"He took his vorpal sword in hand: Long time the manxome foe he sought -- So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood awhile in thought." - Through the Looking Glass And What Alice Found There
T-minus 12 hours until F-day. In the week since Sid had entered the Tulgey Woods, this would-be-warrior had managed in killing a total of two mosquitoes, three bushes, and a very sarcastic stick. Needless to say, he was getting discouraged. The severe lack of monsters was undermined by the even more severe lack of food. He had run out of hummus and pita bread earlier that day.
The absence of food wouldn't have been much of a problem except that after a few hours in the woods, Sid got hungry. That is to say, he wanted to ingest something of substance into his digestive system. In short, he wanted edible things in his mouth. In other words, Sid desired to fill the large hole in his stomach by means of nourishment in food form. Within Sid's mind, the only thoughts were of objects that possessed both eatable and edible qualities.
"Take berries for instance," thought Sid, "Berries are both eatable and edible. If I had a berry right now, I could do one of two things with it. 1: I could eat it, or 2: I could et it."
"And to be sure," he started to say aloud, "I would do one of those two things very quickly. This is for two reasons. 1: I am very hungry, and 2: I strongly wish to eat."
He continued while getting louder, "I may also, under certain circumstances, such as the one in which I now find myself, even be persuaded to look for a second berry after finishing my business with the berry of whose existence I hypothesized first."
His voice rose until he was shouting: "And I shall do to that berry as I did to the first! And if I find a third, like unto the second, I shall invoke upon that berry the fate prescribed by my treatment of that berry's predecessors! AND FURTHERMO...."
But that was as far as Sid got with his queer mixture of logic, fantasy, and madness. He had collapsed from exhaustion and understandably, hunger. Shortly afterward, Ishmael discovered the boy while walking home from work. Being the kind-hearted individual that he was, Ishmael delivered a nice sound kick to the head of the misplaced youth.
Sid woke up swinging his sword wildly. "What the cheesing father of Frankfurt!?!"
"Are you all right?" asked Ishmael calmly, "I saw you trip and hit your face. It looked pretty bad."
Sid rose carefully to his feet, "It feels like I've been kicked in the head."
"Yeah, that happens sometimes," replied Ishmael, "You're lucky that you're still alive. Not everyone survives the Tumtum tree." Ishmael pointed upwards.
"Tumwhat huh?" asked Sid. He looked up to see the branches, leaves, and fruit, of an enormous tree. At least, he thought that it was a tree. But it didn't touch the ground. The trunk was about 15 feet off the ground.
"Tumtum tree. It possesses magical powers. If you stand beneath its branches, your thoughts become focused on the most trivial of things possible. I once spent 4 hours thinking of ways to improve my wife's eggplant casserole. I was so wrapped up in trying to decide between adding paprika or serving it with potatoes. that I almost forgot to keep breathing."
"What'd you do?"
"I ended up sneaking it one bite at a time to the family cat. I would have gotten away with it too, if the cat hadn't died."
"That's not what I meant," said Sid, tiring quickly of the pointless conversation, "Anyways, it was slightly bemusing to meet you. I guess I'll see you around." Sid made a motion that suggested that it was time for Ishmael to leave.
Ishmael obligingly turned and walked away with the parting remark, "I wouldn't hang around here for long. I hear Mr. Wellkey will be by any moment."
Sid's heart skipped a beat in excitement. He looked down to the sword in his hand. The blade gleamed in the bits of sunlight that escaped through the leaves of the Tumtum tree overhead. The sheer vorpality of it was enough to make a grown man cry.
"It won't be long now," thought Sid nervously, "Time to be a hero."
Don't miss Chapter 4 - "Mortal Combat" or "From Whence Cometh the Whiffling?"