Sunday, December 16, 2007


Bill, John and Mischa trudged through bone-chilling frost and biting winds. A week had passed since they’d joined forces, and they were no closer to finding the Red Herring than they’d been at the beginning. They’d also run out of food, which was really inconvenient.

“I’m beginning to think this whole Red Herring business was just a big, misleading clue,” said John bitterly.

“You can’t really mean that, Comrade!” scolded Mischa. “I am certain that we will find it. And then we will be able to thwart Josiah.”

Bill, much to the delight of his companions, hadn’t said anything for a few days, having foolishly licked an icicle and gotten his tongue stuck. He had no regrets.

They walked on, teetering right on the line separating optimism from pessimism, unable to decide which philosophy to adopt so choosing to adopt neither. Occasionally they found a stray penguin or two, but aside from that, they were having absolutely no luck with their quest. At length, Bill said (or at least tried to say – his tongue was still stuck) that he couldn’t go on, and he sat down on a patch of frigid snow. The wind howled around him.

Mischa would have been quite happy to leave him there, but John did owe the man his life, so grabbing Bill by the icicle still caught on his tongue, he started pulling the garbage man behind him. It slowed him down considerably – quite a feat, as they were already moving incredibly slowly.

After another hour or so, they stumbled across a sight that they could hardly believe: a castle made entirely of ice. Running toward it for some reason, they let out cries of joy at finally seeing something to break the harsh monotony of the Antarctic.

The tallest tower of the carved castle was at least a hundred feet above the ground. Magnificent ice sculptures surrounded the structure, each one carved with astounding detail but none of which resembled anything familiar. The castle brilliantly reflected the few rays of sunlight that had managed to penetrate the clouds, giving off the impression that it was made of diamonds, or tinfoil.

John, taking a deep breath and grinning, rang the doorbell (which was made of ice, like the rest of the castle, and was thus very hard to locate), and they waited. About a minute later, the door (also made of ice) opened to reveal what was unmistakably a butler. Made of ice.

“Good day, sirs,” he began, speaking with a remarkably poor British accent, “how may I be of service to you?”

“We’re very tired, very hungry, very sexy wanderers who just happened to come across this castle. We’d greatly appreciate it if you let us inside to talk to your – er – boss,” replied John as politely as he was able. “If you have one. I mean, I suppose you might be the boss, right? I have no way of knowing. Except my intuition. Which is always right. So never mind what I just said.”

“Very well,” said the butler, “follow me.”

They followed him into the ice castle, up an icy flight of stairs and through an icy archway which led into a room of ice. Sitting at an ice desk was a man draped in a flowing silver robe, almost like ice (but it wasn’t).

“Greetings!” he yelled about ten times as loudly as he needed to. “Welcome to my castle! I am THE BLIZZARD!”

No one said anything for a while. I mean, there’s really no good way to respond to that, is there?

No. There isn’t.

“Hi?” tried John.


The silence was finally broken when Bill tripped and fell, shattering the fragile floor and falling back down to the first level.

“You’re going to have to pay for that!” said the Blizzard, taking out his wallet.

John sighed.

No comments: