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On The Continuing Lack of Mundementia One
by J.(Channing)Wells


Greetings and salutations. It is I, again, your faithful transcriber, long delayed in coming to you with any further portions of the ground-breaking, earth-shattering, sod- busting positively small-clump-of-dirt-smushing saga known as Mundementia One. When last I "rapped" at you, (I have been of late practicing my "hip" jargon, as you can see) we were somewhere in the middle of Book Two, subtitled by the still nameless author as "The Book of Going Forth." If I also recall correctly, we left off our transcription at a horribly exciting portion of the tale, whereat our Hero, Charles Madison Glass, had just used some spark of brilliant insight to deduce a solution to the conundrum that he and his group of faithful companions have found themselves in, what with being held captive on an island whose every scrap of being turns and dances at the whim of the as-yet- unseen General Rafael Ortega and all. This, this, my dear "homies", was the _last_ place I had ever intended to cease transcription of this "bitching" tale. No! Never would I intentionally leave you, the Readers, hanging on such a patently nail-gnashing cliffhanger, without a very, very good reason for doing so.

Let us suffice to say that there was, in fact, a very, very good reason. And her name was Ynga.

I will retrace my illocutionary steps for a moment. When last I recounted a segment of this Saga to you, I was biding my time in the sweet borders of neutral Switzerland after a bit of a misunderstanding that I had with the entire citizenry of England involving a discrepancy between American (or "Normal") temperature scales (also called "Fahrenheit") and the British (or "Misguided") temperature scales (also called "Decimal.") Oh, and something about there not being clouds, as well. At any rate, life was good in Switzerland, and I had even tried my tongue at learning some of the local language, enlisting the aid of a horribly flash and complicated electronic pocket translator, and was actually getting quite good at it. I had already mastered the local term for "Bus Station" ("Miercoles") and was well on my way towards being able to order an entire meal at a restaurant without help, using the phrase "Vous me permettez d'aller au V.C." Life, I think you can see, was going just fine. I spent my days wandering the streets of Switzerland, and my nights, oh sweet heady nights, savoring the rich perfume of the words of the blessed Manuscript.

Naturally, as is the case in all true tales of passion, such Halcyon days as these are swift and fleeting. And the moment they truly began to fleet was the moment Ynga walked into my life.

I first regarded the woman--a gargantuan earth-pot of a lass-- whilst sitting at one of my favorite Swiss Cafes, pondering how much I had enjoyed the last night's little romp with the manuscript and indeed chuckling at the part about the giant radioactive iguana (untranscribed as yet for reasons that will soon become clear). I had just put down my newspaper (or "blitzkrieg") when I espied her, rambling purposefully in my specific direction. Like most of her countryfolk, Ynga was broad, braw and steady, and she wore her hair in long, golden braids which fell tightly down upon her flower-printed dress. I immediately recognized her distinctive Spanish ancestry, and was simultaneously attracted and repelled to and from her, as is the case with me and many Spaniards I have met. Leaves, assorted debris and light aluminum tables vibrated in her passing, sucked as they were into her wake.

I remained calm, adjusting my "shades" so as to let in more light as she loomed over me, blotting out the sun.

"Khello, Herr Vells." She said, her voice betraying the Spanish ancestry that I had already cagily suspected. "I hav khem for yu."

"I see." I remarked, steel-nervedly, reaching delicately for another packet of sugar to stir into my cup. "Please," I said, genteelily, "Sit down." I did not know who she was or from whence she came, but the menacing tone of her voice had my caution running five alarms deep.

A small Swiss waiter waitered up behind us, and asked my new guest if she would like to join me in something to drink.

"Coffee." She remarked. "Black." The waiter waitered away.

"Ah," I said, trying to recall the intensely casual style of talk that Bond always uses when he's talking to the arch-villain at a Lacrosse tournament or something halfway through the film, before he has an excuse to just shoot him already. "Black, indeed. It suits your character, it does indeed." I took a sip of my drink. Sweet. Just the way I like it. "I'm afraid you have the better of me, Senorita. You apparently know my name, but I remain ignorant of yours." I leaned forward in my chair, in what was an excruciatingly calm and collected fashion. "Como Tay Yamos?" I said, smirking faintly.

She blinked at me for a moment, obviously thrown off guard by my calm demeanor. "Ynga." She said at last. "Ynga Krauss."

"Aha. Such a lovely name. Please, do sit down."

"I am sittingk, Herr Vells." Obviously, I had underestimated her sheer height. I would not make that same mistake again.

"Of course you are." I recovered, smoothly. "Black, yes. You _do_ strike me as a black coffee sort of person, Senorita Krauss. Harsh. Unyielding."

She regarded me coolly. I chose to continue as though she had said, "Just vhat do you mean by that?"

"Oh, nothing." I said, airily, obviously catching her off guard once more. "It's just that... perhaps, you might benefit some day from experiencing the more _refined_ things in life." In one smooth motion, I took a small cuplet of half-and-half from a dish on the table and upended it into my cup, stirred, and took a sip. The carbonation tickled my nose, but I resisted a sneeze. I was currently at my peak of coolness, and to blow it now would sacrifice my patent social advantage.

"You chust poured cream into your soda." She said, blankly, staring at my beverage.

"Yes." I replied. "As I said, I appreciate refined things." Another delicate sip, and then, I took my straw up in my hands and twirled it artfully across my knuckles. "So. Senorita Krauss. I am here... and you... are there."

I paused.

"Why." I said, savoring my continuing dominance of this conversation.

She pulled her eyes away from my soda and turned her attention towards me, her deep Spanish blue eyes piercing me to the quick. "I verk for Vinny."

I blinked. "What, the Pooh?"

She frowned, deeply and rose in her chair, and I could now truly see how large a woman she really was. I had obviously underestimated her sheer height. I would not make that same mistake again. "No." She said. "Vinny. Ze Really Really Really Really Dangerous Yellow-Chested Warbler. Vinny Scapariotti. A name chu should know vell, Herr Vells."

"When last he and I crossed paths, he was only Really Really dangerous." I remarked, calmly and with great panache dropping my straw onto the ground where the squirrels took it.

"Vat can I say." She said, shrugging her cyclopean shoulders. "He got more dangerous."

Gathering my nerves, I raised my index finger in a nasty point at her. A droplet of cloudy soda still clung to its tip. "You tell your boss that things are square between us. We agreed as gentlemen that the Arabic Translation of Part Eight of Book One would cover my debts to his racket. As a token of my appreciation, I even offered to pay the dental bills myself." I leaned back in my chair, gesturing openly at Ynga. "And now, this. You come to me, asking for more. This isn't how gentlemen do business, Senorita. Not at _all_. You go back and tell your boss that I am _most_ displeased."

"Vinny says gif him more or I use you as railroad spike."

"Okay," I said, reaching for my traveler's cheques.

"Nonono." Said the living mountain before me. It struck me just then how incredibly large a woman she actually was. It was clear that I had underestimated her sheer height. I would not make that same mistake again. "No. Vinny does not vant chor money, Herr Vells."

A sick sort of dread filled my bowels. "Then what."

"He has read ze little story you gave him in payment for your gambling debts. He sot it vas--" At this, her face twisted just slightly as if tasting something foul, like yams. "--He sot it vas funny. But he is confused. He is thinkingk that if he reads first part he will understand better some of ze 'running gags,' as he says."

"Your boss is in for a disappointment, I'd wager," I said. "Part Eight of Book One is the holistic standalone counterpoint mythico-symbological nexus of the entire retrofitted subprone recombinant cyclical epic."

"Vich means?"

"It means that the _rest_ of the work won't help him to comprehend _it_. _It_ is required for comprehension of the rest of the work." I paused. "And I'd like it back." I added, somewhat spitefully.

"No vill do. He keeps Part Eight and I get rest of epic now."

"You can't have my epic!" I retorted, angrily.

"Is not choice."

Sensing my absolute and utter domination of the situation slipping a mite, I infused my voice with a buddy-buddy tone, for just that very minute, I remembered an ace I had up my sleeve from that afternoon's shopping. "You recall what I said about the refined things in life, Ynga?"

"Yes." She said, stonily. "Right before you pour cream into your soda pop."

"Yes, yes." I fished about in my bag. "Ynga, I know you're a long ways away from your home in Spain. _And_ a long ways away from your Boss back in Vegas. You know what they say about distant allies and nearby enemies, don't you."

Ynga blinked. "You kill nearby enemies and bring ears back to distant allies to prove you do so."

"That's, er, not what they say. At least not _most_ of the time," I added, hastily backpedaling. "I mean, I'm sure that a lot of people do say that about distant allies and nearby enemies, but I'm thinking more about the one that talks about nearby enemies finding themselves with more in common than they have with their... superiors. You know, friendly-like."

I finally removed the large glass jar from my duffel. "So I thought, here's a nice Spanish girl, probably misses some of the tastes of home, you know. That sort of thing. What say I give you _this_... and we forget that you ever found me here. Eh?"

Ynga inspected the contents of the jar, clearly overwhelmed by the generosity of my offer. "Snails?" She asked.

"Or, as they say in your country, 'Esplanade.'" I gave her my most winning grin. "They're good quality esplanade, or so the young Swiss snail-merchant assured me this afternoon."

"Vhy zey crawlingk around in zere?"

"Keeps them fresh, don't you know." I gestured, magnanimously. "Pick one! We'll spit it. Right here."

"Enough!" Cried Ynga, gesturing with one meaty hand and knocking the glass jar out of my hands, causing it to shatter and spill its contents all the hell over the place. "I have had enough of zis foolishness vit ze cream in ze soda pop and ze snails and being told zat I am from Spain! EPIC! NOW!" With a great deal of force, she lifted me out of my chair in the cafe and manhandled me all the way back to my hotel room, me cursing myself the entire way for misplaying my cards. One thing was certain, Ynga showed all the legendary passion of her people. I vowed to myself that I would never underestimate a Spaniard again, not ever.

Cradling a bruised ego and nursing a chipped sphenoid bone with a small bag full of hotel ice, I eventually was forced to hand over the pride and joy of my literary scholardom, the Mundementia One Manuscript. Let's be brief and say that Ynga quashed my pitiful resistance in much the same way as a, er, in much the same way that something that is particularly good at quashing things quashes that which it is good at quashing. As she stood in the doorway of my little hotel room, making preparations to go and taking my very soul with her in one of those nifty expandable accordion binder thingies, I threw my bag of ice down onto the carpet and fixed her with a steely glare.

"I obviously underestimated you, Ynga." I said. I raised my finger again, menacingly. "But I will _not_ make that same mistake again!"

She rather rudely failed to react at all to me, and the fact that she walked out halfway through my apostasic vow, before I even had a chance to raise my finger at her, confirmed for me that Ynga Krauss believed that she had won the day.

And so, there I sat for all these many months, plotting and planning my sweet, gooey revenge upon all of them, all the horrible bastards that had taken my labor of love away from me. And eventually, just yesterday, I came up with a scheme so violent, so cunning, so hideously magnificent, that I can't even report it here for fear that you'll steal it, so there, neener neener. My head fizzing and bubbling with heady, black glee, I made my way down from my hotel room, smacking idly at potted plants and unimportant-looking small armless statues as I went, finally at last achieving the grand lobby. And as I stood there, my mind filled with dark purpose, I was accosted by the hotel desk clerk.

"Escuse, sir?" He remarked, in a credible accent. I spun around, my eyes blazing, the smell of adrenaline rising off of me like steam.

"YES?" I demanded.

He held up my manuscript. "Is this yours, sir?"

I blinked. "Beh?" I said, when I had recovered my ability to speak coherently.

"We have been waiting for you to come down here to the Lost and Found, sir, ever since we recovered it from that poor woman six months ago. We are, suffice to say, glad that you have finally emerged from your room."

"What," I asked, "Ynga?"

"Yes. I believe she wishes to call herself 'Lupe' from now on, sir. She's long since moved to her ancestral home in Spain, or so she said. Never was quite right in the head after that nasty spill."

"Aha." I said.

"Tragic, tripping on a snail like that."

Glee rose in my throat. Evil never goes unpunished, not in _my_ world. I summoned my old James Bond voice again. "Aha." I said. "Don't you mean... an _esplanade_?"

He just stared at me blankly. Perhaps they don't show James Bond films in Switzerland. More's the pity.

"No, sir." He said. "At any rate, since you were," he clears his throat delicately, "_accompanied_ here by the young lady in question, we thought you'd know what to do with this." He tossed to me my manuscript. I caught it.

"Oh yes." I said. "I know _exactly_ what to do with this."

And so, here I sit, holding down a day job at this Swiss hotel to pay for all the expensive statuary that I broke on my victorious march to the Lobby, but it's not a bad job because it gives me discounted food during the days at the hotel restaurant and at nights, it gives me time... to _transcribe_.

The point of all this, then?

More Mundementia One, on its way soon. Within a week. Tops. Honest.

Mundementia One, One name. One addy. One goofy-ass story.

Mun1. For God's sake, man, do it for the _children._

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