Gnome is where the swine is
By: MESARTHIM & STARDANCER
THIS STORY FIRST APPEARED IN ECHO 3, # 1
He’d followed his feelings, and a moldy looking little gnome, through a dripping gooey swamp knowing all along that it was a bad idea.
It wasn’t the Force that warned Luke Skywalker. The Force said 'go for it!’ No, and he tried to ignore it as he trudged through smelly water, this was good old human instinct a gut feeling-that said ‘you’ll be sorry’
" HOME!" The alien creature croaked, waving Luke’s lamp toward a low mud structure. " Come!"
The green gnome barely stooped to enter.
" Come, tall human!"
" You sure you can take me to the Jedi Master?" Luke stooped to look inside. He wasn’t sure he wanted to enter the earthen cave. He wasn’t even sure he’d FIT. Kneeling on damp leaves, Luke stuck his head inside the warren. " Why would he live in a place like this anyway?"
THAT was something he would have asked Ben. IF the entire Dagobah idea hadn’t been introduced while he lay half-frozen to death on Hoth. There was very little about Jedi, Luke was learning, that was logical.
" Jedi, Jedi, Jedi!" The little creature sang as he waddled around the interior of his tiny home, moving this, dusting that. " Sit with me eat with me then the Jedi you will see..!"
A few contortions later, Luke found himself on all fours inside the gnome home looking for a place to sit that didn’t have something alive on it. His diminuitive host ignored him completely while busying himself near a large pot hung over a centrally located fire. Thankfully, he had stopped singing.
Well, the smell of hot food was appealing!
Luke settled near the fire, his head brushing the ceiling. What are you doing here, Skywalker? A silent voice nagged at him as he watched several amphibians scatter near his boots.
" Good cook am I!" The old creature boasted, tossing an odd purple vegetable and a bunch of leaves and twigs into the cauldron.
Luke didn’t see the orange spotted snake go in. The smell of hot food was making his stomach grumble. He picked up a bowl.
Only minutes later, he threw it aside, disgusted.
Whatever the bizarre little alien had cooked, it was stringy and tasted like the swamp water he had landed in. This was just too much! This was
Damned if his host wasn’t nodding.
Talk fast, Skywalker! Luke told himself, but Yoda had adopted a ‘preachy’ tone, and the air was feeling very electric
It could have been the throbbing lump on his head , (Damn, the ceiling was low!). or the disembodied voice of Ben Kenobi; whatever the cause, Luke was getting more than a little annoyed by the surreal situation.
He hadn’t traveled several hundred light years to be served bad food and hear that he was ‘too old’ to be a Jedi. Especially from someone who was 900!
" Ben, tell him I can TOO be a Jedi!" Luke insisted, looking around for the old Jedi’s spectre. After all, it wasn’t HIS fault that that these two had waited until he was old enough to shave to clue him into his ‘destiny’.
Ben did make a decent attempt in his defense,and Luke was beginning to feel a little more confident-until the little gnome got an evil look on his face, curled up his ears, and promised he WOULD be afraid.
Then, beyond the patter of raindrops and the electronic groaning of a wet Artoo, there came a sound. A high-pitched, screeching sound followed by heavy footsteps approaching.
" Oh, no" Obi-Wan’s ghostly voice moaned. Yoda’s eyes widened as he dropped his gimer stick and scurried about in a cleaning frenzy.
" What? What is it?" Luke whirled to point his blaster at the hut’s entrance.
" It’s HER!" Ben whispered nervously. " This is very bad. Yoda I thought you said she had gone"
" Yes gone, but"
Was the Jedi Master actually stuttering?
" WHO?" Luke demanded as the definite sound of someone approaching grew louder.
" It’s WIGGY!" Ben’s fading voice was shaky. " Yoda’s last mate. You’d best hide, Luke. You don’t want her to know you’re here."
The thought of a female who frightened BOTH Jedi made Luke curious, but the piercing voice was incentive enough to propel him into a shadowy corner.
When the next piercing call made his ears ring, Luke-quite by reflex-pulled a tattered blanket over his head. HE watched through a small hole as the tiny, suddenly forlorn looking Jedi Master faced his mate.
She was slightly taller than Yoda, but much rounder. From his hiding place, Luke could make out ruffles at the wrists and neckline of a pink metallic flightsuit; but he couldn’t see a face. The being, Wiggy, was obviously furious. Was she, Luke wondered, a female of Yoda’s species?
Whatever she was, Yoda looked nervous.
" Alright, where is he?"
The strident voice was amplified by the pink helmet..
" I KNOW someone is here! There’s a ship in my swamp and a VERY expensive droid outside. Who is it? A female, eh?"
" Oh, my treasure. No one there is but you!" The little Jedi insisted, twisting his robe nervously. " A new student have I his ship it is."
Back to him, the female removed her helmet and Luke’s mouth fell open as he caught a glimpse of blonde hair.
" Another one of THOSE is it? The LAST one ate us out of house and home!"
" I DID NOT!" Came the disembodied, but indignant, voice of Ben Kenobi.
" SHUT UP, YOU DEAD PERSON!" Wiggy snarled back, waving a pink glove at nothing specific. " And you wonder why I left you? Dead wizards floating around watching us And this DUMP! It’s worse than when I left! I understand you’re a little silly, you’re 900 years old, but SNAKES, mud, a fire in the living area? This is not the life for moi!"
" Then why have you come back, Wiggy dearest?" Yoda stood as if rooted to the floor, eyes bulging. " My my ship you took, and the dishes"
" Well, now I need your thumbprint, here on this Dis-Bonding document." Wiggy responded, stomping out of Luke’s line of sight.
If Yoda were as wise as he claimed to be, the young Rebel thought, he would do whatever his ex-mate wanted and hurry her along. Luke didn’t know why he was hiding, except that announcing himself as an eavesdropper at this point didn’t seem like a wise thing to do. So, he settled back to scratch at a spot on his neck where something had bitten him and listened.
" Sign an Imperial document I cannot, my Swamp Flower." Yoda began meekly." You know that hiding I am"
" I KNOW you’re hiding, Yodums all that ‘save the galaxy' nonsense!" Wiggy tapped her foot impatiently." But you want moi to be happy, don’t you? What about moi’s destiny hmmm? What about TRUE LOVE?"
" Happy I want you be, Kissy Snout." Yoda whined.
" But live I would like to, and traced by Imperials I cannot be!"
" Am I hearing you right, Pigeon Toes?" Wiggy’s voice became threatening." Can you be saying NO to MOI?!?!"
" Yes." Luke was proud to hear Yoda manage courageously. " No..NO, I am saying.."
" Now LISTEN buster!" Wiggy growled." Lord Kermis of Amphibia wants to marry me and make me a Lord-ess!"
" Lardass" Yoda mumbled. " You already are."
" WHAT WAS THAT CRACK?" Wiggy squealed. " Well, no hump-backed, moldy, green hermit is going to stand between me and wealth and position. PRINT THE DOCUMENT!"
" Force me you cannot!"
Luke heard Yoda’s defiant squeak, then his yelping, along with loud thumping noises. Scrambling from the corner, still under the blanket, Luke peeked out at the pair.
" Wanna BET?" Wiggy screeched as she grabbed her estranged mate by the feet and proceeded to bop his head on the earthen floor." I’ll show you the WIGGY side of the Force!"
" Dis-bonding you do not need!" Yoda yelped. " Legal our mating was not!"
" WHAT???" Wiggy screamed.
" HEY! Put him down!"
Luke shouted as he crawled out of his hiding place.
Startled, Wiggy abruptly dropped Yoda.
" OH!" She gasped, straightening her ruffles and fluffing her hair. " Company? Why why you’re ADORABLE!"
She batted long lashes seductively.
" Why why you’re a PIG!" Luke blurted.
It was the last sound Luke Skywalker would remember hearing as a torpedo of pink came down on him like a bad dream.
Luke woke with a scream , sitting bold upright in the dirt, rubbing his eyes.
What a dream! What a nightmare! Except that he didn’t remember going to sleep or being outside.
" Awake are you?" Came an alien voice. " Frighten my pets have you with your screaming."
" Yoda? Yoda it was horrible." Luke groaned as he sat up. " A terrible nightmare!"
" A vision you had!" The little Jedi Master nodded slowly (his head still hurt). " Soon it is for an apprentice to have visions!"
" But it wasn’t a vision." Luke grimaced, remembering. " I don’t think it was. It was YOU. I was hiding under a blanket and a a PIG came in, in a pink spacesuit. She was beating you up!"
" Hummphh!" Yoda waddled over to examine his apprentice’s head. " Hit my ceiling hard did you! Nice lump do you have. Passed out you did, broke my favorite lamp and kafa table!"
" But it seemed so real." Luke winced, rubbing his scalp. " What does it mean?"
" Ummmm, bad sign is this!" Yoda replied gravely. " A warning a Jedi’s first vision is. The Dark One some see or Vader. A PIG you have seen! Dangerous this is. Young you are yes but obsessed with females and delimeats you MUST NOT be! Training you must begin right away, or worse visions will come."
" I’ll do whatever you say, Master." Luke replied earnestly. " How do I start?"
" Run you must in the swamp." Yoda pronounced officiously. " Two hours run, then meditation will you begin. Hard work to be a Jedi hard work!"
With one gnarled finger, Yoda pointed toward the steamy bog, and Luke obediently trotted off.
" Yoda that was dishonest." Ben Kenobi’s ghostly voice chided.
" Concerned with honesty NOW are you, Obi Wan?" Yoda grumbled as he shuffled around his tiny home picking up broken earthenware. He sat on the edge of his cot with a forlorn sigh, wiggling his stained toes.
" Only memories have I now, Obi Wan." The little Jedi Master frowned. " And blue feet"
" The ink will wear off." Ben sympathized helpfully.
" At least footprints can’t be traced. I feel sorry for the frog."
" Envy him I do!" Yoda sniffled, reminiscing. "Difficult to live with she was, but what a pig!"
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