Welcome to the new Stream of Consciousness fiction blog.

A serial adventure in fiction by Brad Sondahl

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Chapter 35
The Nose of Death (continued)

   "Well, it was Bill, but then my account got transferred to Korea..." said OD.
    "I'm not surprised--probably by now so has mine. But the point is, were you brought here in search of a Nose?"
    "It could be, but then again, perhaps not.  If I were to say yes, we'd probably have to share the fortune..."
    "It must be a different nose," I said.  "My nose promises unlimited happiness."
    "Well, so did mine," said OD.  "So I assumed there was a fortune involved."
    We decided to form an alliance, since there seemed little else to do that wouldn't involve bloodshed.   But in the end Arup's House of Idols didn't yield any noses either.  
    Gupta was flummoxed.  After hemming and hawing, he admitted to one more cache of Idols.
    "But it's right in the tourist center of Rajnoor City.  The Tourism Office has some idols in their "Welcome to Rajnoor" display, but I think they're all fakes...
    Since it was on the way back to our hotel, the three of us trudged to it wearily.

   Inside the Tourism Center, we were greeted by a large golden idol resembling a laughing Buddha, or possibly Ronald McDougal, the famous fishburger clown.  This idol clearly had cheap cut glass ruby colored eyes, but what drew our attention was the nose.  It looked like a red rubber ball.  Some children were in the room, reaching up and honking the nose, which seemed connected to a party horn.  When they tired of their infantile amusement, we supplanted them and examined the nose in detail. It pulled loose on a cable, and was indeed nothing more than a red bicycle horn.
But on the back of the horn, were printed in beautifully legible English:
    "The key to happiness is a vacation touring the Idols of Rajnoor--Enjoy your stay--the Rajnoor Tourism Center."

I took off my Memory Glasses (which were also passable reading glasses) and stared at the glasses in disgust.
    "It was just a marketing scheme," I said.  "Either that or some Trojan spammer took over the regular operating system for these glasses.  Clearly it was just a ploy to get tourists to come to Rajnoor."
    "Ooh, that makes me mad," said OD.
    Gupta said--"It is evening, and time to sit on the veranda, drink cool drinks, and enjoy the panorama of a Rajnoori sunset.  We have a saying here--If today was bad, that improves the chance that  tomorrow will be better."
    After a couple days, OD and I adapted to the local speed of life (the tropical version of glacial), and we had  a nice vacation.  I sent Alice a lovely if sheepish  postcard, and arranged to have some local artisans build banjos for me, so the trip wasn't a financial disaster.  After  a few days OD headed off into the jungle in search of some new treasure, but by then I was convinced that the Rajnoori Tourist Office was right--
The key to happiness is a vacation touring the Idols of Rajnoor.  But I threw away the glasses when  I got home...

Chapter 36
Infectious Laughter
    While on a plane from Rajnoor to Detroit, where Phil was to connect to his home airport of Lilac City, the plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Hawaii due to a medical problem up in First Class.  There are several reasons Phil isn't narrating this, which may or may not become obvious as the story progresses.   Although international planes are large, they become small communities when something untoward happens,  where medical personel emerge from the rows of even the steerage class to see how they can help.  And being small communities, word spreads quickly.  
    So by the time Doctor Schnabel returned to his seat, most of the people around had heard there was someone having trouble breathing... What surprised them was the way the doctor was chuckling as he returned to his seat.

    "He will probably be fine," the doctor said to his wife...  "Apparently the guy just heard a joke so funny that he couldn't get his breath back for laughing..."
    "Then why do we have to make an emergency landing?  And why are you laughing?"  asked his wife...
    "Well, he still can't get his breath back, and is still laughing.  He chokes out part of the joke and then falls back to cackling.  No one else had a better idea than to land and let some hospital deal with him..."  The doctor started chuckling again.
    "I only heard part of the joke, but it was pretty good.  You see a dog goes into a bar..."  He broke off, and started chuckling again...
    "There can't be a funny enough dog- in- a- bar joke to make someone ill,"  she said.
    "That's what I thought," said the doc, only... "  He started chuckling again.

   Fortunately for Phil, he couldn't hear more of what the doctor said.  Usually he enjoyed overhearing conversations as much as the next person would, but in this case it proved to be lucky that he couldn't.  Soon there were fits of laughter from the doctor's row, and several got up and fell into the aisle, where, if they could have, they would have rolled in the aisle.  But if you've traveled by jet, you realize the aisles are as unrollable as the seats are unsittable.
    Before Phil could ascertain more, the "Fasten Seatbelts" sign came on, and the crew announced preparation for landing.  After landing the passengers were all told to stay in their seats, but because there were more pockets of laughing getting out of control, they finally insisted everyone deplane.  Because the plane had made its emergency stop in Iceland, the first stop for everyone off the plane was customs.  Given the circumstances, this should have been a snap, since no one was likely to be smuggling anything into a country they had no reason to expect to be in.  However, the cavalier attitude of the passengers, laughing in the face of the customs officers, raised the officers' bureaucratic hackles.
    Bureaucratic hackles were no match for this laughing phenomenon.  The more the officers raised their voices and threatened, the more the affected passengers chortled.  In the customs area, there was plenty of room for aisle rolling, and many of the passengers made the best of it.  The customs officers berated the ship's crew for serving too much liquor, but the crew, those which weren't involved in the frivolity, denied everything and were totally mystified.

    All those affected by the laughing fits were sent off to the hospital to be examined.  The somber lot left behind tried to piece together what had happened.  Some, like Phil, knew there was a Dog in a Bar joke somehow involved, and he mentioned that to the group.  A business traveler, hearing that, said, "Oh, it was a dog!"  Then he started chuckling.  
    A few minutes later, the man was led off by people wearing biohazard suits, and Phil was taken in for questioning.  Slowly the authorities began to piece together the story.  The detective inspector made a fatal mistake, however, in pursuing all the questioning himself.  It was in questioning the 4th or 5th person after Phil, a woman who had heard there was a raincoat involved, that the Inspector slapped his head and exclaimed, "A raincoat!" and began laughing hysterically.  His associates, who had been outside the door during the interrogations, came rushing in, and removed him at gunpoint.

    After that, the passengers were taken to a hotel, and told not to discuss any part of the incident with anyone except designated officials. They were left to rest overnight, and by morning brawny American agents with crew cuts and sunglasses were going door to door, soliciting any part of the joke that had started it all.  However, once they secured any part of the joke, they broke off interviewing, for fear of contamination, and typed their report into a secured computer link to Washington, then left the scene.

Use this chart to find the next of the cartoons (first 47  entries) or the stories (starting with  1 A River Too Far 5 rows below week 8)
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17
Week 18
Week 19
Week 20
Week 21
 Week 22
Week 23
Week 24
Week 25
Week 26
Week 27
Week 28
Week 29
Week 30
Week 31
Week 32
Week 33
Week 34
Week 35
Week 36
Week 37
Week 38
Week 39
Week 40
Week 41
Week 42
Week 43
Week 44
Week 45
Week 46
Week 47
(cartoon ends)
1. A River Too Far
2.The Reunion
3.The Daily Grind
4 The New Car and Treasure
5. The Big 
6. The old
7. The Ravine Runner 8. The Fabulous
Folk Festival
9. Druid
10. Goats of
Christmas Past
11. The Secret Six 12. The Great
White Hunters
13. The Old School
Lost in the City

What's in
a name?
The Curse of
Bently Manor
Shortbottom Possessed
The Lost
of Iraq
Phil Steen
for President!
Phil Steen
for Rehab
The Adventures
of Handiman
and Fiberwoman
Pirates of the Puget Sound
Building a platform, plank by plank
The Quest
for meaning
Larry and
Phil to
The Rescue
Hurrah for
the Reds,
Whites, and
How I spent
my summer
I am
trapped in
the Present
Help I am trapped
in the future
Nose of Death