Copyright 1976, 2002 by
Bruce Jaeger. All rights reserved. (Printed in the DNF, August 1976)
Well you see, there once was this beautiful princess or
something who lived somewhere long ago and far away in a kingdom called Rallyland, if you
can believe that. Now this girlie's-name was Beulah, and everybody called her
"Beautiful Beulah" on account of how she was pretty good looking, Now
Beulah--I call her that for short because I gotta keep looking up "beautiful" to
spell it right--Beulah, she lived by herself with her father the King in a little house.
Now, you might as well know that it wasn't too big deal to be a
king or something in old Rallyland. I mean, they had all sorts of little bitty kingdoms
slathered all over the place, like hundreds or then, and you really didn't amount to much
more than a hill of beans if ell you was just a King or a Princess. "Course, it sure
heat shucks out of being a crummy peasant or something.
Anyway, the way I heard it, things had been getting pretty tight
for Beulah and the old man. The bill collectors was always around asking for money like
always, the people were in revolt again, and Beulah's Twinmaster was shot. So
Beulahs old man decided that the only way to get their names hark in the Social
Register was to enter Beulah in the League of Kingdom's National Rally and hope
like hell that Beulah would win. it. And maybe she could find a handsome prince, and he
could marry off the wench at the same time. Things was that bad.
So Beulahs old man scraped up what money he could and
ponied up the entry fee for the National Rally. He called on neighboring King Krumpet, who
still owed him for a little revolution that Beulah's old man had helped out on a few years
back, and got King Krumpet to put up his son as rally driver. Things was shaping up pretty
good, except that Beulah and Krumpet Jr. really couldn't rally worth dried owl dung.
Beulah's old man seen that too, and put them through a crash course in rallying with the
last of his money. I coulda told him he was wasting it.
Beulah sure was scared. She'd sit in her room in their two-story
walkup castle, running magic phantom car problems through her Zeron1 computer
and crying a lot. Neither the tears nor the magic problems did the computer any good, so
it whapped out a couple of days before the rally, leaving Beulah with half a slide rule, a
book of rally tables2 with all the good parts torn out, and a Curta3
that she'd lost the crank off when she used to pretend it was an ice cream maker. So
Beulah just sat around and blubbered, which was probably one reason why she wasn't married
yet, and her twenty-six and all.
Anyway, the night before the rally, Beulah was hanging around her
room, doing the waterworks routine as usual, when there was a "POOF!" and a puff
of smoke, and there, get this, was a little old man staring at her. He stood about four
feet tall and was dressed in long red flannels, with a green rope belt and a button flap
out back. On his feet were a ratty old pair of tennis shoes, and he wore a coffee can for
a hat, which he would periodically take off and spit tobacco into. The little man had
small, black eyes, set close together under heavy black eyebrows. The rest of his leathery
old face was covered by a heavy black beard and by the tobacco juice that dripped out of
the coffee can whenever he put it back on his head.
who are you?" sobbed Beulah.
"That ain't no nevermind, young lady!" creaked the old
gaffer, who musta been a troll or something, I don't know. "I been hearing you
sobbing and crying and carrying on for weeks now, and I can't take it anymore! Land sakes,
lady, what's all the fuss about?"
Beulah gasped out a couple of extra sobs, blew her nose on the
bedsheet, and replied. "My daddy's entered me and Krumprt Jr. in the Big League of
Kingdoms National Rally. We gotta win to keep Daddy out of the poorhouse, but Krumpy gets
lost on the way to the drugstore, and I can't tell time once the big hand passes the
little hand, and, and..." At this point, Beulah broke out a new assortment of
heart-rending wheezes, and the troll hawked a rim shot into his coffee can.
"Go it easy there, little woman," he sympathized.
"I can fix it so that you win this here rally, and so that I can get some
"Oh really? How wonderful!" Beulah resumed crying,
happy tears this time.
"If 'n you'll knock off the chin music for awhile, I'll tell
you how," said the troll as he pulled a glittering object out of his back flap--he
hadn't any pockets. "With this here Magic Amulet, the Golden Carp of Rallyland, you
can win this here rally easy. Just lay it on the ground in front of your car, say the
magic word "Mullets," and follow it into every control. Hack a minute off it,
and you'll get a string of zeroes like nobody's seen since Pearl Harbor."
"Oh, I'm so happy!" wept Beulah. "How can I ever
"I was getting to that. I want your firstborn child."
"You'll have to wait quite awhile for that!"
"Not really. I bet you didn't know you've been taking just
aspirin every day for the last month!" With this, the old man splatched one last time
into his coffee can, plopped it on his head, and disappeared in another cloud of smoke.
Beautiful Beulah and Krumpet Jr., as predicted, easily won the
rally, though there was a protest concerning the Amulet, but the Committee decided
it was just another way of running Equipped, and so the King was able to pay his
bills. Beulah and Krumpet Jr. were married, and, again as predicted, they had a kid a few
months after the rally. They named it "St. Ellum" after the patron saint of
One night, as Beulah was crying the baby to sleep--alone, as
Krumpet Jr. had gotten lost on the way to the drug store again--there was a
"POOF!" and a puff of smoke, and there was that troll again.
"I came for the kid," said the troll.
"Funny-that's how I got it!" said Beulah. The
old troll thought this over for awhile, spit into his can. and sail "Nope, that don't
quite merit turning you into a frog, but it, was close! Now gimme that kid!"
Beulah really started to shed eve water at this, as you probably
guessed. The troll grimaced and covered his ears.
"All right! All right, already! I'll give you a break
"H-h-h-how?" sobbed Beulah.
"If you can guess my name, you can keep the kid, and the
Golden Carp of Rallyland!"
"Oh, that's easy. You're Rinkleforsken!"
The old troll turned the color of the inside of his coffee can,
jumped in the air three times and blew his nose on his sleeve. "Dig nab it, girl, how
did you know that?" he demanded.
"You really ought to get those old flannels patched up in
As Beulah finished speaking, the old troll disappeared in a
larger-than-ever puff of smoke and was never beard from again. Neither was Krumpet Jr. And
Beulah never cried again. The bitch.