The Mortality Rate of Kindness
Once upon a time, Sister Madly walked the plank.
She also skipped, bought pints for, and philosophized with the Plank. Then they shared a Pronto Pup.
This merry time of misrule took place at the Faire. Earlier that day, Sister Madly failed miserably in her attempt to poison the Dodo with a jelly bean – an act which, for some reason, he took rather personally. And when he takes things personally, he tends to be vindictive, gleefully dispensing his own brand of Vigilante Justice. In fact, being of a mindset most medieval, the Dodo preferred his revenge lightly seared on both sides – the more blood, the better.
She also failed in her attempt to reason with the Dodo.
Don’t you believe deep in your heart – wherever it is – in killing with kindness?
But there was no appealing to the Dodo’s better nature: he didn’t have one.
Kindness, Sister Madly, does not have a high mortality rate.
The Ol’ Bird could really hold a grudge when he put his mind to it. And just when she was about to eat crow…
(The Dodo also lacked a certain sense of humor when it came to puns.)
Had she not been so distracted by serving up a sassy line, things might have turned out differently for the hopelessly pompous Sister Madly. Sassy lines tend to sidetrack one from the important things in life – like making one’s getaway. Instead, she was handed a rope, at the end of which was a splintered chunk of a 2×4: yes, this round of Vigilante Justice consisted of Sister Madly walking the plank.
(The Dodo no longer lacked a certain sense of humor when it came to puns.)
So she was to walk the plank around the Faire, which was cruel in and of itself: that place had a layout that would have terrified Escher. Of course, the Dodo was to accompany her along the way, which made the sentence downright sadistic. Becoming a living example of a pun was bad enough; but when shadowed by one’s Arch Nemesis – who was once more lacking a sense of humor- no. That Ol’ Bird had to go.
It wasn’t easy, losing the Dodo; just when she thought she had ditched the Ol’ Bird, he managed to turn up in the background, hovering like some grotesque, avian Slender Man. He was all too prepared for her unladylike shenanigans, dodging in and out of pavilions and crawling under tables- how she ended up losing him, she couldn’t say: one moment, he just wasn’t there, which came as such a surprise that Sister Madly actually started looking for him. Briefly.
So she had lost the Dodo; now she had ditch the plank- better yet, find some unsuspecting elf or Viking to return it on her behalf. But in an unguarded moment, when she looked into its beady little nonexistent eyes, she realized that this was no ordinary plank. It had soul.
And it had a name: Chickpea.
What began as a penalty became an unlikely alliance. Together, they skipped through the Fairy Grove, cheered on the underdog in the joust, taunted the Vikings (from a safe distance), shared a Pronto Pup and raised pints at the pub all the while discussing things both wicked and whimsical. Occasionally, they lamented about the flies.
Here’s something to mull over, Sister Madly: if the Dodo really is such a horrid old jackdaw, would Chickpea have stuck with him this long? Sure, the two of you despise each other and have managed to make a career out of it, but perhaps you’re wrong about ‘The Beak’. In the right company, he might be quite charming.*
But this friendship was short-lived. Chickpea, she soon realized, did not belong to her – Chickpea didn’t belong to anybody. It was a wild thing, and wild things are not meant to live in captivity. They belong to the Earth. They have a spirit that cannot be contained. They deserve to fly.
And Chickpea deserves to fly now, Sister Madly, because that’s the Dodo heading your way.
So they ran to the edge of the Faire and, with a most haphazard benediction, Sister Madly flung that wild, splintered Soul into the stinky swamp of freedom – just in time, it turned out.
You’re not suppose to enjoy your sentence, Sister Madly… where’s the Plank?
She set him free; if he loves you, he will return to you.
And that was the last anyone ever saw of Chickpea.
~ Vaya con Dios, Old Soul ~
~ and may you never step on a Lego ~
THEME SONG: Born to Be Wild, Steppenwolf
Image 1) christopherlovell.com