Thus began my quest for ninja epicness. And a quest for grammatical correctness in the term "ninja". (Also, thanks to Eldra and her brother Goose and especially Leauphaun, who edited and filmed the video, for their own thoughts about ninja and grammatical correctness in their epic video about ninja.)
In the style and spirit of A Battle Fought At Midday, I am pleased to present to you the first installment of:
In Which I Am Out of this World and Meet a Ninja in a Fez
It was a dark night, but not a stormy one. Horns honked in the distance, people talked, and far-off I could hear the sound of street music.
I was sitting on my bed, as I often did. The time was nearing eight o'clock in the evening when the bedroom vanished.
And in its place stood a man in dark clothes, with black cloth wrapped 'round his face (leaving only his eyes visible) and a fez perched atop his head.
Of course, the first thing I asked was not 'Where am I?' but this: "Why are you wearing a fez?"
"Of all the things to ask," the man replied, his voice muffled through the black cloth. "It's the height of discourtesy to poof in front of someone, you know."
I looked about. I stood in the middle of a long brick road. To either side of the road were long stretches of flat land that was filled with a whole lot of nothing; that is to say, the most delightful form of nothing. Weeds and wild flowers and lizards and the odd toad.
A thought occurred to me. "Where am I?"
"Not where you're supposed to be, I gather," the man said. "If you had appeared in front of me on purpose, I might take offense and chop off a finger or two. Or throw a brick at you."
"Sorry," I said. "But really, where is this?"
I already gathered that I had been transported in some way; then again, it wasn't terribly alarming. It had happened before. I had once dueled Procrastination on a literal mountain made entirely of sand, after he had transported me there.
But that was a different story.
Speaking of Procrastination...I jammed my hand in my pocket and felt around for the Pen of Doom, in case I needed it.
Yup, it was there. Good thing, too. It's no fun being stuck in an alternate dimension without your favorite pen. You can't even do signatures.
"You must really be out of your way." The cloth shifted queerly about his forehead, and I concluded that he must be raising an eyebrow.
"Do you have problems with answering questions? I've asked two, and neither has had the slightest of an answer." I gave the man a second glance, observing his heavy clothing in the warm sun. "And who exactly are you?"
"I'll answer your questions backwards," the man said, "since you seem to be of a backward sort. Firstly, I am Third General Lieutenant Robby Baldersot of the Urban Conglomeration of Ninja Being Impressive and Ninjalike. Also known as UCONBIN. You're currently three-fourths of the way to the City of Sneaking and also one-fourth of the way to New Barcelona, depending on which way you're headed. And I'm wearing a fez because they're cool."
"Which way are you headed, then?" I asked. Perhaps he'd let me tag along. "New Barcelona or Sneaking? And who named the city Sneaking?"
"You're a fellow of many questions," Baldersot said. "I'm headed to Sneaking. It's the world capital of ninja. And they're meeting for the forty-third time to discuss whether or not the title of UCONBIN is grammatically correct or not."
"Why wouldn't it be?" I raised an eyebrow.
"Ninja," was all he said.