Teaspoon for Leibowitz
Lucy was staring at the clock. She couldn't sleep. It was 2 A.M. in the morning. She was thinking of Jimmy Moon. She thought of mooning him once, playing a joke on his name. But she never did it.
If she had had a violin, she would have started singing her song, "to Moon Jimmy Moon." But she did not have a violin and Mary would have complained about the loud music.
She listened to the crickets outside. It was quiet and peaceful. Why couldn't she sleep?
And then, a strange noise was heard. Rattling. From her closet.
"Mary! Mary, wake up!" Lucy shouted. But her sister remained asleep.
Mary was always a sound sleeper. Especially when she needed to be awake.
Lucy considered going over to Mary's bed and shaking her awake, but the rattling grew louder and she was afraid to leave her sheets.
And then,the door opened slightly, two tentacles protruding…
Tentacles. Only one creature Lucy knew of had tentacles…
The door opened, and an orange octopus stepped out.. Or rathere, oozed out. It seemed to be covered in thick ooze. It was wearing thick glasses with hair all over them. And it was smiling, with only one tooth in its mouth.
"Nottie!" the creature said.
Lucy was shaking, and could not answer.
"Nottie! You've grown."
Lucy continued to quiver in fear. The creature's smile turned into a frown. "don't you remember me?"
Lucy tried to find her tongue, but could not.
"I know you weren't much of a talker, but most of your kind start speaking a lot long before they reach your current age. Oh well. I'll be happy to just sit on your bed and play cards."
Lucy did not want that thing on her bed, but she saw that she not resist. She pinched herself to see if she would wake up from this terrible nightmare. It hurt.
She did not wake up. The creature climbed on her bed.
"I've got a set of cards right here," the octopus said. Lucy saw that it now held a briefcase. She kept her covers up to her chin.
"Yes, here it is," the octopus said, triumphantly. It pulled out some cards with fourt different tentacles. "No, this is the Moon Tablet deck. I meant to bring the Mindsleep, but I seemed to have forgotten it."
That was it. Her dreams had imitated wakefulness, and she could not only hurt herself by pinchin g her arm, but also smell the rank odor of the octopus.
"Oh well, Moon Tablets will have to do."
The octopus put the four sets of cards down. Then it waited. When Lucy did not move, the octopus said, "We can't play if you're tucked under the covers, honey.
She remained where she was.
"Oh come on. I didn't' sic the boogeyman on your sister. That was Pi. He's…not a very nice monster. Actually, he works under the boogeyman, but I'd be more scared of Pi than the boogeyman if I were a human child."
"You sent a monster to meet Mary?"
"No one," Lucy said.
"Her on the other bed? She's got a different monster. He hasn't visited her in longer than I haven't visited you. And hhe won't be visitng her again."
"Then why did you come to see me?"
"Because I liked you, Nottie. Us monsters are taught to fear human touch, but you showed me that human contact can be exhilarating."
"I did? I don't remember that."
"You were just a wee little girl then," the octopus said, holding its tentacle two feet above Lucy's covers. I heard that humans didn't recall their early years to well, To be honest, us monsters don't either. Except for Donnagan. He's a blue fellow with ten-foot-tall ears though he only stands seven feet high. He has a lot of weight to carry on his head."
"So you came to see me because you missed me?"
"Yep. That's the ticket. How could I not miss you?"
"Why didn't you come before?"
"The door to your room was destroyed in a fire at the company. A new one was just built a few days ago."
"But wait. If a monster visits Ruthie—"
"Oh yeah, that's another thing I forgot to mention. A monster cannot leave the room they are in, in your world. I cannot step out your bedroom door or window. So I could not have come through Ruthie's door to visit you."
"Oh," Lucy said.
"Now will you come out and play?"
"Well, you do seem friendly…but, I don't know if I can trust a monster."
"OI must've forgotten to say the magic word. Pemalee Ontasont."
"Pemalee Ontasont?" Lucy asked. She expected it to sound foreign on her togue, but it sounded even more right for her than English. She smiled up at the monster.
"Ready to play cards?"
"Sure," Lucy said. She threw off the top of the cover, sending a couple of cards flying. The octopus sent his tentacles to grab them.
"Don't worry about it. Now, I may have to explain this game to you, since we never played it together before. I know you humans have your own cards games but ours are different than yours."
Lucy listened as the Octopus explained about Seraph and Nomads and how Nomads cannot launch their fire at Seraphs unless they have a special ball of yarn and a basketful of candy corn. The rules were very strange. Lucy asked the octopus to repeat the rules, which he was glad to do.
A castle was laying in their center of their two opposing camps. Lucy sent a knight into the castle and the octopus sent a beaver after her. A stegosaurus with spikesds on its tail sent both Lucy's knight and the octopus' beaver back to their homes.
Several times Lucy performed a misplay. The octopus only corrected her some of the time. He seemed anxious to not have her angry with him. She was sure she made more misplays than he corrected her for.
"What's your name?" Lucy asked, when their game ended.
"Well, you caulled me Lollipop when you were three."
"I know I don't look like a lollipop, but I would be happy if you called me by that name."
"Sure thing, Lollipop."
Lollipop repacked his cards. "Till we see each other again, my fair Nottie." He oozed off her bed and opened the closet door, sending her a final wave goodbye before shutting the closet.
Lucy ran to the closet because she had just thought of something else to say to Lollipop. But he was gone. There was nothing there but a back and clothes.
She felt for the back of the closet, hoping she wouldn't find it. She remembered how in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, a girl (also named Lucy) would go into the wardrobe and feel for its back. If it wasn't there, she would find herself in Narnia. With the snow and the ice because of the White Witch. Lucy hoped it wasn't always winter in the land Lollipop came from.
She felt the back, and almost returned to bed discouraged. But then she thought of actually closing the door. It is a very foolish thing to close a door while iin a wardrobe, but this was a closet, not a wardrobe.
Once inside, she closed the door. Nothing happened. She sat down. Still nothing. She thought about banging her head on the back of the closet, but that wouldn't do any good. Just give her a headache when she needed to pass a history test the next day.
She cried for the friend that had left her. He may have been orange and had hairy glasses, but he was fun. Her only hope was that he'd come back.
She fell asleep, picturing all the fun they'd have together. She dreamt that they went to a cranival and shared a bucket of popcorn.