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MISJUDGMENT: A TALE OF THE TAFTS

The winds slowly shifted, and the morning woke with whippoorwills calling it to reality. T. G. Taft drowsily walked into his office, grumpily sitting in his office chair. "Susan, Oh Susan." He said grouchily, not really wanting to see his ugly secretary anyhow. Susan Smith the IV, however, was not ugly; Nay by far. She was as pretty as her mother was; It's just that she could no longer live up to Mr. Taft's new definition of beauty. She walked into his office, carefully so as to keep guard from any hastily thrown papers. "What's the report." He said, with a meaningless glance.

"Not too much today, sir. Slosh wants a raise again."

"Now you listen to me. I don't want to hear about it, do you hear me?" Susan coiled back, frightened to see her employer this angry. What was bugging him, anyhow?

"I'm sorry, sir."

"Never mind. What else."

"Well, Iffley, you know that wizard that belongs to Jonathan Pierce, well... Adena brought him back to life..." Susan lifted her notebook to her head, knowing what an outbreak this news would cause.

"Adena? Why'd she do that?"

Susan looked at him, amazed to find that the desk was still right-side-up. "Rumors have it that the two of them had grown up together. Maybe she likes him."

Taft stared at the wall. "Get out of here." Taft mumbled. "Leave me alone." Susan hurridly left, wanting to miss another outbreak of temper. After she had left, Taft sat in his huge office, and mumbled to himself, "What's he got that I ain't got?"

T. G. Taft II lay in his room, thinking. He was a boy, only 7 years of age, yet he had the intelligence of a scholar in college. To you this may seem incredible, but, then, look who his father was. He stared at the walls, wondering what was wrong with his poor daddy. He had been acting strange lately, and his only son worried greatly for him. "What is wrong, anyhow," He said to himself, "And how can I help?" He decided to find out. Taft II got up, and exited the now empty room.

The Taft house and the Taft office were in the same village square: In the little town of Taftville. Everybody in Taftville was happy, and the town, a planned community, looked like an ideal utopia. As the little Taft entered his Daddy's huge office building, he caught sight of his secretary, Susan Smith the IV. She was on the phone, and, the kid, since he had a huge curiosity, sneaked over to eavesdrop. "Yeah, Marge. I think he's in love with that Enchantress down south of here. Adena, yeah. Poor guy. I hear she's a real witch. Thinks that he's going to sneak up and steal something of hers. Yeah." This was all the little boy needed to know: He now realized what was troubling his poor daddy. "I must gain her trust," he said, "for daddy."

Late that night T. G. Taft the II slipped away from his cool bed. He raced over to his father's office: For he too knew the secret of the Tiara of Phumos. "I think I've got a plan," the boy said, "or at least I think I might." As he finally reached the door that held his father's greatest treasure, he found the Watchsworshk there as usual. He was able to pat it on the head, for the Sworshk knew the young boy that stood there. The two of them had long been friends, and the poor animal was happy to see the child. The youngster opened the office door and went in. He searched the room, and finally found what he had come for: Deep buried within a desk drawer came the famed Tiara of Phumos. The boy grabbed the tiara tightly, and concentrated on   a time far, far ago: A time where transportation to where he wanted to go would be possible.

The night was cool and dreary as the bog slowly cooled over the powdery mansion. As T. G. Taft II slowly materialized, he found himself within said mansion; within its very kitchen. The mansion itself was not empty: Upon careful examination the boy could see a man looking out a window, slobbering allover the floor, and, in one corner a Sworshk. "He's here. I've done it!" thought Taft II. He quietly walked over to Sworshk I, knowing the historic value of this creature, and patted it on the head. The creature, for some reason, showed no signs of fear, or anger for that matter, at the slowly approaching body. Taft drew up on the Sworshk, and, telling the directions to the object below him, whisked off into the night.

The Pool of Remembrance looked lucid and clear: There was no Iffley yet, no Jonathan Pierce, and no Adena. T. G. Taft II looked longingly into its waters, dazed by its shining brilliance. But he had a job to do; he concentrated tightly on the Tiara and murmured, "I've got to hit this exactly. One point in time...concentrate..."

Iffley held Adena tightly in his arms. He was quite worried about her...and he knew that he had to get her to his palace. He concentrated on transporting them back to his castle so hard that he did not notice the little boy that was hanging on his side. That little boy had hoped that this flow of emotion would indeed cover his presence, and, faster than he thought possible, he was at Iffley's palace.

Again young Taft lucked out: Everyone at the castle was so happy to see Iffley that they did not notice him. He sneaked around into the kitchen of the castle and hid under a table. From there he could see the prize he wanted: The famed Sceptre of Ozino was lying on a cupboard near him. Before he could get out and grab it, though, Jonathan Pierce, the Quiche, and others walked into the room. "Did you see what Iffley's got?"

"Yeah. And did you see what was around her neck--whew!"

"The sceptre and the beautiful 'Enchantress of Furanose'--what fun we're going to have!"

"Shhh! Iffley's back in the other room. Let's get back in there."

T. G. Taft II knew that the pretty girl held by Iffley would escape: Nonetheless he mourned at what type of sick people were those that had just left the room. "After all," he thought, "didn't she bring back one of their friends?" Quietly, the young boy got out from under the table and took the Sceptre that was lying on the counter. He then concentrated on the Tiara and took himself back in time: Once there it only took one whistle to gain access to a Sworshk. Again, after patting it on the head, the young boy whispered into the Sworshk's ear and sooner than he could have hoped, they flew into the pitch.

Flying over the water, Taft II grew more intense with excitement and anticipation over what was to come. The time seemed to drag on towards infinity: But after a little while, the country of Furanose appeared, and, just a little later still, a beautiful palace. The Taft landed the Sworshk near the palace, and told the animal beneath him to go back to his master Slosh.

After watching the creature flee off into the aproaching dawn, T. G. II concentrated deeply on the Tiara, and found himself back in the present. As he noticed that he was now next to Adena's palace, he picked up his feet and walked up to the its silvery gates. There was a guard there, and the boy asked him for permission to see Adena. The guard laughed to himself, knowing that such a little tyke could do no harm. Taft walked with the guard into the   castle, and found Adena in her study. "Madam, there is a visitor here." said the centurion. Adena turned around, and looked at the little boy that stood at the door. "And what do you want, little one?"

"I am here to present you with a gift: A gift from T. G. Taft."

"A gift?"

"Yes. Here." He gave her the Sceptre of Ozino, and her eyes gleamed with excitement as she stared at its beauty. "Where did you get this?"

"Mr. T. G. Taft wishes to present this to you as a gift; he congratulates you on ridding the planet of the infamous Enad the Great.

"He is too kind." "Hmm," She murmured to herself, "Perhaps I did misjudge him. Yes. Perhaps I did." She looked at the little boy again. "But who are you?"

"That is unimportant. But I would appreciate it if you could find away for me to get back to my home, that is, back to Taftville."

"Certainly." She accompanied him as they walked outside the castle, and, with a flick of her wrist, summoned a blue danae. She placed the child onto the winged animal, and sent them off into the sunset. "Yes. Perhaps I did misjudge him." she said as she watched the magical unicorn become one with the sunset.

"You did what?" screamed an angry T. G. Taft as his son told him his touching story.

"But I thought you would like it--after all, she might trust you now and..."

"You had one of the keys in your hands, and you gave it away? You dummy! You are grounded for three weeks. Get out of my sight!" As a sad little T. G. Taft II walked out of his father's office, T. G. Taft the elder sat back in his   chair, staring at the wall. He suddenly noticed Susan Smith the IV standing there, staring at him. "What are you looking at?" he demanded, throwing a stack of papers at her. She quickly walked out of the room, leaving the thrown papers lying on the barren floor. "Dummy. He had one of the keys. In his hand. Dummy." Slowly, he reclined in his chair. "Dummy" he thought to himself. Dummy perhaps: Yet, as much as he tried, he could not help but have that timid smile slowly appear across his tired face.


 © 1984, 

L. Charles, D. Conrad, A. Duncan, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft

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