By Silver Gladstar
Everything I write is a trivial lie, fib, and/or Færietale, known collectively as taradiddles. Everything. in the past I have referred to as my little fibs are taradiddles, and I have decided to call them taradiddles again. This is not only because I like the word but also to help prevent the unlikely occurrence of their being mistaken for reality.
To help clarify what I'm talking about, I've listed some of the more interesting synonyms for taradiddle: baloney, bilgewater, bosh, humbug, tommyrot, tosh, twaddle, blather, hooey, and crock, blarney, malarkey, horsefeathers, and folly, along with pretentious and/or silly talk. Gosh. Oh, and they must be love-based. Well that pretty much sums it up. Thanks for listening!
A Boat On The Edge – A Taradiddle
Ishmael, Lorna, Holly and I have decided, since it's so rainy and cold, to explore a mysterious door with a wheel handle that's in the back of our kitchen. It's rarely opened since no one knows what's on the other side as it's always different, usually good but sometimes bad and every real long time or so it's flat awful. That's because the door is a portal to other dimensions, and they keep shuffling around. Anyway, with all this cold, wet weather we were ready to try our luck. Our chef Tadfast Chop has graciously cleared the normally bustling kitchen for the afternoon in the event of something bad popping out. She knew the history as well as we did. She has kindly fixed us brown bag lunches and we've each gathered whatever else we thought might be useful. It's difficult to pick things for infinite possibilities but I think we did alright. When everyone was ready, Ishmael walked over and gave the wheel a turn and the door swung open. We stood gaping at the darkness inside. I could barely see movements, but I couldn't identify anything, it being too dark and murky looking.
Then a figure inside approached the opening, “Tickets please!” a strangely familiar voice called out. I stepped inside and there stood our old friend Henry the Pigeon wearing a conductor's cap and taking tickets. Once past the door it was bright daylight. The others quickly followed.
“Henry!” I said. “How are you?”
He smiled at recognizing us, “Lillow! Lorna! Ishmael! Holly! Good to see you all again.”
“Gosh, Henry, what are you doing here?” I asked.
“Taking tickets Lillow. You got yours?”
“Uh, well, no. We don't.” I answered, giving Ishmael a worried look. “We didn't know, I mean we don't even know what the tickets would be for.” I looked around. “What is this place, anyway?”
“It's a dock and you're on the boarding ramp to the Flightless Grace, a paddle-wheeled cruise ship.” He frowned. “And you got no tickets.” I shrugged and I could tell the others were trying to look innocent. With a grimace, he growled, “Well there's nothing for it then, get on board and we'll sort this out later.” He looked at the ship. “Hurry now, she's taking off!” He began pushing us up the ramp. I saw the big wheel in back slowly beginning to turn and the ramp began creaking loudly. We scurried up, just in time to see the ramp fall over as the ship moved forward.
“Don't you usually push the ramp back when you launch?” Holly asked, looking at the twisted ramp lying on the dock with concern.
“Wasn't time,” Henry answered, closing the gate where the ramp had been. “You could see that. Why you just barely made it as it was.” He turned and began walking along the deck toward the front. “Come along now, the Commodore will be anxious to see you.”
With a worried glance to each other we followed. My immediate thought was that these Pigeons had stolen another boat and I hadn't seen or heard much to contradict that thought. The Commodore was sitting at a table in the bridge with a mysterious chart in front of him, another Pigeon at the wheel. He looked up as we came in.
“Ah Lillow! Ishmael, Lorna, Holly! Sit.” He waved to the chairs around the table. “Glad you could make it.” As we settled, he added, “So you decided to take a chance, huh?” I was too confused to answer. He continued, “Well, you pays your dime, you takes your chances!” He started laughing.
“They didn't have tickets,” Henry murmured.
The Commodore stopped laughing, briefly looked surprised, then added, “Well, I guess you all just takes your chances!” He laughed loudly again, then focused on the river ahead. “You see where we're going, don't you?”
I could see nothing ahead except haze and roiling clouds that split briefly to show stars in the background. That couldn't be right since it was broad daylight, but the clouds boiled up again, blocking my view. There seemed to be a huge roaring sound, deep and ominous. “No, I can't see anything. Just those clouds.” I squinted my eyes. “What's that sound?” No answer. “You know,” I continued. “I was just going to ask where we were going.” I looked at the Commodore. “So where are we going?”
“That's the edge of the world,” he intoned softly, pointing toward the roiling clouds.
“Huh?” I looked more closely. It did seem pretty chaotic, especially with those stars. But still . . .
“What do you mean edge?” Lorna asked.
“Yeah,” I added. “The world's round. There's no edge.” Ishmael and Holly had gone up to the windows in front and were peering nervously ahead.
“That's the edge there,” the Commodore spoke in no-nonsense tones, wearing a grim expression. “We're gonna see what's beyond.”
That's when I noticed a round door in the back wall. I motioned to the others to follow and we snuck over to the door. I looked back and saw the Commodore gripping the wheel, totally focused on the approaching edge with Henry by his side. Then I reached out and turned the door's wheel, the door opened and we all popped quickly through. I looked back just as the big boat started tipping over the edge with the Commodore still at the wheel, Henry still by his side and a misty blackness of star-filled space beyond. I slammed that door shut!
We were back in the kitchen. Only it wasn't quite the same.