Ewan Dye leans at the gate, awaiting, idly singing a childhood song: “Ferrazhocka, ferrazhocka, donlayvoo, donlayvoo, semilematina, semilematina, ding-dong-dang, ding-dong-dang…”
In the distance he sees a glint, and hears, out on the tar plane, a glide moving. The glint grows, singing blue silver. A Classiomatic draws into dim sight. The droning engine throbs in time with his beating heart. Ewan Dye stands straight, pulls his tie. The machine pulls up and stops in front of him. In the pre-dawn glow, out steps Lady Mondegreen.
They know each other, these two. They have known each other for many years, since before she wed the Earl Amore. Ewan tends her crops, her wild crops, her changelings. This is a special corner of word country, where all the fruit is mutation. But not mutation as happens to other things, on their own. These words come to being because someone has oddly heard some other word or words and taken it for a new word. These words are fertilized by the mind, and when they are made into prose they are leavened by local wind-blown yeast, purely adventitiously. The rimes here are all lambic pentameter.
He extends his hand and addresses her as he had when she was young: “Miss Heard.”
He is too familiar, but she accepts it. “Ewan Dye,” she says. “Just the two of us.” And a small up-curve graces the corner of her mouth. “What have you for me today, in a gadda da vida?”
Gracias a la vida, he thinks. But he says, “Something… light. You have had a taste already.”
“Something mannerly, masterly, not miserly. Perhaps orderly, perhaps motherly, perhaps summerly.”
She nods slightly. “I hope… not soberly.”
Intoxicating, he thinks. “As graceful as a Lippizaner, as powerful as a panzer. As luscious as a Linzertorte. But so wide open to interpretation. Everyone who hears it has their own idea about it. It’s not supposed to be there, it is a ghost made of two souls. Even more than most words, it exists in the minds of those who hear it. Until someone turns on the light and they see it no more.”
“These are the words I love to hear,” Lady Mondegreen says.
“These are the words I cultivate for you. Miss Heard.” He looks again. Their eyes lock.
“Oh, say it,” she says.
He looks to the horizon. “Can you see it?”
In a flash of light, like a rocket’s red glare, the sun crests the curve. She whispers in his ear, “The donzerly light.”
“Only here, my lady,” he says. “Only in your own land.”
“Only where my own heards graze.” She looks to the horizon. “Squeeze me,” she says quietly, “while I kiss the sky.”
He nuzzles her eagerly. She clasps his left hand in her right, sets her left on his back. They start to dance. She sings softly, slowly, a jaunty old favourite: “Mairzy doats and dozy doats and little lamzy divey…”