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2002 Note: I have no excuse for this one!  I did correct the spelling of "Beulah" here so that C. J. Anderson can't start up another 25 years of "Boo-Ella" jokes.


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 Beulah’s 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 Beulah’s 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…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 sleep."
     "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 repay you?"
     "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.

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     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 rallying.4
     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 front…"
     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.

The End

  1. Zeron Rally Computer, a really big deal to have in the 70s
  2. A set of printed calculations, like Larry Reid’s Rally Tables, for determining if you were "on time" for the average speed you were given.
  3. A mechanical calculator for calculating if you were "on time" for the average speed you were given.
  4. "St. Ellum" ("Mullets" spelled backwards) was a big joke in Twin Cities Rallying at the time. I never understood it, myself.

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