'Ten Minutes Late for Reality' by Lou Morris (c) 1988, 1989, 1991, 2002, 2015. Thirty-two:


   "Well, Beaver, I think you should eat all your broccoli
and Brussels sprouts so you will grow up big and strong!"

                                 - A cliche excerpt from the
24-hour "Leave it to
Beaver" channel--playing
on a hospital t.v. near

   "No, no, no!  I can't take this anymore!" Lou yelled to
himself in his almost empty hospital room.  He refused to
watch anymore television.
   "Okey-dokey, dad!" the Beaver replied from the t.v. set.  
"Yum!  These vegetables are great!"
   Lou's bedpan bounced off the television, thankfully
putting it out of order for a while.
   "Nope!" Lou stated.  "I'm getting the hell out of this
hole!  I don't care what the loony doctors say!  So I got a
minor concussion from the road?  Who cares?  So what if I
might have damaged my brain for life?  Who cares?"
   Lou got up out of the adjustable bed and glared out the
big inoperable window.  He watched a school bus leave, then
noticed a strange sound coming from his closet.
   He listened...
   His closet was snoring.
   What?!  He walked over and listened again.
   His closet was definitely snoring.
   What?  He swung open the tiny thin door...
   Out toppled Shae-doe--snoozing soundly--landing on his
   "Snore!" Shae-doe said or rather snored.
   What?  Who the hell is this?  Lou kicked him lightly.
   "Wha?" Shae-doe barely mumbled.
   It's times like this, when you've just opened your closet
and found a sleeping wizard, that you completely fail to
remember what to do or say.  "Err, hi," Lou mumbled.
   Shae-doe jumped to his feet.  "Don't move ye devil mutant
scum!" he yelled, wiggling his fingers.  "One move and thy
will be ye last move!"  He wiggled his spell conjuring
fingers again.
   Lou shook his head and looked to the ceiling.  This is
getting really, really bad, Lou, he thought.  "Whatever," he
mumbled.  If I start complaining, Lou will just make it
   "Back, demon!" Shae-doe yelled.
   "Oh, shut-up!" Lou snapped, sick of being told what to
do.  He took a step and slammed his foot down for emphasis.
   "'Tis ye death wish then."  He snapped his fingers twice.  
"Die, devil man!"  He waved his hands, jumped up and down,
blew his nose and then sneezed.
   The result of Shae-doe's spell?  Flowers sprouted from
Lou's bed.  Roses to be exact.
   "No!  'Tis not what I wanted!" Shae-doe complained.
   "Nice flowers, though," Lou commented, smelling a few of
the pink buds.  The "Victory Garden" show would've been
   "'Tis true," Shae-doe replied, sniffing a few himself.  
"Wait a segment!" he yelped.  "'Tis devilish trickery!  Back
ye demon most foul!" he screamed, doing the finger cross
   "Oh, give me a break!  I'm not the devil... or at least I
don't think I am?  666?  Nah, I don't do sacrifices," Lou
realized.  "But anyway, who the hell are you?"
   "Shae-doe," said Shae-doe.  "Thy greatest wizard in all
of thy three kingdoms:  sight, song and truth!" he lied.
   Lou frowned.  "Shae-doe?  That's the name of a character
I made up while playing Dragons and Dungeons last year.  This
can't be happening."  He tried to regain some sense of
reality.  He failed miserably.
   "I know almost nothing about playing with dragons but I
do know about dungeons."  He frowned.  "I get lost a lot," he
admitted.  "But I assure you that this is pure reality--"
   "Wanna bet?" Lou pointed out, smiling at the ceiling.  
"Sometimes I forget that this is just a story."
   "Some sages believe that as well.  I personally believe
in the Dungeon Master theory..." he trailed off.  "Whatever."
   "That's my line," Lou replied.
   Shae-doe resisted the temptation to strangle him.  
"Ahem," he said instead.
   "But anyway," Lou continued, "I made up Shae-doe--he was
a bumbling wizard; he never did cast a good spell once," Lou
   "I beg ye pardon," Shae-doe said, obviously hurt by Lou's
bumbling comments.
   "Sorry," Lou apologized slightly.  "But is there anyone
else running around?"  Lou's eyes popped wide--a small
Corbin/The Dead Eye impression.  "Uh-oh.  There wouldn't be a
pyromaniac wizard named Kaye-Boom?"
   "Yes!  How did ye know?" Shae-doe asked.
   "He's not here, is he?"
   "Don't know.  If I am here, then 'tis appropriate that he
also be present.  Why?" Shae-doe asked, wondering why this
strange person was getting so worried.
   "Helio," Lou said.
   Shae-doe jumped.  The H-word!  No one has ever lived to
hear Kaye-Boom utter that damned word.  It only existed in
rumor and song.  But how did he know it?
   "A city," Lou continued, "Asgard, I think."
   Shae-doe nodded.  "Destroyed by thy Sun God," he
   "Kaye-Boom.  I created him during that campaign.  
Conjured a small sun in the middle of a mead hall."
   Shae-doe shuddered.  He didn't realize Kaye-Boom was that
dangerous, as long as you stayed a few hundred thousand feet
away from him, but now that he knew the whole of the
   "No time to think--we've gotta find Kaye-Boom and stop
him from blowing up any cities here.  He might accidentally
cause a nuclear war or something."
   "Nuclear war?" Shae-doe asked, slightly confused.
   Lou frowned, thinking of a medieval equivalent.  "A
pyro-wizard convention," he said.
   Shae-doe shuddered again.  No world deserves that, no
matter how strange it may be.  "But what of thy evil that
Kaye-Boom was trying to defeat; an evil known as the Dead
   "Dead Eye?  That's right!  He was here a little while
ago, talking about growing eyes and sick stuff like that.  He
said he saw Kaye-Boom land near Death Adventure, I think.  
But we'd better make sure--Kaye-Boom might be anywhere."
   Lou and Shae-doe shared blank expressions as a large
explosion on the highway next to the hospital subsided.  
Kaye-Boom! they thought.
   Lou traded his backless hospital robe for a set of his
clothes, grabbed a few of his things--including his
mysterious plastic guitar, then pushed Shae-doe out the door,
leaving behind nothing of relative importance.
   Except, of course, a nice get-well card from a ghost
named Laurie and a towing bill from the Cassville police
department--both of which Lou never got a chance to notice.