Niffery and Jimmery are on a mission for Time.
As he descended back to Earth, the rush of air blew the hat from Niffery's head. He raised a hand to catch his hat, then watched as it slipped through his fingers. At that moment, his quarry circled his head and whistled before it sped away. Niffery's resolve hardened, and his effort increased as he flew past Jimmery. Turning his head back to Jimmery as he passed by, he said, "Darn, Jimmery, I almost caught 'im that time."
Jimmery then sped past Niffery, crashing through several clouds in his chase of the immortal being. He circled, bursting past Niffery in pursuit of the tiny, elusive creature.
Jimmery gained on his quarry. So, he reached with the ends of his fingertips, nipping at Time's wings, hoping and praying but missing all the same. "This little minx is slipperier than a Slimedarter. But if we don't grab it, we'll be lost to the ether after Granreil gets hold of our sorry carcasses. Granreil sent us to fetch him for our Queen or never to return."
Jimmery fell into a dive after the immortal 'Time,' and as he did, he yelled, "Niffery, you come at 'im from another side. To express it more clearly, come from a direction from which I ain't coming." Then Jimmery waved at Niffery in a come-along way.
"I'm not under the delusion of which we might succeed in this endeavor young, Jimmery," Niffery answered, "but if Time is what Queen Darella wants, then Time is what we will be gettin' her. Or your dyin' in our tryin' of it. Whichever falls upon us before the other, don't ya know."
Niffery and Jimmery almost collided as the tiny, winged immortal, Time, buzzed between them on its way out of their impending grasp.
"Jimmery, I, and you must have a palaver over our lack of commonality in our attempts to procure this elusive immortal. I believe our failure is calling for a plan. What would you offer for my agreement?" Niffery proposed.
Jimmery and Niffery landed under a tall tree, and Jimmery spoke first. "Well, Sir Niffery, I believe there once was a form of trickery utilized by mere-mortal men during feverish times akin to this. Methinks it was known as a 'Chase-n-Grab.'
"During this endeavor, two idiots, chasing some small prey, would devise to part ways. One idiot chasing their victim toward an agreed-upon spot. While the other idiot waited at that place, nestled inside brambles and bushes."
When the first idiot arrived at the selected place in pursuit of their prey, the other idiot snatched their quarry, scraped and bleeding as the other idiot was sure to have been." Jimmery explained
Niffery contemplated the plan briefly, then said, "I like it. You do the chasing 'cause I'm older and more tired. I'll jump from the brush and do the snatching."
Both Niffery and Jimmery ran past each other, moving in opposite directions. Jimmery headed toward the tiny flying immortal while Niffery shot past him to the spot where he wanted to catch the thing.
Niffery hunkered in the brush, waiting and waiting, but Jimmery failed in his arriving. "That darn idiot wouldn't know what to do if someone was to tell 'im. I'll have to find 'im an' explain the plan all over and once again. Then, I'll stick his nose in the ground where I find him and drag him to where I want him to be. There is where we'll catched that immortal flyin' "demon" as most of us call Time. On another thought, pushing the lad's nose into the soil where I found 'the spot' may be beneficial. He'd recognize its smell when the aroma entered his nostrils again. That is, with me knowin' Jimmery's smeller and his knack for finding a meal from more than a mile afar."
Niffery searched, and he searched until he found Jimmery asleep under a shady tree. Jimmery snoozed by a ramblin' brook with that tiny annoying, immortal creature, Time, gyrating just above his head. Niffery stooped to grab a hefty limb, fallen from a nearby oak in the storm last night. Then he crept through the brush, sneaking around the back of the maple tree where Jimmery lay propped against its trunk.
In stealth, Niffery sneaked up on Jimmery from behind, and then, clutching the tree branch in both fists, he raised it above his head. Then Niffery smashed it upon Jimmery's head with a resounding "crack." The tiny creature dodged the oncoming limb, flying into the woods unharmed. Unwavering, Niffery stared down at his friend lying unconscious on the ground. "You darn fool. You let him get away—again."
Niffery waited more than two hours for Jimmery to climb out of his nap. Then Niffery grew impatient and grabbed a long twig, dabbing it at Jimmery's nose, jerking it away when Jimmery's hand swung across where it was. That allowed Jimmery, the younger, to slap himself in the nose before he jumped from his dream. "Wake up, Jimmery," Niffery said, "We need another plan, and I've been thinkin'. What I think we need is Bait."
Jimmery raised with squinted eyes, rubbing his sore nose, leaning on his elbows, and stared directly into Niffery's face. "What is Bait, Sir Niffery? And how's it gonna get Time into our trap?" he asked before he laid back. Then, he smirked, cupping the back of his head inside his palms and crossing his right leg over his standing left knee. "Might it be tasty? Sweet?" he said as his eyes widened and hollowed.
"I don't know, but we must use something Time likes to lure it into our trap. Time don't like mutton, cake, or cookies. What would you crave if you were Time, Jimmery?" Niffery asked.
"I wouldn't be knowing, but me Mum always said that if I wanted to be catched a happening forever, I should trap it in me memory. Then I'd have it frozen for all eternity and forever." Jimmery answered.
As he said that, Jimmery curled his face in puzzlement, searching through the memories scattered inside his head until he found one of his Mum sitting on a stool, stirring a bowl of cookie dough. "Ummm, that looks good," so he gently pinched that memory between his finger and thumb, pulling it through his ear from his brain. "I have it, Sir Niffery. I pulled me memory from me brain. Will that be 'Bait'?" he asked.
At that moment, the tiny immortal, Time, landed in Jimmery's palm next to the memory, which Jimmery held between his thumb and forefinger. Time stood staring into the captured memory of Jimmery's Mum as she stirred that bowl of cookie dough with intensity. Then, in a flash, Jimmery pinched the immortal's wings between his thumb and forefinger, trapping Time in that instant.
Jimmery froze in place, and so did Niffery. Their heads froze in place, and their eyes swiveled, searching for the others. Then they found them, and they appeared like statues too. However, their thoughts grew louder as each other thunk 'em. "What's happenin'?" Jimmery thought aloud without curling a lip.
Those two words sounded inside Niffery's mind. Suddenly Niffery realized he was hearing every thought leaking from the unseen holes in Jimmery's head. "Everthin' froze when you pinched Time's wings together, Jimmery."
Niffery's eyes swiveled to Jimmery again without a word spoken. "You must have stopped his travel in mid-flight, and if Time don't fly, then nothin' else do neither. Let him go, Jimmery, or we'll all stay stuck here forever, and my nose itches something fierce."
As Niffery begged, the freezing of time spread further. The landscape froze in a rolling wave across the countryside. Behind that wave, birds were stuck in mid-flight, bees hovered above flowers with blurred wings showing the blue sky behind them, and his ears catched no buzz. An inchworm stopped in an arch amid his downward travel along a limb. Clouds sat still inside blue heavens, and everything quieted until nary a sound rose from where the chaos of life once chattered. Even the mighty sun overhead sat suspended in mid-sky, and a single drop of sweat clutched a vanishing line where once many others dripped from Niffery's brow.
At that moment, Niffery remembered Jimmery had an overwhelming penchant for food. Niffery struggled against his condition, reaching ever so slightly toward the sandwich he had brought for lunch. He recalled that Jimmery ate no breakfast nor lunch that day, and the strong-smelling cheese with mustard and onions wafted toward Jimmery's flared nostrils. Niffery saw tiny beads of moisture pearling across Jimmery's brow, under which his eyelids twitched.
At that moment, with a will beyond imagining, Jimmery strained, struggled, and pushed with every thought in his tiny brain. To Niffery's surprise, Jimmery's foot, ever-so-slowly, edged and then launched out of its spot.
Niffery thought aloud, "I knew you could do it, young Jimmery, since you didn't know you couldn't."
Then Sir Niffery called upon one of his oldest, most dear friends, "Doctor Scientist, I greatly need your assistance. Please find me from your place outside our time and join me in aiding my dumb friend, Jimmery. And if you please, lend me a hand in getting away from this tight spot where I'm frozen in time. The place where that idiot young numbskull got me stuck."
A puff and a pop created glitter sparkling around Niffery's shoulders. Suddenly, an old man settled to the ground beside him. The old gentleman wore a white coat over a white shirt tucked into blue jeans, and his coat draped down to his knees. Both pockets of his shirt held holsters filled with pencils and pens. The glasses astride his nose slid to its end, then hovered over a three-day growth of whiskers scattered across his cheeks and chin. The old man dropped a glass beaker from his hand to scratch at his head while he twirled around, examining his sudden change in scenery. His eyes filled with surprise as they wrapped around the visage of Sir Niffery and Jimmery frozen in place. Then he searched his surroundings with wonder and fear, shaking his head and asking a question into mid-air, "How the heck did I get here?"
Sir Niffery said, squeezing words from his head, "Doctor Scientist, I need your help."
Doctor Scientist turned toward his dear friend, and after a gulp, and a gasp, he said, "Why, it's you, Sir Niffery." Then the scientist asked, "Where am I, and why am I here? How did I get here too?"
"Doctor Scientist, we're frozen in place because my young friend Jimmery over there has Time's wings pinched 'atween his fingers, so time cannot fly. Will you please help us?" Niffery asked.
The old man's thumb and fingers scrubbed at his chin while his other hand massaged a spot behind his ear. Then he grinned as his head nodded in discovery. "Hmmph! I understand, Sir Niffery. Your young friend has "Time," a tiny winged creature in this dimension, held captive in your strange Universe. Therefore, Time here isn't moving. Everything in your dimension is standing still. I am not frozen because I am not from your dimension, so I'm immune." The old man laughed aloud until he bent in pain and coughed, then spat until his sputtering settled into a rhythmic gasp, and a calm smile spread across his face. "I believe the two of you find yourselves in quite a pickle, and Niffery, you called me for help. Well, let's see what I can do."
Doctor Scientist pulled a spyglass from his pocket and examined the entity trapped between Jimmery's fingers. He attempted to separate Jimmery's fingers to free Time's wings but to no avail. Then he pulled a small box from under his white coat and pressed its buttons to bring up black numbers on a tiny grey screen.
Doctor Scientist pronounced, "My calculations reveal that without the free passage of time, the effort expended to free it is beyond my capabilities to muster. Therefore, I must have help." The Doctor thought, dismissing his first thought with a shaking head.
At the end of the next ponderance, an idea appeared. "In my dimension, time's flight is metered by a clock. So, with the watch in my pocket, I can measure Time's passage inside this dimension. That measurement will give me a starting point to begin my deliberations."
The Doctor then pulled on a gold chain with a golden bauble dangling from its end. He opened the gold cover and exposed a glass cover atop a circle of numbers. Inside the circle of numbers, two stems reached outward toward the numbers. One arm was shorter, and one longer. Both pointed in different directions and earlier, they clicked at a steady pace from one number to the next. However, they were now stopped.
"Ahhh! I see the problem!" The Doctor exclaimed. "We must, somehow, free the entity Time for your world to continue its advance. But how?"
Sir Niffery's mind leaked a squirt of new words. "You dad blasted idjut!!!" After which, Sir Niffery's mind mumbled, then quieted and calmed before his brain spoke up. "Doctor Scientist, sir. I'm in a quandary with nowhere to turn. Please concoct a cure to release the frozen demon Time from my little buddies' fingers or our entire world will be stuck until eternity somehow thaws out again."
Doctor Scientist snorted and scrubbed his sleeve across his nose, then reached into the pocket of his white overcoat and pulled out a glistening clear glass jar with a lid. He slowly positioned the jar's mouth, wide-open under the pinched fingers on Jimmery's hand. He prodded, pulled, then pried and pushed but failed to part Jimmery's fingers no matter how hard he struggled.
Doctor Scientist stepped backward to chew on his finger while scowling at Jimmery's predicament and shaking his head. "With Time frozen, how will I be able to part Jimmery's fingers to free Time? Since time would have to pass for it to be freed, it can't be freed before time has passed."
Frozen beads of sweat stretched across Niffery's forehead, and his eyes bulged. Finally, his mind's voice squirted between his lips. "Use your timepiece, Doctor Scientist. It's still in your hand."
Doctor Scientist looked down at the watch, which dangled on the end of its chain. Then a smile of remembrance crawled across his face as he lifted the timepiece until it sat between the fingers of his right hand. Doctor Scientist twisted and turned on its case with the fingers of his left hand.
Then the glass covering the face of the watch fell into his right palm, and he used a finger of his left hand to push the long arm on the timepiece backward but only a second or two. He placed his right thumb atop the watch's minute hand to hold it in place while he retrieved a small jar from his pocket with his left hand.
Doctor Scientist placed the lid of the small jar between his teeth with his left hand and twisted the glass bottom until it pulled away from its cover. He lifted his right hand near his lips, dropped the watch into the jar, pressed it against its top, still in his mouth, and screwed the lid shut.
Time suddenly ticked just a notch, and instantly Jimmery snatched his fingers away from Times wings. The tiny creature zipped through the air and circled Niffery's head. Then shot off into the sunset as Niffery's shoulders fell with a sigh, and he exclaimed, "Doctor Scientist, my friend, you freed us all from the frozen clutches of Time. You are our hero. So, let's eat!"
⁓And, so they did⁓