It’s a known fact that every great business transaction begins with “Psst, Buddy…”
More so when the negotiation sequence is initiated by a sock.
It began a few hours prior in faux Medieval times,* where all attempts to out-cupcake the Dodo in the Battle of the Baked Goods failed in a most pathetic manner. True, it was because Sister Madly fled in what looked like a cowardly fashion, but she had a good reason: her sock was slipping off.
*A Renaissance Faire.
For those still following along, aye- this would be same sock that accosted Sister Madly behind the Hatchet-Throwing Range (perhaps not the ideal place for a little business tête-à-tête, but the nearest Waffle House was several states away.) She lost her sock, you see, when the Dodo made off with it after Sister Madly launched it out the window of the Citadel That Has No Pearls. What became of the Avian Horror immediately after was a mystery- that is, until she came upon a 2-ton* Viking well-versed in Barbarian-speak with her sock on his hand. Sister Madly didn’t think that was very sanitary, but then, hygiene didn’t seem to be a top priority with this particular philistine.
It came as no surprise to find that, amongst his other fiendish virtues, the Dodo was a heartless Sock Trafficker, having sold her paisley little friend to the Vikings for mere pennies on the dollar. Now her wretched Sock was doomed to a life of hard Viking labor, such as drinking and pillaging, and bellowing incoherent battle cries (faux Medieval-era Vikings didn’t do much else.)
But what baffled her was that the Sock didn’t seem particularly upset about this- in fact, it seemed rather chipper, if not downright happy. The Sock was never happy on her foot; after all, it did try to slip off earlier in the day. It did fly out the window at the first opportunity, and not once did it protest when shanghaied by the Dodo.
And when one considers the fact that it was the Sock, itself, negotiating its own safe return…
She promised the Sock prime real estate in her sock drawer. She promised him treats. She promised to hand-wash him in the kitchen sink rather than force him to endure the spin-cycle, which can’t be a pleasant experience. She even promised to buy him a cider here and now… an offer that was interrupted by the arrival of some good, old-fashioned, plague doctor melancholy.
You’re bribing a Sock Puppet with a pint?
My dear corpse-bird, if Sister Madly had a dollar for every time… that is, she has negotiated with socks before, especially during that crucial washer-to-dryer transfer- that they honor their commitment to each other, that they implement the buddy system- admittedly with mixed results. Besides, she wouldn’t be bribing her Sock with a pint if someone hadn’t handed him over to the Vikings in the first place!
I set him free. If he loves you, he will return to you.
Why aren’t you out treating the plague?!
Do you see a case of the plague that needs to be treated?
Rather than admit that he had a valid point- or worse, that he was good at his job- Sister Madly lamented that she didn’t have any cupcake ammo aimed at his stone-cold heart (if he had one.) The Dodo then obliged her with a handful of his customary Mystery Flavored Dum Dums.
Which she threw right back at him.
But soon she faced a different dilemma: her other sock clearly wasn’t happy about being left out of the barbarism- she knew this, because it was currently working its way down to her toes much like its mate had. It wouldn’t be long before she had a mutiny on her hands, and to be overthrown by sock puppets was not the way she wanted to leave this planet.* Besides, this particular sock species tends to mate for life- one never sees a paisley sock paired with an argyle. To destroy such a bond would be cruel, and Sister Madly had no choice but to let this sock join its mate. Her conscience can be totally bourgeois, sometimes.
And so Sister Madly pulled off her other sock and stuffed it into the Viking’s drinking horn.*
*Her conscience can be a total brat as well.
THEME SONG: Rock-A-Sock-A-Hop, Jimmy Crain
It began around 5 AM, when Sister Madly was awakened by this cryptic message:
“Err n and I want to ws ‘ll err I’m here to westv xxx and bj ask.”
Apparently, auto-correct couldn’t be bothered to interpret the Professors’ fantastic twaddle- that or, as Sister Madly suspected, just didn’t dare.
As it turned out, the Professors wanted to lay out itinerary for the day, consisting of a leisurely salad, followed by an advanced yoga class, after which they would be hitting up every Happy Hour between the studio and the drunk tank.
Yeah, Sister Madly doesn’t quite understand the logic behind the Professors, either. To begin with, Sister Madly does not do this thing called ‘salad’- in fact, the very sight of a leafy vegetable is enough to send her into fits. As for yoga- she has this thing called a spine, which is determined to prevent Sister Madly from bending herself into a pretzel.
Besides- yoga poses are for mountain tops.
But she’s totally down for the Happy Hour part.
As she was politely declining the salad and the yoga (i.e., Salad? Hello, have we met?!) there came a knock on her door, which she decided to confront while wrapped in her leopard-print bed sheet (not as sexy as it sounds.)
There are few things more terrifying than finding a man in a HAZMAT suit at your door. This post-apocalyptic missionary’s message was regarding the upcoming window-replacement that afternoon, and how Sister Madly was to vacate the apartment for the duration due to something called ‘Lead Paint.’ Apparently, it is not the most nutritious substance to inhale.
Society is always warning us of the dangers of inhaling substances other than air- even water has gotten a bad rap. Surely these fears are greatly exaggerated!
Take, for example, the first time Sister Madly tried cooking with wine: she got quite a buzz just standing over the skillet. Seriously, inhaling the steam was almost more fun than drinking the wine- almost. But she made it through the incident without much damage to body and soul, and ended up writing a very lovely email to a friend. What if it’s the same with Lead Paint? It could be the key to unlocking one’s creative genius! Yet Sister Madly will never find out; no, she’ll be whimpering through salads and sprawled out dead on a yoga mat while the HAZMAT Missionary returns home and paints some masterpiece worthy of Michelangelo.
After being shooed from her apartment, Sister Madly began the death march towards the Leisurely Salad- and was waylaid by a cackling crow, who pitched a dead bird at her from the tree branch overhead.
For heaven’s sake- what did Sister Madly ever do to you? Not only was this act deliberate, it was executed with force. And yet the incident wasn’t a total surprise, for she had recently come across a crow in the most peculiar way: having found a Tarot Deck in a free bin nearby, Sister Madly was naturally curious as to what this deck was all about.
And the first card she drew was The IX of Dead Sticks.
Ok, so ‘crow’ wasn’t the first creature
that came to mind…
It’s said that there are different methods of interpreting Tarot cards, one of these being intuitively. In retrospect, Sister Madly’s intuition had revealed that The IX of Dead Sticks meant that even though she would be flirting with a vegan lifestyle, the crows would not fooled by this pretense will pelt her with the corpses of their kin.
This is why The IX of Dead Sticks never turns up in horror stories: such a plot would only sell on the West Coast.
You know, Sister Madly, Leisurely Salads and Yoga are only in your future if you permit it. You are at liberty to change that future if it’s heading in a direction you don’t wish to go- maybe that’s what The XI of Dead Sticks is really trying to tell you.
And so Sister Madly informed the Professors that she will not be participating in the pre-Happy Hour Vegan Extravaganza; she’ll be eating dumplings and General’s Chicken* at the Chinese Restaurant, the one with the palm trees painted willy-nilly on the walls.
* With a fork, which caused the Professors to have a meltdown.
Fortunately, they do not know where that is.
The IX of Dead Sticks. Sister Madly is not fooled; she knows exactly who’s behind all this:
THEME SONG: Black Crow, Peter Murphy’s Carver Combo
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
If there is anything that depresses Sister Madly more than cabbages, it’s finding out that someone is trying to poison her.
Let’s face it: poisoning another person is not very gracious. In fact, some find it so rude that there are actual laws against it.
It was during one of her innocent frolics throughout the Renaissance Faire some years ago that Sister Madly, per chance, found a PURPLE Jelly Bean at the bottom of her glass. And though a Jelly Bean means absolute squat in this day and age, during that particular era they were considered toxic, with each COLOUR representing a different poison.
And seeing as one had so mysteriously found it’s way into her goblet, Sister Madly could say, within an acceptable margin of error, which miscreant was responsible.
Just look at him over there, strutting about like some colossal, avian horror: the Dodo, completely indifferent in his BLACK nightdress and creepy beak. He had just tried to poison Sister Madly with a PURPLE Jelly Bean and lacked the common decency to be ashamed of it! Why, he couldn’t have been more blasé if he had just burned down a Wal-Mart. The Dodo was one of those creatures whom always believed that the universe would look after him and, somehow, the universe always did.
This frustrated Sister Madly to no end.
Despite the many wonderful methods of exacting revenge, she settled on the Dodo’s own game. This she accomplished with a rendezvous with the Assassin – some common ne’er-do-well, it turned out, with hair so light and skin so dark that he looked like a photo negative. And here, Sister Madly wasted 10 minutes of her precious life deciding upon which Jelly Bean she would spend $1:
- RED = LOVE: No. Just no.
- GREEN = MIND CONTROL: Possibilities with this one.
- YELLOW = YOUTH: The last thing she needs is an everlasting Dodo.
- PURPLE = MADNESS: She suspects the Dodo is one corn nut away from this mindset as it is.
- BLACK = DEATH: Oh sure; the way her luck is going, the poison would bypass all the vital organs and go straight to his hips- which would be quite effective if the Dodo was a girl who worried about that sort of thing.
The truth is, she never saw the Dodo eat or drink, and he certainly wouldn’t absorb anything through the skin as his very wardrobe was meant to safeguard against this. But that didn’t matter: all Sister Madly really wanted was for the Dodo to know that she could get to him as easily as he could get to her… which wasn’t true in the least, because it took a great deal of finagling and brouhaha to get the Jelly Bean in his tankard- and at a great personal inconvenience, she might add.
But he didn’t need to know that part.
The beauty in this plan was that anyone could be responsible, if you think about it; all she had to do was point the finger. And most of the Faire Folk would believe her; seriously, the Dodo could hardly go about diagnosing everyone with the Plague and expect to remain popular.
It was over an hour later, after the Pub Sing-Along, that it was pointed out to Sister Madly that not only was there GREEN all over her hands – which she hadn’t noticed, the blind sap – but was also streaked along her neck. And across her temple. And above her eye. For heaven‘s sake, dear child; did any of the poison actually make it into the tankard?
This is why you should wear gloves, Sister Madly. So you don‘t end up poisoning yourself.
There was a certain wisdom in the Dodo’s words; even she admitted that. Yes, Sister Madly, you should have chosen RED, in which case you would’ve fallen deeply in LOVE with yourself, way beyond narcissism, and probably lived happily ever-after. But no; you chose GREEN. You chose MIND CONTROL. Now you are forced to do whatever it is you bid yourself to do. You spent $1 to prove a point to the Dodo – but in the end you were the one who DYED.
Is Sister Madly responsible, you ask? Absolutely, Skeksis ol’ bean! If you don’t wish the Moppet to engage in a dark science, don’t employ dark sciences in the first place.
The Dodo merely stared at her with a look of dull incredulity, or she assumed; he wore a mask, as always, so every expression looked very much like the other. But he did seem to have no idea what she was talking about – unlike his entourage.
And in a moment she lives over and over in her dreams…
The Beak had nothing to do with that, Sister Madly.
Nothing to do with it, they said.
And for the first time in her life, Sister Madly found herself within that acceptable margin of error.
Do you find it so acceptable now?
THEME SONG: Poison, Alice Cooper
Image 4) defectivescissors.deviantart.com
Should you ever find yourself having to describe the act of ‘Thinking,’ do in fact think before you speak. There are better ways of describing it than as ‘a voice inside your head.’
Sister Madly found that one out the hard way.
There was no indication that the day would one of great peculiarity- that is, until she woke up. In the midst of her Good Morning Stretch, Sister Madly, who had been sleeping in a manner most angelic, came to realize that a familiar face was hovering nearby, watching her sleep.
How, just how did the Effigy make its limbless way from on the fridge to the lamp beside the bed? This wasn’t just a trick of the heartless sunshine, but one of malicious intent, who delighted at the sight of Sister Madly engaging in an acrobatic struggle to free herself from the tangled sheets. Indeed, there was malicious intent- yet, she could prove none of it.
You see, Sister Madly has a habit of leaving things conspicuously out of place as a reminder that there is something of importance pending in her life. The reason for this is so that she’ll ask herself why in the name of Kermit the Frog did she hang a shoe from the ceiling fan, thus tracing her reasoning back to the fact that she needs to pay rent. Logic would therefore dictate that she had intended for there to be a utility bill or a note attached to the Effigy, but Sister Madly does not live in a House of Logic.
Besides, why would Sister Madly want THAT face to be the first thing she sees in the morning?
There is no doubt that the Effigy was assuming liberties beyond his humble station on the refrigerator, even going so far as to wreck havoc upon her dreams. Obviously, the only proper way to deal with the Effigy was to implement the most exquisite example of machete justice ever to be seen.
Only… where is the machete, Sister Madly?
One couldn’t deny the glaring white wall against which there once rested this magnificent weapon; but for just how long has it been this way? The rest of her arsenal seemed to be in tact; but the machete… that appeared to be on holiday.
Sure, she may have misplaced it. History is full of examples of ne’er-do-wells mislaying their machetes in their sparsely furnished, one-room domiciles, only to find it years later with all the missing argyle socks. It’s the classic American Love Story.
But what should have worried her more was the latest fun she’s been having with the Effigy:
Now, what would your great-grandmother say, Sister Madly, after bootlegging and moonshining her way first through Prohibition, then the Depression, only to be defaced by the Effigy and… that other thing? And just what is that other thing? Some sort of demented kumquat? It does looks like a sort of thing the Dodo would marry-
Don’t go there, Sister Madly; don’t do it.
But that’s just the thing she was thinking about later that night; she might have even been making faces while doing so. Of course, she couldn’t tell the Professors this; evidence suggests that they might be on his side. Come to think of it, Sister Madly- how do you know that they aren’t responsible for the Effigy’s cross-studio levitation in the middle of the night? They’ve already threatened to knit a sweater for your car, and everybody knows that is one step away from Effigy Moving. All the oracles say so.*
*They do so!
So when they asked about her obvious lack of interest in anchovies, Sister Madly told them that she was just thinking- a response that was met with confusion, as though such an activity was a foreign.
Yes, Professor, thinking; you know: the voice inside your head…
There was just no taking that one back; there was no use even trying. Perhaps it’s time for you to go home, Sister Madly; better yet, call yourself a cab- and when it arrives, just step out in front of it.
POST’S THEME SONG: The Enemy Guns, DeVotchKa
With 2014 drawn, quartered and stuffed safely down the garbage disposal, Sister Madly has decided to embrace the New Year with a new pair of fuzzy socks and some freshly sharpened machetes.
And one Old Acquaintance who refuses to be forgot.
Like most of the population, Sister Madly was looking forward to leaving that rotten year behind; in fact, she didn’t think things could get much worse- that is, until one morning last week, when this effigy was delivered to her by
Tallulah an agent under the guise of holiday cheer:
It was one thing when the Dodo was attacking her on his own power, with search engine terms and exploding onion containers, but now he’s involving innocent parties and she just will not tolerate it. Why, some of you have even sent her Dodo pictures, which she chalked up to your murky sense of humor- and couldn’t help but admire- but never once did she wonder whether or not the Dodo was behind that onslaught.
But are they really innocent parties, Sister Madly? Did you ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe, they know exactly what they are doing? Consider the evidence, Sister Madly, the batting cages and driving ranges and the ever-increasing I just happened to have chopped some onions right before you got here coincidences. You can‘t deny that those smiles have been anything but hollow as of late, or that there may have been more behind the wicked glint in their eyes than the usual Christmas Mischief.
Yes, Sister Madly: the Tofurky just got real.
Perhaps she is to somewhat blame. She should have taken precautions against this epidemic by supplying her friends with Dum Dums and anti-Dodo propaganda. She should have warned them of his charisma and his trickery. She should have given them peanut brittle.
But then came this horrifying thought: what if her friends had accepted this invitation into the Abyss not by the Dodo’s usual deception, but of their own free will? One really couldn’t expect much else from a crowd who is genetically drawn to Hall and Oates. It wasn’t long before they were stenciling birds on their kitchen cupboards and feeding the ravens cat treats- the Christmas Party was just lousy with Dodo Worship with a flagrant display of such rituals. Apparently, all one needs to achieve low-ranking divinity here on earth is to adorn oneself with a crow’s beak and a black nightie. Who needs integrity when you’ve got loads of style and a jar full of leeches?
But even as Sister Madly lamented this betrayal of loyalties, she found herself succumbing to some inexplicable force that compelled her to do this to a photo on her refrigerator:
No, Sister Madly- you cannot start having fun with this effigy. That is a sure sign that you are falling under his spell; one might even say it is the first symptom of the Plague, itself. It won‘t be long before you are building altars and sacrificing Dum Dums in the name of the Dodo, declaring how you would give your right hand for the honor of his blessing.* Come Halloween, you will be happily terrorizing the town in his very image- and did you notice, Sister Madly, how you just smiled oh-so-slightly at the thought? There was a time when this would have worried you.
*Well, somebody’s right hand, anyway.
You know, lobotomies only sound scary…
Faced with the possibility of an outbreak, she decided that the best way to safeguard against the Plague is to lay low and avoid contact with those infected until the epidemic has passed. Should you be in need of Sister Madly, she will be curled up inside your sock drawer- just give her a cider now and then, and she’ll behave herself.
POST’S THEME SONG: Birdhouse in Your Soul, They Might Be Giants
Image 2) skia.deviantart.com
Sister Madly does not need to be baptized- she needs to be exorcised.
It was a day like any other when a benevolent Sister Madly volunteered to participate in the ‘Drench a Wench/Soak a Bloke’ charity event at the Faire; she is, after all, in full support of finding a cure for cancer… or rescuing cats from the streets… or marketing a new potato salad… Whatever charity was to benefit from the event, she was probably in full support of it. Probably.
The rules were simple: for $5 a charitable fella received 5 sponges to fling at a group of women, and those hit by the sponge bestowed upon the charitable fella his choice of either a handshake, a hug, or a kiss. Take a guess which one the charitable fellas were more inclined to choose.
Fortunately, Sister Madly was supplied with lipstick so bright it could be seen from another planet.
After the novelty of bestowing kisses upon those who threw sponges at her face wore off, Sister Madly began planning her exit. There were enough women remaining who enjoyed this type of abuse that her absence would probably go unnoticed- or so she thought. What she hadn’t anticipated was the new crowd now gathering at the foot of the stage, a crowd that was too familiar for comfort. Suddenly, Sister Madly remembered how the word retribution had been uttered to her after having the Dodo arrested…
And to think that only a moment ago, she hadn’t a care in the world.
It wasn’t long after that the bailiff announced that he had a warrant for her arrest for the Distribution of a Controlled Substance. Yes, Sister Madly had been caught trafficking Dum Dums- and to a minor, no less.
Earlier that day, Sister Madly had endured the usual Dum Dum assault, which Skeksis seemed to relish more so than normal. This all took place in front of a young Viking Tot who, upon seeing the candy but unable to reach it, began to cry. No, bawl. Wail. Wail as no barbarian has ever wailed before. A wail that summoned every available Orca to the nearest shoreline. A wail that left no doubt in anyone’s mind that Sister Madly was a greedy little vixen who had stolen the Viking Tot’s candy.
Take the Dum Dum, kid- take it! Take them all!
Oh, Skeksis- you planned this whole thing, didn’t you? You set her up.
And with that revelation, Sister Madly lunged at the Dodo, taking a flying leap from the stage- and into a pile of soggy, spent tomatoes.*
(*From Tomato Justice, where you pay money for some cheeky creature to insult you, and you seek justice by throwing tomatoes at him.)
At least it’s not Riverdance —
You’re right, Sister Madly: that wasn’t Riverdance. By a long shot.
And now you’re charged with assault as well.
Her response was typical of the situation, grunting like a primordial beast on the verge of discovering fire; even the tomato she tried to throw in his direction merely hung in mid-air before landing on her shoulder and splattering across her cheek. Face it, Lady Marinara: the only thing you have ever successfully thrown was a tantrum.
Doing her best to appear undaunted after her whole ‘Face in the Compost Pile’ incident, Sister Madly crawled out of the tomato heap and, much to their surprise, took off running. The arresting officers did nothing but stare after her, as apparently ‘Resisting Arrest’ had not been invented yet.
It wasn’t until few hours and a pint of something later that Sister Madly was able to track down the Dodo. After a liberal application of atomic lipstick, she lunged at him once again with the same ol’ battle cry:
At least it’s not Riverdance —
And Sister Madly plowed right on past the Old Bird and into a bush.
The gods do not approve of this inept revenge sequence, Sister Madly. Nor do they offer you any sympathy. You do realize, don’t you, that you started this whole thing with your appalling lack of knowledge concerning certain events of the Medieval era? Karma, Sister Madly, karma: first, you belly-flop off a stage in front of hundreds of people, then you throw a tomato at yourself, then you round out the attack by torpedoing right past the Dodo and into a bush.
Perhaps your stealth is not what you assume it to be.
POST’S THEME SONG: Kiss Them for Me, Siouxsie and the Banshees
There was a sense of lightheartedness that afternoon, when Sister Madly came home with a package of fresh, pre-chopped onions. Just knowing that tomorrow’s kitchen disaster was going to be without tears made this week’s what-the-hell purchase as prized as her antique opium pipe. Even Toto’s Rosanna could not chase away the butterflies.
Once the prep work aftermath had been cleared away, Sister Madly retrieved the onions from the fridge, noting that the container seemed to be bulging slightly. She hardly had time for curiosity at this phenomenon, for the moment she picked up the onion container, it exploded.
This, of course, made Sister Madly cry- and hers is not the gentle weeping of one touched by a animal rescue commercial. No, every time she comes within a half-mile radius of onions being chopped, Sister Madly looks as though she had just witnessed the massacre of millions of helpless kittens as she walked barefoot across a sea of Legos.
What made matters worse was that the paper towel she blindly reached for to wipe her eyes and nose was the one she used to handle the habanero peppers a few moments before.
Now, habanero eyes are horrible in and of themselves; but habanero nose- that is a another thing entirely. She knows better than to handle these foods without the proper eyewear- but now she has to protect the rest of her face as well? Exactly how was she the only one in her family to end up with such a hyper-sensitive system? She might as well just pitch a tent at the fairgrounds and charge admission.
In a few short weeks, this will be Sister Madly:
Hmm? You say you’ve seen something like this before, Sister Madly? There is something familiar about it… Perhaps you are reminded of a past life, a medieval life…
Perhaps you’re reminded of THIS GUY!
You realize what this means, don‘t you? Sister Madly is slowly and systematically turning into the Dodo.
That was his plan from the beginning, wasn’t it? While Sister Madly believed their rivalry operated on a day-to-day basis, the Dodo had a scheme that reached far into the future. She had suspected something like this in the past, believing him to be responsible for the sudden onslaught of search engine terms that addressed the Dodo specifically.
It all makes sense now: the onions, the peppers- it’s the Dodo’s subtle attack, turning Sister Madly into a modern apparition of himself. The Dum Dums, those Mystery Flavor Dum Dums that he use to throw at her- they have something to do with this, don’t they? She doesn’t know how, but she is convinced this ever-increasing hypersensitivity is directly related to the Mystery Flavor Dum Dums, which were probably created with the same engineering techniques as GMO’s. The Dum Dums may also be responsible for the intolerance that once caused Sister Madly to murder a sandwich.
It‘s been over a decade since their last encounter, and she foolishly assumed that he had flown off to the Great Bird’s Nest in the Sky. She had long-ago given her concession speech, sulking in the dark one night when she realized that although she had won several battles against the Dodo, she had lost the war.
But he‘s never really gone, is he?
So what would becoming the Dodo entail? Well, based on what she had witnessed in the past, it would require Sister Madly to endure the insults and pranks of Sister Madly, to throw Dum Dums almost compulsively at Sister Madly, to have to Riverdance her way out of jail as a penance to Sister Madly, and to creep everyone out with her outfit- including Sister Madly.
In other words, it would require Sister Madly to be constantly at war- with herself.
They say if you can’t beat them… No, absolutely not. She will not be joining him. That just will not do. You see, even in this dark place, there is a glimmer of hope: for if the Dodo is, indeed, still out there, it means that Sister Madly still has a chance to win this war.
POST’S THEME SONG: Everybody Knows, Leonard Cohen
~ Thanks to everyone who entered the Necronomicon Giveaway. Sister Madly has been in contact the winner- she will keep you updated! ~
It has been over ten years since Sister Madly first encountered the Dodo, an entity against whom she was won many battles, but to whom she has lost the war.
Unless, of course, they meet again- which just might be happening.
You see, Sister Madly believes that the Dodo is currently taunting her in absentia. Within the last few weeks, there’s been a sudden onslaught of search engine terms which address the Dodo specifically. She believes the Old Bird is behind this, for not only are these searches bizarre, some cannot be recreated– further proof of the Dodo’s Evil Agenda.
Sister Madly ought to draw a new pic of
the Dodo- or enlist an unbiased artist who
will not scribble over the final work as
an act of retribution.
~ HOT DODO ~
Who, but who would think the Dodo is hot, if not the Dodo himself? He is anything but: he is sinister, creepy-looking, more than ready to diagnose you with the plague (jerk) and experienced with an insult.
But he is anything but hot.
(There is a possibility that it was an unrelated party responsible for the above search. It’s not recommended that you attempt this one yourself; let us just say, the person who found his way here was thoroughly disappointed.)
~ PLAGUE DOCTOR MOTTO ~
It now appears that the Dodo may have been behind the translation of Sister Madly’s family motto. She didn’t think so at the time, but the evidence is mounting. He was, after all, there that day.
Who else could manipulate ancient Latin to read ‘Strength, Honor and a Soft-Shelled Almond‘ ?
~ ASYLUM VACCINES ~
Sister Madly has no explanation for this one.
~ CRAZY BIRD AUTOPSY ~
Nor for this.
~ TIN FOIL PLAGUE BIRD ~
Especially not for this.
~ PLAGUE DOCTOR DEGREE ~
Sister Madly once made a similar claim, which backfired.
~ SKEKSIS ~
Perhaps the most compelling evidence of all. Though it was only mentioned once or twice in the comments, the Dodo went by the name Skeksis. While Sister Madly saw the resemblance even back then, calling him the ‘ugly bird-like thing from Dark Crystal‘ was just not practical.
So it is with this same vindictive spirit that Sister Madly has decided to relate one of her (admittedly indirect) victories over the Dodo: the Living Chess Match.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
It shocked the Professors the day Sister Madly volunteered for the Chess Match. Though it was out of character, Sister Madly found herself in a peculiar mood, one dripping with witticism and the confidence that the gods were smiling upon her. She knew the Dodo often played the match, and she wanted to use her newfound witticism against him. Indeed, it was a peculiar mood.
And it just so happened that the gods were smiling upon Sister Madly that day:
You wanna play chess, Sister Madly?
Great Old One just might get out of bed for that.
You see, this was no ordinary chess match. There was an additional rule to liven things up, of which the Professors were well-aware even as Sister Madly was not: whenever a piece landed on a square already occupied by the opposing team, the two may fight for possession if the original occupant issued a challenge.
When the rules were explained, Sister Madly found that she was no longer in the grip of this peculiar mood; rather, the notion of sitting on an anthill on the other side of the Faire became very appealing. The chances of battling it out with the Dodo, which appeared unlikely in the beginning, suddenly seemed inevitable- and this game was not going to be won by insults.
Sister Madly never got the chance to challenge Skeksis directly; they only ever came within a square and a few feisty insults of each other. As for her teammate… when the Bishop found himself on the verge of forfeiting, Sister Madly proposed the challenge of removing the Dodo’s mask.
… Sister Madly.
You see, the Dodo was never without his mask; he was notoriously stubborn about it. So it came as no surprise that he ultimately refused, thus forfeiting the square; what surprised Sister Madly was that this was accepted as a legitimate challenge in the first place. It surprised Skeksis, too: he threw a Dum Dum at her.
To this day, Sister Madly has never seen his face, if he has one…
*Due to an overall lack of excitement, Great Cthulhu lost interest in the match and went on to smile upon the road construction situation 15 miles west, which may account for Sister Madly’s victory.
It also accounts for the 90 minute delay driving home that night.
Sister Madly does not suffer fools gladly, but when she just happens to be that fool, she gets really cheesed off.
She was not yet a fool the day she arrived at the Renaissance Faire over ten years ago, but little did she know the plot to make her so was already in the works. The onslaught began when, while sidetracked by a troupe juggling several cans of Spam, Sister Madly felt what she assumed were little stones pelting her in the back. She turned to find the Dodo bombarding her with Dum Dums.
It was good of him to remember who she was.
This, of course, was unacceptable; Sister Madly was merely watching a couple cans of Spam being tossed around in the name of entertainment- while on her best behavior, she might add, all of which came to an end with the Dum Dum Assault. So it was out of impulse rather than forethought that Sister Madly took out the Dodo with a well-aimed mini corn dog to the beak- which she immediately regretted, because that was her last mini corn dog and she was still rather peckish. She also regretted not having covered it in mustard first.
The crowd nearby somehow found her actions inappropriate, so consumed were they with Dodo Worship they failed to noticed that the old bird had just assaulted her with a flurry of Dum Dums. It was the goblin-like urchin with the supreme vocal skills who took it upon himself to reprimand her.
And what crisp repartee would this clown have to offer?
“He throws Dum Dums at everyone- he’s a Plague Doctor!” *
* The logic of this statement still escapes Sister Madly. If anyone is able to shed some light on the matter, feel free to do so. Sister Madly is all for enlightenment.
Ancient Plague Medication
Her desire for revenge was stunned into silence by this cryptic message, of whose idle pondering led her to a pavilion that specialized in family histories. Had this pavilion dropped anchor elsewhere, Sister Madly might have strolled off into the sunset in unspoken bewilderment, never to be seen nor heard of again. However, the idea of having aristocratic roots intrigued her out of this contemplation to ultimately become the person she is today- no one’s saying that this is most fortunate; it’s just what happened.
Of all the names available, she was unable to find either her surname or her mother’s maiden name. There were a few other names further up the family tree that she was able to recall, but only one yielded anything of interest. It was said to be a noble name, complete with a coat of arms, a family crest, even a motto- which was in Latin, lending to the illusion of the utmost prestige. Sister Madly left the Faire that day with a fistful of Dum Dums and the motto written on the back of her hand.
Later that night, she consulted what had to be the first- certainly, the only- online Latin translator to solve this puzzle. These translators have greatly improved over the years, but at that time there was no reason to doubt the accuracy of the ancient one. Latin is often regarded as universal, so how could things possibly go wrong?
Strength, Honor and a Soft-Shelled Almond.
For a moment there, she thought it was some sort of riddle, but she could no more solve it anymore than she could unravel the secret of the aforementioned Dum Dum-Throwing Dodo. She then suspected a typo, but no matter how it was entered into the translator- as the entire motto, or by section- it always came out the same:
Strength, Honor and a Soft-Shelled Almond.
Sister Madly is less perplexed by this picture
than she is by the motto. Or the Dum Dum-throwing Dodo.
Gone were the daydreams of ancestral revelry; the estate that she was entitled to in Europe was suddenly reduced to a blasted heath. There was a certain romance in the notion of an ancestor stealing away in the night to start a life in the New World, only to be devastated by the likelihood that he was merely an escapee from some tawdry asylum. Try as she might, Sister Madly was unable to work up much enthusiasm at being the descendant of a family of strong, honorable nuts.
And if you’re sitting there wondering what to do with that old cheese board and picture frame…
POST’S THEME SONG: A Lack of Understanding, The Vaccines
Sister Madly is a Renaissance Faire Junkie; the layman’s term for this is nerd. But she is not a full-on nerd: she does not care if her costume is historically accurate, nor does she pretend to enjoy Shakespeare, Tolkien or the Princess Bride. Yet, despite this love for most things Medieval, she cheerfully lacks the knowledge of some of the more significant events of the era.
It was over 10 years ago that she first encountered the Dodo. It wasn’t that she had never seen this creature before- indeed, there was something vaguely familiar about him- it was that this time, she was particularly cheeky about it. She went on to make the very vocal assumption that he was a part of a cult that worshiped the Dodo, for that is what he looked like, and that he was the Big Hoot.
So, what could the Dodo do about it? Well, diagnose you with the Plague, for one.
Sister Madly felt that this was a bit impulsive on his part. She, after all, had been enduring various tauntings of wench for hours without much malice, and had decided that anyone dressed as extravagantly as he was asking for it. She was fairly certain that name-calling was not a symptom of this malady, but that was as far as she got with her argument. Besides, who died and made him Almighty Diagnoser of the Plague?
While there were more civilized alternatives at her disposal, Sister Madly’s ultimate decision was to kick the Dodo’s cane out from under him, but this merely resulted in a clumsy pirouette that sent her face first into some reddish muck and left her looking like an autopsy.
However, all was not a total failure, for it was here that she learned how to stifle a sneeze. And it was not going to be a dainty sneeze- those are simply not in her DNA. It was going to be powerful, it was going to be devastating, and it was going to prove that the Dodo was right- that Sister Madly had the Plague.
The sneeze came, with all the sudden, deep inhalation of its kind, including that all-too-attractive screwing up of the face- but then, nothing. Simply gone, much like her Popple in the days of yore. For a few moments there, Sister Madly marveled at this newfound superpower and all of its possibilities, then sulked at the realization that it was simply impossible to sneeze while confined in a leather bodice.
She looked forward to her next sneeze back in the natural world, with plans on imitating the unholy restriction of the bodice. When it came, she was able to stifle the sneeze like a pro. But there is a drawback to doing this in public: while you can prepare yourself by pretending to be wearing a bodice and/or corset, while you can go through all the deep inhalations to find that the sneeze has abandoned you (again, like her Popple) you have already made the crazy face. At least with the sneeze, people will know the reason for this.
But if you are on a mission that requires the utmost discretion, this may, indeed, save your life.
POST’S THEME SONG: Bigmouth Strikes Again, The Smiths