Chapter 10: Non-Perishable Goods
4.7.2002 Edited by , every Sunday.
Thoughts swam around Bjorn's head like a pack of hyperactive piranha on speed. Normally Bjorn was able to get to sleep mere seconds after his head hit the pillow, but on this night his thoughts kept him up. It took him nearly three minutes to doze off, and when he finally crossed the threshold of consciousness it was to find a rocking ocean of uneasy sleep.
Usually his dreams were rigidly structured re-enactments of events he had experienced that day. They served a logical purpose: to help him sort his thoughts. He often dreamed of incidents at his work in which he had broken protocol or engaged in inefficient behaviour. His dreams helped him review such events and prevented such occurrences from repeating. This night, however, his dreams were full of glaringly illogical images.
Bjorn was on a high cliff, hundreds of feet above a surging gray sea. Jagged fins cut through the waves and sharks jumped from the water, their maws gnashing. On the cliffs above him were throngs of angry lions with shark heads. The driving rain added insult to injury. The droplets grew increasingly larger until they were the size of Bjorn's head. They began to wear away at his meager foothold and threaten him with certain doom.
As he was on the verge of becoming Shark-Chow, a small white dove landed on his shoulder. It cooed peacefully, and Bjorn felt suddenly more secure. The rain let up, leaving his ledge intact for the moment. Bjorn's eyes grew wide in wonder as the sun pushed the dark clouds away. The dove was as white as pure light, as the softest snow, as the gentlest down.
"I will kill you" it spoke.
In a flash of feathers and claws the dove proceeded to peck at Bjorn's eyes. Bjorn was sent reeling, his footing failed and he hurtled towards the sea.
He awoke with a start. The first rays of the new sun trickled into the room through the edges of the blinds. Bjorn looked over at his watch on the bedside table. To his mortification he discovered that it was 7:12am, a full twelve minutes past his usual wake up time.
There was a knock at his door, a thick rapping which sounded like metal hitting wood. Bjorn sprung up and walked to the door of his room.
"Who is it?" inquired Bjorn.
"Umm, room service" said a male voice, "I have your, err, breakfast".
Bjorn thought that was a logical enough answer and began to unlatch the door. Just as the latch was unfastened the intruder kicked in the door, sending Bjorn stumbling backwards and knocking him off his feet.
In entered a tall man wearing a full coat of gleaming plate mail and wielding a claymore, a long two-handed sword that only geeks know is called a claymore. In an instant Bjorn recognized him as the cashier he had seen the night before.
"Do you have my breakfast?" Bjorn asked.
"No," replied the man, before pausing awkwardly, "but I have your, uh, death!"
The man grimaced at Bjorn, and then violently thrust his massive sword into the carpeted floor for dramatic effect. "I am Sir Lunchmold, most powerful of knights," he said "Today, Bjorn Lincoln, you shall perish!"
The large foreboding knight reached for his sword, which was firmly implanted in the ground, and pulled at it. He cursed repeatedly when he realized that it was stuck.
"One moment, please," he said as he pulled fruitlessly on the sword, "Oh bloody hell!"
Bjorn hastily assembled his various items and got dressed. Meanwhile the knight put all the strength he could muster into removing the sword from its predicament. In the end, it was hopeless for him, and Bjorn deftly scampered around the frustrated warrior and out the door.
"Fine then" exclaimed Sir Lunchmold as he abandoned his weapon, "I shall bludgeon thee with mine own fist! Come back here!"
The brave knight tried to run after Bjorn, but in his armor he was like a kid in a snowsuit, his mobility severely restricted. He waddled after Bjorn until he realized that his prey had escaped. The knight reached door of the motel just in time to see Bjorn's sky blue car peel out of the parking lot and towards downtown Albuquerque.
"Whoever sent that knight is going to be madder than a hornet with PMS" Bjorn whispered to himself, "They'll no doubt be looking for me even harder now, I'll need some place to hide."
Bjorn drove through downtown Albuquerque looking for a suitable hiding spot, and was on the verge of giving up when he saw the perfect place. It was a large gray building, devoid of windows. Written in large metallic letters across the side was ‘Albuquerque Convention Centre’, and beneath it was stretched a large black banner with white spidery type that read: International Ninja Convention 1959 - bringing together over 10,000 ninjas from around the world since 1051A.D.'
Bjorn didn't stop to ponder why ninjas would need conventions. Neither did he consider why they would hold one in Albuquerque. Nor did he consider how dangerous (or fricken' cool) such a place would be. Bjorn merely parked his car and casually strolled in the front door.
By Neale McDavitt-van Fleet