There is something seriously wrong with the town of Asteria. So many bizarre things have happened lately. You won’t believe me no matter where I begin, so I may as well start with The Thing that happened to D.J.
Remember how I told you that the three of us went out to find jobs? Well, D.J. was being very mysterious about how he was spending his time.
“I’m making money,” is all he would tell Keith and me when we asked.
“Making money doing what?” I asked.
But D.J. just grinned and shook his head. “I’ll tell you when the time is right,” he said.
Months slipped past, and still, no money. I was starting to feel agitated. I mean, yeah it was great that D.J. was letting us live rent-free in his aunt’s house. But while Keith was out getting spooked to death and I was driving a rattly ice cream truck up and down the streets while wearing a ridiculous bunny suit, D.J. was doing, well, nothing, as far as I could tell.
Anyway, after The Thing, D.J. at last filled us in. All that time, he had been trying to make money. Literally make money. No, not counterfeit bills. That would have been smarter, maybe. D.J. was trying to learn alchemy. Honest-to-goodness boil-stuff-in-a-pot-and-transform-it-into-gold alchemy.
I can hear your voice now. “Is he crazy? You can’t turn things into gold!” (Well, you say this in Oromo, but still). Up until a couple of weeks ago, I would have agreed with you. But now I’m not so sure.
Okay, it gets weirder. D.J. apparently went to see a local fortune-teller, who told him that to learn alchemy, he must visit Clara the Genie. Clara was a very powerful genie, because she wasn’t trapped in a lamp, and had the freedom to move around and grant wishes to whoever she wanted, etcetera, etcetera. So off he went to become Clara’s pupil.
There was just one problem. Yep – D.J.’s temper. Clara the Genie is extremely smart, but according to D.J., could also be sarcastic and condescending. Whenever D.J. made mistakes while mixing potions, Clara would make little quips, like, “Gee, why don’t I repeat those instructions a few hundred times. Maybe it will sink into your little brain!”
Instead of keeping his cool, D.J. would snap back at her. Sometimes, he would really lose it. I can just picture him stomping around the room, red as boiled crab, shouting at poor Clara.
“Big mistake man,” he told us later, with a sad shake of his head. “One does not lose his cool with a 3,000 year-old genie girl.”
Clara did not hold back in making her displeasure known. After one outburst too many from D.J., she raised her hands, claw-like, and zap! She placed a curse on D.J.
What kind of curse, you ask? Well, have you ever read the story of The Frog Prince? Yes, that. Let’s just say that D.J.’s new favorite snacks were small buzzing insects.
Clara had two fairies, Barbie and Mariah, who both burst into giggles at the sight of D.J.
“Hi there, Froggy Face!” they teased. “Are you feeling hoppy today?”
D.J. wanted to yell at the obnoxious fairies and at Clara, who stood nearby with a smug expression. He opened his mouth, ready to cry, “Change me back right now! Do you hear me?”
But all that came out was, “Croo-oaak!” That made the fairies laugh even harder.
Humiliated, D.J. turned and fled toward home, stopping every few blocks to catch a fly.
He hid in his room for the next couple of days, sneaking out to eat only when he was sure that Keith and I wouldn’t see. When the spell didn’t wear off, however, he crept back to the genie’s house, prepared to fall to his knees and beg forgiveness the best he could without speech.
But the genie refused to see him. Instead, Barbie the Fairy took pity on him. “Don’t you know the way this story is supposed to end?” she asked. D.J. shook his head. “You have to find a kind woman to kiss you. It’s the only way.”
The only way? D.J. stared, wide-eyed. Well, even wider-eyed. How in the world would he find some woman to kiss him? One look at the frog man, and every girl in town would run away screaming in fear, right?
Wrong. Because this is not an ordinary town. It turns out that people in Asteria are used to bizarre occurences like genies and fairies and frog men. And so, all D.J. had to do was approach one of the women who lived in town.
The woman rolled her eyes. “You’re like, the third frog I’ve had to rescue this month,” she said, making a face. Still, she leaned in and kissed D.J.’s slimy face. And poof! The frog curse was lifted, and D.J. was a man again.
“Oh my god! Thank you so much!” D.J. hugged the woman tight, even though she was a total stranger.
Now, I wish I could say that he and the woman got together and became a couple and everything. But no. Instead, D.J. had to go and steal my girlfriend. But that’s a story for another letter. The good thing that came out of all this, though, was that D.J. never lost his temper with anyone after that. Not even Keith. The transformation was so striking, you might say it was …magical.
Your weirded out friend,