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The Great Falunian Grey Bearded Eagle

If one were to have looked up to search out the cause of the oblong shadow darkening the ground in a slow but steady south easterly direction one would see drifting in the air no more than a hundred meters above a most unlikely craft held together with a virtual patchwork quilt. “Can’t this thing go any faster, Bert?” complained one of two passengers foolish enough to attempt a crossing of the Northern Fells in such a piecemeal contraption.

“It’s a hot air balloon,” Bert, the Gangplank’s utility player pointed out. “Can’t do no more ‘n drift with the currents,” he continued to explain. “Now had you paid only another 32 quats to the rental agency you could have got one with a propeller.”

“No wonder you have no money, Bert,” said Emerson. “You are always falling for the sales pitch. That is precisely how the rental rackets earn their quats. Charging extra for unnecessary features like motors and insurance. Hold steady to the course now. We have a pub crawl to get to that Mrs. Psaltery has been gracious enough to organize.”

The dilapidated balloon continued to make slow and steady progress for several more minutes when a movement to the left caught Emerson’s eye.

“Bert, look!” Emerson pointed. “I believe that is a Great Falunian Grey-Bearded Eagle.”

“What a beauty,” said Bert. “How majestic.”

“Indeed,” Emerson replied. “Quick, where’s my gun?”

“Why do you need your gun?”

“Something so wondrous needs to be mounted to the wall of the bar to prove man’s dominion over the beasts,” said Emerson. “Everyone knows that.” As Emerson had been speaking, he managed to locate his gun beneath a pile of burlap sacks. “Look,” Emerson said, following the flight of the giant eagle with the barrel of the gun. “It is about to fly over us.”

Emerson started to shoot, discharging all six rounds in rapid succession, and while he had missed the eagle with each and every shot, showed remarkable accuracy in not missing the hot air bladder once. The balloon began to plummet, accompanied by the screams of Emerson and Bert.

Just before the basket smashed against the rocky ground the eagle dove, catching the torn fabric securely in its talons and began to ascend. But rather than flying southeast as was their need, the bird took the men due north.

“Frig me,” said Emerson. “Now we are going to miss the pub crawl.”

And so the eagle flew, continuing due north until it was but a speck on the grey horizon.

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  1. Garnet Psaltery Garnet Psaltery July 5, 2014

    Oh dear, what a misfortune.  We shall miss you at the pub crawl.  I do hope the eagle bears no grudges, and is not hungry.

    Thank you for the kind mention, but I should point out that I am not married.  Not that I’m against such a condition; it is just not presently the case.

  2. Avariel Falcon Avariel Falcon July 5, 2014

    Hmm… is that a giant birdy flying off with a deflated hot air balloon?


    Oh well, have to get to get these coils to Falun before nightfall…

  3. Emerson Lighthouse Emerson Lighthouse August 18, 2014

    “Bert,” Emerson said, lounging against an enormous grey and black mottled egg, “How long have we been sitting in this nest now?”

    “I reckon it’s been a month at least,” the grey-haired old street screever scratched his head and looked about. “P’raps even two. The missus, Miss Ginsburg is probably getting worried.”

    Emerson scratched his salt and pepper beard and contemplated the long hollow reed he held in his hand before poking it in the hole he’d bored in the egg beside him and taking a little suck. “Gah! I think these eggs are getting rank.”

    Emerson climbed the side of the nest and looked down. It was hundreds of feet to the ground far, far below. “Bert, why do you think those eagles just left us here in this mountaintop nest?”

    “Darned if I know.” Bert picked at a little bit of shell that had caught between his teeth.

    “Hey, Bert!” Emerson called, having spotted something to the south. “Look!”

    The two men watched something on the southern horizon. At fist it looked like a flotilla of airships. “Wait just a second!” said Emerson with a rising note of excitement in his voice. “It’s August right?” 

    “I reckon it is,” said the one time chimney sweep. Suddenly the old man’s eyes went wide. “You don’t suppose…”

    “Bert, enough of the smatchy eggs for us.” said Emerson. “We’re about to catch a ride off of this nest.” Emerson smashed a larger hole in one of the eggs and started covering himself in lumpy yolk. “We just have to make sure we smell as unappetizing as possible first.”

    • Buckminster Solo Buckminster Solo August 18, 2014

      Perhaps if I pretend I didn’t just read that, the queasiness will go away. 

      *Searches desk for a bottle of Beecham’s.*

    • Junie Ginsburg Junie Ginsburg August 21, 2014

      Martin –

      It’s been more than a month now, and Emerson’s not yet back with the airship he and Bert were “test-driving.” Given the air kraken have started their run, I think we both know what that means. If you’d be so kind as to pick up the following, I think it would be best for everyone.

      3 pumice stones

      2 bags of sand

      1 barrel of tomato juice

      32 lemons

      2 large greased canvas tarpaulins

      1 large can of kerosene


      I’m thinking it’s better to be prepared this year.

      Many thanks,

      — J


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