To my pleasant surprise, it was Cousin Eddie the Raven working away with the de-disgustinator he had made, and he had cleared the path almost completely to the River's bank! "Why Eddie," I exclaimed, "just look at how much you've gotten done! And here I am sleeping away like a sloth."
Cousin Eddie put down the de-disgustinator and wiped some sweat from his brow. Then he tossed me a beer and cracked open a can for himself and took a deep, refreshing swig. "It's no trouble at all, KeV...I'm actually enjoying it. Besides, I didn't have much else to work on today, and you were sleeping so soundly. Didn't really feel right disturbing your rest, you know. You must have needed it." He finished his beer and tossed the can into the little cart that was attached to the back of the remote control patrol jeep. Then he sat down on a log and asked, "So do you want to tell me about that mysterious envelope you had on your chest? You don't have to if you don't want to."
I sat down on the log next to Cousin Eddie and pulled the envelope out of my pocket. "It's a note Eddie the Peacock left for me, and the key to the Record Emporium. To be honest, I was so tired, I fell asleep without even reading the note." I had decided that since Cousin Eddie and I were really bonding and becoming friends now that I'd go ahead and read the note in front of him. I think he appreciated this gesture, since he scooted so close to me as I slid the note out of the envelope and unfolded it. Though I was holding it down low enough so that Cousin Eddie could see it, I decided to read it out loud...as thus:
If you are reading this, then I must first say that I am very happy you have returned to our beloved forest. Welcome home, my lovely son of a bastard! I imagine you were quite disappointed to find my niece Madeleine in the office in my stead. She often has a stick up her arse, as you've likely discovered by now, but she means well. She can be trusted.
As to my return, I'm just not sure how long it will be; the comedy tour I'm leaving off to is supposed to last at least six months, but my agent in Morganshire says they may be adding more dates--and there may even be another tour right after, if all goes well. I'll update you as soon as I hear from you...the lovely gatekeeper has my AOL instant messenger, so you can always reach me through her.
A bit of good news you'll likely need very much by now: though Madeleine believes she got rid of all our costumes and makeup, they are actually packed away in boxes beneath the record shelves in the Record Emporium--marked "Christmas Decor." The makeup and brushes are cleverly stashed away upstairs in Thor's tool chest drawers. And no, I'm not sure when Thor will be back either...so much has changed, as you've surely learned by now. Madeleine highly underestimates our cleverness, and I would recommend you keep it that way for the time being...I personally found that playing dumb is a very effective way of simplifying dealings with her. But don't underestimate her cleverness either!
I must shove off now, and must tell you once more how happy I am to have you back home. Xanadu needs you, my lovely son of a bastard. I'll be watching for AOL messages from Raven. Be fabulous baby!
Love of Loves,
Cousin Eddie the Raven seemed very delighted that I read him the note aloud, and he retrieved us each another beer. "Thank you for sharing that with me, KeV. I'm really glad we're having this time together."
I sipped on my beer and got up off the log, "I'm glad you were here to share with, my friend. And I so appreciate all the hard work you've done. I do believe I can get this path knocked out all the way to the River today, thanks to your efforts!" Then I picked up the de-disgustinator and started clearing away more slimy overgrowth.
Cousin Eddie decided to take a break and sat down upon the log as I started working. "There is another little secret I haven't told you yet, Kev."
I raised my eyebrows, though still working away, "Do tell, my friend!"
Cousin Eddie cracked open another beer, "Well, as I was clearing a path while you slept, I also planted some little magical things. You remember the glitter balls we had on our tree a couple Christmases ago?"
"Of course I remember them...had no idea they could be planted though," I replied.
Cousin Eddie folded is wings quite proudly and said, "Despite what you think, there is a lot of magic left in this sacred garden still...so much you haven't even discovered yet." Cousin Eddie hopped off his log and walked over to me, watching me slash away at the disgusting overgrowth. "You see, I know you've always thought Princess Mydnite was the source of all the magic in the garden--and yes, she brought much powerful and beautiful magic here, to be sure. But we all bring magic to the sacred garden, in our own ways--including you. I'm sorry if I'm over-stepping my bounds by telling you this, but it just feels like you've always had a hard time understanding this. Feels like you should start realizing it." Then Cousin Eddie cracked open another beer and handed it to me, and gestured for me to set down the de-disgustinator. "Come on, he said. That's enough work for now. Let's go grab some of that audio gear from the Record Emporium, and set up a stereo on the Persian rug." With that, Cousin Eddie hopped into the remote control patrol jeep and started driving toward the garden gate.
I hastened to keep up with him, and picked up a couple of empty beer cans that had tumbled out of the cart he was pulling along behind his jeep. I smiled and chuckled as I saw him swerving. It reminded me of the time Casey the Cardinal had driven that very same jeep home after a long night at the Sacred Pub, and crashed into our lovely gatekeeper's birdbath. "Oh the crazy, fun times we've had here," I thought to myself. And I scanned what I knew would certainly become a majestic sacred garden once again--MY sacred garden. Comforting thoughts--so comforting, indeed.
I thought perhaps we'd stop and chat with Raven and Edwin the Bee as we approached the garden gate, but I was wrong. Cousin Eddie just sped along right past them and off into the forest. I waved and blew a kiss to both of them as I jogged by. I'm pretty sure I saw Edwin laugh, though I'm 100% sure He'd never admit to if, if in fact, He actually had.
Inserting that key into the lock of the Record Emporium, and turning it so slowly, was a special moment for me. It felt like the beginning of a new beginning. And perhaps it really was. I stopped to savor it before opening the door, and looked at Cousin Eddie who stood by me patiently. He seemed to understand what I was feeling, as he nodded, winked, and smiled.
In very little time, it seemed, we had Cousin Eddie's cart filled up with fantastic vintage audio gear, and a small mountain of speaker wire. We would have to make another trip for the speakers, of course, but that was no trouble at all since it was a labor of love. It took until Orion shone brightly over the River to get our stereo system set up and fully functional upon the Persian rug, but we had the most wonderful time through it all.
When it was time to test the stereo, Cousin Eddie went back to the cart behind his jeep, and returned with a couple of cans of beer...and a record album. Just one. And he asked if the record might be the first we ever play, as it was very dear to him. I so happily obliged, and the stereo functioned perfectly. We toasted, then drank our beers, and lie down next to each other, gazing so comfortingly at the majestic moon and shimmering stars that served as our shelter. What an amazing day that was. And night.
Before Cousin Eddie and I fell into placid slumber, I was sure to tell him how much I appreciated everything he was doing for me. No doubt, we were now officially the best of friends, and I was a very grateful and comfortable critter. Perhaps the greatest night of sleep I had ever had.
Oh...the record we played? Van Halen, of course! "Could this be magic, or could this be love?..."
Goodnight, all lovelies.
Love of Loves. Always.