Tuesday, August 31, 2010

3. Land of the Vikings

First Published August 5, 2010
“Say it!” said Fenrir.
“NO!” cried nine-year-old Thoki.
“Say it, or I’ll drop you!”
“Alright! I’m a weenie!”
“What kind of weenie?” said Jormungandr in Thoki’s ear.
“I’m a sissy weenie who plays with dolls!” cried Thoki, tears streaming down his face.
“And you eat your own boogers! Say that!” added Fenrir
“I don’t––“
“Say it, or Earth gets a new hole to Niflheim!” snapped Jormungandr.
“Nah, changed my mind,” said Fenrir.

Thoki awoke in a cold sweat. He hated those dreams about his childhood. In them were the memories of countless wedgies, swirlies and pink-bellies doled out by his two half-brothers. This time, Thoki remembered when Fenrir had dangled him (by his underpants) over the Bifrost Bridge. Thoki had seen Earth with crystal clarity sparkling thousands of miles below. And while Earth hadn’t gained a new crater, it did receive a brief shower of slightly warm rain. 

It took Thoki a few minutes to convince himself he was no longer nine years old, then he picked himself off the ground and brushed the pine needles from his arm. They’d been camping in the forest for the last few weeks. He got up, stretched, and poked his traveling buddy, Lor, with a pointed stick. 

“Hey. Wake up.”
Lor blinked and sat up at his usual glacial speed. “Time to make the donuts?” he mumbled, still half asleep.
“I wish,” sighed Thoki. They’d been eating suspicious plants for nineteen days now. “Any clue where we are now? What’s the name of this Fjord?” said Thoki, pointing to the water lapping at the shore.
“It’s not a Fjord. It’s a lake.”
“It’s a big wet thing! Same difference!” snapped Thoki.
“Well technically, a Fjord is a long, narrow arm of the sea bordered by steep cliffs usually formed by glacial erosion; while a lake is a body of fresh or salt water of considerable size, surrounded by land.”

Thoki just stared. Usually he would have argued with Lor, but when it came to “jography” he didn’t question Lor. The wooly-headed giant had trouble reading most 3-letter words, but when it came to reading maps, the behemoth had a talent bordering on the supernatural. Lor being clever unsettled Thoki. It was as if a sheep had suddenly donned a tie and begun offering financial advice.

“This is Lake Superior,” yawned Lor.
“Does that mean we’re in Minnesota?” cried Thoki in excitement.
“Yes. We crossed over from Wisconsin last night. I think we’re near Duluth.”
“HOT DOG!” Thoki’s petite figure broke into an impromptu jig. He stopped as the butterflies rose up in his throat. “Well, I suppose I better call him,” he said with less excitement.
“What can I do?” asked Lor amiably.
Thoki sighed. “I dunno. Go play.”
“Kay,” said Lor, back to his monosyllabic self. He lumbered over to a cluster of cattails.
“Alright… here we go,” said Thoki, psyching himself up. 

He pulled a reel of cofilament, thermal-fused fishing line from his pocket. Only one guy in the world had been stupid enough to fish for Jormungandr, and he’d used an Ox-head for bait. Thoki, who knew his half-brother a bit better than mighty Thor, wrapped the sturdy fishing line around a six-pack of Miller Lite. Using a log as a float, he cast it onto the lake’s surface. Hel said he’d need to fish for Jormungand, “At the great fjord near the home of the Vikings.” Thoki deduced that the only place left on Earth with Vikings, was Minnesota.

Two hours ticked past with no change. Thoki was now nursing a sunburn on his neck and he looked longingly at the chilled beer floating on the lake’s surface. 
“Lor? How you doin’ there buddy?” asked Thoki. Lor was being very quiet, usually a sign that he was doing something Thoki wouldn’t like. That or he was confused by life again.
“Whatcha doin?”
“We were planting seeds in the ground so they could grow into ducks.”
“What kind of seeds?” asked Thoki, glad Lor was being stupid again.
“Duckweed seeds.” 
“Makes sense… Wait. We?” asked Thoki, looking at his partner for the first time.
“Me and Mr. Onion.”
“Mister…Onion…” said Thoki slowly, craning his neck to see what was in Lor’s hands. It was a rock. Thoki shrugged. “Alright. Have fun, you two.” 

Thoki turned his head, to watch his bobber and screamed. A large, muscular chest was blocking his view. It was clothed in a black T-shirt sporting the legend, “Han Shot First.” Thoki tried to back up and lost his footing. Sitting on the ground, hard, he stared up into the face of Jormungandr, who was busy downing the contents of one of the beer-cans. He belched politely and threw it over his shoulder.

“Hey, wiener,” said Thoki's brother. He was in a human form, but there was a definite serpent quality to him from the blue-veined skin, to his hair the color of parsley. His eyes were the greatest giveaway–yellow, with slit pupils, and a transparent ocular cap which twitched as he regarded his younger brother and opened another can.

Miller Lite? You gotta be kiddin,” he said with disgust.
“It’s all I could afford,” said Thoki. He’d spent his last tenner on it too.
“How touching. What do you want?” 
“You wrap around the world right? You see everything.”
“Everything connected to water, but I concede your point. Continue.”
“I’m looking for something. Something I’ve only read in passing, but I need more information.”
“Jeezus, try the internet, dumbass. Do I look like Wikipedia?” said Jormungandr turning towards the water. 
“Wait!! Jorm! Do you know anything about a source of ultimate chaos?” cried Thoki frantically.

The snake-man paused. His diamond-shaped face looked at Thoki again. There was a strange smile playing on his thin lips.
“Now why would you want to know about that?” he asked.
“Tell me,” said Thoki, drawing himself up.
The ocular cap flicked up again. “Egypt. It’s in Egypt.”
“Egypt! But how––?“
“Not my problem. Ask when you get there. But it’s in Egypt. Later, runt.”
And Jormungandr sank into Lake Superior without so much as a ripple.


Anonymous said...

Funny, funny stuff! Love the "Jeezus, try the Internet, dumbass..." *snort*

Larry Kollar said...

I've really been enjoying this series so far. Lor is a great foil for Thoki… sometimes, you wonder who's really the brains of this operation.

But is "Deluth" Lor's mispronunciation, how it's spelled in some alternate universe, or a typo?

Monica Marier said...

@Rams Danke, mein herr. Pleasure as always.
@FARfetched. See this is what happens when I make an Elven language (other book). It really screws with spellcheck. *L*