While I couldn't wait to further confer, converse, and otherwise hobnob with my brother and sister wizards here at Wisdom 3.2, my assistant and I had a show to put on.
I awoke in the early afternoon. Somehow my assistant had slipped the bonds of his his Good Boy™ straitjacket, gnawed through the knots in the cords binding his legs, and picked the locks on the restraining spells I’d actually thought I’d done a good job on. I opened my eyes to find him perched above me, deciding whether to slit my throat with the complimentary letter opener from our room or smash my head in with the clock radio.
Mimicking the cry of the banshees that had ravished him the day before, I pulled the old Krayt Dragon Hunting Cry Trick, and he was soon reduced to a blubbering mass, cowering in the corner of the room, swatting at invisible pests crawling over his body. Mad as he may be, my lovable assistant is as predictable as he is temperamental. A dozen Dick Gried™ style Special Cricket Cheezadillas and he was once again in his semi-reasoning state.
I opened up his wardrobe trunk and began to select an appropriate outfit for him. This is a ritual for us, and frankly one designed to draw him in.
“The green polka dot shirt with the black suspenders?” I asked.
“IDIOT! YOU HAVE NO TASTE!”
“The red union suit and the denim vest?”
“ARE YOU INSANE? THESE ARE NOT THE STICKS WE ARE PLAYING!”
My assistant is not only a professional, he is an artist. Shaking his head and muttering under his breath, he picked out the perfect ensemble for our presentation.
He is the best Ghost Rodeo Clown I've ever had the pleasure of working with.
While he dressed, I donned my own show gear - all white and rhinestones and embroidery - and grabbed the jeweled phurba, the diamond vajra, and an appropriate selection of prayer bells.
Once in costume, my assistant transformed from increasingly unhinged maniac to cool-headed technician. We were - yet again - about to enter into a ring from which there was no guarantee of mortal escape. We would depend utterly on one another to make it through alive. Well, it would be mostly him depending on me, but you never really know.
I began the presentation as per the schedule - on the Libido Deck at the Unincorporated Eco-Villages of Thai Ornament. I knew full well there wouldn’t be enough room there, but herding the crowd out to the corrals adds great anticipation - a field trip in the midst of your presentation is a great way to wow them. So, after a short Prezi on the the historical context, it was time to move ‘em out to the corrals.
However, it was a bit more of a show than I had intended. Only a few of the audience fainted outright, but there was some amount of catatonia, and yes, unfortunately, some vomiting. Against my strict admonitions, my assistant had entered the corral in an attempt to “warm up” the banshees without my protective protocols in place. What had ensued was beyond sickening - a feeding frenzy of ravenous wraiths intent on nothing short of the eternal damnation of my assistant. Suspenders were stretched. His rubber nose became a hacky sack. His over-large boots were made a mockery. Bits of rainbow wig floated like chum in the spectral atmosphere.The howls of the banshees alone were enough to freeze the most hardened attendees in their tracks.
Taking the podium (safely outside the corral) I began an emergency ritual invocation to control the situation. I won’t go into the details here, but, as I employed techniques not usually considered safe for an uninitiated audience, there were some additional casualties.
Before long, I had the banshees behaving. They separated into groups, and began the synchronized movements you’re used to seeing in these performances. My assistant was able to compose himself and - consummate professional that he is - passed out the flags and costumes with the LED lights to the ghosts, who paraded in complex and crowd-pleasing patterns when we turned down the lights. This brought the crowd back, and by the end we received a standing ovation. “All part of the show, folks!” I assured them.
With the banshees safely tamed, the crowd left to prepare for the "Theme" Social Mixer (Come Dressed as Your Favorite HR Representative), but my assistant and I needed to attend to the bottling of the banshees. In their now tamed state, they should make good parting gifts for the attendees. Hopefully we’ll make quick work of it, and I’ll have time to get back to rubbing elbows with these truly amazing people for one final night. And I believe enough of the fight has been taken out of my assistant that it may be safe to leave him at the Insect Buffet Bar somewhat unattended.
It's been an amazing time, you wonderful, wonderful people. If I don't run into you tonight, see you all at the West Nile Decontamination Meet-Up in the morning!
Dean Hammer, Dean, Psychic High School