Chapter 4

 

The Pangramarian

 

The mad clown’s habits proved quite vexing to Jeff’s zany duck.

- B.J. Faxognym Qurlvetskwicz, Ph.D.

 

   Dottie and Jim, along with Topsi-Turvy bade the Quiz Cat farewell and set out into the foothills of the Puzzle Mountains. The Puzzle Mountains were the highest in Eversocleverland and were rumored to shelter some of the kingdom’s most peculiar mysteries.

   They worked their way up, down and from side to side along the paths on the mountainsides for they were all complicated mazes with many blind alleys. Finally, they came upon a cottage on the mountainside in a little open glade. On a letterbox outside was the name B.J. Faxognym Qurlvetskwicz, Ph.D. The cottage was absolutely covered in letters of the alphabet in all sizes and colors.

   Topsi-Turvy jumped and flipped upside-down turning her frown into a smile. “I know who that is!” She exclaimed. “He’s the Pangramarian!” She turned over again turning her smile to a frown. “He might be able to help us, but he can be very difficult to talk to.”

  Surely no worse than the Quiz-Cat!”

   “Different.”

   “In what way, may I ask?”

   “Well, the Word Wizard, you know of him…”

   Jim rolled his eyes. “We are familiar with his work, yes”

   “Dr. Qurlvetskwicz, who was at that time the president of the Royal University, was hired by him to compose a poem in honor of his reign in Eversocleverland and insisted that it both rhyme and make perfect sense when read both backwards and forwards.”

   “That sounds impossible.”

   “Very difficult, to be sure.”

   “Not to mention an unconscionable waste of time.”

   “Almost everything in Eversocleverland is.” Said Topsi ruefully.

    Dottie said. “She’s right about that!”

   “Anyway”, continued Topsi-Turvy, “he managed to do it, but the second line when read backward obliquely implied that the Wizard couldn’t tie his shoes with a fish-hook and to presume that anything is beyond the Wizard’s abilities is a terrible crime in Eversocleverland!”

   “So what happened?” Asked Dottie.

   “The Word Wizard cursed him so that every line he speaks must include all the letters in the alphabet!”

   “That sounds really quite silly.” Said Jim.

   “Oh my goodness, it is! There is very little that he can talk about and those few things have almost nothing to do with anything. He has very little to say about philosophy or science, but quite rather a lot about quick brown foxes who jump over lazy dogs.”

    Jim and Dottie looked at one another. “Oh my!” Sighed Dottie. “Is this really strictly necessary?”

    “Yes, is it really? Surely he can’t be of all that much help!” Said Jim. “It sounds like he might be mad.”

    Topsi-Turvy said, “Oh, he is! Quite mad, but like you, has an interest in thwarting the Wizard. He really is quite loony, though. Nutty as a fruitcake. Off his tracks. ‘Round the twist. Crazy as a bedbug. Utterly bonkers….”

    “All right. Thank you very much, Topsi.” Interrupted Jim.

    The two children sighed deeply and started walking up the path to the cottage as Topsi-Turvy tumbled after them.

    Jim knocked once and the door was instantly flung open by an almost impossibly skinny man in a tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows and wearing orange quilted fez with the name of a Masonic lodge on it. Without a word, he motioned them all inside.

   Topsi-Turvy said, “Dr. Qurlvetskwicz, my friends need help to make the Wizard send them back home. Jim here is concerned about your being mad and all, though.”

  The skinny man started to pour coffee for everyone and spoke to Jim. “I must seem quite doggone mixed up and crazy, but who knows pal? Java?” He extended a cup toward Jim. Jim declined the coffee with a hand wave.

   Jim said, “So you really have to use every letter in every sentence?”

  The Pangramarian replied, “Well, ‘tis a very high quality curse, Jim, o.k., I’m in a fix, he zapped me good, blast him!”

   Jim sighed and silently vowed to burn the book of magic crossword puzzles that had brought them to Eversocleverland should he and Dottie ever see home again. “So your every sentence must contain all letters of the alphabet? Isn’t that what is called a ‘pangram’?”

  Dottie said, “I think it is! What happens if you can’t compose one to express your thoughts?”

   “I can include my name, which is a pangram itself, but if I do it twice in a row, the Wizard stands me on my head or my name isn’t B.J. Faxognym Qurlvetskwicz, Ph.D.!”

  Topsi-Turvy clapped her hands and jumped up and down with delight. “I love being stood on my head!”  

   “That might not be a widely held opinion.” Said Jim.

   “Oh Jim”, cried Dottie, “what foolish task will we have to perform now?”

   “Maybe none at all. I don’t see how this man will be able to help us.”

   “I can be quite helpful in that I know six of the Wizard’s very secret magic words, Jim!”

    “If you knew one more, you would have had a devil of a time phrasing that.” Said Jim. “What are the words for?”

   “Yikes, Jim, it’s really quite bizarre, hard to prove or fix with great clarity.”

    “But they are powerful and will help us?”

    Yes, or my name isn’t B.J. Faxognym Qurlvetskwicz, Ph.D.!” Instantly, the Pangramarian was inverted hanging upside-down in the air.

     Topsi-Turvey jumped up and down merrily clapping her hands. “How wonderful!” she cried.

   “This is simply too silly!” Said Dottie crossly.

   “I wonder how long he’ll be like that?Said Jim.

   “The blood rushing to my head is quite vexing! Zounds! It’s no joke and causes much pain! Fie on that Wizard!” Dr. Qurlvetswicz was instantly righted.

    Topsi-Turvy said, “With those magic words, I think he would be of great help.”

   Jim sighed again. There seemed to be no use resisting the way things tended to go in Eversocleverland. “I suppose that Dr. Qurlvetswicz can help us.”

    “I can? Jolly good! We must find the wizard’s beloved sphinx of quartz.”

    “Good thing for you he has one of those!” Said Dottie.

     “It’s from Babylon, Iraq and it had a magic fez held on with dopey wax junk.”

      “Had?” Inquired Jim.

     The Pangramarian pointed significantly to his own headgear and winked.

     “My big quilted and very orange fez has a crackerjack wild hex!”

   Dottie said, “I’ll wager the Wizard would like to get that back.”

   The Pangramarian held up the list of magic words and pointed to his fez. “Quit worrying, little Dottie and Jim! With this and these, the fix is in, We’ll put the Wizard out of business, We’ll smack him down!” Suddenly, the Pangramarian was again stood on his head.

  “I think you forgot the ‘v’.” Said Jim.

  “You really must stop doing that.”, Said Dottie, “It upsets my stomach!”

   “I’m quite simply brimming with vexation! You must please let me take you to the sphinx. It’s right near the ziggurat.” The posture of Dr. Qurlvetskwicz was again righted.

   Topsi-Turvy flipped over and over with glee. “Of course! Because it’s a sphinx from Iraq! Otherwise it would be a pyramid!”

   Jim grabbed Topsi to stop her bouncing. “This is serious, please! Have you ever seen this sphinx?”

   “Everyone in Eversocleverland has. It is in the desert over the mountains, but we will have to take care because of the Buzzwords!”

The Pangramarian said, “The Buzzwords circle quite everywhere over the desert attacking the poor and feckless who don’t put the nix on clichés, Jim!”

   “We will only be in danger if we allow ourselves to use tired expressions.”, Said Topsi-Turvy.

   “But then we would be in quite a pickle.”, Said Dottie.

   “Oh my!” Said Topsi-Turvy, “The Buzzwords would tear you to pieces if you said something like that out there!”

   “I think my sister shall have to remain silent when we cross the desert.”, Said Jim.

    The Pangrammarian stood up. “But enough snazzy quips! I must pack a valise and clean and wax my roadster for the journey!” And with that, left the room.