Out on the city street in front of the Elfin Music building the next afternoon, people are excitedly running as others hand out fliers. Inside the Elfin Music building in his twenty-third-floor office, Danny Elfin is looking down from his window at the crowd of people running through the streets heading toward the city park as his assistant enters.
“Mister Elfin, it's been announced that Rip Van Winkle is performing a free concert in the park!” she says, holding another flier.
“What?” screams Danny, breaking into another of his dramatic rages. “He's playing a FREE show? If I told him once, I've told him a thousand times NO FREE MUSIC! Get my chopper ready!”
In a large clearing deep in the middle of the central park, shaded by the surrounding giant redwood trees and filled right up to the trunks of the trees by the music-loving citizens of Fairyland is a crowd dancing to the sound of the Rip Van Winkle Band. Rip with his guitar and the members of the bowling team as his back up band are standing in the center of the clearing. Surrounded by gold posts holding up a red velvet rope to keep back the crowd, which completely surrounds them, they play in the round. Just beyond the crowd, a black limopede pulls up and the three hit men dressed all
in black, wearing dark sunglasses and carrying attache cases, step out. Each man walks off in a different direction as Rip continues his set, unaware that during the course of his song each of the men in black has positioned themselves behind some cover, out of sight of the crowd. They each open their attache case and remove the parts of a musket which they assemble. They then attach a high powered sniper scope to the musket and carefully take aim at Rip as he sings.
Suddenly, a giant dragonfly swoops down among the Redwoods, carrying Danny Elfin. An area of the crowd parts to allow the dragonfly to land and Danny jumps off and approaches the velvet rope. The wind from the wings of the dragonfly blows debris into the faces of the assassins who lower their weapons, momentarily, while Danny Elfin runs up to the edge of the red velvet rope and yells at Rip.
“What are you doing? Are you insane? I said NO FREEBIES! EVER!” screams Danny Elfin over both the sound of Rip’s band and his dragonfly transport.
Rip can’t hear what Danny is shouting, but as the band ends its song, Rip addresses the cheering crowd.
“Thank you, thank you very much! Thank you all for coming!” he calls out to the crowd. “You know it's been a long time since I've done a fundraiser but this is for a cause I really, really believe in! Today we're all here to kick off the
campaign for President of my good friend, Mister Danny Elfin!”
The crowd cheers while Danny Elfin looks surprised and then delighted.
“Really? For me? Gee, I don't know...” says Danny in mock modesty.
“Let's get him up here to say a few words, shall we, folks? Come on, let him through,” Rip urges the crowd.
The crowd parts so Danny can get past the velvet rope and up toward Rip at the center of the circle. The assassins aim their weapons at Rip until Danny steps up to his microphone and blocks their shots.
“Thank you, thank you so much,” shouts out Danny, “I just want to say how much this all means to me and I want to thank you all for coming out to show your support for my campaign. And if elected I promise...”
Rip suddenly leans in to shout into Danny’s microphone, “Ladies and Gentlemen, let's dance!”
The band starts playing again as Danny looks around wondering why he has suddenly lost control of the crowd as the crowd starts to dance in a circle around the red velvet rope.
The crowd begins to chant, “We be the wee, wee folk be we! We be the wee, wee folk be we! We be the wee, wee folk be we!”
A mist forms on the ground within the circle and then the soil starts to collapse under the feet of Rip, Danny Elfin and the band.
“What?” says Danny, confused momentarily, but then realizes what’s happening and shouts out, “No, no!” as he, Rip and the band fall into the vortex of swirling dirt under their feet and disappear into the ground.
The men in black look up from their weapons, confused.
Inside of the Fairyland ship’s wooden planked floored and circular walled wheelhouse lay the bowling team in a heap. They appear the same as they did only moments ago but laying on top of them, squashing them to the floor, is Rip and Danny Elfin, both now much larger than they had been previously and looking considerably different. Rip looks like he did when he first met the four little men back home in the forest and Danny Elfin, also roughly the same size as Rip and much larger than the elves, now has the appearance of what would be recognizable to future generations as a 1970s Disco dancer in his leisure suit, platform shoes and pompadour hairdo.
“Ugh! Get off me!” shouts one of the elves as they all struggle to free themselves from under Rip and Danny Elfin’s crushing weight.
“Hey Rip, you were right!” says Herbie, noticing the change in Danny Elfin.
Danny leaps up, enraged, and hits his head on the ship’s low ceiling. “What are you doing?! Are you crazy?! We have a contract! I'll sue you! I'll sue you!” he screams at Rip.
As the elf Captain turns the ship’s wheel the walls of the room begin to spin and the dirt and tree roots visible outside the windows begin to grow as if the craft is shrinking. Soon insects appear as giant creatures, one-celled animals become huge, the molecules of the soil appear as large as boulders until finally, all is black outside the windows. Soon stars appear in the blackness of space and then the Earth appears in the distance.
“Get ready, Rip,” says the Captain, “We're about to send you home, more or less.”
“More or less?” asks Rip, worried.
“We remember where, but we're a little foggy about exactly when,” explains Herbie.
“We were partying pretty heavy back then,” says one of the bowling team.
It is morning as Rip awakens on the forest floor. His clothes are in tatters and his beard is long and gray.
“Oh, What happened? Did I stay out here all night? Sally's going to kill me!” he says to himself as he slowly gets up and brushes the dust and pine needles off his clothes. He then looks down at his graying beard.
“What did I do? Did ashes from the fire get in my beard last night?” he asks himself as he tries to brush the gray from his whiskers. “And when did it get this long? Now, where is my trusty musket?”
Rip reaches down for his musket laying on the forest floor but the barrel breaks off from the stock.
“I mean my rusty musket,” he says as the wooden stock breaks off in his hands. “Termites. I better get home. Where's Wolf gone to? Here Wolf! Here Boy!” he shouts into the woods looking for his long lost dog. “Wow, what a crazy dream!”
Rip walks through the woods trying to think of a plausible excuse for having been out all night he can give to his wife when he eventually enters into a town he's never seen before. Children stare at him and laugh and they follow him as he walks down the street.
“Oh no! Where is the tavern?” he thinks as he looks around at this unfamiliar setting.
Seeing a man walking down the street, Rip approaches him and says, “Excuse me, sir...”
“I've no money for drunken derelicts! Begone with you, I say!” shouts the man so others in the town will take notice of Rip.
“No sir, you misunderstand. I am not a drunken derelict but a loyal subject of good King George,” explains Rip.
“Good King George? Don't you mean President George?” questions the stranger.
“President George? You know what a president is?” asks Rip, surprised.
“George Washington, the president of these here United States of America!” exclaims the man.
“Wow,” says Rip to himself, “you really don't want to tax things people really like.” He then asks the man, “Sir, I just want to know where Nicholas Vedder's tavern has gone?”
“Yes, looking for a tavern. Just as I thought,” says the man as an older man walking by overhears the conversation.
“You say you're looking for the old tavern of Nicholas Vedder?” inquires the older gentleman.
“Yes, sir. It used to be right here as I recall,” says Rip.
“No, it's been gone a good long time, but the Vedders’ have the hotel and I believe they serve food and drink there. It's run by David Vedder, I do believe,” says the older man.
“Davy? Nicholas' son?” asks Rip, relieved to hear a familiar name.
“Oh yes. He's done very well for himself, he has. He owns not only the hotel but a chain of pubs. Quite successful,” comments the first man.
“Do you know the Vedders? I've never seen you around and I know everyone in this town yet you do look very familiar.” comments the older man.
“Does no one know Rip Van Winkle?” bemoans an exasperated Rip.
“Yes, of course. Rip Van Winkle. Why, he's right over there,” says the younger man, pointing across the street.
Rip turns to see a young man standing in front of the hotel who looks amazingly like he,
himself, did many years before. He excitedly runs toward the man. The other men and the children follow him, intrigued.
“Junior! Junior!” shouts Rip in glee.
Rip Van Winkle Jr. looks at Rip but does not recognize him.
“No one has called me that in many a year. Do I know you, old man?” asks the young man.
At that moment a young woman with several small children walks out of a shop and approaches the younger Rip. She looks closely at Rip Sr. having heard him call her brother, Junior.
“Do you not remember me, son?” continues Rip.
The girl's eyes grow wide as Rip Jr. squints with suspicion.
“Do you not remember me? Father?” she asks Rip.
Rip and his son both look in surprise at the young woman then both exclaim in surprise, “Father?!”
Rip Jr. looks back at his father as Rip asks her, “Judith? Is that you? Is that my little girl?”
“Father! You've come back!” cries Judith, jubilantly, and then runs to hug Rip.
As they embrace, an older, fatter, Sally Van Winkle steps out of the hotel and sees Rip with her children.
“Oh, no, no, no, no! You are not back from the dead!” Sally shrieks.
“Hello, dear,” says Rip, recognizing his wife, “I'm not dead.”
“Well, actually you are,” corrects his son.
“Mother had you declared legally dead a few years after you left,” explains Judith.
Rip turns to Sally and asks, “Why did you do that?”
“So I could marry someone who could support me and your children, that's why!” answers the former Mrs. Van Winkle.
“And who might that have been?” asks Rip just as an older, heavier, Davy Vedder, the former tavern bartender, steps out from the hotel.
“That would be me,” announces Davy. “Well, as I live and breath, is that old Rip Van Winkle, the minstrel and lady's man?”
“Davy? Davy Vedder, the barkeep at the old tavern?” asks Rip in surprise.
“David Vedder, the owner and proprietor of this grand hotel and of a half dozen other establishments of fine food and dining, I'll have you know,” states Sally Vedder, proudly.
“Well, good for you Davy, and congratulations Sally. I guess I didn't have to worry about you all this time after all,” says Rip, then adding under his breath, “Not like I did anyway. Tell me Mister and Misses Vedder,” he continues, “by any chance might there be some sort of work that a traveling troubadour could do in exchange for room and board?”
“Father, I won't hear of it!” says Judith. “You're much too old to work! You will come live with me!”
“Oh, Bob will love that,” says Junior.
“Shall he come live with you, then?” she asks her brother.
Rip Jr. looks down at his feet.
“I thought not,” continues Judith. “Then it's done, Father, you will come live with me and my husband and get to know your grandchildren. Come with me.”
Judith and her children start to lead Rip down the street.
“Tell me, Daughter,” asks Rip, “where is Wolf?”
“Wolf?” asks Judith.
“My dog,” answers Rip.
“Oh Father, that old dog died ten years ago,” says Judith.
A look of sadness replaces Rip’s grin and he mutters to himself, “Oh, and it was such a perfect day!”
The town's people are gathered for a Fourth of July picnic in the town square, and sitting on the stage at the center is Rip surrounded by the town's children who have been listening intently to his stories.
“So you see, children,” continues Rip to his enraptured audience, “the land of the fairies is not
only real, but it's here, all around us, all of the time. And if you listen real hard and look very closely, you can see them too. But first, you need to believe in them.”
“Why do we have to believe in them? If they're real then they're real whether we believe in them or not,” states a little boy who has been asking Rip questions non-stop all afternoon.
“Because,” Rip explains, “if you don't believe in them you're never going to take the time and do the work it takes to see them. It's not easy, and if you don't believe, you won't really try, will you?”
“But whatever happened to Danny Elfin?” asks the little boy’s sister.
Rip thinks for a moment and then answers, “I don't know. I suppose they dropped him off sometime a long time from now. Sometime closer to his own time. Although those fairies aren't very good when it comes to keeping time.”
The children all laugh.
On a busy city street at the foot of the Catskill Mountains, in the distant future when cars can fly, Danny Elfin suddenly materializes out of thin air. Only a moment earlier, he had been trapped inside the Fairyland ship transporting him from the Rip Van Winkle concert in the park and his life as a rich and powerful entertainment industry exec.
“I'll sue you! I'll sue you!” he still screams, now to no one in particular, as the busy city goes on
with its day, paying him no mind at all. Suddenly, he stops his ranting and notices that he is in a futuristic city with flying cars in the sky above him.
“Oh, oh...,” says Danny, who now realizes the elves have missed dropping him off in his own time by perhaps a few hundred years. Then Danny starts aging very quickly and in a matter of just a few seconds, he is reduced to a skeleton. His skeleton then crumbles into a pile of dust on the street that is tossed up into the air as a flying car whizzes past.
***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