Now that he’d completed basic training and finally was on his first mission, Tommy decided to start by taking stock of the items he had received from Tome Talon, his Swedish commander.
Some of them he knew would be quite useful out there in the winter wild, like the torch, the pail and the earthen jug, even though this one would add quite a bit of weight.
But what to do with the lever, the fuel filler flap, the plastic octopus, the garish fringe and the marionette?
Something among the collection, he now noticed, stank to high heaven – what could it be? The pumice stone, the miniature wattle, the black Moroccan bruise, the toy chimney or the limp rubber stow? He held them up to his nose one by one, without being able to identify the source of the evil smell. Oh well, it would probably go away once he got moving.
Now on to the mission instructions in that cute little leather-bound booklet. He opened it to page one. It said, “How do I turn stone into gold?” That was both mysterious and puzzling all right. Surely there’d be something more directly instructive further on. But the rest of the pages were blank, except for the very last one, which contained these lines:
It is a wise idea to startle a campfire at night.
The rug is for prayer only.
Too loud strumming may wake animals and enemies.
A good walker hardly ever gets in a jam.
Ask for massage after strenuous terrain.
Terrible taste cannot always be avoided.
Lentils make happy sound.
– James Steerforth (© 2010)
Written and posted for napowrimo #9. Instructions were:
- Use at least twelve words from this list: flap, winter, torch, pail, jug, strum, lever, massage, octopus, marionette, stow, pumice, rug, jam, limp, campfire, startle, wattle, bruise, chimney, tome, talon, fringe, walker;
- Include something that tastes terrible;
- Include some part (from a few words to several lines) of a previous poem that didn’t quite pan out*; and
- Include a sound that makes you happy.
* This is where the “How do I turn stone into gold?” comes from.