Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl who lived in a faraway land in a big city called Tokotropolis. The boy and the girl really liked living in Tokotropolis, there were lots of things to see and do and generally things went pretty well for them even though they couldn’t speak Tropoli – the native language. The girl’s name was Moonface and the boy’s name was Eggman. Both Moonface and Eggman worked at the local word factory which wasn’t the best job in the world, but paid the bills so they didn’t mind it too much.
One day, they decided to go and visit some friends of theirs who lived in another far away land called Tawville They planned the trip carefully and put away plenty of golden gzats from their jobs so that they could afford the expensive journey. To get there, they would have to fly on the back of a shiny silver dragon. It costs a lot of gzats to feed dragons so naturally, they knew it would cost them quite a bit.
Moonface and Eggman were very optimistic and were looking forward to going to see their friends who they hadn’t seen in a very long time. One day when they were out walking around Tokopolis they stumbled across a wizened old man selling tickets for the dragon trip to to Tawville – and it was so cheap! Moonface and Eggman were very excited! The old man told them his name was Expedialopoltian (Ex for short). After old Ex had assured them that everything was perfectly legal and above board he took lots of Moonface and Eggman’s hard earned word factory gzats and gave them the tickets. They went home very happy indeed.
One day, they got a message from the old man via flying pterodactyl telling them that unfortunately their return dragon flight had been cancelled. The dragon was going on holidays and wouldn’t be able to get them back to Tokopolis. Naturally, Moonface and Eggman went to see Ex again to find out what was going on. Unfortunately when they went to see him he said that it was nothing to do with him and it was the dragon pilot’s fault. But he promised he would get in touch with the pilot and find out what was happening.
Old Ex whipped out his crystal ball and gazed into it’s depths, his white beard blowing around in the breeze, his blue eyes glinting. Eventually, after leaving Moonface and Eggman standing there for a long time, he sighed and told them that sadly, the pilot could not be reached at this time, but maybe they could come back tomorrow?
So Moonface and Eggman trudged off back home, feeling a little worried that their precious gzats were still with Ex and yet they still had no way of knowing that the dragon would fly them home again!
So they went back the next day and asked the him again. Ex looked into his crystal ball and again, he told them that he could not reach the pilot. The pilot was on a coffee break or something. Again, he told them to come back tomorrow.
So they did. Moonface and Eggman dutifully came bak the next day and asked Ex to contact the dragon pilot. They waited very patiently while he tried and tried to reach him but alas, again he could not be contacted! Ex sensed the growing frustration of the pair. He studied them for a minute and then smacked his palm to his wrinkly old forehead and shouted ‘of course! How could I forget! The dragon pilot is actually part possum and is only awake at night! You need to come back at 2am and then I will definitely be able to contact him and find out if he will fly the dragon for you!’
Now by this stage, Moonface and Eggman were feeling very weary and also wary of the crafty old Ex. He had gotten them back here three times already, but this time he finally had a different answer for them so they sceptically accepted to his terms and disheartedly walked home.
2am came around and Moonface awoke with a start; this was their last chance to make sure the dragon would be available. She tried to rouse Eggman but having no luck she set off alone on a solo quest. When she finally got to his decrepit tent he regarded her solemnly. Something within his gaze seemed to tell her that she had somehow passed the test and that this time, the crystal ball would give up it’s secrets and tell her some good news. And she was right. Kind of.
Ex spoke into the crystal ball at length, leaving Moonface shivering in the dark and the cold of the wee hours. Finally he turned back to her and proclaimed, ‘all is well. The dragon is not going on holiday at all. The dragon flight was never cancelled at all! Oh and the pilot will definitely send you a pterodactyl message within the next 24 hours. I promise’. Now most of my dear readers will have begun to believe that Moonface was not too bright to have believed old Ex so far. And maybe they’re right. By this point, even she was getting fed up with his behaviour. ‘Are you absolutely positive they will send me a message confirming our dragonflight? Do you promise?’ she said desperately. ‘Absolutely’ said Ex, ‘by tomorrow night it will definitely be there’. Reassured, Moonface went home, and didn’t even mind that she had to get up in 3 hours to go to work at the word factory.
Then a day passed, and another and another and still no pterodactyl message! How odd, thought Moonface, Ex was so sure it would come. Then wonderment gave way to disgruntlement, disgruntlement gave way to crankiness and finally crankiness gave way to insane rage.
Moonface couldn’t take it any more. Ex had all their golden gzats. She had no way of knowing if she and Eggman could get the dragon home. Their lovely holiday to visit their friends hung in the balance and it was up to her to save it!
Finally, fed up. Moonface did the only thing left to her. She got the tincan string number from a friend and called the dragon pilot directly. Unfortunately he didn’t speak very good English, mostly Tropoli but 40 minutes later a pterodactyl had delivered all the dragonflight tickets to Moonface and Eggman, including the one they thought had been cancelled. Luckily Ex had lived up to his word in that he had at least passed on all the golden gzats to the dragon pilot so luckily he was still willing to take them on their trip.
Moonface and Eggman have taken some time off from the word factory and are leaving on their trip next week! They’re very much looking forward to it and fully expect to live happily ever after. In the meantime they are telling everyone they know and don’t know that if in their travels they ever meet a crooked looking old man who tells you his name is Expediapoltian – DO NOT TRUST HIM NO MATTER HOW CHEAP HIS DRAGONFLIGHTS ARE. THEY MAY BE CHEAP BUT THEY WILL COST YOU TIME YOU CAN NEVER EVER GET BACK.