Chapter Two

An Aroma From The Past


Bellybutton kicked through the ashes of the house of lint as he looked for the onion ring while  Dorfo surveyed the devastation with a curious smile on his face.  The thought had occurred to him that he no longer was to be stuck with an inheritance of the combined inventory of over one thousand junkmen.    His thoughts were interrupted when Bellybutton blurted out, “I found it!”  He held it high as Gambloss and Dorfo ran to examine the ring.   It was large enough to pass over the wrist of a Stubbie without breaking and, while not bitten through, many nibble marks could easily be seen around its perimeter.   It reeked of old grease and rotten onion, a smell that only a Stubbie could love.   On the inside of the ring glowing writing could be distinguished.  Bellybutton didn’t hesitate to begin reading the inscription aloud, “one ri ...” but Gambloss quickly interrupted,  “this could be a very important discovery.  I don’t want anyone to overhear our conversation.  We should go inside.”   The three agreed and entered the destroyed hovel.   The glowing writing was even more legible hidden from the light of the moon.   Bellybutton held the ring in front of Gambloss’ eyes and listened as the wizard  read aloud: “Preheat oven to 450 degrees and bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.”  “Sounds like the cooking instructions; let’s try it!” exclaimed the always hungry Dorfo.  “Wait, there’s more,” snarled the wizard, who continued reading:  

“One Ring, not for finger small,

One Ring, deep fried onion,

One Ring, if ingested all,

Surely will unbind him.


Three rings for the Elvis, Kings of song and dance,

Seven for the Dizzy-Knee Dwarfs, no more, or feel the cramps,

Nine for the Mortal Man, no more should he use,

One more for the Baddest Dude, his fate is to subdue.


Where the light grows dim and heat within makes crispy crunchy chews

A scrumptious taste, for Snorin’s sake, that no one can refuse!”

“Hmmm, confusing, it sounds like a combination of a jingle and serving sizes,” laughed Dorfo.   “Nonsense,” the old wizard countered.  “There is nothing humorous about this, you’re just too naive to understand, but this is obviously a secret message of some type.   Danger is nigh.  Since I am going to Treesonguard anyway, I will inform the leader of my order and we will discuss what procedures to take concerning this ring.   Bellybutton, you are going to the city of RibOfElvis and when you arrive go straight to Elvisround and inform him of the discovery.  Dorfo, take your time and meet me at  The Overburdened Pony in Limburger in one week.   From there we will travel together to see the Elvis.”  

“I wish I could see the Elvis,” whispered a mysterious voice from outside the window.

“A spy!” exclaimed Gambloss, who immediately flung his staff out toward the window.  The orange ball holder at the end expanded  as it approached the startled figure hidden in the shadows outside the window and, upon reaching the target, dropped down over the spy’s neck and tightened.   It was a perfect shot that even surprised Gambloss.   “Ha, ha, ha!  I was even beginning to believe you and doubt this was a magic staff until now, Dorfo.  What do you have to say about this?”  The wizard ‘reeled’ in  his captured prey … a more overweight than normal Stubbie unknown to him.  “Who the blazes are you and what are you doing spying on this super-secret meeting?”   The shaken snoop replied,   “Misa no spy.  Misa just changing hole locations on Master Bellybutton's putting green when misa hear spindly, weak, funny-clothed old man talking about yummy onion rings and Elvis.  They misa favorites!”   Gambloss tightened the hoop around the spy’s neck.   “Look, if you don’t stop it with that stupid accent of yours I’ll wring your neck until it’s the width of a pencil.  And I still haven’t heard your name.  Spit it out!” growled an annoyed Gambloss.    Bellybutton cut in, “This is Jam Jar Jelly-Binks.  He’s my caddie, greenskeeper,  and errand boy.   I can assure you, Gambloss,  he is quite harmless.”  “Misa  just … I mean … I won’t tell anyone what I heard, just take this golf ball retriever off my neck … please,”  whined Jam Jar.   Gambloss shot back, “How many times do I have to tell you clowns it’s a magic staff!  It has nothing to do with golf!”  Jam Jar corrected, “Oh, Yeah!  I’m a caddie and I know a ball retriever when I see one.  That’s the new Snap-It-Back 400 automatic ball and spouse retriever.”  Jam turned to Dorfo, “Top of the line it is, right?   See there on the handle?   There are four buttons.   You can set it for golf ball or spouse and extend or retrieve.”  “Well,” replied the wizard, “It must be magic to do all that.   I mean, what other than magical powers could possibly control it?”  Just then the battery compartment accidentally came open and four size D batteries fell to the floor. 

Before Jam Jar could comment on the batteries Bellybutton noticed a huge mob of Stubbies marching up Pants Cuff Row towards the remnants of his hovel.   They were carrying torches and armed with pitchforks, rolling pins, toothbrushes, and other sundries.   Shouts of “Run him out,” “take all his treasure,” and “string him up” occasionally could be heard above the continuous drone of epithets pertaining to Bellybutton’s family or fortune.   “Well, it’s a good thing I sent most of my good stuff ahead to RibOfElvis,” said Bellybutton.   “I’ll just have to tell them.   Hello down there.  Yoo-hoo!”   Gambloss grabbed Bellybutton, stopping him from going down to meet the throng.  “Are you mad?   These people want your hide.   Now let’s not panic.  Give the ring to your nephew.”   Bellybutton grudgingly obliged.  “Now Dorfo, whatever you do, don’t eat the thing.  Don’t even take a bite!  Keep it secret and, for Pete’s sake, keep it safe from the maw of that flabby Jam Jar!   Okay then … everyone, run for your lives!”

Gambloss got into his wagon, gave a quick push, and recklessly glided down the road.  “Geronimo,” he wailed as he rolled into the oncoming mob, scattering those that were quick enough to avoid the Radio Flyer.  Those that were not so fortunate were nudged off the road, suffering a variety of injuries such as bruised shins, sore kneecaps, and small contusions.

Gambloss’ daring escape had bought some time for the slow-thinking Stubbies.   Bellybutton ambled off in the opposite direction of RivendElvis, heading to the western slope of Tel Stench seemingly unaware as to why; and unnoticed by his nephew, Jam, or the mob.   Dorfo looked at his caddie and said, “Decision time is upon you, old friend.   I know the situation looks grim.   Are you still willing to be my caddie?”  Jam Jar looked toward the regrouping mob, then back at Dorfo, then back at the mob.  “From the looks of things I should side with the mob, but if I do that I don’t think I’ll ever get to see any Elvis'.  So, Dorfo, my good friend, I choose you.”  Dorfo was relieved.  “You're a good man, Jam.   It's obvious I can always count on you.  Now we best leave.  I say we head off to Limburger by the Course Road.  Maybe if we’re lucky we can still meet Gambloss at the Overburdened Pony.”   “I completely agree with you,” offered Jam.   “I just have one question.  Where’s Bellybutton?”  “I thought you were watching him, Jam!  Well, we can’t waste time searching.  We’ve got to move.”

Copyright 2002, 2012  John Keefe



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