Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nobody of Any Importance


No serious entry today.  Not even a photo.  I'm playing hooky!  Off to the beach I go and I won't write a word until I wend my weary home tonight.

May your day be as pleasant as mine.

And meanwhile . . .

The Clarion West Write-a-Thon continues!  It's beginning to look like there'll be a Tuckerization (that's where the name of a real person is inserted into a work of fiction) for every day of the CW workshop.

Nobody Of Any Importance

Michael Swanwick

Jack Riddle was walking up and down the world.  This was a thing he liked to do.  He came to a garden full of dahlias, tomatoes, and pumpkins, and stopped to admire them.  “Those are very nice pumpkins, and tomatoes too,” he told the gardener. “But I think you waste too much space on flowers.”  Then he asked, “What is your name?”
“I am nobody of any importance,” the gardener said.  Her name was actually Pamela Rentz, but she did not trust this sweet-talking stranger.
“Nobody Of Any Importance!” Jack said in astonishment.  “I just now met a man who had a message for you.  He said to tell you that your goat has fallen sick.  You should hurry home to take care of it.”
“I don’t have a goat,” said the gardener.
“Not a goat.  I meant the other kind of animal.  The one you have as a pet.”
So the woman hurried home to look after her sick pet.  As soon as she was out of sight, Jack Riddle ate all the tomatoes he could, and several pumpkins as well.  He didn’t even chew them up, just swallowed them whole.
Of course when the gardener found out that her pet animal wasn’t sick, she came back to her garden, mad as blazes.  But Jack never looked that far ahead.  So she found him lying on the ground with a bloated stomach, groaning because he ate too much.  Seeing the damage he had done, she seized a rake and began beating him with it.
So, aching and bruised, Jack ran off down the road.
Later in the day, when he came to a town, Jack Riddle was interviewed by the local radio station because of course he was a famous trickster.  “How has everybody here been treating you?” asked the reporter.
“Nobody of Any Importance treated me badly,” Jack replied.  And the interview ended with the interviewer thinking Jack had been treated well and Jack thinking that the gardener would now be shunned by all her neighbors for the injuries she had done him.
But Pamela Rentz, who listened to the show at home, sitting with her pet animal – the one that was not a goat – lying at her feet, cut herself a big slice of apple pie and smiled.



David Stone said...

If I caught someone stealing the pumpkins and tomatoes from my garden, I'd use the pointy end of the rake on them...

Matthew Brandi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Swanwick said...

Correction made, Matthew, and thanks.

David, normally you'd be right. But considering that the person stealing pumpkins and tomatoes is an avatar of the universal Trickster . . .

David Stone said...

Bah, these trickster guys exist to be brutalized. And they'd do the same or worse to a random stranger if it seems fun at the time.