WHAT IT IS
Sitting in the Pittsburgh International Airport on a cold and snowy February morning was a delight Mr. Deakins did not enjoy. Adding to his discomfort was a group of loud pre teens and beyond toddlers occupying a large corner of the airport, whose jumping and wrestling and tormenting of one another sent sharp acoustic waves of glee and happiness throughout the terminal. To break this pre-pubescent assault on his psyche, Mr. Deakins would walk over to the large floor to ceiling window and watch the lifeless, snow covered airplanes shiver in the cold. From the roof, gulls would float down to the tarmac, find nothing, then return to the roof.
If religion was the opium of the people in the last century,
Surely charity is the opium this century.
Mr. Deakins was a bagman for the governor of Pennsylvania and although it was only a rumor that Hobbson was going to run for governor as an independent, it was Mr. Deakins’ job to scuttle any campaign that Hobbson’s followers might initiate. To that end, Deakins sat in the airport babysitting a large, hard-shelled suitcase containing fifty thousand leaflets that a team of Young Republicans would distribute across the state. The leaflets contained quotes and musings attributed to Hobbson over the years and some were so outrages, like the one above, that Hobbson’s possibility of gaining wide political appeal would be thwarted.
WHAT IT IS NOT
Feather and Hammer unfurled a fifty foot length of sisal rope that contained a fine golden thread woven into its center. They laid the rope in a circle around the ordinary looking rock and waited. The two knights induced themselves into a dreamlike state for five days while their dependable horses watched over them. On the sixth day they awoke and watched as a man appeared on the horizon, walking along the road toward them. With the rising sun at his back, it gave him a shadowed featureless form making him look as if he was floating above the road, growing slightly larger with each passing second. He carried something small in his arms, a creature he was fond of, as he would stroke it, talk to it and even point out landscape features to it.
Slim Clemons asked Stacks McDonald to bring a young bearded dragon to the knights so they could sprinkle the rope with dragon scales. Once done, the knights tied the rope around the rock, easily moved it and retrieved the knowledge key. Now they just had to wait for the seagull to arrive and fly the key to a waiting Ellie.