And so, the mighty Silverback Titan emerged from the frozen earth, looking for his lost pack (of paperclips). Titan missed his mate Strawberry the most. And the cub, little Pipa. The two juveniles he could leave–and Titan grated silvery metal jaw as he hopped along, enjoying the thought of finally being able to put out the irrascible twins. Joba and Boba were not his own, he sensed, but Strawberry insisted on keeping them along…
Titan had been following his pack’s scent trail for many long months. Through summer and fall, over forest trail, in street gutters, and also through an elementary school cupboard… Titan hadn’t figured that part out yet. Had Strawberry gone to hibernate someplace around people? How desperate of a situation were they in?
It would be necessary to get to them before true winter set in, because DC winters can be mild and had been for some time before the big blizzard last year. Among paperclips it was called Clipageddon Three. The first had been a hundred years ago, when there was a tornado in DC that blew apart any manner of survival chains they had formed to hold onto trees, car antennae, or so very many government buildings.
The second devastating Clipageddon was during the formative years of the Nation’s most popular Office Supply Chain, which is having ALL KINDS OF SALES TODAY–BLACK FRIDAY, ALL YELLOW LEGAL PADS 50% OFF, STAPLES 500 FOR $1, AND PAPERCLIPS, WE’LL SHOWER YOU WITH THE HUSKS OF THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF SPIRIT-BROKEN PAPERCLIPS: MOTHERS, BABY CLIPS, WHATEVER YOU WANT, AS SOON AS YOU WALK IN OUR DOORS!!!
And so, you see how terrible it was.
As Titan recalled the old stories (mostly, they were the shiny gesticulations of his grandsire’s upper fang), the gray clouds parted over a field in Rock Creek Park and the steely silverback saw what he’d been hunting for.
Strawberry and the cub Pipa were nearby, their scents were unmistakeable. But if he did not see them, then they were upwind somewhere, perhaps very upwind, hiding out in the safety of treetops. No sign of her majestic red, oblong curve…
In the winter clearing, two full grown males stood with fangs fully unfolded and bared, each on his own hindleg (clips have but two ends, when you unfold them). Joba and Boba had grown from juveniles to full silverbacks.
|A dramatic DC winter sky. So dramatic!|
Titan did not like their aggression, he approached from the side, going two-dimensional and less intimidating. They did not heed. The foolishness of youth, to approach him like this, with no respect for what he had done for them! Protecting them, raising them as his own, even if they were vastly annoying and constantly hungry, and launching onto the loose shoestrings of passerby with no regard for the safety of the family pack… and even if Titan didn’t enjoy their company… well, he was planning to confront them anyways. But not so dishonorably!
Strawberry had been right to hide. These rogue youths had cruel intent, indeed. Titan only hoped that the cub Pipa was safe, as he began to unwind and refold himself, into something that was all fang.
|Titan is all fang, baby. And, some clear tape.|
There had been three Clipageddons in paperclip history. Titan intended to make sure, for Joba and Boba’s ruthlessness and complete disregard for the safety of the pack, this would feel like Clipageddon Number Four: The Blackest Friday.