Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Tea From Netherland, FFF #39
She knew time was running out, fast, but opening that door was Pandora's Box all over again. "Mr. Whiskers will protect me," she thought, "as he knows how important this tea party is to Timmy, what with it being his birthday and all."
"Remember to say the magic spell that the White Witch gave you," Mr. Whiskers said as he unrolled the long scroll and held it aloft with his long bunny ears.
"Right you are Mr. Whiskers as I'd almost forgotten." She smoothed down her dress and peered closely at the fancy looping script on the scroll. She began, "Tiddler, middler, bacon and brine, soon the genie will be mine. Tuddler, fuddler, pudding in pie, make him give this wishing a try! Taddler, paddler, fiddle dee dee, give me wishes, all of three. Munson, bosun, rattle and hum, stick a stopwatch in my bu-"
"You rang?" came the booming voice of the genie as his smoky body snaked from the keyhole of the door to Netherland. Mr. Whiskers gave a startled yelp, shoved his hands in his waistcoat pockets and hopped behind Daisy in a flash. The genie puffed up his chest and crossed his massive arms over it. "Who calls forth the powerful genie, guardian of the door to the magical world of Netherland, keeper of keys, ever vigilant sentinel of the portal of Daar, servant of the Grand Yellow King, and washer of windows on Tuesdays and Thursdays?"
"I do! Daisy Mae Dumont! I want my three wishes!" she yelled.
"No," said the genie, "I don't do that anymore. My wish granting days are over now. I just guard the door now. Well that and wash the odd window now and then. They have trouble reaching the high ones don't you know."
"Oh but dear genie, Mr. Whiskers and I have traveled so far. We have faced many hardships and overcome so many pits and traps, surely you could see your way clear to granting us one wish. We just want to make Timmy's birthday extra special. It's not everyday a boy turns six and Timmy is our bestest friend." Daisy's lip curled as she broke into a pout.
"Sorry. I can't help you. Now run along, you and your little bunny. I've windows to do. It is Tuesday you know," the genie huffed.
Daisy Mae smiled. She knew she had him because the scroll wasn't all that the White Witch had given her. "You will grant me my wish to see the Earl of Grey for I know your name."
The genie's eyes got wide, "No mortal knows my name! Even the Yellow King knows not my name!"
"Mumfred," Daisy said quietly.
"Screebees!" the genie shrieked, "I'll do whatever you want, just don't say that again!" sweat poured down his brow in little puffs of smoke. With that, he opened the door and summoned a magic carpet that scooped up Daisy and Mr. Whiskers. He instructed the carpet to take them to the Earl of Grey and gave them several gifts. Daisy unwrapped them as the carpet flew at incredible speeds, blurring the scenery below. The first was a bone china tea set decorated with pale pink roses. "Good," she thought, "this will make a fine gift for Timmy as he loves pale pink roses." The next was an over sized picnic basket filled with cookies, sandwiches, scones, bread and jam. The last was a case of Turtlewax, presumably for the carpet.
The carpet slowed and the landscape below changed from a blur to a vibrate forest. Mr. Whiskers pointed out the cute little squirrels who jumped from tree to tree, knife fighting. In a dappled glade, two black bears hammered at each other with brass knuckles. While the hummingbirds jousted, the butterflies spread mace and donned their gas masks. Netherland was not a friendly place. The carpet hovered and then slowly decended by a small, squat, grey cottage whose thatched roof waved in the carpet's thrust.
The dust had just settled when Daisy and Mr. Whiskers hopped off the carpet onto the dead, grey grass. The door of the cottage opened and out stepped a very tall, lanky man, clad in grey, who was much to large to live in a place so small. He pointed an accusing finger at Daisy, "By what right have you to park on my lawn young lady!"
Daisy repeated, word for word, the speech that the White Witch had taught her, "Hey there. Hi there. Ho there. Oh Earl of Grey, Great wizard of Mandalay and grower of the most exquisite tea in all the land, please part with a few leaves for this humble peasant, I beseech you!"
"I've nothing to give you child. Go see the dutch man, Der Geeling. If you would settle for coffee, I know a nice bandito named John Valdez who might help you. I know the donkey would be sympathetic." He shrugged his shoulders in helplessness.
The White Witch had warned her that the Earl might not want to help at first. She looked him in the eye, just as she had been instructed and said, "The White Witch would consider a second date if you would help me."
The Earl's shoulders slumped. He knew that he had been beaten. He pulled a grey snuff box from his overcoat and handed it over. "I'll need something as a deposit," he smiled.
Daisy and Mr. Whiskers flew so fast on the magic carpet that the air rushing by pulled tears from their eyes. In a flash, they flew over the forest and mountains, past the bogs and moors, through the door past the genie and down in Daisy's back yard once more.
They treated Timmy to a most wonderful tea and when they were finished, Timmy stretched out on the carpet and patted his tummy and undid the button on his powder blue suit. "I must say, Daisy old dear, that was the finest tea I have ever had or expect to ever have. Thank you ever so much. If you don't mind me asking, what did you pay for it?"
Daisy smiled at how boyish Timmy could be at times, "It was practically a song. I just gave up my mortal soul," she said with a laugh.
Timmy's face clouded, "Your mortal soul? Really?"
"Well, after all," she giggled, "I wasn't using it."