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The Big Gallery

Variable Tilings

The Adventures of Lulu Lizard and Bubba Bat

Bats and Lizards

Busy Beetles

Penrose Gallery



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Chapter 8

In Which Lulu and Bubba Read the Gypsy's Letter

“What is all this other stuff?” asked Bubba curiously, alighting on some papers near the crystal ball.

“I don’t know,” replied Lulu inattentively. “Look at how beautiful this crystal ball is. It’s got a sort of pearly look, now that it’s out of the sun.” She was pressing her nose against the ball. “Ewww. I wonder if I’m seeing into the future. That’s what gypsies are supposed to see in crystal balls. I see all sorts of lizard and bat shapes all at once! They’re not like reflections. They cover everything! Now I even see you, Bubba! You’re reading something!”

“You see me reading something because you’re looking at me through that ball and I AM reading something!” replied Bubba wryly. “Come around here and look at this.”

“What is it?” asked Lulu, coming to look over his shoulder and blinking her eyes to get them back in focus.

“It’s a letter signed ‘Madam Czonka’,” replied Bubba, “and it was in this envelope addressed to The Right Honorable Maurice Sievert, care of Sievert’s Circus Magnus. And look at the stamp! It’s from Czechoslovakia! the Czech Republic!

“Oooh, yes,” said Lulu, “It’s very pretty. But let’s read the letter.”

Here is what they read:

My Dear Maurice,
As you know, I have spent many years studying day and night trying to understand and follow the directions left to me by my master, The Great Magician Noah, Count Konman, who, in lieu of mere riches, bequeathed me a meager supply of his most precious creation, the Powder of Life. I am enormously indebted to you, my dear Maurice, for enabling me to pursue this work, and for our many invaluable discussions concerning it. But you know that for an equal number of years all my efforts and researches have been unsuccessful. Always, the deep and cryptic meaning of Count Konman’s instructions, which read, “It is only necessary to reflect on this powder to realize one’s alter ego,” escaped me. I studied, I pondered, I mused, I reflected, in short, I gazed at that powder and exercised my brain over it these many winters, summers, springs, and falls for countless dismally disappointing days and hours.

But of course you know all about my labors. Suffice it to say that last month, though suffering a terrible head cold, with sneezes and chills wracking my poor body, I sat at my dressing table, the powder spread out before me, and pondered my perennial problem doggedly into the wee hours of the morning. Then, by some subtle and serendipitous trick of mind, (which I have not been able to recreate because just as it occurred, I sneezed and lost the tenuous thread of my thoughts), I was finally blessed with success!

Ah Maurice! I cannot tell you how sweet it was! Suddenly there were two of me! Then three! And finally seven of me,--or us, were crowded into the little travel trailer in which you have allowed me to make my home! Let me tell you that true alter-egos they are, too. One of them thinks of nothing but clothes, another of money, and another, the sixth, I think, is a compulsive cleaner, always dusting and polishing! As you know, such traits seldom found expression in me, but nevertheless, we make an admirable and congenial team. Realizing this, we decided on the spot to make an extended celebratory tour of our homeland in eastern Europe. There was barely time to board our ship, so off we went, and I am writing you now from Czechoslovakia to ask you to put my, (our), belongings in storage somewhere where they can safely await our return in a year or two. Since there were seven of us, the funds I had on hand were insufficient, and I know, dear Maurice, that you will not hold it against me that I temporarily borrowed the contents of the Circus cash box. So please, my dear, take particular care of the little chest which contains my crystal ball and the remaining precious sachet of the Powder of Life.

Thank you so much for this and for all the assistance you have always given me, dear Maurice.

Affectionately and faithfully,

Madame Czonka

“My goodness,” said Lulu. “She went off to Czechoslovakia with six, --six magical sisters---.”

“Six slightly light-fingered alter egos,” said Bubba. “Or that’s what Mr.Maurice Sievert was supposed to believe!”

“Yes,” continued Lulu, “leaving some of the Powder of Life here. Let’s look for it, Bubba.”

The two of them spent quite some time searching the area of the “mountainside” down which the chest had tumbled. But finally the light grew too dim for searching, and they decided to call it off until the next afternoon. They were both hungry, thirsty, and tired from their long afternoon’s activity, so Bubba once again flew Lulu to their Doorway, and they descended to the underhouse. There, they bade each other good night and went their separate ways, Bubba to the night sky, and Lulu to the family nest and bed. But they had agreed to meet again upstairs the next afternoon.

On to Chapter 9!

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