Crow was dazed, which was understandable considering that he’d just been struck by 1,100 pounds of careening pigeon, along with the usual detritus from a collapsing roof.
It wasn’t the first time he’d been smacked around in one of these misadventures, but he noted that this time it was just like in the cartoon shows, where stars, moons and little birds circle in front of an injured character’s eyes. Then, as his brain cleared marginally, he realized that the roof was gone and he was seeing the actual stars and moon up in the night sky, and the little bird was none other than Wren MacDonald.
He tried to move then, but after taking just two steps, he sat back down on the pile of rubble that had been the roof. He felt tired, so tired, and although he didn’t hurt anywhere, he noticed that the fog in his brain, which had momentarily cleared, was coming back again.
The events playing out in front of him had a dreamlike quality. He felt that he must be invisible, but after quickly checking the privacy options on his message board profile, he saw that it wasn't so.
He tried to speak but couldn’t, and instead sat there on a splintered board and watched as Damh, Phlipp, Susan and Stephanie came running into the pub. Damh shouted at the OBOD leader to calm down.
“Eureka! I understand now!” the master bard said while strumming his lyre. “When Susan cast the spell to retrieve the pumpkin medallion, she must have gotten it wrong and instead of using a Homing Spell, she used a Homely Spell, and that is how the medallion wound up around Gladys’ neck!”
“Yes, that explains everything!” shouted Beith. “When I first saw the medallion it was around Crow’s neck because at the time he was the ugliest thing in the room. But then, just as I was calling attention to it, it disappeared again, and we didn’t see until some time later that Gladys was wearing it! That’s because Gladys hadn’t been in the room at first, but as soon as she walked in, she being just slightly uglier than Crow, the medallion teleported itself over to her!”
“But wait!” chirped Wren MacDonald, who had perched on the tip of Wolf Spirit’s snout. “That explains why Gladys has the medallion now, but I still don’t understand why any type of spell was cast to summon the medallion away from its rightful owner, Selene!”
“Whoops, now the cat’s out of the bag isn’t it?” whispered Phlipp to Damh. “We weren’t supposed to say anything about that, were we? Pssst, Susan, what should we do now?”
Susan Jones, who had been crouched down and whispering to Wolf Spirit about why she had called Billy Joe Bob a tutor, now straightened up and called for order.
“I think it’s time that we cast the light of day on these proceedings,” she said, but then looking up, she added, “or perhaps the moon of night at least.
“You see, well, the truth is that Billy Joe Bob has been doing some important work for the Order, and, well, the sensitive nature of it caused us to think that if the membership found out that we’d given such an important job to a galoot like him, then many people would be upset. And because the pumpkin medallion has Administrative Powers, it had been speaking to Selene in her meditations, and she was close to learning the truth, so we decided to retrieve the medallion with a Homing Spell. But as Damh said, something went amiss and I must have cast the Homely Spell my mistake.”
“What’s Billy Joe Bob's important job?” asked Wren MacDonald.
Crow, who was still half-dazed and watching the proceedings from the debris pile, was alone in seeing that Susan had put both hands behind her back and crossed her fingers.
She took a deep breath and said, “Billy Joe Bob is the official OBOD tooter; and by tooter, I mean that he is tootering, and by that I mean the word that is spelt T-O-O-T-E-R-I-N-G, which is not the same thing as tutoring, which is spelt T-U-T-O-R-I-N-G! So you see, Wolf Spirit, dear, that is what you were confused about, and is exactly the type of misunderstanding we were trying to prevent, heh heh!”
“Oh that’s good, Susan, VERY good!” whispered Phlipp to the tutor coordinator.
“Uh, what exactly is tootering?” asked CelticDao.
“Well you see,” said Phlipp, picking up where Susan left off, “You must respect the natural unfolding of the course! Tootering is a concept that is not dealt with until Gwers 8,642, and since none of you, not even Dryadia, has reached that far, we really can’t discuss it.”
“Then Billy Joe Bob is really Druid Grade?” asked Lorraine.
“Oh yes, certainly!” said Stephanie, picking up the theme. “In fact he’s well into the 9,000s," she said, blushing. "In fact only Phlipp, Susan, Damh, Billy Joe Bob and I have gotten past Gwers 8,642!”
“Ah good, I see you all understand, and we really have to be getting back to OBOD Tower now,” said Phlipp. “So nice to see you all, and what good sports you all are to not discuss this any further, and before we go, Gladys, I’ll just take that medallion … whoops, so sorry dear, you know I didn’t mean to touch you there, that’s a good girl, and, well, Susan, Steph, Damh, shall we?”
Crow watched as Susan Jones grabbed Billy Joe Bob by the elbow, and along with Phlipp, Damh and Stephanie, they stepped purposefully over the debris, walked out to the hitching post, climbed aboard Merle and took off in the direction of OBOD Tower.
The old reporter’s brain was finally starting to clear a little, and he heard Kat Lady whisper to Dair Ciúin, “But what about that letter I saw?”
But Beith’s voice drowned out the elvish youth’s reply when she said to Lorraine: “They’re really not as clever as all that. Gwers 8,642 indeed! Why the Irish invented tootering! It was not long after my ancestors discovered the potato and beeromancy that the ancient art of tootering …”
Crow felt like taking a nap. And he did just that.