He walked all that night and much of the morning, before the wall loomed before him. A huge black granite nightmare, at least 20 feet tall, topped with barbed wire. A solitary gate led through to the other side. No one really knew where the wall came from. It hadn’t existed before the war, yet sometime after, it had appeared fully formed. Taking a deep breath, Zero started for the gate. He didn’t know why he needed to go to the wasteland, but that is what grandfather told him, so that is what he would do. Suddenly a voice rang out.
“Halt! You’ve reached the Oingo Boingo Gate. I’m Oingo…That’s Boingo. This is our gate! If you wish to pass, you must pay the toll.”
Zero stood speechless. Two furry man-like creatures stood in the shadows of the wall, flanking the gate. The wall actually dwarfed their stature, seeing as they were at most three feet tall. Shaking his head in amusement, he responded.
“A toll? To pass through to the Wasteland? You must be insane. Why would anyone pay you to go into the wasteland? You should be charging those that come the other way.”
“Shows how much you know about business, that does! No one in the wasteland has anything to pay with. What would we charge them? An arm? A leg? Actually, that might not be a bad idea. Anywho…back to the toll. Everyone wishing to use our gate must pay a toll. It’s not that much. Do you have any midnight oil? How about some bangles? I really want some bangles.”
“No…I don’t have those…I have a banana. Would that suffice?”
“Bananarama? Banana Republic? Oo…I know monkeys love bananas. Do you have any monkeys?”
“No. All I have is this rotten banana and an Atlas.”
“An Atlas? Is it Atlas Shrugged? I always wanted to read that.”
“No…It says world atlas on it and it has pictures and diagrams.”
“A world atlas Oingo! He has a world atlas. That means we can finally see what Europe and Asia looked like.”
“Shut up you fool! Keep up like that and he will end up only offering us a map of Boston or Kansas. Remember the old saying…take what you can…give nothing back. It is the sign of a shrewd politician.”
“I thought that was the sign of a great thief.”
“Politician, thief, same thing!”
The two began wrestling with each other. Two furry balls, flailing at each other with no sense of anything else. For a brief moment, Zero considered just walking by while they were busy, but he had to admit. They made him smile. It was the first time he smiled in quite a while. He couldn’t just ignore that.
“Hey! I’ll give you the World Atlas and, as a bonus to prove I’m not trying to rip you off, I’ll add in this old map of Chicago. It’s faded and torn, but you can still see some of it.”
Instantly the two were staring at him. Oingo reached out and took the atlas while Boingo, rather greedily, snatched at the map. They stepped aside and gestured for Zero to continue on. Then, almost as an afterthought, Oingo spoke up.
“Here…I guess I should give you this. It’s a map of the area. It will let you know where there is danger.”
Zero looked at the proffered paper. He saw a solid black line bisecting the page, with words written above and below.
“What kind of map is this? All it says is ‘stay here’ below the black line and ‘stay out’ above the black line.”
“Its’ obvious. North of the wall is death. No person in their right mind would go there. Hell, Boingo and I are insane and we won’t go there mate!”
“Well, I have to go, so I guess this won’t really help me. Thank you Oingo. Thank you Boingo. I hope you stay safe.”
With that, Zero turned and continued on towards the wall. With a growing dread, he felt his life slipping away.
“Hey, where’d he go?” Boingo asked his brother. “He was there just a minute ago.”
“I don’t know…but he gave us the atlas…Look…It’s Europe. I always thought it would be beautiful.”
Jaxes sat huddled in the small cage; crammed in with all the other survivors of his little village. Staring sullenly out at his captors, He found his thoughts drifting to Zerosta. Where was the little prick? He must have betrayed them. Otherwise the Others would have stuck him in the cage too. He never would have fought back, so they wouldn’t have killed him.
As he continued to stare out bleakly, he vowed that if he ever saw Zerosta again, he would kill him.
This was written for blogophilia. To join in the fun visit:
Blogophilia 4.4 Topic: “This Has Been a Public Service Announcement“
(Hard, 2pts): Name three bands from the 1980s * I promise I have at least 10 in there Marvin. 😀
(Easy, 1pt): include the words “take what you can… give nothing back!”
Final date to post: March 29th, 2011 GMT midnight
Final date to post ALL GUESSES: March 26th, 2011 GMT midnight
I will say that DJ Myke provided the topic and that David II gave the picture.
bonus guesses *shadow dancing, pottery, synchronized dancing, leaping, hopping…
- Zero Hour part 2 (blogophilia v 4.3) (falcon1974.wordpress.com)
- Zero Hour (blogophilia v4.2) (falcon1974.wordpress.com)