Monday, 21 October 2013

Dictionary is Missing!

I sit down at my desk and casually sweep across it with a hand, clearing soda cans, story notes, teaspoons and detritus from its surface.
  "Okay, let's go. Clean slate, now blog post!" I tell myself as I take a sip of my signature cup of coffee and drop down in my study chair.
  "I slept in again, Dictionary!" I call out, "Quickly, I really need a word, I'm late for another blog post!"
I find my keyboard jammed under the desk somewhere and set it up before my fingers.
  "Okay, Word . . ." I say, bracing my hands to write myself silly. I peek at my bookshelf out of the corner of my eye.
  "Dictionary? I can't be late! Not today. Not during my Halloween Countdown! Today's the 21st of October, and I'm 22 years old now that has to mean something, right . . . ? Come on, I need a word!"
I tense myself again and lean forward, with my fingers spread as though I were at tiger frozen mid-pounce as I attacked a gazelle. After a few seconds of hovering over the keyboard, I let out a sigh, drop my hands and head for the bookshelf.
  "Dictionary, don't make me come and get . . ." that's when I see the bookshelf, and I gasp, slapping both my hands on my cheeks melodramaticaly.
 "Oh No . . . Dictionary is Missing!" I cry out, titularly. "I should have seen this coming, I read the post title after all . . ."
I start to pace back and forth, haltering only when I stumble over the spoons, notes & cans that I threw onto the floor in the opening sentence.
  "How can I do a blog post without Dictionary? I've had that old tome since my very first blog post! I can't write the Absurd Word Nerd without it . . . could this be the end of the blog . . . ?"
I stare off into space dramatically. If this post had a movie trailer, you could guarantee that scene would be in there.
  "No, I can't give up now - it's only been fifteen seconds after all - I've got to go find my dictionary and write the post before I pass my posting date!"
I put on a pair of jeans and a shirt; pack a notepad & pen, my phone & my wallet in my pocket; put on a pair of shoes and prepare for an adventure.

  "Wait . . . if I'm only now putting jeans and shirt on, does that mean I was naked during that entire opening paragraph . . .?" [It's better left unsaid.]
Ignoring that, I start to search all around the house, up and down peaking into each room and yelling out "Dictionary?!"
After doing a circuit of the house I return to my room and drop my fist into my open palm, like I've seen people do on TV.
  "Well, Dictionary isn't home . . . but where would he have gone? He hates going outside, he says its too risky for a tome as old as him."
Using the can't-find-my-keys approach, I again check in the first place I looked, the bookshelf. Of course, it hasn't magically returned in my absence . . . but as I glance at the shelves I notice that Dictionary isn't the only book that's missing.
  "No . . . Thesaurus!" I scream, pointing an accusing finger at the empty space on the shelf between Bhagavad-Gita & Twilight. "Dictionary always said you were an arsehole - it seems you're even the kind of arsehole that would kidnap another book . . ." Wait, shouldn't that be booknap? . . . never mind.
  "Damn you, Thesaurus!" I call out, shaking my fists at the sky. Then I stop because I realize that's stupid. "No, he's not at the house, I checked every room already . . . but it's a whole wide world out there! How can I possibly find two books?"
I return to pacing my room, tripping over discarded clothing and books as I head back and forth.
  "If I were a book, where would I go . . . wait, I've got it!" I yell out, grabbing my car keys. I head out, jump in my car and drive. I don't have an open license, but luckily I do have poetic license, which allows me to drive with 'L' plates and not get pulled over, so long as I'm doing something fictitious.

Finally, I arrive at my destination and exclaim to no one in particular:
  "The Library!" I get out of the car and saunter up to the huge oak doors of the town library. It looks more like a church than a library because . . . well, why not? On the door there's a sign saying: Closed for Nefarious Purposes.
I shake my head and sigh,
  "I know this story is supposed to be meta, but that's just stupid . . ."
I grab the handles with both hands and push open the doors, stepping into the library. Two rows of bookshelves stand either side, where pews would be if this were a church (because I'm not very subtle with my visual metaphors) and at the altar - sorry, I mean reception desk - stood a lecturn. Strapped to it with ropes was . . .
  "Dictionary!" I cry out, running towards my good friend and reference guide. "Where have you been? What's going on here?"
  "At last . . ." says a voice from behind one of the bookshelves, "Finally . . . conclusively . . . ultimately . . ."
  "Thesaurus!" I say, turning to see the little book, "what is the meaning of this?!"
  "A Pronoun, 1. used to indicate a person, thing, idea, as pointed out, present, near as before mentioned or suggested," says Dictionary. I sigh and rub the inner corners of my eyes.
  "I knew that joke was painfully bad and yet I wrote it anyway . . ."
  "I'm here to seek my revenge, retaliation, retribution . . . vindication." retorts Thesaurus.
  "Revenge for what? For calling you an arsehole?"
  "This is more than mere insults, indignity, offence or slander! This is about equity, justice & rectitude!"
  "Justice? What, you strapped Dictionary to a lecturn for 'justice' . . . ? Even if there was an injustice, how does tying up a book with ropes fix that? How did you even tie the ropes, anyway, you're a book."
  "You think our master plan is just to restrain him? to check, constrain, restrict or suppress him?"
  "I don't think check was an appropriate synon- . . . did you say 'we'?"
  "YES!!" screams a voice behind me, and I turn back to look behind the lecturn. There, in all his pomp & glory, resting on the butt of his spine was . . .
  "Encyclopedia Britannica?"
  "That's Encyclopædia to you!" barks the ultimate index.
  "But . . . why? What reason do you have for this?"
  "Because we're underused!" screams Encyclopædia, gesturing towards Thesaurus with a corner of his cover, "Roget's Thesaurus, the first Notable guide to words, has every word in existence categorized and alphabetized within six foundations of language. Whereas I, and My other volumes, have every single thing you Need to know, explained in Much explicit detail . . . and yet this Minor, this meager little volume is the go-to guide for every word?!
  "It's nothing short of a travesty!" declares Thesaurus. "A lampoon! A parody!"
  "Thesaurus, you can stop with the synonyms, alright?" I say, turning to the book.
  "Never, Negative, Nix!" asserts Thesaurus
  "And you," I say, turning back to Encyclopædia, "look, it was fun getting lectured by you and everything - really it was, I learned a lot - but I'm going to take my dictionary and go now. Because . . . see, I'm a human being and you're two books, so there's nothing you can do to stop me, so . . ."
I step forward to start untying Dictionary from the lecturn, when Encyclopædia leans back and starts laughing maniacally,
  "Muahuahua!!" he cackles, "You FOOL! Didn't you ever wonder what we were doing in a Library?"
  "The thought did cross my mind," I say, trying to tell if the knot was a sheep's bend or a sailor's knot . . . I'm bad with knots. "I thought it was just a joke. You know? Books, library - haha(!) my sides . . ."
  "No . . . these meta-posts are an attempt at comedy, but even a writer as bad as you wouldn't make a gag of a plot point!"
  "Then what are we doing here?" I ask the book.
  "Let me give you a clue . . ." says Encyclopædia, turning around so I can read his spine. It says: Encyclopædia Britannica, 24, Metaphysics - Norway
  "Metaphysics to Norway? I don't get it . . ."
  "No, of course not!" says Encyclopædia, "I'm not Chicago to Death or Islam to Life. But I do have some very interesting entries . . . I know Monster, then there's Murder of course and I know Nasty . . . but most of all, there's something I know that you don't: Necronomicon!"
At his name, a twisted book of magic, bound in human skin and written with evil ink comes shuffling out from behind the bookshelf. The book floats off the ground, its gruesome covers glaring at me, when suddenly the book opens and the pages go flicking from cover to cover. At the mere sight of the blurring pages, I go flying across the room, slamming into the huge oak doors, rattling my teeth and leaving me dizzy.
When I return to my senses and get to my feet, I watch the ancient grimoire drop before the lecturn.
  "Yes, with this ancient book of magic, Thesaurus and I can strip the very meaning from Dictionary's words! Then he and every other dictionary in the world will be meaningless, leaving readers with no options but to use Thesaurus when they Need to find a word, and use me when they want to know what it means!" shrieks Encyclopædia, "Now, Thesaurus, read from the Necronomicon, cast the spell and rip the meaning out of our old Nemesis!"
Thesaurus waddles across the floor, to read from the necronomicon.
  "No, Stop!" I yell. I try to run forward, but I'm held back by the magic.
  "We'll Never stop!" cries Encyclopædia, "Once we've stopped Dictionary, we can rule the world! Destroying every reference guide that stands in our way! Cook books, Religious texts . . . even Wikipedia!"
  "Wikipedia?! You CAN'T!"
  "Of course I can," says the book, sounding smug, "Who needs Wikipedia, of all things! None of them turn to me for knowledge?! Just look at me! I know EVERYTHING! I've got an ash in my Name for goodness sake!"
  "An 'ash'? What does that mean?"
"Ash2," says Dictionary, "/ash/ n. . . . 3. Also, æsc. the symbol 'Æ' or 'æ', named for the ash tree."
  "Ah, cool . . . I didn't know that."
  "Do you see what I mean?!" cries out Encyclopædia, "You asked him?! You could have asked me!"
  "What? But you're 'Metaphysics' to 'Norway', you wouldn't know that! You don't have an entry on it . . ." suddenly, I get an idea.
  "Wait, Thess, Stop!" I cry out to Thesaurus. It glances back at me from Necronomicon.
  "Why should I listen to, hearken or obey you?" it expresses.
  "Because, Pædia is using you! He wants you to kill Dictionary because he can't!"
  "What are you talking about, concerning or relative to?" answers Thesaurus
  "He's Metaphysics to Norway! He doesn't know Magic, it's not in his Glossary! He's not your friend - he's just using you, he doesn't understand friendship! Look inside yourself, you'll know what I'm saying is true!"
  "Inside myself? I don't have a heart, affection, benevolence . . . I'm a book!"
  "I know . . . I meant literally. Look inside yourself, for the word thesaurus."
  "What . . . ? Pardon, Excuse me?" pronounces Thesaurus, stopping for a moment. The book turns away from the necronomicon and opens its own pages.
  "No . . . Stop!" cries out Encyclopædia
  "Thesaurus repository, storehouse, treasury . . . dictionary." reports Thesaurus, in disbelief, "Pædia . . .? You were going to kill me?! Assassinate me, butcher me!"
  "Of course not . . ." says Encyclopedia, but Thesaurus turns back to the Necronomicon, turning the pages.
  "Despatch me . . . destroy me . . . murder me . . . slaughter me . . . slay me."
  "Thesaurus, what are you doing?" asks Encyclopedia, worried.
  "Voco virtutem haurit-sothot, accipere istum damnari librum et interiora devoraret, consumo, devoro, exedo." rehearses Thesaurus from the book.
Underneath Encyclopædia, the floor opens in a small hole that dilates into a gaping maw, filled with glowing, green light.
  "What's happening? Thesaurus?!" screams the reference guide. Suddenly, an octopus tentacle whips out and wraps around the book. "Thesaurus! No . . . NOOO!"
With a slurping sound, the tentacles whips back inside the portal as it closes, leaving just the two other books and me standing in stunned silence.
  "Huh . . . you think he'd have had an entry on 'Nice'," I mutter. Thesaurus closes the Necronomicon then, finally free from its hold, I run over to Dictionary and untie the ropes around it.
  "Thanks /thangks/ (pl.) n. 1. Grateful feeling: I've been tied up all morning, thanks for rescuing me."
  "It was my pleasure," I say, holding the book in my arms.
  "Sorry," utters Thesaurus, turning up to look at us, "I'm grieved, melancholy & sorrowful. I was stupid . . . I just felt underappreciated, depreciated, underestimated & unrecognized. But we're brothers, Dic. I recognize that now. So . . . can you forgive me?"
  "Go to Hell /gō tū hel/ interj. 1. You can go straight-"
I slam Dictionary shut and tuck it under my arm as I pick up Thesaurus.
  "Of course, all is forgiven, Thess. I know that I use Dictionary more than you for the blog, but I do use you for writing stories a lot and to find words for the blog. I know you feel underused . . . but you each have your place in my bookshelf for a reason. Don't forget that."
Thesaurus smiles. Well, doesn't smile exactly, but curls up its covers in a happy way.
  "Hey, Matt, Kelnius, Absurd Word Nerd . . ." speaks Thesaurus.
  "Yeah, Thess?"
  "You do realize comprehend, conceive, grasp and understand that Encyclopædia doesn't actually have entries on Nasty, Necronomicon . . . or Murder - I think that would be under Homicide."
  "Well, it should . . . but either way, how would I know, Thess? I've never read it."
With a smirk I tuck the book under my arm and look at the door, but something makes me turn back. The Necronomicon is just sitting on the floor, its flesh-bound covers peaking up at me, teasingly . . . calling me. I head over and pick up the book as well.
  "Hmm . . . I've never read this book before, and it would make a nice plot point if I write another one of these . . ."
Tucking it under my other arm, I head for the door and go outside. It's dark outside, the sun sitting low on the horizon as I head back to the car, unlock the boot, put the books inside and close it. I head around to the front of the car when I stop again.
  "Oh damn! I didn't get a word for my blog post!" I cry. I go to head back to open the boot again, then stop myself. "You know what? Fuck it. I'll write a story instead . . ."


No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to make suggestions, ask questions & comment . . .
I would love to read your words.