Some time ago I was quite naive. I had the crazy thought that a good gift for the people who I most appreciated or I cared about it was to write a story which would inspire them. Sadly, soon I learnt that, for a reason which I unknown, people did not read the story with the classical moral concept or like a teaching if not they liked to put themselves in the story, like if it was a role game. Some even needed to find on any part of the story a mysterious meaning or a symbolic metaphor which would guide them in their future. No, I am not talking only about readers of my work. I am talking about people with who I have shared my past and I passed my time with.
Sadly, most of the things which a real storyteller writes do not have a direct meaning or symbolic representation. I mean: probably a psychoanalyst could read this work and s/he could use techniques to try to give an answer or explanation to what the subconscious creates but that does not mean that the symbols have a direct simile with what it is going to happen with someone in the real world.
In any case, and because this is a long theme to talk about and which I prefer to leave for another occasion, one of the main problems that to write a tale for someone has is that the person who does not have a tale dedicated becomes jealous. They start: “Oh, why her and not me?” All those kind of things… People fight one against the other. I decided to take a Solomonic option: no more dedicated tales for no one. And then, I, ruefully, discovered that the problem is not that I dedicated the tale or the text to anyone if not people insist in to believe or to “see” that my fiction is dedicated to someone or it represents someone. When, most of the times, actually this is not how it works at all.
Maybe for this reason and for a bunch of so much more which had been happening in the past months… Maybe because it is my Birthday around the corner too. I have decided to write this tale to myself but not because I believe I am one of the characters if not because I want this tale will always remember me something. And to my weird way of to see the things, this is the way I like to do the things. Some people will understand my way of thinking. Probably a lot of people will not. In any case, I hope both of you enjoy the fiction tale and if it helps you in anything like it does with me, you can let me know.
Do you know those times in life when everything seems to go wrong? Yes, those moments use to happen a lot… To start, you have done your laundry and, without knowing why, you have lost two of your socks. One pair was royal blue while the other one was red. You are sure you have washed both pairs one by one on your sink rubbing them with your hands. You are so sure of that. So sure like you have squeezed them and you have put both pairs to dry on a clothing line. Once dried, you have taken them from there to deposit them smoothly on their respective assigned drawer on the only one tallboy which you own for to keep all your clothes at your small room at the 21 of Oxford Gardens. Suddenly, they have magically disappeared. It does not matter how much time you invest searching in your room, turning upside down all the drawers and checking if there is something which has fallen to other box or to the inner back side. It does not matter that you waste your time because you know that the missing socks are not there and your only option is going to be to wear mismatched socks until you can earn enough nickels to buy a new matched pair but then, it is going to happen the same again. So, naturally, you begin to forget about common wear laws and aesthetics and you start your own fashion trends. You do not really believe the odd sock trend started because a designer said it, do you? Absolutely not! It was because on the newspaper where I worked everybody had fun with me, Sebastian Canny runner and aspirant to be a journalist. Without knowing why or how, I found that my mismatching problem was not a problem at all, simply… How did they call it? “A writer’s eccentricity.” So, I bought it and I did not worry anymore in to have to save a penny to have to wear matched socks.
One day, I will tell you the story of why the socks really disappear but not today because now it is time to start to talk about the bad luck. It does not only start with the socks. There is a series of different incidents which could happen in your life which determinate the real accuracy of what we call… Well, bad luck. And no! Black cats do not have the fault at all of that series of disastrous events in which it could be involved: since a fall when you are simply walking until that the person that you love gives you pumpkins, or that a dog pees your pants, mismatched sock and shoes when you are waiting to cross the road while you are waiting for the change of the traffic light. It really sucks when you cross with that kind of dogs…
Some people believe the origin of all this kind of disgraces is because someone looked bad at you. In other words, what our grannies said: “He has cursed you.” Of course, like if someone with mystical powers has put a jinx on you, you can do nothing about it, just to stare stoically under the stormy dark cloud until it will decide to pass. That, or to do a bunch of no sense rituals to keep the bad luck away from you. You all know a bit of some of them, don’t you? They say you must always start the day stepping with the right foot and they finish saying that you must fill your room with all kind of amulets or stupid ugly things which will prevent that everything bad will stay away from you. In some cases, people start to wear those preventive amulets too but that is also another tale.
What if I told you that your real problems of bad luck are not, in most cases, because someone has cursed you or he has envy of you. Yes, I know, it is mind-blowing but it is the truth. When Mrs Arnsworth told me the real origin of most of the daily bad luck things, omit the sock issue, I was like: “Is this woman trying to fool me?” But, actually, she was right as she always is. So what I could do it better, as an aspirant to a journalist, to look for the right proves to demonstrate that what she was telling me was right? And then, to keep the record of it on paper as a real issue of the problem which happens globally and no one had noticed it happens.
The real problem with the cases of “bad luck” or strange sudden temperament changes of the people who are around you, it is not a powerful witch has cursed you. The problem is you have a Chirpywangler’s pest, probably in your own home or surroundings. You could have several or just one but with one, it is more than enough.
It was a Sunday when Mrs Arsnworth explained to me how those creatures feed themselves of people and of the chaos generated by their bites. We were at her house, like it was usual, enjoying some classical afternoon tea old fashion style. Finally, Worf and I were friends and he did not snarl at me each time I appeared. In fact, the good creature was laying next to my feet and, despite I could not see him, I knew he was sleeping soothing at my feet.
I was telling to Mrs Arsnworth the strange things which were happening to me since I arrived in London, at least one year ago. I had never had in mind none of those small incidents but since she entered in my life I felt everything in this world had an explanation: a logical one, regardless of what some of you could think. I was going to tell her what had happened last Friday on the newspaper when she just said: “Oh, dear…” And without to have the opportunity of to say anything else, she took my cup of tea and she added some lemon and extra honey to it.
“That’s much better, dear. You must drink it that way for a while. Now, let me see your neck.” She stood up, put her tiny glasses on and before I even noticed, she was inspecting my neck and ears moving my shirt and sweater without any qualm. After a quick examination, she said “Ah ha! Here it is!”
“It’s a mosquito bite. On these days they’re extremely annoying at night.”
“No, it’s not, my dear, that’s what you thought it is, but it’s not at all that.” She took the lemon slice and she rubbed it on my neck. It really hurt and I protested about that. “Don’t be a child! Look!” She showed me the lemon slice, it had become purple. She threw it directly to the chimney fire and some purplish and green flames devoured the piece of citric. It made a spooky noise. Almost, I am sure I could have heard a languid cunning whisper saying “To the hell with you and with all who burn me.”
“What was that?”
“I’m glad that despite you are visionless you’re not so deaf at all,” said Mrs Arnsworth sitting back on her armchair and picking up her teacup with her ladylike style. “You should drink yours, my dear. It’s the best medicine about your bad luck problems that you’re going to find.”
I obeyed her instructions. If there was something that I have learnt from that woman over the past months was that she was right. “Could you please, explain to me what was that?”
“Indeed,” she continued with the following story while both of us enjoyed some sandwiches and extra sweet tea. “The thing that it has been messing around you all this time is a Chirpywangler.”
“A Chirpy, what?”
“Chirpywangler. It’s called like that because it speaks on this kind of whispers or chirps which could not be really classified like tweets of any bird or any other creature alive. Just in the strange way as you’ve heard it.”
“Is that the thing which has been hiding my clothes and eating my food?”
“No,” said she blunt. “I’m afraid that for some sort of strange reason a bunch of magical creatures are following you. Fact, which I don’t really understand, because it’s normal to find those kinds of cases on averaged kids which must be prepared but not in visionless adults like you. Are you completely sure you don’t remember anything strange that it could happen to you when you were a kid?”
“I’ve already told you that I’ve never talked with any sort of imaginary friends, gnomes, pixies or other creatures.”
“Indeed you did. Well, I suppose someone should have to keep the record of all of this. So let me explain what a Chirpywangler does. It’s a parasite which feeds of three things. Two are purely physical and the third one is more… How to say it for let you understand? It’s more abstract. Because it cannot even be qualified of a feeling, neither a sensation, it’s, actually, the reaction to a behaviour.”
“I’m afraid I don’t get it. I’m getting lost.”
“But is the tea helping you, my dear? I understand you’re quite old for understand those things.”
“Yes, I feel more comforted. Like more cheerful,” answered I, knowing that I should not get offended by Mrs Arnsworth sharp sentences.
“Good, good. You’ll see, one of the things a Chirpywangler does when it feeds on you, it’s to bite you. The bite by itself it’s not important. It could be confused with any insect bite. The problem is its tiny teeth contain spellios: a poisonous substance which makes people upset and to talk a lot, mostly, of things they should not. In overdose, it can cause madness or it can make the people who are listening you will think you’re losing your judgement. I’m afraid that for what you’ve been talking to me, you aren’t the only one which has suffered from the bites of that cunning creature. Probably, your landlord too. That would explain her strange sudden changes of mood. Maybe someone at your office must have a problem with that creature, not the same, of course, that wouldn’t be probable. At least you’re neighbours. Oh dear, I just hope we aren’t having another Chirpywangler’s pest like the one on 1822…” She took a smoked salmon sandwich and she ate it looking towards nowhere without to say a word. I felt worried too but I did not know what to do. So, I simply took another sandwich and I copied her with the same look.
After some undetermined pass of the time, she continued: “You must know, Sebastian, that one of the main things which satisfy a Chripywangler is the chaos. It feeds on that, not only of physical things. For this reason, when they bite anyone they find their food in the reactions that this person, or animal, have with the other people who surround him, her or it.”
“That would explain why that Jack Russell terrier hates me a lot…”
“Indeed, my dear. Indeed,“ after a long pause, she continued: “Have you considered to get out of London and to go back to your Highlands?”
“Absolutely, no! Why should I do that?”
“Because you’ll resolve two problems in one: your life would be totally normal again and you’ll keep as blind as a bat.”
“I’ve already told you I left that place because I want to learn.”
“And I must to give thanks that you’ve just left your kilt back there despite, I can’t say the same of some of your obtuse ways. They make me very hard to explain… What it isn’t common for the normal people: what it belongs to a more wide universe.”
“Do you mean creatures from other planets? Because I believe that.”
“Oh no, you closed-door locker! How do you have the nerve to say the most foolish thought that it has come to your mind!”
“Aliens and Extraterrestrials are very trendy on these days. People at the newspapers don’t stop to talk and to write about that.”
Mrs Arnsworth stared at me with her deep big blue eyes. I am not sure if she was thinking that I was impossible or a lost case. But I was scared. Suddenly, she took her umbrella from nowhere and she hit my head like she did on the first day. I felt like she was filling herself of good doses of patience before to continue with what we had left behind. Like it was usual, I could not see the umbrella again. Like if it had evaporated with some sort of trick I could not understand.
“Let’s focus again on your problem. Shall we?” I nodded speechlessly with my head. She continued with the fantastic explanation of how those evil parasites affect people and, indirectly, the people or the things which are at their side.
“A Chripywangler has a log viper tong. When you see one of those creatures you cannot really imagine they can have that inside but, still, they have. Their lingua can reach more than seven meters long which can make easy for those things to feed on a lot of beings without to be noticed at all. The teeth that contain the spellios are located on the same tong. In most cases, some of those small denticles keep on the skin of the person of who they had fed. Just like you’ve checked when I rubbed and tossed the lemon slice into the fire.”
“I see… And why is it possible to hear that chirp if the thing isn’t here? I mean, if it was only some teeth on my neck… How has it been possible to hear a voice when you’ve burned it?”
“One of the things you must learn first is not all the beings are ruled by the common laws that some obtuse people taught you at school. The only one who had certain approach about how all the real life works was Darwin and some donkey heads which were more close to the Neanderthals than to the Homo Sapiens Sapiens made him change his lines to avoid conflicts with all this kind of religious… things,” said she putting her classy blunt tone making emphasis on the things.
“Are you telling me that all those religious beliefs aren’t right?”
“Of course not! Each one is free of to believe in what they want. After all, all the beliefs are based on historical events of some sort. The problem is not the belief by its own if not when people use the belief as an excuse to don’t allow other opinions: it does not matter if those opinions are right or wrong.”
“So do you believe in God and in powerful beings which control the universe?”
“Why not? Do you, my dear?”
I was dubitative. I felt like her deep blue eyes were reading something else apart from my mind while she was looking at me. “I’m not… I mean… It’s not that I don’t…”
She looked at me more inquisitive twisting her head lightly to one side while she was holding her cup of tea and saucer. In other circumstances, it would have been the classy lady like look on a small chat. On that moment, it felt like if the Her Majesty herself was sat in front of me doubting about my loyalty to the kingdom on an extremely vital talk for the future of the people and the country. That was the powerful vibrancy that an old woman like Mrs Arnsworth had. A power to project on the people around her. She was extremely sweet but scary. She kept with her inquisitive look until I found the enough courage to speak again.
“It isn’t that I don’t believe in God. Is just… I don’t think he is present in everything we do. If not, for example, it won’t exist those disgusting creatures.”
“Your intentions are pure but your logic is wrong. It’s necessary that it exist darkness to let the light to shine. Darkness and evil aren’t only for to make people suffer if not they are like trials or challenges that each individual must overcome. We’re here to improve ourselves not for to live without any problem at all. Despite, certain people, must carry with bigger burdens or responsibilities than most of the rest of the world. Like you, for example, my dear. I am not sure yet, why you and not a younger one with a more open mind. However, be sure that what you are going to experience or to learn it’s just the beginning of a series of events which will feel overwhelming in most than one instance.”
“What do you mean…?”
“Better I don’t spoil the surprise and we keep with this chirpywangler problem. Shall we?” said she tittering slightly to something which I though it was really scary instead of fun. “Not all the creatures live on a physical body. We’ve got that perception of the things because it’s like in part society has taught you. You don’t really have the fault about that, seriously, and don’t put that face, you’re a gentleman, not a child.”
“Some living things can have life in something which technically is not physical, meanwhile other things can live in several parts. Like… Bees, for example, you can consider each one of the insects as an individual but all of them work together for a final purpose or for the own sake of the community and their queen. Do you understand this, my dear?”
“Yes, it’s the same which happens with ants.”
“Exactly, it’s the same. With a Chirpywangler their denticles work exactly like that. They’re the ones which chirp not the Chirpywangler by itself. That’s the reason you’ve heard that. Maybe I should make you a test. Maybe you’re visionless but you can hear…”
“I don’t know what you mean…”
“Don’t worry, we’ll figure out that other day. When a tooth or several of those parasites is on the skin, most of the people can’t hear the chirps but their brains can. Sadly, they got affected by that. Some people start to think they’re becoming crazy because they’re hearing voices when, in fact, they’re really listening to a chirpywangler suggesting bad things which will mess with that fellow poor life.”
“I’ve heard some things when, sometimes, I’ve been quiet in my room but I couldn’t…”
“You couldn’t remember or to say exactly what they told you?” said she completing my sentence.
“Yes! That was exactly what I was going to say!”
“Don’t worry, my dear, it’s exactly what it happens with those things.”
“I don’t know, at the beginning, they were quite distracting. I though if I could have some wartspurts living on my ears but then I remembered they weren’t catalogued like a magical creature and that’s a fictional thing.”
“Who has told you that?” asked she severely.
“I’ve just read about it… It was a book. I don’t remember the name of who wrote that… It’s a complicated one.”
“Indeed, my dear. It isn’t a current name at all. On any case, I keep recommending you to have a more open vision, despite your lack of that,” sentenced her fatally. I decided to keep quiet and just let her talk. Obviously, I had perpetrated some kind of zoologic classification crime inside the magical world… Or, whatever all this kind of new things is called.
“Before your mouth can say any other incoherent pearl and before you’ll ask any other thing: no, chirpywanglers aren’t like wartspurts at all. They’re neither elves, gnomes, pixies, even less, boggarts. Is that perfectly clear?” I nodded my head silently. “Good! For your unperceptive mind let me add that a chirpywangler can look like an Egyptian cat. It’s not a cat! It’s the disguise the creature uses for the people who aren’t trained in the Paegnium Art! Anyway, it can look like that but to the real eyes, it has a hairless body, bigger head than the rest of its body and extreme long pointed ears which are torn or bitten in several parts. That’s because certain chirpywanglers fight one between others trying to feed themselves even of their own species.”
“May I say something?” said I shyly.
“Pray, do it. But, please, allow me a few breaths first. I need some extra phlegm with people like you.”
I left her to take some deep breaths. To what some people can be thinking because I must recognise I thought that too, there was nothing on that quirky expression related with the boogers. After what it looked like a time in which she was looking for peace in herself she made me a lightly gesture with her hand as an indication that I could proceed with my, most than certain, dumb doubt.
“I think I’ve seen the creature but I couldn’t be sure if it’s a cat or not.” I got her keen attention so quickly that her deep sight made me move unquietly on the sofa where I was having this sort of interview with my strange new companion. “It’s the ugliest thing I’ve seen in my life. It’s my landlord’s pet, actually, and it has both of their ears quite chewed, like if it has had a huge fight. My landlord insists it was the evil dog of the neighbour. The Jack Rusell terrier about which I have talked with you but, after this, I’m not so sure about who is the good or who is the bad.”
Mrs Arnsworth left her back rest on the back of her armchair with her two arms laying on each one of the sides. She stared at me with that powerful energy which made me no other option than to feel like I was a poor cat. “I’ll need to talk with that dog.”
“For what it concerns to you, never mind. Certain creatures, obviously, have more abilities than other ones.”
“Alright, so what should I do then?”
“For the moment nothing, my dear. The only remedy for to solve a problem like this is to find the real origin of it and you aren’t qualified, yet, to do that.”
“And that’s it! Like that! If that thing is really messing around and turning other people mad using a fake disguise we must act!”
“Sometimes it’s better to have a good plan before to send the troops to war. Don’t you think that?”
“Well… I don’t…”
“Yes, obviously, you haven’t lived that times and you neither know about that. There are only two things you can do, for your own sake: One is if you see any other insect bite rub lemon on it. Then, burn the citric piece. If it’s a Chirpywangler bite you’ll remove the bad thing of you, which will prevent you’ll say more absurd things. Well, it wouldn’t really prevent your lack of quality comments but at least it will prevent the most dangerous behaviours and foolishness for yourself. In another hand, if it’s a common and simple insect bite. The lemon will help as antiseptic so you’ll not have to worry about it.”
“Alright, thanks. And which is the second thing?”
“To drink extra honey sweet with lemon juice tea.”
“Is that really a medicine?”
“No. It’s a cure. The best remedy against spellios bites are the ingredients that I’ve mentioned and some good laughs. It’s well known the curative power of to smile on that science called homoeopathy.”
“Excuse me, my lady, but I haven’t found this conversation fun at all.”
“That’s, my dear because you’ve not received any training at all.” She looked at me and she smiled slightly. I noticed the weight of Worf moved, somehow, he was not laying next to my feet anymore. “You can go now. We’ll talk more next week. I think you already know where the door is.”
She just made a gesture with her hands like taking me out of her place. I was starting to familiarise myself with that kind of strange situations and interviews but she had let me worried this time: how could I defend myself of that cunning thing or of the other strange creatures that for a reason which she did not even know were following me? What was that thing which had been planned for me? Definitely, it was better to do not look back and to continue with whatever that thing was going to be.
I closed her door and I walked outside towards her small backyard which led directly to the park. I doubted in if to go back to the newspaper to use their typing machines or to go back to my small room. Finally, I decided it was better to go back to my place.
With the time and more conversations with this prodigious woman, I discovered a few interesting things like it seems it was my naive character the one which makes her loose her temper and composure, but a few more things about fantastic beings also.
For incredible that it could result to you, a Chirpywangler is not the thing which eats your socks, that is called a Sokten and despite those small troubles which it creates it is quite inoffensive. Chirpywanglers, on another hand, are treacherous, evil and cunning. They are also quite disgusting.
If someone is not well trained or does not have an open vision mind they are easily confused by extreme ugly Egyptian cats. However, that is the natural disguise that a Chirpywangler adopts to start to fool everybody whom it considers its victim.
Chirpywanglers are nothing else than parasites. They feed themselves of any creature: human, dog or cat. They favourite meals: chaos, blood and earwax. They are quite disgusting, in special, when they are upset because they cannot feed themselves of all the chaos and madness that they would like.
They are hairless and their head it is quite bigger than the rest of their body, with long pointed ears which, in some cases, they are crooked or they have several scars or bites. That is because some Chirpywanglers fight between them, they parasite even their own species: their lust and gluttony are insatiable until the points that Lazarus Misplanttcker documented on that famous 1822 pest to have seen Chripywanglers parasitising one to each other until they killed themselves.
Sadly, I needed some Spectatricums glasses to see the true appearance of those things but I can assure you, you have not missed any funny thing. However, I am not going to advance how the Chirpywangler problem was resolved. It passed so many stories and tales between that. It would not be fair and real objective as a journalist that I am to annoy the readers telling them the end. That would not be fair, just like those new modern French films are doing. You are not sure of what is going to happen in the story because they use all kind of new improvised techniques or cuts. Sometimes, it is better to be quite reserved and to do not try to always be “á la vanguarde”.