The VIP Visit - By Rosy

   Darnalongs are insanely colorful birds with tall thin legs, rather like storks, and long yellow beaks with lips on the end. They are known to be eccentric both in dress and outlook.  

   Windigale Ossep is a famous Darnalong reporter who has many odd Uncles. One particular Uncle named Clankey is a reprobate and a scoundrel. He is also a high ranking member of Darnalong News, Inc. which functions almost like a family. Mainly the Ossep family, I think but I'm not sure, could be a group of likeminded . . . well, let's just say an oddly connected, somewhat disparate group of Darnalongs who identify as members of Darnalong News, Inc. Maybe it's an extended family or maybe they're all just scamming each other. Who knows? Anyway, Uncle Clankey is high up in that thing. Maybe the boss. He usually travels with a marching band who arrive before him so they can musically announce his entrance, whenever possible that is, since Uncle Clankey does not wish to intrude, except whenever possible.  

   Windy and her sister Addagale share an apartment in the Infinite Hallway beneath the Darnalong Stump behind the Golly Orchard. It's a quiet neighborhood, Section 700-051-Golly, and is inconveniently located several kilometers westerly of the lobby, which is under the Stump, with apartments usually about a kilometer or two apart. 

   Windy and Addy's nondescript door simply says 'Ossep' on it in barely discernible letters. They do not receive visitors, at least not well, nor any other kind of correspondence. The Infinite Hallway does not have Wi-Fi nor, as you may have guessed, any other kind of reception. So for Windy Ossep to be a famous reporter for Darnalong News, Inc., a reporter who reports the news, many days without even leaving her and Addy's spacious apartment, which is somewhere in the Infinity Hall, is either amazing or ridiculous or ridiculously amazing. This is causing people to wonder how does she do it? 

   When asked once in a rare interview how she does it she waved a wing nonchalantly and replied, “I just don't think about it, you know I know I just don't know, so when I sing about it, shout about it, how about it goes to show what I don't know then usually, most generally, I mean specifically it's whatever's left that I report.” After a few moments of stunned silence she added, “Not much to see, you see.” 

   Today her report included a story about the impending visit of Uncle Clankey, a story that disturbed her listeners even more than her normally disturbing content. Oh, I forgot to mention. Darnalong News, Inc. is well known locally as purveyors of bad news. It's disturbing and it has many listeners. But Uncle Clankey? That news was worse and most everyone knew it. People tried to prepare as best they could. 

   Uncle Clankey arrived the very next morning, crack of dawn. There was a loud, probably amplified, jazz bugle and violin wakeup call from unseen sources. This was followed by a giant hot air balloon, maybe thirty meters long and twelve or so wide, that came rumbling down Elvenstead's main boulevard, hundreds of lights flashing, buzzers buzzing, pushing aside cars and buses not quick enough to get out of the way, bending or breaking stoplights, utility poles and whatever else was in the way. Then, from the forward compartment with strange lights in the windows, music could be heard. It was the rousing sounds of a marching band playing heroic music and when the balloon came to rest in front of the capital the giant cow catcher in front spread apart, knocking aside several more buses and cars, allowing a ramp to come down and that band marched right out, in step, their music blaring. 

   People stood in stunned disbelief yet were musically roused to solemn, often heroic poses as the band passed by. Then came the great Darnalong himself, Uncle Clankey strutting his stuff. Most the people didn't know who Uncle Clankey was, just that it said in giant red letters on either side of the balloon, 'Uncle Clankey!' and that this personage was arriving in a traffic-crunching balloon with a marching band, well that was enough. Who needed more? This was something they'd all dreamed of doing. Or something like it. They applauded and cheered. Fireworks began popping and fizzing overhead. 

   Somehow a stage appeared and Uncle Clankey climbed solemnly up the steps and walked slowly, amid thunderous cheers and stamping feet, across the stage then, stopping behind a podium, he raised his scarlet and green fringed wings for silence. The marching band stopped and stood at attention. 

   “I am thrilled,” he began, holding a wing over his heart, “absolutely thrilled that you all got to see me today!” Now he blew kisses and stepped off the stage. Again the enormous crowd cheered and cheered.     

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