Saturday, February 20, 2016


As Leroy the Smelly slept in the grass, Fairy Ashlyn swiped his keyring from his belt and flew up to the tower window with her brand new Golden Fairy Wings.  Since eating the Golden Olive she'd been peaceful and calm and her wings had not disappeared even once.  Now that Leroy's curse on Alexander had been broken, all that was left was to free Princess Nanette and Kid Joey and his friends would have finished all their quests!
Princess Nanette accepted the keys from Fairy Ashlyn, astonished that she'd gotten them away from Leroy so easily.  In fact, he'd slept through the whole thing. 
"So all I have to do is go over there and use one of these keys in the lock on that door and I'm free?  Just like that?"
Fairy Ashlyn nodded happily. 
Princess Nanette pursed her lips, then said, "Seems too easy. Sure it's not a trap?"
Fairy Ashlyn hadn't thought of that, and it showed on her face.  Uh oh. 
Kid Joey and Kato and Alexander looked up at the tower window as Princess Nanette stuck her head out with Fairy Ashlyn perched upon it, leaning on her crown looking worried. 
Princess Nanette asked, "How do I know there's not a monster or evil genie or some such thing outside the tower door?" 
Kid Joey and Alexander exchanged glances, then looked down at quietly snoring Leroy.  "She has a point," said Alexander.  "He is one evil, mean wizard.  Take it from me." 
"Yeah, but I think he's changed.  I think it's like Grandma Crystal and Gramps Blaze said, the love, and your sister's family ties, and magic dust have weakened him.  Even if there are monsters in his castle, I'll bet his power over them is not as strong."
"Maybe.  Fairy Ashlyn would never have gotten his keys off of him before.  She would never have gotten near enough to even touch him," Alexander said. 
The boys and Kato headed for the door to the dungeon that Leroy had forgotten to close on his way to nap in the grass with the sun beaming down on him, warming him through to his heart. 
"He never would have left his door unlocked before either, especially the door to his dungeon.  He was careful about anybody getting inside and finding out his magical secrets, not to mention anyone he had locked inside getting out." 
Alexander looked up at the tower, and yelled, "We'll be up soon.  The door is open down here." 
"Be careful!  He's a mean one!"  Princess Nanette called out warning to her brother and friends. 
And Leroy snored on, smelling like a big ol' banana split there in the grass. 
Kato started carefully down the steps into the dark dungeon, and the boys followed fast, when they heard him bark.  It was not a happy bark, but a bark of alarm.  A bark of danger. 
It took a moment for their eyes to adjust to the dinginess of the place, but soon the boys saw cages.  Cages with little boys and girls inside! 
Kid Joey and Alexander rushed over intending to let the children out, but of course the cages were locked. 
Kato bolted for the outside door, barking, tail a-wag. 
Kid Joey and Alexander looked at one another, and before they could say anything, they heard Kato woofing beneath the tower window and Kid Joey smiled. 
"I know what he's up to," Kid Joey said, and at that moment Kato burst down the steps from outside, Leroy's keyring dangling and jingling from his mouth. 
"He got them from Princess Nanette.  Smart dog!" Alexander said, petting Kato's head.  Kato licked the boy's gentle hand as Kid Joey unlocked all the cages and freed the children within them.  Four boys and two girls thanked Kid Joey, Alexander, and Kato, then ran outside through the field (which they hoped they'd never seen again, as you will learn about later in this story) and into the woods, at last free of mean old Leroy. 
Kid Joey and Alexander were happy for the kids (they had no idea how accurate the word "kid" was, for they didn't know Leroy's story yet.  Not near all of it, but they had a job to do, a quest to fulfill. 
"Princess Nanette, after all, is the one who told Fairy Ashlyn what she had to do to earn her wings.  She told her about the Golden Olive of Peace that would help her quiet her temper and get the Golden Wings," Kid Joey told Alexander as they slowly and carefully crept through Leroy's creepy castle. 
Alexander stopped, his eyes wide.  "Wait.  Ash ate olives?"
Kid Joey smiled.  "Her weight in olive."
"No way.  My sister hates olives!"
As they made their way up the winding staircase on the way toward the tower, Kid Joey told Alexander the story of how his sister earned the Golden Wings and became a full-fledged fairy. 
"Wow!" Alexander said as they arrived at the tower room door. 
"Good.  No monsters or meanie guards.  That's a relief," Alexander said as Kid Joey tried a key in the lock. 
"Doesn't work," he said and tried another. 
And another. 
And another. 
He came to the last key. 
It didn't work. 
"Oh no," Alexander whispered in despair.  "What are we going to do now?"
Kid Joey smiled a grand smile, and grabbed Alexander by the sleeve, tugging him along back down the spiraling tower stairs.  "I have an idea," was all he said in his rush. 
Once outside, Kid Joey ran several yards away from the castle and looked up into the sky. 
In a soft voice he sang, "Oh Grandma Crystal?"  and suddenly, before the eyes of Kato, Alexander, Fairy Ashlyn, and Princess Nanette, Kid Joey vanished into swirling mist. 
The princess and children exchanged horrified glances, but Kato barked, his tail wagging and seemed to know that Kid Joey was in no danger. 
In less than fifteen seconds Kid Joey was back, with a big surprise.  And I mean BIG. 

Out of the swirling mist came Kid Joey, riding on the back of a huge, flying dragon with golden-orange scales that sparkled in the bright sunshine like pirates' treasure. 
And Sir WHIP was just that – a treasure. 
He flew directly to the tower window, flapping his enormous wings, waiting while Princess Nanette climbed onto the windowsill then onto his broad shoulders, where she hugged Kid Joey. 
"Thank you, Kid Joey, for helping me!"  Then she hugged Sir WHIP's neck too.  "And thank you, Sir WHIP, as well." 
And with that, Sir WHIP swooped to the grass far below and landed smoothly, bent his head to the ground so his passengers could disembark. 
Once everyone was safe and sound they hugged and laughed and danced for joy. 
All except Leroy, of course, who slept in the grass still. 
"Time to get answers," Fairy Ashlyn said, her voice tinkling like a little bell. 
Princess Nanette, Fairy Ashlyn, Kid Joey, Kato, Alexander, and Sir WHIP formed a circle around Leroy, holding hands, magic flowing through them, setting them aglow. 
The brightness awoke Leroy and he sat up, looked around at faces of innocent children he'd been mean to, and Princess Nanette, who he loved and never really meant to hurt, but of course he had.  Because of selfishness and pride.
Leroy's head hung low as he realized his powers were nothing sitting within the white magic circle. 
"Why are you so mean and cruel?" Princess Nanette asked right off. 
"How could you lock little kids in cages?" Kid Joey asked, angry. 
"How could you turn my brother into an ugly farting dragon?" Fairy Ashlyn said, then turned to Sir WHIP and quickly added, "No offense, Sir WHIP.  He was ugly.  You're beautiful and kind." 
"I understand," Sir WHIP said. 
"Do you hate karate?" Alexander asked. 
"Do you hate happiness and beauty?" Princess Nanette asked. 
Kato growled and nipped at the hem of Leroy's sleeve, instinctively not liking him for being so mean. 
But at the same time, Kato and Princess Nanette, Fairy Ashlyn, Alexander, Kid Joey, and Sir WHIP sensed that there had been a recent change of heart in Leroy.  Not only could they sense it deep in their hearts, but they saw he was deeply ashamed.  He sat, slumped, there were tears in his eyes and his head hung in embarrassment as he said, "I'm very sorry.  So sorry." 
Children, fairy, dragon, and dog exchanged glances, and somehow knew the reformed wizard meant the apology.  They could feel the sincerity; they knew he was for real. 
"But why?" Princess Nanette asked.  "Why?"
And thus Leroy began his story. 
"When I was little I lived with my mother in this place, only there was no castle, but a rickety shack that leaked rain, the icy wind whistled through it in the winter, and the heat sucked the sweat down our backs in the summer. 
"One very cold winter my mother got sick.  Really sick.  She told me there were special vines that grew in the forest, and to please bring her the seed pods from them so she could make a special medicine tea to help her get well.
"While I was in the woods, I met a wizard.  He was a very powerful magician who gave me seed pods from his pocket.  They were different than the ones my mother had described, but he promised she would get well, that she would never, ever get sick again, and I would be rich and powerful and live forever." 
Kid Joey wondered how old Leroy really was. 
"I'm four hundred and twenty-three years old, young man," Leroy answered, reading Kid Joey's mind and giving him quite a start.
"Wow!" Alexander said. 
"Yes, well, while some of it came true, the old meanie didn't tell me the bad stuff that would happen. 
"Like all I could eat was black magic beans; nothing else, ever.  And black magic beans are what makes me farty.  Leroy the Smelly," he said, looking around at the faces of Fairy Ashlyn and Alexander.  "Oh yes, that's right, I know what everybody calls me behind my back.  Did you think I didn't know?  Couldn't read their thoughts?  Really?"
"So you were cursed?" Princess Nanette asked in a softer voice, a tiny spark of sympathy beginning to warm her heart, but no such spark had fired up Alexander's who said, "So you went around making everybody else as miserable and unhappy as you?"  That's just mean." 
"I didn't start out to be mean, but everybody hated me.  No one would sit with me anywhere or anytime.  Not even my mother could stand to be in the same room with me.  People's eyes would water; their noses would burn, and every now and then someone would actually throw up."
Princess Nanette began to really feel sorry for Leroy.  "You must have been very lonely." 
"The little kids who lived around here in the village on the other side of the woods were cute.  I used to cut the grass so they could play with their balls and hoops and such. 
"But when I was outside tending the field with my scythe, they ran because of the smell, and they started calling me Leroy the Smelly.  They were the first and it really hurt my feelings.  Here I was, making a nice field for them to play their games in and they were teasing me.
"So I turned them all into little baby goats, or kids as they are called, one pretty afternoon.  From then on, they could eat the grass and tend the field for themselves." 
"Oh my," Princess Nanette sighed, the warm sympathy in her heart chilling over.  "Spitefulness is mean, Leroy.  They were cruel too, but they didn't understand.  You might have tried to explain…" 
"I couldn't get close enough!  They ran from me – from my stink!
"So I had this big castle, land, all the black magic beans I could eat, grew on vines all year round for me.  Just as the cloud of stink grew over my castle. 
"Even my mother moved far away.  I hated everyone, everything, until I saw you, Princess Nanette, one day, walking in the woods, then petting the little goats in the field. 
"My heart melted at the sight of your beauty; I prayed every day and night you would somehow be mine.  But how could I ever make you know?  How could I whisper sweet words of love in your ears when my farts kept you at such a distance?" Leroy hung his head, then continued.  "So I enchanted the tower room so that it wouldn't stink, but smell like lavender and rose petals, and then enchanted you as well for awhile, long enough to have you drop into a deep sleep in the field, so that I could carry you up into the tower and keep you there.  I couldn't bear to see the fright in your eyes at the sight of my ugly, warty face, the tears in your eyes from the stench.   You were the one beautiful thing in my whole rotten life.  I couldn't let you run away from me." 
"Right," Fairy Ashlyn said, snottily, "better to lock her up and make her miserable and make her hate you." 
"What did I ever do to you?" Alexander said.  "I never teased you or hurt you in any way.  Why would you curse me?" 
Leroy's head swung low again in more shame. "Princess Nanette used to watch you in your dazzling white gi – I used to dream about doing the crescent kicks and roundhouse kicks, that so enthralled her, and made her eyes shine. 
"But I knew if I put on a brilliant white outfit like that, and moved around so much it would just make me fart all the more, and the pants would have stains and stink and Princess Nanette would be even more disgusted with me.  I had to find a way, because I was so jealous, so bitterly disappointed that she didn't love me; I had to find a way to make her forget all about you.  So poof!  You became Grando-the-Farting-Dragon, as stinky and ugly as me." 
Leroy put his hands over his face in tears.  "I am so, so sorry; I mean that," he sobbed. 
The circle of friends sat around the old wizard, still absorbing his story.  And then, as he wiped his sopping face with his sleeve, he asked in a moist, shuddering voice, "How did you make the farting stop?"
The friends all looked at one another, shrugging, until Kid Joey spoke up. 
"Gramps Blaze told me, just before Fairy Ashlyn and I went to China to find Grando that love and kindness beat out hate and meanness.  That's why patience and kindness earned Fairy Ashlyn her Golden Wings.  "That's why her magic dust worked on Grando and evaporated your curse.  That's why the goat "kids" changed back into human kids.  And why your farts stopped stinking.  Because love always wins." 
Leroy looked around the circle.  "You don't hate me?" he asked Princess Nanette. 
"I could sense your feelings, Leroy.  It always seemed to me that you were more lonely and sad then you were mean.  I know you did mean things, but I always hoped you would change, and now it seems you have." 
"Can you ever forgive me, my sweet Nanette?"
"I already have," Princess Nanette said, and it was then that Leroy, for the first time in many, many years, leaned over and kissed someone.  His lips kissed Princess Nanette's and his heart softened, and his warts and wrinkles faded away, and he became her prince. 
As they kissed some more, the circle of friends about them watched as the fart cloud above the castle faded into wisps of vapor and then disappeared completely. 
Birds and butterflies flew in and out the windows, breathing the fresh, clean air. 
The Prince and Princess led their friends into the sparking palace (all the cobwebs and dust from centuries had magically vanished) for cakes and tea (and steak for Kato and pulled pork for Sir WHIP) and much celebration for soon there would be a royal wedding. 
Kid Joey, Kato, Sir WHIP, Fairy Ashlyn, and Alexander, promised to return to attend. 
"We wouldn't miss it for all the tea in China," Kid Joey said to Prince Leroy and Princess Nanette.  Then he turned to Alexander.  "Speaking of China, do you still want to meet a Chinese Dragon?" he asked, a twinkle in his eye. 
And just like that, the rescue was done and new adventures started. 
Outside in the fresh air and sunshine Kid Joey sang, "Oh Grandma Crystal!" and the crystal ball mists began to swirl about him, Kato, Sir WHIP, and his new friends Alexander and Fairy Ashlyn. 
The last he saw of Prince Leroy and Princess Nanette were their smiles and blown kisses…
…because love had indeed prevailed. 

TD – 2/12/2016

Saturday, February 13, 2016


Gramps Blaze and Grandma Crystal snorted mocking laughter when Kid Joey described Leroy's curse to them. 
"Not only is he smelly, but his magic isn't so good," Gramps Blaze said.  "Children could remove this curse.  In fact, children shall." 
Grandma Crystal smiled at how things work out, then got kind of a sad look on her face. "You know, it's not so much that the old guy is mean, he's just crampy and self-conscious because of all the gas.  Nobody wants to be around him." 
Kid Joey said, "Grandma Crystal, look at his castle.  It's almost covered in a big fart cloud!  Would you go visit him?  Or love him?  Or live there?"
"I see your point, Kid Joey.  But it's hurting his feelings.  Something must be done," Grandma Crystal said, kissing the top of Kid Joey's head. 
Gramps Blaze turned to Fairy Ashlyn, and thought about how brave she'd been to travel with Kid Joey and Kato to Greece, eat a magic Golden Olive, and earn her Golden Fairy Wings.  "Fairy Ashlyn, exactly what happened to your brother Alexander?  And exactly when did it happen?  What was going on when Leroy got mean and turned him into Grando the Farting Dragon?"
"I'm not sure, really.  I was way behind walking, I'd gotten caught in a sticker bush with lots of thorns.  I was walking instead of flying because I'd lost my temper and my wings disappeared. That happened a lot back before I ate the Golden Olive. 
"Anyway, I was trying to keep up with Alexander; he was far ahead of me.  He wanted to something important that he was very excited about.  He'd found this really beautiful field to practice his Karate in. 
"That's it! He was practicing Karate!  And I was trying to back out of the brambles and go around them, but they kept getting thicker and thicker.  I had to calm down and not get angry.  I finally stopped moving and waited.  I waited for a long time in the middle of the sticker bushes, until my wings finally grew back and I could fly up and out of the thorns."
"And what happened with Alexander? Were you lost?  Where did he turn into Grando the Farting Dragon?  Did you hear the spell Leroy put on him?"
"Give her a chance, Kid Joey, let her tell the story at her pace, please," Gramps Blaze said softly.  Kid Joey climbed onto Gramps Blaze's lap and waited for Fairy Ashlyn to continue. 
"I remembered the direction Alexander had gone, but I was way behind.  Way behind.  Even with my wings back, I had a hard time catching up.  I started hearing these snorts and smelling this rotten egg smell coming up through the trees.  I remember getting worried that there was some sort of monster or troll in the woods, that Alexander might be in danger, so I flew as fast as I could, then I came to the clearing that Alexander had found to practice his karate in. It really was perfectly smooth ground with velvety grass, almost like someone crawled around trimming each blade with scissors. 
"I remember that now, but all I noticed then was this big, warty dragon who stumbled along, clumsy, farting with every step it took, snorting, trying to outrun its own farts because they were so disgusting." 
Kid Joey sucked in his lips, clamping them shut with his teeth to keep from laughing.  All he could picture was this giant, goony fat dragon, trying to run away from his own farts. 
Fairy Ashlyn saw him trying not to laugh and frowned.  "You think it's funny?  That's my brother inside that stupid dragon, and a meanie put a spell on him!"
Kid Joey nodded.  "I'm sorry, Fairy Ashlyn, but you kindof have to admit, if it wasn't Alexander, that a giant, evil dragon scared of his own farts is pretty funny.  Especially since running makes him fart even more."  Kid Joey's laughter kind of melted away in his throat when he looked around at Gramps Blaze, Grandma Crystal, Fairy Ashlyn and even Kato who only looked sad because Alexander was in trouble. 
He still thought the dragon was funny.  Maybe everybody else would agree once the spell was reversed and Alexander was back safe and sound, his troubles a memory.   
Gramps Blaze patted Kid Joey's back and said softly, "I'll bet Alexander will laugh when this is all over." 
Fairy Ashlyn smiled.  "Yeah!   He probably will!  He always loved a good fart joke." 
"But right now," Grandma Crystal said, walking over to her crystal ball, "You have to go back and find Grando and reverse the spell." 
Fairy Ashlyn came over to the crystal ball as well.  "I tried, Grandma Crystal, but it didn't work.  Nothing worked, and my Auntie Judy taught me two different reversal spells," said explained.    
Grandma Crystal and Gramps Blaze both nodded, and Grandma Crystal said, "Because you were not a full-fledged fairy then.  You were still not in control of your temper, and Leroy had cursed you too." 
Grandma Crystal placed her hands gently on the ball, sort of warming it up.  It misted up inside, reacting right away to her touch.  "I'll bet you were plenty mad when you tried casting those reversal spells and they didn't work, right?"
Fairy Ashlyn nodded, and then hung her head in disgrace. 
Gramps Blaze noticed, and said, "It's okay, Fairy Ashlyn, nothing to be ashamed of.  That was then and this is now.  You're doing much better with your temper and you're a real fairy.  It will be different now, and there is a better way to reverse the dragon spell." 
"First," Grandma Crystal said, gazing into the crystal ball, we have to find your brother." 
Everyone gathered around the ball, as its mists cleared and Fairy Ashlyn saw her brother galumphing along next to a long, long wall. 
"Oh my goodness!  That's the Great wall of China."  Grandma Crystal gasped.  "So far away from your home.  How did he get there?"
"There's only one way to find out," Kid Joey said, petting Kato gently, pulling him against his leg to let him know he would be okay, even though his friend was a little creeped out by tumbling through the mists inside the ball. 
Kato groaned at the thought, but stood strong next to his best friend. 
Gramps Blaze petted Kato, who licked his hand, then the powerful wizard turned to Kid Joey and Fairy Ashlyn.  "Here's what you need to do." 
"That's all?"  Kid Joey said when Gramps Blaze was finished. 
"That's it," Gramps Blaze said, shrugging. 
"Are you sure?" Fairy Ashlyn asked. "That's a lot like my Auntie Judy's spell, and it didn't work at all." 
"You have real fairy dust to sprinkle on your brother this time, and it's more powerful when you're helping Alexander, because you're his sister.  The family, blood bond makes your magic all the more powerful. 
Fairy Ashlyn nodded, getting it. 

Fairy Ashlyn hovered over Kid Joey and Kato as Grandma Crystal waved her hands over them and they shrunk down until they fit inside the ball. 
"Grando!" Kid Joey called to the fierce, smelly dragon, and winced at the stench it left behind as it clumped along.
 "Stop!  We're here to help!" Fairy Ashlyn shouted in her teeny little voice.  "Alexander, I know you're in there somewhere.  I brought a friend who can help." 
Grando stopped.  "Nothing works," he said sadly. 
"So you ran away to China?" Fairy Ashlyn said.  "You thought we wouldn't love you anymore because you're big and smelly?" Little tears were in Fairy Ashlyn's eyes, and Grando's head hung low. 
"We love you anyway, Alexander!  Nobody who really loves you cares what shape you are, or if you're sick, or beautiful or ugly or even if you smell bad.  You're my brother, you're a nice guy in there.  I love you." 
Kid Joey and Kato watched Fairy Ashlyn soothe her brother's feelings, and smiled.  Kato barked a happy bark then sneezed, because the farty smell was still pretty strong and burned his nose, sort of like hot pepper when Mom opened up the jar. 
"Why did you run to China?" Kid Joey asked. 
"Because I'm a bad dragon.  In China, dragons are lucky.  They are loved here.  I thought maybe if I found a lucky dragon, it might rub off on me, or know how to change me back into a boy, since dragons are magical."
"Makes sense.  But you didn't have to come all the way to China.  My friend Catherine's best friend is a dragon named Shen Lung – that means good luck in Chinese.  I'll tell you all about it while we walk." 
Grando shook his bulky head slowly side to side.  "You don't want me to walk near you.  It makes me fart to walk; every step a stinky fart slips out.  And they are deadly farts!  I almost fainted a couple of times on my way to China." 
Seriously, Kid Joey thought to himself.  A big dragon fainting from his own farts.  Was he the only one who thought this was hilarious?  Come on! 
"Blah, blah, blah!" said Fairy Ashlyn, in a stern voice. "Stop whining and listen to what Kid Joey says!  His Gramps is magic.  And I'm a fairy for real now!  Thank you for noticing by the way." 
"Congratulations," Grando said. 
"Thank you," Fairy Ashlyn smiled.
"You're welcome.  How'd you get over your temper?"
"Not now, Alexander!" Fairy Ashlyn snapped impatiently. 
"Oh," Grando teased.  "I see you didn't."  The big ugly dragon smiled. 
"What?" Fairy Ashlyn stopped, confused. 
"I see you didn't get over your temper." 
Fairy Ashlyn squinted her eyes for a second, but smiled in spite of her annoyance.  "You know your fart cloud gets bigger every time you talk," she teased back, giggling. 
Kid Joey snickered and Kato yipped, wagging his tail. 
Fairy Ashlyn turned in mid-air, to face her new friends.  "And you're right, Kid Joey, a dragon running away from his own farts is hilarious!" 
Grando laughed loudest at the image, so hard he actually fell over, his landing on the ground producing an explosive, ripping fart that made everyone cough and wheeze, but they laughed even more.  
Kid Joey said, through fading giggles, "Okay, the first part of the reversal spell is done.  We made him laugh and not be sad anymore." 
"Laughing is magic?" Grando asked. 
"Sure!  When someone, magical or not, can make you scared or sad, or mean or smelly or embarrassed, it gives them power over you.  If you do just the opposite, it takes their power away, and gives you your power back." 
"Oh, I get it.  You're very smart, Kid Joey." 
"My Gramps Blaze explained it all.  There's more," Kid Joey said. 
"What?"  Grando said. 
"You have to walk backwards all the way to where you were when you turned into Grando," Fairy Ashlyn told her brother, who cringed. 
"If I walk backwards, I have to walk right through all the farts!  Oh no!" 
Kid Joey's face crumpled into hysterical laughter.  "Every five steps you're gonna faint and fall over!"
Grando chuckled, little farts popping out of his butt with every heh, heh, heh. Fairy Ashlyn laughed too, and Kato wagged his tail and barked, but backed away from the dingy, smelly cloud forming around the big dragon dude.  And he sneezed a couple more times for good measure. 
With laughter still bubbling from his throat (and butt, unfortunately), Grando began backing up.  Back and back he went, occasionally coughing from the smell. 
As he took one backward step after another, Fairy Ashlyn flew above him, hoping the magic would work fast, because this fart cloud was making her gag.  As she flew, her wings fluttered, of course, and fairy dust sprinkled off of them, all over Grando. 
The fairy dust seemed to sink into Grando, right through all the blubber and right into his heart, which of course, was Alexander's heart, after all.  Fairy Ashlyn's magic began to take hold, Grando's pace picked up, and his farts weren't so eye-watering strong and stinky.  In fact, with every backward step and sprinkle of his sister's fairy dust, his farts not only stunk less, but they started to smell like peanut butter. 
"Wow!  That's really cool, Fairy Ashlyn!"  Kid Joey said, impressed.
"It's my brother's favorite food," she said, fairy dust fluttering from her wings into Grando's thick, warty hide. 
The friends walked and walked, with Kato walking ahead of and behind Grando, (since the dragon was walking backwards), sniffing his peanut butter farts, wondering if he bit the big ol' ugly tush if it would taste as good as it smelled.  Such are the funny thoughts of peanut butter-loving Blue Tick Hound mutts.   
Finally, Grando backed into the clearing near Leroy's castle, where he'd been practicing his Karate Kata. 
"Exactly what part of the Kata were you doing when you poofed into Grando?" Kid Joey wanted to know. 
"Crescent kicks; I remember because my/Grando's big leg was up in the air and my heavy body just fell on over, and it made me fart – bigtime." 
Before Grando even finished the sentence, he broke up laughing, instantly joined by his sister and new-found friends.  Even though he was still upset by his situation, he found that he felt better having friends around to help him laugh about it.  And somehow he knew, deep inside of him that they would find a way to change him back into Alexander. 

Leroy watched from his stinky old castle, seething and farting, farting and seething, not understanding why that stupid boy was laughing at the Grando-the-Farting-Dragon curse.  It was a scary curse!  Being suddenly turned into something big and ugly and smelly, so smelly that no one liked you anymore. 
And what was up with that?  Who were those numbskulls with Grando?  Why weren't they grossed out by the smell?  And why were they all laughing?  And why was that mutt wagging his tail, sniffing Grando farts?  Why was that Fairy – who looked familiar, he thought – wait!  Was that Almost-Fairy Ashlyn?  Were they Golden wings?  Was she Fairy Ashlyn now?  Why was she kissing Farting Grando's cheek and smiling without even waving her hands around trying to fan away the stench?  
What the heck was going on, Leroy wondered, feeling very weak all of a sudden. 
And why was he catching a whiff of banana splits?  He hadn't had one in forever.  Hadn't been able to smell anything but his own obnoxious farts for so long that nothing, even banana splits tasted good to him anymore.  But they had been his favorite food, hadn't they?  He smiled as he remembered their smooth sweetness, squishing in his mouth, sliding coolly down his throat on warm summer days. 
And now that's all he could smell, even deep in the dungeon of his castle. Where was the banana split smell coming from?  Seemed to him that wonderful aroma was coming from behind him. 
He spun around and found nothing there, just a spider in its web – a spider who was not enjoying a banana split. 
"Then why do I smell one?"  Grando muttered to himself, farting with the effort.  Then he smelled banana split again, spun around, making him fart, which smelled like banana split. 
So there's this evil wizard who fell in love with his own farts and spent hours spinning around, trying to find a banana split hiding behind him. 
Kid Joey would have rolled on the floor laughing. 

Nobody ever accused Leroy of being a very smart wizard.  And now, he wasn't even a very powerful one, with everybody laughing at his most evil curse and all.  
He felt an urge to go outside into the sunshine and take a walk, now that the vile fart stench would no longer cause flowers to wilt and birds to drop out of the sky.  But how had his farts begun to smell like banana splits, anyway, he wondered, stepping into the sunshine for the first time in years and years.
He watched the children in the field, and his eyes got big and his mouth dropped open as Grando suddenly poofed back into Alexander. 
Suddenly Leroy felt different.  Weak.  Tired. 
He sat down in the grass as Kid Joey, Kato, Fairy Ashlyn, and Alexander made their way toward him, chattering happily, jumping up and down, skipping and clapping, all very happy that Alexander was back and Grando was gone. 
Leroy was too weak to even be mad.  He hoped those children could make him feel better. 
Why had he hated them so?  They didn't seem so bad after all. 
As he lay back in the soft grass, he saw Princess Nanette in the tower window and his heart flooded with joy.  He loved her so. 
So why had he locked her in a tower? 
He couldn't hold his eyes open anymore. 

Kid Joey and his friends found Leroy lying in the grass, a smile on his face, his dreams much nicer now. 
They let him sleep there after Fairy Ashlyn took the large ring of keys from his belt, and flew up to the tower window and into it to land softly on Princess Nanette's shoulder and whisper in her ear. 

What is Fairy Ashlyn telling Princess Nanette? 
Is it a magical secret?
The answer will be right here in the RoJo Adventure Blog next weekend! 

TD – 2/12/2016

Saturday, February 6, 2016


As you may remember from the end of last week's story, Kid Joey had met Almost-Fairy Ashlyn who is an itty bitty fairy-in-training who has been cursed by a farting wizard named Farty Leroy the Smelly.  Farty Leroy the Smelly, in addition to tormenting Almost-Fairy Ashlyn, is also holding beautiful Princess Nanette in the tower of his farty castle.  She might be able to enjoy the view if the whole top of the castle, including Princess Nanette's tower weren't enveloped by a giant, grody fart cloud.

Kid Joey and Almost-Fairy Ashlyn want to help the princess, but first, Almost-Fairy Ashlyn has to earn her fairy wings, and the magic fairy dust that comes with them. 

Last week the story ended with Almost-Fairy Ashlyn flying over to the tower to talk with Princess Nanette to see if she had any helpful advice. 

Almost-Fairy Ashlyn came back with oodles to tell her friends.

"Princess Nanette needs help too.  That mean old wizard, Farty Leroy the Smelly is at the bottom of all of this!  He's the one who changed Alexander into Grando!  And he's not the only one! And he cursed my wings!  He is holding Princess Nanette up in that stupid tower!"

So she's in the most trouble.  We should help her first, right?"  Kid Joey asked. 

"Not yet.  He won't hurt her because he loves her, I guess, in his own twisted way.  And besides.  He's not exactly Merlin – most of his powers are in his farts," Almost-Fairy Ashlyn explained. 

"What?" Kid Joey said. 

"They are actually deadly. But he turned Alexander into a farting dragon so Princess Nanette thinks it's normal – that all guys fart – so she won't be so disgusted by Farty Leroy the Smelly's gas and then he can be her boyfriend." 

"You've got to be kidding!  What a jerk!"

"Welcome to my world," Almost-Fairy Ashlyn said, agreeing with her new-found friend. 

"So you want us to help you find your brother first and help him?"  Kid Joey said. 

"I can't help anyone until I'm a full-fledged fairy, and Princess Nanette said there is a special fruit I have to eat – I have to eat a lot because I have a lot of impatience." 

"So let's go to the store.  What's the fruit, and what store can we find it in?"


"Special store?"

"Special country."

"What?"  Kid Joey's eyes got big with the surprising thought of traveling to a foreign country, even though he'd flown around the world – twice! – with Sir WHIP on Christmas and on New Year's.  But this was different.  A lot different. 

"You've seen me, Kid Joey; I'm lucky if I can fly all the way around a tree without losing my wings!  How am I going to fly all the way to Greece?  And how will I walk there if my wings disappear?  Greece is across the ocean!"

Kid Joey smiled. "I have an idea."

He looked up, his eyes scanning the sky, or so Almost-Fairy Ashlyn thought, and sang out, "Oh Grandma Crystal!"

Suddenly the whole place went all swirly-twirly and Kid Joey grabbed Almost-Fairy Ashlyn's hand as they tumbled through the air.

In four point two seconds they landed upright in Grandma Crystal's attic, with a smiling Grandma Crystal sitting at the table before the crystal ball, just as she had been when Kid Joey had poofed into it. 

To Grandma Crystal he'd only been gone for a few minutes even though half a day had passed in Farty Leroy the Smelly's forest.

"So young lady, Farty Leroy the Smelly got to you, huh?"  Grandma Crystal said to Almost-Fairy Ashlyn. 

Ashlyn's eyes flicked back and forth between Grandma Crystal and Kid Joey, who petted a shaken-up Kato by his side. 

"Farty Leroy the Smelly…how do you know…" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn stammered, 

"He's well-known in the magical realm.  His curses are mean-spirited and a pain in the neck to break.  But there's a way.  First of all, you have to get your Golden Wings.  But thanks to that wonky wizard, the wings, though they are yours, made just for you by fairy goddesses, and no one else can ever wear them or take them from you once you have them, the wings must be earned."

"How do I earn them?" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn asked softly.

"Fairies are not grumpy and impatient, young lady.  You have to do a little growing up – but Farty Leroy the Smelly baits you with that ornery old disappearing wing crap.  That would make anyone grumpy and impatient!  So here's the deal.  I can't just give you the wings.  That you have to do for yourself because it's a real fairy test, made up by the Fairy Goddesses that make the wings.  However, there are no fairy rules that say you can't take a train or plane – or travel by my crystal ball.  And you're allowed to have friends with you who can help you with outside influences.  Do you know what that means?"

Almost-Fairy Ashlyn nodded.  "They can help me with things that go wrong as long as it's stuff that's not the fairy wing test itself." 

"Precisely!  No one can put a spell on you to make you calm.  You have to do that yourself, but if Farty Leroy the Smelly tries putting you in a magical cage, or something like that, Kid Joey or Gramps Blaze or I can destroy it.  If we have power enough to do it." 

"Can't you break the disappearing wing curse?"

"Well, that's tricky.  See, Farty Leroy the Smelly made it into a never-ending curse and made every little frown or "humph" of yours disappear your wings.  He took the fairy spell, meant to remind you about patience and help teach you about being a good fairy, and made it a punishment so much harder – almost impossible – to do.  The fairy goddesses live on Mount Olympus in Greece and the special tree with the fruit of peace and wisdom grows there.  I can't tamper with the fairy spells but I can get you to Greece and keep Farty Leroy the Smelly busy so he can't torment you and make your wings disappear every five seconds like he has been.  The creep.

"When you arrive in Greece you must find the golden tree of peace, and eat its magical fruit.   You must eat a lot of it because you have extra problems – like Farty Leroy the Smelly's curse."

"How much do I have to eat?  I like fruit."

"Your weight.  You have to eat your weight in the fruit, to break the curse.  And once the curse is gone, the Fairy Goddess will appear and, well, you'll see.  Now off with you!"  Grandma Crystal wiggled her fingers and Kid Joey grabbed Almost-Fairy Ashlyn's hand and Kato's collar as the trio began tumbling through the mists inside the crystal ball again. 

They didn't tumble for long, for soon they stood on solid land again.  Greek land.  In a grove of beautiful trees. 

The whole place felt peaceful and calm. 

Almost-Fairy Ashlyn took a deep, cleansing breath while Kid Joey petted Kato, figuring he would be all discombobulated again from being tossed about inside the crystal ball. 

But Kato surprised Kid Joey, standing in the midst of the orchard, Kato was perfectly calm, his nose cold, his tail wagging.  He was a happy dog indeed.  He licked Kid Joey's hand and took a couple of steps toward a nearby tree and began to lift his leg. 

"Really?" Kid Joey said in a disapproving tone.  "On a tree of peace? You can't hold it for just a little while?"

And suddenly there were giggles all around them. 

Several glowing bubbles that floated around the trio of friends seemed to be where the laughter was coming from. The source of one of the giggles said, "That's okay, Kid Joey.  Dogs pee.  It will water the tree and besides, while olive trees are symbolic of peace, this one is not the one you seek.  You are seeking the Golden Olive Tree in the center of this grove." 

"Wait," Almost-Fairy Ashlyn said. "Olive tree?" The grimace on her face, as she stared at the little sprite, showing her horror. 

"Sure!  Olives are the fruit of peace – haven't you ever heard the saying "offer an olive branch?" It means to settle an argument, to make peace.  Google it! 

"Fairies Google?" Kid Joey asked. 

"Of course!  How do you think we learn stuff?"

Almost-Fairy Ashlyn and Kid Joey exchanged amused glances and then set off for the magic tree. 

Almost-Fairy Ashlyn whispered to Kid Joey, "I hate olives.  I have to eat my weight in them?  I'll never get my wings!" 

Kid Joey said softly, soothingly, "Don't get all upset, Ashlyn. Especially here in a peaceful olive grove in Greece.  Let's see what happens.  Grandma Crystal, Gramps Blaze, and Nana Terri all say, "You never can tell how things will turn out.  Wait and see.""

Almost-Fairy Ashlyn listened and nodded.  "I hope they're right.  One olive would be bad enough, but my weight in them?  I'll puke for sure." 

"Don't panic.  It's a magical place, full of goddesses and fairies.  I get nothing but good feelings here. I'm sure puking won't be involved." 

It didn't take them long to reach the middle of the orchard. 

"It's the most beautiful tree I've ever seen!"  Almost-Fairy Ashlyn said softly, her eyes beholding the magic Golden Olive Tree.  It glowed all on its own, and then the sun reflected on each glittery leaf adding even more beautiful light.  The whole tree shimmered.

"Prettier than even Christmas trees with all their lights and tinsel!"  Kid Joey said, smiling.  Kato whimpered in excitement, knowing this was something really, really good.  Very special 

"But where are those ugly little green olives?" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn said, confused.  I don't see any and I need to eat a lot of them to earn my wings."  She began to feel worried. 

"Stay calm, Ashlyn!  Things have worked out okay so far, right?  Let's see how this works out.  Nana Terri always says, "Don't cry before your hurt.""

Almost-Fairy Ashlyn closed her eyes and took a deep breath, thinking happy thoughts like that the olives might taste like peaches or Skittles.

"Look, Almost-Fairy Ashlyn!  Up there on that branch that's bent low.  An olive! A Golden Olive!" 

The branch was bent down low to the ground as if loaded with fruit, yet there was only a single, sparkling olive on it.

"C'mon, Ashlyn! I'll help you pick it!" Kid Joey said, running around to the branch that had the olive.  But when he got there, he found he couldn't move!  And he looked over at Kato when his blue tick hound buddy barked, and saw that he couldn't move either. 

At just that moment another bubble showed up, and a moment later, POOF! A little fairy literally popped into the air from within the glowing bubble.

"Almost-Fairy Ashlyn has to do the olive thing all by herself," the tiny winged creature said, but then she winked at Almost-Fairy Ashlyn. "But there are easy ways to do things, and sometimes a thing is not what it appears to be." 

The little fairy landed on a fallen branch that was pretty long and Kid Joey got her message as she flew off.

"Use that stick to shake the branch with the olive!  Maybe it will fall off. I do that with Mrs. Levy's peaches sometimes."

Ashlyn grabbed the long stick and poked the branch with the olive.

Lo and behold, the little Golden Olive fell!  With a big THUMP!

"Wow; for a little olive, I could swear I felt the ground shake!" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn said, and Kato barked as he stood, still unable to move, the same as Kid Joey.  But Ashlyn could move alright. She hurried over to the shiny Golden Olive, reflecting the sun there in the grass, with butterflies swooping and loop-de-looping all around it, so Almost-Fairy Ashlyn wouldn't lose sight of it. 

Not much chance of that, I'll tell you! Almost-Fairy Ashlyn was closer than she realized to earning her glittery Golden Wings. 

"Oh, my! "she said, bending to pick the little olive up off the ground, the butterflies, up close, carrying teeny weeny little fairies on their delicate backs, watching to see how Almost-Fairy Ashlyn reacted to her final test – to see how creative she could be, and just how far she would go to earn her wings.  

They were surprised when there was confusion, but not a trace of anger or impatience, in her voice as she said, "Kid Joey!  I can't lift it!  I can't even get my fingers under it!  It weighs so much!  It's such a tiny little thing.  I'll bet it weighs as much as…"

"You," Kid Joey said.  "It weighs as much as you!  Get it?"

"It's my weight in olives!" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn caught on, grinning hugely. "So I only have to eat one!  Yay!" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn jumped up and down, clapping her hands. Then she stopped, and wondered out loud.  "How in the world am I going to get it into my mouth?  I can't get it off the ground." 

No crying, no stomping of feet, no yelling, no pouting or sulking, just wondering.

Almost-Fairy Ashlyn was not angry, just confused. 

When the Fairy Goddess saw that Almost-Fairy Ashlyn was acting more like a grownup fairy and controlling her childish temper, she decided to let one of her friends help. 

Kato barked, still unable to leave the spot he was in, but he could move on the spot.  He barked again and when Almost-Fairy Ashlyn and Kid Joey looked at him, he stretched his front legs before him, lowering his mouth to the ground.  Then he picked up a leaf with his mouth, clearly hinting to Almost-Fairy Ashlyn how to get the olive.  Kid Joey laughed.  "I think Kato is telling you something – giving you some doggy advice."

"Huh?" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn said.

"Well, I think he means, if you can't get the olive to your mouth, then you should get your mouth to the olive," Kid Joey explained.

Almost-Fairy Ashlyn laughed. "Oh!  I get it!  Thanks, Kato!"

Kato basked happily, his tail wagging frantically, so happy to have helped his new little fairy friend. 

Almost-Fairy Ashlyn dropped onto her hands and knees, then leaned forward, her butt in the air like Kato's when he got a drink of water out of his bowl.  "Only your butt's cuter, Kato, because it has a friendly waggley tail," Almost-Fairy Ashlyn said.

The little fairy leaned her face to the soft grass where the Golden Olive lay, and opened her mouth.  She took a deep breath, knowing she was not fond at all of olives, but very relieved that it seemed she would only have to eat one – how bad could that be?

She closed her mouth around the beautiful, shiny Golden Olive.  

While she hadn't been able to lift the olive with her fingers and hands, because it had weighed as much as she, Almost-Fairy Ashlyn found that the little Golden Olive weighed almost nothing in her mouth.  She stood up, her tongue starting to push the little olive between her molars to chew, then swallow it, but before she could chew it, it simply melted in her mouth like whipped cream. 

It tasted like olive, of course, but not strong and vinegary like the ones in the jar, just olivey. 

"Hmmm.  Not so bad.  Actually kind of nice," Almost-Fairy Ashlyn said, pleasantly surprised.

With her task completed, Kid Joey and Kato could move and come over to where she stood beneath the olive branch.  Without its heavy olive, the branch was higher up now, where all the rest of the tree branches reached up to hug the sunshine. 

"I wonder how long it will be before I get my magical, Golden Wings?"

Before she'd even finished the sentence a glowing cloud moved toward Almost-Fairy Ashlyn and her friends. Closer and closer it came down from the sky until finally it floated and shimmered right before them. 

Upon it sat a beautiful lady in a shimmery golden gown – the Greek kind that hung from one shoulder but not the other. The lady sort of glowed too, a bright, sunny glow, and she smiled down at the trio of friends then turned her attention to Almost-Fairy Ashlyn. 

"Good job, Fairy Ashlyn!  Even though that mean old Farty Leroy the Smelly made things so difficult for you, you kept it together and finally learned how to control your temper. Good for you! 

At that moment, the Fairy Goddess stood up, but not in the human way with her feet on the ground.  No, goddesses stand differently.  The cloud moved to beneath her feet and kept her floating about six inches above the ground. 

Fairy Goddess held her arms out before her and a glowing, golden bubble appeared in her cupped hands. 

The bubble slowly, gradually got larger until it was about the size of Almost-Fairy Ashlyn, a little bit smaller than a basketball, but of course see-through.  The bubble sparkled like shiny glass with glitter in it, but Almost-Fairy Ashlyn and Kid Joey and Kato could all see right through it. 

And they could see something inside it, fluttering all by themselves.

"Fairy wings!" Kid Joey said.

"Golden Fairy wings!" Almost-Fairy Ashlyn exclaimed.

The Fairy Goddess laughed, feeling Almost-Fairy Ashlyn's joy at even the sight of her wings and said, "Yes, and even better still they are your Golden Fairy Wings.  You've certainly earned them today." 

With that the Fairy Goddess shoved the glowing bubble toward Almost-Fairy Ashlyn and when it bumped against her it popped in a swirl of glittery fairy dust. In that split-second two things magically happened: 

First, the fairy wings instantly attached to Almost-Fairy Ashlyn's shoulders and back, making her a full-fledged fairy.

Second, the Fairy Goddess shimmered and shrunk into her cloud until she'd vanished altogether.

Kid Joey and Fairy Ashlyn jumped up and down and danced around in a little circle, Kato between them, barking happily, his tail going a hundred miles an hour. 

"That was so cool!" Fairy Ashlyn said. "And the olive wasn't so bad after all, either!  You were right, Kid Joey; I shouldn't cry before I'm hurt. I will write that down when I get home."

"Speaking of home…" Kid Joey said, looking around at the orchard all the way in Greece, far from his home in the United States.

"I wonder when Grandma Crystal will bring us back?" Kid Joey started to say, but before he could even finish the sentence he and Kato and Fairy Ashlyn began to tumble (though Fairy Ashlyn could sort of keep her balance now that she had wings). 

Within a moment the trio stood before Grandma Crystal in her attic. 

"Congratulations, Fairy Ashlyn!" Grandma Crystal shouted in glee when the friends appeared before her.

Ashlyn giggled and bowed in mid-air, her Golden Wings fluttering, sending a bit of fairy dust cascading through the slightly stale attic air onto Grandma Crystal's shoulders, making her feel sort of glowy and tingly-happy.

"Thank you.  Can you do us a favor and aim us toward my brother? I have a quest to complete before I can help Princess Nanette."

"My pleasure," Grandma Crystal said. "Oh!  And here!  I used my crystal ball to look inside Farty Leroy the Smelly's head.  I got that mean old spell for you – the one that made your brother into a farting dragon."

"Thank you, Grandma Crystal!  Thank you! This will help a lot!" Fairy Ashlyn said, hugging Kid Joey's grandmother.

With that, Grandma Crystal waved her hands over Kid Joey, Kato, and Fairy Ashlyn. 

POOF! They shrunk and tumbled within the mists of the crystal ball again.

And just like that they were on their way to their very important quest to break the Farting Dragon Spell and rescue Alexander.

TD  2/6/2015