Jake’s shoes were now flooded with the tears of a desperate droowid. For the past 5 minutes he had been hearing this droowid moaning, sobbing and mumbling through beard and tears. Jake took the droowid’s hand and led him to two benches near the centre of the seykrid growv, which seem to have magically appeared out of nowhere. They weren’t there when Jake entered the growv.
They sat down on the benches, except Orph. Benches aren’t really made for donkeys, especially backward ones. And there Jake let the droowid rest a little from his outburst, at least so he could speak coherently. The droowid picked up his mug of tea from the coffee table between the benches… More things that hadn’t been there before! Where were they coming from?… and sipped at it, wiping the drips of tea from his beard on his sleeve.
We a great sigh of relief the droowid started to explain, “I’ve been in so much trouble since I lost my droowid staff. Since then, nothing has been working for me!” Jake noticed that the droowid spoke normal English very well, not a single word misspelt as he spoke. Exc ept for “droowid, of course.
“Tut!” started Orph, “That’s just terrible. I can see how that would cause you problems.”
“It all started with a great big black cloud. Everything was normal before then; the trees stayed in their place and didn’t attack pigs, the pigs were playing skipping rope instead of twister, horses and donkeys were walking head first and grazing through their mouths, and the people were three dimensional. Then along came the black cloud, stole my staff and everything went cuckoo!” At that moment a cuckoo went “ookcuc” high in the trees.
Jake’s heart sank at the thought of this black cloud. He knew what it was, knew where it came from, and that he had something to do with its release into Imagi-Nation. It was the Great Evil, something he knew he had to deal with himself.
“Thankfully,” Continued the droowid, “dhê piipl haven’t noticed so I haven’t had to explain anything. I’ve just been hiding out here.”
Orph bowed his rump in sympathy. Jake just looked on, trying to care, but not able to help. The droowid stared into his empty tea mug and took a sip, as if just by staring into it the droowid had refilled it.
I wonder… thought Jake. And casually he thought of having a cup of tea in his hand, since he was thirsty for a cuppa. He looked and lo and behold! There was indeed a mug which had something that looked a bit like tea. He took a sip and spat it straight out. Sewage! It tasted like sewage! Jake was relieved that no one seemed to have noticed, so he quickly “unimagined” the mug away, which was actually quite successful.
“And so, just for losing a staff all of this happened?” asked Jake.
The droowid nodded numbly, “Yes, and now they won’t come back.”
“They?” Surely, thought Jake, that the language isn’t so different here that a staff is a “they”?
The droowid’s face became a puzzled frown. “How else do you call a group of employees then? What were you thinking?”
“Oh, I was thinking about a stick. I thought all droowid’s had a staff made from oak, rowan or birch.”
The droowid and Orph burst out laughing. “Thank you, Jake! I haven’t laughed like this since all this trouble began.” Although Jake felt stupid, to see the droowid laughing like that made him feel good, especially since the droowid looked so depressed before.
After he had recovered the droowid explained some more, “The job of the droowid is to advice the king. If the king has a problem he will seek the help of his droowid.
“To be honest I don’t do much except say to my staff “You know what to do” and then they go off and do things. I don’t know what exactly, but by the time they’re back the problems have been fixed.
“So the droowid looks good to the king, and the king looks good to the people and so sovereignty is safe. But now there’s no one that can fix any problems.
“Of course no one has noticed the changes yet, but it’ll only be a matter of time before they do…”
Jake, ever curious, dared to ask “Don’t your staff get any credit for what they do?”
“What?” The droowid looked incredulous. Jake backed down a bit. “They do their job, that’s enough!”
The droowid ruffled around his robes for something, “I did find this though,” and handed Jake an envelope with writing on it. “I can’t read it because it’s in your writing. If it was more LK THS or lùyk dhis, I might understand it.”
To: The Droowid
From: The Droowid’s Staff Union
Oh dear, thought Jake. He had a sinking feeling that the staff weren’t stolen. Inside he looked at the letter.
We’ve had enough of you. All you do is listen to what the king says and order us to “do what we know to do”. We do just that, keeping stability and sovereignty in our world. But we don’t get the credit we deserve. You get that, and that lazy king too.
We demand respect and credit for our working. Nothing more, nothing less. Just that.
The Droowid’s Staff Union
Jake read it out loud, much to the droowid’s cynical huffing and grunts. He was looking very uncomfortable, “But… it’s just… who???… when?… how?… not fair…” But in the end he had to concede.
“It’s degrading for me to do this, but I have no choice. Without them I’m nothing.” This wasn’t just any old droowid, this droowid was a fròd! He was pulling the wôol over everyone`s ùyz! Except the staff`s.
“Oh Jake of Crawley, would you help me retrieve my droowid’z stùf, so that they may repair the damage done by the black cloud?”
If Jake had time to think he would have said “No, sort your own mess out!” But he didn’t, and so he couldn’t. The word “Yes” was on his lips before he could stop it.
“XCLLNT! Then this is where you must go; go North East until you find the Rivêr Hos. Then follow that East towards dhê Mawntinz. It goes straight to dhê Mawnt, which is where, I believe, you will find my staff. And from there, you can mediate this problem.”
Though “mediating” really isn’t the right word. What terms can a fraudulent droowid offer his staff?
Before Jake could protest his legs were propelling him towards the North East of the growv and along the path. The droowid still stood in the growv waving Jake off and calling out “cheerio” gleefully.
“That’s very noble of you to help out like that,” said Orph, who was walking beside Jake.
“Yes,” Jake uttered through clenched teeth. What had he gotten himself into? Again?