Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tree Meeting

Now, findin a needle in a haystack ain't easy, as the old saying would attest to. But findin a straight branch on a world-sized ash tree is like findin a needle with a 15 milimeter hole in a pile full of needles with 14 milimeter holes. Maybe it's harder than that. Maybe it's like findin integrity in politics. Yeah. THAT hard. Haruki prolly wouldn't have been able to find it at all if he didn't have himself a guide.

He was wanderin around that big ol' ash tree, just feelin overwhelmed at the enormity of the task and wishin his ma would just show up, eat everything and just be done with it all. But before he could sink too low in his depression and anxiety, that squirrel he saw before came runnin back to him, with an old man in tow. Haruki noticed two things about the man right away. First, he had himself a beard of epic proportions. I tell ya, there ain't nothin to make a man stick out in a crowd, on stage or in a tree like good beard. It's your best friend in the winter and your worst enemy in summer, but it'll get you through tough times and make you look regal doin it. If this has convinced you to grow a beard, you just go ahead and do it, but make sure it's a proper beard. Don't be growin no soul patch or anythin like that that's gonna just make you look ridiculous. And don't ever, never grow yourself just a mustache. Only cops and perverts have only mustaches. And the man approaching Haruki didn't seem like no cop or pervert. He weren't no cop because of the second thing that Haruki noticed about him, which was that he only had one eye up in his face and there ain't no one-eyed cops.

He could still have been a pervert though. I ain't sayin everyone with an awesome beard is a pervert. I mean, I got me a stylin beard (you know, to cover my superfluous chin), and I ain't no kind of pervert or nothin. And if any of y'all try to insinuate that I am, well, them's is gonna be the last words that come through your teeth.

Sorry, I'm just a bit riled up. The computin machine on which I usually do my writin and story tellin and yarn spinnin decided out of the blue for no reason to just not work any more, and I spent the last week tryin to fight it. I shoulda been doin other stuff in my life during all that time like, say, writin some stuff here, but the great and almighty computer didn't want to allow it. I didn't want to git on here and make another excuse for the delay, because I don't like doin it and I know y'all don't like hearin it. Soon, though, I'm gonna find myself an alternative. But that alternative might be handwritin everything and sendin this out as a chain letter, so be prepared to send me all of your addresses if I request them.

Anyway, Haruki didn't have much time to think about whether this bearded fella was a pervert or not because the guy belted out with a, "How do, there, stranger?! Welcome to my tree!"

"Thank you," said Haruki, bowing. "I do not mean to intrude."

"It's no big thing," the stranger roared in a voice like rocks rattlin round a coffee can, "all are welcome in my tree. Even you, Haruki Hatayama."

" did you..." the young ninja stammered.

"Oh, I make it my business knowin who's in my tree, don't you know," and the stranger touched the side of his nose and winked. "That and you're wearin your school name tag."

Haruki looked down and saw that, indeed, he was still wearing his name tag. Funny that he had forgotten to take it off. It was even funnier that he didn't remember the school givin out name tags. But, if he was wearin it, they must have give it to him. Unless...

"Wait," said Haruki, "are you Odin? I've read my Norse mythology, and you seem an awful lot like the Allfather."

The stranger sighed. "You know, I am so sick of that question! Just because you got yourself one eye and a beard, and you happen to live in an ash tree with three nice old ladies, everyone goes around thinkin you're the father of the viking gods! It's inescapable!"

"I'm sorry," said Haruki quickly, "I assumed too much. You have my deepest apologies."

"It's all right," replied the stranger, "it ain't your fault. It just all adds up and gets frustratin. I'm seriously considerin just gettin a name tag that says 'Not Odin' on it, so as to avoid all this confusion."

Haruki bowed again. "I am most sorry, sir. If you are not Odin, what may I call you?"

"You can just call me Al," the bearded man said, slapping Haruki on the back. "And don't worry non about that Odin thing. Now, what can I do ya for?"

Haruki explained his situation and his need for a straight branch from an ash tree.

When he was done, Al nodded, stroking his beard. "Well, now, that's a mighty tall order. But it's for a deaf and blind kid, you say?"

"Yes sir."

"All right, then. I dunno where there's a straight branch on this whole tree, but I'll offer ya my services you help you find one."

"Thank you, sir," Haruki bowed.

They turned to leave, two men off on an adventure together. Then Al turned and looked at Haruki. "Wait, Hatayama..." he said. "You wouldn't happen to be related to Tetsuo Hatayama, would you?"

"I am his son."

"All right, all right," Al nodded vigorously. "Maybe when we find that stick for you, you could help me with this little problem I'm having with my brother. You're just the chap for the job."

"I shall return your favor in kind," Haruki told him. "The Hatayama are an honorable family and we always return our debts."

"Great to hear!" said Al, slapping him on the back again. "Now let's go find that stick."

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