Firstly, my beautiful gatekeeper Madeleine, the albino Peacok (Peahen), still has not returned from teaching yoga classes with her guru, Sugaldo Smada...I can only assume, at this point, that she has run off with him. I do not blame, her, of course. She was destined for such things. Always I shall love her and wish her the very best of all things.
Secondly, and somewhat awkwardly, the faithful, helpful, gorgeous, and intelligent Turtle, Dee-Dee, has been sort of filling in as my interim gatekeeper until we can find a permanent solution. Not that this was ever discussed or even implied, mind you. Not initially, at least. Dee-Dee just sort of fell into the role, and it's been working fabulously. Dee-Dee and I have even discovered that we can communicate telepathically--indeed over great distances--and so we've been able to abandon the modified Casio calculator watch communicators that Madeleine and I had been using. All in all, all things in my Sacred Garden have been streamlined and simplified once again, and this feels very, very nice. Also, all of the intercom systems that had been installed throughout my beloved Xanadu Forest have been deactivated, dismantled, and altogether obliterated so that I can rest most assuredly, knowing they will never again be reactivated. And finally, there are no longer lengthy garden gate activity logs for me to sign-off on each sun-greeting. As to the awkward part? Well, having loved and lost two wonderful gatekeepers at this point, a part of me is terrified of losing a third one. We all know well there are no guarantees in life, of course. Such promises should never be made. Fullest intention, yes, but a promise, no.
See, the only gatekeepers I have had heretofore have been based upon real life beings in my earthly life...and Dee-Dee the gorgeous and intelligent Turtle is also based upon an actual human being I know upon Earth. So I had suggested to Dee-Dee that my dear Caw Caw Carl, the Stellers Jay, my assistant to the assistant in the county clerk's office, had been training himself for just such an occasion as we are now experiencing. I explained further to Dee-Dee that ultimately he would be my eternal gatekeeper, for this was the intention long before she came into my life. Caw Caw Carl, you see, is not based upon any earthly being I have ever known--he is purely a creation of my own imagination, and, therefore, I never need to fear him leaving me. Dee-Dee the gorgeous and intelligent Turtle was understandably stung by this, despite my kindest and warmest intentions. I assured her she remains inside my Sacred Garden for as long as she wishes to stay--in any capacity it may end up being. I should add, dear reader, that as much as Dee-Dee and I love one another and share a deep and intimate connection, we aren't nor ever have been romantic lovers...not with each other, at least.
And so now here I am, inside the Sacred Pub once again, having another Minute Mead, and considering how all these events are going to play out over the chapters. Olga the bartender Fairy smiles warmly at me, then rushes off to shout at a couple lemmings that have just spilled their After Ales onto the new digital jukebox she had just had installed. They were booted out instantly, likely never to be seen again inside the Sacred Pub. Olga is a sweetheart, but she runs a tough ship...as well she should! I shuffle my Xanaduvian homework papers back into a neat stack upon the bar, and swivel my seat around to examine my current surroundings. There are a handful of fat squirrels from Walnut St., with their derby hats and overstuffed briefcases...they are shooting darts, and watching for stray acorns (which are currency once again, in our beloved Xanadu Forest). I see some of the Otterman boys (they are River Otters from further north of the Xanadu Forest, along my sister The River) shooting pool and having a pleasant time...but their brother Dwight is noticeably absent. Then I suddenly remember he was booted from the Sacred Pub several moon-greetings ago for lighting off fireworks inside the Sacred Pub. This is a HUGE no-no with Olga, and will get one kicked out faster than anything else bad you can imagine doing inside the Sacred Pub. Loyal readers of these stories will remember many chapters ago how a very drunk Casey the Cardinal (or more technically correct, "Mr. Feathers," as he calls himself when he's too drunk) fired off his flare gun inside the Sacred Pub and nearly burned the building down. Gratefully, Andrew of Olympus was with us that night to spare the Sacred Pub and all of its patrons of any serious harm.
It was that moment I came to sort of a realization: the Sacred Pub was getting busier and busier each time I came over from my Sacred Garden. I decided to ask Olga the bartender Fairy about this, since I seemed to still be on her good side this moon-greeting, and she told me something to the effect, "Well of course it is, sweetie! You're here! You've been rubbing elbows with Andrew for so long now, I suspect it's rubbed off on you. You spend enough time in one place, and people are bound to gather round you." Then she poured me another Minute Mead and chased off a couple fat squirrels from Walnut St. that were trying to scam some unsuspecting Lemmings with their infamous shell games. Olga was right, now that I thought about it. I was drawing more critters into the Sacred Pub simply by being here. What seemed like ages ago, Andrew and I and the birds (Casey the Cardinal and Cousin Eddie the Raven) used to come here on an almost nightly basis. But that was back when my Sacred Garden was very full of loved ones who had long since gone away to other places. Since my return to my Sacred Garden, I had only been venturing out to the Sacred Pub on very rare special occasion...until recently, when I found it such an ideal location to work on my Xanaduvian language homework.
And then I suddenly saw her! And her! There were new bartender fairies working in the Sacred Pub! It had been many a moon and sun greeting since I had seen such a sight! "Lovely," I accidentally thought out loud...which attracted Olga's attention immediately, even though I was still turned with my back to her, feeling the din of the room.
Olga had read my thoughts--even the still silent ones--perfectly: "Now don't be getting any ideas, Mr. Kev; I know that look all too well! Yes, they are lovely dolls indeed. Two of Lustra's finest."
I spun round in my stool and said sheepishly, "But I wasn't..."
"Oh yes you were, Mr. Kev! You're a terrible liar, you are," Olga interjected. Then she continued, "Do I need to remind you of my special rule again?" Then Olga topped off another Minute Mead for me and slid it my way.
"No, dear, Olga, no you don't. I remember. And thank you, lovely." Then I sucked the perfect amount of foam from the top of my flagon and continued, "Just so lovely, you know. Both of them. So graceful and fabulous." Then I spun a bit in my stool and pointed, "Especially her. Something about her. I don't know. Just feels very nice. Her smile, her Heartshine, her glitter-stream...everything."
"Kinda reminds you of yourself, maybe?" Olga asked pensively, then added, "I noticed that too when I hired her. That's Shelelabee. She's a special one for sure. The other one over there is Rhianka...she's amazing and lovely too. And neither of them even skim the till. Honestly, Kev, I don't blame you for having your thoughts. But that said, don't have anymore thoughts. I'd hate to have to boot my most fabulous patron--plus it'd be bad for business! And I'd genuinely miss you." Then Olga and I both laughed heartily and clinked our flagons together merrily.
Olga the bartender fairy is so sweet when she wants to be, and I was most grateful to be here in her company on just such a moon-greeting. I sipped my Minute Mead slowly, but thoughtfully, until the last drop was gone from the flagon. Shortly thereafter, I excused myself to explore the hallway and use the restroom. As I passed by the jukebox, I ran into dear Caesar Emeritus, the Baloo-eyed Akita, and Ptolemy the gentle Boxer. We three exchanged warm hugs and pleasantries, and it seemed as though they had gotten very close to learning how to use the new jukebox. I suggested they play some songs by the Eagles, but Ptolemy absolutely insisted on playing Bachman Turner Overdrive. I wasn't going to argue, and so I didn't. With that, I excused myself again and sauntered down the hallway.
Then it happened! She happened--officially, I mean. Shelellabee came zipping down the hallway right toward me. I smiled and sort of halfway waved. She stopped. She smiled. She landed on my shoulder, and planted the sweetest kiss ever upon my cheek. Oh boy! I'm not sure how I remained standing. My heart raced. My cheeks shined with the warmth of my blood. Olga's warning played on repeat in my head, and I couldn't bring myself to say anything to sweet Shelelabee, other than an awkward "Hi," before I ran off to the restroom to catch my breath.
No pun intended, I had never felt more relieved to be standing in front of the urinal. My heart was relaxed again, and I repeated my breathing exercises. Ahhh...safe at last. And I had my plan, now too: I would go back out into the hallway, hang a hard left, and go straight to the back room for a few games of pinball. I washed my hands and appreciated myself for a moment or three in the mirror. One last gentle inhale and exhale. I was cool again. And fabulous. Good.
My solace wasn't to last for long, however, as I was overwhelmed by a horrid clanking sound...and the door from the back stall flung open and crashed into the wall. I jumped a bit, "Dwight!? Dwight Otterman? What are you doing here? You've been booted!"
"Correction, my dear Kev," the River Otter replied. "I mean, yes, Dwight Otterman has been booted from the Sacred Pub...but NOT Moonshine Superman!" It turns out the wayward son River Otter had managed to convince my Cousin Eddie the Raven to make him a super hero disguise out of beer cans.
"Oh my God," just sort of escaped my lips instinctively. "Dude, Olga is being nice to me tonight. Please don't ruin it. Besides, I've just experienced my first crush in many sun and moon-greetings. I'd like to enjoy it for a bit before getting on Olga's bad side."
"Dude, don't worry," Moonshine Superman replied, and "There's no way she's gonna know it's me in this disguise...and even if she did, she won't be able to defeat Moonshine Superman. No one can defeat me."
"Oh my God," just sort of escaped my lips instinctively once again. I tried another breathing exercise, and tried to calm myself by looking into the restroom mirror. At least my hair still looked fabulous. I finally calmed myself just enough to speak. "Dwight--I mean, Moonshine Superman--we've got to get you out of here before one of the bartender fairies discovers you. Please?"
I put my hand gently upon Moonshine Superman's shoulder, and guided him left down the hallway, as we exited the restroom cautiously. I held him directly in front of me in the hopes that anyone behind us wouldn't be able to spot him. Not that they wouldn't hear him clanking, mind you. I could hear the famous Kansas song blaring on the jukebox behind us. And then came the lovely bartender fairy Rhianka. This is so not good.
To be continued.
Thank you for joining me on this lovely journey...especially my special Wednesday Girl.
I love you.