Yes I Did

“Yes I did,” I said, even though I didn’t know what I was admitting to. 

Ambassador Reece Revevevicez nodded his head approvingly, tightened the straps on his pack and started marching off in the direction of the Willowing Forest of Dessert with a spring in his step. 

“What did I agree to?” I asked Macie, who was stuffing her favorite quilt into her pack and eyeing me with disdain. 

“You agreed to take these, mate,” Chevron said, handing a blue Tupperware container to me.

“What is it?” I asked. 

“It’s eggs,” Macie said. “You Numnuts. You said you’d keep them safe.” 

“And warm,” Chevron said.

“Warm?” I asked.

“Warm,” he said. 

“How do I do that?”

“Ask a bird,” Macie said. “They seem to have a knack for keeping eggs warm.” 

I placed the eggs into my jacket and hugged them. My pack weighed heavy on my back. I looked out towards the Willowing Forest of Dessert, the sun was straight ahead of us. The sky was a bright blue, no cloud in the sky — the forest rose before us, towering green trees rose like spiraling Goliaths. The smell of sweet maple and sugar floated on the breeze. 

“We must move fast. Four thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine miles to go!” the Ambassador said gleefully. 

Macie rolled her eyes.

“This would have never happened if titanium levitation worked right,” Chevron said. 

“What?” Macie asked.

Chevron began: 


No You Don't

"No you don't."  The words were spoken but the unspokenness of the words dampened their effect.  Affected everyone:  

"What?" "What?" "What?"  

All three of us—me, Macie, and the Ambassador—this most un-likely trio, looked in unison in three directions, unsure of who had said what was said and what was to be said for the who that said it.  

"No," Chevron—Chevron of all people, Chevron, the taste-tester who tests only the limits of spice, spoke.  Spoke at the limits of speech;  Repeated!  "No, Ambassador, I don't believe you do like pepper."  

And at once, every gaze shifted from Chevron to the Ambassador.  To those ridiculous painted Easter-egg purple eyes.  

The Ambassador pipped!  "Ha!"  He popped!  "Ho!"  

And then, all of a sudden, he snapped his fingers and Chevron was levitating—lifted clear off the floor and lying, uncomfortably, on his side on the popcorn ceiling.  We all craned to see what would happen next.  And the next thing we knew—he wasn't anymore.  He was back on the ground, with us—safe as a baby landing in a bed of feathers.  

"You're right," the Ambassador squealed.  "I love pepper!"  He clapped his delighted hands.  "Fetch me some!"  

"But—" Chevron started.  

"There isn't—" Macie began.  

"I require pepper!"  

I shook my head.  "There isn't any, your honor—err, your honorable—"

"Call me Reece Revevevicez," he corrected.  

"Ree—" I tried.  "Ambassador.  There isn't any for five hundred—" 

"Nay, five-thousand—" Chevron said.  

"Five thousand miles," Macie confirmed.  

"Then..." The Ambassador hung there on that word, we all hung on it, as we might all hang by morning.  Until: "Then we better get moving.  Before this egg gets cold!"  

I Say, Those My Eggs

“I say, those my eggs, the best food of the best foods?” he said with a wide-overbite-of-a-smile that nearly engulfed the top half of his face.  

We didn’t know what to say. We didn’t know what to do. Chevron displayed his ignorance by nodding and handing the eggs over to the Ambassador. 

“Have you had eggs before?” Macie asked, knowing very well his most highness of highnesses had never touched an egg in his life.

“I do love a good bit of eggs. Love how they just sit in the mouth before you chew them. How they turn smaller once you take a few bites. How they get in your stomach in a pleasing way.” the Ambassador said. 

He was not a man of eloquence. 

Nothing showed his in-eloquence more than when he took the frying pan in his hands, dunked his face into the bowl, and began munching on the eggs. He completely bypassed the fork. He lifted his head over the dish, stared very seriously at the three of us. He looked like he was trying to calculate which head he wanted to have cut off first. 

“This needs something,” he said, very displeased. “It needs pepper.” 

“Have you had pepper before?” Macie asked, knowing very well his most highness of highnesses had never touched pepper in his life. 

“I do love a good bit of pepper,” the Ambassador began. He should have stopped then because what happened next was something that was almost as rare as peppered eggs. 


Meanwhile—while we were meaning to taste egg but tasted only the lack of tasty pepper—an ill wind was indeed blowing from the East.  East, you see, was just out the window, a little bit to the right of the shrubs.  Rhododendrons, these shrubs, and just to the right of them was all of the ill a body could imagine: decked in that preposterous tie-die suit he insisted on wearing, with that hair slicked forward and ending in a wicked point, and those ears like square blocks of cheese—the Ambassador himself!  Ambassador Reveveveicez, striding forward (stridently) in the fashion of a man of fashion: pride radiating from a—and I do have to admit—a charming smile and brilliant purple eyes.  He took one slapdash look at his sister’s home, at the kitchen at the end of that home and the window into it—the very same window into our present situation pondering pepperless eggs—and he knew at once something was afoot.  He knew that about the world, when feet had found their placement or hadn’t.  And of course he would know that, being the chief architect of Titanium levitation.  So before we could so much as duck—or goose-step our way out of the way of that window—he had practically levitated himself inside and to the kitchen doorway.  Before we could so much as flinch he was looking down all funny-like at the floor.  Where a likewise funny-looking Chevron looked back at him, squatting, holding the fork.  And where Macie and I braced ourselves for the end of everything.  And sure enough, everything ended right then and there—the whole of our lives up to that point, just poof in an instant—in one fateful sentence.  The Ambassador said:

Black Pepper

Finding pepper was not going to be easy. If you thought scrambling a simple pair of eggs was difficult—which with all the preparation and the smuggling, it was no easy task—then you could rightly imagine how a pricey, hard-to-find commodity like pepper was the sort of difficult task that only crazy food enthusiasts with a penchant for wild adventures that always end with their heads in a basket after a lost battle with the emperor's guillotine would do. We were not that sort of food enthusiasts, but the ambassador's sister was

"She'll want the pepper." 

"But since the fall of commerce and the economy..." I said. 

"We don't need a damned history lesson, Kelvin," Macie said. "We need an idea." 

"What you need," said Chevron, the Ambassador's sister's personal taste tester — he always had a way of sneaking up on Macie and me that made us uncomfortable. He had just popped up in the middle of our conversation and had no idea why we needed pepper in the first place. 

"Yes, what do we need?" Macie asked, rolling her eyes. 

"A way into the Black Pepper Market of Ulster." 

"The black market?" Macie asked. 

"The black market for pepper," Chevron said. 

"There is such a thing?" I asked.

Chevron shook his head disappointedly. "There's a black market for everything. But know this," he said, wagging a finger. "It's dangerous. An ill wind is blowing from the east." 

"We don't need any weather advice from you, thanks," Macie said. 

Chevron shrugged and stuck a fork into the eggs to test them. He took a bite. 

"Hmm," he said. "Needs pepper."


All at once, the eggs rolled out of the pan and landed—splattered!—onto the floor.  Scrambled!  The floor, of course, was cleaner than any plate could ever be.  Cleaner than any surface either of us had ever seen before.  Titanium levitation did that—separating dirt and grime and—essentially—any impurity from its charged surface.  Any impurity, that is, except the shoes and socks and feet inside them, the table and carpet and kitchen around them—pre-approved and pre-engineered to sit atop its charged surface.  We were, after 27 months, standing here in this place—this particular kitchen in this particular home—the home of the Ambassador’s sister—for exactly one purpose and one purpose only: to test if the legend we grew up on was true.  To test if the only chemical substance to scramble their pre-programmed engineering defenses was as simple as the simplest scramble of scrambled eggs.  For two decades no genuine eggs had sizzled in this space—for two decades chickens had been banished from the face of the known Earth.  That’s how powerful the legend had become—to warp even the minds of the mind-controllers, to strike fear into the griddles of the most elitist elite.  And now—today…  “Today,” I said. “We make our breakfast and we eat it, too.”  

Macie snatched a forkful of eggs from the floor, took one long pause, and then—with the biggest grin I’ve ever seen, tasted her breakfast.  

“Well?!”  I demanded.  “How is it?!”  

She looked around. Worried?  Paranoid?!  

“What is it?”  I asked.  “Is everything—”  

“Taste it,” she said—shoving a forkful down my throat.  And suddenly I knew.

“Pepper,” she said.  

I nodded.  “It needs pepper.” 

"Scrambled or Fried?"

"Scrambled or fried?"  I asked.

It was a simple, benign question that I thought she'd answer by breaking the yoke with the spatula or flipping the sizzling egg over to brown it on the other side, but instead—fast as she could—she flipped the pan over, egg stuck so tight in the pan by centripetal force that it did not move but continued to cook and sizzle, unfazed. The pan arched toward an unknown destination, still locked in her steely hands. Before I knew it, the pan was right where it least needed to be and I had my answer.

Twenty-Seven Months

Twenty-seven months.  It had taken twenty-seven months, three weeks, and two and a half days—to the minute, to the second—to that second… Twenty-seven months to get those eggs from the doting chicken who laid them to this time and place.  Frozen in suspended animation, smuggled across borders, crossing and criss-crossing enemy lines, bejeweled behind jewelry boxes or carted in crates—at one point even doubling as the Earthen eyeballs of a giant stuffed likeness of Ambassador Reveveveicez.  And now—here, at this critical moment of truth—critical for me, for Macie—for the whole of human civilization, really (you included); she made of twenty-seven months of travel a disaster like this.  A…well, actually, a quite stirring rendition of a traditional breakfast.  “Delicious,” she cooed, as she stirred the pan.  “Delicious,” I shrugged.  And she stirred some more.  If the making of your last meal makes it your last meal, you might as well eat it.  “How do you like your eggs,” she asked, flicking the eggshells from her hair.  Flicking like it was nothing—like it was rain just fallen and sparkly as glitter.  I just stared.  Stunned, I tell you.  Absolutely stunned.  I’d never been asked such a question in all my life.  I looked to the egg, looked to the pressed and now de-pressed red button, to the red-handed Macie caught in her own act of rebellion—and I knew just what to say, for once.  I knew, once and for all: 

"Holy Hell!"

"Holy Hell!"

The button was pressed. The ungloved hand quickly was re-gloved, and glee had so quickly transformed into horror. My reaction had been swift—swifter than her reaction. Ducking, I looked up to the heavens. "Heavens!" I yelped, as the eggs were flung upwards at a quickening speed. Like a rocket they ascended into the heavens, zooming so fast they began to shed their shells. "Holy Hell!" She yelped as the eggs split in two. Two perfectly halved pieces of eggshell fell atop her hair. The egg—white and all—kept its upper mobility until gravity, at last, got a word in and the egg—white and all—landed onto a frying pan and began to sizzle.


"Heavens!  Don't press that one!"  

She was leaning over the egg carton—looming, you might say.  Looming over it, with her gloved fingers rapidly becoming un-gloved, eyes agleam.  Ready to press the button that would send them flying.  Flying high into the stratosphere, if stratospheres are high enough for you.  Maybe higher—maybe clear to the moon!  This was all perfectly fine, of course, for her.  She had that way about her—of pressing buttons now that depressed others later.  But for me—me who was among those others—who was 'other number one!'—me, who had to deal with the inevitable aftermath...well...I said what I could in the moment.  I did what I could in the moment—just a fraction of a second, really—before her twinkling fingers danced to the button with glee.  


The Paragraphing Blog

Paragraphing?  Never heard of it. 

Well, you’ve heard of surfing, right?  Paragraphing is the same.  In all the parts that matter.  It’s a quick sport—over before you know it.  And then, all of a sudden, beginning again.  Paragraphing is a back-and-forth, a story told one paragraph at a time.  By two people.  The storymakers don’t plan or plot all that much—they just see where the story has gone…and then, see where the story takes them.  Where will it take you?  In specific terms, the plan is this: Brendan writes a paragraph one day.  Jamie writes a paragraph the next.  Then Brendan, then Jamie.  Back and forth like that until the story is told.  Will it ever be done?  Once a week, we sit down for half an hour—read what’s been written in the last seven days, and then talk about the writing.  Story.  Ideas.  Character.  A certain rhythm.  Writing in general.  Seven paragraphs, to be specific.  It’s just one paragraph away. Oh, and if you don’t remember to drop by here everyday, you can follow updates on Twitter @GraphingBlog