“And that,” said P., “is the spinner.”
“Leg or off?” I asked?
“Never mind. What does the spinner spin?” I asked, suppressing a bout of mad laughter that was trying to force its way out through my throat. I knew it would never do to break into hysterics again. After all, I had volunteered for this part. So why shalt I not do it properly, as the poet…never mind.
“Oh, all sorts. Webs, for a start. The finest in Nayvair. Excellent cotton too, on his loom. Balls, saucers, human heads. Has a knack for spinning yarns, hence our Official for the Subtle Remedy of Subjective Misconstruances and Communication of the Formidable Achievements of the Empire of the Flies. She grinned at my puzzled face, “or our PR person, if you prefer it that way.”
“Okies,” I said, trying to digest what I had learned. I peered at this Official for Subtle Thingummies.
A sinister looking chap, no doubt. I wondered how P.’s subjects believed…
“Him? It?” I asked aloud.
“Him. Though you have to take his word for it .No more than one spinner exists in one age…that is, as long as the spinner lives.
“Right.” The thing…Spinner, had entirely too many appendages for my liking, as he crouched down on the dark corner of his workshop, intent on something. His limbs were moving too fast for me to take a look at them. Though I hardly thought I wanted to probe further into this spinner thing.
“Oh no. He’s got only one hand, and sure knows how to use it. And I’ll kill you if you ask me how I know that, as I know you’re planning to.” P. smiled. It got on my nerves sometimes, the way this girl kept reading my mind.
I grunted, irritated. “So what’s he spinning now? A carpet?”
“Actually, no. Funny you’d ask that, though. I’ve been trying to get him make me a flying carpet for quite a while now. Only he hasn’t got the time. Or at least, he says so.” She frowned at the Spinner.
“Don’t avoid the question.”
“I wasn’t.” She said, annoyed. “What he’s doing now is what he is infamous for.” Here she lowered her voice to a sinister whisper-“He’s spelling!”
“Spelling? He’s spelling what?” I was utterly lost. As usual.
“Oh, by the Dog, you’re a lost case, A!” She exclaimed in an exasperated manner-“Spells, obviously! Spells, as in magic spells, mumbo jumbo, abracadabra, whatever!”
“Oh. Right.” My vocabulary firmly refused to expand-“Right.”
P. scrutinized me. “Say after me – the quick brown dog punched the majestically lazy fox.”
“Why should I?” I was bewildered.
“At least that’s better than ‘Right’! Thought you’d forgotten how to speak.” She smirked.
“Could we please cut the smart talk and just see whatever it…he…the Spinner is doing?” I interjected huffily.
“I would prefer not to disturb the spinner at his craft. One misplaced mark can cause massive disruption of the normal course of society.”
“Yes. Like the time a spell was to be created, a spell of great cunning, to lure the plague rats out from the city Nilehampur. But the spinner was distracted by the raindrops pattering on the ceiling of his workshop, and suddenly, lo and behold, an even greater spell, of great power and beauty stood in front of the master craftsman. The spinner,”She added, correctly interpreting my blank look.
“And what happened then?” I asked, spellbound by the narrative.
“Oh, after completing its task, the spell went to the mayor and demanded payment for its labour. The Mayor and his Council tried to convince him that spells were not paid in mohurs, and could not be paid so. It wasn’t convinced by the argument. Irritated, it led all the children of the city to the Town Hall, entrancing them with its magick to make them tear it apart.”
“Tear it apart? A figure of speech, I hope?”
“No. The Town Hall was made of magicked cardboard. Not spelt, of course, or it couldn’t have been torn by children. The children were amused, anyway. In fact I think every one except the Mayor and his Council was. Something to do with how miserly the city council was, I s’pose.”
“And then nothing. Why must you keep on asking questions? The spell is still stored in the Jeans pool of the wielders and casters.”
“Gene pool, you mean.” I corrected her.
“No, doc. Jeans pool. It takes Spell reinforced double helically woven baskets of pure denim suspended in huge lakes of plasmapheresised protoplasm to store these spells.”
“Of course. I should have known. And who are these Wielders and Casters, may I have the pleasure of knowing?”
“Casters and wielders are, as their name rightly suggests, casters and wielders, respectively.”
“I figured out that much.” I muttered under my breath.
P. gave me a murderous glare. “They are the ones who can use the spells that the Spinner creates, and those which have been preserved by generations of Magi. Wielders can wield these weapons for a wide variety of purposes ranging from weaponry to window cleaners. The Casters put these spells on animate or inanimate objects with various intentions…”
“Which I need not know.” I interrupted.
“Which you need to, and will know in due course of time.” She finished.
“Right.” I said.
“Right.” For once, she agreed with me.
“You know, one of these days, if I do not cut you into little pieces by that time, I will surely start disbelieving all these things.” I professed.
“The technical term is, I believe, ‘unbelieving’. And you’d better not. We don’t want as missing spinner and an incomplete rogue spell on the loose.” P. retorted.
“Right.” I said, yet again, thus eloquently concluding our morning believing session.
“And that,” said P., “is the spinner.”