Librarian of Alexandria

XIV: Burning Down the Taddy-Lo's, or, Mr. Concupiscence K. The-Sloth-And-All-The-Little-Creatures Jones

The wind picked up a little bit, rustling the faded flags that had once been bright colors on the side of the wooden building. Dry grass poked up through the edges of the bricks that made up the walkway. A few errant snakes were watching the strips that once were flags, mesmerized by the wafting motion.

A messenger arrived with a small scroll of brown paper, wrapped in twine and sealed with orange wax. The messenger was a man with exactly three teeth and no more than seven strands of hair, but his suit was a beautiful style, ornate with blue velvet and silver threads.

He gingerly entered the hall and let his eyes scan the room. At first, he saw only more snakes—these were circling a fountain, apparently thirsty for a drink. The messenger continued into a main room, which was similarly abandoned. A large window let light onto the dusty floor, illuminated carpet that was once red, and now was a dull brown. Looking over the room, all he could see was a gathering of snakes listening to a lecture on Mesopotamian usury delivered by a particularly distinguished-looking snake with an old-fashioned slide projector.

Finally, he entered a room with a throne and a king, surrounded by gold accoutrements and beautiful yet aging tapestries. He sighed, as he had begun to fear that the place was devoid of non-reptilians.

"Your highness," he said. "I have brought you—" and then he stopped in his tracks, as it had become clear that the being was no king at all, but rather an empty king-shaped husk, filled with snakes, suspended from the ceiling, marionette-like, on ropes which were themselves the result of intertwined snakes. The snake-king spoke:

"Yes, fair messenger?"

"You're snakes, not a king."

The king-husk shrugged to the sound of a thousand snakes pulling the shoulders of the husk. "We among the snakes have a saying: 'Good as snake.'"

"That saying doesn't even make sense."

That was a bad move, as it infuriated the snake-king. The snakes began to discard the husk and gather into a gargantuan, seething mass. The walls of the building, which were also snakes, began to join, and finally all joined together to form the hundred-league Omega-Snake, which made short work of the messenger before razing the countryside.

And that is why the Great Omega-Snake War is sometimes spoken of by the huddled survivors as the War of the Well-Dressed Messenger. And we all hope he is being tortured for his crimes against the universe in Snake Hell.