The Jawbone of the Cheshire Cat
“Why is there a jawbone on the side of the road?”
One could not help but notice the slight accusatory tone in the Professor’s question.
A few moments earlier, the Professor came upon Sister Madly poking at something on the ground. Now Sister Madly doesn’t pretend to know a thing about anthropology, but she does have teeth, and that bone fragment clearly had a healthy set of chompers. Thus one did not need much of an education to realize that what they were looking at was jawbone. And while Sister Madly cannot speak for the rest of her species, she herself is biologically programmed to wonder about jawbones just lying on the side of the road.
Professors, however, are created without any such curiosity.
“Whatever you do, don’t eat them.”
Don’t eat… Do you think that Sister Madly just picks random bone fragments off the road and puts them in her mouth? She’s not 2, you know- hasn’t been for years.
“I was talking about the mushrooms by the tree.”
Apparently, the Professor was more concerned about Sister Madly’s fungal-eating habits than the fact that she just found a jawbone on the side of the road. People are forever warning her about mushrooms.
You know, Sister Madly, one couldn’t help but notice the Professor’s lack of curiosity at the jawbone; perhaps it is the remains of a ne’er-do-well who was done up good and proper by the Professor after particularly cutthroat round of Settlers of Catan…
Oh, who are you kidding? Settlers of Catan never gets more interesting than a yawn. Besides, this would not explain how the ne’er-do-well went from fresh corpse to jawbone without detection. One would like to think that Sister Madly would have noticed a body decaying on the side of the road at some point during the last few months.
Thus, the only conclusion left to draw is that it must be the Jawbone of the Cheshire Cat, who passed on when he was nothing more than a smile. Probably from eating one of those mushrooms the Professor warned her about.
So Sister Madly did what any wide-eyed, little moppet would do: entertained delusions of grandeur (Indiana Moppet and the Jawbone of Belmont Street, y‘all!!) while hiding the bone fragment in a flower pot up in her kitchen.
But lying in bed later that night, she couldn’t help but overhear that little voice that she pretends is not in her head:
Sister Madly, do you realize that you are keeping a jawbone in a flower pot on your kitchen counter? There’s a word for people who do that: psychopath. Unfortunately, you’re not competent enough to live up to the title, but those who are will not like you imitating them in such a sloppy fashion and might try to do something about it- is that a smile lingering the corner?
The last thing she wanted was to he haunted by the Cheshire’s Smile for the rest of her life. So she threw the bone into the garbage.
But ten minutes later…
Sister Madly- there’s a jawbone rotting in your kitchen trash. This is how horror stories always begin: with the improper disposal – or flat-out disrespect – of body parts. Poltergeist comes to mind… do you want to spend the remainder of your life trapped inside the TV? And is that a Smile hovering outside your window?! Just try to tell yourself that is the moon. Everybody knows that the Cheshire’s Smile becomes the moon, and the moon his Smile.
It’s not that your imagination is running away with you, Sister Madly; it’s running away from you. Even it doesn’t like the thoughts that are going through your head. And without an imagination, there is no way you can pretend that moon is anything but the Cheshire’s Smile.
While all legends require the Adventurer to return the artifact to the place where it was found, Sister Madly decided that the dumpster behind her building was close enough. Sure, she had a little remorse for disposing of the Cheshire’s Smile in this manner, but it was his fault for eating the Professor’s mushrooms in the first place. Besides, the dumpster is 20 ft from her apartment, far enough away to ensure that she will not be haunted by the Cheshire’s Smile for the rest of her life.
Yet, not ten minutes later…
* Should you find Sister Madly’s imagination, please return it ASAP. Reality is a nice place to visit, but she doesn’t want to live there.
THEME SONG: Bones & Pearls, Peter Murphy’s Carver Combo