Dawson Filter woke up one morning to discover that he’d slept in for a week. He looked at his potted plant.
“Not so alive anymore, now are you,” he said to the daisy.
He stood up to look out of his window and saw a cluster of tents on his lawn. The Scottish Heritage Foundation of Murderville had apparently grown in numbers since he’d fallen fell asleep the previous Tuesday. After baking some scones and calling Babe Listowel, the most intimidating fellow with a listed number in the phone book, he went outside to confront the foundation.
“You are in a tent,” he said to Aggie Oliver, the chair of the Scottish Heritage Foundation of Murderville. In his brief time meeting her, he’d gathered very little information about her, although she did seem to like puns. Dawson Filter thought he’d shoot her an easy one.
“That was ‘in tent’-ional,” she said with her usual mouth.
Behind her tent on the street, Babe Listowel arrived, guided by the scent of Dawson Filter’s fresh scones. He came around to join the confrontation. Dawson Filter told him the situation, and Babe Listowel understood every word.
“You know, Aggie,” he said, “I’m the king of Murderville, and I disapprove of malfeasance. Now, I’m not telling you to leave just yet; but I can tell you right now: What you’re doing sure isn’t benfeasance, and I can assure you that you do not want to see me when I disapprove of someone’s actions.”
“Show me yer badge, king,” Aggie Oliver spat at Babe, “or awa’ an bile yer heid.”
Dawson Filter took the potpourri he’d made from his dead flower out of his pocket to lighten the mood via aromatherapy.
Aggie Oliver sighed and threw a punch at Dawson Filter.
“Oi!” she exclaimed, “What’re ya thinking soothing me with yer scent sorcery! My blood must be boiling, b’y!
Dawson Filter offered her a scone, which she set on fire with some other fire that she’d bought from Makayla Pundit, who, after the fire escapade of 2016, had decided to go into the business of fire sale rather than arson. Aggie Oliver, hearing Makayla Pundit shout “fire sale,” had believed that the items she was selling would have discounts, and was lured into inspecting Makayla’s product by this belief for just long enough to see that the product was in fact fire, and decide that she absolutely needed some. Makayla Pundit’s business model ran largely off of people with similar misunderstandings.
Dawson Filter fell over in shock and broke his right femur.
“Hold your fire!” Babe Listowel said, “There’s no need to break Dawson over here. I’ve found a way for us all to be angry without hurting one another: All we need is a common enemy. I have reason to believe that it would be in the best interest of both Murderville and the Scottish Heritage Foundation thereof to invade Antarctica. Just look at the word.”
Babe Listowel held up a sheet of bristol board with the word ‘Antarctica’ written across it.
“Don’t you see what word you get when cross out the c’s and the last ‘a’ and move the first two letters to the back? Tartan. And don’t you see the first three letters and also the third last one? Anti. Anti-tartan. Tell me that doesn’t fill your heart with rage.”
Aggie Oliver didn’t, for she was no liar.
“And as for my personal interest, look at the three letters following the ‘n’. Tar. And the fourth, fifth, and seventh letters. Art. And the third, fourth, sixth, and seventh letters. Tact. And the last eight letters. tarctica.ca. Of all the things, I consider those to be some of the best. And I will have no rest until that foul continent stops being anti-those things. Join me, Aggie; let’s bring the freeze to its knees.”
Aggie Oliver nodded and shook Babe Listowel’s hand.
“A war it shall be.”