Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Further map puzzles plus two lovebirds

After the children emerged from the depths of Chalk Cave, we placed the series of collected map parchments on the pantechnivan lift-gate and blew the old dust off. Half of the children crowded there with me, while the other half stood with Amy under the ancient desert arch and pored over the rare Salinger book with great interest.

I knew these maps well, but even after studying them into the wee hours many nights, I still had a hard time fathoming how the ancient ones were the most accurate; especially when considering that the ground here expanded with a new lava flow, a mere 27 years ago. How in the world could the oldest maps in the group, hundreds of years old, have known about this future event and been delineated with such fine matching detail? Could it have something to do with the ancient arch and what local indigenous people sometimes whisper about? After all, there are transformative wormholes in the universe; so why not one here in our stunning Picabo desert, next to the future airport?

Meanwhile, I had more pressing earthly needs to attend to. As Amy and I caravanned separately back to the Wood River Valley, I sensed that she would want to know where my relationship with Lana stood. Amy already knew that I much preferred love over war; but now I would have to gently break her news that I’m polyamorous. As I parked the van in the drive, I saw that my cockatiel Sheila was still outside, pecking at the living room window. This was puzzling to the max, because twenty minutes ago, while emerging from Timmermans dead spot; I saw that Amy had texted me about Sheila’s great escape and return. When I pulled the door open, Sheila streaked straight for the cage, where there was another cockatiel locked inside. Wait a minute now - which one was the real Sheila and which the pseudo-Sheila? The two birds resembled each other so well that they could have functioned as each other’s Doppelgangers. Fortunately, I had methodically trained Sheila to respond to my prompts in meaningful anagrams. So when I called out “Drunken Sailors!” from inside the cage the real Sheila immediately squawked back “Darkens oil runs!”

At this juncture, I unlatched the birdcage to let the two Sheila’s become better acquainted, while swapping out the bottom lining for some fresh newspaper. Soon, the birds made it clear that the second Sheila was not another female and that they would make a good mating couple.

As I ambled over to the map table to grab a large magnifying glass, I noticed that the real Sheila’s song was less discordant than usual, which made me believe that it would be a nice change, to listen to her fulfilled melody enhance the library background. Then, as I set down to study the esoteric map information closer, Amy rang my phone and I asked her if she had any good names for a strutting male cockatiel.

About the Author: Jim Banholzer is mostly a quiet hermit; but he could surprise you with an occasional glint of hope.

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