I checked in with Raven and Edwin the Bee at the garden gate as I began to take on my day of outside business affairs. My lovely gatekeeper had little to report, but seemed glad that I was going to see Madeleine. I told her I suspected this would take my entire day, for I would also have to visit with Vanya the bear (boss of the secret Xanadu Forest Mafia).
Very few know Vanya's name, nor the fact that he really exists. The few critters in the forest that have heard that name think he is only a myth. In fact, aside from Edwin, I am the only one in the forest that knows Vanya's location and how to enter his secret place beneath the Xanadu Forest. Vanya's right hand man is Mitzy--and not a man at all--rather, an arctic fox. A very clever one. Mitzy, may it be known, is how Cousin Eddie never runs out of beer. Unlike Vanya, Mitzy is very well known throughout the Xanadu Forest, and his specialty is trade. If you need something, Mitzy can get it for you...but you are never to ask how he obtains it, or when it might be delivered. As might be expected, Mitzy is a bit rough around the edges, and certainly not the warm, fuzzy type. He is very kind to dwellers of my sacred garden, however, as he knows that his boss, Vanya adores us. And we are most grateful for that! I digress. But at least it served a purpose...I think.
I looked down at Edwin upon His lotus flower, and He was fidgeting with one of the rings that held His circular shower curtain in place atop His flower. (Yes, Edwin has a magic shower curtain upon His lotus flower, to drown out loud and annoying sounds from my sacred garden). I thanked Edwin for our special time from the night before, but He just grumbled something unintelligible, and looked the other way.
As I turned and went to exit the garden gate, I suddenly remembered that I needed to ask my lovely gatekeeper Raven to send Eddie the Peacock a message on AOL Messenger and let him know how happy his note made me feel. So I went back in for a moment, and Raven seemed pleased to report the news. (She is very fast at sending messages!) What would we do without AOL Messenger? Or my lovely gatekeeper?
I also decided to check in with Cousin Eddie for a moment, who was working away in his little garage made out of empty beer cans, just to the right of the garden gate. I asked him about the surprise supplies, and he winked at me to let me know it was all taken care of. "I think we'll be able to do it tomorrow," I told him. Cousin Eddie winked once more, then went back to work. And I was finally off to the county clerk's office.
Madeleine, the albino peacock, was very happy to see me pull up a chair in front of her desk...until my first words to her indicated I was going to need a couple more days before I could return to work at the county clerk's office. She pulled a document out of her desk drawer, lay it before me, and said, "Do you realize just what you two imbeciles have done?! I honestly don't think you understand just how serious the situation is."
I lifted the document from her desk, and scanned over it. I must admit, I enjoyed seeing Eddie the Peacock's and mine signatures next to each other at the bottom of the document. It felt familiar and comforting. Then I spoke, "So we authorized the proposal for an election of a mare to attend to mare-like duties, via nomination of any three residents. What's so terrible about that?" Of course I saw the error of our ways right away, but I remembered what Eddie the Peacock had suggested in his note to me, so I vowed silently to keep playing dumb.
Madeleine the Peacock sighed and took a deep breath to keep from raising her voice, then said, "You authorized the election of a 'mayor,' not a 'mare.' Why would you imbeciles think that a horse would need to be elected?"
I took the document from her wings--gently--and looked over it again, "See there," I said and pointed to the paper, and held it up for her to see it, "there is a lipstick smudge right there--it distorted the text, so of course we assumed it said 'mare.' An easy mistake, even you would have to admit, no?"
Madeleine methodically took the document and placed it back inside her desk drawer. "No," she began, then continued, "No one but imbeciles would make that assumption. Imbeciles that were more focused on playing dress up than doing their actual job, I might add." She adjusted her glasses and gave me a stare that wasn't so very different from my lovely gatekeeper's blank stare, and went on, "You and my uncle managed to put Reginald III into power, and now there are property taxes due throughout the Xanadu Forest that most of the residents can't afford to pay, not to mention the change in our official currency. No one but Reginald III and his fat squirrel cohorts on Walnut St. have pumpernickel. Do you understand the ramifications of that?"
I did understand just how serious this matter was, and the seeds of a plan to make things right again in our Xanadu Forest were soon to be planted, but I continued the playing dumb strategy Eddie the Peacock had suggested in his fabulous note to me, and said, "What can Reginald III really do? I'm sure we'll be able to fix this easily enough. Just give me a couple more days. We can do this, I've no doubt."
Madeleine sighed again, dropped her glasses, and her head, and held her head with her wings as though a headache was coming on. She finally replied, "This isn't a game, KeV, don't you understand that?" and followed with, "Residents are suffering, and it's only going to get worse until you take this seriously, and get to work."
I stood up, slid the chair back into its place, looked Madeleine in the eyes, and said, "Don't worry, lovely Madeleine, I have a plan. I can fix it. My dad's a universal repairman, He's got an awesome set of ideas." Then I placed my hand upon her wing, winked and nodded comfortingly, and asked, "Do you know if Vanya is still around?"
Madeleine lifted her head quickly at that, and pulled it a bit back. "Who's Vanya, she asked?"
I winked at her once more, gave her a confident grin, and said, "I was hoping you'd ask that. Just give me a couple days. Everything will turn out fine. You'll see." I didn't wait for her reply, but instead closed the door softly behind me as I exited her office, and made my way north through the Xanadu Forest, and further west.
Since we don't have any concept of time in the Xanadu Forest, I'm not sure how long it took me to arrive at the secret entrance into Vanya's lair, but it was a lengthy journey. I noticed, en route, an utter lack of forest fairies, and residents in general, aside from the occasional fat squirrel from Walnut St. I wasn't sad or despondent, however, as my plan was already taking shape. I would have to be fairly clever, since all means of violence are impossible in the Xanadu Forest, but I knew well that I had some tremendous advantages over Reginald III. I looked up for just a second, and I do believe the sun winked at me and blew me a kiss.
To digress for a moment, I'm sorry that I can't tell you more about the nature of entering Vanya's secret lair...but you see, it must always remain very secret. I can tell you that it involves a particular tree, and that it's a fairly complex process. You'll remember, of course, that most don't even believe Vanya is real, that's how secret it is. Vanya's secret lair is very large, and runs beneath most of the Xanadu Forest. I can also tell you he even has a lake inside his lair--not a pond, mind you--but an actual lake. But there is only one way into Vanya's lair, and one way out--at least that's all that I've ever been shown. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Vanya had other entrances that I was never made aware of. But back to the story.
Vanya was so very happy to see me, when I popped in. He gave me the largest of bear hugs, I think, that a large bear could ever give, and he kissed me on the cheek. He guided me toward the dining hall, and gestured for me to sit down. Of course I sat down, and I thought how comforting Vanya's hug was. It was so very good to be back home in my Xanadu Forest once again! Vanya and I exchanged some small talk, then Mitzy the arctic fox brought us a bottle of wine, three glasses, and sat down on my left--and Vanya was seated directly across from me, adjusting the tablecloth with his massive paws.
Again, since time is meaningless in the Xanadu Forest, I have no idea how long I was there with Vanya and Mitzy, but we consumed at least three bottles of wine while I was there--and amounts of vodka I'm not at liberty to disclose--if that gives any indication. Vanya confirmed for me not only what Madeleine had told me, but also assembled puzzle pieces I had received from Cousin Eddie, Raven, and my own suppositions. Truly, there was so much work to be done to restore majesty to our beloved forest...and I was still trying to restore majesty to my sacred garden, let alone the entire forest! Oy vey! Indeed, what a journey lie ahead. I was not discouraged though. I was committed, and on a mission.
Vanya helped me work out some of the details my plan was lacking--and assured his assistance in any way that might be needed down the road--as we three realized we were sufficiently relaxed from the wine and vodka, and thought of slumber. Vanya was gracious enough to allow me to stay there in one of the suites in his secret lair, but I respectfully declined, appreciative as I was for the offer. That was a very rare and highly honored honor! I told Vanya the fresh air above would serve me well, and he gave me another massive bear hug as I turned to leave. Mitzy patted me on the back, shook my hand, and told me it was nice to have me back in the forest.
It was a long journey back to my sacred garden that night, but I did make it back all the way to the Persian rug, and even put on a soft record before I lie down and slept so sweetly. I spent much of my long walk conversing with my cousins, the moon and the stars, and feeling gratitude for the magical air of the beautiful Xanadu Forest. My forever home. My forever love.
Thank you my lovelies, all of you. And goodnight.