Hi and Happy Holidays. Some of you may or may not know that I had polished the characters of Mephistopheles and JR over the years with little vignettes written solely for the enjoyment of my friends. I recently came across one of them. It’s just a scene with little rhyme or reason outside of illustrating the standard behaviors of these two.
There is a mention of a third, off-screen character, Oak (Oakley Tree – his parents are to blame for that one). JR’s best friend, Oak is nearly as adept as JR is for getting into trouble, albeit mostly by accident.
Anyway, this is for fans of JR and Meph, I hope you enjoy it.
With his ears still ringing, JR tore into the entrance way of the mansion then veered left towards the dining room so fast his feet nearly slipped out from under him. When he reached the dining room he pulled up short, removed his World War II US army helmet, held it to his chest, then let out a slow whistle as he surveyed the scene of devastation before him. The magnificent 16-foot long mahogany dining table that had dominated the room was shattered into a strewn pile of broken planks, table legs, and copious amounts of splintered wooden shards; with ground-zero being the twisted wreckage of an antique iron and crystal chandelier resting where the table center used to exist. The mooring of the chandelier was replaced by a significant hole in the ceiling around which a mixture of plaster dust and smoke swirled. The rest of the surface of the ceiling was chaotically tossed about the room in the form of huge chunks of plaster.
On the far end of the room, at the former head of the former table, Mephistopheles sat motionless – an icy stare transfixed onto JR. At about chest height of his body, which was liberally covered with plaster powder, a raised empty fork was held horizontally in his right hand. Amidst the rubble of the table at Mephistopheles’ feet, was a shattered dessert plate under a partially mangled wedge of pumpkin pie. The front end of the slice was preserved enough to clearly exhibit a missing triangular piece that, at one point, must have rested on the now-suspended fork. This, JR judged, is why you don’t use fine china for daily use. He would have relayed that point to Mephistopheles, but some instinct, probably the survival one, prevented him from doing so.
JR carefully entered the room, gingerly stepping over debris while moving closer to the seated figure of impending doom. If Meph wasn’t here I might have been able to come up with a plausible excuse – well maybe not so plausible – but he witnessed the whole thing, so this is gonna be tricky. He was at a loss for words, but that never stopped him before and it wasn’t going to now.
“Huh, a teensy bit more of damage than I expected. I, um, was hoping you wouldn’t notice. Maybe I should just go get the vacuum and tidy up a bit.”
Mephistopheles began to rouse from his petrified state, at first trying to find a place on the non-existent table to put down his fork. It moved left and right a few times, and for a moment it looked as if he would place it on the arm of his chair, but with a sudden flick of his hand the fork flew out lodging into the wall on his right. He then shifted in his chair into a more comfortable position. He brushed some crumbs of debris from his pants as if it would make a difference. As always, when dealing with the fallout of JR-centric destruction, he began to speak with carefully measured and disturbingly calm, words.
“As I see it, or at least saw it from my vantage point through that now-shattered window, you maneuvered a tank into the courtyard, positioning it so that the turret was aimed at the house. Next, you fired a mortar round which – and here I just have to assume for the moment – obliterated the bedroom directly above us, precipitating the demise of a significant portion of my dining room. So far, correct?”
“Yes. Will that be all?”
“Hardly. But before I commence to cross-examine you, is there any other emergency that I should be aware of? Maybe the house is on fire? Perhaps, sections are about to cave in atop my head?”
“Oh, no, it’s all done with. I think we’re good from here on. You’ve got nothing to worry about.”
“I should be so lucky. To continue – from personal experience, I know asking you ‘why’ is never worth the effort, but I can’t help myself. I’m curious by nature. Why, then, did you fire a tank upon my person and my otherwise pleasant mid-afternoon snack?”
“Oh that,” JR dismissed as if it was an obvious and almost irrelevant fact, “Oak and I were playing and the Frisbee got stuck on the roof; so, I needed to use something to knock it down. You know if you don’t mind me saying, it’s really quite funny when you think about how stuff doesn’t always turn out the way you think it will. You really need to have a sense of humor.”
“Oh, I have a sense of it alright,” he snapped back and then proceeded, “So you used a tank…”
“… to remove a Frisbee…”
“… from the roof.”
“Again, merely because I am keen to know, what, pray-tell, was Oakley’s opinion of your Frisbee solution?”
“Well he thought it was a bit over the top at first.”
“Really? Who’d have thought common sense could exist in such close proximity to you.”
“He thought a rifle could have done the trick and, after some discussion, we figured a bazooka could be the fallback plan…”
“And there it goes.”
“…but we know how you disapprove of firearms, so my options were limited.”
“And that’s all you have to say about it?”
“Yep. No. Wait. Umm, oh yeah, Oak told me that if you caught us I should say I’m sorry. So… I’m sorry.”
“At least I got a heart-felt apology,” Mephistopheles said dryly. “You do know what happens now, don’t you?”
“I’ve got some really good ideas, but I figure you’re not going to like any of them.”
“First, at some point soon I’m certain; the local authorities are going to arrive to investigate. You are going to provide them with a reasonable excuse – and I cannot over-emphasize the term reason-able – as to why the tank I agreed to keep on my grounds for the township while it was being refurbished for a Veteran’s day celebration, was commandeered to remove a portion of this building. And, the word Frisbee had better not enter into that discussion. In fact, I’d rather you get that devious little pal of yours to come up with something. I’d swear he was born part lawyer anyway. Next, the two of you are going to spend the better part of the holiday season and beyond, working to restore all of this,” he waved one hand upward in a circle, “back to its original state. I’m going to hire contractors immediately, but make no mistake; they will have instruction to give you and Oak the worst jobs. Then, once everything is back to normal, we will discuss your punishment. Is all of that clear? Any questions?
“Yes,” JR said as he pointed to the ruined piece of pumpkin pie on the floor, “are you going to finish that?”