Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The C.W.A. of Dr. Z. Smith: Episode 54: Ronald Daveu

Last week as you recall,  the Colours of Legopolis had been replaced, and the city restored to its former, non-monochromatic glory.
  But one loose end remained, Ronald Daveu, famed explorer and founder of Legopolis, who was paying a social call to Dr. Smith.
 The problem arises when we realize this man is supposedly long dead.
  And yet he drinks earl grey.
   Ron had become separated from his true time by an unlikely series of events, {See ep. 50: The Black Planet} which in the end brought him here; Dr. Smith's kitchen, eighty-five years after his death.

 "Yer house is bigger'n the inside." Ron said, quite eloquently for him.

-=fig. 362: a newly remodeled kitchen=-

Dr. Smith had noticed this.  "It is… Jeeves," He addressed his robotic manservant, Jeeves. "When did this happen?"
  "I couldn't say for sure sir.  If you recall, I was debilitated for most of our most recent adventure.  But I have taken the liberty of exploring our new abode, and as such have discovered that behind each of these three doors behind me are three further doors, the one you have just entered from {which invariably leads back here,} and two others, each of which contains another three doors, continuing the pattern.  So far we have five bathrooms, eight bedrooms, a pool, and a library.  Furthermore, it is my opinion that I have yet to explore every corner of this house's labyrinthine proportions."
   It was at that moment that the window above the center door behind Jeeves sprung open, and a skeleton jumped out.

-=fig. 363: four of the clock=-

 "Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo! " It said, before being sucked back into whatever machine it came from.
    Everyone stared at the spot where it had disappeared from for a moment.
  "That t'were disconcertin'."
    "I would have to agree with you on that point, sir."
   Dr. Smith did not share that opinion however.
       He was smiling,  A rare occurrence for him.
        "That was awesome!"  Ron and Jeeves stared at him.  "What?  A skeleton in goggles just flew out of a window in my kitchen!  And then it Cuckooed!"  Jeeves gave him a worried eye, "Very…Good.  Sir."
  Dr. Smith turned to Ron, "Mr. Daveu, if we're going to be getting you back to your home time, I need to know what year you live in. "  Mr. Ronald Daveu, famed explorer and founder of the grand city of Legopolis, was a poor and illiterate man who never learned to read or write, and was mainly concerned with getting back to his wife and their small cabin, deep in the backwoods of what would someday be Main Street Legopolis.
 "I dunno." Said Ron.
   "You Don't know what year it was?"
  Dr. Smith could tell this was going to be tricky.  Ron Didn't know what year it was when he got left, neither did Dr. Smith.   He couldn't think.
  "Mr. Daveu, you have waited nine years to return home,  you are going to be waiting a bit longer.  This tar is beginning to harden into my clothes and soon I won't be able to move at all."  It was true, He was caked in black, gooey tar.  Ron smelled worse, however.
  "And look at you, you must want a bath…or two.  Jeeves here seems to know where the bathrooms are."   Dr. Smith Turned on his heel, and set off for the yellow door.  There were three doors, a yellow one, a red one, and a blue one.  Before he reached it though, he was stopped By Jeeves.
 "Sir, Take this."
  "What is it?"
   "A Sandwich."
      "And this is a map I have taken the liberty of drawing up.  It details as far as I have explored, be sure to add your findings to it.  Take good care of it.  The sandwich is for your journey, you may eat it."
         "What would I do without you Jeeves?"
           "You would die, Sir. At the hands of an evil Romanian or the tar of his planet, or you would trip and fall, cracking your head open like a watermelon."
              "Very true Jeeves.  This everything?"
  Dr. Smith opened the yellow door, walked through and closed it behind him.  He was then faced with a choice, Yellow or blue?  He was in a small room, with no windows or furniture. Before deciding, he turned around to face the door he had just come through.  From this side, it was red.  He chose the second yellow door.
   This room was resplendent in red, with luxurious velvet draperies, and a view of the ocean.   Which didn't add up because Dr. Smith's house was nowhere near the ocean.  It was near a cliff.  And yet there the ocean was.  This room is what a real-estate professional would call a 'suite', and suites always have bathrooms.  So Dr. Smith looked around for one.  He found the yellow door first, and opened it.  It was an incredibly fancy bathroom, with dozens of shiny knobs, a porcelain tub, and three sinks.  Why anyone would need three sinks escaped Dr. Smith,  but they were there.  There was also a  small cupboard filled with fluffy white towels, and one laundry chute.
 Dr. Smith opened the laundry chute and looked down it.   It was dark, and seemingly never-ending.  It also sucked gently, as if powered by a vacuum.   Dr. Smith threw his clothes down, and they were whisked away.
  He then discovered that there were knobs over the tub for hot water, cold water, lukewarm water, green water, purple water and bubble bath.
    There was also, next to the tub on a little shelf, a small yellow rubber zombie. Which squeaked when you squeezed it.  Dr. Smith thought this was hilarious.
 When Finished with his shower Dr. Smith walked out to the main room of the suite.  His clothes were laid out, folded, and pressed, on the bed.
 He put them on and opened the other door.  The blue one.
-=fig. 364: the worlds best closet=-
It was a closet devoted entirely to hats.
  Or to be specific, one hat.  Dr. Smith's prize winning fedora, dozens of them.  All identical.  Dr. Smith carefully grabbed one, and looked it over.
  It was perfect.
     He tried it on,
        It fit.   It was as clean as a new hat and as comfortable as an old one.
 Dr. Smith smiled. 
 He walked across his new room, and was met with the door he had come through to get here.
   It was somehow more luxurious from this side.  And again, it was red.   The redness was a navigational aid, if ever you got lost all you would have to do is keep taking the red door until you were back in the kitchen.  The kitchen seems to be the hub of this maze.   When back in the kitchen Dr. Smith took a look around,  there was Jeeves, serving a stranger a cup of Earl Grey tea,  there was the skeleton at the dinner table, there was the–Wait, who was Jeeves serving a cup of tea to?   Dr. Smith looked closer.
-=fig. 365: earl grey=-

No it was Ron.   Dr. Smith hadn't registered him when he walked in the room because the Man didn't look like Ron.  For one thing, his skin was a different color.  And for another, the only overpowering smell in the room was that of lilacs.  Lilacs are always a non sequitur.  
  "Jeeves, Why does it smell like flowers in here?"
     "It was the strongest soap I could find, Sir.  And Mr. Daveu here does not believe in baths."
      "The smell keeps them invisible flesh-eatin' demons away."
 Dr. Smith nodded, this was a common back-country belief.
   "Daveu, you are a fairly important figure.  You don't know it yet, but you are.  That means that when you went missing someone was bound to have noticed."
     "I assume me wife would'a noticed."
       "Right, and she would have sent someone to look."
         "There's a problem with yer thinkin'.  There ain't nobody there for 'er to send."
          "No other people at all?"
              "Okay, so our cutoff point's 1893.  That's when the first settlers came.  Anytime behind then is irrelevant.  How many winters had you and your wife been married?"  Ron held up three fingers.  "Okay, that should be all the information I need.  Jeeves, do we have a records room?"
  "To be honest Sir, I just got here myself."
    "So what you're saying is that you don't know."
      "Correct, Sir."
        "But the house will acommodate to our needs, right?"
          "Ah, I see Sir.  It is 'Worth A Try' "
Dr. Smith cupped his hands to his mouth and yelled up to where a ceiling should be: "ATTENTION HOUSE, I NEED A COMPLETE RECORD OF THE HISTORY OF LEGOPOLIS…PLEASE. "  The Please was added as an after thought, on the Silent suggestion of Jeeves.
  Almost immediately there was a low rumble, like something big and heavy being slid into position.
   The rumbling stopped.
     The Macabre Cuckoo sounded off five times, then retreated for another hour.
  A small white light above the center of the three doors lit up, indicating that the red door had suddenly become important.
  Dr. Smith looked quickly at Jeeves, who shrugged.  He then walked over to the door.
    It was a room of records; books, papers, clippings of newsprint and handwritten notes highly organized and tightly packed on floor-to-ceiling shelves.   The room itself wasn't very big, just a couple of yards square, but it was incredibly tall, so tall Dr. Smith couldn't see the ceiling. There was a ladder on rollers provided,  and every 10 feet or so there was a railed landing.
  Dr. Smith was struck dumb.
    For a moment.  The information he needed was about the very beginning of Legopolis,  so it stood to reason it would be on the very first few shelves.
   He wasn't sure what he was looking for, but he found it in the diary of one Lisa O'Callaghan.  The name gave him pause, because Lisa O'Callaghan was his mothers name.  But his mother had been named after some distant ancestor, perhaps this was that selfsame one.  He flipped through most of it, until he came to this entry:
  "  April 12, 1890. 
         Dear Diary, Ron went off hunting three days ago, he has yet to return.  I fear something dreadful has befallen him, but I shan't worry for he has been gone off longer than this before.  Oh how I do hope he comes back …" It was at this point where Dr. Smith's eyes glazed over.  It had turned into some mushy girl stuff, with the words that jumped out being "love"  "draperies"  and the all-time favorite, "I fear if he doesn't come back soon I shall have to chop the wood myself as the fire is dying and it is getting cold. If the fire goes out the wolves will be at the door!"  Dr. Smith skipped forward a couple of days, and Ron still wasn't back.  He skipped forward a couple of months, nothing.   It was then when he decided that April 12th, 1890 was the day Ron had fallen into the black planet.
  With his date set, he returned to the kitchen.
    "Ron!  I have found the day you left and I'll be ready to go in a minute."
      "How'd ya find the day?"
        "I found your wife's diary.  How come she didn't change her name to Daveu?"
            "I honestly don' know.  Something about her obscenely rich family not lettin' her."
  Dr. Smith took the remark about her family being obscenely rich with a grain of salt, because Ron had never seen more than about ten dollars at a time, which admittedly in 1890 was a huge sum.
 The light above the red door lit up.
"Thanks house.  Alright Daveu,  follow me."  They arrived at a brightly lit platform high above a field of flowers.
-=fig. 366: the time machine=-
"It don' look like much."
  "Yes, well.  Neither do you."
   "Sir, I would like to come."
     "No Jeeves."
       "Sir, my prime imperative is to keep you alive, to protect you from dangerous things like wormholes and rugs. And I can't protect you if you're eighty years in the past."
          "Jeeves you found me on a different planet, I don't think eighty years will make much difference.  If you're really worried ask the house for a time machine and follow me.  See you in a minute."   Dr. Smith climbed into the cockpit, Ron crawled into the crows nest.
  Dr. Smith fired up the engine, which involved quite a bit of actual fire, and they disappeared.
   They flew over the woods, Ron pointed out his cabin and they set down.
  Ron climbed out.
      "Dr. Smith, Dr. Zachary Smith."
       "Thanks Dr. Smith.  If'n it weren't for you, I'd still be stuck.  In that…Dark place. With the tar. So Thank you." 
  Dr. Smith nodded.  "Goodbye Ronald Daveu."  And with that he disappeared.
 Ron set off at a run, using his rifle as a walking stick.
-=fig. 367: running home=-
  He ran.
    He ran.
        He Ran.
 The branches of trees stung as they whipped him.
    He Didn't feel them.
        He ran.
 He had made it!
    He was home!
       Lisa was feet away!
  "Lisa! Lisa I'm home!"  He called.
      No one answered.
       He opened the door,
         there was no one home.
 He circled the grounds,
  and ran into a man.

In seconds the man had a rifle, fully loaded and ready, inches from his face.
 "Where's Lisa!" Demanded Ron.
      "The Woman who lives here!"
       "Oh.  Her.  The Woman and th-the little boy haven't lived here for months."
The pit of Ron's stomach fell through to his feet.
   "What little boy?"
     "Sam, I think his name was.  Could you get that gun out of my face?"
       "No.  Why did they leave?"
         "Um…a…man on a horse came by and convinced…Lisa…To go with him.  He had some kind of long, stupid name like…um… Duke Callaghan.  If you could just…not shoot me.  That would be great.  I promise, I bought this house fair and square."
  Ron put his gun away.  Duke Henry O'Callaghan was Lisa's brother.  A weasel if ever there was one.  The only place they would go would be The Big Castle in Quagmireland, Where the O'Callaghans were from.
  Dr. Smith.
He could get him there in his…doohickey.  Maybe he hadn't left!
   Ron Ran back to the field,
    Dr. Smith was gone.
"I hate them rich people."  Ron said.
  "See Jeeves, I came back.  In good time Too!"  He checked His watch,  "See I've only been gone Five minutes!"
   "A day and five minutes, Sir."
     "Well, obviously we need to work on that.  On a side note, I'm really hungry."
        "I'll fix you something to eat sir."

-=Best Regards=-

Sir Jacob D. Fredrickson Esq.

Chief Executive Officer of Early Bird Industries, Inc.