Episode 7 | The Stanley Coup
< Yon liked to taunt the dire wolf somewhat aimlessly, and, ostensibly to display a depth of frustration, gnarled at a piece of bread with his right-side teeth, in the right side of his mouth, and spewed it all at once to the ground, scarcely amusing the dire wolf, his closest friend. Yon, who was known also as Sawbones, widened one eye, and offered, “Foot-long.” Her size was a sensitive matter, but the wolf remained undaunted; a white wolf, she weighed but ten ounces. Yon emulated the dire wolf’s hobby, gripped a pair of socks in his teeth, and waved them frantically in the air.
The dire wolf said, blankly, “It’s time for more socks.”
Sawbones rose stridently, and pointed to an empty spot near to the entrance to The Cache, a cave full of much of Earth’s more prized, and famously missing possessions. “Right there,” said Yon, a maven of sports collectibles. “That’s where it’s going to go. And it’ll reign! Yes. And we’ll get more socks.”
The dire wolf seconded, dourly, “I want all the socks, if I must participate.”
Sawbones said, “There will always be more socks. They’ll make more. It’s a mathematic impossibility.”
The Cache, as it was known throughout Sombrero, was Yon’s flagship upon the lonely out posted moon, Taxa. Fellow outlaws referred to it as a “Mine.” It belonged to him, a few hired wrongmen, and a score of extinctic animals, who sprung to life on the moon from time to time, like the dire wolf. The contents were priceless. The notion of “mines” Yon explained presently to the wolf, to paraphrase, derived from the early, spectacular days of the Hydra Mob, which Sawbones captained, and the idea of a “mark,” or an innocent victim. Most of the items were scoffed from Earth by the Hydra Mob. An associate named Tauri coined the notably possessive phrase, “mine”: A mark in the Tauri scale could become a “bank,” or a wealthy mark; beyond bank, or a group of banks, was a “Mine,” as in gold mine.
Sawbones slid to the ground, scaling from his stony chair, a boulder next to the dire wolf, above The Cache cave, and landed in his johnnie-brown, Sendra boots in the ashy clearing; the dire wolf hustled inched steps from the top and around the rocks, and through the brush, a tiresome journey even to watch, and Yon’s hiss drew the usual drastic glare from the dire wolf. They strolled into the gray dust paths of The Cache. Sawbones imagined each of the prizes therein lived a new, and special life with him on Taxa; but the stock was sorely missing ice hockey paraphernalia, and this idea arose to him in a sound night of sleep. The sound of Yon’s voice brayed from the cave’s walls, and echoed, a sinister rejoinder to his bliss. He cupped words with both of his hands now, and after wiggling the fingers of his black, Nike gloves, pronounced, “I want the Stanley Cup!”
The dire wolf’s answer was automatic, as she always diverged from Yon’s most paramount of goals. “You can’t have the Stanley Cup, because, oh, you’re dumb,” the dire wolf decided, and waited plaintively for the word, “dumb,” to echo repeatedly in the cavernous hall. Sawbones ignored her, pondering, “Ah, what should go on the other side? That’s the only question. Sphinx of Taharqa? Maybe.”
Yon was careful to avoid an inkling of conceit. “They drink champagne from the Stanley Cup.”
A decision had been made. Yon mused, thoughtfully, diagramming the entire heist in his mind in but moments. “We’ll grab a few de Brignac’s when we go. Ah, socks. And socks.”
The dire wolf despised Earth adventures, and, consequently, stayed home. She’d gain a lordly bundle of socks with a grand show of commandeering, a mere show of alms to the dire wolf. She was Taxa’s primary resident after Sawbones, the outlaw-in-chief, and it was typically tasked as Yon’s assistant; a myriad of other outlaws was trained by Sawbones to do the work, that is, to pillage the larger cities of Earth, generally the United States, or England; this time, it was Canada, where the Stanley Cup was stored in a vault. “Where’s Tune?” asked the wolf, searching for make-work. She bundled past the diverse objects of The Cache, and inspected the trove: “The Bayeux Tapestry, Oliver Cromwell’s head -”
Agreeably, Yon enjoined, “The Jules Rimet Trophy! That goes on the left side. Or is it too much? This isn’t the Hall of Fame.”
“Soccer’s great prize,” the dire wolf stared. “A dust bowl since ‘83.” She admired the treasures, and her favorites among many thousand. “Caravaggio’s Nativity. Picasso’s pigeon! Love that pigeon. “
Yon corrected her with studied pride. “Le Pigeon Aux Petits-Pois. And don’t forget Caravaggio’s St. Francis, and Saint Lawrence. You have the time to learn these things, wolf!”
“The Patiala Necklace,” advised the dire wolf. “The Faberge Egg.”
Sawbones muttered, “The Third Imperial Faberge Egg,” and paused, “You know, we don’t have Cellini’s Salt Cellar.”
The dire wolf was chagrined to view the stack of missing socks, piled forlornly in a corner of the cave in the remote outpost of the Cluster. “I can’t think about that today,” she whined, although expending much mental weight to the issue. She pictured the extractor, an ersatz Shop-Vac, or vacuum, preferably used to nab to left, and right socks from a clothes dryer. Did it need to be replaced, upgraded? She resolved it was just a hobby, but extoled to Sawbones, else it may fall to the waysides of mischief, “We will possess every sock on Earth!”
“No room,” Yon replied, distracted, but exulting at the dire wolf’s exasperatingly minor gallop in the brush.
Then he lusted, in an alt state of eerie, “No one’s allowed to touch the Stanley Cup. Not until it has been won by the champions. It is the greatest symbol of sports left on Earth.” He fretted; people believed the trophies for football, and baseball, and soccer, and many Olympic sports were simply recast from year to year, but, with a finger pointed abjectly into the air, at the Sports Corner of The Cache, knew this was untrue. “I should have more credit,” Yon mused, a frown passing in the muscles of his face. His brow was frayed. The Cup must go. He said, “One of the Senators tried to kick the Cup once across Rideau Canal. They tire of it. Obviously. It’s not like the old days. The exalted Keeper of The Cup in Quebec City one year had such desperate esteem for it he hitchhiked with it. His car had broken down. Mmm. There is respect. Perhaps he sat in the back seat with it.”
Yon’s dubious feats would command “science, and art.”
He was a docent of physics. He was one of the students of physics who could marvel of individual phenomena. The mind glimpses living physics at the level of molecules, how they attach, and re-attach in the schema of biology, the middle ages of a human body; the elemental questions: how did dinosaurs walk, how were spacecraft built, how does man affect the atmosphere, and the ocean; the answers abide by the laws of physics. It is essential in the foundations of engineering, and technology; as Wikipedia says, physics is the “towering achievement of human intellect.”
And useful to mischief. Yon could not explain physics to anyone, and believed it was his own domain. In the moments of ambient light from Virgo, yet charmed by the objects of his Cache, Sawbones pondered more decorous goals, the sort of achievements which might bring him wider renown, like discovering the planet Orison. Orison was believed to lie beyond the clusters of Coda, past the edges of the universe, possibly, a realm beyond both science and religion; a “ghost planet,” a fable, maybe, it enthralled him. Finding it still could prove Yon’s legitimate mettle. He would be one of space-time’s greatest explorers. He fancied the name, Yon Raulyn, in the orbit of such celestial figures as Bud Adorjan of Hydra; or Earth’s Neil Armstrong, who was the first human to visit extra-terrain in the galaxy Milky Way. Physics was known to the ancient Greeks as the “knowledge of nature,” and the “behavior (of nature) in space and time.” Yon saw it as “a jog into the distance.” The laws of physics, as these substantial observations are known, once proven by “mathematics, and experience, and more mathematics,” reveal constant, universal applications, and enable the most fascinating aspects of Nature to be seen — at least once; it’s tale, physics, is not a bulk weight, or series of graphs or a video; physics does not provide a clean, and straight line, like logic; physics is more vivid and plain, a white, bouncing ball, like the early silent films; a connection of “dots.”
Too, Yon Raulyn was, unfortunately, a cynic: He did not believe Orison did exist. He was probably correct in physics. It was the conventional wisdom, supported by modern math, the existence of Orison was plainly folklore, a planet distinct from its namesake in Hydra, Orison’s Mirror, but no more factual than Oz, or Tolkien’s Mordor. Nonetheless, Yon confided, to the “sole soul” to join him there one day, the dire wolf, “Orison is a lady of fair treasure. It’s a ghost planet, where all my horses win.”
The dire wolf surveyed the opening to the cave, The Cache, and, partly in admiration, partly as a rouse, rued, “Crime makes life hard,” and wrung her head side to side, an additional display of amazement.
Sawbones emerged from the crush of outlaw wrongmen, and women, daft, and almost delirious; it was perhaps a function of the case of Jim Beam bootlegged from the Tennessee on the planet Earth, and toasted his newest prize, raising a shot glass with a rejoinder, “made in America!”
The dire wolf gazed at Tune, both knowing the new phrase would be heard countless times, however inaccurate. The daggers of dire wolf’s eyes shortly befell Tune, though. Tune, Sawbones’ supervisor proclaimed the mission had been a “complete” success, but Tune, a new man, had neglected to collect any socks for the wolf. It remained unspoken.
“Perfect, perfect!” Sawbones exclaimed, now lying with his back against the cave wall, his legs crossed at the ankles. “You remember the guy I told you about.”
“The Keeper of the Cup?” replied the dire wolf.
“It is a subtle science on Earth,” Yon said, with a facetious breath. “The man who doesn’t need to be identified. Not that one, another one!”
Tune was whittling, and interrupted, “We didn’t even have to steal it.”
Sawbones waved his arms. “This Keeper had a wee bit of the automobile trouble, too.”
The dire wolf surmised, “Outlaws.”
“Wer’ell,” Sawbones said. “History says the Canadians, the Habs, won The Stanley Cup in 1924. No, no, no. The Habs lost the Cup in 1924.”
“They were a wee bit frazzled about it, I guess,” Yon grinned, and soon erupted. “The Stanley Cup was put in their Model-T after the championship game. Model-T? I think so. They were trying for gasoline to fill the car, but they ran out of gas. They bounded off to a filling station, but they left the Cup on the street, by the road!”
Tune guzzled laughter. Sawbones chortled, “Show her.”
Tune snapped away a gray tarpaulin from a figure standing astride The Cache.
Sawbones exulted, “There it is! The Stanley Coop!” ◊
Theme | THE BEATLES’ “Fool on the Hill” (‘Flea Markets No. 9’) | Playlist, nos. 1-15
“The Shadows” is one of three works by SODA TOM.
“The Shadows,” by Soda Tom, Vol. I of III,
from The Echo By Seas; & Other Stories
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