Those who knew him know know know that Chickenhead was bat shit crazy. Ode need only read this little story to understand that.
Monday, 3/26 - Calligrapher's Code
It was my genius idea to take a calligraphy class this semester. For some reason, the class required two books totaling forty dollars. Even with the relatively low cost for an English major’s paperbacks, as compared to the fifty-plus-dollar math and science books, this was not in my budget. So I skipped the bookstore, and my friends Rick and John accompanied me to the college library. To my chagrin, the book was out. Wonderful, now we had to go to the town library. You would think that a town filled with extras from Deliverance wouldn’t bother building a library, but, sure enough, the Jethro Bodine Memorial Library stood within walking distance from campus.
The library didn’t seem to devote itself to having sections. My first random glance at the shelves found Don’t Shoot, It’s Just Me by Bob Hope, How To Catch Clams By The Bushel, and Kabuki Theatre of Japan all catalogued next to each other. We set about our task to find the elusive calligraphy books.
“What are these books called?” Rick asked me.
“The Calligrapher’s Code,” I replied.
“What’s it about, Caligula?”
“No,” John interrupted. “It’s like a lie-detector test.”
“When is your first assignment due?” was Rick’s next question.
“In three weeks.”
“Oh, please. You’ve got plenty of time.”
“I’m not into procrastinating.”
“Oh, come on,” John said. “Everyone does it.”
I said PRO-CRAST-in-ating, you nitwit.”
“Hey,” Rick said. “I should probably look for a book for my Vietnamese sign language class.”
“Look, here it is.” As soon as Rick left, I found it. I knew he was bad luck. “The Calligrapher’s Code.”
“I know what that is now,” John said. “That’s when you have more than one wife.”
“Idiot,” I said. “It’s like writings and shit. You’ve got Roman, Gothic, Celtic, Arabic, Islamic. You can use it for diplomas and wedding invitations.”
“You ain’t graduating, and who would marry you? And who would you invite? Dennis Johnson?”
“Celtic!” I said. “With a K sound. Not like the Celtics. Hey, it says ‘Oriental brush lettering and Roman stone carving are equally a part of what we call calligraphy today’.”
“Yeah, great,” John said. “Do you think they have The Rock’s book here?”
“I somehow doubt it.”
“Hey, remember card catalogs?”
“Vaguely. Those were the days. Where’s Rick? Let’s get out of here.” We caught up with Rick and stood in line patiently, discussing those who are screwed now that Vince McMahon owns WCW, when it happened. A large, hideous creature entered, and not too politely.
“Holy shit!” John said.
“Dude, what the hell is that?” Rick followed.
“Oh, dear,” I said. “Is that…”
“I am Hrothgar!” the beast interrupted me.
“I was gonna say that,” I protested.
“Who the hell is Hrothgar?” Rick asked.
“I killed Beowulf, John F. Kennedy, and Jimmy Hoff-…I, um, I killed Beowulf.”
“Did he kill Beowulf?” I asked.
“I didn’t read the book,” John said.
“What’s the Bay of Wolf?” Rick said.
“And now,” Hrothgar exclaimed, “I will kill you all!”
“Excuse me,” John said as he fled from the scene.
“You pus…” I tried to yell at him, but Hrothgar stopped me.
“Watch the potty mouth in front of Hrothgar,” the beast was apparently offended. We stood in the middle of the library, fearing for our lives. Rick produced a set of rosary beads from his pocket.
“Dude,” I said, “I didn’t know you were Catholic.”
“I’m not,” then he threw the beads at Hrothgar futily.
“Rick,” I said sternly, “He’s not a vampire, and this isn’t Mardi Gras. We’re dead." Suddenly, someone fell down the stares and landed right at Hrothgar’s feet.
“Is it a bird?” I asked. “A decrepit, old, very sick bird?”
“Is it a plane?” Rick said. “Probably the exact plane the Wright Brothers crashed before the successful flight?”
No, it was Root Beer Float Man, here to either save or die along with us.
“Never fear,” our hero said. He then punched Hrothgar in the testicles and we ran like hell. We got halfway to our dorm when Rick and I turned around and Root Beer Float Man was gone. Seconds later, John showed up.
“John, where the hell were you?” I asked him.
“I had to get a book,” he said. “Mein Kampf.”
“Mm-him,” I said. “And who wrote Mein Kampf?”
“Uh-huh, and where is this book?”
“Hrothgar’s dog Gmork ate it. What do you want from me? Can we just go?”
“Okay, Atreju,” I said. “Let’s get the hell out of here. I think Gmork was a wolf, by the way. Not a dog.”
We never spoke of the incident again.