Friday, August 16, 2013

Day Five-Hundred-Ten: Time for a Mindful Walkabout?

Yeah, fine. It worked.

But only because I'd planned to come out in public anyway.

(I wonder where Harold picked up my diary. I could've sworn I left it in June's cave, back in Pubtwon. I'll have to ask him… or read up on past entries… there's no such thing as a private document when you're mayor, I guess.)

I woke up this morning with one hell of a headache. I've been working some long nights with Libby, lately, and sleep's been a precious commodity. Our project has involved some rather intense work. I'm bushed, and sore, and… well… confused.

Yeah. Confused. That's a good word for it. Confused, but determined. Determined to see this shit through.

I wasn't really in the mood for a crowd at my door at 8 am. Even if it was a crowd of well-wishers, supporters, and friends. My constituents. But there they were, and there I was, in my pyjamas, and… hell.

Evangelina stood at the front of the pack. I knew she'd be the one to make the demands. She's tenacious. (And she's been hiding under my porch. I'm not stupid. I noticed her boot tracks in the dirt.)

"Dragomir," she said, crossing her arms.

I looked the crowd over. At least eighty people, all gathered 'round my house. Including Edmund, to whom the house originally belonged. "Pubton."

Eva snorted. "Cute. We're here to have a talk with you. You know, the talk we should have had two weeks ago? Maybe three?"

My head drooping, I nodded. I waved behind me, and out of the darkness stepped Libby, also in her pyjamas. More than a few people in the crowd gasped when they saw that most of her hair was gone, chopped away by a sharp razor and several hours of determination. I was pretty surprised myself, the first time. (Kinda reminded me of Logan shaving his dad's hair. Though much prettier. Sorry, Jeffrey.)

The crowd made room for me as I descended the porch steps, mindless of my bare feet, and walked towards the remains of the golden tree. The entire damned thing was uprooted a few weeks ago, as far as I know, and the roots burned. A shame - it was such a pretty thing - but it's good to know that June doesn't have a hut to hide in anymore. I think.

Had my wife trapped under my nose the whole time. That withered bitch.

(June, I mean. Not Libby. She can be bitchy, but she's not a bitch.)

Libby walked at my side, and, presently, appearing from a side street, Plato joined us. He's an odd duck... platypus… whatever… but I think I like him. Decent, plain-talking fellow, and he's been really helpful. The crowd followed our trio, oddly quiet, still led by Evangelina, though even she seemed taken aback.

I stood on the mound of dirt where once the golden tree had grown, thinking, 'Hey, this might be the last time I have to do this,' and waited for everyone to gather around us. By now most of the town had turned out, spotting the crowd from a distance, and though I felt the slightest tinge of panic at their numbers it was soon quashed. I'm pretty awesome at public speaking after the past year.

"People of Pubton," I began, clearing my throat, "I've been real quiet for a couple weeks. 'n I'm sorry about that."

The crowd murmured their forgiveness. I sensed no recriminations. Pretty grateful for that.

"I know you think I'm a great mayor, and junk. Or I think you think I'm a great mayor. I dunno. Have we ever done a popularity poll? Evangelina? Have we?"

"They like you just fine, Dragomir," she yelled back. "Get to the point!"

"Oh, yeah." I scratched my head, keenly aware that I wasn't wearing my floppy mayor's hat. "Well, first off, I'm retiring. For real this time. A year's long enough to play mayor, I figure, and y'all don't need three of us. From now on, Harold or Evangelina can be mayor. Pick one, they're both good at it."

The crowd focused on the two co-mayors. They fidgeted. Then the attention went back to me, and none other than my dad, decked out in guard's armour already, shouted "Are you pussyin' out again, you little fuck?"

I waved. I've gotten used to handling him. "Nope. That's the other part of this, dad. 'n everybody else. Libby, Plato and I… we're all takin' off for a while. We've got something we need to do. Somewhere we gotta go."

"But where?" somebody in the crowd yelled. "And why? And how? And who? And what? And when?"

"Across the world," I replied. "Stuff to do, you'll see in a bit, already answered that one, don't know HOW to answer that one, aaaaand a week. Maybe two. Gonna be gone a long time, I can say as much."

Evangelina looked like she'd had just about enough. Stepping away from everyone else and pulling Harold with her, she stormed up to me and shoved a finger in my face. "You can't fucking abandon us, you asshole! We just barely survived those shadow things -"


"I know what they're called." She nearly planted her finger up my nose and removed several days' worth of boogers. (I need to clean.) "We barely survived, and the only reason we're still around is because of your kid. Which means, at the very least, that we should have YOU around. If you leave…"

I smiled and patted her on the head. "If I leave, I think you'll have a whole lot less problems. Trust me. I'm pretty sure a lot of the shit you suffered is because of me. If I'm gone, you'll be okay."

Evangelina's face twisted into something furious, but also sadly desperate. Vulnerable, maybe. It was a weird thing to see. "But how do you know?"

I had to force myself to nonchalantly shrug. "I… guess I don't. But I'm willing to bet on it. And besides… if I do this…"

I turned back to the crowd. Expectant faces with expectant expressions bored into me, demanding solid answers. I knew that the wrong answer would unleash a torrent of refusals and demands to stay. So I had to say the right thing.

"… if I do this, I'm pretty sure I can save you all."

And that was it. There was confusion, and gloom, and a bit of cursing, but… more than all that… there was trust. Pubton quietly accepted it all, without any more explanation than that. I guess I've led them through so much shit that they believe in me. Or… something.

Yeah. Something.

I spoke of many things after that. I told Pubton that I would need people to come with me, if anybody was willing. I told Pubton that Libby and I were working on a transport, and that we could use some help, now that we were done… grieving. (Though I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who's done.) I told Pubton that we probably wouldn't be back for a year, because that's about how long it took Plato to get to me. I told them a lot of things, and I told Evangelina and Harold a lot more, later that night, sitting in the dark.

Not once, though, not once, not to anyone but Libby and Plato, did I ever mention the name Iko. The name of the man I've sworn to kill.


Dragomir the Wanderer


  1. My Glormp! (God of sarcasm and confusion), I think I know what Dragomir has planned!...a UNDERGROUND SAILING SHIP!

    That or he actually has a slightly less physics breaking mode of a metal cart that is powered by a giant magnet! Where you just dangle a magnet ahead of the cart and it pulls the cart forwards! INFINITE/FUEL-LESS TRANSPORTATION! (Although I'm pretty sure that having no idea how actual engineering works will not have any sort of repercussions on my designs).

    Also...I realize that THIS would've been the ultimate chance to use the LOTR "...AND MY AXE!" quote...which is a shame since I've used it like twice in the series now...DAMMIT MATT!

    1. I'm no engineer either. For all I know your design would work just fine, and I should steal it. For the good of the story.

  2. Is it just me or has The Baron been pretty weak for Non?
    Kierkegaard would eat the dudes that grabbed him.