The Island Hoppers

The Island Hoppers

A Story by R.Guy Behringer

A quest for a dream and the finding of, instead, a needed friendship.


   If you were so inclined and wanted to find a curious place indeed. Just find a scuttleboat and skid your way thirty miles west across the sea. There you’ll find, off the coast of Mayneline, a flock of mountains in a ring. These are the Cyclopean Islands, where the Dogfish bark and the Mermen sing. Some of the islands have life but are mostly crude. Some of the life live in the company of others. Some live in solitude. So, read on, Reader, if you’d like to know more about a little man, some birds, some crabs and some fruit folklore.

   Baub was born on one of the little islands and had lived there his whole life. Baub was a lonely rock farmer and short for a cyclops but Baub was a dreamer and a man of vision, which was odd since he was a cyclops. Being a rock farmer meant that Baub could sleep-in every morning and his Mondays were open. One such Monday, after breaking up the breakfast dishes, Baub sat on his favorite Wooley bush, sipped his cush cush tea and looked out across the green sea at his neighboring island. It was one of the inaccessible islands and one that his grandmother had told stories about when he was just a wink. She often kept his attention with a lumpy club or stories about flying frogmen, fields of biting daisies or his favorite story, the one about the only tree in all the islands. It was a Ham Fruit tree and it grew on that particular island. His grandmother said the tree was tall and loaded with fruit but no one could ever get to it because the cliffs around the island were too steep. Baub asked his grandmother what the Ham fruit tasted like. She said they tasted blue and then hit him on the head with the lumpy club.

   Today the little cyclops put his teacup down and sat up a bit straighter. Baub then pulled a spyglass out of his sock. An oversized soft brown eye blinked from the large end. Baub aimed it across the water and at the island’s plateau where he swore he saw a tree waving in the breeze. The little cyclops had convinced himself it was the Ham Fruit tree but couldn’t find it now. That night Baub dreamed about the blue tasting fruit and when he awoke the next morning he started making plans.

   Baub paddled his large greenbooh raft over to the island the following Monday. He had put on his best rock climbing shoes and loaded the raft with a hundred lengths of his best shoop weed rope. His approach was from the south side of the island. When Baub reached the tide pool he tied the raft to a hook rock and after slinging the rope over one shoulder he started his ascent. Baub couldn’t have picked a better day. The sun was bright, the clouds were puffy, the sea was fishy and the Gooney birds were hoppy.

   There’s a few things you should know about the Gooney bird. It's a species of bird that cannot fly, although it can glide for short distances. Mostly it just hops to get from there to here or any other place it wants to go. The Gooney bird is also a very social bird with a large vocabulary, if anyone wanted to take the time to learn Squawk. Another interesting trait is the rapid nodding and hopping in place when the Gooney bird is pleased. Oh and Gooney birds taste like chicken.

   At that moment, Baub wasn’t at all interested in the current mood of the feathered wildlife surrounding him. His rock shoes were crumbling and he was about fifty lengths above the sea. Baub’s right foot slid off it’s decaying ledge and danged out over the green frothy waves. He struggled to get another bite into the brittle wall when a Gooney bird landed hard on his head. This did not make Baub happy at all but apparently it made the Gooney bird very please and so it began hopping up and down on his head. Giving up his grip on the cliff face, Baub swiftly reached for the Gooney bird with both hands. He only grabbed air. Moments later, looking up through the tide pool, weighted down by his rock shoes, Baub watched as a throttle of Gooney birds hopped up and down on the rocky outcroppings surrounding him. The little cyclops felt defeated.

A clamp bit Baub’s toe.

   The following Monday Baub paddled his raft towards the island once again. This time he left his rock shoes. Baub had a new plan. His paddle bit into the green sea under a baby blue sky with fair winds blowing through his eyebrow and new Pokeypine helmet. Baub thought he caught sight of the Ham Fruit tree swaying far off on the island. He smiled and paddled faster.

   At around snack time Baub reached the island and tied off his raft. He looked around the cliffs and didn’t see any of those stupid Gooney birds. With a self approving smile on his face, Baub reached into a big kelp basket and pulled out two gray Suckerpuss fish and strapped them to his feet. Suckerpuss fish, in general, are very strong and they really didn’t mind the fresh air for a change. Baub then grabbed two more for his hands and started heading up the great cliff face again. Everything was going so well. He made it about ten lengths higher than last time when he noticed the Gooney birds on a ledge right above him. They just stared down at him and nodded to one another as if in confirmation to the current situation. Baub was annoyed but continued to climb, that is, until the Suckerpuss fish in his hands noticed the Gooney birds above them. Baub realized his mistake to late. He had apparently grabbed two females for his hands and they started to argue. Things just got worse after the Gooney birds started hopping. The girls let go of the wall to slap each other eight times.

Baub entered the tide pool Pokeypine helmet first.

   The following Monday, after seeing the tree again, Baub brought his trained Big Headed Woolly Rock Hopper to the island. Things seemed to be looking up for the little cyclops until the lop ended beast was scared stiff by a Purple Horn-Tailed Butterfly landing on it’s nose.

The Gooney birds, nodding and hopping up and down on the rocks around the two, cast shadows across Baub’s face as he laid half on and half off his raft. His Big Headed Woolly Rock Hopper floated tail up beside him.

   By the following Monday, Baub decided to give the island one last chance. He came up with his best idea yet. He was going to build Blow Crab balloon. The little cyclops spent his breakfast time loading all the canvas, ropes and baskets of  Blow Crabs. Baub wiped his eyebrow and pushed off early.

  Just before he got within squirrel chucking distance a great wind caught his piled canvas and was going ruin his plans. Baub grabbed the sheet before it was too late but now the wind was taking him around to the north side of the little island. Baub was heartbroken as he saw his last chance to taste the Ham Fruit slip past him.

   Meanwhile, the Gooney birds were also disappointed. They had been looking for the funny little one eyed man all morning. The little birds had hoped he’d come back. They had been so lonely ever since the four eyed people had left when the fruit trees died.

   Some time had gone by and the little cyclops was tired after fighting the now calm wind. Baub awoke in the piled canvas when his raft hit something solid. He stared at what he hit for a moment not quite comprehending the sight. He rubbed his eye and refocused on what seemed to be stairs carved into the cliff face.

   The little cyclops was sore and out of breath as he took the last ten steps at a run. When he had crested the last one he was at first excited and then confused. Baub saw his tree or what looked like a tree from far far away but he thought it must be dead or out of season since he couldn’t see branches much less any fruit. The little cyclops walked toward the tree for a long time. He watched as it swayed in the wind and thought how odd trees must be, since he’d never actually seen one. When Baub had gotten close enough to see it clearly he was sure his tired brain was playing tricks on him. That’s not right, he told himself as he shook his head. Feeling dejected, the little cyclops turned around and headed back to the stairs.

   The Gooney birds were also feeling sad. They had waited all day for their new friend but there had been no sign of the little one eyed man. Standing on each others shoulders, they made an odd picture. The silly birds were stacked sixty lengths high so that they could see farther away. This crazy tower of petrels swayed with the wind and fought to stay up just a bit longer in case they missed him. When they could no longer take it the Gooney birds settled back on the ground. Just then, a Gooney bird started hopping up and down, then another, then another and then the whole throttle began bobbing their heads excitedly at the same time.

When Baub reached his raft it was covered with excited Gooney birds.

   The following Monday, after breakfast, Baub sat on his favorite Wooley bush drinking his cush cush tea and picking his teeth with a Gooney bird feather. Spitting a bit of gristle out, Baub smiled at the closest Gooney bird to him and thought about his tasty breakfast. The little cyclops decided he'd have that again for dinner.

   The whole throttle of Gooney birds sat on the rocks surrounding their new friend. They watched him pick his teeth. They watched him sip his tea. They watched him pick his toe and scratch his fat hiney. They watched every move he made. Then, almost simultaneously, they all began to hop up and down.

   Baub, the no longer lonely cyclops rock farmer, put his teacup down and picked up his fishing pole. He was expecting many feathered friends over tonight for a fish dinner.

So, there you go, Reader and new friend of mine. Did you see the Blow crabs, puffy clouds, Suckerpuss fish and a cyclops? Did you have a good time? I think the Gooney birds are tired now, their heads are tucked up under one wing. Look there. Baub’s face-down in his pillow snoring out a muffled tune while dreaming of Ham fruit and ice cream. I think I’ll say goodnight now. I’m exhausted too. I spent my day hard at work dreaming then I wrote them down for me and you. I hope you enjoyed it. Goodnight.

© 2017 R.Guy Behringer

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Added on August 6, 2017
Last Updated on August 7, 2017
Tags: Family, Fairy tale, Islands, Birds, Adventure, Comedy


R.Guy Behringer
R.Guy Behringer

Lincoln, CA

I'm a retired truck driver, married and a father of three grown sons, two pit bulls and one red heeler. I like to play guitar, build and rebuild rifles, hunt wild boar, Fishing, camping, gardening and.. more..