October 30th, 2007

The Zombie

I guess this is why I'm still just "E-squire"

October 29 -  Yes, yes.  I'm coming, just give me a second.  I've been fairly swamped with...oops.  Please excuse me for a moment.  There's a knock at the door...

Well, perfectly on cue, that was another Fallfire art contest submission being dropped off (this one something between a poem and a short story).  I was going to say that Fallfire is consuming a great deal of my time as it winds down to the deadline.  Even though it's now nearly 4:00PM on the 30th, I only just now finally have a moment or two to post the story behind the 29th's "Forbidden" WOMP Character of The Day - The Knight!  Another of my...uh, hold that thought.  There's another knock at the door.  I'll be right back...

OK, this is getting ridiculous.  It's now already well after 6:30PM on the 30th.  Why am I even pretending that this entry has anything to do with the 29th?  Ugh!  Not to beat a dead horse, but let me just say that this Fallfire thing is a lot more work than I originally imagined.  Now, where was I?  Oh, yes; The Knight!  This is another of my uninspired names for what was actually a fairly interesting character.  Even more interesting is how he came into being.  Back to my high school days we go for this story.  I can no longer remember what class I was taking when The Knight came to me, but I do know that it was deadly boring.  It may even have been Mr. "G-Man" Gilbertson's Algebra class.  Basically, as my mind drifted from the tedium of the classroom, I imagined what it would be like if I was able to communicate with someone through time via written notes and letters.  This premise was very similar to that recent Sandra Bullock/Keanu Reeves movie, wherein a magic mailbox allowed people living in the same house, but years apart, to write back and forth to each other, except that my take on it came two decades earlier.  I envisioned a Medieval time, where spells and curses held as much, or more, regard than science or organized religion.  What if there were once a man, perhaps a knight, who was dealt an injustice so unspeakable and devastating that it could only be rectified by powers beyond those of mere mortals?  What if he wrote an at-wits-end appeal to whomever - God, the devil, wood sprites; just whomever - as a desperate plea for help?  And what if I, a high school kid a thousand years later and a thousand miles away, found that note inexplicably taped to the underside of my desk?  In a fit of creativity (or mental imbalance), I wrote out such a note.  In it, the "author" told of a wizard who had imbued a unscrupulous knight with undefeatable magical prowess, all in a bid to conquer the "author's" lands and take his bride.  I decided that this "author" would be too ashamed to reveal his name, choosing instead to sign his letter as merely "The Knight."  Once the letter was completed, I folded it neatly, used a bit of tape peeled from one of my bookcovers to attach it to the underside of my desk's seat, then left for my next class, all the while anticipating the next day's class, when I would "find" the mysterious missive.  Crazy?  Yes, perhaps, but I must once again emphasize just how freakin' boring this class was.  Anyhoo, the next day came, and I could hardly wait to "discover" this "letter lost in time" (peculiarly written in blue EraserMate pen ink on white college-ruled notebook paper).  I reached under the seat and...NO LETTER!  I checked again, and then once more.  Nope, it was gone.  Then it occurred to me that the desks might get shuffled at night when janitors waxed the floor or whatever.  Surreptitiously, I eyed the, ahem, bottoms of the seats of several of the pretty girls nearby (I skipped looking at the seats of the guys.  I already had enough to worry about).  "Ugh!"  I thought, "The cleaning crew must have checked under the seat for gum, found the note, and tossed it.  Oh, well."  A couple of days passed, when I just happened to check under the seat again...and there it was!  Only slightly surprised by this, I cheerfully opened the letter, expecting to begin my psychotic, yet harmless, diversion from the boring, boring class.  Imagine my shock, then, when I discovered instead a response to The Knight's original letter!  Worse, the mysterious respondent purported to be the very mystically-enhanced knight who opposed The Knight in the first place!  What the...?!  The new message was gloating in tone, very well written, and signed by "The Black Knight."  Stunned, but intrigued, I quickly realized that a very bizarre battle of wits was about to begin.  I wrote back...er, I mean The Knight wrote back an angry retort, complete with indignant rage and plenty of "thees" and "thous."  Over the course of several weeks, the anonymous letter-writing war waged.  Other characters even joined in.  My favorite, Phineas Kilter, was, like Othello's Iago, a two-faced schemer who was clearly fomenting the feud for his own gain.  As the time wore on, so did my interest.  I couldn't imagine how to end this odd penpal arrangement, but I was getting bored with what was supposed to keep me from getting bored.  Then, The Black Knight resolved everything himself.  In an amazing piece of ingeniousness, he was able to destroy the evil wizard, restore The Knight's lands and wife, and redeem The Black Knight, all in the course of one brilliant letter.  Someday, I may post as much of all this correspondence as I still have (you know I don't throw anything away, right?), but not anytime soon.  I was so embarrassed that I hadn't had the brains to solve the situation that I was shamed into retiring The Knight right then and there.  Today, he is still forbidden (although I did at least consider telling his story back in about 1987 or so, before I fixated on Monkey), but that's not the unresolved mystery of the story, is it?  Just who was The Black Knight?  Back in the day, all efforts to discover his identity were unfruitful.  Eventually, I gave up, still stinging from having been bested at my own game.  And that was that...until my disastrous high school reunion five years later.  That was a terrible class reunion, reason enough to never attend another for as long as I live.  Still, I did find out, rather off-handedly, that The Black Knight was a classmate named David Todd.  Briefly sitting next to him at the bar, he, in an attempt to make small talk, said something like "Remember that time when you wrote those letters to me as The Knight?  That was fun."  And just how did Dave discover who The Knight was?  I guess he was better at that, too.