*Scene: the room is eerily quiet, with just a few soft stains of some unidentifiable music in the background. Dark velvet is draped along the walls. A simple chair, carved from dark wood and upholstered in crushed velvet sits behind a table which is covered with light cloth which hangs to the floor. A low set of shelves along one wall house several jars, vials and bottles full of various objects necessary in the black arts. A thick, leather bound book lies covered in dust atop a stand near the other wall. Torchlight flickers from the sconces. A candelabra supplements the torches at the table. The light flickers off the surface of a small crystal orb which is the other object on the table. As one’s eyes focus against the inadequate lighting a raven is visible in the background on a perch, but with no cage.
Suddenly a gong sounds thrice in the distance. Now the vaguely familiar music grows louder. The rustling of robes can be heard along with soft footfalls along the wooden flooring.
Through a break in the velvet strides ShibbOleth, dressed in flowing robes that look mysterious yet cheap in the same instance. The viewer is apprehensive that perhaps the clothes were bought in a hurry, and at a deep discount, as if someone had struck a fast bargain with a funeral home or a vaudeville act. He wears a conical hat covered with cabalistic symbols and it is at this moment that the music comes into sharp focus: it is the theme from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas.
A hush falls over the lucky few in attendance as they wait expectantly for something to happen. It is just then that ShibbOleth catches his foot in the hem of his robes, falling flat on his face. Several Aces and the Queen of hearts spill from one sleeve. Marbles can be heard scattering across the floor. The raven caws noisily and flies away as a rabbit scampers back through curtains, where it is briefly but noisily ill.*
:: ShibbOleth climbs to his feet as he attempts to right the hat with strange runes upon his tight shorn head ::
Welcome, welcome! We’ve been expecting you. As you know Rue DeDay is not with us in this place. We have gathered together to try and get some word from the Master while he is away in a Fantastic Place, perhaps the Happiest Place on Earth[sup]TM[/sup], or at least a close runner-up.
I have studied lo’ these many hours through the Master’s books, and believe it may be possible to use the spirits to communicate with him.
::ShibbOleth seats himself at the chair behind the table. A dove escapes from the other sleeve. ::
Brothers and sisters, I ask that any who doubts this power leave this place now lest your negative energy drive the spirits away!
:: They wait for the commotion to die down. ShibbOleth waves his arm to beckon the remaining faithful closer. Luckily he is able to grab the crystal before it crashes to the floor, and the flames on his robe are extinguished after a few moments of frantic beating and screaming…::
Now is the moment for which you have awaited! Our moment of truth!!
:: without further annoying dramatic buildup ShibbOleth waves his hands mystically in the air and as his eyes roll back up into his head he begins this mysterious incanation ::
Baa Ram Rue!! Baaa Ram Rue!! To the Boards and Dope be true!!! Baa Ram Rue!!
:: His head slumps soggily back on his shoulders, like so much overcooked pasta… perhaps the stain has been too much?? ::
- The small crowd murmurs something undeterminable, but the gist seems to be about getting one’s money back *
:: Suddenly first one, then the other of ShibbOleth’s arms rises up, revealing not enough exercise or sunlight and a very inexpensive men’s watch. Next his head raises up, and his eyes roll back into his head. In the distance the sound of thunder or cheap tin being ineffectively rattled can be heard::
- From the crowd a faint gasp can be heard *
:: Now ShibbOleth speaks, not in the voice which he used earlier to address the crowd, but in a golden voice, a voice which mothers will remember to their children. One is reminded of Gary Owen. ::
Snickers? Puddin’? Is that you? Sophie? Thinksnow? Auntie Em? Medea’s Child?
Zappo? Why have you brought me back? I have followed the light… and I was almost to the front of the line!! Sheesh, can’t a fella take a little vacation around here without getting interrupted by some sort of voodoo? Well, as long as we’re all here anyway…
Don’t cry, Puddin’. I waved when you flew over. And maybe we can come across the pond for the next one of these. Heck, as long as Shibb is in a trance let me see if I can get his credit card numbers…
Snickers, maybe we can find some excuse for your hubby to visit his Grandpa in Indy. We’ll always have Versailles! [sub]hehe, sly little Indiana geographical reference[/sub]
Sophie, we might have some sort of special initiation for you into my Special Friends if you can find your way up from Tennessee. Not that you’d need to take your clothes off or anything, we could work around that.
Ellen (The Brown Eyed Girl), don’t worry, we’re husband-safe and non-toxic. Plus Shibb hardly ever sheds anymore, not since we had him fixed.
Zappo: South Central Pennsylvannia is pretty far from Lexington, but maybe you can use the AA highway. It’s really not just for Anonymous Alcoholics anymore. Your secrets safe with us. Just kidding, it means Asheville to Alexandria. But don’t skip a meeting on our account. Unless you want to, it’s up to you.
Medea’s kid, we’ll find a nice one and kiss it just for you. A postcard that is. What did you think I meant? Okay, maybe I meant that, but it’ll just be our little secret, okay?
Now where are my other pals, friends and special friends? I don’t see Astro, Scout, T’Other or Icey out there? And there’s certainly some others missing. Well, it’s time for me to jump back in queue, and let Shibb have his body back. It’s kind of cramped in there for two.
Oh, and thinksnow, don’t think I did notice you back out there scopin’ all the ladies! For you I have a most important message: Don’t forget to…
::Just then ShibbOleth slumps to the table. This time the crystal ball does roll to the floor and splits with a loud crack, one half wobbling off to the left while the other half wobbles increasingly fast in an inward circle. Smoke slowly fills the room as the candelabra, which was knocked to the floor slowly lights the velvet drapes. A voice can be heard faintly in the distance, above some organ music::
…Please depost $3.25 for the next three minutes…