His Lordship

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I’m Jason L. Secrest, an aspiring author and impoverished college student. Sometimes I blog. When I’m being real about real world things that other people also believe are real I post at wiseyetharmless.bogspot.com. Then there are the moments that I’m also being real, but in regards to a different real world where there is a real annoying talking demon in my basement and where my non-fake butler/valet/gentleman’s-gentleman knows Jujutsu. In those moment’s I’m Jason L. Secrest, Lord of the Manor, and I blog directly to you from my mansion study at whathowadsworth.blogspot.com.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"I Beezle" or "The future is a delicate thing, Sir. Do try not to break it."

If you haven't yet read the previous post, I recommend that you peruse it. It contains facts and terminologies that I are slightly relevant to this post. I've moved the most important fact to this one though. Actually now that it's done and I'm really thinking hard about it, if you get this one fact you may not really need the rest, but maybe you'll understand a few more of the inner workings of the story? I certainly hope so after taking the time to type all that out. There is a story about a fire breathing opossum in the previous post if that's enticing to you at all...

I learned a new verb recently through the power of Google. I performed a search on Beezle, trying to decide how seriously people have been taking his newly formed e-cult, and this is what I found:
(http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Beezle). Of course, I took immediate interest. It's important to me to know if the things that Beezle sees on the internet can impact me negatively. As of the time of this posting, the most upvoted definition of 'beezle' on Urban Dictionary is as follows:
This term is used to describe any activity done for its own sake/pleasure. People seeing someone/something beezle will likely not understand why that person/creature/thing is doing whatever he/she/it is doing. Examples include: frolicking, climbing trees, most things done while stoned/drunk. Baby animals (and for some reason, squirrels, dolphins and whales) naturally beezle all the time. It's generally considered complimentary, but just a little confusing...
I had several reactions to this. First I had a good laugh at the image of Beezle romping playfully with aquatic and woodland creatures. Then I realized with shock that the term is accurate. If anyone beezles, Beezle does. What do you suppose he accomplishes by hypnotizing me at night and making me sleep dance? Or by pretending to be "The Mummy" and swallowing me with swimming pool water when I make use of the high dive? (I don't think I've ever mentioned it yet, but I that's actually how the Mansion House Wars started. I nearly drowned. Maybe I'll remember to tell you the story one day.)

Finally, I realized that if anyone else besides Beezle beezles, it would probably be me. I'm easily entertained, and I was actually glad to have a word to put to the group of actions that entertain me. Any word is better than "dinking around." However, to be honest I was a little terrified to learn that I do yet another thing that Beezle does. I don't like feeling similar to Beezle, but as time rolls onward my list of like traits keeps growing. I'm writing them off as meaningless - I'm not damning souls after all, but I've got to watch myself. Having more common ground makes it harder to keep my guard up.

That's not the point of this post though. The point is that I beezle, and that I need to be careful when I do it because there can be consequences. Here is an excellent example:

I rent an apartment in Provo out of necessity. I work and go to school at BYU and there are rare occasions when I can't quite seem to abstract* back to the mansion house. If those moments happen to come at night, I don't much like competing with Riverman Johnson for park bench space (or bridge space when the weather is foul.) I mentioned at one point that he told me he was going to acquire a sword and Chinese stars with which to defend his multiple forms of literature, didn't I? I can attest that he has acquired these, and that he is more than willing to defend his territory. His weapons are of poor quality and very dull, but they still hurt quite a bit when he manages to land a hit.

*(I've covered abstract travel recently, but here's the gist: to get to the mansion house I have to be both distracted and in motion. It's really not that hard, it just doesn't always work as advertised. I don't do magic, remember? It just happens to me when I'm not paying attention.)

I also like warm water. If there is time and hot water enough, I like to take long showers or baths. Even when I don't mean to take a long time, I loose track of time in the shower. It's because I relax and let my mind wander. Since I first came to the mansion house, I've spent inordinate amounts of time in the natural hot-spring cave that the mansion is built around. When I'm stuck in Provo, I can do almost as well at the outdoor hot tub behind the complex's clubhouse. The hot tub in question is large by apartment standards, and can accommodate perhaps twenty people if all of those people don't mind literally rubbing shoulders. When it's empty it feels spacious.

A few weeks ago on a thursday I was stuck at my digs in Provo. Feeling active I decided to have a short swim and to then enjoy the hot tub. When I got out of the pool the tub was empty and I was happy about that. I try not to beezle in public - it feels awkward. I eased into the tub and let the jets work on my back. As always my swimming trunks filled with air and I became more buoyant finding it harder to stay anchored to my seat (I am a very light person.) On this occasion however, I had a beezeling epiphany of sorts. I wondered If I could float on my back and drift about the tub in whatever direction the currents took me.

No sooner did I start my experiment then two very muscular guys and their girlfriends splashed into the pool. (I didn't actually see them because I was staring up at the stunningly clear big dipper. I just heard them through the water.) I sat up quickly to move out the way and to appear less silly. The thing is that sitting up while floating makes a person sink. I sputtered back up to the surface and took my original seat. The other four had the common decency to keep their chortling to a minimum, and for that I was grateful. I wondered how long they would be there and I busied myself by playing subtly with the flat leaf-like elm seeds that had fallen into the water. They floated nicely like little boats and I sent them off on excursions in the eddies.

When I was bored of sea seed missions I had another swim until the group left. I then I hustled back to the hot tub. I laid out on the water, puffing my chest out and tucking in my legs so that they didn't touch the bottom. The currents did the rest. I only bumped into an edge once and I was kept in a continual counter clockwise rotation with my head at the center. It was enjoyable and relaxing. The whole time I watched the crisp stars above me rotating. More than ever, the big dipper appeared to me as the turning hour hand of a giant clock. (It really is one. See the companion guide to this post). I must have made at least three full rotations before I realized that I had abstracted to the mansion house hot tub. (Not the hot springs cave. It doesn't grant an open view of the stars. There is an actual man-made hot tub outside, close to the pool and conservatory.)

Pleasently surprised and done with sailing about on my back, I toweled off and went into the kitchen through the servants door. I grabbed a roll from the constant supply Wadsworth keeps there, and pulled on the light fixture that opens the hidden door to the hidden passages behind the walls. (I like using the secret corridors every so often despite the fact that the standard hallways are much more comfortable. It's a beezle thing.) I walked happily toward the Master's Chamber until I heard Wadsworth's pleasant voice saying, "Will take your supper here or in the dining room sir?" I stopped dead in my tracks. I was at that point, just above my study. The secret passages are designed for eavesdropping (hence the clarity of Wadsworth's voice) and I unstopped a peephole in the floor. There was Wadsworth, and there was me. I was saying "No, the dining room will be fine. I'm nearly done reading this entry in Uncle Nick's journal and then I'll be in. What's for dinner?"

"A salmon steak with steamed vegetables, sir. What would you like to drink? I suggest that something citrus would complement the fish very well."

"What about that lemon orange concoction you put together? I like that."

"An excellent choice sir. May I help you in any other way, sir?" As he made this last remark Wadsworth's eye roved up to my peephole, and I had the distinct impression that he was talking to me, besides talking to me. Nothing gets by the man. He's as much ninja-sleuth as he is butler. I stoppered the hole and tried to comprehend what I had just experienced. Seeing myself wasn't totally new. I'd seen transparent and barely detectable versions of myself in many places in the mansion, doing different things without acknowledging me. I'd also seen gruesome figures in my image march happily to a joyful death in Beezle's fireplace. (These later were a demonstration to show me how easy it would for me at payment time, if I ever felt I wanted to buy something with my soul.) I had, however, never seen Wadsworth offer dinner to one of my  dopplegangers, and I was heavily disturbed that he should do so now. And hungry. It didn't help that I remembered having a similar meal three days earlier. It was phenomenal - the fish was moist and flaky with subtle interplays of spices and herbs.

As I thought longingly of the meal and made way for the kitchen to intercept Wadsworth I had a sudden more revealing insight. In the many years that I have eaten at the Mansion House, Wadsworth has never repeated a meal exactly except by special request, and he has certainly never cooked the same kind of fish twice in the same month. He would probably faint at the thought of it. I'd been reading my uncle's journal three days ago too. I had traveled time! I yanked the door open and launched into the kitchen.

"Good evening, Sir." said Wadsworth. To someone who didn't know him, he would have looked and sounded like nothing but pleased to see me. I've known him for long enough that I could tell he was annoyed as he continued, "Will you also be having salmon this evening? I regret that it will be a duplicate of something that you have presumably already consumed. With more notice I could have easily compensated."

"The salmon was excellent three days ag-- er.. today, I think it will be just as good.. um.. today. So, I'll just have what he's - er... what I'm having."

"Very good sir."

"I'm sorry about the short notice. Is there enough? I didn't exactly realize that there would be two of me today until just now."

"I am always prepared for unexpected guests, sir. There is always enough. May I offer a word of advice about your current adventure, sir?"

"Yes, please. That's why I came down."

"It is not well known what happens when one's past self comes into contact with one's future self. Theories range from nothing to a universal Armageddon. The current middle ground of the debate is that the person fades from existence. While scientists and pranksters alike might appreciate one's rushing in headlong to see the look on one's face, I suggest that the action would be inadvisable at best, Sir."

"Right. Well. I guess I'd better stay out of sight then."

"In that case, sir, I suggest that you make yourself scarce. I think I hear you coming."

"Oh. Distract me." I said, and I dived back into the passage way. I went up a floor and unstopped a peephole for the kitchen. I really didn't need to. I remembered the upcoming conversation, now that I had a clear picture of the day. As I'd placed a bookmark in my uncle's journal, Beezle had announced that, "THERE IS SOMETHING VERY INTERESTING TO SEE IN THE KITCHEN. I THINK YOU'D BEST HURRY OUT AND SEE WHAT IT IS BEFORE IT'S GONE."

Normally, I wouldn't pay much attention to something like that coming from Beezle, but the kitchen is next to the dining room and I happened to know that Wadsworth was there, so I didn't even feel the need for too much caution, just a bit of caution. I watched through the hole as I entered the room and said, "Looks like the kitchen, Beezle. An interesting kitchen, to be sure, but nothing I haven't seen."


"Have you seen this interesting thing, Wadsworth."

"As far as I can tell, sir, there is nothing out of the ordinary behind the afore mentioned door."

I can't help but marvel sometimes at Wadsworth's ability to misdirect without telling lies. I've only witnessed it on a handful of occasions, but I still marvel. On this occasion I wondered if he meant that I shouldn't be behind that door anymore, or that it wasn't out of the ordinary for me to be behind it. Knowing Wadsworth he probably meant both.

I watched myself open the door, see nothing, and say, "Nothing to report here."


"If you will pardon me sir. Your salmon is approaching its optimal temperature for consumption. You may either have a meal that boarders on perfection or go chasing 'interesting things' through the passage ways; possibly with apocalyptic consequences, given Beezle's definition of the word 'interesting.'"

"I choose dinner," I said happily and I strode into the dining room with Wadsworth close on my heals.

I, the me upstairs, went back to the kitchen and waited for Wadsworth.

"HOW DOES HE DO THAT?" Beezle asked. He sounded genuinely interested. I could also hear him pleading me urgently to come back into the kitchen from the other room. I knew I was safe. I remembered being annoyed and shutting the dining room vents three days earlier so that I could eat in peace.

"Do what?," I responded, "Look so good? It's because he's me."


"He didn't lie. He told the truth."


"Wouldn't that be nice. The problem is that you'd start by telling me to come look at something that might make me fade into oblivion, and I would believe you."


"No thanks. Knowing you they'd probably try to eat me."


Wadsworth came back and put together a to go box for me in preparation for driving me back to Provo. (Even distracted, Wadsworth is a competent and safe driver.) Before we left I had a final epiphany.

"Wadsworth, I failed a cleaning check tomorrow because I couldn't get a stain off of a wall. Do you have anything that might work?"

Wadsworth handed me a spray bottle of something green that smelled like minty lemons and said, "Try this Sir. And do be careful, Sir. The future is a delicate thing. Do try not to break it."

That was that. I left the bottle in a conspicuous place with the label, Care of Wadsworth, and avoided myself for three days. I passed my cleaning checks without breaking the future (finding myself 20 dollars richer in the process) and made sure to position myself for watching Jones crash into the conservatory. I figured if someone was going to demolish the side of a glass building I owned and I wasn't able to stop it, I'd at least better watch.


The "I Beezle" Companion Guide - Kind of

There are four facts that are fairly relevant to the post "I Beezle". You can skip it if you like, but you might get confused and you might not learn the answer to the ultimate question: "Where do my left socks go?" On the upside, that's less reading if you just wanted a brief anecdote. If you want the best of both worlds, you'll find key words and phrases in bold. (Edit: really this is only semi necessary since I moved the main fact, fact four to the main post. There is still that bit about your missing socks though, and maybe you'll understand a bit more about how things work around the mansion house in general.)

Note: You may have noticed that I tend to get off on tangents and forget to get to important things that I've promised to tell you about. That would ruin the point of this companion guide to the other post so today I'm trying to herd my thoughts together with a new html tag that I've just invented: the <tangent></tangent> tag. If you didn't really care about my ramblings just look for the end tag and move on with the facts.

The Facts

Fact 1. I'm not talking about Beezle and what he likes to do with quarters today. I promised to and I meant to, but I've got something else on my mind today. Next time?

Fact 2. The big dipper is attached to the north star, a fixed point in the sky. Because of this, as the earth rotates the big dipper forms the hour hand of the largest twenty four hour analog clock in the known universe.

Fact 3. There are 2 main branches of magic, which I will informally call 'flashy magic' and 'just missed it magic'.
  • Fact 3.aGenerally speaking flashy magic is like the hood on a cobra, it's main function is to make the wielder look more powerful and impressive. Beezle loves flashy magic, and there are plenty of other natural examples. Take, for existence, two headed dragons, fire breathing opossums, and levitating islands in the sky. These are all about as useful as a forest fire.

    <Tangent>The levitating island was actually the aftermath of the legendary battle between and Eddie - the resident fire breathing opossum - and some wandering Siamese dragon who probably got distracted while flying and abstracted here. We now refer to the dragon as "Two Face." Eddie and Two Face burned down fifty acres of the western forest, but something about their magics didn't match up properly and the whole chunk of land just picked up and left. This was fortunate as the fire suddenly became self contained and spared me the joy of dealing with the fire department (They'll come, but they don't like it. They hate all of the flashy magic that goes on around here). Actually, it's still around here somewhere. I can't see it today, but it generally hovers over the lake at varied altitudes. Eddie won, by the way. He lives happily on the island among a rising generation of saplings and a few larger, somewhat singed, oaks and pines.</Tangent>
  • Fact 3.b. 'Just missed it' magic is the kind that happens just as you look away. This kind of magic is most relevant to me. I don't do magic. Magic just happens to me when I turn my head. Actually it happens to most people while doing laundry. Think about it. Why did you start the month with only paired socks of the same brand and end the month with half as many pairs and a large drawer full of differently branded and lonely unpaired socks? You just missed the originals straight into The Void and, like a slot machine, The Void spat missing socks from around the nation into your dryer.  (The Void is a real place known also as The Either, The Nether, and Under My Bed'). I also just miss my wallet, my cell phone, my truck keys, and my assignments on a regular basis (It gives me back gas station receipts, broken charger chords, keys to unknown doors, and last semesters homework.) Sometimes when I'm around other people for extended periods of time they accuse me of 'rubbing off' on them because they can't find something. The unfortunate truth is that I'm just missing things for them.

    Don't think that 'just missed it' magic is a complete pain. It's actually quite useful. It's the basis of the travel to and from the mansion house for one. For another, how do you think you miss the memos about waste of time meeting that you were supposed to go to (other than... you know, the times that you accidentally shredded that memo on purpose). Just missed it magic also makes the current day of the week Friday when you still think it's Wednesday, and causes to flowers bloom and money to stretch and all manner of other things besides loosing stuff.

    <Tangent>'Just missed it magic' is why it's so hard to tell real magicians and stage magicians apart. Stage magicians make you look at one hand while they load a coin into the other. Real magicians make you look at one hand while the other materializes a coin. If anybody (magician included) can see where the coin is supposed to pop into existence nothing happens. Sometimes real magicians are stage magicians. Take Penn & Teller for instance. Real magicians. They are the longest running inside joke of the magical community because they do real magic and then they show audiences a well performed trick that might explain the magical thing that they did. Masterful. </Tangent>

4th and Final Fact. I recently learned a new verb: "to beezle." This fact is the main point of the main "I Beezle" post, so I'll just use it as place to start from, shall I? Very good. See you there.

Texting to the Mansion House Is Not Approved

I have a lot on my mind today: Here's a short list of the things I'd like to cover. We'll see how far I get.
  1. The secret location of the mansion house.
  2. The less secret method of travel to the secret location of the mansion house.
  3. The other people who ride the less secret method of travel to the secret location of the mansion house (but don’t get off there).
  4. Beezle's affinity for quarters.

Some of you may have noticed that I've never been very specific about the exact where of the mansion house. It's because it's a well kept secret, and I don't know it. Wadsworth does. I do not. "But Jason," crys the logical mind, "you live there. You also write posts about riding the bus to and from the mansion house."

That I do, logical mind. That I do. Here's the thing: the most direct route to the manor is through what my great uncle Nicholas calls 'abstract travel'. It takes a special kind of ‘unfocus’ combined with motion. I find that I travel most abstractly on the bus. All I need is a newspaper or an interesting person to watch.

I've never been able to drive to the mansion house. I'd have to be distracted - texting, or something - in fact just the other day a seventeen year old kid from Chicago with the last name of Jones smashed through the conservatory and into a baobab tree. Leon, the more aggressive of our two bangled tigers circled the car for an hour before I got home and saw the kid there, shivering in his boots and screaming for help. I jumped into the car with him as soon as I saw Leon pop out of the brush. (Leon's a touch sadistic. He likes to get a good look at me getting a good look at him before he chases me down. He doesn't hurt me of course, or at least, not much. He just plays aggressively. I can tell you from experience that scratches from a bangled tiger are a slightly bigger deal then the ones from your household kitty. Unfortunately, he's too old to declaw. When he gets out of the conservatory he does murder to our screen doors - thinks he can hang on them like Will's tabby.)

Of course, this unfortunate accident happened on the second thursday of the month -  Wadsworth's day off. Jones and I hunkered down in his beat up old pinto and ate the granola bars I keep in my backpack for exactly these kinds of emergencies. Before that though, we took a moment to express our feelings. Jones yelled at me historically. Called me crazy for keeping a tiger in my house, and thought I should be arrested for endangering public safety. I in turn, tried out a little trick I'd learned from Wadsworth. I raised a brow, glanced pointedly at the phone he still held in a death grip, and rounded the whole expression out with a wistful silent appraisal of the gaping hole in my conservatory. The coupe de gras was the bit where I held out a granola bar and asked if he'd like to share some light refreshments.

After that we talked a bit about girls, grades, parents, and the location of one white tiger named Leon until late in the evening. Jones was fairly open. He told me just about everthing about himself like he thought he was about to die. I thought about getting out of the car, or pushing Jones out just to get things done with so we could go inside, but by a stroke of luck Duncan sauntered around the back of the house looking for me. He understood the situation immediately and growled, "Go to your room." (Leon's 'room' is a small lockable compound where he is confined when he is being disciplined.)

As much as Leon views me as a toy, he sees Duncan as an authority figure. Duncan is, after all, an immense talking grizzly bear. Leon doesn't talk - at least unless when Beezle isn't putting words in his mouth - but he does pout. He pouted at me when I got out of the car. He pouted at Jones (who opted to remain in the car whispering "I'm not crazy" over and over.) He pouted at Nisa, his smaller, more domestic sister when she joined us as we strode to the other end of the conservatory's "Jungle Room." He glared at  Orvil, the Jungle Room parrot, who shrilled out "Na na na na na nana" over and over as we walked under Orvil’s branch.  Leon didn't pout at pout at Duncan though. He wouldn't look at Duncan. Other than Orvill, everyone was silent. That's the rule: when disciplining, everyone who isn’t giving an instruction is quiet. It helps more than you might think.

As Leon slunk moodily into his compound and I secured the gate, I said, "Thanks, Duncan. I wasn't in the mood to 'play' tonight."

Duncan shook his head slowly and rumbled, “You let him walk all over you. You’ve got to get him in line. Or maybe you need to get yourself together. Whenever Wadsworth takes the day off everything goes to pot around here.”

I chuckled and nodded amiably. It doesn’t bother me anymore when Duncan gets gruff with me. He gets gruff with everyone.

Duncan continued, ”Who’s the kid? Another distracted driver?”

“Yep. Third one this year. Most destructive one too. He must have been going pretty fast. Probably texting on the interstate or something before he abstracted here.”

“Stupid kids. They think they’re invincible when they get in a car. I wish they’d abstract into the lake.”

I nodded heartily. “That would make them pay attention. So did you come up just to check on me, or is there something I can help you with?”

“A few years ago I gave your uncle an artifact to hold for me. I need it.”

“Oh, well do you know where it is?”

“In the shed, probably. Looks like a marshmallow roster with a blue glass handle.”

“I know the one. It’s close to the door. What is it?”

A cheerful tone crept into Duncan’s voice. “A kind of  a witch taser. Meg’s been over stepping bounds a bit. I thought I ought to remind her who’s in charge the next time she does it.”

“Well good luck with that. I’m going to let you find it. I’ve got to make some calls to the insurance people. Will you do me a favor and help that kid abstract his car home?  He lives close to Durso Park in Chicago.”

“Oh?” Duncan said, “did you get his name?”

“He goes by Jones. Wouldn’t give me his first name.”

Duncan grinned, “Well this day gets better and better! I’ve had four wards this year from Chicago. Every one of them came in through a Durso Park dumpster at the hands of a kid named Jones. We’ll have to have a little chat. Maybe with a witch taser if all goes well.” (Duncan is a steward over a kind of magical safe house for bullied teens.  That wasn’t what it was originally built for, but for whatever magical reason, anybody who’s hiding terrified in a dumpster has a chance of falling through the dumpster bottom and into Duncan’s protective lap.)

“Don’t be too harsh on him.” I said, “Since he thought he was going to be eaten by a white tiger named Leon he flashed his life before my eyes. He doesn’t have a happy home and he’s failing out of school.”

“Well, maybe a well placed tickle with a marshmallow roaster will help motivate him to finish. I can only see everyone winning in this scenario.”

Duncan went back for Jone’s and I went into the house. What brought this up? Why was I telling this story? Oh. You have to be at least moderately distracted while in motion to get to the mansion house, and then be either lucky or attuned to the location. Speaking of which, I seem to have abstracted to The Mansion House Study. I was wiggling around a little bit in my cheep office chair at my Provo apartment while I was typing. I didn’t know that would do it. That’s good to know. Even better, it’s nearly lunch time. I wonder were having...

Oh. So. I didn’t make much progress on my list.. I got a bit off course. I’ll see when I can get to the rest.