I had been charged with a quest.
A wise old wizard had charged that I retreive for her a newspaper. And not just any newspaper, but the newspaper with the Christmas ads. For, you see, the day after Thanksgiving is a magical day, a day when, throughout all the land, crazy people get up at 3am and stake out department stores, waiting to get in and spend buckets of money on "bargains."
I have digressed. My wizard had indicated to me the importance of this, and however illogical I found it to be, I would nevertheless be rewarded greatly if I were to retrieve for her the "Golden Newspaper." Many obstacles stood in my way. For one, I wasn't even sure what day the bloody thing came out. Two, we live so very far from civilization, that the appropriate paper might not be had locally. But the "rewarded greatly" weighed heavily on my mind, so I took it upon myself to accomplish this great and silly task, no matter what the price. I believe it is 53 cents.
Later Tuesday night, or early Wednesday morning, about 4 am, I ventured out in my steed, drove about half an hour (24 miles) to the closest Quiktrip, and there perused the papers. It was not the golden paper, but merely one of . . .paper. I purchased anyway, on the chance that it might have some value, and so I could read the cartoons. I inquired of the clerk, who passed along this sage counsel: "Oh, yeah, Dude, that comes out tomorrow." Thusly armed with this intelligence, and a breakfast burrito, I returned to my village.
Again the wizard spelled out for me what the "rewarded greatly" would entail, and also reminded me what failure would bring me. No more "rewarded greatly" for quite some time, if ever again. No problem, I thought. I had staked out the joint, found out when the papers arrive, and all that was necessary was that I once again wake up at an insanely early time. But the elements and the gods conspired against me. Apparantly, it is written, that middle aged men such as myself are not to be "rewared greatly," but to only languish in the dreams of our youth, when we could be "rewarded greatly" on a daily basis.
A horrendous, powerful snowstorm, the storm of the century (we are in fact, only a few years into the century, so it could be the "storm of the century--thus far.") Deluged the countryside with a full FOUR inches of snow. I have successfully convinced many people that four inches is an incredible quantity, so just take that as a given and let's move on. It was a wet and sloppy snow, and much of it melted, leaving the roads black with ice. My trusty steed was in great need of new tires, and I had no weight in the back. Surely, this would be dangerous. But other items were added to my quest. Since I was going near the place I worked, I would need to pick up the silver stockpot. Since guest were coming, I would also need the magic salt, to clear away the ice from our driveway and porch. This much pressure I did not need. It was now imperative that my mission be fulfilled.
So again, on the day of the feast, I awoke at the ungodly hour of 3:30 am, and dressed, and set out the door on quest. I had been down this path before, but that was only in practice mode; now the obstacles were real, and the danger--really,.......uh, dangerous.
Just to start up my trusty steed and clean off the windows was a chore, the doors were frozen shut, and I had to pull very hard while uttering several magical phrases. I set out. Cautiously, I drove. Not another vehicle in sight. The moon hung low in the sky, like a starlet's cleavage, and nestled in the clouds like an opportune nip shot.
The trail was long, and somewhat treacherous. The roads were mostly clear, but the occasional black ice on the roads, placed there by a random number generator, kept me alert. Along side the highway, cars, trucks, vans, lay ominously in the ditches, warning me of impending peril. Finally, I made it to the Quiktrip where only the night before had I reconned. The clerk seemed not to recognize me, and only wanted to converse with me about the weather, and about some "bird." I knew not of what code he spoke, and I answered carefully, lest I be forced to begin again, since I forgot to save when I arrived. We bargained carefully, and I spent all eight dollars I had. A bag of salt, 2 golden papers, a cup of coffee, a fountain soda, and a breakfast sandwich.
I bade him well, and continued on my quest. A short distance was my own shop, and, using a cheat code, I obtained a key. I retrieved the silver stockpot, and also a golden brown cookie, to verify that the stockpot was authentic. My quest now was half over. Having retrieved all of my items, I now began the journey home. I knew it would be fraught with peril, because I was now vulnerable, having my hands full behind the wheel, and possibly cocky.
I drove home, and the dj on the radio refused to comfort me, instead playing only music to lull me to sleep. But my twin elixars, coffee and soda, served to save me from the perils of sleep-driving. I arrived, finally back to my village, turned off the highway, and slid for quite a ways, missing by only 30 or 40 feet any obstacle.
Whew! That was close! My nerves properly rattled, I made it safely home, whereupon I felt compelled to share this story with all of you. This story of newspapers, and salt, and "great rewards." Hit "x" to save.