In a red-bricked cottage, surrounded by a garden filled with the kind of flowers, which are to certain people commonly known as weed, a young girl was fiddling with a teapot. She was serving the tea with a kind of ease, which came through years of repetition, while simultaneously trying to read the book placed on the kitchen counter.
Still reading, the young girl finished serving her tea, before making a beeline to the most comfortable chair in the adjoined living room, levitating the tea behind her as she walked.
The living room was one of those cosy sort of places, where you immediately felt at home. Soft rugs covered the floors, comfortable chairs were placed wherever deemed suitable and there was a blazing fire in the old-fashioned fireplace, covering almost an entire wall. Boxes of chocolate and piles of books covered every suitable surface, and a smell of newly baked goods came from the kitchen.
The young girl – just barely 300 years of age – had accumulated these comforts throughout her life and couldn’t even fathom going without them.
She was a pretty girl with brown eyes and blonde hair. She was slender and looked deceivingly more fragile than she or any other of her kind truly was. Her hair was slightly tangled and she was dressed in a set of pyjamas – which was, incidentally, the way she was must often dressed. Her name was May.
May was the type of person, who were quite certain she had a good life. At least no one could honestly say she didn’t have a comfortable one. She had delicious food, a soft bed and books piling up through the entire house. And what more could you really wish for?
Sinking into her chair she gave a sigh of pure bliss, wondering if there didn’t exist some kind of magic, which could stop time, allowing moments like these to last forever, peaceful and uninterrupted.
That is, until someone knocked on the door.
With a groan of complaint she left the comfort of her chair to open for whoever thought it appropriate to disturb her at ten o’clock at night. Certainly, her neighbours had better manners than that. Every thought of common courtesy, however, disappeared as she opened the door and got the first view of her late night guest.
The man was cheerfully whistling, looking anywhere but at her. His clothes were ragged and patched so many times, that ocassionally the patches had patches. His bulky boots looked to be at least two sizes too big and he was wearing a long coat in leather, which appeared to possess an infinite quantity of pockets.
Next to him was a cart with the name IKEA written across it, which was filled with what could only be classified as garbage. It seemed to contain everything useless from empty bottles to rusty cutlery. The cart was laden with various bags and what appeared to be chestnuts put on a string and attached to the sides of the cart as decoration.
The man looked as if he hadn‘t bathed for at least a month and it was impossible to guess the colour of his hair. But the man’s brown eyes were warm and friendly and shined with held back laughter as if he’d just heard the must terrific joke.
“Good evening, miss,” he said with a light lift of his cap. “The name is Joe Joey Joe and I’m proud to say I’m homeless of the finest quality. One of the best, if I may say so myself. I love good songs, and never you hold back jokes when I’m around! Only just remember that the name was Joe Joey Joe. Not Joe. Not Joey. Not Joey Joe or any other combination your crippled brain may make up. Joe Joey Joe, straight as it can be, just as meself,” he said in an impressive speed, barely giving himself time to breathe. May was later to learn that was how he almost always talked.
And with these words he walked right past her, leaving his cart in the middle of the room and took up place in the very chair May had just abandoned. When she finally pulled herself together enough to close the door after him, he had clearly made himself at home. His shoes were lying scattered on her floor, and his bare feet was resting on top of her book, still lying on the side table.
“Um, excuse me,” May started hesitantly. She didn’t wish to be rude, but deemed that it had to be said. “But may I ask what you are doing in my home?”
“Nothing much in the moment, but if you had any supper left over that’d be great.”
“No, I meant… though of course you could get some supper, if you’re hungry… I think I still have some stew left over… but actually I was wondering why you are in my home.”
“Well, why not?”
“I’m terribly sorry, but I don’t think I understand.”
“Why not your home? Is there anything that makes this home any worse than all the other homes in the area?”
“Well, no, but…”
“Then this home is as good as any other, isn’t it? And were we just talking about that supper, or do you have some, ’cause I feel I’m ’bout to die of hunger, let me tell you that.”
Deciding that trying to be a good host was probably easier than to understand what the strange man was doing in her house, May willingly heated up some leftover stew and served the man, who had so effectively barged into her home.
But whoever Joe Joey Joe was, he at the very least hadn’t been lying about being hungry. He emptied the ball of stew faster than May could even contemplate – food was to be enjoyed! – and it was only after the third portion he declined her offer for more.
Feeling more at ease with the stranger in her home, May made a new pot of tea and watched in silent awe as Joe Joey Joe filled no less than twenty-two pieces of sugar cubes in his. She had decided to wait until Joe Joey Joe offered an explanation for his sudden appearance. She didn’t wish to appear impolite.
However; when he finally spoke it wasn’t an explanation at all.
“I’m bored,” he said, looking at her expectantly.
“Um, I think I have some board games somewhere,” she offered. “Unless you’d prefer cards.”
Joe Joey Joe send her a contemptuous look. “I fear it is too severe a case of boredom to be cured by games,” he said. “No, I fear that giving in to your wanderlust is the only cure.”
“Travelling! Danger! Excitement! Adventure! Those are the only sure cures for boredom!”
Deciding she had played along long enough – none of those things sounded comfortable at all! – she tried to inform him in no uncertain terms that she preferred where she was, thank you very much. She liked her living room and her tea and her comfortable chair, which he had yet to give up.
Joe Joey Joe seemed absolutely shocked by her exclamation. “But think of the deserts and the oceans! The species no one knew existed. The buried treasures, and all the roads we have no idea where might lead.”
“I’m quite sure I have a collection of maps somewhere.”
“A map! What does a map tell you? Absolutely nothing, I say. No, you’d have to see it with your own eyes, hear it with your own ears and feel it with your own elbows.”
“As good a part of the body as any, I’d say,” he said. “It is settled then. We can leave tomorrow.”
“Not good? The day after tomorrow then.”
“Listen, I appreciate your… enthusiasm, I really do, and I do have an extra bed if you need a place to sleep, but I am not really looking for an adventure at the moment.”
“Well, of course not. The most thrilling adventures are the ones, which finds you! But we should still go out and into the world. Make it a bit easier for them to find you, eh? Though I suppose it’s understandable you don’t want to adventure hunting with me, rude as I’ve been.”
May gave a little sigh of relief. So he could see see it himself. Barging in and rambling about adventures. Now he was finally about to apologize and be on his way.
She should have known she wouldn’t be so lucky as Joe Joey Joe continued.
“I haven’t even gotten you a present as a host. I’ve been told it’s courtesy, eh? And the stew was awfully good. Though can something be awfully good? Isn’t awful a bad thing? In fact I think it was awesomely good. There, much better. But here you go, a gift for all ye trouble and for the stew,” he said, before handing her what to May appeared to be a rather dirty stick.
It didn’t appear to be anything she could have any use of, but her mother had told her always to appear gracious when accepting gifts, so she gave Joe Joey Joe a hesitant smile and thanked him as convincingly as she could. She was, however, also careful only to touch the cloth that was wrapped around the stick, as it appeared to be the cleanest part.
Having found that Joe Joey Joe mostly kept quiet when he was eating, she quickly brought some cupcakes from the kitchen. Hopefully being busy chewing would keep him from making any more comments about adventures – or any more attempts to give her any gifts. The plan was at least somewhat successful, and when she an hour later showed him to her guest room, she had deigned a plan to get rid of him tomorrow. Without appearing rude, of course.
Perhaps the plan would have worked as well, if they’d made it to the morning before her house caught on fire.