Folderol came to me tonight while I sat on my screen porch. The rain had finally subsided and the cooler, much appreciated breezes carried only a small percent of the usual southern humidity. I was minding my own business, contentedly knitting when his image “loomed” at me (sorry for the pun:}). He whispered, not out of consideration, but conspiratorially like some thug offering watches from his coat down a dark alley. My knitting suddenly changed, more from an irritated curiosity that had been plaguing my mind. My fingers let go of the coarse green wool and reached for the perkier orange multicolored yarn. The new yarn was cast on, a waistline was formed, and then eyes stared back into mine.“Who are you?” I questioned him as I tied tufts of frayed yarn for head embellishment and mustache.
“I’m Folderol of the forests of the green mists, also known as the Forests of Malarkey,” he replied. This was no easy feat as he was yet to sport a mouth.
“Why have you come to me and why now?” I pushed for answers.
“We need your help. There will be more like me coming...” he began.
“You know, you were going to be a hat,” I couldn’t help interrupting.
“There will be time for hats later,” he interrupted back. “We’re coming on a quest. Our Princess has gone missing and we’ve been sent by the Royal Court to bring her back.”
“What happened to her?” I asked. Now we were getting somewhere.
“She’s been in a state of limbo for several years now, hopelessly trapped by an evil monster who refuses to let her go.”
“Wow! What kind of monster is it?”
“It’s called a Procrastinator. They’re fat, lazy, and totally self-absorbed. This particular one is relentless and evasive. It’s part of the Jacobian clan. They’re notorious for never releasing their prisoners. I, myself, almost didn’t make it through.”
“Wait a minute. My name is Jacoby! I know why you’re here. I’ve been working on finishing her. Honest! I just couldn’t decide how to finish her.”
All of a sudden, it became clear. I had been working on a hand-painted doll for the past – how many years? I just couldn’t decide how I wanted her to look. But now, the pressure was on. I didn’t want any pressure this summer. Just fun. Who was this creature making these demands on me? I reached out to grab the impertinent imp.
Folderol scooted sideways, out of my grasping hand, tentacles slithering along the floor and out the screen door. I grabbed my cane and hobbled after him, down the deck stairs and into the yard. He leapt onto a lowered branch of the Sparkleberry tree, still wet from rain, and faced me, unwavering.
“You’ve been warned. We won’t stop coming until you finish her,” he threatened. “And don’t start on another one until she’s released!” And following this last command, he rose into the air, spun three times and vanished with a hiss. A green misty glow lingered for several seconds and was gone.
“Ha!” I scoffed at the now empty tree. I plodded back to my house and gathered up my knitting. I deposited it in my workroom and reached to turn off the light. The hair rose on the back of my neck. I felt someone watching me. Spinning around, I stared into the eyes of the doll. They looked at me with steady expectation. “Yeah, right,” I muttered and closed the door behind me. “Still,...”