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U is for Uvulas

by on January 19, 2014

Last time in the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine had been transformed into a theremin by her evil father-in-law, moments after learning that the person she thought she had married was in fact a clone. (don’t you just hate it when that happens?). Catrina’s nemesis Susan had driven off the father-in-law, captured the powerful gopherwood wand and gone off to find Cthulhu, leaving poor theremin-Catrina all alone on a beach….

Ermingard had watched the whole thing from a distance via telescope. She hadn’t heard a word that was said, and she couldn’t read lips, which meant that she had to make educated guesses as to what was happening. She and Katrina (the alternate evil movie version of Catrina) were supposed to play backup, in case Catrina and Susan ran into difficulties with the Atlantean fleet. It looked like they had things well in hand, and Ermingard was beginning to think she wouldn’t have to fire her crossbow at all. She was vaguely relieved. War was such a depressing thing. Then again, to Ermingard, everything was depressing.

Then things had gone all pear-shaped somehow. Susan had gone off somewhere, and Catrina had gotten herself turned into what looked like, and yet not like, a piano. Ermingard had run down to the beach (a complaining Katrina in tow), but once she got there, she wasn’t sure what to do. On close inspection, the musical instrument Catrina had become didn’t look like any Ermingard knew. She tried to play it; nothing worked.  “Well. This is a problem,” she said drearily.

“Maybe I should smash it with my Sporksaber!” Katrina suggested, a manic light in her eyes.

“Maybe you shouldn’t.” Ermingard said.

Katrina huffed. “Well, what should I do? I’m supposed to be, like, evil, remember? Not evil like Susan, but more traditional evil. Rules and monologuing and black capes and all. So I should want to smash the theremin. And then you try to stop me and succeed, and I try again, and we keep on having glorious fights about it!”  She waved her arm about dramatically to illustrate her point. By pure chance, her arm swept over the theremin. A bit of electronic music burped out.

“Do that again, would you?” Ermingard said, suddenly interested. Katrina waved her hand again, and more music came from the theremin. “Huh,” Ermingard said. “Curious. It plays by air.”

“Yeah, yeah, it’s genius. Can we fight now?”

“We don’t have to fight at all,” Ermingard noted. “This is an interesting puzzle. We should be using the logic of pure reason to work it out.”

If Katrina had been huffy before, she was positively inflamed now. “I’m supposed to fight! I’m an antagonist! That’s what we do! I’m antag, you’re pro-tag, and between us we make conflict that advances the story!  Duh! If I can’t be an antagonist, I’m as useless as…as a uvula!”

Katrina was, of course, referring to the little thing that hangs down in the back of your throat, which is of course not entirely useless; it helps to make certain sounds in speech, for one thing. What she didn’t know was that, in Catrina’s particular country and time period, uvula is also a word of a particularly magical sort. Magic words were positively ubiquitous back then; indeed, one could hardly get through a sentence without invoking a magic spell of some sort or other. This is one reason why Latin isn’t used so much in modern times; people got tired of inadvertently changing their eyebrows into centipedes, for instance. Katrina had barely said the word when suddenly there was a flash and a bang, and the theremin vanished. In its place was a small china teacup. It was filled with a fragrantly spiced tea, and a cocktail umbrella floated merrily in it.

“Well, shazam!” said Katrina.

Ermingard was torn. Being a teacup didn’t seem any better than a theremin. But at least they were making progress. Also, she was suddenly a bit thirsty, and that tea did smell awfully good. But she worried about the possibilities. Suppose the tea was part of Catrina? If she drank it, and then transmogrified the teacup back, Catrina might wind up missing a leg or something. That could prove disastrous.  This required science. “Maybe you should say uvula again?”

“I still think I should smash her. But whatever. Uvula!”

There was a second flash and a bang. The teacup was gone. In its place was a shiny white unicorn, with skittles lying scattered about its hooves. Sunlight glinted off its ivory horn.

“Hey, this is fun!” Katrina giggled. “Uvula!”

A third flash. Now the unicorn had become a cow. The cow mooed at Katrina in a most irate manner. Had she been able to speak cow, she would’ve been highly offended. In loose translation, the cow meant to tell Katrina to knock it off and transmogrify her back to her proper form. But Katrina didn’t speak cow. “Uvula!”

Flash.

The cow had become a plastic Slinky.

“Uvula!”

Flash.

A fluffy white poodle.

“Uvula!”

Flash.

A cinnamon bun.

“Uvula! Uvula! Uvula!”

Flash flash flash.

In quick succession, a Christmas tree angel, a model of Downton Abbey, and a Frisbee.

“U-”  Katrina started to say again, bouncing up in down in excitement.

“Oh, let me try,” said Ermingard. “You aren’t getting us anywhere. Uvula.”

Perhaps it was her flat, unaffected tone that did it. At any rate, there was a flash of a slightly different hue, and all at once Catrina stood there, back in her proper human form. “And I do hope I stay that way for a good long time,” she said. “I am getting so tired of being transmogrified.”
This has been another exciting episode of the Catrina Chronicles. Be sure to tune in next time, for the very special 100th episode of the Catrina Chronicles. For the previous 98 episodes, go here. For my Amazon page where you can buy the first year of the Catrina episodes in proper book form. go here. And as always, thanks for reading!

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