|How much wood would a
October 23 2001 at 9:59 PM
|Harbinger of Death
|“What do you think you’re doing?”
demanded the Harbinger of Death.
The two Debs were speechless. “We, uh…” “Uh, it was just…” “You see, it’s like this…” “Nothing at all. Absolutely nothing.” “We’re sorry!!” They tried to hide the diagrams and notes they’d been working on.
Harbinger eyed Kat and Red Storm. “So, you think you’re going to get all up in my business, do you.” He folded his arms and glared at them.
“It wasn’t anything personal!” Kat said. “We just wanted to get CJ.”
“We love your work,” Storm assured him. “We only wanted to help a little bit.”
“Think about what you’re saying. Do you really think I need help?”
They paused, considering the atrocities they’d witnessed in Halloweens past and present. “No,” they conceded.
“Do you see me running around campus trying to squeeze lemons and overthrow authority?”
“So since I don’t try to do your jobs, do you think you could leave me to do mine?”
“Yes, sir.” They kicked the ground, embarrassed.
“All right then. Hand it over.” They gave him the scrolls. “That’s enough of that, understand?” They nodded glumly. “Now go join the party and enjoy yourselves. You’ve only got a week left. I’ll be sending everyone else along soon enough.” He sighed as they shuffled off to the party house. It wasn’t enough that he gave the Debs this gift every year of free death and restoration to life. They always wanted more. Well, such was their nature. Still, he’d have to teach them a lesson. He’d think about it for a while.
The lumber yard was, of course, full of wood, so that’s where Kymscrazy led her band of firewood gatherers. Seeing as how winter would come upon them soon, and the Debs who usually tended to the lumberyard were now dead, she figured this would be a good time to score some wood without having to pay for it.
“I don’t know about this,” said Yvenna. “Don’t you think they’ll catch us?”
“Who’s left to catch us?” Kymscrazy said. “The lumberjacks are all on holiday, since their supervisors are dead.”
“You know how expensive firewood is, especially during the cold season,” Aphrael reminded Yvenna.
“I know,” Yvenna said. “It just doesn’t seem right.”
“Snap out of it!” said Robinsnest. “This is pure Devious Deb material. It’s what they expect of us.”
So they waltzed right into the warehouse, trying to decide whether to use wheelbarrows or the forklift. Robinsnest said the wheelbarrows were better, because in a pinch they could split up, while Kymscrazy said the forklift would be the way to go, since they could get a much bigger haul and with much less physical effort.
“We’ll have to test the wheelbarrows,” said Aphrael practically. “If we can’t even push them faster than a trot, it’ll be a moot point anyway.”
“Good thinking,” said Yvenna. “It might be fun to drive the forklift too.”
They found a couple of wheelbarrows and pushed them up to the wood bin at the end of the log splitter so they could load them up. “Crud!” said Kymscrazy. “There’s not much wood left in here.”
“Well, what are we going to do?” Robinsnest asked.
“We’ll have to split some more logs.”
“Do you know how to operate this thing?”
“It’s a piece of cake. There’s a little hangy-down thing here that has a red button and a green button. They make this stuff for lumberjacks to run, you know, and it’s not like they have engineering degrees or anything.”
“Didn’t you used to date a lumberjack?”
“Exactly. I know whereof I speak. Now move out of the way.” She pushed the green button, and sure enough, the log on the conveyor belt slowly moved toward the saw. BZZZZT, the saw cut through it, and the pieces slid neatly into the bin. “Ha! What did I tell you!”
“What?” shouted Aphrael. The noise from the saw was quite loud.
“Nothing,” shouted Kymscrazy. The belt began to speed up a bit, and more and more logs came down the pike and through the saw. A mechanical arm at the other end would dip into the pile of logs to pick up another log to place on the conveyor belt.
“Pretty neat,” shouted Yvenna. “Come see.”
“What?” shouted the other girls. Yvenna beckoned to them, and they all came to peek into the log pile. It was kind of like those carnival games where you maneuver the claw to try and get a toy, except this one had a sensor on it to help it locate the logs. But, since the lumberjacks were on vacation, there weren’t that many logs in there, either. When the last one was through the saw, Kymscrazy pushed the red button. Nothing happened.
“Push the button!” yelled Robinsnest.
“Try again!” But it didn’t help. The arm kept dipping and grabbing, but there was nothing there. A little red light flashed on the sensor. The arm moved over the side of the wall and grabbed Aphrael.
“HELP!” she hollered. The other girls tried to grab her, but the claw was too strong. It plopped her on the belt, which was now moving in turbo speed. When she tried to get up, she only fell down; it was going too fast, and the metal guides on the side kept her trapped. The claw grabbed Robinsnest as well, then Yvenna, then Kymscrazy, and they helplessly flew down the belt to a quick end. BZZZZT, went the saw, BZZZZT, BZZZZT, BZZZZT. Up in the control booth, a bony hand switched the lever to “Off.” The light on the sensor faded out and the conveyor belt slowed to a stop.