How to Book Alex Ptak

An old crone shares hard earned wisdom.

So ye have come ta’ me after all. Ye want to know what I know then? You to see what I see in the fires of the hearth. Ye want to gaze with me into the swirl of me cooking pot? Well, come in from the cold, gentle traveler, and I’ll tell ye of the the one ye seek.

It is said that that he was raised by a fox spirit beneath the earth. Others say that his mother was a wind sprite who lay with a hunter and gave birth to him seven days after they copulated. Others still say that he has always been and always will be. There are countless stories. Some of them are true.

Aye, but ye did not come here for tall tales from an old crone. Reach up upon that shelf there and fetch me that bottle then. Aye, that’s the one.

A word of warning: Before undergoing this task, know that ye will be tested, for it is no simple feat to summon the one ye seek. Even if ye succeed in calling for him, there is no guarantee that he may answer. And if he answers, there is no guarantee that he will let ye live once ye have asked for assistance. Such is his way. He is as fickle as the rain. He is as mighty as the storm.

Now that ye know, let us begin. The first step is the promise. Beforehand, wash ye form and hands in the waters of a cool spring by the light of the full moon. Once washed, swear fealty upon the trees and rocks of the forest. Ye must humble thyself before the spirits of the wind and the fog. They will guide ye in your journey if appeased.

Next, make an offering to the west. I recommend leaving a small horn of fruit, berries and such, upon the grave of a child that drowned. These are for the spritelings and smallfolk that live on the edged paths. Once done pack a bag with only the following: A woolen quilt, a book, a pen, a length of yarn, a switch of evergreen, boots for climbing, and a mouse of the fields.

Once ye are ready, set out at first light. Follow the path until there are no path, and then enter the woods. Walk as ye will in the light of day, but make leave nothing behind you and make no sounds at sundown. If ye’ve made the promise well, no harm will come to ye. If not, cover yerself in the woolen quilt and repeat the words: “A promise kept, a promise made”.

Once through the woods, ye will come to a field where nothing grows save for an Elm’s tree. Take the yarn and wind it around the Elm, not once, not twice, but thrice. Once wound, make a knot. This is a knot you will make: A clove hitch for summer, a half hitch for fall, a timberhitch for winter and the dead down below.

If ye complete the knot, ye will cleave where the wood parts, just wide enough to crawl through. Below lies the Toad King. He will ask ye a riddle. Do not answer it. Instead, when he opens his toad maw to speak, feed him the switch of evergreen. He grow ill and begin to wail. The key is hidden in its mouth. Take the key.

When ye emerge, it will be dark no matter what time ye had first enter. Hold the key aloft as ye stride. Say the words “A promise kept, a promise made”. Do not terry, for it is dark and there is no moon. If ye hear singing, run until ye have run out of woods.

There is a waterfalls at the edge the world. Upon the waterfall there is a bridge that spans creation. Take out the book and write ye name. When ye reach the other side, the Everfalcon will need ye name. Read it from the book, for ye will have forgotten by the time ye crossed the bridge. He will carry ye to the Mountain, but only as far as the Eyrie. When you arrive, feed him the mouse of the field in gratitude and take a feather from his wing. He will take ye back when ye return the feather. From there, climb the rest of the way to the top of the Mountain.

If ye are bold, if ye are brave, if ye are quick of wit and strong of will, he will be waiting. Say these words and these words only:

“Hey, would you like to do my show sometime? You’d get eight minutes and a drink ticket.”

And that is how ye book the creature known as Alex Ptak.

Alex Ptak performs comedy in NYC. He runs the weekly 2 in the Bush(wick) open mic at Ange Noir. You can find him on Twitter and you should!

Benel Germosen is the cohost of Fresh Fifteen at the Experiment Comedy Gallery. He performs comedy all over town in New York City. You can find him on Twitter here.

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