I said, “Hi. I’m Chicken! You’re not Satan are you?”
And the hobbit said, “Why do you ask? Were you looking for Satan? Maybe I am he, maybe he is me. Why do you ask?”
And then he did four back flips in a row down the middle of the road.
“Dude”, I said, “I’m just here to make a delivery. I don’t play fiddle and my Momma loved me. Just to be clear. Hey, do you know which of these roads leads to the encampment of Alexandria?”
“All of them and none of them”, he said.
“Ok, interesting.”, I said. “I have 50 kilos of Cotton Candy here, deliverable to one H.M. Stuart. Do you know which road might lead to him? Or the Alexandria Carnival?”
“Oh, the Good H.M. Stuart, you say? He gets around. You might find him anywhere. You could try the yellow brick road straight ahead. Ignore the monkeys along the way. Don’t smell the poppies. Don’t feed the animals. You might want to telegraph ahead and make an appointment. Chances are, he’s not there.”
“If he’s not on the yellow brick road, then where do you think he might be? I really want to drop this shipment. There’s a storm blowing in and I’m meeting friends for drinks two towns over.”
The hobbit’s head spun around a few times on his neck. The back of his head addressed me.
“He could be at the Firefly Lounge. Head straight down the dirt road to your left. You can’t miss it; lots of big blinking lights. They’re having a Halloween party tonight. Bobbing for apples, candy corn, pineapple ham pizza, the whole bit. You could go. That’s probably where your cotton candy is going, anyway. I heard David Lynch will be there. There’s a rumor the ghost of Robert Johnson will be performing”
“Thanks. I didn’t bring a costume”, I said.
“You’ll figure something out. Of course, he could be hanging out at the Capitol Club tonight. Down that highway to the right. It’s book club night.”
“Oh yeah? I like books. What are they reading?”
“Rules for Radicals. Have you read it?”
“No. I don’t like politics”, I understated. “I like Stephen King. And Chelsea Handler.” I said.
“They are all very scary”, said the hobbit. He blinked and vomited green bile.
I looked over his shoulder, down the highway he had gestured toward.
“Nice road. How come they don’t pave the road on the left?” I asked.
“I dunno. I think they had every good intention of paving it, but once they got the first road done, they just forgot.”
“You know, I’m kind of in a hurry.” I said. “Where do you suppose he’s most likely to be tonight? Can I call him? I really need his signature to release this load.”
“Oh you don’t call H.M Stuart, Good Chicken; he calls you. But your best bet is the Firefly Lounge. He enjoys a good costume party, and the Capitol loyalists are rumored to be crashing later, after book club. You’ll know them by their togas. H.M. is sure to show up.
“Ok, thanks a lot. Would you like a lift?” I asked the hobbit.
“I would like a lift”, said the hobbit, transporting himself instantly into the cab of my truck. “I don’t get many invitations. You must be incredibly naive?”
“I am incredibly naive.”, I said, “But the Law of Karma protects me.”
“Oh yeah”, he said, “Deepak will be there. In a toga.”
“By the way, Chicken”, he said, “Would you like to see our lions? Hang a right at the fork.”