C E Huntingdon
Tig 'Ol Mitties
An excerpt from Chapter: "Mid-Winter Not Dead Yet Still Living Festival"
"LOOK AT THOSE TIG ‘OL MITTIES!!!" A squeal of delight rang out, echoing down the street.
It was enough to knock Porel out of her unpleasant ruminations, as the need to scold the child took precedence. Yet, upon bending down to administer the shoosh, Porel discovered only nubby footprints in the snow.
But Ellen hadn't gotten far. The trail of puppet-sized steps led across the snowy street and ended at a monk pressed up against the glass of a storefront window. A monk who looked like some sort of bird…some sort of bowl cut bird that had mistaken a window for a clear passage and had smashed against it with wings spread wide, and truly, Porel wished that this had been the case.
Long strides carried the Abbit across the street and lanky arms drifted by her sides.
"What are you doing?" The Abbit asked of Ellen, tired and confused.
"TIG. 'OL. MITTIES, Porel." The shop glass fogged with every exertion of wonderment. "They're so big! I've never seen such big mitties."
And just how big were they, you ask? Well, let's take a peek inside.
Stepping through the glass—as only we viewers can—on a display of puffed cotton resembling winter snow, a mitten of traditional style stands erect. Its brown cuff accentuates a green hand and thumb gusset (it was unnecessary for me to put in the gusset bit, but it's my favorite part of mitten anatomy.) The yarn count is impeccable, the kitchener stitch, imperceptible. And around it is a small, tiny, overpriced model village, depicting the absolute grandeur of the mitten as it towers over replica life. To get a sense of the true scale, take a look at your own hand. It's at least two, no, three times bigger than that! So, as you can see, it has Ellen's utter and complete admiration.
"They're absurd," The Abbit croaked out.
"You're absurd, Porel," Ellen mumbled with her nose still pressed firmly against the glass, unable to pull her eyes away, a glazed look upon her face.
"Just look at that flap, you could wiggle your pokers for days in there…" the child's fingers drummed against the glass, leaving a dappling of smudgy prints. "Porel, can you wipe the condensation away? I can't see."
"Do it yourself."
"Please?" The request was pathetic and soul-wrenching, and as if by some kind of magic, the Abbit complied. Forcing a talon downward between Ellen's nearly immovable and greasy forehead, Porel wiped left to right like a snooterwagon's automatic windshield.
"Thank you, Porel. Ahhhhhhh," Ellen exhaled softly at the renewed clarity. "You wouldn't happen to have any change on you, would you?"
"Papers twenty-two ten, Porel, 'Thow who haseth a treat should share it, and not hideth it behind their back from me.'"
"It's Bill forty-seven three, actually, and just because it's the only thing Brother Liopold decided to read doesn't mean you can quote it at me."
"I'm just saying, Porel, share and share alike. The monks got money for the bar."
"The monks were issued a dispensary wage to aid with their ministrations to the populace," The Abbit corrected.
"That's just beer money in monk-talk, Porel, whether you speak it or not."
"Petulant little child. I thought you were hungry?"
"How can you be hungry when there's a mitten that's soooooo big, right in front of you! Common, it's just a couple geezers."
"No. Mittens are a gateway purchase."
"Gateway purchase to what?"
"Other purchases. So it's best not to purchase anything at all. Ever."
"Porel, I've been across the entire map, and I can tell you these are the biggest mitties I've ever seen!" A single tear dripped from her left eye. "Biggest in Loot Land. Biggest in Weow Land. Biggest in Himelforth…"
"I don't need a geographical statistical analysis of the scale of purchasable mitties-ahck! Mittens. The answer is no, Ellen."
"You're gonna regret this, Porel," Ellen said as she pulled her face away from the window with a sucking pop, making eye contact through their reflection.
"When?" Porel asked sarcastically.
"When you need big mitties! Huuuuuuuuuuuuh," the little monk's exclamation fell into a mopish sigh. "Fine, let's go."
The blow to Ellen's desires was not a heavy one, as she quickly returned to skipping and hopping, a frivolity Porel allowed herself to tolerate for its pacifying effects on the child.
"Oooh, oooh, ooh! Buffet, let's go!" Ellen's finger jabbed wildly in the air.
"Ehhhnghh…Kingly Buffet? That looks gross," Porel winced as she stared at the yellow sign with grease-color orange lettering.
"Gross?! It's called Kingly Buffet!?" Ellen turned around, her face that of shock and confusion.
"No, I don't think so."
"Okay, fine. What about over there." Ellen said as the pair continued down the street and pointed at a storefront with purple curtains in the window.
"Regal Buffet? No."
"Uh, fine. Tsk." The child said, horrifically mimicking her chaperon with a sucking of teeth. Continuing to walk through the snowy streets, Ellen rubbed her little hands together, which lacked entirely any sort of mittie to keep them warm.
"It's friggin' cold, Porel. You better pick thsompth-Oooh, what about that one!" Ellen waved her frigid hands in the direction of yet another buffet.
"Sure, look! You get a free paper crown and butterfly coloring placemat with your plate!" Ellen turned to Porel and began to tug at her robes. “Double entendre, Porel, double entendre!”
"No, I'm not paying extra so you can have a paper crown."
"It's not extra, it's free!"
"It's included in the admission price," Porel whined snidely back to Ellen. "Besides, I can just cut you out one at the Abbey."
"You would never!" Ellen indignantly retorted. "Oh! How about that one?!"
"Ughnnn," the Abbit groaned. "Puzantium Imperical Buffet. Not only is it the wrong word, but it's misspelled. Absolutely not, solely on the principle of I will not support an establishment with such horrendous grammar."
"Whatever, Porel. It's a buffet, right? Everyone likes a buffet." Ellen's hands flopped open wide. "They're for…everyone in the…for everyone!"
"Contrary to your…Brothers…I like visiting establishments that have a focus on what they're serving. A jack of all trades is a master of none, Ellen," Porel said, turning her nose up proudly.
"But is oftentimes better than a master of one," Ellen grumpily muttered back.
"You dare use my own quote against me?" The Abbit shook her head. "Never mind, just…pick a restaurant."
Ellen then threw her hands into the air. "Waddda ya think I've been doin'!"
"A restaurant, Ellen. Not an open-air cesspit of mix-matched sustenance where everyone who wafts by leaves a part of themselves behind in the food."
"Well, when you put it that way…" Ellen wrinkled her nose and grimaced as the thought of dregs drifted through her head. "How about that one?"
Porel followed as Ellen's crooky finger extended to single out a surprisingly classy little place with a large pink sign that read, "Blending World."
"Mmmmmm… it's that fusion restaurant." Oddly enough, Porel was intrigued.
"I'm just gonna give you my initial impression right now, but 'blending' sounds awfully similar to 'buffet.'"
"And that's because you have an unrefined pallet, spoiled on monk buffets and Deez's over-seasoned cookies."
"It's called sugar, Porel."
"It's called, 'too much.'"
"Okay, sure. Whatever, Blending World sounds great. Let's eat at Blending World, Blending World sounds fabulous. Blended, blended, blended." Ellen threw her hands up in the air and crossed at the intersection.