Booley and Rosie go to NCC


They are an unlikely couple, Rosette Spoonbill, the jungle librarian, always shushing everyone, and loudmouth  Booley Baboon, the logician gone mad, yammering and gibboning and cackling at the world through the bars of his logical cage. Which is where she first saw him, wailing on a double reed horn, being carried to marketplace where he would be sold to the highest bidder.

And Booley, so carried away in his own vision, that he imagined he was being conveyed in a carriage to meet with the Queen and all her wise advisers. Rosette, winged and webfooted, able to traverse land, sea and air, laughed at his antics from aloft.

A silent Ibis searching for her voice, she must save him for his reed, which Booley cut from the Lake Chad cove where she was born, and which alone can resonate to her frequency. Or so she believes. Booley, a scholar who knows classical Arabic and recites Hebrew is the very devil of a fellow at spinning tales. Even now, on display in the marketplace, he performs a for the crowd so adroitly that no one sees him picking the pockets of those who step too close to his bars. He exchanges the wallets of the dozen agents of the caliph, thus mixing up the cylinders and seals by which each identified himself and his mission. The agents being too slow-witted to adapt to their new roles, created such a commotion that no buyers could see Booley at all, so that when dusk fell, he remained unbought.

Here enter Rosie, following the great tradition of women who rescue men, heavily veiled, as the princess of Florestan, a tiny country north of the Hindu Kush whose inhabitants wore dazzling smiles. Rosette, Shimmering in the moonlight, strolls past Booley and after she passes an egg is seen to roll into the cage. Ever the clown, Booley fits it into the bell of his trumpet and uses the egg as a mute. He either does not know or does not care that the spoonbill--this particular variety of spoonbill, discovered by the Egyptologist Aubrey W. Holz--ovulates but once in 56 years. The Flying Dutchman got shore leave one year in seven. Rosie's odds were eight times as long.

Booley's raga rag in the rays of the full moon inspired Dog Juan and his faithful pack to a frenzy of Dionysiac ecstasy and they rampaged through the marketplace, overturning carts and knocking the hinges off Booley's cage.

Ever ready for adventure, Booley tucked the egg, which by this time he saw as a gleaming jewel, under his armpit, left his warm dry cell and swung up into a tree. Rosie, hampered by the veil, could not follow immediately, but sent her servants Tis and Tisn't, a pair of ducks, after him. Booley tripped from limb to limb until he reached the riverside, to the dismay of the ducks, where he hopped aboard an alligator, imagining it to be the royal barge, and drifted downstream.

While the ducks oscillated over whether they should follow the egg or report back to Rosie, or separate and do both, and if the latter which should report and which remain, Booley placed the jewel in a depression between the croc's eyeballs, and began to meditate upon it. Like the seven-colored shri yantra (except that being of zero genera the egg required only four colors) the egg locked on to Booley's neural nets and flipped all the memory circuits at once, so that what Booley had previously experienced serially, nacheinander, he now saw all at once, nebeneinander. He saw the crocodile and the royal barge, not to speak of several other conveyances including Gawain's stallion, the Argo, and Junior Johnson's 427-inch dirt track Chevy.

Kurt von Meier
Circa 1975