WHAT POWER IS THIS?
                     By Edward F Petersen

Old Grody Crumblebum the Undoer was grumbling as he went rumbling along. He was bored  . . . and he was looking for things to undo.

Oh yes, he’d been up to his tricks.  

Been waving his bent clock-hand wand.

And chanting his wicked incantation,
 
    “It all turns from what is to what isn’t.
     On this, all undoing depends.
     What I see here today, may it crumble away.
     Once the show starts it must end.”

But lately, all his undoings had been small, paltry and insignificant.

He had wilted a few red roses in Ms. Mohanty’s garden.

Rusted a couple of iron hinges on Farmer Bailey’s barn door.

Broke the high E string on Tommy Tang’s favorite guitar.

And he’d even cruelly popped Little Penney Bloom’s brand new purple balloon.

All these slight undoings were indeed mildly amusing. With every one, the heartless old undoer cracked the slightest smirk of a smile. None off them were important though, nor very satisfying. His smile unraveled after each undoing and the flapping soles on his untied, worn out shoes tickety-tocked back along his not so merry way.

 . . . But then, Old Grody stopped like a broken clock in his tracks. His tightly clenched fists relaxed. The frown disappeared from his hardened brow. A huge fiendish smile twisted way up his cheeks and stayed there as he happened upon something important to undo . . .  something very satisfying to undo.

It was a brand new wooden bridge; the only way across a deep, wide river. He could still smell the sickening, sweet scent of the freshly worked timber, and the shiny new bolt heads almost blinded his blood-shot eyes.

The Undoer clapped his hands together and laughed out loud. Oh yes, this was going to be fun! More fun than he’s had in a long, long time.

He pulled his bent clock hand wand from his belt and waved it at the bridge as he chanted his wicked incantation,
     
     “It all turns from what is to what isn’t.
      On this, all undoing depends.
      What I see here today, may it crumble away.
      Once the show starts it must end.”

. . . But nothing happened.

He went up and knocked on the bridge with his bony knuckles. It was built quite well. Perhaps this one would take some time for the undoing to kick in. Old Grody figured he’d catch a nap while he waited. He plopped down beneath a tree and dreamed sweet dreams of crumbling castles, of deserted windmills and of dying forests. But when he woke up, the bridge was still there not damaged in the least.

    “WHAT?” Old Grody was flabbergasted. How could this be? Perhaps he needed some help from the elements,

    “It all turns from what is to what isn’t.
     On this, all undoing depends.
     What I see here today. may it all BURN away.
     Once the show starts it must end.

Old Grody spread his arms wide and held his bent clock hand wand high as the clouds gathered and the sky darkened. He was almost shaken out of his untied, worn-out shoes as thunder rumbled and boomed. Bolts of lightning crackled and sizzled. They struck the bridge over and over.

He watched patiently for a flame. . . but not even one tiny flicker flared up.
   
    “WHAT?” He complained again. How about this then.”

The Undoer climbed up onto a rock ledge and took a deep breath. He waved his bent clock hand wand harder than he had ever waved it before,

    “It all turns from what is to what isn’t.
     On this, all undoing depends.
     What I see here today. may it all WASH away.
     Once the show starts it must end.”

Torrents of rain poured down out of the sky. The river rose and rose. It sped wildly down crashing into the bridge and tumbling over the deck. And it kept rising until the top tie beams of the bridge were the only part showing above the ferocious flood. And then the bridge completely disappeared below the water.

Old Grody was spent. He was soaked and out of breath. He stuck his bent, clock hand wand back into his belt. The rain stopped and the sky gradually cleared. The sun came out and sparkled on gentle ripples as the river settled back down within its banks.

The Undoer rubbed his bloodshot eyes. UNBELIEVABLE!

The bridge was still there; solid, strong and splendid.

In all his years, which were more than can be counted, Old Grody Crumblebum had never been foiled. He had sunk unsinkable ships and had flattened fortresses built to last forever. What power was this which was mightier than his own?

. . . Then, he noticed a small plaque attached above the entrance to the bridge. He hobbled over to it and put on his cracked spectacles. After he read it, he knew this was one thing he could never undo no matter how hard he waved his bent clock hand wand, nor how many times he chanted his wicked incantation. He realized he had finally come up against a power which was mightier than his own. So Old Grody Crumblebum the Undoer headed off toward his home in the sunset grumbling as he went rumbling along.

The plaque said, “This bridge was built together by ancient enemies who have now become true friends.”


Copyright © 2015 Edward F. Petersen – All Rights Reserved