The Sixth Book of Ooga, Chapter 1
Posted by saxondawg on 1:26 PM 12-Oct-99
Entering the cave of Ooga this week may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The hermit’s unreasoning rage after certain losses has been well-documented. If he happens to have the right vegetation, entrails and potions at hand, he can, without even realizing what he’s doing, whip up a tropical storm that might swallow Miami; or destroy some corner of Ecuador with an major earthquake. Pizza late at night seems to have the same effect.
There were many placed I’d rather have been, but I hid my car in a thatchy spot in the wildwood as usual, listened carefully for marauding wombats, and crept along the trail to the ancient oak, avoiding many of the prophet’s devious traps. Inside the trunk of the old Oak, you’ll remember, lies the long, deep tunnel leading to the underwater stream. Taking a deep breath, I let the chilled currents carry me through moldy blackness, among slithering, unidentified creatures, to the rushing river. Just before its rapids carried me to the 1,000-foot drop, I snared a branch of the felled pine tree and climbed out onto the great Red Dawghead Rock, seen only by four human eyes (Ooga’s and mine), and began to scale the sheer face toward the summit, fitting my feet gingerly into the wrinkles on the dawg’s face. I was close now. I listened for familiar sounds, but was shocked by the silence that ushered me into the domain of the hermit. Ooga’s whole wilderness seemed cold and dead this week–no cawing of crows, no meaty aroma of chipmunks or bobcats barbecuing on hot coals. There was only silence.
As I fit myself through the slime-encrusted doorway and stepped gingerly over the little animal bones, berry brambles, and Chinese take-out cartons, I could make out only the back and hunched shoulders of the hunkering prophet. I held my bamboo lantern high, and froze in my tracks. At that instant I beheld a sight that instantly chilled my blood–a mental image I’ll never, in this life, be capable of banishing from my stricken psyche. It was a hideous thing–a vista beyond my blackest imaginings or feeblest ability to set into words for you. There, in the great seat of Ooga, I saw . . . ******************************************************************************
The Sixth Book of Ooga, Chapter 2
Posted by saxondawg on 3:19 PM 12-Oct-99
I had braved the wildwood and tunneled under the ancient oak. I had shot the rapids and climbed the great Red Dawg Face to the top of the cliff. In my years as a disciple of the mysterious hermit, I had beheld many wonders. But none could match the appalling sight that bewitched my disbelieving eyes now.
There, on the great seat of the prophet, sat Ooga, as was his custom. I knew instantly his eyes were not right. I’d been accustomed to the wild, predatory glance of the hermit rapidly sizing me up to see which parts of me, set on a hibachi, might provide a good pre-game tailgate; then he would always recognize me and offer me some foul bite of his feast. But now his eyes were dull–the old blue fire had gone out of them. His mouth was not foaming. His hair and long beard almost had the appearance of being–yes–combed. But it was the hands–the ordinarily wizened, spiked-club bearing, claw-sharpened, future-foretelling fingers of the warrior that nearly caused me to run from the cave screaming, thus plunging to my death off the high precipice. What was Ooga doing with his hands?
Ooga was crocheting–with knitting needles.
He was working on a sweater. Baby blue.
Was I going mad? Had I taken one glance to many at the bland, simpletonian sideline face of Phil Fulmer, listening to a muzak station as his assistants ran the game? No–this was Ooga, the prophet, and he was CROCHETING. A sweater.
His eyes fled from mine, sheepishly. “Zounds, man, there be more to life than football,” he mumbled in a barely intelligible rasp. “Woe to the man who hath no other vices. Hast thou been to Oktoberfest?”
“Ooga,” I roared, in a suddenly comprehending fury. “It’s one of your wizardly tricks! What foul magic might this be? This is your ol’ buddy Saxondawg!” And with a deft and sudden spring, I lunged toward the disgusting furrows of baby blue wool blanketing the loins of the prophet.
Quick as the creature of the wilds he surely is, Ooga had assumed a defensive stance. The knitting needles had become threatening weapons. In only seconds he had me pinned, the needles only inches from my eyes. But the prophet stood betrayed. His secret was revealed, I knew. And he knew I knew. And I knew he knew I knew, and the ancient face was–yes, Ooga was blushing.
The sweater, the mere decoy, had slipped away to reveal a basketball media guide open upon Ooga’s loins. So that was it! Ooga didn’t want me to know he was following that civilized sport, that gentlemanly sport–that ACC sport. Ooga the Football-Minded was scoping out basketball.
Seeing my mocking grin, the prophet spat. “Lo, here is a proverb of Ooga,” he said. “Mayhaps we be good at SOME sport!”
“So,” I said bitterly. “Et tu, Ooga? Giving up five games into the season? With Vanderbilt on the horizon?”
And then, gentle reader, a thing of wonder befell the cave of Ooga. With that one word, the flames re-ignited and entered the all-seeing orbs of the prophet once more. “VAN–der–BILLLLLTTT?” he screeched. I am willing to swear, with my right hand on the video “Munson’s Greatest Calls,” that smoke puffed from his ears and nostrils. “Behold the nebbishes of Nashville! The Mucus-Sotted Mutants of Music City! VANNNNNDERBILT! Is it not said of old, ‘Beware of geeks bearing quiche?'” His eyes rolled, and I mean literally rolled, disappearing into his upper lids and re-emerging in the lower, over and over and over. I had hit the jackpot. “VAAAAAAAANderbilt…” he reveled in roaring the name. He was summoning forth all his prophetic arts, taking on the cosmic strength so cruelly drained from his body days earlier.
And with that, the dark, firelit backdrop of cave walls flamed up once and began to fade, and I knew I was soon to behold another vision from the prophet . . .
TO BE CONTINUED