in which the guinea pig posse tries
to outwit Iridessa’s contrary magical powers using math
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The guinea pigs were spending a lazy afternoon lounging in one of the Magic House fake potted plants. In fact, most of them were snoozing, except for Midas, who was very deliberately working on his hiding. The others all woke with a start at Dessa’s words.
“Seriously, Iridessa—you woke us up for that?” said Macavy irritably.
“Well it’s been a long time,” replied the guineacorn with good cheer. “My magic horn is going to waste.”
Blanche blinked into alertness, ready to intervene when the inevitable snide reply was made to Dessa’s statement.
Zorklotron didn’t disappoint. “Perhaps the lull allowed it to recharge,” he said with a tinge of sarcasm.
“Magic doesn’t need to recharge, silly,” replied Iridessa, laughing. “I realize they don’t have guineacorns on Planet Celeristix, but everyone knows that.”
Zork rolled his red eyes and sighed.
Blanche spoke up. “I guess it couldn’t hurt to try. After all, Dessa’s magic’s 25.4% success rate isn’t exactly total failure.”
“Thank you!” cried Iridessa.
It was then that Edward wheeled forward and said, “Actually, chaps, I’ve been giving this very matter some thought. It stands to reason if all five of us make the same wish, in rapid succession, that we could beat the odds, as it were.”
Iridessa looked a little bewildered, but Macavy brightened. “Sounds like all kinds of scientific to me,” he said. “What do you think, Zork?”
The alien cavy was already nodding. “It’s worth a try. But we need to figure out what to wish for that we all want.”
“Corn!” cried Midas, popping out of his hiding place.
“Lettuce!” said Blanche, just as Macavy yelled “Peas!”
“I was thinking a nice Brussels sprout would be grand,” said Edward.
“Celery trumps all,” said Zorklotron as if everyone knew this.
“This is a problem,” said Iridessa, perplexed.
“Wait…what about Veggipellets?” asked Blanche. “Every vegetable in the world is in Veggipellets!”
“Me too,” agreed Macavy. “And Midas once said he’d sell his left rear paw on eBay for the cash to buy a Jumbo Biggi Sack of Veggipellets!”
“I did,” said Midas quietly, “but it was kind of hyperbole—”
Zorklotron interrupted. “I tell you, the Celeristixians may have developed space travel, but there’s nothing back home as tasty as your Veggipellets.”
“I love a home-chopped meal,” commented Edward, “but I agree, Veggipellets are brilliant!”
“That’s it then,” said Dessa with glee. “Everyone take turns putting a paw on my horn and wishing for Veggipellets.”
Blanche quickly added, “And wish for enough for all six of us!”
But no Jumbo Biggi Sack—or even Larggi Bag for Multiple Guinea Pigs—of Veggipellets appeared.
“Huh,” said Macavy after they had waited in silent anticipation for a full minute.
“What did we do wrong?” asked Blanche. “The math was totally sound.”
“Maybe math is just not as reliable as magic,” said Dessa.
Edward opened his mouth to address this but then closed it again and looked helplessly at Zorklotron. Zork just shrugged and rolled his red eyes again.
“Was everyone thinking about Veggipellets?” asked Midas, frowning. “Maybe someone said Veggipellets but secretly they were wishing for corn.”
“Were you wishing for corn?” asked Macavy pointedly.
“Um…I’m always kind of wishing for corn. But I was really trying hard to picture Veggipellets, I swear. I really like them.”
Macavy frowned. “Maybe we should try again without Midas. Even four of us makes 100.6%. That should be plenty of odds to get it done.”
Dessa shook her head. “I just don’t know if math is worthy of this much trust,” she said.
But they went ahead anyway--Blanche, Zork, Ed and Macavy. Then everyone waited.
“Oh plorx!” swore Zorklotron. “I’m getting really hungry!”
“It wasn’t me,” cried Macavy. “I’m nuts for Veggipellets! In fact, I considered disguising myself as a Minni Pak of Veggipellets once, but I couldn’t quite get the logo right.”
Blanche sighed. “I don’t get it,” she said.
“Well, odds are funny things,” said Edward. “You know, if you have a one-in-four chance to win on a single turn, you have that chance each time. I mean, the fourth time the odds are still one-in-four, not 100%. So it’s possible we just need to keep trying.”
Iridessa let out her most piercing squeal, the one that made them all cringe even though squeals are normally not a big deal among guinea pigs. “Oh I hate math!” she cried. “I don’t even know what you just said!”
Blanche gave her a comforting face nudge. “It’s okay, Dessa,” she said soothingly. “Some of us are good at math, and others at magic.”
The second the words left her mouth she heard herself and looked around at the others. The boys were all biting their lips to keep themselves silent.
“Well,” Blanche told them, “What’s you guys’s success rate at granting wishes?”
“Touché,” said Edward.
Zorklotron spoke up. “Ed’s probably right. We’ve just been remarkably unlucky, is all. If we keep trying, it’s bound to work eventually.”
“Should I wish this time?” asked Midas. “I swear corn is the furthest thing from my mind.”
“Sure,” said Zork.
So the five of them wished again.
“This is lame,” said Macavy. “We might as well go foraging, I’m starving.’
Blanche sighed. “I guess. Maybe there are some potato schnivels under the stove…I think the humans had hash browns last night.”
So they hopped down from the fake potted plant…all but Midas and Iridessa. The guineacorn’s face hung down, even though you’d think that was impossible considering how low a cavy’s face is in the first place.
“It’s okay, Dessa,” said Midas to his dejected friend. “I still believe in you.”
He approached her, gently put a paw on her horn, and closed his eyes. After a moment he opened them again.
A huge pile of corn!
“Sweet!” the two exclaimed in unison.
Iridessa beamed at Midas. “My friend, you must have the golden touch!” she told him.
“Makes sense,” he replied.
And Iridessa yelled “GUYS COME BACK!” at the top of her tiny lungs, followed by a squeal so piercing, Midas wished his arms were long enough to cover his ears.