cleric

LEAD MINI QUARRY

Chapter 10

Count Dookula vs. Gambloss

 

“You’re late as usual Gambloss.   I summoned you  two weeks ago.   What could have slowed you down?  I had all the casinos west of the River Arguin’ shut down”, said the tall man in flowing white robes who was constantly scratching at his ankle length white beard as the duo walked down a cobblestone path.

“I had big trouble in the Landfill and had to hide out until my situation became less perilous,” responded Gambloss while digging into his massive pockets for his fake beard which he had forgotten to don. 

“Ah the Landfill.  That’s one of the reasons I summoned you here.  It seems your folly for the magic beans of the Landfill has seriously affected your standing in the Order of Old Farts and that is why I wanted to talk to you.   Look at yourself.  You’re a disgrace.  Beardless, a frilly shirt, shorts, a rusty old golf ball retriever in place of a staff.   The list of infractions is endless and growing.  You show no desire to improve your magic, content with only the most basic forms of sorcery….smoke rings and fireworks”.   You can’t even rig a poker game.  You’ve accomplished nothing, and how long have you been a member of the order?  Why in the time since we joined up together I have amassed great wealth and power.  I have my own city, Treesongard,  and I’ve begun building my very own army.   I have a whopper of a shoe deal pending and I  have just sold the naming rights to the Tower of No Thanks.  My acting resume is filled with starring roles in Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and countless vampire movies.  My life blows smoke rings around yours. 

“Drat,” thought Gambloss,  he noticed that I forgot to attach my beard.   I guess I deserve just a little butt chewing.”

As the two walked the cobblestone path to No Thanks, Gambloss  attached his    artificial beard that was forked at the chin with a dramatic forward curl.   A style that only few wizards could pull off.   Gambloss was not one of them.  He gazed ahead to the great white tower looming before the wizards.  As he spoke a huge crane was lifting a giant iron sculpture of the Nike swoosh up to the roof.  Disgusted at the sight he replied,  “Why, Count Dookula, must I spend the bulk of my life defending my actions while others in the order such as you amass great wealth with crass commercial ventures.  I’m surprised that you haven’t placed billboards along the road to Treesongard.  And another thing, this is not a golf ball retriever!”

The wizards entered the tower still engaged in an animated conversation about their respective lives that echoed through the sparsely decorated inner chambers as they climbed to Dookula’s study on the second floor.   “I have something interesting to show you”, stated the Count as he motioned Gambloss to  a chest high pedestal in the middle of the room.   “Under this crimson velvet cloth is a great wonder that has been thought lost for centuries.”  Lifting the shroud he cried, “behold the lost Magic Eight Ball of Rumormor”.

“My Stars!  How did you acquire it?  Let me have a try,” exclaimed a thrilled Gambloss.

“Of course, be my guest,  just remember Snorin will be alerted to your location”

“So what, this is your dump not mine”

Gambloss picked up the  orb and stared at the number eight emblazoned on its shiny black surface and gave it a vigorous shake as he queried.   “Will I become a millionaire”?   He stared into the ball and awaited an answer but none was provided.  “Is this some kind of joke my friend?  If so I’m not amused”, stated the irritated wizard.

Count Dookula clasped his left hand on the shoulder of Gambloss and pointed a finger toward a small slot on the globe.  “You have to feed it a quarter my friend”, he chortled.  

“Highway robbery”’ muttered Gambloss as he reached into his pocket for a coin.  After inserting the quarter  Gambloss once again shook the ball and repeated his question with great anticipation.  As he spoke the orb became clear and the image of a closed eyelid appeared accompanied by the sound of thunderous snoring.   The lid then popped open revealing an eye so bloodshot that it appeared to be red.  “Who wakes the great and powerful Snorin, and by the way the answer to any question you may have is NO”, came a voice from inside the ball.

“Wait a minute here, I paid my quarter and therefore am entitled to a thoughtful and accurate response”, shouted the irritated Gambloss.

The eye of Snorin squinted,  “look here, Bad-Ass Tower is not open for business until 11:00 AM period!  I’ll be glad to answer all questions no matter how stupid or trivial only during proper working hours.  By the way have either of you Old Farts seen my ring of power?”

Gambloss, frustrated but without recourse tossed the shroud back over the ball while a bemused Dookula grinned and said, “ask again later”.

“With hours like that the guy should be a Stubbie.   Oh yes,  speaking of the One Ring, I’ve garnered new information of it during my latest stay in the Landfill”.   For security let us leave this Snorin infested room and I’ll tell you”.

Count Dookula motioned Gambloss out of the room and the two wizards climbed the outer spiral staircase to the third and upper floor of the massive tower where they entered an empty room that took up the entire level.   

“Now, my good friend, you say you have news of the ring of power”?

“Well it seems that this Stubbie named Dorfo Baggypants has the thing and I really didn’t know what he should do with  it.   It seems the ring could cause  a whole lot of trouble should Snorin start chasing after it, and since I didn’t want to get much involved   I told Dorfo to take it to RivendElvis  so it could be Elvisround’s problem”.

“That’s it, the startled Count Dookula exclaimed, I can’t take any more!  You’re stripped of your title and rights. How could you let the ring be sent to the Elvis.  Those do-gooders will just try to get rid of it.   The Order of Old Farts could be all-powerful in Piddle Earth should we gain possession of it.   Now hand over your ID card and magic beans”!

Gambloss became unusually infuriated and shouted, “not on your life.  I thought our order, as screwed up as we are, was supposed to represent and the  good guys.  I challenge you to a duel.  Farts at twenty paces”.

“Very well, a fair fight, if myself vs. you could be construed as such,” bemoaned Count Dookula.

The two wizards stood back-to-back in the center of the room, walked off ten steps each, hunched down and battled.   Dookula fired first, unleashing a  strong blast that produced a fearsome wolf which Gambloss could only counter in defense by farting out a frisbee that sailed high in the air toward his opponent.  With an amazing leap the wolf snagged the frisbee in it's mouth causing both apparitions to disappear in a deafening explosion that cracked the marble floor.    Next the white wizard   let loose with a silent force that took Gambloss by surprise as it formed into a golf ball retriever that was about to crash down on his head.    Dookuman’s lame attempt at humor was not lost on Gambloss.   He was barely able to react in time as he squeezed out a golf ball that flew straight towards the retriever.  The ball embedded itself in the circular holder and pulled the telescoping partitions out as it sped towards the head of the Count who ducked just in time.  

For nearly an hour the two Old Farts exchanged the repugnant by-products of their sacred recipes and  Dookula sensed that Gambloss was finally out of gas.   “You now understand that you and your Landfill beans are no match for my powers.   While you have been wasting your talents and training I have been working on magic once  inconceivable.   You and your peers just dabble in farts, charms and enchantments which over a short time dissipate in the winds of time.   My magic has evolved, or you might say I now have given birth to a new flatulence, where the spell is alive!   Living and breathing as you or I”!    As he spoke Count Dookula expelled a burst of energy that shook the tower and sent lightning ricocheting about the room.   The cloud of stench swirled like a small whirlwind forming into a grotesque but powerful humanoid.   With a  steely-colored skin and scraggy hair the creature opened his mouth to reveal a bad need for dental work and fangs like a vampire.   “Behold my new creation,” Dookula shouted,  “the Buttuk Gai”!

The monster moved to the spent Gambloss,  picked him up, and carried him out of the room and up the stairway to the top of the tower where he tossed him and his ‘staff’ onto the cold roof to die. 

Copyright 2002, 2012, 2013,  John Keefe

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