Well, here we finally are. In the extra long conclusion to the story, we finally say goodbye to Legno, Timothy, and Saggezza. For once, I’m actually not sure what to say. Not to get too sappy, but this was a pretty personal accomplishment for me. So, like it or hate it, I’m proud of it regardless. And for those who’ve enjoyed my writing, don’t fret: I have two stories now that are in production. In two weeks begins Empowered! For all of you pining for the awkwardness, drama, and heartbreak of high school, that will be the tale for you (also, it has superpowers). But for now, join me in the thrilling final post to Wood You Be Mine?
Legno, with Timothy still perched upon his shoulder, made his way up Deus Ex Collina, the highest point of town. The sun was beginning to set, and the orange glow was blanketing the land as the sky began its shift from blue to pink.
“I still think this is a stupid idea,” Legno blurted to Timothy, his words seething with incredulity. “How’s asking a rock for something going to make any sort of a difference?”
With a sigh, Timothy responded, “It’s common folklore, Legno, that those pure of heart will get what they desire most. And although you’re…”
Timothy paused for a moment to choose his next words judiciously.
“…a unique, albeit perhaps callous sort at times, there is indeed a lot of good in you. If the legends are true, then I have no reason to see why it wouldn’t work, son.”
Only half listening to Timothy, Legno was too busy focusing his attention on the ballad being sung in the distance:
There ain’t no prick big or small/Trust us boys, she’s had ‘em all!
“Gah!” Legno yelled. “They’ve started! It’s done! Game over, man! Game over!”
Suddenly, a flash of light appeared in the sky. As the professor had predicted, the star shot through the heavens, a trail of shimmering gold marking its path. In mere seconds, it’d be gone from their sights forever. If Legno had any chance at all, it’d have to be now.
“Legno!” Timothy screamed. “It’s there! Make a wish before it’s too late!”
“This is so damn stupid, Timothy! Giant rocks don’t grant wishes!”
“My word, Legno! I wish you weren’t so stupid!” screamed Timothy in a rare moment of frustration.
“Ha!” Legno screamed back. “It didn’t work! Told you!”
“You have nothing to lose! Just try!”
“Fine!” he said, finally giving in to Timothy’s demands. He turned towards the hurdling meteor, threw his arms out and towards the sky and proclaimed, ‘Oh, spectacularly stupid hunk of rock, I wish I might, I wish I may, be a wooden boy this day!’ ”
For a beat, all remained as it was.
“Welp,” Legno began, “I don’t hate to say ‘I told you…’ ”
Suddenly, a prickling sensation encompassed Legno. It was tolerable for a moment but quickly became unbearable.
“I…uh…ow,” an unnerved Legno blurted out.
“Legno?” a flummoxed Timothy responded.
His body began to convulse. He fell to his knees with his hands planting themselves on the ground to keep himself from totally collapsing. Timothy hopped off and stared in amazement.
“Legno, is it what I think?”
“I…I don’t…ow. Ow! Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow!”
It was then that a flash of light surrounded Legno’s body. He tried to talk. He tried to scream. But no words were able to escape his lips. The light appeared to raise Legno’s body in to the air, hovering a meter above the ground. Timothy looked in awe as everything they had worked for that day finally came to fruition.
And within moments, he was dropped back on to the ground, once again on his hands and knees, struggling to catch his breath.
“What…*huff* the crap…*huff*… was that *huff*?”
“Legno,” a wide-eyed Timothy said in disbelief, “look at yourself.”
Slowly, Legno picked himself up off the ground, and just as he did, he understood Timothy’s request. His hands, his feet, his whole body…he had gotten his wish.
Joints were now golden colored hinges.
Pale skin now a light brown oak.
The pimple on his nose now a tiny leaf.
His gray eyes now orbs of glass.
He was finally a wooden boy.
And with that came a price.
“HOLY MOLEY!” screamed Legno. “I take it all back! Everything I said about you, that stupid rock, the professor, all of it! It worked! I…I can’t believe it, it worked! I feel like this isn’t real! I feel like I may wake up at any moment now!”
Legno’s grin spread from wooden ear to wooden ear. He could barely contain his joy.
“Come on, Tim! Hop back on!” he cheered, while patting his shoulder. “We can still make it before the Geminies leave! I just heard them sing something about a rooster inserting itself in to a kitten, whatever the hell that means.”
“Oh,” Timothy began, “pay no mind to the inappropriate spew of those gypsies. As of now, they and this whole ‘Marion’ business are no longer of any concern.”
Legno stood there, dumbfounded. A look of utter confusion was painted on his face as he furrowed his brow to try to understand what Timothy meant.
“Um, do you mean you don’t think we’ll get there in time? I know, so if we leave now, we’ll…”
For the second time that night, Legno let out a loud, shrieking howl.
A hot, searing pain shot through his right ankle. Looking down, he immediately noticed a large chunk had gone missing, sawdust now littering the ground before him. Clutching his wounded ankle with both hands to lessen the unbearable throbbing while tears of agony flowed down from his eyes, he saw Timothy in front of him with a wicked smile draped across his face, specks of wood littered on his lips.
Legno tried to form a rational thought, but his head was spinning. So much had happened in so little time. He could barely process what was happening. “What are you…! Why would you…! I thought we were friends!”
“Oh, Legno,” Timothy said looking at him. “Oh, poor, pathetic Legno. If you only knew. Recticulitermes lucifugus, or ‘rectal fungus,’ as you so lovingly put it, is a breed of termite. Or, in other words…”
He then jumped onto to Legno’s left ankle, taking a large bite out of that one as well. Legno, no longer being able to support his weight, now collapsed to the ground.
“…wood eaters,” he finished as he jumped back on to the ground.
“Tim…” Legno began in utter disbelief, the tears in his eyes no longer just ones of pain, but also of sadness and heartbreak, “…you did all this just to eat me?”
“Mm, well, originally, my plan was to hide in the case of your would-be girlfriend and feast on her, but then I saw you, overheard your plight, and I thought, ‘A real live wooden boy? I should save my appetite.’ I just couldn’t resist, you see.”
In the distance, unheard by either party, there was galloping.
“Oh, and I hate to be melodramatic, and moreover, there’s nothing I want less than to put up with your incessant whining and free-flowing stream of imbecilic thoughts any longer. So before I go right for your head and put you out of your misery, are there any last words? And please, let’s make them coherent for once.”
Just then, a figure slowly came from behind the insect, doing his best to not be overheard. Seeing this, Legno let out a broad smile that encompassed his entire face.
He began to laugh.
“What’s so funny?”
“It…” Legno choked out, trying to hold back his laughter, “it just that looks like I wasn’t the only one with a little crush, Timothy.”
“What are you…”
At that moment, Timothy was interrupt by a booming voice. Loud, angry, and determined.
Turning around to see who it was, Timothy was only able to catch a mere glimpse of his face.
His boot, however, he got more than enough of a view.
“Oh, dear,” Timothy murmured to himself.
And with a disgusting mix of *stomp*, *crunch*, *squish* filling the air, Stefano Saggezza brought down his foot upon Timothy. As the bottom of his boot met the ground, he violently moved it from right to left a dozen times, ensuring that Timothy didn’t survive the experience.
Then, slowly lifting his leg so it was parallel to the ground, he inspected his foot to make sure of Timothy’s demise. Tilting his head, he saw Timothy’s flattened, lifeless body. And with an unforgiving flick of his forefinger, he sent the bug off in to the distance, ending the story of Timothy the termite.
“Should’ve wished for a harder shell, you bastard.”
Turning to his son, Saggezza had a look of sorrow in his eyes. There Legno was, a boy completely made out of wood. His heart broke seeing his like that way. He slowly made his way towards the boy.
“Legno, are you okay?”
“Well, other than, you know, missing huge chunks of my ankles, not as bad as you’d think, all things considered.”
“Oh, Legno. It can’t believe it was true. You did this for a doll?”
“Crap! Marion, is she…” he then popped up and limped forward, despite the pain in his ankles making it feel as if he were stepping on knives.
He stood in silence for a moment, desperately hoping to still here the song of the Geminies.
“They’re gone,” he muttered, downcasted. “She’s gone. All of this was for nothing.”
Putting his hand on Legno’s shoulder, Saggezza said, “Legno, I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry for all of this. If I had been a better…”
Legno looked up at him woefully.
“If I could’ve guided you better or just been there for you…but, it wasn’t for nothing. You’ve learned a lesson today, son.”
“Plastics are the wave of the future?”
“Failure is a part of life,” Saggezza corrected. “There’s no way around that. You can either let it help you…”
Saggezza looked at the ground.
“…or halt you.”
“But I didn’t get the girl.”
Picking his head back up, Saggezza responded, “Most relationships fail, Legno, even before they begin. But you tried; you need to see that that’s the important part. If you hadn’t, you would have failed regardless. She might be gone, but there’s still something to be learned here. And the sad fact is…”
Pausing to take a deep breath and momentarily reflect on his own shortcomings, Saggezza continued, “The sad fact is sometimes we lose. There are just some things we’ll fail at no matter what. And guess what? There’s nothing wrong with that. When you know what you can’t do, it helps you discover what you can do. Every failure helps us to learn a little more about ourselves; every failure gives us a clue about what we’re doing wrong, and we’re that much wiser next time.”
“But what did I do wrong? I changed everything to be with her.”
“Legno, regardless of all of what happened, you can’t be with an inanimate object. I mean, that’s…that’s just fact. How would you even…”
Saggezza then began miming with his hands Legno and Marion’s possible interactions.
“You know what? Forget that part. The real point is that you went through all this trouble to change yourself for someone. And if you need to completely overhaul who you are and what it is about you that makes you special to get someone to like you, then they’re really not liking you, Legno. They’re liking this fictional character you created. Life’s too short to pretend to be something you’re not. Let’s say it worked. Let’s say you were able to win Marion or any other girl over by being someone who isn’t Legno. How long could you expect to be happy? Eventually, it’d begin to eat you up inside.”
Looking at his ankles, Legno responded, “Or outside.”
Saggezza let out a sad smile. “Come here, son,” he said. Picking up Legno from underneath the armpits, he carried him over to Maggie’s steed and gently lowered him in to the saddle.
“Where’d this come from?”
“An old friend.”
The comment marinated in Legno’s mind for a few moments before it clicked with him. He hadn’t even thought to ask how or why Saggezza knew to save him until now.
“Maggie’s a swell lady.”
Saggezza was quiet for a second, and then smiled and said, “The swellest. Let’s go home, son.”
“Sounds good, pop,” was Legno’s response, turning Saggezza’s smile even wider.
There was a calm, welcomed silence as the two rode off towards the sunset, Legno firmly mounted on the horse while Saggezza followed closely to its right, reigns held safely in hand. Saggezza silently thanked God for letting him save Legno…and for letting Legno save him.
“So when we get home, do you think I should polish myself off before bed?”
Two brothers were stowing away their props for the night. One put a wooden marionette in her case as the other made quick work disassembling their stage.
“It’s a shame,” Giuseppe remarked, “I really was hoping Legno would come to see the show. You know, see ‘Marion’ one last time.”
“Beppe, we both know that that wasn’t his path.”
“Yeah, but I’m a sucker for happy endings, Gio. We can’t all be as dour as you, brother.”
“His ending was happy in its own way. That’s the whole point.”
“Yeah, I know. But still,” Giuseppe remarked pensively. “Anyway, I’m all finished up. You good to go?”
Giving a nod of acknowledgement, Giovanni simply remarked, “Come then, brother. There are other worlds than these.”
The two brothers, going at their own pace, silently made their way north in to the Sicilian woodlands. With a *swoosh* and a bright flash of light, they were gone.
Well, that’s all I got for you clowns. Not much to really say that I haven’t already said, and more importantly, I’d like more to hear from all of you. Let me know if the finale gave you a sense of closure, if it made sense thematically, or really just any thoughts you might have. As always, let me know on Facebook or Twitter. Empowered starts in two weeks, and next week’s post will be a special treat. See you then, and thank you all so, so much for reading!