Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Chapter Twenty Nine More or Less Wraps It All Up

Saturday, June Eighteenth, late morning, Walli-Wo island time

Princess Lulu had been a bit of a pill at breakfast.  She pretended she wasn’t even aware that Alex was at the table.  Alex was mildly impressed by how convincing she was, since it was such a small table.  Given a choice between getting the silent treatment, and having to fend off another enthusiastic, if one-sided, game of footsie with a randy princess, well, the silent treatment was just fine.

Meanwhile, breakfast in the storm shelter was every bit as tasty as breakfast in the great hall had been.  It turned out that King Lemmy was also a mean fry cook. 

King Lemmy didn’t seem to notice that Lulu was giving Alex the cold shoulder, and he chatted amicably with Alex and Bruce as they ate.

Afterwards, while Alex was walking back to his bedroom, he heard Lulu behind him. 

She said softly, but sharply, “I can’t believe you locked me out of your bedroom last night.”

I wish I’d thought to start locking my bedroom door the first night I was here, Alex thought, but did not say.  Instead, he said, “Sorry Lulu.  Call me old-fashioned.”

She blew a raspberry at him, and stormed off to her own room.  Apparently she was angry enough that she didn’t even want to pinch his butt.

Alex was completely OK with that.  He and his unmolested butt went back to his bedroom, and hopped in the shower.

During breakfast, Bruce had mentioned that the storm would probably pass later in the morning.  While Alex was in the shower, he wondered where he should start searching for King Lemmy’s great great grandfather, and suddenly the previous night’s dream came back to him in a rush.  The statues, King Lemmy’s ancestors, had told Alex where to find King Lemmy’s missing great great grandfather. 

After they’d told him everything they knew, Alex had asked, “Why didn’t you tell King Lemmy about this directly?”

“We will, if we have to,” the statue that seemed to be acting as spokesperson for the group said.  “But the reason we hadn’t already told him was that we were all exhausted from fighting off the intruder.  Just talking to you is tiring, and we don’t even have to do anything, physically that is, to communicate with you.  Imagine how much effort it takes to smash out a door.”

“There’s a bunch of you, though.  Why not chase down Harry yourselves?” Alex said.

“Because we were exhausted, like I just told you, and because we don’t have legs.  You try hopping quickly after someone who is panicked and running away,” the statue said.

“Good point,” Alex said.

After that, his memory of the dream got hazy and weird.  At least he knew where to find the missing statue now.

Well, unless it had all just been a strange dream.  In which case, he could be going on a wild goose chase.

On one of his quarter hourly walks past the weather data center, he noticed that the winds seemed to have slowed down significantly.  It looked like the rain was calming down too.  Hopefully, that meant that the storm would actually be done soon, and he’d be able to get out of the luxury bunker he was stuck in at the moment.

He’d read all of the Reader’s Digest magazines he’d found, and was starting to wonder if he was going to have to decide between reading, “Island Heat” and “Wicked Summer Nights,” to pass the time.  Both of them appeared to be set on tropical islands.  Alex wondered if all of these romance novels were the property of Lulu, or if there had been another romance fan in the household.  Or if they’d just kind of accumulated in the closet without ever actually having been purchased, the way cheap paperback books seem to do.  Alex wondered briefly if paperbacks bred when they weren’t being observed.

It was definitely time to get out of the storm shelter. 

Alex decided that perhaps the thing to do was to sit down and try meditating again.  It would be a way to pass the time, at least.  He found a comfy spot, closed his eyes, and started taking some deep breaths.

He promptly fell fast asleep again.

He woke up to Bruce saying, “Mr. Minor, the storm has passed.  We can head back up to King Lemmy’s house now.”

Alex blinked a few times to clear the sleep out of his eyes, and saw that King Lemmy and Lulu were both present as well.  King Lemmy seemed amused, and Lulu was still ignoring him.

“Great!” Alex said.  “I’m ready, let’s go.”

Back upstairs in the main part of King Lemmy’s home, Lulu promptly vanished.  Alex and Bruce walked through the house with King Lemmy, then outside, checking for storm damage.   Things had definitely been blown around outside, but apart from some wet places around the as-yet unrepaired doors, everything appeared to be just fine.

Once King Lemmy was satisfied that all was essentially well with his home, Alex took him aside and said, “I had the strangest dream last night.  I think I know where your great great grandfather is, and I think I know who took him.  But it might have just been a dream, and I hate to waste your time because of my imagination.”

King Lemmy looked at Alex and said, “Tell me about your dream.”

Alex told him about talking with the statues, and their explanation about where his great great grandfather had wound up. 

“This is very interesting,” King Lemmy said.  “My ancestors do not speak often, and I am not aware of another time that they have spoken with someone outside of the family.”

“They seem to think I would make a good king,” Alex said.

King Lemmy laughed and said, “Of course they do.  You will make a great king! But, who did they say was responsible?”

“I don’t want to tell you yet,” Alex said.  “If it turns out it was only a dream, I don’t want to accuse an innocent person.  I’ll tell you after we find your great great grandfather.”

King Lemmy gave Alex a knowing smile, and after a pause said, “Yes, you will make a great king.  Go and find my great great grandfather.  I must see to my people now that the storm has passed.”

Alex found Bruce again, and asked him to come with to search for the missing statue.

“How come?” Bruce said.  “I kind of want to go check over the plane more than I want to go look for that statue, Mr. Minor.”

“Because,” Alex said, “The islanders are already pissed off at the outsiders.  They’re not going to be happy seeing you getting the plane ready to leave.  And also, the islanders are pissed off at the outsiders at the moment.  That’s us.  I’d like to have someone else along, just in case someone decides they need to express their anger by kicking my ass while I’m off by myself.”

“OK, I guess that makes sense,” Bruce said.  “Let’s go find King Lemmy’s great great grandpa.”

Walli-Wo is not a large island.  It only took Alex and Bruce a couple of minutes to get from King Lemmy’s home to the western coast of the island. 

“OK, which tree is it?” Bruce said.

“I don’t know, we’re going to have to search a little,” Alex said.

It seemed, however, that the storm had actually done them a favor.  The high winds had blown away a great many of the leaves and branches on the trees, and it only took a couple of minutes to spot a grey statue lodged in the crook of a nearby tree.

“Wow,” Alex said.  “That ended up being way easier than I’d expected.”

“Hooray for that.  I still need to check over the plane, you know,” Bruce said.

“I know, I know.  Help me get this out of the tree and back to King Lemmy’s house,” Alex said.

Getting back to King Lemmy’s home took significantly longer than getting to the beach had, since they were lugging a heavy statue this time.

“How did this thing wind up in that tree, anyway?” Bruce said, mainly to himself.

“It’s a long, weird story,” Alex said.

“Never mind then, I don’t care that much,” Bruce said.

“You’re in some mood today,” Alex said.

The two of them brought the statue into King Lemmy’s house.  Thankfully, the front door wasn’t there, so they didn’t have to contend with getting it open.  Once again, they received a hero’s welcome, although it was on a much smaller scale than their previous arrival.

King Lemmy glanced up as the two of them, carrying the statue, entered the great room he was sitting in and his face broke into an enormous smile.

“You have returned my great great grandfather to me a second time!  I can not thank you enough!” King Lemmy said.

Alex and Bruce set down the statue right there, and were promptly crushed in an enormous bear hug from King Lemmy.

Harry walked into the room then.  He appeared calm as always, but his demeanor changed, almost imperceptibly, when he saw the statue next to Alex, Bruce and King Lemmy.

“Now, Alex, you must tell me who was responsible for this,” King Lemmy said.

Alex suddenly felt like he was being a snitch, but he also felt like he couldn’t let King Lemmy remain ignorant.  Also, somewhere in the back of his mind, he was aware that all of his information had come from a dream, and might be just a little inaccurate.  He’d lucked into more than one recovery before, the dream could just be a coincidence.

“Well,” Alex said, “At least in my dream, Harry was the one responsible.  Apparently, he overheard you telling me you want me to be king and wanted to stop that from happening.”

King Lemmy’s expression darkened, and he turned to Harry.  Quaking with anger, he said, “Is this true?”

Harry’s expression went from shock to guilt almost instantly.  He opened his mouth to speak, but ultimately remained silent and simply nodded.

“Why would you do this?” King Lemmy said.

After a moment’s silence, Alex said, “According to my dream, he wants to be president of the bank.”
Both King Lemmy and Harry looked at Alex in shock.

“But that is the job of the king!” King Lemmy said. 

Harry looked like he’d really rather be elsewhere.

“Harry, your betrayal of my trust has wounded me deeply,” King Lemmy said.  “But apart from the damage to my home, everything else seems to be unharmed and back to normal.  Therefore, as punishment, you are receiving a demotion.”

“Huh?” said Alex, Bruce and Harry.

King Lemmy continued, “You will no longer be my butler and valet, but shall instead be responsible for answering level one customer service calls at the bank.”

Harry turned ghostly pale.

“Oof, that’s harsh,” Alex said.

“Now, get out of my home and report for duty at the bank.  There’s a script you’re going to need to start studying,” King Lemmy said to Harry.

 King Lemmy turned back to Alex and Bruce.  He was quiet for a moment, and then said, “Alex, Harry’s betrayal has given me pause.  Although you are indeed a great hero to Walli-Wo, perhaps choosing the next king of Walli-Wo is not up to me after all.  And what’s more, I feel that being a man of action such as you are, the monotony of ruling a small island might cause you great unhappiness.”

“Really?” Alex said.  Wow, getting out of being king ended up being easier than expected, too, he thought.

“Makes sense to me.  It seems like the princess doesn’t like him all that much anyway,” Bruce said.

Later, Alex and Bruce went to check over the Cessna.  Miraculously, it had survived the storm just fine, although it had been in a bamboo hangar before the storm and now, well, it wasn’t. 
Somewhere in the distance, they heard the sailors making their way back to their boats.

“I’m going to tell everyone I know to stay away from Walli-Wo!” Tammy said, loudly.  “This place in the pits!”

I bet everyone on the island just gave a huge sigh of relief, Alex thought.

After Alex and Bruce had landed back in San Diego, they went their separate ways.  Alex took a commercial flight back to Minneapolis the following day, and reveled in the comfort of a plush seat and easy access to a flushing toilet, as well as the brevity of the flight.

He got back to the office of Darcy Custom Brokers just before midnight.  Megan had already gone home, and Mr. Darcy greeted Alex himself.  He led Alex back into his office, and took a seat behind his desk.

“Well, Mr. Minor, King Lemmy told me he was very grateful for your help, and that you went above and beyond the call of duty.  He also told me that you are his great friend,” Mr. Darcy said.

“I’m glad to hear that,” Alex said.

Mr. Darcy took a thick envelope out of his desk and handed it to Alex. 

“Your payment for services rendered,” Mr. Darcy said.  “Now then, how soon will you be ready for your next assignment?”

The End!

 Final official word count for 2016: 52,884
Thank you so much for reading!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Chapter Twenty Eight is Outta Sight!

Friday, June Seventeenth, a little after dinner, Walli-Wo island time

In King Lemmy’s storm shelter, it was impossible to tell that there was a storm raging outside.  It was quiet and comfortable.  The only clue to what was still going on outside was a weather data display near the main entrance to the storm shelter. 

Alex had found it earlier in the afternoon while playing a spirited game of hide and grab-ass with Lulu.  Since then, he’d found himself compelled to go and check on the state of the weather fairly frequently.

He had a few reasons for wanting the storm to end.  One was that he was currently in a bunker with King Lemmy’s daughter, who had wicked plans that Alex would probably have found completely delightful except for the whole “King Lemmy’s daughter” part.  Another reason was that he wanted to get back to work on finding the statue King Lemmy called his great great grandfather.  The final big reason was because he was stuck inside with precious little to do and he was already getting extremely bored.

At the moment, the wind was gusting up to seventy miles and hour, and the precipitation gauge was climbing at what seemed like an incredible rate to Alex.  On the upside, it was a comfortable seventy degrees outside at the moment.  High humidity, though.

He wandered back to the bedroom he would be sharing with Bruce. 

Bruce was laying on his bed, reading a Harlequin romance called “Hot Island Summer.”  The cover had a shirtless man wearing a cowboy hat, blue jeans, and a lei, passionately clutching a long haired woman whose hair was blowing in the wind.

“I didn’t know you were a fan of romance novels,” Alex said.

Bruce looked up at him, and said, “It was this or a stack of Reader’s Digest from ten years ago.  It’s not terrible.  Esmerelda seems like a hot little number, too.”

“OK, well, desperate times and so on.  How long do you think this storm is going to last?” Alex said.

“Getting a little itchy to be out of here, Mr. Minor?” Bruce said, with a grin.

“Yes,” Alex said.

“Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we’re going to be in here overnight.  Maybe longer.  I’d suggest that you settle in and get comfortable.  Being all antsy won’t make the storm pass any more quickly,” Bruce said.  “There are a couple more of these novels hiding in the closet over there.  “Pacific Heat” and “Palm Trees and Persephone” both seem pretty promising.”

“Wasn’t Persephone Greek?  Why would she be anywhere near Palm Trees?” Alex said.

“Sounds like someone needs to press their ‘I Believe’ button a little harder,” Bruce said.  “Anyway, the setting won’t matter much once Lance or Rod or Studs McMuffin shows up and makes with the bodice-ripping.”

After a pause, Alex said, “I’m getting to know a whole new side of you, Bruce.”

“I’m a pilot of small airplanes.  I spend a lot of time waiting for crappy weather to pass.  After the third day of sitting in the pilot’s lounge at some airport in the middle of nowhere, the worst book ever written can seem like one of the great classics,” Bruce said.  “Also, seriously, the sex scenes in these books are every bit as nasty as any of the Forum letters, and way better written.”

“If you were wondering what that bump was,” Alex said, “It was you running over the line dividing ‘things I want to know about Bruce’ and ‘Bruce’s taste in erotic fiction’ without even slowing down.  Please stop.”

“Whatever.  Be bored,” Bruce said.  “It just leaves more for me to read while we’re down here, Mr. Minor.”

“You know, I could swear that you were just telling me about your naughty reading habits, and now you’re calling me Mr. Minor?  Is there some guide to appropriate behavior that I have apparently missed?” Alex said.

Bruce didn’t answer, he just turned the page and continued reading.

Alex sighed, and went to look at the weather display again.  The weather was about the same as it had been the last time he’d looked.  The rain accumulation had increased, otherwise the wind, temperature and humidity were all about the same as they had been.  He didn’t know much about what barometric pressure had to do with the weather, but the readout indicated that it was dropping.

He wandered around the shelter a bit, pacing more than anything.  King Lemmy seemed to have retired for the night.  He heard Lulu somewhere in the shelter, occasionally giggling, but she hadn’t popped out to flirt with him, and it seemed like her voice kept coming from the same general area.  Alex wondered if she was in her own room reading romance novels as well.

That seems like a perfectly good thing for her to be doing, at least as long as it doesn’t get her all riled up and inspired to come hop into my bed again, Alex thought.

He found the stack of vintage Reader’s Digest magazines that Bruce had mentioned, and took a handful of them back to the room he was sharing with Bruce.

Bruce was still exactly where he had been earlier.  Alex propped himself up on his own bed with a stack of pillows, and settled in for some word power expanding and important learning about what secret ingredient in Wheaties was corrupting our youth.

Some time later, Alex heard Bruce snoring.  He glanced at his own watch and figured that it was as good of a time as any to just go to bed. 

Alex walked over to the door, shut it and locked it, then climbed into bed and turned off the lights (he liked the remote control for the lights).  Minutes later, he was drifting off to sleep.

He realized he was falling asleep when his thoughts were no longer entirely coherent.  He was pretty sure that in the real world, the King of Norway had very little to do with the price of Kiwi fruit.  His thoughts became less and less rational, and before long he was dreaming.

His dream was strange because, for one thing, he was completely aware that he was dreaming.

Another thing that was strange was that he was sitting cross-legged on the ground in King Lemmy’s courtyard.  And one more strange thing was that one of the assorted statues that King Lemmy claimed contained the spirits of his ancestors, asked him if he was comfortable.

The storm was still raging, and the wind and rain were whipping around the courtyard, blowing the plants around and stirring up dust and sticks and things.

Despite that, Alex realized that he was, in fact completely comfortable.  Probably the most comfortable he’d been in quite a while, really.

“Yes, I am, thank you,” Alex said.

“You are the one King Lemmy has chosen to marry his daughter, and become the next King of Walli-Wo?” the same statue asked.  Alex was pretty sure it was one of the well-worn statues close to the center of the group.

“Well, yes, I guess I am,” Alex said.  “I don’t think I’m the right man for the job, though.”

“Hmm.  Your humility suggests that you are exactly the right man for the job,” the statue said. 

Alex was surprised to hear a murmur of agreement from the other statues.

This is pretty wild, Alex thought.

“We do not understand what you mean by wild,” the statue said.

“Um, sorry.  I, uh, I’m just surprised to be talking to you.  All of you,” Alex said.

There was silence from the statues.

“Anyway, the reason I don’t think I would be the right person to be King is that I don’t think I could stay on Walli-Wo for the rest of my life.  Please don’t get me wrong, Walli-Wo is fantastic.  I just have a very short attention span.  I would probably cause all kinds of unintentional chaos, just because I needed the excitement.”

“And once again, your knowledge of your own weaknesses suggest that you would make an excellent king,” the statue said.  There were more sounds of approval and agreement.

“Um,” Alex said.  “Thank you.”

“All the same, the choice to stay is ultimately yours to make.  Although we agree with King Lemmy’s choice, we also know that you must do what you feel is right,” the statue said.

Another one of the statues cleared its throat, or at least made a throat clearing noise, and said, “This is not why we called him here.”

There was a moment’s silence.

Alex said, “Is there something I can help you with?”

“Yes,” the first statue said.  “One of us has been taken from here, and we wish to help you bring him back to us.”

“Well, I want to bring him back too.  Any idea where he is at the moment?” Alex said.

Alex wasn’t sure, but he thought that he heard one of them stifling laughter.

“Yes, he’s stuck in a tree on the west side of the island,” the statue said.

“Stuck in a tree?” Alex said.


“How did he get into a tree?” Alex said.

“He was put there to hide him from you and King Lemmy.  After fighting off the intruder who came into the house, he was too tired to come back inside, and the intruder then kidnapped him,” the statue said.

“Whoa, so he was the one who blew out the doors?” Alex said.

“Of course,” the statue said.

“Cool,” Alex said.  “OK, well, I’m happy to go get him out of the tree he’s caught in.  Do you know who took him?”

“Yes,” the statue said.  “It was the one called Harry.”

Harry?” Alex said.


“Why would Harry do that?” Alex said.

“Because he overheard King Lemmy when he told you that he wished for you to marry his daughter and become king,” one of the other statues said.

“OK, but why steal, uh, kidnap King Lemmy’s great great grandfather?” Alex said.

“So he could blame you for it and cause you to fall out of King Lemmy’s favor.  Then he could lead King Lemmy right to his great great grandfather, and claim that he’d found him, and then become King himself,” the first statue said.

“Harry wants to be King?” Alex said.

“Harry wants to be the president of the bank,” the statue said.

Another one of the statues said, “And probably to get into Princess Lulu’s pants.”

“Oh, yes, that too,” the first statue said.

“OK, sure, why not?” Alex said to himself.  “So the sailors had nothing to do with this?”

“No, they’re just a bunch of annoying assholes,” the statue said.  "We can't stand them."

…Come back tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Chapter Twenty Seven is Getting Very Near the End

Friday, June Seventeenth, right around an hour before lunch, Walli-Wo island time

After breakfast, Alex and Bruce had accompanied King Lemmy on the search for King Lemmy’s great great grandfather.  The three of them, along with the other islanders who were assisting with the search, found themselves in quite a hurry because the storm the sailors had been running from was due to hit Walli-Wo at some point that day.  There were dark clouds on the horizon, getting closer and closer.

One of the questions Alex had for Bruce as they searched was, “How long until we can get off of this island?”

The answer was, “Once the storm has passed Walli-Wo, we should be clear to fly, as long as the storm doesn’t change direction.  We’ll want to leave either very early in the morning, or very late at night.”

“Why’s that?” Alex had asked.

“Because that’s when the weather will be the most calm, and also, that timing will give us the best chance for getting back to the U.S.A. during daylight hours,” Bruce said.

Thinking about Princess Lulu’s appetites made Alex hope they would be able to leave at night, rather than wait until the following morning.  And it would be just super if they could leave that night.

Alex, Bruce, and King Lemmy started their search over after breakfast, beginning in front of King Lemmy’s house.  Alex hoped that some of the wreckage from the broken door, or the broken glass from the interior sliding door that had been shattered, would have been dragged away from the house.  That would have at least given them a direction to start looking.

Unfortunately, they’d had no such luck.  Alex had gotten down on the ground, looking for a trail where the statute had been dragged (like it had been through the broken glass), with no luck.  It would seem that whoever had taken it had found the strength to carry the statue once they were outside.  Or they’d done a really good job of covering their tracks.

Either way, they were low on ideas for where to start the search. Since they didn’t have any better ideas, they started the search by moving in concentric circles around King Lemmy’s house, expanding the circle a little bit each time.

The three of them were walking side by side along the Walli-Wo coast, searching for the statue, when the wind started to pick up.  Alex and King Lemmy looked up from the ground at the same moment.  The sky was quickly turning nearly black, and the clouds were very low.

“You know,” Alex said.

“I think,” Bruce said.

“It would be an excellent time for us to get to shelter,” King Lemmy said.

All three of them hurried back to King Lemmy’s house. 

“Is your house really the best place to wait out the storm?” Alex said.  “You’ve got a broken interior courtyard door, and a broken exterior door.  It might be just a touch windy in there.”

“My home does have more than two doors, Alex,” King Lemmy said.  “It also has a storm shelter.  It’s very cozy and safe.”

Alex wasn’t exactly sure how to reply, so he just followed along quietly. 

The wind started to really whip across the island, and the few people they saw still outside were all hurrying for shelter.

“Where are all the other islanders going to go for shelter?” Alex said.  With the next gust of wind, he narrowly avoided catching a flying branch in the face.

“To their own storm shelters,” King Lemmy said.  “Of course we would prefer to all shelter together in the great hall, but we also run an international bank.  Should something unthinkable happen, it’s best if all of the key players are in different places.  It would not be good if the majority of our economy was wiped out by a tree falling on the wrong building.”

“It’s good to have a contingency plan,” Alex said.

The sky opened, and huge, fat rain drops came pouring down on to them as they hustled towards King Lemmy’s house.

There was a brilliant flash of lightning, and thunder crashed almost immediately.

Cool! Alex thought.

They reached King Lemmy’s house and hurried inside.  They were already soaked all the way through, but at least they’d be safe from the wind and anything that happened to start flying through the air.

King Lemmy led Alex and Bruce through his house.  Alex had the weirdest feeling that he was being watched as they approached and passed the windows looking out on the courtyard.  Of course, that was impossible.  No one would be foolish enough to stay out in the storm, and what’s more, security had been beefed up around King Lemmy’s home since the doors had been smashed.  Sneaking into the courtyard would be quite a feat.

In one of the interior rooms (Alex guessed it wasn’t used much.  The furniture was showroom pristine, and it just felt kind of stuffy.  It didn’t seem like a place where King Lemmy would willingly spend much time.), King Lemmy grabbed a table lamp, and pulled it firmly towards himself.

A trapdoor in the floor, covered by a rug, popped open.  Through the door was a staircase leading down to, Alex assumed, King Lemmy’s storm shelter.  King Lemmy gestured to Alex and Bruce to go ahead of him.  He followed close behind the two of them, and pulled the trapdoor shut again behind himself.

At the bottom of the staircase, there was a well-lit, marble-lined hallway leading them further towards the interior of the house.  Alex wondered what part of the house the storm shelter was under, exactly.
Alex would have guessed that a “storm shelter” would be something like a basement room with no windows and a good supply of beef jerky and maybe some blankets and candles.  He was surprised when he walked through the door to the shelter itself.

King Lemmy’s storm shelter was more like a second home, underground.   The room they were currently standing in was furnished every bit as nicely as the rest of King Lemmy’s house.  There was art on the walls, and a plush carpet.  There were also doors leading to what Alex guessed were other rooms in the shelter.

“Come in and get comfortable,” King Lemmy said.  “We have everything we need down here to wait out the most powerful hurricanes.  We could stay down here for a month, easily, if we needed to.  Two months, less easily.”

“Less easily?” Alex said.

King Lemmy grimaced and said, “We would have to get into the freeze dried food, and Spam.”

“I thought folks out here on the pacific islands love Spam.  I could have sworn I’d heard it’s like a comfort food,” Bruce said.

King Lemmy looked skeptical.  “I do not think anyone, anywhere, ever, has been comforted by Spam.  But, if you say it is so, then maybe there are such places.  Come, let me show you where you’ll be spending the night.  We should be able to get you into some dry clothes too.”

He led them through the room they were in, past a well-equipped kitchen, and into a large bedroom with two queen beds.

“I’m sorry I can not provide you with private quarters here in my shelter.  My daughter will be in one of the other rooms, and of course she needs her privacy,” King Lemmy said.

Almost as soon as he’d mentioned her, Lulu came into the room.  She made a quick kissy face at Alex while King Lemmy wasn’t looking, and winked again.

Uh oh, Alex thought.  Well, at least I’ve got Bruce here to keep her on her best behavior while we’re all down here.

Lulu brushed past Alex and Bruce, and opened a door that was just behind them.  It was a closet, and it looked as though it was full of sweatpants and sweatshirts. 

She turned back and said, “These should be much more comfortable than the damp clothes you’re wearing right now.”

As she passed Alex again, she pinched his butt.  He was shocked, but did his best to pretend that he hadn’t even noticed.  He didn’t want to encourage her.

I hope the bedroom door has a lock, otherwise it’s going to be a long night, Alex thought.

“Say, has anyone seen Harry lately?” Alex said.  “Where is he?”

“No, the last time I saw him was at breakfast,” King Lemmy said.  “He is a smart man and will have taken shelter as well, however.”

“Does he have his own house?” Alex said.

“Of course,” King Lemmy said.  “Why wouldn’t he?”

“I assumed he lived here with you,” Alex said.

King Lemmy laughed, and said, “Even Harry needs to take a break sometimes, Alex.”

“Anyway,” King Lemmy continued, “Please get into some dry, comfortable clothes, and make yourselves at home.  We have everything you could possibly ask for down here, so if you need something, just ask.”

“Just ask,” Lulu echoed, and gave Alex another wink.

King Lemmy and Lulu left the room.  Alex waited a moment, then walked over and shut the door behind them.  He was completely thrilled to see that the door did, in fact, have a lock.  That was probably going to save his hide.

“So, Bruce,” Alex said.  “I’m going to need you to not leave my sight for the rest of the time we’re down here.  Otherwise, I think Lulu is going to get me into a whole lot of trouble that I don’t want.”

“O.K.,” Bruce said.  “It doesn’t seem like that’s going to be difficult for me to do, since we’re here in a storm shelter, but you’ve got it.”

“Thanks,” Alex said.

Bruce was about to ask Alex what kind of trouble he thought Lulu was going to cause, when there was a knock at the door.

Alex went back over to the door and opened it.  He found himself nearly toe to toe with Lulu.

“I thought you might want this,” she said, and stuffed something soft into his hands, then kissed him full on the lips before he even knew she was going to.  Then she giggled and walked away from the door again.  She swayed her hips seductively for several steps, then looked back at Alex and winked again before she went into a different room and out of sight.

Alex shook his head, and then looked down to see what it was that Lulu had thought he might want.

He discovered he was holding a big bundle of pink fleece.  She’d brought him the bunny suit.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Chapter Twenty Six Rocks All Night and Sleeps All Day

Friday, June Seventeenth, fifty minutes or so before the breakfast feast, Walli-Wo island time

Alex had his hands full trying to keep Princess Frisky out of his pants, while making sure she didn’t feel like he was rejecting her.  He had heard that scorned women can be, well, troublesome.  And based on the exchange he’d just seen between Lulu and Gertrude, Alex suspected it was for the best to keep Lulu happy while he was still on Walli-Wo.

It was a tricky situation.

It was especially difficult because Lulu had a quick solution to every roadblock Alex tried to put between her and the fly of his pants.

For example, he’d said, “What would your father say if he found us together in here?”

Lulu said, “He would say that we would be much more comfortable in my room.  Which, incidentally, we would be.  Shall we wander that way for a bit?”

He also tried, “It’s so early, shouldn’t we get some more sleep?”

Lulu’s reply was, “We can catch up on sleep later.”

Alex was quickly running out of excuses.  It didn’t help matters that he was doing his best to not have sex with a woman that he, in basically any other situation, would very much want to have sex with.  Only half of his brain, at best, was willing to help him out with this particular dilemma.  The other half had apparently decided that if Alex wanted to be that stupid, then he was on his own.

He was getting to the point where he was afraid he was going to have to be rude in order to get Lulu out of his bed when they heard the doorknob rattle again.  It was significantly louder this time, as though someone was trying urgently to get in to the room.  It was enough that Lulu rolled off of Alex with an irritated sigh, and covered herself up.

They heard Gertrude stage-whisper, “Princess Lulu, your father is coming!”

Alex wasn’t sure how his heart could drop into his feet when he was laying down (the physics of it made no sense), but all the same, that’s exactly where his heart went.

“Shit!” Lulu said.  She slid the rest of the way off of Alex’s bed, grabbed her dress from where she had apparently left it on the floor, and ran naked to the side door where Gertrude was waiting.  She turned, blew Alex a kiss and winked, and then left his room with Lulu.  Gertrude closed the door behind them, and he heard the two of them hurrying away from his door.  Alex had no idea where they would be able to go in order to avoid being spotted by King Lemmy if he was close to Alex’s bedroom.

Alex took a deep breath, and slowly exhaled. 

Thank god for small favors, he thought.  I’ve never been happier to be interrupted.

He got out of bed, and tried to quickly tidy himself up a bit.  He poured himself some coffee from the carafe that Gertrude had brought in earlier, and did his best to adopt a casual and relaxed demeanor as he waited for King Lemmy to arrive.

He waited for several anxious minutes and finally started to wonder where the heck King Lemmy was, exactly.  He hoped that King Lemmy hadn’t spotted Lulu leaving Alex’s room, and gone off to assemble a mob, or something along those lines.

It occurred to him that it was going to be time for breakfast soon.  Assuming that he wasn’t about to be lynched, he was going to need to actually look presentable.  So, Alex set about getting himself cleaned up.

King Lemmy never did come to his room.

Gertrude, however, did come to his room.  It was about ten minutes before the usual time for breakfast.

She saw that he was up, smiled, and said, “Good morning, Mr. Minor.”

“Good morning, Gertrude,” Alex said.

“Did you sleep well, Mr. Minor?” Gertrude said.

Alex wasn’t exactly sure what the right answer to that question was.  She had, after all, walked in on him and a very naked princess not too long ago.

“Reasonably well, thank you,” Alex said.

There was a moment’s silence between them, and then Alex said, “Where did King Lemmy get to?  I thought he was coming this way.”

Gertrude giggled, and said, “He wasn’t.  I hope you will forgive me, but I was listening at the door, and I thought you might need an excuse.”

Alex laughed, quietly, and said, “Nicely done, Gertrude.”

“Thank you, Mr. Minor,” Gertrude said.

“So, where exactly did you and Lulu go?” Alex said.

“There is a secret tunnel between here and King Lemmy’s house.  Princess Lulu also lives there, and also knows that tunnel.  I brought her down to the tunnel, the back way,” Gertrude said.

“But wouldn’t King Lemmy have been coming that way?” Alex said.

“Of course not,” Gertrude said.  “Secret tunnels don’t stay secret if you use them all the time.”

“Ah, of course,” Alex said.

Gertrude glanced at the window, and the brightening sky.

“It must be time for the morning feast,” she said.  “I expect Harry will be along to escort you and Mr. Evans to the great hall shortly.”

With that, Gertrude turned and left Alex’s bedroom again.  Mere moments later, there was a knock at the main door to his room.  Alex opened it, and found Harry waiting for him.

“Good morning, Mr. Minor,” Harry said. 

Bruce came out of his room, seconds later, looking a little worse for wear.

“Good morning, Mr. Evans,” Harry said.

“Morning,” Bruce said.

“Come with me, gentlemen,” Harry said.

Alex couldn’t put his finger on it, but Harry seemed a little more standoffish that he had previously. 

Maybe he’s hungover too, Alex thought.

“How are you feeling this morning?” Alex said to Bruce as they followed Harry to the great hall.

“Pretty rough, I had a rude awakening this morning,” Bruce said.  “I’m still shaking the water out of my ears.”

“Water?” Alex said.

“Yeah, someone threw a bucket of water on me while I was still asleep, then threw the bucket at me,” Bruce said.

“Ouch!  Jeez, that’s not cool.  Are you alright?” Alex said.

“Yeah.  At least the bucket missed me.  It just hit my nightstand and knocked over a lamp,” Bruce said.

“Are you a heavy sleeper, or something?  That seems pretty extreme,” Alex said.

“Nope.  Usually I wake up the second someone opens a door near me,” Bruce said.

“Oof,” Alex said.

They reached the great hall, and went inside.  The first thing Alex noticed was that the great hall was unusually quiet.  The second thing he noticed was that everyone was there already.  The third thing that he noticed was that “everyone” didn’t include the sailors.  He figured they were probably still asleep, and that was, frankly, a relief.

He and Bruce went to their previous seats near King Lemmy.  Alex was more than a little surprised when one of the islanders hissed at them as they walked past.

“Weren’t these folks all super friendly the day before?  Did we act up at the feast last night or something?” Alex said, quietly, to Bruce.

“They were, and no, I don’t think so, Mr. Minor.  You had more to drink than me, and you were fine while you were still in the hall,” Bruce said.

“OK, that’s what I thought,” Alex said.

King Lemmy acknowledged Alex and Bruce, and gestured for everyone to eat.  There was a slight increase in sound in the room, but there was no conversation to speak of.  It was more than a little unsettling.

“Has anything new come to light about your great great grandfather, King Lemmy?” Alex said.

“No, Alex.  We will begin the search anew this morning, after we’ve eaten,” King Lemmy said.

Alex happened to look across the table, and saw Lulu staring at him.  She gave him a coy smile, and then a salacious wink.  It was so quick that Alex had to convince himself that he really did see it. He smiled at her in return.

We need to get off this island before I end up neck deep in a heap of shit, Alex thought.  He did his best to remain pleasant and casual, but the urge to grab Bruce and run for the Cessna was getting stronger by the minute.

“It seems very quiet in here this morning,” Alex said. 

King Lemmy sighed, and said, “My people have come to believe that this trouble was brought about either by you or the sailors who also arrived shortly after you.”

“Oh,” Alex said.  “Um.  Is there anything we can do?”

“You are already doing it,” King Lemmy said.  “I have told my people that you and Bruce could not be responsible, and they have taken my word.  There is little I can say to convince them that the sailors are also innocent.  And, of course, how can I know?  I have been spending my time largely with you, and Bruce.”

“Thank you, King Lemmy,” Alex said.  He thought for a moment, and then said, “Where are the sailors, by the way?  They don’t seem to be here this morning.”

King Lemmy looked troubled, and said, “I visited them this morning, and asked to board their boats to see if my great great grandfather was in one of them.  They were not cooperative.  I then asked them if I could look in their quarters to see if he was in there, but again, they would not cooperate.”
Alex started to get a bad feeling in his gut, but he remained silent.

King Lemmy continued, “I told them that I did not think they had done anything wrong, but that my people were convinced they were responsible, and that for their own safety they should remain in their quarters until my great great grandfather is found, or until the weather has changed and they can safely sail immediately.”

“You don’t think they had anything to do with it?” Alex said.

“No,” King Lemmy said.

“I hope you understand that I don’t doubt you,” Alex said. He continued, “But how do you know?”
King Lemmy looked levelly at Alex.

“I know, Alex, because my great great great grandfather told me that the horrible loud visitors were not the ones who did it,” King Lemmy said.

Alex smiled and said, “The horrible loud visitors?”

King Lemmy smiled, ever so slightly, and said, “My great great great grandfather does not care much for the sailors.”

Friday, November 25, 2016

Chapter Twenty Five Just Makes Sense

Friday, June Seventeenth, a couple of hours before the breakfast feast, Walli-Wo island time

After King Lemmy and Alex had satisfied themselves that King Lemmy’s great great grandfather, or at least the stone statue which his spirit was currently calling home, was no longer in King Lemmy’s house, they’d decided to see if they could track him down.  After several fruitless hours, the two of them had agreed that it was too dark outside to see clearly, and that they would resume the search the following morning.

Alex had found his way back to his room, and collapsed into bed, still wearing his dress blues.  He had, at least, managed to kick off his bunny slippers.  He wondered, just before he fell asleep, how or why he’d been able to think so clearly right after King Lemmy had announced that his great great grandfather had been kidnapped.  After all, he’d been pretty tanked.

And what’s more, it seemed like the drunkenness was making up for lost time now.  The room seemed to spin a bit, and then he slept.

He woke up several hours later feeling… strangely cuddly.  In his grogginess, he couldn’t quite figure out why that was, and just enjoyed the feeling for a couple of minutes.  Slowly, he gained a bit more consciousness, and put together a piece of information here and a piece of information there.

It seemed like the sun was rising.  It was at least starting to get light outside.  Alex realized his bedroom window must face East.  He remembered he was on a little island called Walli-Wo.

And, he realized very suddenly, there was a naked woman asleep in bed with him.  She was cuddled up tightly against him with her head on his chest.

Oh shit, Alex thought.  Who is this, and how did she get in here?  Did I black out and bring someone back here?

As discretely as he could manage, Alex touched his stomach, and then his leg.  He was still wearing his dress blues.  Just in case, he checked his fly as well.  All was in order there.

“What the hell?” Alex said, then realized that he hadn’t meant to say that out loud.  Oops…

The woman sleeping on him stirred slightly, and sighed, then sat up next to him.

Alex quickly became aware of two things.  First, she was staggeringly beautiful.  And second, she was, without a doubt, King Lemmy’s daughter.

A third fact popped into Alex’s head.  Somehow, he still didn’t actually know her name.  He tried and tried to remember if King Lemmy had mentioned it, but he forgot what it was he was trying to remember when she lifted both arms over her head and stretched, arching her back slightly.

She looked down at him, and smiled.

“Hi,” Alex said.

“Good morning, Alex,” she said.

“How did you get in here?” Alex said.

“Through the door,” she said.  “I hope you don’t mind.”

“Well, no…  I mean, I don’t mind, but did I bring you back here last night?” Alex said.

“No, I just got a bit chilly and thought I’d come in here with you rather than stay in my own room,” she said.

Alex had no idea how to reply to that.  The best he could come up with was a bewildered, “Is your room in this house too?”

“Of course not, silly bunny man,” she said.

“Right, of course not,” Alex said.  He finally realized there was no way for him to gracefully continue this conversation.

“So,” Alex said. “Um, please forgive me, but I don’t think we’ve been introduced previously.”

She gave him a devilish smile, and said, “I know.  I avoided father while he was introducing you to everyone else on the island.”

Well, that explains it, Alex thought.  He wasn’t sure if he would have managed to remember her name after more than one hundred other introductions, anyway.

She continued, “I assumed you wouldn’t be able to remember my name if I was just one more introduction after every other person on Walli-Wo.  I thought it might be easier for you to recall my name if I introduced myself this way.”

She’s got a point, Alex thought.

“OK, well, hi,” Alex said.  “I’m Alex Minor. You can call me Alex.”

“I know, and I already did,” she said. “And my name is Princess Carol Anne Maria Felicia Autumn Lemmy.”

“I’m glad to meet you, Princess Carol Anne, uh…” Alex said.

Princess Carol Anne Maria Felicia Autumn Lemmy winked at him, and said, “You can just call me Lulu.  Everyone does.”

“OK, it’s nice to meet you Princess Lulu,” Alex said.

She giggled and Alex wondered once again if marrying her and becoming the king to her queen would be all that bad.

“Just Lulu,” she said.  “I’m naked in your bed, I don’t think we need to stand on formalities.”

Alex had no idea how to reply and said, “Um, no, I suppose not.”

“Can we make love now?” Lulu said.

What?” Alex said.

“Father has already told me he blesses our future wedding.  And I’m feeling kind of eager, get out of this silly uniform” Lulu said.

“Whoa, whoa,” Alex said.  “Sorry, I need a second.”

“Oh, do you want to keep your uniform on while we make love?  I don’t mind,” Lulu said, and smiled.

“No, that’s not it.  I don’t think you understand,” Alex said.

Lulu raised an eyebrow, and said, “Oh.  Oh, I see.  Do you want to wear the bunny suit?  I’m OK with that too.  I like to play.”

“This is just not coming out right,” Alex said to himself.

“No?  Ooooh, you want me to wear the bunny suit.  OK, I like that too…” Lulu said.

Alex just stared at her for a second.  She was already starting to get out of bed, presumably to put the bunny suit on.

“No, wait please, uh, Lulu,” Alex said.

She turned back to him.  He was really having a hard time coming up with whatever it was he wanted to say.

“You see, the thing is, um,” Alex said.

Lulu looked puzzled for a moment, and then her face cleared.

“Oh, of course, how silly of me to not understand,” Lulu said with complete confidence.

“Really?” Alex said, considerably less confident.

“You prefer to be more traditional and wait until the wedding,” Lulu said.

“Um,” Alex said.

“It’s OK.  The anticipation will make the wait fun for both of us.  And after we get married, we can unleash our passion and have our way with each other,” Lulu said.  She had gestured wildly as she said “unleash” and “passion” and it took a second for Alex to get his breath back. 

“I’m not sure you,” Alex started to say, but was interrupted.

“Oh yes, I understand completely.  Such a romantic you are,” Lulu said.  She winked at him.

She curled back up under the covers with him.

How are things going so horribly right for me?  Alex wondered.

“You must still be sleepy,” Lulu said.  “You had a lot to drink, and a long night last night.”

“Mm, yes,” Alex said.  “Say, what do you call those drinks we had last night, by the way?”

“Drinks you had.  I stuck with fruit juice,” Lulu said.  “Anyway, they are a very traditional drink here on Walli-Wo.  The short name for them is Ki.  I don’t think you’ll remember the long name.  No one uses it, anyway.”

“Ki?” Alex said.

“Yes.  In English, I think they’d be called Fruit Flavored Pain Killer,” Lulu said.

“Sounds about right,” Alex said.

Lulu giggled.

Just then, they heard a doorknob rattle slightly, and Gertrude crept into the room with a tray covered with fruit and glasses of juice.  It also looked like she had a small pot of coffee or tea on the tray.  She walked past the bed, glanced over at Alex and Lulu and took a couple more steps before she stopped dead in her tracks and stared at the two of them.

Alex thought, oh shit.  I’m going to get lynched for spoiling the king’s daughter. And I didn’t even spoil her.

“Uh,” Gertrude said.

Lulu didn’t waste a second.

Quickly, but sweetly, she said, “Gertrude, what did you see in Alex’s bedroom this morning?”

“Um.  Nothing, Princess Lulu.  Mr. Minor asleep in his bed.  By himself,” Gertrude stammered.

“That’s right,” Lulu said.  “And who do you need to tell that you saw Alex asleep, by himself, in his own bed, as anyone would expect him to be?”

“Um, No one.  No one at all,” Gertrude said.

“And, Gertrude, what would happen if somehow the other islanders got the impression that Alex had not been alone in his bedroom this morning?” Princess Lulu said.

Gertrude looked nervous.

“Gertrude?” Lulu said.

“I don’t think I’d like that very much,” Gertrude said.

“I don’t think I’d like it very much either,” Lulu said.  “So it’s a good thing for us that Alex was quietly asleep, and alone, when you came in this morning, isn’t it?”

“Yes, Princess Lulu,” Gertrude said.

“Thank you, Gertrude.  Your discretion is one of your many excellent qualities, and why you’re one of my closest friends,” Lulu said.

“Thank you, Princess Lulu,” Gertrude said. 

She set down the tray she’d brought in, and hurried out of the room again, closing the door quietly behind her.

“Whoa,” Alex said.  He wasn’t sure what exactly he’d just seen, but he did know that now he felt kind of bad for Gertrude for walking in when she did.

“Silly girl,” Lulu said.  “Don’t worry, I know she’s actually very discrete.”

“OK, cool,” Alex said.  “So, what would happen to her if she mentioned you were in here with me, incidentally?”

Lulu smiled, and said, “She would have to work as the first level customer service rep on the phones for the bank, instead of doing the cushy job she has now.”

“Oof, that’s pretty rough,” Alex said.

“But not inhumane,” Lulu said. 

Alex thought that was debatable but said nothing.

Lulu looked out the window at the brightening morning sky.  She turned back to Alex, gave him a wicked grin, and said, “It looks like we still have at least an hour until it is time for the morning feast.  Let’s fool around a little, honey bunny.”

Uh oh, Alex thought. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Chapter Twenty Four is Oh So Nice

Thursday, June Sixteenth, just after the evening feast, which ended a little early, because everyone skipped dessert, Walli-Wo island time

Shortly after King Lemmy had announced that his great great grandfather had been kidnapped, he’d gotten up from the table and left the great hall.  Alex and Harry followed after him as he hurried away.

“King Lemmy, please wait!” Alex said.

“I do not have time to wait, I must try to find my great great grandfather,” King Lemmy said.

“Well, he couldn’t have gone too far yet,” Alex said.  “Wait for us!”

King Lemmy paused for a second, and said, “That is why I’m hurrying.”

“Well, hang on a second so we can help you,” Alex said.

That slowed King Lemmy down a moment longer, and Alex and Harry were able to catch up to him.

At the moment, they were about halfway between the great hall and King Lemmy’s home.  King Lemmy looked around himself, scanning the area for anything that seemed out of place.

“What can we do to help?” Alex said.  “Do you want us to come with you and help search?  Should we split up?  We’ll probably be able to cover more ground that way.”

King Lemmy looked at Alex and said, “You are a good friend.  And, you are the expert at finding things that have been lost.  What do you think we should do?”

Alex wasn’t sure he was really all that good at finding things that were lost.  Really, he was more of an expert and going and getting things back from where they weren’t supposed to be.  In other words, he was a repo man, not a detective.  However, he wanted to help King Lemmy, so he paused for a minute and thought about what would be the best way to track down the statue.  He was glad the island wasn’t bigger.

“Can we be sure that he’s still on the island?” Alex said.  “I mean, if someone arrived or left, we’d know about it, wouldn’t we?”

“Yes, we have lookouts watching the perimeter of the island.  They would have seen anyone arriving or leaving by sea.  And you know we would have heard any aircraft that arrived or left,” King Lemmy said.

“Is there a way we can check in with the lookouts to see if they’ve noticed anything?” Alex said.

“Of course.  They have walkie talkies,” King Lemmy said.

“Do you think we should ask them before we search the island?  We can also warn them to keep an even closer watch,” Alex said.

“Yes, that is a good idea,” King Lemmy said.  He turned to Harry, and said, “Please go check in with the watch, and tell them to be alert to anyone leaving Walli-Wo.”
Harry nodded, and walked off at a brisk pace.

“OK, Alex, now what do you think we should do?” King Lemmy said.

“Well, should we go look at your house and see if we can find anything out of place there?  Would someone have to break in to your house to get to the courtyard?” Alex said.

“I do not typically keep my home locked,” King Lemmy said.  “However, with all of the unknown visitors we have had today, I decided to lock the doors.  Just in case they accidentally tried to explore my home again.”

“OK, maybe there will be something there that will give us an idea of what happened, and where we can look next” Alex said.

King Lemmy nodded and said, “Yes, let’s do that.”

When they arrived at the house, both of them were astonished to find King Lemmy’s front door laying on the ground about fifteen feet away from the house.  One of the hinges was still attached to it. The door’s frame was splintered and blown out of the house as well.

“Whoa,” Alex said.

King Lemmy remained silent, looking back and forth from the door to the front of the house.

“Say, did your door open in to the house, or out?” Alex said.

“In,” King Lemmy said.

“Wow,” Alex said.  “Was there an explosion inside?”

King Lemmy said nothing, and instead started walked towards the house again.

Alex followed behind.  The two of them walked through the hole where the front door had been.  Alex was honestly expecting to find more wreckage just inside the door, but apart from some dust and wood splinters from the door frame, everything seemed to be exactly the way it had been the last time he’d been in there.

“I guess that there wasn’t an explosion, then,” Alex said.  “That’s good.”

As they went further inside, the rest of the house seemed basically undisturbed, apart from a lamp that had been knocked over.  And then there was the broken glass from the sliding door that led out into the inner courtyard.  Alex was more than a little puzzled by that mess.

For one thing, the glass had all fallen in to the house.  Whatever had force had broken it had come from the courtyard side, pushing in on the glass.  So, so far it sure seemed like someone had broken out of King Lemmy’s house, rather than breaking in.

For another thing, there was a trail, about a foot or so wide, where the broken glass had been pushed aside, right through the middle of the scattered glass on the floor.

Alex said, “Did someone drag your great great grandfather out of here?”

Simultaneously, King Lemmy said, “Did my great great grandfather walk out of there?”

Both of them then looked at each other and said “Wait, what?”

From behind them, Harry said, “The watch have not seen anyone leaving Walli-Wo tonight.  They will be alert to anyone who does, and let us know right away.”

Alex started, and muttered, “Jesus, Harry.”

King Lemmy said, “Thank you Harry.  What do you make of this mess?”

Harry looked down at the trail through the glass and then looked up at King Lemmy, wide – eyed. 

“Do you think he walked through it?” Harry said.

Alex had certainly encountered a few weird things during the course of his career, but he was reasonably certain that the statue he’d brought back here was not able to walk on its own.  However, he had just enough diplomatic sense to know that telling King Lemmy that statues can’t do that would be a mistake.

So instead, he said, “You don’t think he was just dragged off?  I thought he’d been kidnapped.”

King Lemmy and Harry looked at each other, and then back at Alex.  Harry’s expression was one that said “I can’t believe you can be that ignorant.”  King Lemmy’s was more sympathetic.

“Alex,” King Lemmy said, “I must explain this to you.  You see, when I said that my ancestors look over me and protect me, I meant that truly and literally.  My ancestors live in the homes that were made for them, and they will act when needed.”

Alex wasn’t exactly sure what he could say to that.  He thought it was a sweet concept, but he was also fairly certain that the statues were not, by any stretch of the imagination, sentient and capable of action.  He also knew that he should probably keep that to himself.

Especially because it would be extremely embarrassing if he was proven wrong.  He didn’t think he was, but then, he’d been surprised before…

“OK,” Alex said.  “I’m confused though, how could your great great grandfather have ended up in the United States, if he didn’t want to go there?”

“He is still living in a heavy stone statue,” King Lemmy said.  “Taking any kind of action requires a great deal of energy.  He knew we would find him, so he waited and rested.”

“Did he try to resist?” Alex said.

“Of course,” King Lemmy said.  “but again, like us, he only has so much energy before he’s exhausted.  Whoever took him the first time just wore him down until he couldn’t fight back any longer.”

“OK, I guess that makes sense,” Alex said.  Privately, he thought it was impossible.  “How do you know all this?”

“He told me,” King Lemmy said.

“OK,” Alex said.  There was no possible way to contradict that without calling King Lemmy crazy, so Alex changed course.

“Well, do you think your grandfather was kidnapped, or do you think he chased someone off and is somewhere on the island by himself, too tired to come back?” Alex said.

King Lemmy stood quietly for a moment, thinking.  Then he said, “Wait here a moment.”

He went out into the courtyard.  Alex and Harry watched him, but King Lemmy largely kept his back to them, so it was difficult to see what he was doing out there.  Alex was able to hear King Lemmy asking questions, however, and pacing a bit.  He seemed to be deep in thought.

After ten minutes or so, King Lemmy came back into the house.

“Harry,” King Lemmy said.  “Please stay here and clean up this glass.  Alex, come with me.”

Without another word, he led Alex back through the house, and out through the hole where the front door had been.  He led Alex back towards the port of Walli-Wo.  They reached a clearing, and stopped.  From where they were, they had a commanding view of the majority of Walli-Wo.  They were also, Alex recognized, in a place where they’d know it if they were being watched.

Quietly, King Lemmy said, “Alex, my great great grandfather was indeed kidnapped.  He did his best to defend himself and the house, but he was caught by surprise and overpowered.”

“Whoa.  That’s terrible!” Alex said.  “How do you know that, though?”

“I know it, because my ancestors saw it happen, and they told me what they saw,” King Lemmy said.

“They didn’t try to stop it?” Alex said.

“Of course, why do you think the house was such a mess?” King Lemmy said.

“Oh, of course,” Alex said.  He thought for a minute, and then said, “OK, what else can I do to help?”

King Lemmy put his hand on Alex’s shoulder, and said, “Alex, you are a good friend, and will one day be a great king.”

[Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!]