A Time Travel Clyde Mini-Epic!
THE IDIOCY AND THE ODDITY
(with apologies to Homer, the ancient Greek Gods and Heroes,
and lovers of great literature everywhere!)
--Part I --
The IDIOCY: A Really Epic Tail
THE TREATY OF TOY
When the tide had reached its zenith, leaving the Togans precious little space on the beach, Queen Helpmeout ordered her subjects back into the city. They all moaned and dragged their tails behind them as they slowly and painfully made their way to the walls.
What a surprise it was to discover that all the cat doors were locked from the inside!
They banged on the doors, accused each other of leaving without a key and generally got into a panic. At just the right moment, Clydesseus appeared on the city wall, looking quietly down at them.
"Clydesseus of Hissica! Thanks goodness it's you!" Meowed Queen Helpmeout. Clydesseus had long been a loyal ally to the Togans (that's where we get the term "Ally Cat"), so she felt relieved to see him on the walls, never thinking to wonder how he got there.
"Good Evening" Clydesseus mewed softly, with a courteous bow.
"Good even... Clydesseus, let us in!" Ordered the Queen.
"Sorry, no can do." He replied enigmatically.
"What? Why not? Come on Clydesseus, it's chilly out here. Let us in!"
"No can do." He repeated.
"What is going on?" Demanded the Queen. "Am I not ruler on this island, is this not my city and...say, wait a minute, what are YOU doing here?" She finally got wise.
"Well, your majesty, that's a bit of a tail, and I will be happy to come out and tell you about it, but first you must promise that under no circumstances are you or your subjects to try and enter the city."
"Good heavens, why not!" Queen Helpmeout demanded.
"Unfortunately," Clydesseus explained, "I can't tell you that at the moment, and I'd advise you to keep you voice down. Take your subjects and seek shelter under yonder palm trees. I will join you after dark."
"But, but this is outrageous!" The Queen began to argue.
"Do I not always play the game of Win-Win? Perhaps you have forgotten this. Nevertheless, do yourself a favor, remember my wisdom, and do as I say. All will be revealed soon enough. Already, it grows dark. You will not have to wait long for your answer." He finished and left the city wall.
Queen Helpmeout turned to her court advisors, but they could make no sense of it, so they all shrugged and went to the grove of palm trees for a lie down. They huddled together because the sea breeze was rather cool this evening.
Meanwhile, as purple dusk spread her night's cloak across the horizon, inside the city, the Creeps were busy categorizing and itemizing the Togan treasure they planned to take home with them. They had been so busy that they had not seen Clydesseus on the city walls, and did not know he was planning something with the Togans.
Clydesseus watched from a distance, shaking his head in wonder. Stupidity always fascinated him. Greed, he thought, is entirely blind. How, he wondered, did they think they were going to get this stuff down the beach, past the Togans without an argument?
He sighed, knowing full well that if his final plan worked, the treasure wouldn't be going anywhere. No one saw him slip silently out of the city through one of the cat doors.
The stars were peeking through the twilight as Clydesseus trotted along the beach to the Togan encampment under the palms.
Queen Helpmeout sat bolt upright when she saw his approach, yawned, and stretched herself in the sand. A few of her advisors yawned and got to their feet, but the rest of the Togans were sleeping heavily, probably a reaction to the activities of the day.
"Well, Clydesseus, we have done as you advised. Now, would you mind telling me what is going on?" She demanded imperiously.
"Nice to see you too." Clydesseus replied. "I'll make this short. You've lost your city to the Creeps. What's more, I helped. But," he quickly added as he saw the Queen open her claws as her eyes grew wide with fury, "if you do exactly as I say, you will have lost nothing, in fact, both you and the Creeps will ultimately gain."
"You, you TRAITOR!" Queen Helpmeout hissed, "You dare, after helping our enemy, come to us with an offer of.., of... what are you offering anyway?"
"A solution to your problem. Sit down, this may take a while. And before you call me a traitor, look around you. Thanks to my wily ways, NONE of you has been hurt. Inconvenienced, yes, but hurt, well, except for a headache, which is your own doing, no."
"Now just you wait a minute," Queen Helpmeout demanded, "we had the Creeps completely under control until you interfered!"
"Stop!" Clyde insisted. "There is a saying, 'There are only two things you should ever put in your mouth; good food, and your foot.' You are about to do the latter, so I suggest you sit back and listen to what I have to say, THEN decide what to do and who to accuse of what."
The Queen calmed down and reluctantly gave in.
"Very well then. Let's begin. First of all, I have NO idea what caused the conflict between you and the Creeps, and quite frankly, I don't care. But, as you well know, I am allied to you both. The Creeps and the Togans offer a valuable service to the world, and you both need each other's cooperation. The Creeps, because of our business relationship, demanded that I help them, and this I have done. YOU, on the other hand, never thought to ask for my help, and even now are having a great deal of difficulty accepting it. Without it, however, you will find yourself in some very big trouble. So listen well.
Besides the fact that starting a huge and pointless war to solve an economic problem is just about the most idiotic thing imaginable, you are guilty of betraying your subjects. They look to you for intelligent leadership, not 'shoot from the hip' diplomacy. Now we all know the Creeps can be very trying at times, after all, they are Creeps. But there are diplomatic, successful diplomatic, ways of dealing with them. I've been doing it for years.
Okay, what's done is done. No point in belaboring that. The question is, what are you going to do next? Try to recapture your city? You yourself know what a stronghold it is, so you know that it would be pointless to try..."
"So what do you suggest genius, that we camp out here on the beach?" The Queen demanded.
"Do not interrupt me again!" Clydesseus hissed."If you look out to sea, you'll find your answer."
"All I see are the Creepy ships."
"Exactly. And where are the Creeps?"
"In our city." sighed Queen Helpmeout.
"And you need a place to live, since your city is occupied. So, what I suggest you do is take the Creeps' ships and sail to their island and set up shop there."
"WHAT!" The Queen screeched. "Now I know you are crazy."
"Am I? What substance do you need for your toy empire, the substance that started this pointless war in the first place?"
"And what grows absolutely wild on the Island of the Creeps?"
"Huh? Ohhh.." The Queen mused as she considered this possibility. Clydesseus knew that her greed for the catnip would make her think more favorably of his plan.
"So," Clydesseus finished, "all you have to do is sail away to the Island of the Creeps and set up your toy making shop there. A few change of address postal cards, and everything will be right as rain. No one will resist you because all the Creeps are here, their island is now deserted."
"But, won't they come after us and try to take their island back?"
"How will they get there? YOU'LL have their only means of transportation!"
"Oh, ho, and so we win the war after all! You ARE clever. They get our city, which is useless to them, and we get their city AND the catnip!"
"Exactly." Clydesseus replied.
"But, tell me, WHY are you helping us when you promised to help the Creeps?"
"You don't understand this yet, but by helping you I AM helping them. I am helping you both. You needn't worry about it, it will all make sense in time. But, you should hurry. Before the tide turns you must sail away. Remember...catnip??" He coaxed.
"Catnip." She absently replied as she looked out at the ships.
Queen Helpmeout's advisors, who had advised nothing during this conversation because they did not understand it, awakened the rest of the Togans and hurried them to the Creepy ships.
Clydesseus sat on shore and waved them good-bye as their sails grew smaller and smaller in the distance. Satisfied that they were gone, but hardly forgotten, Clydesseus sighed and said to himself, "Well, halfway there anyway. That was almost too easy."
It was time to deal with the Creeps.
The next morning, when the Creeps awoke, they rushed for the city walls, only to find the beach deserted of Togans. Then they noticed their ships were missing. A furious uproar, which woke Clydesseus, ensued.
The Creepy Generals came to him complaining of the loss.
"What did you expect?" Clydesseus asked. "Besides, why are you complaining? You have what you wanted. You have gained this city and all its treasure. In fact, you're ahead of the game, since now, you don't have to do anything to transport it. If the Togans are gone in your ships, and you can bet where they are headed, you have no place to go anymore, except here. And, here you are."
"But, but," they complained, "we wanted both! We want our island, with their treasure on it."
"Doesn't seem like that's going to happen, does it?" Clydesseus bit one of his claws while eyeing them slyly. "Well," he added, "you did leave your ships unguarded, didn't you. Too bad for that. Oh well, what's done is done. Guess you'll just have to make the best of it."
"But, Clydesseus," they complained, "whatever shall we do? We have no homeland anymore. We have no source of catnip, no income, how will we survive?"
"You have all this treasure, it must be good for something."
"For the moment, but what about when it is all gone, what then?"
"Ah, that IS a problem. Well, let's see. You could, yes, I think you could, maybe make toys, like the Togans used to? Their factories appear to be abandoned."
"But, we know nothing of making toys, we only know how to harvest catnip."
"Hmmm. Well, somebody must know how to make them."
"Of course somebody does, the Togans do, but they are on their way to our island! "
"The one with all the catnip?" Clydesseus hinted. "I wonder, what do THEY know of harvesting catnip?"
"Hrummp, nothing" The generals remarked with disdain.
"So, let me see if I have this absolutely clear. The Togans have trapped you here on their island, where you could make toys, if only you knew how, and they do know how, and they have done this by sailing to your island where they can harvest all the catnip nature can produce, if only they knew how, which, how very odd, you seem to know how to do! Is that about right, do you think?"
"Yes, yes," the Generals sighed.
"Well, then the answer is simple. Turnabout is fair play. You'll make the toys and they'll provide the catnip."
"That's absolutely absurd!" The Generals barked, which was a strange thing for cats to do, but they were frustrated and angry.
"Strange things happen every single day. Some of them ARE absurd. This war is a perfect example. Beauty pageant, really, you fell for that one!?" Clydesseus quipped.
He could see that the Creeps were embarrassed, not only because they had fallen for the Togans trick, but also because they hadn't figured out his puzzle yet. So he gave them the solution.
"Okay, here's the deal. We know very well that once the Togans get to your island, they will soon discover that they don't have the factories for making toys, and that the catnip is absolutely useless, since your customers have contracts with YOU, not them. And, we know the same is true of the customers of the Togan toys, so you are in the same boat, so to speak.
So, you are going to, whether you like it or not, strike a deal with the Togans which will work to both your benefits. They will teach YOU how to make toys, notify their customers that you have both reached a trade agreement, lower your prices to help them through the transition, and YOU will teach them how to harvest catnip, do the same thing with YOUR customers, and well, lo and behold, there will be peace and prosperity for all!"
"Huh?" The Creeps puzzled. The idea seemed ridiculous.
"What is the difference if you make toys or harvest catnip? What you are really interested in is economic prosperity, and there is only one way you or the Togans will achieve it, through mutual cooperation.
Try it for a while, and if it doesn't work out, strike up a deal to trade places once more, and everything will be the way it was before all this tedious nonsense started."
"How do we start?" The Creeps asked him.
"I suggest a treaty followed by a mutually beneficial trade agreement. It's a simple business proposition. Queen Helpmeout will see the wisdom of it, she'll cooperate as long as you do. And now, if you don't mind, I want to go home. I DO have a family to take care of you know."
"Home? Oh, yes, well, at least you have a home to go to.."
"No complaints, understand? You are the ones who started this mess in the first place by pulling that boycott. I don't CARE why you did it, it was a stupid thing to do, and we all know it.
You will get your island back in a short while, I promise. The Togans have no more desire to harvest catnip than you do to make toys, but I strongly suggest that you each try it for a while, so you have an idea of what it is like, 'living on the other side', okay? What you can learn from the experience will far outweigh the inconveniences.
But remember, any deal must be a fair deal!"
Clydesseus took his leave to allow the Creeps to consider their situation.
In the days that followed, the Creeps took Clydesseus' advice and drew up the Treaty of Toy. It was a fine document, fair and equitable, if idiotic in concept, and would serve to ensure that the Creeps and the Togans never got into a ruckus again. The goal of the Treaty was that, after a year of living in the other's kingdoms, if they wanted and mutually agreed, they would once more trade places. The postal service would make a fortune off all the change of address cards, but, someone unexpected and often uninvolved, usually comes out ahead in these things anyway. Modern shipping companies figured that one out a long time ago when "mail order" became popular.
In the meantime, Clydesseus was anxious to get home. Roe Boat was packed and ready to sail as Clydesseus took his final tour of the city. Already the Creeps had settled in, though they could make no sense of the toy factories. They were hardly mechanically inclined.
It was during a tour that Clydesseus spied a object of almost unbelievable good fortune. It seems that the Togans had another passion besides catnip. They were very fond of dairy!
In the basement of the city palace, Queen Helpmeout had installed a very large bottomless refrigerator and it was filled with bottomless bottles of milk! Better still, it had its own built in power source, so it never had to be plugged in. Of course, this is physically impossible, but considering what a silly place Toy was, the laws of physics did not always apply because they were so confused. Why should they apply anyway, when the laws of common sense were so flagrantly violated? Laws are very sensitive, you know.
When Clydesseus saw the "Big Royal Fridge", his eyes almost popped out of his head. Here was the answer to his problem with Poseidon's curse upon his son, Telephoneous! Here was the ultimate food source! If he could just get this thing home, he'd have solved everything. The Creeps had no idea what it was, and therefore had no interest in it.
He had to think of something clever very fast. So, he drew up a very large bill for "mercenary services" and presented it to the Creeps. In the bill, he demanded payment in "organics".
"We can't pay this!" The Creeps giggled, thinking they were going to cheat him. "After all you have done for us, it seems that you must go without compensation. Were we on our Creepy Island, we might have paid you in catnip, but, seeing as we are here on Toy, as you yourself suggested, well..."
"Yes, I must say, I am very disappointed, but I do see your point. My own fault, I guess. But, you should at least make a show of good faith, don't you think? Any objections to that?"
"Oh, none at all, none at all." They slyly replied.
"Good. Hmmm, well, I guess I could take that useless refrigeration device off your hands. You weren't planning to use it, were you?"
"That? Hmmm, no, it's some sort of machine and we don't understand machines. Yes, that seems to be acceptable." The Creepy Generals replied, snickering. "Umm, just sign your bill 'Paid in Full' and, sure, just take the thing away."
Clydesseus sighed, feigning his disappointment. He never let on what he was planning, and they never figured it out.
The Creeps even helped the Hissicans get the huge machine on board Roe Boat, though the poor vessel almost capsized in the process.
Clydesseus took one last look at the Island of Toy, the city walls, the place where the Tartan Mouse had stood, and there on the beach, bid farewell to the Creeps, thinking to himself, "At last!"
Then, feeling just a bit cocky, for everything had turned out well, he rushed to the surf and meowed with all his might:
"Hey Poseidon! MILK, got some? Ha ha ha ha ha." and ran off down the beach to Roe Boat.
He didn't have time to hear the squeaky reply from the bursting bubbles of the sea foam as the great Sea God warned,
"I'll get you, my foolish hero, and your little kitten too!"
Sometimes, when you almost have what you want, you do something stupid.
Just like Clydesseus!
THE ODDITY BEGINS!
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