One fine day, Boris K. was commissioned to hand over a tax return to Grandma Katrina, also known as Grandma Hurricana, Josefina, Super Sandy, and Camille. Regardless, everyone knew her as the ‘Freak of the Mountains’, who was infamous for releasing terribly vaporous winds. Some tell a story of how she was once a great Marxist and extreme leftist who, volunteered to fight in the Vietnam War. She drowned the Americans, who could not kill her with their rifles, by causing major flooding of the Mekong River. Others described her as a runaway Marxist who in her youth called herself, Josefina Brant and cut her hair in a Mohawk to resemble a great American Indian warrior. Regardless, she was a feminist with no desire for marriage who literally blew away all her suitors. Whenever an eligible man came near her, she would destroy them, creating storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, even blizzards to deter their efforts to court her. No one was really sure if she was really as bad as the legends indicated because her name changed as often as her methods of destruction. Regardless, everyone lived in fear of her.
For a long time, no one ever heard or felt anything from Grandma Katrina.When she got old, she decided to move to the top of a very high mountain and live on welfare. No one ever really heard about her except during tax time. For, whenever a postman would attempt to deliver her tax forms, terrible storms and flashes in the sky would appear. These annual deliveries incensed Katrina and she couldn’t help but break wind and annihilate every last man delivering her mail. As a result, she hadn’t paid her taxes in over 1500 years.
Boris K., who decided to try out being a postman for the Phenomenrepublic, thought the stories were just legends. Why did they look at him in such a pitying way when the boss gave him the assignment? They told him all he had to do was hand over the tax evasion form to the old lady. Boris K.’s colleagues explained to him that once he was three quarters of the way up the mountain, he will have reached the point of no return, the spot where every postman before him made it, but never came back from. Despite the legends and warnings, Boris K headed up the mountain ready to fulfill his duty.
He started his ascent at exactly eight o’clock that morning. He calculated that he would be able to hike approximately 4 hours per day if he needed to take a break to catch his breath every 25 feet or so. The journey ended up taking four full days. The slopes were sharp as glass, the curved crystalline walls made it impossible for Boris K. to progress without a great deal of pain and a number of skin lacerations. At times, he would slip, grasping for the moss and throwing himself over ramparts to avoid bruises during his freefalls. Blistered by the relentless sun and rushed by wild goats, Boris K. kept on going. Through dry parched lips and a raspy throat, he raved:
“Oh my darling….Oh my darling… ohhhhhhhmyyyydarrrrrrrrrling Clementine. Thou art lost and gone for tax…es, Ohhhhhmyyyydarrrrrrrrrrling Clementine!
When he got too hot, he fanned himself with the tax papers until finally he reached the end of the road, or at least he thought it was the end. Mysteriously, a seemingly insurmountable obstacle presented itself directly in front of his path. It was a giant obelisk, taller even than the pyramid of Giza. Boris K. stood staring at the unexpected barrier, desperate and exhausted, when he heard a menacing growl erupt in front of him. Startled, He leapt up, grabbed the bag with the tax papers, and assumed a fighting stance in front of the mysterious creature, who appeared to be from the early Mesozoic era.
“I am a flesh eating Epanterias. Call me Caliban” spoke the monstrous creature as saliva dripped from his canines.
Boris K. was blinded by fear, and momentarily lost his head. Fortunately, when he came to, he remembered he had a rope. He thought he might try using it to escape somehow. Desperately, he threw the rope over the Obelisk, where, by chance it landed over a small tree that was strangely growing out of the side of it. Like a bird flying into his mouth ready roasted, Boris K. had received a means to climb out of his trouble, thus sealing his questionable fate with the wind. Or so he thought. For as he descended the obelisk, he became entangled in the rope and rolled down the monolith like a log, breaking one rib and bruising one-half of his body.
After crashing into the hard ground, Boris K. sat up on the other side of the narrow but tall structure, moaning and whining. And that was then the beast approached him, calmly walking around the side of the obelisk, his fangs bared and his eyes bloody. The saliva was now literally streaming from his mouth like a waterfall. Suddenly, they both paused upon hearing an elderly lady speak with sandpaper in her voice.
“Son, did you bring your Grandma Katrina’s pension?”
She smiles at him with anticipatory evil in her eyes. She spreads her arms wide to embrace Boris K. His eyes blur with anguish while shivers stream through his body. He cries out though his dry mouth. It is at this moment he realizes that Grandma Katrina has been tracking him since the beginning, changing name and form, but always the same evil old lady.
“HELP!”he cries, but he knows no one will come.
“Do not be afraid, ”Grandma Katrina consoles him. “I’m a vegetarian, and Caliban does not bite, either. And even if I ate meat, I would have no interest in a postman. Their wages are too small, and they take no bribes to fatten their wallets or their stomachs. You’re just too skinny for any monster’s or witch’s taste. Boris K. takes it in, looking sideways at the Mesozoic animal, still salivating.
Katrina pats and parts Boris K.’s hair with her bony finger and proudly says:
“I am the queen of typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, bombogenesis and spring fevers that blow in from my March winds. Just give me my pension and give up on any tax forms. I’m responsible for blowing in Spring Fever with the Western winds, and I’m busy with more important matters. You postmen are annoying me. I’m losing my motivation to develop the mountainous highlands.
She pauses and looks at him inquisitively, as if she’s looking at him for the first time:
“You are the first one to make it this far up my mountain. Because of your tenacity and immunity to my vaporous charms, I will spare your life, but only if you can manage to deliver me your letter.”
At that moment, Katrina puffs her cheeks with the force and power of a trombone virtuoso and in a coloratura glissando, she lets out an unholy wind, strong enough to blow Boris K. back down the mountain. Boris K. turns his head and shields his face, but stands his ground.
“The way you conquered the obstacles I laid in front of you, like my magical Obelisk, which even naturally blonde girls confidently managed to bypass, amuses me. I admit Boris K., as long as I’ve been alive; I’ve never seen a fool like you!”
And with that comment, she flies away, back to her front porch. After five days and five nights of hiking and ascending that mountain, then climbing up and down an obelisk without any food or drink, Boris K. finally finds himself at the summit where Grandma Katrina was waiting for him, cleaning her tooth with dental floss. Now all he has to do is figure out how to get the tax papers in her hands so he can go home. Grandma Katrina sees the tax papers in Boris K.’s hand, chuckles, lifts her dress, and then runs into the cottage for a game of cat and mouse. Boris K. notices that the cottage has neither doors nor a mailbox. Grandma Katrina suddenly appears with her pet dinosaur, Caliban, on the bench next to the house. She sings a song with the eerie, husky voice of a woman at least, two centuries old:
‘Oh, Beelzebub, please open up your sheath
I conjure you to fill my mouth with teeth!’
After jumping up and down for joy, she instantly vanishes again. Boris K. stands up and limps up the one step to the chalet.
“What am I to do now?” He thinks, “Without a mailbox there is no way to hand over the tax papers!”
He suddenly hears roaring laughter coming from the forest. It sounds like Caliban and Grandma Katrina were laughing together. Her teasing was really getting on Boris’s nerves. She would appear on the bench beside her house and then disappear into the forest again. At one point, she appears near her house again, holding a cache of teeth in her wrinkled hand. That was when Boris looked up to her face and noticed that her mouth was collapsed in over her virtually toothless gums.
“One, Boo … thixty-thibe …” With each tooth counted, The Witch throws them far away from her, saying to Caliban.
Josefina had trained that dinosaur to return all 65 teeth back into her emaciated hand. Boris K. picks up a rock that looked like it also came from the Mesozoic era– it was gilded – he wrapped the tax return carefully around the rock, attaching it with rope. Upon considerable reflection and invoking the laws of physics, Boris K. turns his arms at a 180 degree angle; hand bent at the elbow, and releases the stone with full force toward the dark little room in her house. He misses.Stunned, Boris looks around the ground for another stone, finding one that might work. Afraid he might encounter Caliban again, he waits. He thinks to himself,
‘If I wait for Grandma Katrina and her beast to doze off, I can deliver those tax papers and then escape from this infernal den as fast as possible.’
Holding all 65 of her porcelain teeth in her wrinkled palm, Grandma Katrina speaks in a voice mimicking that of Demosthenes in the first stage of practicing Filipik:
“Abambon ah hope…! Babaa bime I bell ah beep was buring babecbacular bariot b races in Angen Brome. I waz bear an Grabe Ceezer asbed me to reblace em”
Katrina then turns her attention to cleaning her dental crowns and bridges with Efferdent and then affixing them to her gums with Fixodent. She was feeling fresh and fragrant again. Grandma Katrina turns to Boris K. and makes a creepy face. From her toothless mouth he could hear a strange squealing sound. This was Grandma Katrina laughing uproariously; and, to the horror of Boris K., she enchanted his tax papers and they were floating around in the wind. He got hold of his papers again, and aware that it was his last chance to be saved, he took small careful steps toward the entrance of her house. Unfortunately, it was enchanted too due to phenomenozations, and each time he tried to grab the door, the house would fly away from him, just out of reach.
“I will not give up!” Boris K. mutters emphatically, out of spite.
Beside him appears the Mesozoic man-eater, with saliva pooled all around him. He licks Boris’ muscles that are bulging with so much intensity, his postal uniform is bursting at its seams. Looking into the dark crater mouth of the prehistoric creature that threatens to swallow him whole, Boris K. orders loudly:
“Ricky, fetch!” and he throws his stone.
So this Mesozoic beast, possibly a distant relative of Pavlov’s dog, instinctually takes off, retrieves the stone, and brings it back to Boris K, with a vigor and happiness beyond all comprehension. Then, Boris takes out a copy of the tax return from the pocket he uses to cool himself when travelling in hot zones, he stares at it, and then crumbles it up in sadness, his hands trembling the whole time.
“Now even you are no longer of help.” Boris K. bitterly realizes that the law has failed him. That is when he hears the witch begin to speak again, in a distant, yet, academic tone:
“Fear is desirable, Boris K. Running away intensifies it. It disappears just before you confront it.”
The old woman was cooled herself with the disintegrated cover of Sigmund Freud’s book, The Ego and the Id.
“This is to be expected, is it not Boris K? I am a well-read Granny. Tell me, how did it all start, Boris K?
With that question, she begins a recitation as she magically lies Boris down on the bench, his arms resting thoughtfully behind his head.
‘For always you will stay and be a kid
Reacting and then following your Id
Postmen rarely make it past their ego
Forgetting there is so much they don’t know.’
Woot! Woot! Ha hahahaha!
Upon finishing, Katrina laughs blissfully and sadistically, revealing a full mouth containing sixty-five shining gold teeth. Then subtly, the air shifts, then ripples, revealing a focal cyclonic wind that surrounds only them. In the eye of the storm, Boris’ hair stands on end. He is already half dead from fear, and dripping with sweat. Boris K., confused and fearful, waits for the next play in Katrina’s sinister game. In his moment of fear Boris K. remembers something he heard someone say once:
‘On every mountain there exists a miracle.’ Or was it ‘if you have faith you can move mountains?’ Hmmm. He couldn’t remember exactly, but he knew that it was something about miracles being possible if you were on a mountain. Well, he was on a mountain to end all mountains, and so he was ready for his miracle!
With these confusing thoughts, Boris K. feels somehow comforted. Although it was dark, the sky was still shining and the sun was searing Boris’s body with an unbearable heat.
“What shall I do?” he thinks desperately.
He throws his hands up in the air and implores the blinding sun for assistance. Overwhelmed by fatigue and despair, his hope almost completely abandoned, the witch, who found Boris K. endlessly entertaining, laughs heartily, raises her skirt and then flees into the woods. For a long time, the woods echo with the witch’s laughter. Being infused with the energy of the sun, Boris K. finds renewed hope and climbs up to the top of Katrina’s house, invoking the strength of Hercules. Once on the roof, he leans against the chimney and holds onto it tightly. Once again he thinks about miracles on the mountain and he mysteriously feels his hands slipping into the chimney. His hands are now covered with soot, so much so, that they turn a surreal shade of red and black. With this success, he pokes his head and torso through the structure, momentarily staggering in the slowly increasing wind as he is half in and half out of the chimney. Confused, he peeks his head back out of the chimney to see if he can see Katrina. And that is when he is seized by a fully-erupted bombastic Tempest. Upon a great whipping wind, both Boris K. and the house are elevated to the heavens. Boris K. tightly shuts his eyes in fear, but manages to drop the tax papers into the chimney before he lets go, falls for an eternity, and then finds himself swimming in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Epilogue: Many years later, about 166 kilometers from the Earth, a low-orbiting NASA satellite known as Titan H, locates a tax return within a piece of space trash that resembles a house. Once again, despite all his best efforts, Boris K. prevails.