Once upon a time, there was a Stranger In A Strange Town...

Larry And The Magic Eye

Once upon a time there were two wizards, who conjured up a magic eye that could find anything, anywhere. It was so much better than the magic eyes that other wizards had created that soon, everybody was using this magic eye, and merchants gave the two wizards buckets of gold to show their wares next to the magic eye.

The wizards soon had so many buckets of gold that they hired a merchant to take care of the magic eye and collect their buckets of gold for them, while they travelled far and wide bringing freedom to the people. Well, one of the wizards did this; nobody is really sure what the other wizard did, but it was surely something good.

Meanwhile, the merchant used some of the buckets of gold to have other wizards conjure up more magical marvels, and traded some of the buckets of gold for magical marvels yet other wizards had already conjured up, and all of these magical marvels attracted more buckets of gold, with which even more magical marvels were sought.

The people marvelled at all the things they could do with these magical marvels, merchants gladly gave buckets of gold to show their wares next to the magical marvels, the two wizards' holdings of both buckets of gold and magical marvels increased greatly at the hands of the capable merchant, and everybody lived happily ever after.

That is, until one of the two wizards got bored and decided that he should take care of the magical marvels and collect the buckets of gold. He thanked the trusted merchant for all that he had done during his years of service, gave him a really big bucket of gold, and sent him on his way.

The wizard then looked upon the magical marvels and buckets of gold, and realized that he had not actually conjured up any magical marvels since he and the other wizard had conjured up the magic eye. Now, the magic eye was known far and wide as one of the greatest conjurations in all of magic, and most wizards would be proud to be known for this. But not our wizard.

Our wizard had become vain, and decided that he must cast his own spell on all of the magical marvels in the shop, so that everyone would know that they were his. Now, a few of his apprentices told him that the people were happy with the magical marvels as they were, and the merchants who gave buckets of gold to display their wares next to the magical marvels were happy with the people being happy with the magical marvels as they were, but the wizard answered, "Did I not conjure up the magic eye? Am I not the greatest wizard in all of magic? Am I not smarter than the people? Do I not know better than them what they will be happy with?" 

To be continued...

Leroy's Dream

There was a strange town, just over yonder. The boy looked back at where it had been, wondering if it was really gone. He knew that it couldn't be, that somewhere deep in the hidden cracks of the Universe, a perfect replica was preserved for all eternity, waiting for him to find.

He also knew that he would never find it. He would come across snapshots, reminders of fading memories, but the place as it was would forever elude him. Like Brigadoon, it would remain hidden by the impenetrable mist. One day he will wonder if it was ever really there at all.

But that day is still far off, and right now what he wondered was why they had to burn it down. He understood that it had been time for everyone to leave, that the town could no longer support any life within its walls. He had been okay with that, when they had said that they would leave it standing so that he and the others could wander about the silent streets in reminiscence.

The fire had come without warning. Two years and a day after he had first arrived there, he had been taking a stroll down memory lane, thinking about what misadventures he would write about next. The next morning, it was gone, with not even charred remains to show that it had been there.

But he still knew it had been. And he remembered enough about the strange things that had gone on there to continue the writing of his strange history. And what he wouldn't remember, he would imagine. And it would become greater in legend than it was in life.

And for that, the arsonists would come to regret what they had done. And he smiled as he picked up his parchment and quill.

Captain Beware!

By the time the Captain made it to the upper deck to see what the ruckus was about, it was too late. The intruders had not only boarded the ship, but had taken the Skipper captive. He was soon in the same boat, so to speak. He blacked out.

When he came to, he saw that he and the Skipper had been strung up in the public square, and the crowd was out for blood. Well, really just the Wench and her Hench were out for blood, but they made a lot of noise about it. They were not so much joined as followed from a distance (and much less coherently) in their bloodthirst by a rogue slave who had managed to buy himself.

The rest of the folks seemed more interested in their cups of coffee than the rantings of the dastardly duo, while the Captain and the Skipper were hanging around, so to speak, wondering what would happen next. They were not at all surprised that it was the arrival of the Magistrate, who politely suggested, as was his custom, that perhaps there had been a misunderstanding. Meanwhile, a rather large man apparently averse to bathing wandered about the crowd asking for pictures, as was his custom.

There was no misunderstanding, shouted the Hench, speaking for the Wench, as was his custom. According to him, the Captain had committed all manner of unlikely invasions, and must be punished. The Skipper, he declared, was simply annoying, and that could not be permitted. The Magistrate, in his customary manner, did not doubt what had been said, nor did he not doubt it either.

Upon hearing the accusations against the Captain, one lady looked up from her book of crafts and said simply, "That's a load of hooey," as was her custom, although those were not quite her exact words. The Captain himself said little in his own defence, but he did point out that the Skipper had done nothing that the Wench herself had not done, to which the Hench replied by pointing out that the Captain was old.

In the end, the general consensus was indeed that there had been a misunderstanding, although nobody fully understood what it was, and the crowd went about its usual business. The strings that had held the Captain and the Skipper unravelled, and the Wench and her Hench went looking for their next misadventure.

Our heroes made their way back to the ship, where the Captain resumed crooning about his appetite for his guests, while the Skipper went about the omnipresent matter of keeping the Universe safe from stupid people.

Somewhere there is a universe where we are roaming the stars fighting whatever there is to be fought, like characters in a Heinlein novel.