November 23, 2010

The Ledgemoon is a story in which the chapters are like the spokes of a wheel. They go round and round. Lace and Harpo, pupil and teacher, alternate writing the chapters. The story concerns those twins up there, Fiss, on the left, and his sister, Sill, on the right. Excerpt below.


“I want to know. Know,” said Sill, turning to face her brother.

“You want to know what? What do you want to know?” asked Fiss, removing his wig of curly pink hair and tossing it aside.

“How can I know? How? I’ll know when I put my hands on the Ledgemoon. These hands,” said Sill, holding out her ungloved pale green hands.

The brother and the sister, twins, truth to tell, continued to peel off their Acrotwist Clown costumes. They made a pile of discarded slapshoes, pompon hats, frilly white collars, spats, a white puffy shirt with big red spots, a green and red striped puffy shirt with cinched elbows, two pairs of rainbow suspenders, three giant gold safety pins, flowery pantaloons with ribbons, jubbled pantaloons with one blue leg and one yellow, vertical socks with a black and white diamond pattern, pink sag socks, two pairs of white webbed handgloves, one wig of curly pink hair, one wig of frizzed rainbow striped hair, and two candy cane hankies. They knelt down and washed the face paint away with splashes of water from the Bay. What Bay? Fan Wa’s Bay. They stood and stared one at the other and back. Stood and stared. Twins. They wore identical collarless oat gray jumpers with reinforced knees and elbows. Their blue fire hair hung lankly. Lankly hung their blue fire hair in front of their watery sea green eyes. Sill had a habit of raking her hair out of her eyes and over her ears with her web-fingered pale green hands. Fiss never bothered, content to observe the world through the hanging lank blue fire strands.

“Which boots do you want? Which boots?” asked Sill.

“The gold, of course, the gold. What do you think? Are you thinking?” replied Fiss, claiming the springy gold hopperboots and pulling them on over his pale green webfeet.

“Just to be sure. To be sure. A question. Only a question,” mumbled Sill, sliding her own pale green webfeet into the common purple tagboots. “There now, there. We are ready. Ready.”

The twins marched along the silver sands. The moons were double full. Shallow shadows on gentle dunes. A strake of rushes grew down where the beach became rocky with jutting boulders. Fair and true, Sill and Fiss headed directly there. They waded through the waist high reedy rushes, splopping in the muck. Splop. Muck.

“That’s the boulder. That. The biggest one. Big. Mark off the paces. Count them. The paces,” said Sill in her creamy musical voice. Her voice was musically creamy and pleasant to hear.

“I see it. I see it. I’ll count. Count,” said Fiss in his not quite as creamy voice. “One, two, three, four, five, six. Here. I stand here.”

“Yes, yes. I go from … One, two, three, four, five, six. Here. I stand here. Now it should be … It should,” said Sill, craning her neck and squinting with her watery sea green eyes. “There!”

Both twins sploshed through the rushes and found what they’d been seeking. What had they been seeking? Truth to tell, by my well, a raft. A trampoline raft.

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