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Chapter 11: Digressions

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 11 | 0 comments

– 1 –

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 11 | 0 comments

I can’t say they’re all bad.

They’re not. Not really. There’s the pair of scissors that cuts into the head of Mr. Thornton, of Birmingham; but then again, there’s that chessmaster in Eritrea who sees the scissors falling and finally perfects her game.

There’s all the people in the world whose hearts are struck by a sudden, awful fear. Whose skin crawls and whose stomach twists and who suffer because the scissors have returned.

That bit’s pretty bad.

And the origami bridge of Texas is definitively shown to be even more of a boondoggle than it was originally thought to be.

And the scissors that fall into the sea perturb it. They wound it. They bring about and hasten a certain stirring in the waves.

— but then again there’s that old woman in Kaohsiung. She’s dreaming of the children that she’s lost. She’s walking along the street. She’s tottering; and scissors fall.

She jerks back. They’d almost cut her! She looks down at the scissors, accusingly, fearfully, her heart pounding like a squeaky toy, and then looks up.

Why, look!

Her daughter, whom she’d thought was dead, is being discharged from that hospital over there!

There’s the Hubble Space Telescope, which gets scissors stuck in it, and that’s bad.

But then — then there’s Inedible the cat.

She clanks about dismally in the Gulleys’ mansion. Now and then she tries to catch a mouse, or a squeaky toy, but she can’t do it! Her footfalls — they’re just too loud!

Too loud, that is, until

The. Scissors. Fall.

A pair slews past the cat Inedible.

She takes a clanking step —

No, wait. That’s not a clanking step. That step was silent.

Then again. And again.

The cat dashes down the hall. She stops. Her ears twitch. Her expression turns goofy. She spins around twice and she dashes the other way. She rolls silently over and over on the carpet, stretching, lashing her tail, and wriggling, and then begins to lick silently at her mussed-up fur.

It’s the best thing ever. It’s a thing of glory. At last (she thinks) her minions Edmund and Mr. Gulley have fulfilled her faith in them:

After all these years of doleful clanking, Inedible is free.

– 2 –

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 11 | 0 comments

Jane sits on her blocky pink one-seater sofa.

She looks at her feet.

“I have feet,” she comments, to Martin, who is trying to eat his cereal without having a discussion of feet and has, once again, failed.

“Do you need more?” Martin says.

“It’s just, they could have fallen off. Sometimes that happens. Then if I was a good footist, I could grow more. But if not, I’d have to get prosthetics.”

“We can’t afford prosthetic feet,” Martin says. “We have no obvious means of income.”

“I could make some out of socks,” Jane points out. “They’d be squishy when I walked because of not having feet in them. But if I sat really casually then no one would ever know my feet were gone.”

Martin grimly chews on his Lucky Charms. Crunch. Crunch. That’s a shooting star — the marshmallow kind, not the real one — that he’s chewing now. It burned brightly in his spoon but now it’s just sugar to the stomach. Crunch.

“I’m not,” Martin says, “having you go around in empty socks.”

“Then gold?”


“We could get gold prosthetics!”

“How would we pay for them?”

“You don’t have to pay for gold,” Jane says, smugly. “It isn’t backing the currency any more.”

Martin hesitates.

“Jane,” he says, after a moment, “I believe you were ‘studying methods to increase your effectiveness at cleaning your room’ before actually embarking on this activity. Can I ask you how this relates?”

Jane hesitates. She looks shifty. “Feet can be clean or dirty,” she says. “Between the toes!”

Martin lowers his cynicism goggles for a moment to look down at Jane. It’s somehow even more cynical than when he has his goggles on.

Jane says, in a tightly clipped dramatic voice, “It’s directly relevant because I have feet or don’t have them in the broader context of my personal reality and without them my model of the universe would be subtly different in every conceivable respect!”

There is a long pause.

This does not seem to have gotten Jane off the hook.

“Oh, like you never just stop and think about your feet, ” Jane sulks.

“Snot,” giggles Martin.

They laugh.

– 3 –

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 11 | 0 comments

Max is dueling Eugenie. She used to be better than him, but he’s gotten stronger; it’s rough on him, but winning is possible; and something’s happened to her summon, the lurching, bloody remnants of a gigantic four-armed ape. He drives her to a draw this time; and they’re panting, there, when Sid walks in.

Eugenie thinks about this for a while. Then she steps aside.

She gestures broadly towards Max.

“Sid,” says Max. “Sid, you shouldn’t be —”

Sid free-summons INTIMATION.

Max gulps. Then Max frowns.

“Wait,” he says. “Is that a free-summoning of an intimation that one day you’ll be able to summon really bad-assed things, or an intimation that one day you will be good enough to bad-assedly manage a free summoning?”

“You shouldn’t fight a summoner,” says Sid, in what he probably thinks is a bad-assed fashion, “if you’re not prepared for some linguistic ambiguity!”

He’s reached the summoners’ circle. He scrawls a summoning circle in the dirt inside it with his toe.

He calls out, PUZZLING ENIGMA!

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” yells Max. He skips back. He averts his eyes from the enigma. He seizes up his stick and stomps it to call up SNOWSTORM.

“I think you’ll find I’m not so easy any longer,” smirks Sid.

“You’ve never been easy,” says Max.

“You hugged me.”

“You were hurting!”

“You pushed me away with hand puppets!”

“I was good at hand puppets!”

“You’re arguing with me instead of fighting!

“It’s a distraction!

Snow covers the puzzling enigma. It drives Sid staggering back. Max’s hand comes forward, articulated into a claw, pulling BAD JUDGE’S CALL out of the air. It bumps Sid lightly.

Eugenie holds up a card in the air. She calls the match for Max!

After a while, they’re sitting there, at the edge of the arena, and Max says, “I was scared for you, you know.”

“That was a really bad call by Eugenie,” Sid says. “I had you on the ropes, man.”

“Yeah, well,” says Max. He grins a summoner’s smile. “That’s how it goes.”

He rises. He walks to the door.

He’s got to go. He’s got a hot date! With a prophet! But he hangs out by the door for a moment, looking back at Sid.

“I’m so glad,” he says, “that you’re finally well.”

– 4 –

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 11 | 0 comments

The scissors fall; but I can’t say that everything is wrong.

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 11 | 0 comments