Cone and Cranby

Yhalbra, the monarch sun, peered through a wide jalousie window, streaking the dim receiving chamber in fluorescent periwinkle. Cone stoically massaged Their acheful knees and awaited audience. They sat faced inward on a circular bench embroidered with a gilded, ouroboric centipede. Near Their feet, a lesser woolly ground bat crouched upon a shabby prayer hassock, gnawing a leathery, purplish, fungal conk and chirping intermittently.

"You Cone?" said a rich, loamy voice.

"Unless I'm dead," Cone replied.

Midvassal Kerbonel Cranby bowed through an archway, her titanesque figure parting a veil of beaded cords which jangled chromatically. "How now in stalwart Mantelbrack, long-timer?" She strode across the sun-slatted room, stepped into the bench-circle, and squatted heavily opposite Cone. "Sharb said you come clear from Glochidia."

Cone smiled wearily. "Well, I ain't uhh, from there, but that is where I come from."

Kerbonel glanced from Cone's weatherworn countenance to Their dingy, threadbare tunicle. "Yeah, you look it. Sharb said you called me 'Kerby.' The chevaliers had a dang fit. You know me, dingus?"

"Well, me and Aunty Brelfa come around for to sanctify the ossuary on occasion, but back then you was... hmm-m-m, a tad less prodigious."


Kerbonel chuffed bemusedly, flattened her glossy sidewhiskers, and slowly rubbed them against her jowls. "Heard of Brelfa. Can't say I remember you." Her eyes narrowed. "Cone, huh? And if Brelfa's yer Aunty, then ain't you from Taxon Cone? I thought they was done for."

"They's done for," Cone said with a solemn nod.

Kerbonel groaned. "Yea, and verily! So am I talkin' to a pseudist or a thrackin' ghost?"

Cone frantically patted Their body, then feigned relief that it was, indeed, corporeal. "Well, Kerby, I think it's plain as boiled yogurt, don't you?"

"Look, I don't know you, 'Cone,' but I ain't no chawbacon. Every lummox east of Glaslevee knows about Scalene Cone-Cranby and the swanny oath, and all that grease. 'Cones and Cranbys is folks and family.' It ain't exactly forgotten lore, and you ain't early by a long chalk, tatterdemalion. I been thrice-and-throngly thracked with imps like you tryin' to manoeuvre on fidelitous Taxon Cranby! Now quit flirtin' with me and–"

The ground bat suddenly squealed, reared upon its gangly limbs, and swiftly clomb onto Cone's lap. It gazed vacantly at Kerbonel and resumed chirping.

"Well, good, Tufo likes you. Ding-dang bat..." Kerbonel sneered and kneaded her brow. "Tell you what, churl, I'm a gracious governor. I'll see that you're swilled afore Sharb escorts you... from... The hell are you doin' to my bat?"

"Beggin' yer pardon, Kerby, but what'n the hell'd you do to yer other bat?" Cone's face wrenched horribly as They cryptically palpated Tufo's abdomen. "What kinda blithesome berk hires an augur's auger for to gimlet poor Muffa's giblets? Ohh-h-h, piteous babe... felled by rustwrack... for a counterfeit prognostication! Why, you gravelsome gizzard!"

Kerbonel blanched and withered at Cone's abrupt fury. "How did you...? You... you're the Tender Augur!"

"Unless I'm dead!" Cone hollered. "And you wager yer wapentake, I am the revenant of Taxon Cone!"

"I'm sorry! I never meant for Muffa to belly up!" Kerbonel implored. "I swear I'da besought you, but I thought you was just a crone's canard!"

"Cease yer yelpin', you cur! You slaughterful scum! Henceforth, any div'nitory deed needs doin' around here, then I'll be the dowser doin' it, y'hear?" Cone then rose with such vigour that Kerbonel tumbled backwards over the bench. "Now will you heed the swanny oath? Will you induct me into yer salaried retinue with haste?"

"I will!" Kerbonel abased herself exuberantly. "I will!"

"Then Taxon Cranby shall flourish beyond measure," said schemeful Cone, upon whose shoulder Tufo jounced and shrieked triumphantly.


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Reed Bills is a toilet wizard & invisible anti-dude lurking in the Treasure Zone. They have written more than 100 consecutive words, and they will do it again if cornered. Their cool thoughts & ideas are the foundation for their nice poems & stories, and their unique style has been described as, "good, but I guess I wasn't in the mood for it." Click here to expand bio [note to self: underline "Click here" & make blue to deceive the reader], just kidding haha; now that I saved you from that heinous prank I consider you my friend and benefactor!

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