Vol. 4, Issue 4, April 4, 2006
The Search Engine of Tomorrow!
Studio8

Shh... Don't Look Now, There's A Gnome in My Office

Ezekiel F. Watley, Esq.

I am never sure Exactly what is in the cluttered corners of my Office. Years of haphazard Collecting, many Yuletide presents from far and wide, and an ever-increasing roll of odds and ends Bequeathed by departed friends and Acquaintances have gently accrued into an Impenetrable flotsam which shifts around the confines of my Office in a somewhat random rhythm dictated by the efforts of the Cleaning-staff, Ephram's periodic attempts to locate my cache of top-quality Scotch, and my own daily Searches for various and sundry items such as a missing Book, my Spectacles, or perhaps a misplaced Sand-wich. Yet for all that my office retains its Mysteries, I am quite Accustomed to it, and feel that I know its contents reasonably Well, even if I cannot say Precisely where they all are at any given moment.

Thus, it was highly Unlikely that I should completely overlook the arrival of a small bearded Gnome the other day. Mind you, I did not notice the garden-ornament at First. I arrived in the Morning ready to tackle my Correspondence and a fresh pot of Elisabeth's always excellent Coffee. I sat at my Desk and began perusing the first Letter (a welcome Missive from an excellent Gentleman in Italy) when I suddenly had the Strangest sensation that someone was Watching me. The famed Watley survival instincts kicked in: warily, I froze a long moment before slowly lowering the letter. My gaze swept the room cautiously. I wondered at first if Ephram's pet Monkey had once again concealed itself amongst the Law-books, but the pointed red Hat was immediately apparent next to the Hearth.

Consider, if you will, the paradoxical existence of the Garden Gnome. The round cherubic Visage bespeaks Innocence; the meticulously groomed Beard calls forth a comforting image of Wisdom; the comfortably Portly profile bears witness to a Rich diet replete with delicate Sweetmeats. And yet the eyes! - The eyes burn like Coals, grim bottomless windows to a soul steeped in Dark Obsessions. What prompts this little yard denizen to don such bizarre Apparel, like that of a mad cult of wizard Shriners, and take up his tireless watch? What, in short, is he waiting for, with such intent stare? I am ever Wary of a garden under the fierce Watch of one of this strange tribe.

More to the point, I wonder Greatly how this little fellow has gotten into my Office. It has been Long since security has grown so Lax. What agenda drives the small Interloper? The jaunty red pointed Cap, the cheerfully angled Fishing-pole fail to camouflage the burning Flames in the eyes, twinkling with a fierce flame above his rosy Cheeks. I cannot tell if he is bearing Arms.

Slowly, just as Great-uncle Elijah taught me, I descend behind my Desk, keeping a steady Eye on the intruder at all times. The Italian letter now serves double-duty as a Duck-blind: I peer over the top, blending perfectly with my Surroundings. It is to be a game of Waiting, and this small fellow shall learn well that a Watley has a resolve of unshakable Iron! My eyes bore into the hapless gnomish Miscreant, blissfully unaware of my Presence now that I have sunk beneath his line of Vision. Long minutes pass, perhaps Hours: the sands of time flow Unpredictably in the Passion of the Hunt.

The stalemate is Broken, not by gnomish Mis-step nor by weakening Watley bladder, but by my ne'er do well nephew Ephram, who bounds into the office gleefully bearing what passes for a Camera these days. Quickly he arranges key Objects from my Office around the Gnome: a Ship in a Pickle-jar, my second-best silk Hat, a few Bottles of Scotch left about, and the Portrait of old Elijah, bearing his ferocious Scowl. "That should do it," mutters the youngster, unaware of my utterly Dumbfounded presence. He snaps a few Pictures and then scoops up the Gnome. "My job is done, and it's time to send you to Bobby over in Honolulu," he told the little fellow as he walked out, "as soon as I mail these shots. I think they're better than the ones Turpin took in New York for sure."

I arise Thoughtfully, with my office bereft of both Gnome and Nephew and somewhat in Disarray (Ephram failed, as always, to clean up after himself). I quietly set my morning Letters aside and retrieve my Hat from the floor, dusting it off as I head for the Club. I somehow feel that my morning has already Peaked, and it would be best simply to Move on with my day.


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