The sun was already up, having emerged from between the distant sand dunes in the east. The girl watched Ovolon as he was packing their things to go. The look of him; crouching, carefully stuffing everything inside his backpack, with messy curly hair and an unshaven chin, reminded her of monkeys eating lice from each other's backs.
“Ahem, so where to now?” she asked in a faked serious tone and tried to hide a giggle as Ovolon turned his head and looked at her with confusion.
“I thought you knew!”
“Nope. No idea what to do now. All I knew was that we should hurry get inside. I don't even remember why. Maybe it was just a hunch.” she said as she strolled around him, with her hands behind her back and her head looking up the sky.
“So we're beyond the canyon, where the beginning of the end of the world is, without a clue of what
to do or where to go and where no one has ever returned from. Supposedly brachobears tear your flesh on sight around here.” said Ovolon in a semi-serious tone. He wasn't actually that surprised by this. The fact alone that they had managed to enter was already above his expectations. “I know what we need.”
“Brachobe...” started the girl.
“A map!” announced Ovolon pompously and waved his forefinger in the air. “If we find a map we'll
know where to go.”
“And where do we find a map in the middle of the desert, Mr Wits?”
They both bounced at an unexpected burst of music getting gradually louder. After trying to pinpoint its source for a while, they turned their gazes to the sky above and saw something slowly flying down towards them.
The purple flying carpet with the gold linings and the emerald fringes approached and hovered inches from them. On top of it big speakers boomed. The music was an electronic beat featuring acoustic traditional string instruments and voices singing in an unknown language.
In the middle of the carpet, a crouching man clapped his hands and the music abruptly stopped.
“Greetings” said the stranger. He was wearing a green silk vest, airy pants and shoes with long points which twirled. His mustache was like two black V painted on his cheeks and on top of his head an overly large turban was balancing. “I'm Timotheus, the God of Things.” He gave them a large grin that made his mustache connect with his eyebrows. “And to whom do I have the honor of speaking?”
“And I’m... wait did you say you're a God?” said the girl puzzled.
“Of course I am. I'm very powerful indeed, you know, like how a God should be. I'm the omniowner of things. I can create them, hand them to you, make you need them, destroy them and then create some new and better things for you to love. We are kipple; we are everywhere; we will find you; we will consume you. As a great sheep once bleated. Things are forever darlings” His words were accompanied by vivid gestures of the hands and facial expressions which instantly changed from arrogant, to angry, to pleasant.
“Plus, I have the gift of smell” added Timotheus.
“Well I can smell too, Tim” said the girl and saw him assume a face of superiority.
“First off, don't call me Tim. I'm a God, have some respect. Secondly I mean... well it's more vague than that. Sure you can smell, but what are the smells, the odors, the aromas? Do we need a nose to smell? Does a nose feed on odors? And if we didn't have noses would smells still exist? I think if one was to lose one sense, that would definitely be smell. You don't part easily with the other ones. Actually, I think smell in that sense is the most undermined of all the senses.” he became baffled by his own thoughts.
“Well if that's your question, smells are just tiny bits of something floating in the air; some of them we can tell when they reach our nostrils. It's been used for generations to distinguish good from bad food and basically enhancing the survival rate of those gifted. Like us; apparently.” said Ovolon in an informative tone.
“What is this madness? Have you been studying other Gods?” shouted Timotheus in an angry voice. Both Ovolon and the girl jumped startled in the sudden eruption of the God's voice. Ovolon froze in a defensive stance, ready to draw his bow if their jolly encounter were to go south. The girl stared at Timotheus with wide eyes and nervously played with the tips of her hair behind her back. The thought; they might be dealing with a devious and multifaceted personality crossed both of their minds. It seemed like an opportunity they should somehow seize if they were to find some answers to their questions.
“Oh, I'm just joking. Don't worry, I don't care for this stuff.” laughed Timotheus calming the tension in the air. “So, back to the reason of our meeting. I've got things, many many things. Would you care for a thing?”
“Like what?” asked the girl.
He took a big breath and started:
“I've got boxes that are always full, yoyos that never return to your hand, mugs with open bottoms and shoes made for fish. Would you like a string-less guitar? I have it. Or maybe a coconut that's all shell and no milk? I've got it too. Shy lamps that only light when no one's looking. Pens that write in impenetrable, invisible ink. Horses and mules which demand that you carry them. Hair clippers for bald people and mustache combs for women. Come on my friends, you must need something!” bloated off Timotheus emphasizing on “need”.
“Do you have a map?” asked Ovolon. This is it, if he doesn't have one no one else does, he thought.
“Maps? Of course I have maps. Tell me where you want to go and I’ll give you the proper one.” answered Timotheus.
“We are going to the end of the world.” said the girl. They stood like holding in a sneeze, waiting for Timotheus’ answer.
“The end of the world, huh? Let me think.” He rolled his eyes up and scratched his chin, then he put his hand inside his large turban and pulled out a rolled papyrus tied with an old piece of cloth. “You're lucky too because I'm on a total sell out. I'm retiring of this godness of mine, I've been on duty for way too long.
“And what will you do after?” asked the girl genuinely interested. Ovolon saw the map inside his grasp; waving in the air inside Timotheus' hand and he got mildly irritated that the girl's question surely prolonged his anticipation.
“Oh, move on I guess. Another belief system. Something more humble and less demanding. I'm thinking of applying for God of Carrots. There is word around that the current god on duty is about to retire too. Rumor has it, he thinks being God of Carrots is pathetic, disgracing and diminutive to his God persona. Oh and that orange is an unsuccessful red. I'm guessing after that he may go for god of parsnips, or maybe radishes if he's ready for such a dramatic change.”
“Good luck in your new job then” said the girl and smiled at him.
“Yes good luck, we wish you all the best and everything. What about the map?” popped Ovolon who was getting more and more anxious as more seconds passed and the map still wasn't theirs.
“Yes, yes the map. My apologies I got carried away. I'm on the edge these days, having to sell all my things before I go. Everyone will get something to remember me when I'm gone.”
“So how much is it?” Ovolon was barely keeping himself in place and not diving for the map.
“Second please.” He pulled out of his turban a large metallic calculator with many buttons and levers and started typing with rapid movements of his fingers. Inked metallic cylinders rolled on paper typing numbers, the machine constantly producing more paper. “And with the discount... if we subtract” he kept mumbling. When he stopped calculating, he picked up the long paper that was now piled around his feet and looked it in examination.
“It's free” he said “See? Total zero. You can have it” he made a move to handle the map when interrupted by the girl.
“Wait! If it's zero now with the discount, how much was it before?
Timotheus placed down the map and took again the calculator “Second Please”
Ovolon's head was frying like and egg containing thoughts of extreme violence and death. He barely managed to suppress the emotion into a staring face and a twitching eyebrow.
“It's original price is... free.” said Timotheus after finishing his calculations.
“So you're actually giving everything away.” said Ovolon who was mind blown by the fact that there was a free map right in front of him and he didn't know what to do to get it.
“Patience. Things come around my children. People don't.” said Timotheus in a serious voice. “It was nice meeting you. I hope you find what you're looking for and I bid you farewell. Retirement is buried deep in bureaucracy, I'll have paperwork to fill.” he said as he was getting ready to fly away.
“The... map” said Ovolon in a desperate exhausted voice.
“Oh, yes the map.” said Timotheus and threw it at Ovolon who couldn’t believe he was holding it at last. The map. Their precious map.
He clapped his hands, the music boomed and he took off, back up to the sky, exactly like he came.
“Wherever you go remember this: If you don't find the breeze, you're not going right.” shouted Timotheus from the distance.
“What did you say?” Ovolon shouted back from the ground.