Article: 179000 of talk.bizarre
From: (doc)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: Academie and Alchemie
Date: 1 Dec 1994 23:56:19 GMT
Organization: University of Washington, Seattle
Lines: 57
Message-ID: <3blnr3$>
Status: O

       The four of them sat around a table. Well, actually, three of 
them sat around the table; one of them sat ON the table.
       The old man was -- well, first of all, we can't really tell
that he's old. Yes, he has white hair, what we can see cascading from
under his pointy hat, and of course his beard is white, too, and his
face looks....USED, somehow, but the eyes tell a different story. They
don't look young, or old, or much of anything, really. They just look
like eyes; could be anyone's eyes. Maybe even yours.
       The boy was different. No one would deny that he was merely a
boy, and although he too wore a pointy hat, it looked ridiculous on
him. HIS eyes looked bewildered, but that was a normal state for
him. I really don't think he's cut out for this business.
       The crow -- not a raven, a crow -- looked like a crow. Which
was good, because it WAS a crow. Its eyes were standard-issue crow
eyes: beady and black.
       And in the center of the table sat the object of all their
attention: the lump of lead. It looked perfectly normal, although it
had been subjected to a number of humiliating treatments. But lead is
like that; placid. Slow. Ponderous, even. This lump was no different.
       The old man -- yes, yes, I know, but I have to call him
something, don't I? It's not like I'm going to tell you his name,
after all -- the old man mumbled to himself, "Lead," and then he fell
silent again for a moment, before sing-songing, "Lead. Into. Gold." He
lowered his head, always looking at the lump of lead, until his chin
rested on the table. He glared at the lead. "Gold," he said. "GOLD!",
he shouted. The boy flinched at his bellow, but the crow merely began
to examine one wing minutely.
       The old man jumped from his chair. See, I told you he wasn't
necessarily old, look at how spry he seems! "What have we forgotten?"
he asked.
       "N-n-nothing, master."
       "We must have forgotten SOMETHING, lad!" he hissed, "Think! Why
is it still lead?" His hands plucked at the air, hoping, perhaps, to
find some answer swirling in the smoke. But they had done everything,
and they had forgotten nothing, and although he beat his apprentice
nearly senseless (which wasn't difficult), he could not conceive of an
       "Lead!", he said, his voice dripping with contempt. "Basest of
base metals. No blacksmith would deign to bother with you, and neither
will I!", he announced, and swept from the room, his apprentice
sobbing in his footsteps.
       The crow remained a moment longer, examining his left wing, and
then his right, before waddling up to the lump of lead to peer at it
more closely. "Caw", he decided, and added a soft rattle, before
hopping to the window and flying westward.
       The lump of lead sat on the table. It thought about gold, and
how it would feel to be gold, and then it turned itself to gold for a
moment to see if it had it right. Close enough, it thought. The young
fellow's not too bad, and the crow is amiable enough, but I'll have to
do something about that old guy one of these days. The lead grew
heavier and heavier as it pondered the problem.

         Josh Hayes
Disc Golf Page:
      Now, unlock your wigs, let the air out of your shoes, 
       and prepare for a period of simulated exhiliration