"So, I’m thinking that we were wrong from the very beginning," said Tolkien Boy to Melyngoch as they set out candles on the tables in preparation for Jeph’s funeral. "Who were we to think that we could discover the ultimate ‘your mom’ joke?"
Melyngoch sighed. "I suppose we thought, if anyone could do it, it would be us. I guess we were wrong." She lifted a crystal candle dish, looked at it critically. "Whose are these?"
"Edgy’s, I think." Tolkien Boy tried to balance a dish on his middle finger. It slipped to the floor with a loud clang.
"Don’t drop things, duckies," said Master Fob without glancing up from his place at the pulpit. He was scribbling furiously.
"How long has he been at that?" whispered Tolkien Boy to the Queen as she walked out of the kitchen, an enormous casserole dish of steaming funeral potatoes clenched in her loving oven mitts.
"Thirteen hours and counting," said the Queen. "Oh, isn’t this cultural hall divine?"
Tolkien Boy and Melyngoch drew themselves up proudly. It had been their efforts, after all, that had turned the gymnasium into a veritable mausoleum for the mourned. Their finishing touch had been an upsweep of black streamers over the coffin. The streamers were lazily moving in the wind from Master Fob’s furiously scribbling pen.
"Who paid for the coffin, anyway?" said the Queen.
"Master Fob," said Melyngoch and Tolkien Boy in unison. "He said he wanted everything to be perfect," added Tolkien Boy. "But I think that the coffin is rented."
"Do you two believe what that one-eyed gypsy woman told us?" asked the Queen nervously.
"Which one?" asked Melyngoch. "There’s been so many."
"Not the one who told us to invest in WalMart, nor the one who told us that skinny dipping with scout leaders was morally reprehensible."
"Oh, you mean the one who mentioned that, if we ever disturbed the "your mom" shrine, we’d be cursed by Master Fob becoming insane and eventually having a child that would eventually lead the world into destruction, chaos, and anarchy?"
"That’s the one," said the Queen. "Do you think that this will be enough potatoes?"
"I can’t imagine Jeph was that popular," said Tolkien Boy, staring at the enormous casserole dish. "And Master Fob isn’t insane, he’s just–composing."
"And Jeph’s decomposing," quipped the Queen. "I think I’ll make some more potatoes, just to be safe."
"We are gathered here today to pay tribute to a fallen Fob," Ben said, surveying the crowd at Jeph’s funeral. "A Fob graced with, as all Fobs are graced with, dignity, strength, and creativity..."
"Did he know Jeph?" hissed Th. to Tolkien Boy.
Tolkien Boy shrugged. "I never did."
"Before continuing, I should like to say a few words about Fob itself," Master Fob continued. "As many of you know, the recent quest of Fob has been to find the ultimate ‘your mom’ joke."
The room erupted in a buzz of whispering. The members of Fob looked at each other.
"He’s not going to tell the secret, is he?" said Melyngoch to Edgy.
Edgy gripped the seat of his chair, his forehead wet with sweat. "I sure hope not."
"I am here to report that the we have all been deceived regarding the ‘your mom’ joke," said Ben, blissfully ignoring the frantic hand gestures of the Fob from the back of the room.
"That’s it, we’re going to have to kill him," said Th.
"Strike hard and true," said Tolkien Boy. And then, to himself, "What movie is that on?"
"I can see this is going to get ugly," said Petra uneasily. "I think I’ll excuse myself and check out Tolkien Boy’s question on Google."
"No!" said Th. fiercely. "We vowed we’d be in this together.
"The secret to the ‘your mom’ joke, as we discovered in the secret ‘your mom’ shrine in southeastern Tibet, is–"
"Do something," said the combined Fob to Melyngoch.
"Oh, Jeph!" yodeled Melyngoch at the top of her lungs, causing Master Fob to lose his place in his eulogy and the rest of the attendees to turn around to look at her. "We hardly knew ye!" she continued.
"He was like a brother to me!" howled Tolkien Boy, cluing in.
"How often we sat and talked about sex!" cried the Queen.
"And the blue-footed booby!" wailed Th.
"And the latest and greatest from David Sedaris!" bawled Edgy.
"Not to mention the role of Jane Austen as a feminist of her time and an example for ours!" shrieked the Marchioness, and as one the Fobs fell upon the coffin, beating it and calling out their regrets.
In the midst of their mourning, Tolkien Boy turned to the others and said, "The fact that he would share the secret, the one we all vowed to protect, shows that he has lost his already tentative grip upon reality. There can be no doubt: he has become the horror that the one-eyed gypsy said he would be."
"Which one was that?" wondered the Marchioness, but they shushed her to look at Master Fob. Their histrionics had turned Master Fob back to his original eulogy, but there was no knowing when he might slip up again.