Saturday, July 4, 2009

2 - Tailsnake Junction

The scenery of grass and occasional flowers seemed endless as it stretched beyond the horizon. There were mountains beyond that, but they barely poked their heads up. Tooga watched the wilderness pass by as Jik attempted to focus on the road, but the serene nature was making him sleepy again.

“Like listening to music?” Jik finally asked. Obviously the quietness was bothering him.

Tooga's body language seem undecided, unsure how to proceed.

“Mind if I turn on the radio?”

Again, Tooga looked confused. Jik smiled, not believing that the monk didn't know what a radio was. He pointed a finger at the collection of knobs and dials.

“This is a radio. It receives signals and plays them. Sometimes it's music, sometimes is people talking about news or something, but I like the music.”

Tooga's eyebrows arose, then he began to scribble.

“ 'I thought you were going to suggest that we sing' !” Jik read Tooga's words, then laughed out loud before continuing, “Oh, man, yeah, that would've been awkward! No, I like listening to music that is played. Here, I'll show you.”

Jik turned the radio on and began fiddling with the receiver, finally finding a station that played jazz music. Tooga was startled all over again, trying to find the source of the noise by turning himself around in his seat. He was able to discern that the music came from the speakers, but the device itself was beyond him. Then he began listening to the music itself, offering no reaction. He seemed to just be focused on it, not showing any sign of acceptance or intolerance.

“Soooooooo, do you like it?” Jik asked bluntly.

Tooga grabbed the pad and began scribbling. Then he showed the driver is response, still focusing on the music.

“ 'As a monk, we sang songs along with our rituals and I loved these, but they were entirely vocal. This is different, still music, but I hear no voices, but other, strange sounds. Also, the structure of the music is less strict and controlled,' “ Jik read aloud, stumbling over some of the bigger words. “Man, you don't know much about music!” he then added.

Tooga suddenly looked insulted. Jik then tried to re-explain his meaning.

“I mean, you haven't had a lot of experience. This is just one type of music, like you songs are another type. There's all kids of music, from all over the place.”

Scribble, scribble, scribble.

“ 'Which is your favorite?' I like them all!”

Scribble, scribble.

“ 'What is this called?' Oh, it's jazz.”

Tooga nodded.

“Do you like it?”

Tooga sort of nodded.

“I like music in general because it makes traveling easier and funner.”

Tooga nodded again in understanding. Then he noticed a sign on the side of the road and pointed it out to Jik.

“Yep, we're coming up on Tailsnake Junction. Won't be long now.”

The van rolled into what was left of a dusty bit of civilzation. The road came to an end, splitting east-west. There were a few abandoned buildings where some people had tried to set up shop, but they had failed long ago. Jik stopped the van right before the signpost showing that Takston was to the left and Silvanri City was to the right. Then he reached in his pocket and pulled out a coin.

“Now this is how we make decisions-” he started to say, then noticed that Tooga had his eyes closed in concentration, his hands together like he was praying. Jik watched for a moment, awed by this sudden sign of reverance. Then he saw the monk open his eyes, look back at Jik, then point to the right.

“You think we need to go that way?” Jik asked.

Tooga nodded.

“I thought you said you weren't going anywhere!”

Tooga turned to the pad of paper.

“ 'I do not have a direction, but I am still able to tap into my powers of divination to help me understand where the supreme forces of my life want me to go, even though I have been disfellowshipped from the order,' “ Jik read, again stumbling over the bigger words.

“Well,” Jik responded in protest, “I've always made decisions by the coin!” He showed the coin, but Tooga gave him a strange, yet skeptical, look.

“You see, we have one side mean one direction and the other mean the other. Heads or Tails. Then we toss it in the air and whatever side is up is the way we go!”

Tooga looked at Jik with disgust.

“Hey, it's the way it's done! Now Takston is heads and Silvanri City is tails, okay?” Then Jik flipped the coin in the air. He caught it in his hand and slapped it onto the dashboard. Then they both looked to see what it was. Tails.

Jik looked at Tooga suspiciously. Tooga raised his hands in innocence.

“You didn't use your powers on this, did you?” Jik accused.

Tooga shook his head, then he started writing. Jik impatiently read over his shoulder.

“ 'It seems as if my supreme forces and whatever gods control your coin are cooperating, showing the validity of the decision.' “ Jik thought for a moment, then repeated it in his own words.

“So you're saying that since your powers and the coin said the same thing, we're okay.”

Tooga nodded, smiling at the sense of understanding.

Jik thought for a moment, then resigned, putting the coin in his pocket. “Well, the coin never lies. Let's go!” and he put the van in gear and stepped on the gas towards Silvanri City.

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