<xmp> <body> </xmp> The Witch, The Tooth, And The Dragon

Patterns And Dreams

~Hoobie Explains Things~

Scat and Feebles looked like two children who'd just had their puppies stolen. They didn't want to hear they weren't real!   Why, for heaven's sake... they had memories and skins and feelings and...........   and everything.

They stood staring at Hooblinka with looks on their faces that were something akin to sadness and horror: with one sentence-- "He made us up!" --their whole world began to crumble.

"You know, boys," said Hooblinka, "you'd understand better if you could just see the wallpaper for yourselves."

"The problem is," Hoobie went on, "...it only seems to be me who can go back and forth at will. You two seem to need to be flushed out, by tears or sneezing or something. Oh, I guess I could haul you through....."

"Pepper!" said Scat the tooth.

"Whaaat?" said Hooblinka.

"We need some pepper!" --and he ran for his spice chest. (Yes, he had one --hidden away from his friends in a spot where he cooked up his sweetest goodies. Once he'd mistaken some peppercorns for chocolate jimmies and made the nastiest, sneeziest cupcakes ever!) Scat grabbed the jar with the BIGGEST LETTERS that spelled out P-E-P-P-E-R in super-sized script so he wouldn't make that mistake again. "This will do nicely," he said.

"Oh, you clever tooth!" Hooblinka said with pride. "We'll simply dust this stuff around till Rusty sneezes, then ride his tears out like surfers taking the BIG WAVE! Sneezes make the eyes water like mad!"

"I just know I'm not going to like this," grumbled Feebles, "...but I do so want to see this wallpaper for myself."

As Scatcat scattered the pepper around, Hoobie and Feebles breathed in those irritating bits and soon their eyes and noses began to itch. Then their world was shaking and quaking as, outside of them, Rusty began to feel the first quivers of what would be an ENORMOUS, STUPENDOUS SNEEZE!

One, loud, AH-CHOOOOOOO!-- and all three friends washed right out of Rusty's left eye and fell, plop!- onto his bedspread, which was a soft fuzzy chenille (that's a kind of fluffy material with little tufts sticking up in rows) and Feebles felt like he'd fallen straight into heaven --his joy burst right out of him in a spout of marigolds and daisies!

"OH, I LOVE THIS STUFF! How soooooft," he cooed, rubbing and rubbing and snagging his claws at each stroke. "You're going to unravel the whole spread!" scolded Hoobie. "Enough stroking! LOOK! Look at the walls!" And they did.

First Scatcat and Feebles studied the wallpaper. Then they looked at one another, and then at Hooblinka, who was grinning and blinking like she'd found the Holy Grail. (Legend has it, that's the chalice Christ used at the Last Supper and knights of yore went searching, searching, trying to find it. They called each search a 'quest') -and this was Hoobie's.

Finally Scat said, "Hoobie......I don't see anything. What are you talking about?"

"Gooseberry jam!" Hooblinka sputtered. "It's right there, in front of your eyes!" But the tooth and the dragon were more puzzled than ever. "Point it out for us," said Scatcat.

"There!" Hooblinka shouted. "Right there! Over and over, my witch's hat and a spotted dragon, you goose!"

Feebles and Scatcat stretched themselves closer and studied the wallpaper. Suddenly Scatcat laughed aloud. "HooBLINKA! Those aren't dragons and witch hats! It's simply a pattern! It's a wallpaper pattern that's repeated over and over, and this," he said pointing, "is a TRIANGLE, and THAT'S NOT A SPOTTED DRAGON, Hoobie, it's PAISLEY!" Feebles and Scatcat laughed in relief, wiping their eyes.

"Okay, Mr. Smarty Pants! I give up.....what in the world is a 'paisley'?"

"It's a colorful pattern that's swirly with curvy shapes," answered Feebles. "It's just a pattern for cloth....or wallpaper....just a pattern, Hoobs, not a dragon at all!"

"He DIDN'T make us up! We're REAL, we're REAL!" they both shouted at once, even hugging one another.

"Oh really?" said Hooblinka. "Then how do you explain THIS?" she asked them, pointing to a framed picture on Rusty's wall, for surely it was an exact portrait of SCATCAT.

It was a picture of a tooth, but done in a young child's scrawl, and it said: Cat. Rusty, age 4.

"Oh dear!" both Feebles and Scat said in horror. "It IS Scatcat!" Hoobie studied the picture. She studied her Scatcat, then looked back at the picture and finally started to chuckle.

"You know, boys...." she started. "I DO think Rusty drew a picture of our friend here.....but he didn't know it at the time."

"This little artist was a four year old child," she said, "and what he drew (which is undeniably a TOOTH) was simply what he could manage at the time while trying to draw a CAT. The likeness is there, certainly, but he didn't MAKE cat-tooth."

"And these patterns--- these triangles and 'paisleys', well, I think they're all coincidences. I believe we WERE gathered in Rusty's mind--- way, way back IN there with a little boy's dreams and fears ---and maybe that's why we met up over on our side, but he didn't make us. HE DIDN'T MAKE US UP! HE...........ARRANGED US. Rusty may be the reason we all got together but yes, Scat, and yes, Feebles.....he didn't create us, we're real."

"HOORAY!!!" they both shouted.

"Can we go back now, Hoobie?" Feebles asked shakily. "I think Rusty has a pet, and it's a......."

"SNAAAAAAAAAKE!!!" they all cried, climbing the bedposts. "Hoobie!" said Scat- "Get us OUT OF HERE!"

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