WOSSNAME - APRIL 2007-- PART 3 OF 6 (continued)
- WOSSNAME - APRIL 2007-- PART 3 OF 6 (continued)
====Part 3 - CLACKS LOG
8) THE CLACKS LOG OF WEIRD ALICE LANCREVIC
Post 2. LANDS OF MY EIGHTFATHERS (Part One)
First Clog: We're on the road to well, noplace much,
as it turns out. Or to put it more poetically:
This is the way the road ends
This is the way the road ends
This is the way the road ends
Not with a bang
but a THWACK!! wobble wobble wobble clank clank BONGGGG!!!!!
Yes, the adventure-seeking I mentioned so enthusiastically in my previous
post got off to a less than promising start. In fact, as promising starts
go, ours barely showed vague hints of commitment, much less promises -- the
cart threw a wheel only five miles out of Lost Wages and we ended up
spending the better part of the morning standing at the roadside, arguing
about whether it was or wasn't better to trek back to The Sore Loser until
repairs happened. Hmm, maybe it wasn't a better part. It was certainly a
*large* part in any event. By lunchtime all were cross and hungry and things
might've gone very badly if it hadn't been for Mr Kakhand having the
foresight to send Semolina along with a basket of pub lunches (note to self:
must Clacks a thank-you note to him for convincing me to go halves on that
crystal ball so everyone can see where you go and what you get up to --
what a shame he didn't look in it *before* we left the premises). By the
time Burk, our driver, and his assistant Dennis had unloaded the cart and
assembled the spare wheel and calmed down the horses and put the wheel on
and re-set the suspension (suspension? We have a suspension? So, like, what
would this bone-shaking kidney-crunching skull-rattling cart be like to ride
in if there *wasn't* a suspension?) and packed away the broken wheel and
stood around watching us re-pack our belongings and made us wait while they
took their regulation
drinking-eye-watering-liquid-from-a-suspiciously-tiny-bottle break and
compared the circumstances of the thrown wheel and its changeover to all the
other thrown wheels and changeovers they'd ever had (and I swear, if I
say it once I've said it a hundred times, Smith's new bellows just doesn't
get the forge hot enough, wheel-bands used to be a lot less brittle before
he got the new bellows, I dunno, smiths today), it was well into the
afternoon and we were still only five miles out of Lost Wages. Definitely
not promising in the annals of starts.
Our route takes us -- was meant to take us -- along the Middling Road to the
Uberwald border, via Nut Loaf, Probity, Lower Boddis, Boddis Undun, Yeast,
South Yeast and Yeast Widdershins, with an overnight stop at Burnt Hedge
but owing to our delays we've ended up staying the night in Nut Loaf. More
on that presently. As you'll have gathered, I have travelling companions,
and I might as well take a moment now to describe them to you because with a
bit of luck none of them are going further than the border (I hope!). What
with Lost Wages being on the tourism map, we get all sorts coming to visit,
some sorts staying for quite a while (especially if their luck holds at
what's left of our once-thriving casino culture), other sorts just passing
through, and other other sorts "locals" attempting to escape (I suppose
I'm a combination of C and D). No locals this time, self excluded (see
previous set of brackets), but an odd lot nonetheless.
There's Miss Curtsey, a former governess who's travelling on money she
inherited from her now-late employers, though given that 1) she's going to
Ankh-Morpork to visit her cousin, another Alice as it happens "Alice Band'"
and 2) that Miss Band teaches at the Assassins' Guild, you can't help
wondering exactly how her inheritancing came about; Rudney Urch, a born
stamp collector who's about fourteen and wears bottle glasses and knows more
than I ever wanted to be told about the manufacture of wheel-bands; Elena
Lassinova, a veddy posh young woman returning to Uberwald after a holiday of
taking the mountain air (though what with my having gone to school with
Angua and knowing the Signs, has probably actually been sent away for eating
the wrong neighbours); and a sour, dour, taciturn, totally expressionless
Omnian clerk called Mr Num ("The 'b' is silent). And then we have the
Verdants. Family of four: Lothar and Tessica and their offspring, Athelred
(good-looking and knows it, congenital snob, smarmy) and Rumbustia (nubile,
noisy, probably oversexed). They do most of the talking, or more precisely,
Papa Lothar holds forth on the intricacies of commerce (he's a haberdasher,
it seems. I keep wanting to ask him the proper way to dash my habers, but I
doubt he'd get it. That's all right, I don't get it either.); Mama Tessica
witters on about the latest A-M fashions and how she counts the Dowager
Duchess of Quirm as a Personal Friend; Athelred sneers at everyone and makes
occasional contemptuous wordless snorting noises; and little Rumbustia, all
right, not so little, I've seen smaller you-know-whats on a prize Lancre
Creamy heifer, makes simpering noises that appear to have words in them but
don't correspond to any known language -- and I should know, since I'm
polyglot (no, that doesn't mean I can't do work after sunset on Octedays).
There's also a fine trade going on in non-verbal communication, though most
of that consists of Rudney almost-audibly lusting after every female with
the possible exception of Mrs Verdant, and Elena and Rumbustia exchanging
the sort of glances that could melt cold-forged octiron.
Anyway, back to Nut Loaf and its charming hostelries. Hostelry. All right,
hostel and I think you'll find that's misspelt. Nut Loaf is a dump. No,
wait, that's unkind to dumps. Nut Loaf is the sort of place you get when you
take a ghost town and remove the ghosts, and then cross it with one of those
dangerously silent whatchyew doin here, stranger? Saloons that always get
portrayed in the clicks and always include a free-for-all bar fight then
ends up with someone getting thrown through a plate glass window and someone
else shooting the sheriff. It's got no stars in the BONK THYS tourist guide,
but that's just because no-one figured out how to give stars in the
negative. But we had no choice, so we spent the night in the Nut Loaf Hostel
and Funeral Goods Mercantile. Notice I didn't say we slept there. I'm
pretty sure the only sleep going was had by the fleas and bedbugs because
they were so full of our blood that they had to lie down and take a
siesta, not to mention the lack of blankets, since Burk and Dennis
commandeered the only blankets for the horses. And I think I'll say no more
about Nut Loaf because it's depressing me. Nut Loaf: just say no.
Here endeth this post.
* * * *
Second Clog: Over the river and through the woods, almost
Quick entry because tired, so dictating in shortmouth. Threw another wheel,
this time on outskirts of Lower Boddis. Took five hours to repair. V.
frustrating. Rudney has encyclopaedic knowledge of cart suspensions.
Thinking of gagging him. Made it to Boddis Undun at sunset. Bloody freezing.
* * * *
Ahh, that's better! It's morning now, and I've just had a look around Boddis
Undun. It's beautiful! What a contrast to Nut Lo-, to that place I won't
mention again (except to say in passing that I have bruises -- bruises! --
over from those accursed bedbugs). It's a small but thriving village on the
banks of the Undun, a tributary of the Smarl (which, for the benefit of
foreigners, is the mighty river that forms part of the
Lancre-Uberwald-Borogravia border). We're at the Wander Inn, and Mrs Wander
is making us breakfast as I speak. Real eggs! We did manage to purchase
something that we had to call breakfast at That Unmentionable Place, and it
did include round things on a plate, but from the taste and texture I'd say
the round things on the plate were *other* plates. Or something far worse.
But here we have the smell of fresh-baked bread, and friendly people looking
at us like customers instead of prospective mugging victims, and it really
is a lovely river. Much bad poetry have been written about the Undun, so I'm
not going to add to it, but do stop by here if you ever get the chance. Just
don't throw a wheel anywhere near N-, That Place on your way.
* * * *
They WERE real eggs! Tasted like chicken!
* * * *
Third Clog: There shall be music
I did my first away gig last night! At the Bordering House in Burnt Hedge!
And it was a roaring success!
Oddly enough, it was Miss Curtsey's suggestion that started it. It seems
she's read 101 More Things to Do with a Dead Hedgehog and is quite taken
with my poetry (I suspect, more than ever, that she's also quite taken with
dead hedgehogs. And dead things in general. Note to self: don't leave food
or drink open anywhere near Miss Curtsey.), and mentioned this to the
landlord who straightaway asked me if I'd entertain in the evening, as there
was a part of Copperhead dwarfs coming in for a mine propping techniques
convention. So I unpacked my lute -- amazingly not road-damaged yet -- and
gave a recital of my better-known songs. You know, Morporkian Pie and Sweet
Home Agatea and Lancre Queen and We Didn't Steal the Fire and especially
Dwarfish People and Glod Only Knows -- playing to the audience, for sure.
beer happened as a result. So much beer. So very much beer.
I've met the occasional dwarf in Lost Wages, and there were some dwarf girls
at Miss Marm's -- well, they'd have to be dwarf girls, as it was a girls'
school, and I was very sure that their beards were silkier than the ones you
see on standard dwarfs, which is to say who-can-tell ones but these
convention dwarfs were real mining dwarfs, antique woodcuts in the flesh.
Rumbustia was coming on to all of them, so they were *probably* all male.
And I've never seen so many axes in my life. And dented helmets. Very
resilient, your mountain mining dwarfs; I can see how they do so well in
fights with Big People. And Io, can they drink! I've always heard that with
mining dwarfs it's all gold, gold, gold, but now I know it's also all
beer, beer, beer. And singing. And did I mention the axes? And the beards?
Also, I want the name and address of a good dwarf bootmaker in Ankh. Cobble
me some kinky boots! (Note to self: set aside some boot money.)
Rudney has an encyclopaedic knowledge of dwarfish axe-forging techniques.
They made him an honorary dwarf for the duration of our stay. Cheeky brat.
So the gig was a rouser. I made some influential, if very short, new friends
and learned quite a lot of Dwarfish swear words (although I can't pronounce
them very well yet, so Gimpy can't transcribe them properly for me) and some
traditional dwarf mining songs (mostly, I admit, Gold, gold, gold, gold).
One of the party, a young dwarf called Thorfinn Glodssonssonsson, even
taught me a dwarfish folk song that hardly has any mention of gold in it at
all! In his honour, I'm going to put the words down here, exactly as he sang
them -- except for the bits where they were in Dwarfish, but hey, I'll try:
(as told to Weird Alice Lancrevic)
Well, my name's Glod-Glod Glodssonsson
Same as all Glodssons since our family's begun
You hardly ever see Glods outta the mine
They only go to Bonk around assay time
We dig a hundred tonnes of ore all shiny and cold
But everybody knows we've a nose for gold
Now the Bura'zak-ka said "You've gotta mine coal."
For thirty generations gold mining's all we know
Since the olden times this tale's been told:
"You'll never get slack from Copperhead Lode!"
My Daddy ran the hoppers down at Pithead Ten
Dug a lot of silver for the Low King's friends
Glodssonsson AaDb'thuk' graven on his axe
(Also on his helmet in candle-wax)
His shift was just ending when the props came down
I still remember them stumbling round
Well the Kruk came around in the middle of the night
Heard Mother cryin 'bout curs-ed anthracite
But every son of Glodsson takes the down-mine road -
You can smell a golden fortune in Copperhead Lode...
I volunteered for the adit on my birthday
They take the Dr'zka first round here anyway
I did ten years of digging in Pithead Nine
Then I got wise and I left the mine
I buy pyrites and geodes and volcanic glass
I sell 'em in the market at Copperhead Pass
Well the family says it's like pissing up a rope
I wake up screaming like I'm back in the stope
I learned a thing or two from mining, and I know
I'm never gonna dig that Copperhead Lode!
* * * *
Right, Elena wants to shout me a drink before we head out, becausz you
amuzzed me viss your singings lazst night, dollink, so that's my lot for
Next stop Uberwald. Land of my eightfathers. I'm strangely excited.
Note for Roundworlders: the original lyrics to Copperhead Road, by Steve
Earle, can be found at
End of Part 3, continued on Part 4 of 6.
If you did not get all 6 parts, write: jschaum111@...
************************************** See what's free at http://www.aol.com
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]