The Pie Man's Delivery Hob

Title

The Pie Man's Delivery Hob

Setting

A sewer entrance for the Hollow

Cast

  • Bob
  • Strange Hob

Scene

This is one of the entrances into the Hollow from a main sewer pipe. It is used frequently, but it is a way to reach the Hollow that is difficult and hard to monitor or protect. Something deep in the shadows is moving towards the doors to the Hollow, where there is a lone hanging bulb barely illuminating the area. Out of the shadows emerges a strange looking creature, and if you've ever had any experiences venturing in the Hedge or shopping at the Goblin Market, you might recognize the person as a hob, a strange looking hob.

Calling the hob strange is an understatement: a squat broad torso has thick stubby legs and arms, but long feet, hands, and a neck that seems to be taller than this chest. On the top is what looks like a cabbage patch kid head. It's big eyes swivel to look over at you with a sound of startlement.

In his arms is a huge pie, at least 20 inches wide. It is covered with a picnic blanket - you know, the red and white squares that you see in '50's illustrations of idyllic lunches out on a field by a pond. Here, its a sewer tunnel with a body of water stinking from water of body. Though the hob wasn't necessarily sneaking around in the dimly lit tunnel, it turns as if to run off at the sight of you.

Bob stops in his tracks as he spies the hob and ponders briefly before clearing his throat and calling out, "Pardon me my good Mister Todd. Do you have a moment? I would desire a parley with you."

The hob swivels its head nearly about as it looks back at Bob after Bob speaks. The hob squeaks, then ponders the words. It turns back, and waddles towards Bob. The pie has a rich heady aroma wafting out from under the picnic blanket. The big eyes are blue and they stare up at Bob from the height of 3 feet or so.

Bob kneels down in an attempt to look at it on a more to more eye to eye level. "Good day Mister Todd. I am called Bob. Do you mind if I call you Mister Todd? And why are you bring us these pies?"

The hob blinks his eyes several times as Bob draws level. He tilts his head at Bob's words, then smiles. The fleshy lips part, part much further than expected or that is natural, to expose large, very large shark teeth. "Name Puck Bucket, not Todd. They ain't my pies. I only deliver. You like 'em?" He speaks what sounds like a strange pidgin Brooklyn, as if only learning to talk from over hearing snippets of conversation on the street.

Bob shakes his head, "No Mister Bucket. I do not care for them but then I'm not a big meat eater. So who are you delivering the pies for Mister Bucket?"

Puck Bucket laughs. He waddles over the rest of the way to the doors, to set the pie down, then back towards Bob. "Questions, questions, questions. I gave you two answers for free. But the cost rises at three!"

Bob nods, "I'll pay you double what I've already paid you if you tell me who you're bring the pies for and the pieman is not the answer I'm seeking."

The cabbage patch eyes blink. "Double of nothing is still nothing, Bob-man. You think me a fool?" The hob flashes the shark teeth in a smile at Bob.

Bob shakes his head, "No Mister Bucket I do not think you a fool but I felt obligated to check and confirm. So what is your price Mister Bucket?"

The hob nods his head vigorously. "Well, Bob-man, it depends on what you have to offer. This Pie-man, as you named him such, well, as a client, he does appreciate his privacy. I would hate to disclose such information casually. It might cost me dearly, in the capacity of my professional reputation as a delivery hob, a business which I have built up at dear cost in learning the ways between the Hedge and the World. Do you have anything of value to offer?" The length of words spills out in one long strand of noise through the fleshy lips of his teeny mouth and shark teeth.

Bob glances around and lowers his voice, "Well I don't have anything right this instance to offer you. But I do have some things in the works. There is a place that I am aware of. . a place where people in trouble go to when they're in trouble. A place where people who have been beaten down seek refuge. If I was able to aquire the place. Then perhaps there might be something of interst for you there as well."

The hob shakes his head. "I care not for a new place acquired in the future, Bob-man. And I already can enter this place you changelings call him." A motion towards the doors of the Hollow. The hob looks over Bob carefully. "A riddle then, for a lower price? Maybe a memory of past glory? A secret about friend, something they would never want known? What about the eating of the pie? The Pie man might just not care about me riddling you at the pleasure of you eating some bites from his delicious pies."

Bob stares at the pie for a long moment as he considers his options, "Well friends. I don't have any. Past glory I don't remember anyway. But a riddle contest. Even if I was able to get you to lower the price I doubt there is anything I have that you would want. However, I will agree to a riddle challenge. If I can't answer the riddle I'll eat some of the pie. But if I do answer the riddle then you have to eat the pie. Is that agreeable?"

The hob shakes his head. "Not a riddle challenge, but a riddle about who the Pie Man is, at the cost of eating some of the pie." The shark teeth smile up at Bob beneath the bright blue child-like eyes.

Bob stands back up and shakes his head, "I see, your worried that your riddles aren't obsure enough to ensure that you wouldn't have to eat any of the pie. And if you're not willing to eat the pie yourself that obviously indicates that I shouldn't eat the pie either. You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line."

The hob has that smile frozen on his face. "I hate the Princess Bride. For all that fantasy, not a single hob. It's like a blaxplotation flick without a black." He waddles over to the pie, lifting the picnic blanket and digs his hand in, breaking the thick crust. He pulls out some dripping chunks of driplets and what might be meat. "I shouldn't really, the Pie-Man made this for you, not me, but it is hard to resist. I love it so. And in the face of such rudeness as you have offered, I think it is my only compensation for a wasted conversation." He gulps down the handful, smearing a reddish-brown goo around his mouth. He waddles past Bob with an indignant good day.

Bob sighs and walks over to the pie, "Alright. . I'll eat some pie."

The hob stops, turning to stare at Bob with something akin to anticipation in his big blue eyes. His hands flex and clasp each other. "Oh, yes, have some pie, Bob-man."

Bob makes a face as he reaches into the goo and pulls out a handful of pie. With his free hand he holds his nose as he takes a bite of the mess in his hand.

The Hob nods vigorously. "Oh, the Pie-Man will be soooooo happy," he mutters to himself. "Ah, so, delicious, yes?"

Bob makes a face as he forces the bite down but nods, "Wonderful, best pie like that I've ever had. So. . the riddle?"

Puck Bucketr nods. "Then a riddle it is, to find who you call the Pie-Man. Do you wish to write this down, for I will utter it only once."

The hob nods. "Then a riddle it is, to find who you call the Pie-Man. Do you wish to write this down, for I will utter it only once."

Bob wipes his hand off on a handkerchief before pulling out his notebook and pen, "Ok mister Bucket go ahead."

The hob nods, and closes his eyes for a moment. His squeaky voice recites a short riddle. When finished, Puck Bucket opens his eyes to stare up at Bob, and then turns to leave with a smile. "You figure that out, and it might lead you to the Pie-Man. Which would tell you who he is, for you would stand face to face with him!" he says as he starts waddling off into the dark of the sewer tunnel.

The sound of the departing hob is quickly swallowed by the darkness. Bob attempts to see or hear where the hob has gone off to, but the sewer pipe is really too dark, and echoes sounds strangely.

Bob frowns as Bucket disappears. Shaking his head he kneels over the pie and sticks his fingers down his throat, "I hate this part …"

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