The NeverhoOd: Hall of Records
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Quater made a king named Ottoborg, designed to be happy and full of joy all day.
Robots were a subject that Ottoborg had done a lot of research on, so it was only natural that he made three robots to help him make seven little houses. The robots names were Appie, Togor, and Bil. Appie was good at digging. Bil was good at building and Togor was good at painting; that is why it is said today that if anyone is a good painter, he is "Togor".
In a very careless way, Ottoborg made seven boys to live in his new houses. The boys names were Hypen Nupen, Petri Alfonzo, Willie Trombone, Aloh Al, Derradious Hapsicom (who's nickname was Creeker), Hondo and Ed.
Ottoborg's sons were easily identified by the loop formed on the top of each of their heads. Sometimes when they walked along they would hook their head-hoops on branches and hang there for days. Petri was so tired of getting his head hooked onto things that he cut his own head off, which proved to be fatal.
Ottoborg had forgotten to hold his world together with gravity, so one day his world fell apart in chunks and his seven sons and three robots floated aimlessly across creation.
Hypen's chunk of land got caught in the tail of the comet Pyrageorge (named Pyrageorge because it decreased in size during each orbit). The tail of Pyrageorge was full of seeds because the comet once passed through the atmosphere of the planet Berpie.
Hypen cultivated his chunk so that he could grow flowers. He loved flowers and how happy and festive they can make a place. Often, he would make a wreath of some of the flowers to decorate the loop in his head. Since he was the only one of his brothers with a nose, it seemed especially fitting that this is where Hypen Nupen's chunk of land should be. He grew an extraordinary amount of flowers, but after a few years it was not enough to satisfy his growing craving for flowers. His deepest, burning desire was to be King of Flowers, to have no rival in growing flowers. He actually did not know of anyone else who was growing flowers, but his unfettered imagination went wild and he thought that there must be others who were cultivating and growing huge fields of flowers on the many planets and worlds he passed.
Year after year Hypen worked the soil of his chunk of land to try and get it to produce more and more flowers. He developed fertilizers and plant foods. He grew nothing but flowers, though there were plenty of other types of seeds he could have planted. If he did notice some other type of plant growing amongst his flowers, he violently ripped it from the ground, cursing it and tearing it to shreds then throwing it onto his compost pile. It was so upsetting to him that he would have to lie down for a nap afterwards. But no matter how many flowers the land produced, it was never enough for Hypen.
It almost seemed that the chunk of land was desperately trying to please its obsessed master, straining itself year in, year out, to produce more flowers than it had the previous season. For many centuries, in fact, it did out-perform itself; each year a dozen or so more flowers were produced. And Hypen would ask, "Is that all?" Then the yield began to decrease. The land was simply over-worked and it needed to rest. Hypen reacted by pressing the land harder and harder to yield more. He was aggravated to no end.
The more he did to increase the yield of flowers, the less the land was able to produce. Eventually, as each season went by, the yield decreased first 10, then 100 fold, and so on. Most of the land lay barren and still.
If Hypen found anything other than a flower growing he would pull it up by the roots and throw it into the compost pile.
As the land grew gray and sterile, Hypen wasted away also. The loop on the top of his head drooped, like a deflated tire. His desire to make his chunk of land a happier place with flowers had died. He spent his last days worrying and hovering over the last few flowers that struggled desperately to grow to maturity in the dust. He could not afford the time it took to weed the desolate fields, but only a few spindly vines grew here and there in the depleted soil anyway. When the last flower died, so did Hypen Nupen.
Willie's chunk of land flew off into space, with Willie still inside his little red-roofed house. Ottoborg never saw Willie again.
What Ottoborg did not know (which this wall does) was that Willie's chunk of land drifted into the most dangerous part of space. You see, there were these nasty creatures called Victoids that flew about looking for food. Victoids had a giant nasty mouth full of giant nasty fangs and of course the hair that they were covered with was nasty.
Anyway, four Victoids stumbled upon poor Willie Trombone who was alone just floating through space for quite some time. Willie, being the friendly type, held out a friendly hand and beckoned them, "Hey, hairy friends!"
The Victoids screamed with glee when they saw Willie's yellow supple flesh. They figured that he was not a fool and that they would have to trick him before they could eat him. They were wrong, for Willie Trombone was a fool above all other fools and all of the time that they spent trying to trick him only gave the drifting giant Big Robot Bil enough time to arrive. Bil reached out with his mighty three arms and grabbed the floating chunk of land and hoisted himself up. Bil grew horrified as he saw his creator's son about to be devoured by vicious Victoids.
That evening Willie Trombone dined on Victoids, saving their pelts to use as blankets on especially cold evenings. Willie and Bil became close friends and they enjoyed each other's company for a long time floating in space, until one day they saw something very far away... Something like a being in distress.
Aloh Al kept a journal after Ottoborg's world broke into chunks. Here is copied the only known surviving excerpt from that diary:
"My chunk of land has whooshed through a mysterious cloud of blue gas. The cloud is larger than some worlds that I have seen. I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to jump off the chunk and onto the gas. There is such a clutter of junk on the outer surface of the blue gas that it is virtually solid, yet kind of springy-sproingy.
Wow! Am I tired! I think I will lay myself down to take a snooze on the junk that clutters the surface of this blue gas for I have not slept since before Ottoborg's world fell apart.
I do not know how long I was sleeping, but I woke up because I felt something tiny and creepy crawling on my knee! I reached down and swatted it with my hand; there was just a yellow spot of goop when I brought my hand up to see what kind of bug it was. Then I heard the weirdest whiney-moany noise I have ever heard. I looked up and around and behind me, but I did not see anything. Then I looked down on the ground. I found myself surrounded by very little beings; some were laying down, I guess they must have fainted after seeing one of their own squashed by my big hand. I knew they were not bugs then because they were all staring at me, and because they were not all crawling over me, or biting me, or injecting their eggs under my skin to incubate there and hatch later.
These are very teeny-tiny beings, indeed; when I compare them to myself, the tallest is only as big as my thumb. Each tiny being has a great head in comparision to the rest of its body. In fact, the head takes up as much space as the body. The two remarkable features of the head are the size of the head compared to the little body, and its almost perfect roundness; it is like a melon on a sliver!
Each being's head has a mouth, but other than that, there is only one other facial feature: their globe-heads are devided into an upper and lower hemisphere by dark line at the equator. I perceived this dark line to be (all in one) the eyes, ears and nose of these beings, since they employed them much in their observation of myself and, with their mouths also, in communication with each other.
I was very hungry, as I had traveled on my chunk of land for forty days and forty nights, or something like that. My first thought was to eat a handful of the little beings, but they held up their hands to ward me off and wailed in high-pitched whiney shrieks.
The little beings understood that I was famished from the disgusting rumbling noises that my stomach made. Seemingly from thin air, they produced tiny, delicate green crystals in great abundance. In my hand they appeared as so many granules of green sugar, except not gritty; rather, these were gummy, and had a flavor that made me think green thoughts. As fast as I would pop a handful of the green stuff into my mouth, the little beings would bring me more. They also brought me a cup, though to them it would be a tub, of green liquid, which after I drank it, I perceived it to be wine made from the green gummy crystals. It had a very fine flavor, and it made me think rather mellow green thoughts.
As much as the "Big Heads" (my name for them) speak to me, I never comprehend a single word they say; but I must help them drink their wine.
One tiny being, who does most of the talking, seems to be in charge, since the others are always paying attention to him and they jump to action after he speaks. I suppose he is the father of these tiny beings. While he was speaking, he also did strange dances. He looked really stupid, waiving his arms about like that.
After a few weeks of the father trying to talk to me, some others of these "Big Heads" dressed in tight colorful clothing came to bother me. Some rode upon wheely-thing around and around inside the loop on my head! One had the nerve to bounce up and down on my lips; I should have just opened my mouth and swallowed him whole! The only thing I did not really mind was the three beings that did flips and somersaults on the three spikes that stick out of my chest; that was kind of fun!
Days and days of the same thing now: eating green gummy crystals, drinking green wine, watching the "Father Guy" (my name for him) flail about like he does and listening to his high pitched whining. Usually I just sit and smile at him, but when my cheeks get sore I imitate whatever he is doing. If he nods, I nod. If he shakes his head, I shake mine. I will not write in this diary unless something weird or exciting happens.
How long have I been here? It is very hard to keep track of time when nothing new happens.
Once again the "Father Guy" came out to bother me with his high pitched whining, although it seemed more fevered this time. He kept pointing off away from where we sat, then he stood up and stomped about, always pointing. It looked like a dance to me; as far as I knew it was a dance since I had never seen any of these little beings dance, so I stood up and danced. I tried to make the steps of my dance like the "Father Guy's," but he was not at all pleased with my imitation.
I was busy trying to perfect my dancing step when I was suddenly hit from all sides by food! I assumed that it was my part in this strange dance to try and catch as much of the food as I could in my mouth. I was doing pretty well, if I do say so myself. I suppose I have an advantage over the little beings, since my mouth is so much bigger than any of theirs; perhaps this is why I was chosen for this special part of the dance.
More of the "Big Heads" joined the crowd that was throwing the food at me, so that I finally could not keep up with the torrent of food. I do not mean to criticize, but many of the beings did not have very good aim. I was ducking and jumping, doing my best to get my face into place to catch the food, but a lot of it just splattered against my body! A lot more just landed on the ground, so that I stepped in a bunch of it as I moved around. And still more of the "Big Heads" came out to where we all were and they joined in the food throwing! I felt a little ridiculous since I could not possibly keep up the pace of the dance. And the little guys really showed no sign of letting up.
By now a big circle of the beings surrounded me, all of them whining and shrieking same chant, I suppose. I decided to step out of the circle, and figured I would get another chance to get this dance right sometime later. But even after I stepped out of the circle, they continued to throw the food at me! I did not even try to catch it; I really wanted to practice this dance and try to do better the next time. As I stepped further away to get out of their throwing range, they finally stopped.
They stopped their whining and shrieking chant too, and soon the "Big Heads" were cheering and clapping. I turned back to accept their applause. I think they appreciated that I tried so hard to catch all of the food, because as soon as I turned back, they started throwing more. I did not want to dance this food-catching dance any more! I turned my back to the "Big Heads" with big round heads and walked away as fast as I could.
Before I knew it, I was walking up to another group of tiny beings. These beings remained silent as I approached; no whining or shrieking or moaning.
These beings are just as tiny as the first beings I lived amongst, but they have different heads. Their heads seem to be the right size for their little bodies. Their faces are featureless except for a long, needle-like proboscis. These tiny beings seem to use this protuberance for all their communication and all their senses: sight, smell, taste, hearing, feeling. Some of these beings pointed their needle noses here and there over my body as I approached, but most kept them pointed at my feet.
Just before I stepped up in front of the "Needle Noses" (my name for them), they began clapping. By the time I actually stopped, they were cheering and whooping and jumping up and down. This went on for quite a while. Then they began to quiet down and the crowd began to split down the middle. I noticed one "Needle Nose" coming through the crowd to stand in front of me.
This "Needle Nose" seemed to have the respect of all the other "Needle Noses" because they all gave their attention to him as he stood in front of me; I could tell because all their needle-like noses where pointed at him instead of me. He must be their "Father Guy".
After looking me over for a while, the "Father Guy" started speaking at me. I did not understand anything that he said to me, but I smiled at him the entire time that he spoke to me. I kept smiling at them all after the "Father Guy" finished; I was trying to think of something to do! I decided to say something back to them.
"Well, it's really nice," I said, "for all of you to come out to greet me today. You know, I couldn't stand for any more of that food-throwing dance that the "Big Heads" do. You don't have a food throwing dance, do you? Do you guys understand me?"
I smiled some more after I finished and waited for something to happen. All the "Needle Noses" did was turn around and walk away! They kept looking over their shoulders as they left, but they did not seem to care if I followed or if I stayed where I was. I decided I might as well stay where I was. I sat down and waited to see what would happen. For days and days I sat there and nothing happened. At first the "Needle Noses" kept looking over their shoulders at me, but after a few days they seemed to forget I was there!
After a week or so of being ignored, I was hungry, so I followed some of the "Needle Noses" around as they went about their daily chores, and every so often they would look over their shoulders at me. Mostly, what they did all day was spit on the ground. It was a disgusting sight! They would form lines and walk through the fields and the spit on the ground, day after day. All the time, spitting! Day after day, no matter where I was, no matter what I observed them do, they were always spitting! I do not know why I did not notice it before.
Then I noticed all their food came from the fields they had been spitting in all this time! Food from spit! Now that they were harvesting, they had time to notice me. For the first time since I arrived in the "Needle Nose" land, they offered me food. How could I accept it after seeing them spit all the time to produce the food? I ran away, sickened to my stomach.
After what I am sure must be something like 100 years, I could not take living among any of these tiny beings any more; I was being starved by the "Needle Noses" and I did not want to go back to the "Big Heads" to have them throw more food at me during their crazy dance. I felt defeated and hung my head in dejection.
Now, since I was standing on a cloud of blue gas, as the gas swirled and spun I could often see through the gas or at least deep into the center of it. Something fuzzy, as if in the distance on the other side of the cloud, caught my eye. The shape grew larger and a little more defined as it came close.
All at once I clapped my hands and whooped for joy! I did not need a crystal clear view of the object to recognize it as the very chunk of land that had broken off of Ottoborg's world and brought me to this miserable place. At once I realized what was happening: the chunk of land was caught in a circular orbit and the blue gas must be going in a straight line that took it through two points in that circle. I cried out, 'For sure, I am the luckiest of all of Ottoborg's sons!'
Carefully, as it passed through the cloud of blue gas, I jumped off the springy surface of debris and onto my chunk of my father's world. I have not been on the chunk of land for about three minutes, long enough to make this latest entry into my journal. Gee, it's great to be back 'home' again! I hope I never..."
Here the excerpt of the diary ends abruptly. It is said that the chunk of land that Aloh Al was on suddenly smashed into a dirt clod that collided with it head-on. Both the chunk and the clod were traveling at great speeds upon impact. Nothing was ever seen of Aloh Al again.
Creeker's chunk of land was the biggest and it was full of lakes. There was actually more land covered by water than not. Creeker survived many centuries on the chunk - long enough to learn how to create and build giant replicas of spoons and butter-knives, enormous buckets filled with oversized sesame seeds, and huge loaves of bread, among other things.
Creeker used the soil of the dry land on his chunk as the material for his sculptures. Whenever he would get tired of looking at one of his colossal sculptures, he would just throw it into a lake. Each of the colossal sculptures displaced enormous amounts of water, covering up a little more try land each time one was thrown into a lake.
When he was not sculpting, Creeker would be out scrutinizing one of his previous sculptures. He was very critical of his work. He always concluded that the sculpture did not communicate the concept that was the impetus behind the work; or he saw a hair or a bug sticking out of the clay. In any case, he was always frustrated.
None of his works seemed to express his vision just the right way. He could not quite put his finger on the problem, but his general feeling was that it had to do with the size of the sculpture.
"If only it was a little bit bigger...", he would often say to himself. Then he would heave the thing into the nearest lake.
His mind was focused intently on making each new sculpture larger than the previous one, whether it be a giant replica of a Red Pod bulb of a mostly empty jar that had been sitting in the back of a valley for eight weeks. Eventually, he spent very little time examining his finished works, but with an exclamation of disgust he would throw the work into the nearest lake (which, after a while, seemed to be conveniently closer and closer) just as soon as it was done and immediately start on the next one. The replicas were by this time so large that he had to climb them to work on the upper parts.
The largest sculpture Creeker ever completed was of a baby's arm holding an apple. It was such a titanic work that he had to use spikes and ropes to get up it. When he finished, he had to rapple down the back of the arm. He backed up to get a good look at it, but could not back up very far since he was on a beach.
Again, his disgust and frustration overcame him as he said, "No, no, no. That's not it at all!" Then Creeker rushed at the base of the sculpture to push it into the water. He barely budged it, but it was top heavy since the apple at the top was enormous, so that his push was enough motion to cause the sculpture to fall over. Creeker turned to start on a new sculpture, (he had in mind a great pair of tongs digging into a bucket of sand) and he never saw the tidal wave that fell upon him.
Hondo's chunk of land ended up on the back of a giant animal that lived in a desert on an undocumented planet. Hondo seemed to like the animal enough, and he was so small that the animal did not detect his existence. There was not much that Hondo could tell about what the animal looked like. It was a colossal beast compared to Hondo.
He took many survey journeys that went on for days and days across the top of the beast to see if it looked different from other locations. As he walked, he noticed the color of the ground changed; presently he would be passing over an area that was brown, then fifteen feet or so further he would pass over an area that was yellow. The surface he walked on was hard and mostly smooth, but it was terraced into short, flat little hills all over. When he came to the edge, he was looking around and he almost fell off. He got down on his stomach to look over the edge. There was nothing between him and the ground which was very far away; if he had jumped, the fall would have broken every bone in his body.
He was on the lip of an overhang, and he reached under it to see if he could feel how far back it went, but the overhang went straight back and kept going. Then he carefully lowered his head over to look and see how far back this overhang went. He could not see it though, there was so much dark shadow he could only see about as far as his hand reached.
Hondo got up and decided to walk directly away from the edge. He grew very tired almost immediately as the surface began ascending right away. It took a day to reach the summit, so he slept there. In the morning Hondo was able to see very far from the top of the animal. The sky was all blue, and the land was all beige. He saw that the highest hilly part of this animal sloped down in all directions around from where he stood.
Ed's chunk just spun in place, forever.