Round Table Nights II: Zephyr at Dawn

O, Revered One, I have told you 25 tales, and now, in the middle of this night, I shall to tell you one more.

So, here at the round table, before the candle burns down, thus I begin this Scheherazade chronicle: A man walked down the dusty yellow street between the low white houses. He wore a long white shirt belted in woven thread of gold, turquoise silk balloon pants and camel hide sandals. On his head was a turban that rather resembled a pumpkin in both color and design, with a small stem-like dome at the crown. He was a pasha or somebody like that. In one hand, where one would expect a staff or sword, he carried a bottle of Zinfandel, Red Zinfandel. In the other a brass oil lamp needing polishing.

A beautiful young maiden strolled toward him. Instantly he was smitten. He waylaid her and struck up a conversation. He thought, Shall I bed her or behead her? For, surely I will not wed her. She is too pretty. I shall bed her and then behead her, for she is like all the others, always wanting nothing but my riches and once she gets them she will be unfaithful. The maiden had no idea what was going on in his head. She thought him rather handsome, but that his big pumpkin hat must weigh down his brain.

“My dear,” said he to the maiden, “Come with me to my——”

“Bfff; bfff. … Biff.”

Oh — it’s Dickens. Excuse me. Let me get up from the table and let him in. Moriarty, the Phantom of my Blog, is back, his arrival heralded by his black, fluffy dog, Dickens. I open the heavy metal security door of my blog. A soft breeze out of the west has picked up.

“Moriarty. Welcome back. How was your trip to Arkansas? How is your family? No wonder you didn’t open the door yourself. Your hands are full.

“What is that you’re carrying?” I ask him as he enters the blog.

Suddenly, Dickens steps out of the shadows and walks in front of Moriarty. Moriarty trips and the thing he is carrying flies into the air. I catch it.

“Moriarty. It’s a zither. You’ve brought back a zither.”

“I found it in a roadside yard sale when I was in Missouri,” he says.

“I thought you went to Arkansas.”

“I did, but I have to drive through a corner of Missouri to get there.”

“Oh, right.”

I hold the zither by the window in the light eminating from the sun about to rise above the horizon. “It looks in pretty good condition from what little I know about zithers,” I say.

“I’m going to take zither lessons,” he says. “I’ll become a zitherist. —-

“{{{ }}} What is this mess all over the place? You’ve got papers strewn everywhere. This is awful.”

“It’s my A to Zs,” I say. “I’ve written them all the way to Z. These are my notes and drafts and Outliers.”

“Outliers? What are the outliers?”

“The Outliers are my darlings that wouldn’t fit into my tales but I didn’t want to kill, so I saved them in my Scheherazade Chronicles ‘Outliers’ file, for other tales.”

“And everything’s so dusty,” he says. “Why haven’t you dusted?”

“Because, I was totally immersed in writing the A to Zs. Everything else fell by the wayside.”

“Well, you’re going to have to dust, but let’s get started cleaning up these papers.

“Guess what I saw while I was driving across the Chesapeake through Maryland back from Arkansas?” he says as he picks up a page and wads it up. “Sinbad’s ship. It was in dry dock. They were replacing the rotted wooden boards and all the ribs. The sea really battered it.”

He tosses the wadded page into the trash basket. Dickens snatches it out and runs with it.

“Hey!” I say. “What’s on that page?! I may need it. Let me see it! Is that my ‘Outliers’ page?”

I chase after Dickens, running through the kitchen. I quick glance at the clock on the microwave. I forgot, in the night I had heated up the mac and cheese Thomas Jefferson had left on his recent visit. It was still in the microwave.

I find it unsettling when I want to know the time and I glance at the microwave clock and it says “END.”

Samantha Mozart