Chapter the Second
Ralph: The Keeper of the Tree
Well thank my jolly Georgia blue-eyed toad—you’re back. I was afraid we’d never meet again. Did that last sentence in Chapter One keep you around? Maybe I’ll use it again, then.
Okay, so what should I explain next? You’ll have to forgive me for writing in such a scattered fashion. Even though librarians now hate me, I’m still a librarian at heart, and as such my mind is a little strange—a hazard of the job I’m afraid. You see, librarians by their very nature are…well not right in the head is the best way to put it—insane is another word commonly used.
That’s why they demand silence in their libraries—betcha didn’t know that. Too much noise makes them start to jump up and down and scream incoherent words and ramblings—believe me, I’ve seen it happen and it’s not a pretty sight, so don’t make too much noise around them. Okay? Okay.
Please forgive me for that previous paragraph, but like I said, librarians are not right in the head, which also happens to be why I can’t remember why I wrote the previous paragraph. I ramble sometimes. Forgive me. What was I going to tell you next? Oh, yes…ninjas.
The thing is librarians are usually pretty smart people. When they came across the Library Tree, they knew that the most important factor in its success would be keeping it a secret from the outside, non-librarian, world. They knew they needed someone to guard the tree. So they hired one-legged, two footed, Siberian ninjas who all share a common first name: Ralph. They have no last name—they’re funny that way.
Now these ninjas are the most intelligent, deadly, and stealthy ninjas that are known to mankind, which I’ve always thought to be strange since most of mankind doesn’t know about ninjas at all.
It so happens that the librarian who first discovered the Library Tree lived for some time with a colony of Ralphs before he became a librarian. His name was Salinger. He was a mysterious fellow. When he was barely a man—only 19—he went on a journey around the world to find out his purpose in life. That’s how he found the ninjas, or rather how they found him. He was living in Siberia.
Late one night he heard a loud noise, which made him have one of those insane librarian fits that I was telling you about earlier. He screamed like a mad little girl—or at least that’s how the legend goes, although he would later deny the girlish nature of the scream. When he came to his senses, he had no idea where he was and only vaguely had recollection of who he was—and that’s when the one-legged, two footed ninjas found him. He lived with them on their colony of ninjas for many months and they helped him discover his true calling: being a librarian.
So it really should be no surprise that when librarians banded together and asked the ever important question, “Who will guard this sacred book producing tree?” Salinger said, without any hesitation, “Ralph.” And when the librarians said, “Who?” He explained, “one of the one-legged, two footed ninjas I used to live with while I was soul searching in Siberia.” And the other librarians said, “Oh.” Seeing as how none of them had a better idea, they agreed. So that’s who guards the Trees to this very day.
The ninja that was the keeper of the Tree at my library…wait, have I even told you about my library? Let me check…no, I haven’t. Sorry about that. It’s not really important, but I’m going to tell you anyway, because even if it means nothing to you, it still gives this story a certain reality. Okay? Okay. It’s called the Harbor Branch Library. It’s in Orange County, California—more specifically, Anaheim. Does that ring a bell? It should…that’s where Disneyland is. That’s about the only thing you need to know about it—that it’s near Disneyland.
Okay, now as I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, the library ninja. He was a quiet ninja. When he did speak, it was usually a weird bit of factual trivia like, “Say, did you know the length from your wrist to your elbow is the same length of your foot?” And when I’d say no, he’d always say, “Really? I can’t believe you didn’t know that!” Then he’d get defensive, stand in front of the tree with his nunchakus drawn, and say, “You’re not really a librarian are you?” I’d stare at him like he was nuts and he’d say, “Well you’re not getting past me.” Then he’d give this loud, insane laugh—like a witch. He was goofy that way.
Ralphs were quite different, despite all of them sharing a similar first name. All Ralphs loved to throw out weird trivia, but each one specialized in different kinds of trivia—some knew all sorts of entertainment facts, others specialized in science trivia, and still others knew all there was to know about math. Our particular Ralph was quite commercial. He threw out facts that always seemed to go with mainstream trends. He also took his love for commercialism a notch further.
What I mean by this is that he was into whatever the latest fashion trends were. He insisted on librarians buying him whatever the latest most expensive shoes were, having hair that identically matched the current hot celebrities, and wearing shirts that were eccentric, yet trendy. He was also fashionable—he never once wore socks that didn’t match his belt.
Ralph was a fine ninja, and I surely would’ve never been able to win a fight against him. But he was still a man, and thus had a weakness. Now you may be thinking, “Of course he had a weakness—he had only one leg and two feet!” If you’re thinking this, then you’re wrong. You should see the kicks Ralph can deliver with that one leg and two feet—powerful enough to knock a tree down. No—his weakness wasn’t his leg—it was Skittles. He was addicted to the stuff. All one-legged, two footed ninjas are (but not two-legged ninjas—they’re quite a different story). All you have to do to get past him to get the tree is throw enough Skittles on the ground to keep Ralph busy for a few minutes (bear in mind, however, that Ralph will track you down after he’s eaten his Skittles, and then of course you’ll be really sorry…I kid you not).
It was quite a funny sight to watch him. Every Skittle he ate, he’d say, “Skittles—I can taste he rainbow!” Did I mention that he spoke with a Spanish accent? Well he did and this made it all the funnier.
I probably shouldn’t have told you about the Skittles thing. I mean not to tempt you or anything, but you could totally get a Library Tree of your very own now. All you need is a bag of Skittles. I’d erase it, but then I’d have to hit the delete key on my keyboard and I’m kind of lazy that way. And hey, it gives librarians one more reason to dislike me.
So for what it’s worth, there you have it—Ralph—which brings us to the end of Chapter Two. But stick around, okay? I can’t believe I haven’t told you about Jake. Half of this account—okay, most of it—is all because of him. And did I mention that Chapter Three has game cheats for every video game ever made? No? Well that’s probably because it does not include game cheats for every video game ever made…or does it? Look, would you read the chapter already? If you will, then I promise to end this chapter right now. Okay? Okay.