The craft containing Rip and the bowling team’s exterior appears shaped like the classic flying saucer but made out of wood and decorated with ornate brass ornaments. It is situated on the floor of a forest of redwood trees so large that the ship seems toy sized, mere inches long. But once the gangplank lowers, allowing the passengers to disembark, it becomes apparent that in this world, they are, in fact, the size of insects. As Rip follows his new friends down the ramp to the ground, he’s shocked to learn that he has now been reduced to their size. Back home he towered over the four little men. Now, not only is he exactly the same size, but his physical attributes have also metamorphosized to more closely resemble the others. It is only now that he fully realizes their song was not in jest, they really are fairies and he has been abducted to the land of the fairies.
“What was in that brew? I'm half the man I was!” exclaims Rip.
“You crashed our party so now you have to fit in,” explains Herbie, now able to look Rip straight in the eye.
“At this size, I can fit in a shoebox,” declares Rip, judging his height from the surrounding trees.
“How do you know you're not the same size you were and all of us grew larger?” asks one of the now average sized men.
“Because that toadstool over there is the size of a bar stool?” says Rip, pointing to a mushroom with another fairy seated on it.
“Good observation, man,” chuckles one of the four.
“Now where did we park?” asks another one, looking around.
“Let's take my ride, man,” offers Herbie as he waves his hand in the air to summon a gigantic black beetle which runs over to the group, lowers its body to the ground, and spreads opens its wings.
“Alright!” exclaims one of the fairies. “You're still drivin’ the bug?” he inquires of Herbie.
“Sure, man. It gets great mileage,” responds Herbie as they all take turns climbing up on the beetle's back to sit on its wings with parts of its shell folded over them like a canopy.
As Rip climbs up onto the beetle to take his seat he says to the others, “Hey, this is the land of the Fairies, isn't it? I've heard the Irish tell of the Fairies.”
“The Irish?! Aren't you a little old to believe in the Irish?” laughs the man with the reddish complexion.
With all the passengers fully secured under its wings, the beetle starts to run through town and up a very large and steep hill. At the top of the hill, they
have a panoramic view of the city which is an organically created version of the distant future, in Rip’s terms, city of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. The townhouses are tall, colorful, and carved out tree stumps or fallen logs. Their bar stools and chairs are mushrooms and large insects and small mammals are their transportation. The beetle then starts down the hill, gaining speed. All the Fairies start to squeal with delight except Rip, who screams in fear as the beetle runs up and down hills and even does a loop-the-loop like a roller coaster.
“Wheee!!!!” cry all the little men in delight.
“Ahhhh! I don't want to die!” cries Rip in sheer terror.
But just when certain death seemed imminent, the beetle suddenly comes to an abrupt stop right where they boarded it.
“Yeah! Whoo-wee!” they all shout as they begin to disembark the beetle.
“What was that?” insists Rip, relieved but annoyed at what he considered undeserved torture.
“That was fun!” laughs Herbie.
“We're right back where we started! What was the point?” asks Rip, exasperated.
“To have fun! Did you dig that?” answers Herbie.
“I'm going to have to dig my heart out of my stomach, if that's what you mean!” responds Rip, feeling nauseous.
“Oh, you're just hungry. Let's get you something to eat,” says Herbie, looking around.
“Wherever we're going, let's walk there,” says Rip, no longer trusting Fairyland transportation.
“We're already there,” says Herbie, smiling.
“Where?” asks Rip, confused.
Herbie points to a small snack shop right ahead of them that Rip hadn't noticed before. “There!”
“Was that there when we left?” asks Rip, more confused than ever.
“No,” says Herbie. “Why should it have been?”
“Why wouldn't it have been?” replies Rip.
“Because you weren't hungry then,” answers Herbie.
“You mean I wasn't sick to my stomach then,” moans Rip, rubbing his belly.
“That's just because it's empty. Let's get you some food,” says Herbie as he and Rip step up to the take-out window.
“Two Tofu burgers, please,” requests Herbie of the clerk behind the window.
The clerk takes the order and hands Herbie two burgers. Herbie and Rip take the burgers and start to walk away. Rip looks inquisitively at his burger, never having seen one before.
“What is this?”
“It's a Tofu burger,” says Herbie who shoves the burger into his mouth as they slowly stroll down the road.
“Don't we need to pay for these?” asks Rip as he looks back down the road at the snack shop.
“Nope,” says Herbie with his mouth full. “Why not?” asks Rip.
“We want for nothing here,” says Herbie. “How do you get what you want?”
“We want nothing.”
“You never want anything?”
“Well, we might want things but we never need anything.”
“You never get hungry?”
Herbie contemplates the question then explains, “Only when eating might be fun, but we never need to eat. Food, shelter, and clothing are all like music to us. Just like you can hear a tune in your head whenever you want, we can get other things just by imagining them.”
“What?” asks Rip, even more confused but intrigued.
Herbie explains in more detail, “Some people can imagine things better than other people. Some can imagine food really well, and we call those folks cooks. Some can imagine clothes better and we call them tailors. So if I’m really good at imagining food or clothes and you want me to imagine you a nice meal or a new suit then I’ll do
that in exchange for you imagining something for me.”
“Are you really good at imagining food?” asks Rip.
“Nope,” says Herbie.
“Are you good at imagining clothes?”
“Are you kidding? Look at me.”
“What are you good at then?”
Herbie smiles, “I’m good for a good time.”
“Really? You mean like that ride in your bug?” says Rip, sarcastically.
“Right on, man!” laughs Herbie. “How do you like your Tofu burger?”
“It's... interesting. I've never tasted anything like it,” says Rip.
As they walk from the snack shop they pass a field surrounded by a corral. Suddenly, several giant earthworms break through the ground inside the corral. The heads of the worms stretch up six or seven feet into the air. Rip is shocked at the sight.
“What in the name of King George is that?” he yells in revulsion and fear.
“That's a Tofu, man,” says Herbie nonchalantly while continuing to eat his burger.
Rip immediately bends over retching and spits out his mouthful of burger. Herbie ignores him and glances down the road to see a bandstand with a fairy version of a rock band on it about to play to a gathering crowd in the park.
“Hey, Rip,” Herbie calls back to Rip. “How would you feel about a tasty jam?”
“It depends. What do you make your jam out of?” asks Rip, suspiciously.
“No man, it's a concert in the park. Didn't you say you play guitar? How 'bout sittin' in?”
“Sitting in what? Jam?!”
Herbie leads Rip to the bandstand and calls out to the band members about to perform.
“Hey, man. My friend Rip here is a guitar player. How about lettin' him do a number with you guys?” he says to the long-haired keyboard player.
“Is he any good?” asks the musician, eyeing Rip.
“His name is Rip, man,” answers Herbie. “Okay, Rip. Come on up,” invites the
Rip climbs onstage and another band member hands him the Fairyland version of an electric guitar. Rip takes the guitar, with which he’s quite familiar, as he’s handed a guitar cord, which he’s never seen before.
“Here, plug it in, man,” says the keyboardist, gesturing to the guitar amplifier.
“You mean plug it up? Is it leaking?” asks Rip, confused.
Another member of the band takes the cord and plugs it into the amplifier. Rip strums the guitar and a loud sound comes out.
“Ouch!” cries Rip in surprise. “Why is that so loud?” he asks the keyboardist. “How is that so loud?” he mutters under his breath.
The keyboard player smiles defiantly and tells him, “It's so King George can hear it without his ear trumpet, man.”
The band’s drummer counts out the beat, “And one and two and three and four...”
The band starts playing what will one day be known as a Sixties-style psychedelic riff as the lead guitar player plays a fuzz-toned blues rock intro. Rip listens intently to learn the basic structure of the song, a song in a style he’s never heard before but which, oddly enough, speaks to him. The keyboard player sings the first verse and chorus to the song before tossing it over to Rip who finds himself playing a blues-rock solo, unlike anything he’s ever played before. But it does seem to fit the song. This new, unknown guitar playing is something the growing crowd has never heard before either and they all turn toward the stage. Rip then sings a verse and chorus himself, vamping on his own feelings about arriving in this new and very strange land before going into a solo that surprises even himself. He's never heard this kind of music before, and it inspires him. He, in turn, seems to inspire the girls in the audience who suddenly take notice of him and swarm to the foot of the stage, shrieking uncontrollably. A little elf in the back of the audience takes notice of the girls' reactions and watches Rip attentively.
Rip ends the song with another solo and the girls go wild. A big busted fairy girl pushes past the throng of female admirers and presses up to the foot of the stage handing a pen out to Rip. She then pulls open her blouse exposing her ample cleavage wanting Rip to sign her breast.
“Can I have your autograph, please?” asks the fan.
“Sure,” smiles Rip, delighted. Rip then grabs a flier among those laying around on the stage and lays it over the girl’s bust using her breasts as a table as he signs the flier while the other girls scream for his attention. The elf who was watching him from the audience approaches.
“Good show, good show,” compliments the elf. “You're not from around here are you?”
Rip gives the flier to the excited fan and turns his attention to the elf as Herbie steps up to the foot of the stage.
“How could you tell?” asks Rip, concerned he’s standing out too much as a foreigner.
“No matter how good anyone here gets at what they do, they eventually start to do it all the same. But you, my friend, you're different. You've got something these people don't have,” says the elf.
Herbie steps up to the two of them, irritated. “What do you mean, these people?"
The elf ignores Herbie and continues his pitch to Rip.
“I know what I'm talking about. I'm not from around here either, originally. The name's Elfin,
Danny Elfin. Listen, with my help you can go far in this place. How about you and I make a deal?”
“What kind of a deal?” asks Rip, intrigued.
Danny Elfin straightens himself up in order to appear more businesslike.
“Well, first of all, no more playing your music for free. If these schmoes want to dance, they gotta pay the piper.”
Herbie gets excited in worried concern and calls to Rip, “Don't listen to him, Rip. Music should be free!”
Elfin ignores Herbie while still addressing his concerns, “Maybe these people can get anything they want with no effort, but you and me, we know what it is to work hard, don't we?”
Rip ponders the idea as Elfin continues, “It took you years to learn to play and sing like that, didn't it? Sure, you could have everything you want for free here but look where that gets you, everything ends up sounding the same. No pain, no gain my friend. Am I right?”
“Gee, where I come from, I was always thought to be the lazy one,” muses Rip.
“But here is where all the hard work you've done, that no one ever appreciated before, is your ticket to the BIG TIME. So, do we have a deal?” asks Danny Elfin.
Herbie, now in a panic, screams out, “Don't do it, Rip! Music's in the air, it's a gift! You can't expect people to do anything for it, just enjoy it!”
Finally Danny Elfin has had enough of Herbie and fires back, “Oh, they'll do something for it. They'll do plenty for it. You gave them a taste and now they want more, much more. How are you going to satisfy the demand if you have to spend your time doing things that your adoring fans will be more than happy to do for you?”
The elf grabs another flier from the stage and sets it onto the cleavage of the fairy girl next to him who has been admiring her autograph from Rip.
“Just sign on the dotted line,” tempts Danny Elfin.
Rip leans down and signs the paper.
“When do we start?” asks Rip.
The elf smiles as he folds up the paper and puts it into his pocket.
“Start? It's already happened,” says Danny Elfin.
Rip looks up to see that the crowd is now huge. Then he looks down at himself to see that he's dressed much flashier than a moment before. He then turns around to see that his band is much larger as they wave to the crowd while they leave the stage. The concert he has just finished is not the same one he played in the park just a moment ago, and the elf agent is now in a three-piece suit and smoking a cigar.
“Wow,” says an astonished Rip, “time sure flies here.”
“Yeah, it seems like only yesterday...” says Danny Elfin, casually, as he dusts the cigar ash from his suit sleeve.
“It seems like only ten seconds ago,” says Rip.
“Come on, man, the limo's waiting,” says Danny Elfin as he leads a dazed and confused Rip Van Winkle off the stage to a backstage holding area. A long, black, sleek centipede runs up behind the stage and stops so Rip and his new agent can climb on top. The centipede then drives off through the throng of adoring fans screaming for Rip.
“Fairies sure do love their music, don't they?” observes Rip, watching his screaming fans along the limo’s route.
“Ugh, I'm really not comfortable with that term,” complains Danny Elfin.
“What term?” asks Rip.
“Fairies,” answers Danny Elfin.
“Elves, then?” asks Rip.
“No. Elves are different,” says Danny Elfin.
“There are different types of people here?” inquires Rip.
“Sure,” says Danny, “There are elves and ogres, trolls and leprechauns, Menehune and gnomes, metalheads and punks, mods and rockers....”
“Well, what would you call my fans if you don't like fairies?” asks Rip.
“I'd call them hippies,” says Danny, matter of factly.
“So are you a hippie?” asks Rip.
“No. But I'll tell you one thing, I sure ain't no fairy!” says Danny Elfin defensively, then continues proudly, “I'm a star-maker.”
Rip looks up to the night sky.
“You make the stars?” he asks innocently.
“Stars are what we call special people who shine down here on the ground. What you do is special indeed,” explains Danny Elfin.
“But if everyone here can create whatever they want just by imagining it, can't they just imagine my music and make it without me?” asks a worried Rip.
Danny Elfin explains, “Once they hear it they can. But it's a funny thing about songs, you can buy a dozen eggs or a dozen doughnuts, and they're all the same but buy a dozen songs and they're all different. Once people hear one or two and develop a taste, they need you to create more. The ones that are coming they can't imagine, and if they want more, then they're going to have to pay.”
Just then the centipede limo turns onto a dark street and slows to a stop in front of a pile of burning junk blocking their path. Suddenly a gang of waiting punk rock elves step out from the shadows and move menacingly toward the limo.
“Oh, oh! Punkers! They hate hippies!” exclaims Danny Elfin.
The gang of punks all break into a run and then leap onto the limo and start bashing it with clubs and chains. The centipede fights them off, grabbing one in its jaws and hurling it aside. Finally, it runs up over the flaming pile of debris, shaking off the last of its attackers.
“That was a close one,” says a relieved Danny Elfin looking back. “I wonder what my insurance co-pay is?”
“How could they tell I was a hippie?” asks Rip, “They couldn't see us in here, could they?”
“Don't take it personal. Punks hate limos too. They represent success and some folks pretend to hate the things they can't have,” says Danny, turning back to relax into his seat.
As the centipede limousine continues down the dark city street a large black widow spider with a policeman gnome riding on its back runs up behind the limo. The spider’s red hourglass design on its rear flashes and a siren sounds.
Rip looks back to see the spider and says, “What's that?”
“Oh great! It's a cop. We're being pulled over,” says Danny Elfin, annoyed once more.
“What's a cop?” asks Rip.
“A constable. A lawman. By the way, they don't like hippies either,” answers Danny.
“Maybe I shouldn't be a hippie,” says Rip, thoughtfully.
“No, no! If hippies love your music then, by all means, be a hippie!” insists Danny.
The policeman climbs off the spider’s back and steps up to the limo. The centipede lifts a scale from its back to expose Danny Elfin and Rip.
“So what have we got here? A couple of freaks in a stolen limo,” inquires the police officer.
“It's not stolen, Officer. I own it,” insists Danny Elfin.
“You own a beat up stretch dung beetle?” inquires the police officer, suspiciously.
The centipede turns its head to give the policeman a dirty look.
“We just had a run in with a gang of punks back by that burning pile of rubble in the street. You couldn't miss it,” says Danny, irritated.
“Oh, a smart mouth, eh?” says the policeman, “I don't like your attitude, Mister. I don't see how a couple of hippies like you two could afford even something worth attacking.”
“I'll have you know, Sir, that I am a loyal subject of the Crown,” announces Rip, proudly.
“That does it. Get out of the vehicle! NOW!” yells the cop.
Danny and Rip sheepishly exit the centipede limo. The Policeman then starts to put Rip and Danny in handcuffs.
“Where are you taking us?” asks a frightened Rip Van Winkle.
“You're going to the hoosegow,” answers the policeman.
“The what?” asks Rip.
“The slammer,” says the policeman. “I'm sorry?” says Rip, confused. “The clink,” says the cop.
“Come again?” asks Rip.
Danny turns to Rip and asks, “Where do you think he's taking us?”
“Jail?” answers Rip.
“Bingo, Ringo!” says Danny Elfin as the Policeman puts them into his patrol spider cruiser for the trip downtown.
As the patrol car drives through town with Danny and Rip in the back, handcuffed, Rip turns to Danny, “If no one here has needs, why is there a need for a police force?”
“Because people get bored and bored people like to cause trouble. It tends to alleviate boredom,” answers Danny.
“I was always taught that money is the root of all evil,” ponders Rip, thoughtfully.
Danny Elfin laughs. “They just tell you that so you won't feel bad about not having any. That way they can keep it all for themselves.”
“Who are they?” asks Rip curiously.
Danny’s expression turns serious as they approach the entrance to the dungeons of the Royal Palace of the King of the Land of the Fairies.
“I think you're about to find out,” he murmurs softly to Rip.
***Bonus*** Accompanying book RIPPED included with physical CD-RP purchase @ https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/thetooners17
THE TOONERS are a multimedia rock and roll band from Los
Angeles who not only produce their own original music but also illustrate their songs and award winning (Chicago International Film Festival) fully animated music videos....more