I do about James who would be blabbermouth, or jester but would not be King. What do we do with clowns? Well, actually, it’s already too late. I just didn’t finish telling you about his destruction. Philosophy is so much more high-minded and pleasant. There can always be found a more intricate logic that can justify anything(oh if we only knew the premises). But anyway, the gods made me do it.
Stall, stall, stall. Wait until you hear how James got into the trotter’s race. Tragedy had become so funny, and that’s what worries me. I must not be myself if I find my growing powers amusing. I’m losing something… but the High Priestess is amused. Ha! I have spoken. Bring in the clowns.
Poor James. He must be one of many who have endured the damihaiz.
I wonder how many others have wandered into any part of the secret city, or been dragged there. Poor other Jameses.
At least, last time, James got to sleep one night. We had returned to the mevltikacle in the morning after.
By the time we got there, the Yacmyeep had already washed and shaved James, and they had removed the agroape and the eksikmazm from the floor of the mevltikacle. Most of the Yacmyeep were busy setting up equipment, but Hshwigi, Baynibi, and Naytuci were chatting. Naytuci ran her fingers through her purple hair and said, “Isn’t the filly pretty. She could be a good trotter. She needs a better name than James.” They all laughed.
“Yeah, whatever name they choose, bet on that one,” said Hshwigi pointing her index finger with the red nail polish. “You’ll probably get good odds.”
James was pacing up and back trying to get out of his handcuffs and trying to reach around to the front of his body. He walked to the end of his leash that was chained to a post, pulling until he choked and then he stopped.
James shouted, “Libikzi, let me the hell out of here now. This is ridiculous, this is insane, and they will…”
“Oh James,” said Libikzi, “You were doing so well. That’s another demerit: you address me as Pevfexo Libikzi.”
“Oh hell, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James, “what are you doing to me? Let me go.”
James paced up and back, and coming to the end of his leash, tripped on his own feet and fell to the floor. All the Yacmyeep were there in their short yellow dresses with purple sun symbols shining on each breast and blue triangles under their immodest cleavages. One remarked, “Isn’t she a wild filly — she’ll probably win the race…”
Hshwigi and Baynibi came over and lifted him to his feet. Naytuci grabbed the chain of his handcuffs and pulled him backward toward the center of the floor where there was a small trotter racing cart with room for one jockey.
Libikzi, fingering her sapphire pendant, said, “James, why all the fuss? I have good news for you.”
“Pevfexo Libikzi, may I ask, um…” said James with insincere respect, stalling for time, probably trying to think of an escape plan, “may I ask what is the good news?”
Libikzi raised an eyebrow and played with one of her gold bracelets. “I’m glad you asked,” said Libikzi. “There’s a trotter’s race for novice horses. The winning prize is a full course dinner in the main dining room without restraints, and a guided tour of the Inner Cities. Seems perfect for you, seeing as you wanted to explore. No?”
“Well, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James tentatively, “may I ask the bad news?”
“Hmm,” said Libikzi, “you could put it that way, but it’s just part of your training program, and as you advance, you will receive more privileges and freedoms. You must first train to be a good trotter. Shall we proceed?”
James was afraid to say no. He said, “Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi.”
“To qualify for the race, you must learn to trot. If you break into a gallop you will be disqualified and ineligible for a prize. But don’t worry, we can guarantee that you can’t spread your legs too far. Shall we show you?”
“Um,” said James, “uh, Pevfexo Libikzi, I guess you could tell me about this, um…”
“No, James,” said Libikzi, “we will instruct and you will comply.”
The Yacmyeep brought a chair. Naytuci pushed him and he sat down.
Libikzi said, “We will put on you a tight and narrow trotter’s skirt that will limit how far apart your legs can stretch. This will prevent a gallop and limit steps to the correct length apart.”
Aipnica Naytuci said, “Lift your legs so we can put on your skirt.”
“What?” said James.
“Another demerit,” said Aipnica Naytuci. “Shall we move to the punishments?”
“Uh, no,” said James, “Aipnica Naytuci.”
Hshwigi and Baynibi helped Naytuci pull a trotter’s skirt part way up, pushing James’ legs together. “Stand up James,” said Naytuci, and they pulled the skirt up and locked the waist belt.
James tried to run with tiny small steps, but couldn’t get far before Naytuci stopped him.
Libikzi said, “Open you mouth wide — we want to see your teeth. Now!”
James opened his mouth wide and then said, “Pevfexo Libikzi, why am I doing this?”
“Every horse must be steered, “ said Libikzi. “We must determine what kind of bit to use. We need to attach some pieces to your teeth, and perhaps an automatic tongue depressor so we can train you not to talk inappropriately — it’s usually more comfortable than a gag. When the reins are attached to a good bridle you’ll know exactly where we want you to go, and when to speak.”
James trotted out to the end of his leash, sat down, and tried to get his fingers under the belt in the back where he could reach. He stood up, trotted back to the post, turned backward and tried to push the post down.
Libikzi said, “Hmm, I think maybe we’ll have to drill your teeth a little to make a good fit. Maybe pull a couple.”
“No,” said James, “you can’t do that. It’s ridiculous, it’s…”
“Another demerit,” said Libikzi, “but then there’s an alternative…”
“Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James, “what’s the alternative?”
“Well, you do have large fleshy earlobes. We could steer you by your ears,” said Libikzi.
“Are you nuts?” said James. “What are you doing…you’re all crazy. Let me go. You’re going to pay for this, you lunatics.” James trotted out to the end of his leash and pulled. Then he trotted up and back looking for something he could use as a tool or weapon. There was nothing within reach.
“Two demerits, James,” said Libikzi. “So, shall we fit you for a bridle now?”
“No, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James.
“Very well then,” said Libikzi. She gave a signal. Two Yacmyeep swabbed his ear lobes with antiseptic and anesthetic. “Hold still. We don’t want to rip your lobes.” The Yacmyeep punched out large holes in the center of each lobe, removing a chunk of flesh. They cleaned it and then used a rivet gun to install large earrings. They walked away admiring their work.
James trotted out to the end of his leash, shaking his head. He trotted back.
Libikzi said, “You are wild. You’ll make a good filly. I think you’ll win the race, but we don’t want to put the cart before horse. We’ll see how well you can pull the cart later.”
Libikzi turned to the Yacmyeep, “That’s enough for now. Let’s all go to lunch.” They left James alone to trot about. Yenkoi and I and our entourage went to lunch.
Before the lunch break, James hadn’t been fully dressed in his trotter’s uniform, but he needed to be hitched to the trotter’s cart soon to begin his breaking in before his rebellious tendencies could become habitual and chronic. The time had approached to apply a more comprehensive discipline and ensure obedience. I’ve read that once a new trotter accepts the role assigned, it no longer suffers the pain of futile escape attempts, and injuries from reckless flailing about. They say that once the horse’s identity and role are firmly inculcated, the new trotter is comforted by the certainty of its obedience to a proscribed routine. Thus fear is removed. But first the wild horse must be broken.
James had not been looking well when we had returned to the mevltikacle after our lunch break. He had not eaten and had had limited drinks. His weakness had to be carefully calculated to limit his strength to resist, but not allow his death as long as he appeared to be a useful commodity, but from the way he trotted about, pulling on the post, rolling on the floor, yanking at his clothes, he seemed strong enough to survive a little longer.
The Yacmyeep milled about in excited anticipation. Hshwigi, Baynibi, and Naytuci, gossiped, not overly concerned with who would overhear them while the rest of the Yacmyeep prepared for the afternoon’s activity. Hshwigi wiggled her fingers to show her rainbow-colored fingernails. “Look,” she said to the others, “aren’t these great shades of nail polish: passionate red on my index finger, citrus orange for my middle finger, sun-bright yellow on my ring finger, and bright green for my pinkie. Aren’t these gorgeous?”
The others agreed. Baynibi said, “You know, we could paint James’ fingernails these colors. Don’t you think it would be pretty?”
Naytuci said, “Well, maybe but right now, James’ hands have to stay handcuffed behind his back.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot,” said Baynibi.
Hshwigi fluttered her eyes. “See my blue eye shadow…”
“Oh yeah,” said Naytuci, “we could do his eyes, and paint his toes.”
Baynibi said, “Yeah, that would be fun.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” said Hshwigi, “I can see it: this will be a pretty filly. Look at the decorative ancient engraving on James’ hilukwili, and doesn’t it look gorgeous: James does have pretty armlets, and if you look closely you can see there are nice frilly, leafy designs on James’ bra. Don’t you think?”
“Just one thing,” said Naytuci, “those dry chapped and cracked lips are not attractive.”
Libikzi shouted, “Quiet everyone. We have work to do… Someone bring the horse over to the cart between the pull poles.” James was lifted, pushed, and dragged.
James said, “Don’t you think you’ve had enough fun. I could go and I won’t say anything — I mean, who would believe me anyway?”
“Another demerit. You address me as Pevfexo Libikzi. Understand?”
“Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James.
“James,” said Libikzi. “We can’t take any chances. Calm down, and you’ll be fine. Wouldn’t you like a nice full course dinner of your choice, and all you can drink of any beverage?”
“Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James.
“Well then, you have to win the race. We will prepare you to be a good filly. We’re going to hitch you to the cart. Don’t fidget because we want to properly distribute the load that you’re going to pull among the attachment points and lines. Just stand calmly, and we’ll take good care of you. Alright, James?”
“Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James.
Libikzi instructed the Yacmyeep. “First attach the chains from the poles to the rings of the hilukwili. Leave some slack, and we’ll adjust it later — it’s not going to take much of the load…”
Hshwigi and Baynibi locked the chains onto the rings. Hshwigi wiggled her fingers in front of James’ face. “Do you like my nails, James?”
James said, “Uh, yes Aipnica Hshwigi. Very nice.”
“Alright, now just for a margin of safety,” said Libikzi, “attach the chain from the center bottom of the cart to the handcuff chain and the extension pole to the neck collar.”
James tried to trot away. Five Yacmyeep rushed in to hold James, and five to hold the cart.
“Whoa, James,” said Libikzi, “you don’t want to hurt yourself.”
James said, “Never mind the race. Get me out of this.” James tried to turn the cart around, but the Yacmyeep already had a hold on everything.
“Ten demerits,” said Libikzi. “If you damage yourself, we’ll have to execute you. And you will address me as Pevfexo. Perhaps we should redeem all your demerits with a suitable punishment now. Or will you stand still and be calm?”
James shifted around to try to get comfortable. “Alright, Pevfexo. I’m OK now.”
“Good James,” said Libikzi. “Now we move on to the main load bearing item.” Libikzi gave a signal. More Yacmyeep came in and grabbed hold of every inch of James’ body. Libikzi commanded them, “From now on, I want no movement at all.”
James couldn’t budge in any way. James screamed, “Let go of me.”
“Two demerits,” said Libikzi. “James, if you stay calm, you’ll be fine.”
Libikzi pointed at Hshwigi and Baynibi. They attached chains from the main structure of the cart to rings on James’ bra.
Naytuci sat in the jockey’s chair of the cart. Hshwigi and Baynibi attached the reins to James’ earrings.
“Now that was easy. Wasn’t it James,” said Libikzi.
James jumped up and down and shook his head.
Libikzi directed the Yacmyeep. “Hold James still. Don’t allow any movement.”
Baynibi was all excited. “Pevfexo, can we decorate our filly now?”
“Sure,” said Libikzi. “The lips are chapped. Choose a lipstick.”
Baynibi said, “Let’s see how bright orange looks.” She applied an orange lipstick to James’ lips. “Doesn’t that feel better,” she said to James.
“Yes, Aipnica Baynibi,” said James.
Libikzi turned and looked over towards Yenkoi and me. “High Priestess, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, if it would please you to do so, would you be inclined to name the new filly?”
“Yes, thank you, Pevfexo Libikzi,” I said, “I like Camille.”
“Very well, thank you, Fevepo Zawmb’yee,” said Libikzi, “we are honored.”
Hshwigi brought supplies from her equipment bag. She said, “Camille, close your eyes, I want to paint your eyelids blue.”
The filly looked around, hitched firmly to the cart.
Hshwigi grabbed the horse’s face. “That’s you Camille; I’m speaking to you,” said Hshwigi.
“I’m James,” said the filly.
“Two demerits,” said Libikzi, “This is your new name. You will answer to it when addressed. Understand Camille?”
“I’m James,” the horse hitched to the cart said.
“Ten demerits,” said Libikzi. “You will address me as Pevfexo Libikzi, and I will address you as Camille. Understand Camille?”
Libikzi said to Naytuci who was in the jockey’s chair, “Drive Camille to the treadmill in the punishment cell, after you establish control.”
The Yacmyeep still held the horse in place. Naytuci pulled all the chains tight until the horse screamed. Naytuci reached to one side and found a whip. She lashed the horse twenty times. She said, “When I pull on your left ear, you will turn left.” Naytuci nodded to the Yacmyeep. They withdrew away from the cart. The horse pulled forward with its head turned to the left. Naytuci said, “Turn left, turn left.” The head was turned left but the cart went straight. Some Yacmyeep in a forward position blocked the path with a ramp that they unfolded from the back of a truck. The cart went straight up the ramp onto the platform of the truck. The Yacmyeep climbed up the ramp, threw lines out and anchored the cart to the platform. Naytuci put on a brake, and got out of the driver’s seat. Naytuci and the Yacmyeep walked down the ramp back onto the floor of the mevltikacle. The ramp folded up. The whole cart with the horse still attached was driven to a huge domed area that was carved out of the rock between the entrance and the pond. An enormous garage door opened slowly in the back. The truck disappeared into a tunnel, and the door closed.
Libikzi said to Naytuci, “Wasn’t that exciting? It’s just a minor setback. This sort of thing often happens. We have other strategies. We’ll see.”
I said to Yenkoi, “Does this mean the conditioning has failed?”
Yenkoi said, “No, Fevepo. It’s just one of the variations. They’ve handled it before. It’s never predicable which variation will work best in each case. It’s just going to take a little longer.”
“Well, in any case, Gavicte Yenkoi, the Yacmyeep seem to enjoy their work.”
“Yes Fevepo,” said Yenkoi, “they will get the job done eventually. There’s plenty of time, and I predict that Camille will win the race. It should be interesting. Shall we go to dinner?”
“Yes, fine, Gavicte.”
An exciting day. Better than reading the Ofuye.
Today, Gavicte Yenkoi has said that a group of Drofluo want to meet with me. They are a black ops division of the Wipzib. He has said that if I choose to meet with them I can’t consult with him or anyone else, and that I must keep to myself whatever secrets they tell me, unless I write a formal decree explaining my reasons for wanting to share this information with any persons, and explaining these persons’ need-to-know. Gavicte Yenkoi says, I may reveal those secrets to those designated in the decree only if the full Council ratifies the decree. I can refuse to see the Drofluo if I wish. I don’t know if I want to know this ultra-super-top secret stuff. But if I don’t even hear it, how would I condemn any abuse of power I know nothing about. I suppose the idea of refusal is to be able to have plausible deniability for the approval by default of a necessary evil, because conditions are so dire as to require drastic measures.
I’m feeling more weird all the time. Because of this, I’ve scheduled an automatic sending of Doug’s email at the up-top network service provider. It’s already safely stored by them. This way, whatever happens here to me or to my up-top-type computer in the kngacev, the ISP will send the special email to Doug and will take care of my accounts. At his point, I’d better not say anything further here about that.
Well, then, perhaps, while I’m still somewhat lucid (although, I don’t know if anything has ever been clear to me), I’ll talk about the last session I observed at the mevltikacle. After that one, I just told Libikzi to send me written reports and that if any more authorizations were needed that I’d let Gavicte Yenkoi make the decisions for me.
After the cart pulling incident, they had returned James to Gacplk. We had arrived at the mevltikacle for a morning session. The tikwitipj and the eksikmazm were laid out on the floor of the mevltikacle again. James a.k.a. Camille was naked except for his hilukwili, earrings, neck collar, and handcuffs.
James stood, hands behind his back, in front of the pedal of the tikwitipj. Gacplk, growling behind him, said, “Spin the wheel.”
“I can’t,” said James.
Gacplk let go of the chain of the handcuffs. He said, “Move forward and step hard with your foot on the pedal. The harder you step, the faster and the longer the wheel will spin… you might need time to think about something.”
“Is this good news or bad news?” asked James.
“Shut up. Just step on the damn pedal,” said Gacplk pushing James who then fell onto the pedal on his knees. The wheel spun furiously.
“Can I win a prize?” asked James.
“No. But you can take the consequences of the wheel, or you can have what’s behind door number one, door number two, or door number three. What do you want to do?” said Gacplk.
“I want to go to Disneyland.”
Gacplk looked toward the firing squad. “Load crossbows.” He said to James, “Decide soon, and this time, if you try to escape, the archers will get you in a painful way.”
James said, “Um, uh, door number one.”
Gacplk waved over two guards. Gacplk said, “Remove his handcuffs.”
James said, “Does this mean I can go to Disneyland?”
“No James,” said Gacplk, “you’ve chosen door number one. Walk over to the door, and you’ll see that there’s a sword on the floor right in front of it. Go pick it up.”
“Does this mean,” said James, “that I get to fight my way out of the mevltikacle?”
Gacplk used his sweet insidious voice, “No, James, not that you’d be any match against crossbows and guns. Just go while the wheel is still spinning and you don’t have to forfeit your chance.”
As James walked towards the door, Gacplk and his men all moved back about fifty feet away from the door. Yenkoi and I also moved back to a safe distance. The men up on the eksikmazm with their crossbows were already in a secure position.
Arriving at the door, James picked up the sword and said, “Oh, I could throw this like a spear.”
“No James,” shouted Gacplk, “hold the sword straight out in front of you.”
“Good enough,” said Gacplk. He gave a signal and the door began to open. Gacplk’s men spread out into defensive positions and drew their guns.
A lion lunged at James going for his throat and was just barely diverted as part of its body fell onto the sword that James didn’t even have time to move.
The lion roared and while stumbling, mauled James with its claws. It turned itself around.
“No, James,” shouted Gacplk, “stab it in the throat.”
James plunged the sword into its throat as it lunged again.
Gacplk shouted, “Stab it again. Cut its head off.”
James pulled out the sword and plunged it repeatedly all over the lion’s body, and hacked at the neck. He turned, screamed a war cry and ran towards Gacplk with the sword outstretched. Gacplk’s men backed up and aimed their guns at James.
Gacplk shouted, “Stop James, now.”
Two arrows flew near James’ ears, the feathers of one brushing him. James slowed somewhat. He let out a bellowing shriek, waving the sword wildly while blood sprayed into the wind of his wake.
“Stop James,” Gacplk said, calmly stepping back a few steps and drawing his gun.
James lowered the sword and walked towards Gacplk.
“Drop the sword.”
James picked up speed again, made the sound of a moose, and raised his sword back like an antler.
“Stop. Drop the sword.” Gacplk ran back, stopped, turned, aimed his gun and shouted, “Aim crossbows.”
James ran faster, aiming the sword at Gacplk.
Gacplk braced himself. “Steady, fire at my signal.”
A chorus of screeches came from the entrance of the mevltikacle and James stopped and looked up.
Hshwigi, Baynibi, and Naytuci screamed, “Camille! Whoa!”
The wild creature wearing the hilukwili and earrings, stopped in its tracks, dropped the sword like a molting, and began shaking uncontrollably, falling to the ground.
“Pevfexo Gacplk!” shouted Pevfexo Libikzi.
Gacplk looked at Libikzi and back at the creature on the ground. “Stand down weapons,” said Gacplk.
Pevfexo Libikzi said, “May I, Pevfexo Gacplk?”
“Yes, alright, Pevfexo Libikzi, if you wish,” said Gacplk. “Come retrieve it.”
Libikzi, Hshwigi, Baynibi, and Naytuci had come with an entire team of Yacmyeep who waited at the entrance. Libikzi waved them in. They carried all kinds of baskets and bags, and they looked like they came for a picnic.
Hshwigi, Baynibi, and Naytuci rushed over to Camille who was still shaking on the ground. Hshwigi said, “Take it easy Camille. We’ve brought you a cheeseburger, and a gin and tonic.”
The filly Camille sat up. She took a sip of the gin and tonic from a straw, and had a bite of the cheeseburger.
Baynibi said, “We’ve brought your clothes. Do you want to put them on?”
Camille said, “Yes, Aipnica Baynibi.” Camille put on her trotter skirt and Baynibi and Hshwigi helped her put on her harness bra.
Naytuci said, “Drink the rest of your gin and tonic.”
Camille gulped it down.
Libikzi came around. “Is everything under control?”
Hshwigi said, “Yes, our filly is fine.”
Libikzi said to Camille, “Feel better?”
The filly said, “Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi.”
Libikzi said, “Finish your Cheeseburger.”
Camille grabbed it with both hands and gobbled it up.
Libikzi offered a swig of whiskey from a bottle. “Want to have a jolt?”
“Yes, please, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said Camille and she took the bottle to her mouth and swung it back.
Hshwigi and Baynibi took Camille’s hands and led her away from Gacplk’s sight.
Libikzi said, “Don’t worry Camille. We’ll take care of you. Feel better?”
“Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said Camille.
Libikzi signaled Naytuci. Naytuci walked behind Camille.
Libikzi said, “Give Naytuci your hands.”
Camille said, “Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi.”
Naytuci handcuffed Camille’s hands behind her back. “Secure,” said Naytuci to Libikzi.
Libikzi shouted to Gacplk, “Thank you, Pevfexo Gacplk. Everything’s under control now.”
The Yacmyeep took Camille away, and Naytuci said, “Can we put on her blue eye shadow and her mascara?”
Libikzi said, “Sure, why not. It’s your filly, and she has pretty eyes and nice eyelashes.”
Hshwigi said, “Um, Pevfexo Libikzi, if I may make a formal request?”
Libikzi said, “Yes, Aipnica Hshwigi, dear. Speak your mind.”
“High Pevfexo, if it pleases you, may I um, uh…”
“Go right ahead Dear. I give my permission for you to speak freely,” Libikzi said.
“Thank you, Pevfexo. After proper training, may I use Camille as my yleueox?”
Libikzi said, “I am inclined to approve, but wait Dear… I have one formality to do.”
Libikzi turned towards me. “High Priestess, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, if it would please you to do so, would you allow Aipnica Hshwigi to use Camille as her yleueox, and may I also ask if the Yacmyeep may have Camille available as aucocne?”
Baynibi and Naytuci giggled. They whispered to Hshwigi.
I said, “Pevfexo Libikzi, thank you for your request. Please give me one moment.”
I whispered to Yenkoi, “Gavicte, what the Kievifkwa is she asking me?”
“Well, Fevepo, yleueox means um…”
“Oh hell, oh Kievifkwa, never mind. Gavicte, can you decide and speak for me?”
“Yes, of course, Fevepo.”
I said to Libikzi, “I will allow Gavicte Yenkoi to make the decision and speak for me.”
“Yes, High Priestess, Fevepo Zawmb’yee.” Libikzi bowed toward Yenkoi.
Yenkoi smiled and whispered to me, “Fevepo, may I proceed?”
“Yes, Yenkoi,” I said.
Yenkoi turned toward Libikzi. “Pevfexo Libikzi, I hereby grant both requests, and if you would convey to Aipnica Hshwigi in advance, our congratulations and best wishes. May you succeed as fortune will have it in service to the gods.”
Libikzi bowed. “Thank you Gavicte Yenkoi. Thank you, High Priestess, Fevepo Zawmb’yee.”
I whispered to Yenkoi, “Now what the Kievifkwa, what Kievifkwa-ing thing did I agree to?”
“High Priestess, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, if it pleases you to do so, may I request that you not curse so much?”
“Oh never mind Gavicte. Can you tell me what it means later?”
“Yes, of course, Fevepo. You are so kind.”
“Oh… I mean, yes, fine, very good, my dear Gavicte.”
—- END of 15. “Zawmb’yee Paints the Palace”
Secrets and Disaster