T cleared his throat and went on, cavernously. "My
name is Tortilla and these are my people, the
Chips." Well Granma got that pretty close;
they could still call him the Big T. All the
Chips bowed down as if they thought G & J
were something special. Well … they were a
lot bigger than the Chips.
Granma could see that perhaps these talking tarantulas
were not going to be any help at all, when something
like a dinner bell rang. Can you believe it?
Tarantulas with aprons on .. Yes, really … white
starched aprons … and they were carrying platters
of food upon their backs. The tarantulas, or
Chips, looked like big crabs crossing the ground.
The platters of food rode at a level of about
a foot high. These were some big spiders, you guys.
"The name of this world, Master, Prince J, is
Timbuktoo," the Big T continued. Granma laughed
out loud. She couldn’t help it. She had always said
she lived in the middle of Timbucktoo. Well seems now,
that Timbuktoo lived in the middle of her, down in
her well! Julio didn’t see what was so funny at all.
He frowned and went on listening for more.
The Big T. waved his arms this way and that and said: "We
are inhabitors, nest builders and keepers of all this
land that you see. The mango trees are ours as far
as you can see. Clear way across the marshy lands before
the Peppermint Mountains," he said.
G decided to chance it and interrupted him herself. "Do
you know how to get to the Peppermint Mountains?" she
asked. Well, a lot of throat clearing went around among
the Tortilla and Chips, head wagging, arm flinging,
eyeball rolling and such, but no one could seem to
remember the way …. it had been such a long, long time
since the Big T’s great, great, great grandfather had
planted this very mango tree. Seems they couldn’t remember
anything other than being here at Mangoes End, in this
very same mango tree, for eons and eons, ages and ages
J gave a whistle when he imagined how old this mango
tree must be. But then his brain began calculating
as it was wont to do, being the carpenter-builder-mechanic-tape
measure-pocket-knife carrying kind of kid that he was
…. and he began to wonder … just how long do tarantulas
live anyways ? ? ? Well this tree must be at least
100 years old. He gave another long, low, whistle =
his newest thing.