The Adventures of Tracy and James! Chapter 10: Maps and Moon Salt


Zach Lewis

Our heroes nearly escaped the treasure dungeon and are now in a mysterious room. Will they ever be able to escape this rocky road they travel? Find out below in the final installment! 

It appears that our four heroes are in a 50s-style ice cream parlor. Greasers and sock-hop girls are in red-velvet booths sharing malted milkshakes. A Buddy Holly song plays on the jukebox. A soda jerk, dressed in white, stand behinds a chrome countertop and motions for Ozburtle, Tracy, James and ZoopZoop to approach. He’s wearing a nametag. His name is Tom. 

“Howdy folks,” Tom says. He winks and adds, “Why don’t y’all grab a seat, make yourselves comfortable, take a load off.” Tom dries an empty glass and places it on a shelf behind him along with a multitude of identical glasses to that one. Ozburtle clears his throat. 

“My good sir, would you kindly tell me the year,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. 

“You folks must not be from around here. I’ll get a couple of malteds going,” Tom says. He grabs two glasses, a long silver swizzle spoon and a tub of vanilla ice cream. Ozburtle looks at Tracy and James as he shrugs his shoulders. 

“Why not, sounds nice, Tom,” Ozburtle the Wizards says. He saunters over to a barstool in front of the counter and sits down. Tracy, James and ZoopZoop follow. “Say, Tom,” Ozburtle the Wizard says while he pulls a cowboy hat out of his vortex pocket and puts it on his head. “How would you reckon a couple of folks discover some lost treasure?” 

“Now you’re speaking my language,” Tom says as he puts the beverage concoction into a mixer. “I always wanted to be in some sort of adventure book searching for treasure. I find that idea pretty neat.” Tom grabs four straws and places two in each glass and slides the drinks over to the heroes. Ozburtle pulls out the diamond, a jeweler’s monocle and a pouch of a bric-a-brac of magical powders. 

“You ever see a diamond this big, Tom?” Ozburtle the Wizard asks. 

“Boy Howdy! Gosh no,” Tom says. “Is that real?”  

“Yes and no,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. “This, here, is a heart that belonged to a wizard named Prospero.” 

“You don’t say,” Tom says. “How are you three liking those malteds?” Tracy, James and ZoopZoop stare at the malted milkshakes while they drink. 

“Golly,” James says. He is sporting a leather jacket. 

“Gee,” Tracy says. She is now wearing cat eye sunglasses and her hair is a beehive. 

Beep!” ZoopZoop says. ZoopZoop now has a fedora on top of his head. All three return to drinking. Ozburtle makes a mental note to not drink the malted milkshake.  

“Although, I wonder what outfit it would give me?” Ozburtle the Wizard asks out loud. 

“What’s that bud?” Tom asks. 

“Oh, never you mind. But Tom, have you ever been out through that door over yonder?” Ozburtle asks. He nods his head over to the right where the four heroes spilled into the parlor. Tom squints his eyes. 

“You’re talking about the treasure room, right, it’s filled with treasure,” Tom says. The malted milkshakes in front of the other three appear never-ending. 

“So, you do notice it,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. He sprinkles a pinch of moon salt on the diamond and whispers syllables silently. 

“Of course, it’s a honkin’ huge room of treasure. But,” Tom looks to the left and to the right, “just between you and me,” he leans towards Ozburtle, “that treasure will turn you into treasure. I sound coocoo, I know, but it’s true.” Ozburtle leans towards Tom. 

“Hey Mac,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. He too looks to the left and to the right before speaking. “You wouldn’t happen to have a map to your fine establishment and possibly,” Ozburtle scratches the back of his head underneath the cowboy hat, “a key to that there door?” 

“I do,” Tom says. 

“Can I have them?” Ozburtle asks. 

“Heck no,” Tom says. He laughs. “I like you, old timer, but I couldn’t give them to you. It would cost me a fortune just to show them to you.” 

“How about for a diamond?” Ozburtle the Wizard asks. “This diamond in fact.” 

“It sounds almost too good to be true. How do I know this isn’t a trick?” Tom asks. Ozburtle scrunches his face in concentration. 

“Golly,” James says and returns to sipping his malted. 

“You didn’t take their souls, did you?” Ozburtle asks. 

“I wish,” Tom says. “Then I’d really be able to make these malteds phenomenal. It’s hard to come by souls these days since – the word on the street is – Emperor Khazaduul has decided to stop torturing prisoners when they are mostly dead. He keeps them alive so he can harness their souls for a whole lot of nonsense.” 

“What if I told you I had a soul with an anti-curse spell on it?” Ozburtle asks. 

“I’d be to the moon if that were the case. You’re not pulling my leg, are you now?” Tom asks. Tom adjusts the fedora on ZoopZoop’s head. 

“Not in the slightest my boy,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. He pulls the soul vial out from underneath the cowboy hat and places it on the counter. Tom reaches out to grab both and Ozburtle slides it back toward himself. “And you have the map?” 

“Scouts honor,” Tom says. He holds two fingers up to his forehead. 

“Also,” Ozburtle the Wizard says, “turn my three boon companions back to normal and we have a deal.” Ozburtle stares Tom in the eyes and he believes he sees a small flicker of flame before they return to blue. 

“Shucks,” Tom says, “Of course, where are my manners,” Tom snaps his fingers. Tracy, James and ZoopZoop turn back to their former selves. “Here’s the map.” It’s browned from age and appears to be singed on the sides. Tom takes the diamond and soul vial, unhinges and extends his jaw out about a foot and drops both items into his mouth. Ozburtle picks up the map. 

“Orby, be a doll and scan this map and send us home,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. The ice cream parlor melts around the heroes. The Buddy Holly song fades away, and a loud, bright array of colors take its place. Oranges and greens and blues swirl around Ozburtle, Tracy, James and ZoopZoop. The colors dissipate and the four heroes sit on a cobblestone path next to an antique desk and an empty mason jar. 

“We’re back, cool cats,” James says. “Why did I say ‘cool cats’?”  

“We never left, and I don’t know why you do the things you do,” Tracy says. 

Beep!” ZoopZoop says. 

“We have the map,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. “It’s going to be a perilous journey ahead. Miles of treacherous lava swamps, numerous skeleton monsters and even a demonic robot.” 

“Like, the robot is possessed? That doesn’t sound good,” James says. 

“Not in the slightest, not in the slightest at all,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. He pulls a long oak staff with a crystal on its far end out of his vortex pocket. 

Beep! Beep!” ZoopZoop says. ZoopZoop hops side to side on Tracy’s shoulder. 

“You’re right,” Tracy says. “What are we waiting for?” A loud roar emits from the path ahead. 

“What about school?” James asks. 

“Don’t worry, James, there aren’t any classrooms where we’re going,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. Ozburtle, Tracy and ZoopZoop walk down the cobble stone and torch-lit path. Tracy places the green eternal flame back in its holding spot on the wall. 

“But I like school,” James says. 

“Come on dummy, school will be there when we get back. This is an adventure. The adventures of Tracy and James. It’ll be fun,” Tracy says. 

“Yes, James, and here,” Ozburtle the Wizard says reaching into his vortex pouch and pulls out a cookie, “have a cookie. It’s chocolate chip and macadamia nut, sprinkled with moon salt. It’s tasty.”  

James grabs the cookie and all four heroes walk toward their destiny.