Please don't tell anyone the punchline.
"By the headbone of Quelg," raged Mudhurler, "No spawn of this mire will be refused Instruction. Which of you approached the Node?"
Furling my tertiary sensors I boldly slid forward. "I did, your Frenziedness. I am Stonescatterer, eggfellow of Clutchpod, Sidler, Weedseeker and Highhoot." I spat politely towards their respective basal fins as I gave their names.
Mudhurler acknowledged them with a surly puckering.. "And did you make proper obeisance to the Nodekeeper, young eggling?"
"Most assuredly. Levelling my tongue at the horizon I slunk along the Nodal Path, following the concealed pattern of reversible primes, all permissible sensors extended, remembering to make the five gyrations which mimic the motion of the setting moons."
"No less than custom requires," growled Mudhurler. "Yet you were denied access, I'm told?" There was an uneasy murmuring among the gathered onlookers. Mudhurler shrank to his densest configuration, swivelled slowly, voiding an unsavoury admonitory pulse. The murmuring abruptly ceased.
"Sadly so, O Agitated One."
Reconfiguring, he shuffled close to me. "Tell me, eggling, what were the Nodekeeper's exact words?"
Curling my topmost cilia in embarrassment, I quietly repeated what the Nodekeeper had told me. Mudhurler became truly infuriated. His mouthsac bubbled, several headbulbs flushed through permutations of grey, and a violent mottling spread to the tips of his fins. For a time he bulged and thrashed uncontrollably, and we all slithered to a safer distance until his fury had subsided. Eventually he simply dismissed the entire gathering with an exasperated retch and a peremptory flick of his tails.
Afterwards, back in the comfortably dank seclusion of our matted homepod, there was inevitably a clamorous demand to know what it was the Nodekeeper had said. I prevaricated. I feigned loss of memory resulting from Mudhurler's spectacular fit of wrath. I tried to distract them with a recitation of Mistsucker's Theorem, normally a guaranteed soporific. Futile efforts; they were too excited, too eager to learn, as was only to be expected. I realised that I would be granted no rest until their curiosity was satisfied, so in the end, reluctantly, I had to tell them. But oh, the impudence of eggfellows! They laughed. By the headbone of Quelg, they laughed!
© L J Sklaroff 2011 All Rights Reserved
Date and time of last update 01:00 Sat 26 Feb 2011
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