Published on 2011/05/01

Brinderbadden's Budderskutch

Brooke Johnson

Brinderbadden liked things, and he was very good at acquiring those things. He lurked in the shadows, under discarded gardening magazines, behind dusty bookshelves, and in the gray bits of fluff that collected on ceiling fans. The only thing he did better than hiding was worm fiddling, but since he lost last year’s championship, he didn’t compare his hiding to worm fiddling anymore. It was best to say that if he could hide any better, he would be invisible.

But Brinderbadden was only so good at hiding so that he could acquire new things, and there was a particular thing that he very much wanted, a thing that had eluded him since he first learned the art of stealth.

As a wee bogie, he lurked in the folds of a curtain, watching the Family—as they were called—sit around a vast exhibition of food and stuff themselves fat. When all sustenance had been gorged, the fattest of the lot brought out a peculiar thing, one of the many things Brinderbadden had not yet seen with his newly formed eyes. A “budderskutch”, he called it. The budderskutch was glorious, perfectly round and brown and papered with gold. Bogies prized things that were round and things that were brown. They prized a third thing too—cilantro—but that was hard to come by as a bogie.

Not a moment after Brinderbadden saw the budderskutch, it was gone forever, lost in the abyss that was the fat one’s mouth, but being a sneaky bogie, he managed to steal the crinkly, gold paper.

Since the first budderskutch incident, Brinderbadden had collected a noteworthy assemblage of things resembling the budderskutch: twenty-six peenutt budder cheeps, eleven kidnee beens, eight brown morbls, and thirteen buddins, not to mention the forty-two gold budderskutch rappirs. Since the beginning of his infatuation with the budderskutch, Brinderbadden had witnessed another forty-one budderskutch fatalities, all lost in the fat one’s mouth. He began to hate the fat one and his dark mouth.

The other bogies urged him to forget the budderskutch, but being brown and round, he could not rid it from his mind. His buddins, cheeps, morbls, and beens did not appease him. He had to have the original, the mysterious budderskutch. So Brinderbadden hatched a plan.

Bogies are born to hide in the forgotten, secret places, stealing tiny insignificant things for their whole lives. If he was to finally get the budderskutch, Brinderbadden would have to reject the bogie ways and refuse to hide.

Suicide, the others said. Futile effort. Impossible.

The bogie elders tried an intervention with Brinderbadden, but the untimely arrival of a package of cilantro drove the matter from their minds, and they collected in the crack beneath the refrigerator. As luring as the cilantro might have been, Brinderbadden refused to be distracted. It was his chance to finally get the budderskutch.

The fat one came into Brinderbadden’s sight while the other bogies concentrated on the cilantro. He flopped into his chair and immediately fell asleep. The bogie giggled with delight. The quest for the budderskutch would be easy with the fat one asleep.

Brinderbadden cartwheeled to the end of the curtain rod and dove into the folds of the brown curtains. He climbed carefully toward the fireplace, hiding expertly in the shadows of the textured fabric. Watchful of the roaring, sleeping fat one, he leapt onto the mantel and dashed behind a dusty picture depicting a time before Brinderbadden had existed, when the fat one was not so fat and had no tiny fatlings in his image. Down the column supporting the mantel slid the young bogie, until at last, he came to the lush, shag carpet that hid bogies so well.

A tiny fatling rampaged across the room. Brinderbadden feared it would wake the fat one, but when he kept on sleeping, the bogie thought the fat one must have become immune to such stomping and squealing. When the way was clear of trampling feet, Brinderbadden pushed his way through the jungle of carpet, passing old stains and wild mites, until he came to the underbelly of the great, mechanical chair.

Bogies, by nature, feared the chair. Many a bogie had died, hiding in its nooks and crannies. It was a place of death and mutilation, but determined to get the budderskutch, Brinderbadden faced the chair without fear. He swung from thread to thread like a trapeze artist, swinging his way to the footrest. The bogie tumbled onto the leather, in full sight of anyone looking his direction. Fortunately, Brinderbadden was as lucky as he was stealthy. The fatlings were preoccupied with the tellivizhun, and the fat one’s wife was busy defending the cilantro from the other bogies with a particularly sharp knife.

The fat one’s roaring grew louder as Brinderbadden stepped silently up his leg. Should the fat man wake, Brinderbadden was sure to be seen. He would join the ranks of the many bogies who had before died by the hand of the murderous Family.

He only had to go so far as the pocket. The mysterious budderskutch lay waiting there.

Brinderbadden crept up the pant leg, eyes only for the shadowy pocket. No bogie had ever dared to attempt a heist in such close proximity to the fat one. No bogie had dared imagine a heist as risky as this. Not only would he have the budderskutch, he would be a bogie legend. For generations to come, wee bogies would listen to the tale of his treacherous journey and dream of becoming such a legendary bogie someday.

The roaring now was nearly unbearable. It rattled Brinderbadden’s head. That evil mouth that ate the budderskutches, his true nemesis. Another time maybe, he would rid the world of that mouth, but for now, he had another quest, the most important quest. With daring resolve, Brinderbadden dove into the fat one’s pocket.

He landed among an assortment of things. There were jangly, shiny, sharp things, and round, brown, shiny things with faces, and more round, silver, shiny things with faces, and beyond that, there were gold budderskutch rappirs. The fiend. He had destroyed even more budderskutches when away.

But there. There in the bottom of the pocket, beyond the shiny, pokey things and round, faced things, and even beyond the gold paper, there was the budderskutch.

Glorious.

Brown. Round. And papered with gold.

Brinderbadden embraced the fabled budderskutch. At long last, he had found it. It took all his willpower—which bogies have very little—not to remove the gold rappir then and there. With an ecstatic high, he took the budderskutch from the fat one’s pocket, carried it the length of the fat one’s leg, climbed down the chair into the carpet, and ran to the dusty shadows behind the curtain. At last. He had the budderskutch.

He carefully removed the crinkly gold paper, untwisting the ends and peeling the rappir from the sticky budderskutch. The enchanting aroma of the budderskutch overwhelmed Brinderbadden. The rappirs had smelled that way, but only faintly. The budderskutch had a smell that could only be described as budderskutchery. Never had a bogie inhaled a more glorious scent.

With shaking fingers, Brinderbadden touched the budderskutch. It was his at last. He stuck his face to the budderskutch, reveling in the scent of it, but the fabled brown, round thing had grown hot in the fat one’s pocket. When budderskutches turned hot, they became sticky—so sticky in fact, that Brinderbadden could not remove his face or his hand from it. He pressed his foot against the budderskutch and pushed, trying to free his hand and face. His foot stuck also. The scent made him dizzy. He wanted very much to taste the budderskutch. He knew he shouldn’t, but the scent enveloped him in a strange, wiggly feeling, completely destroying his willpower.

Brinderbadden stretched his tongue toward the budderskutch. Just one lick. He only needed one lick, and then the bogies would find him and remove him from the budderskutch, and they would all have a good laugh about it afterward. Just one, tiny lick.

At last, his tongue touched the budderskutch. The taste electrified him, filling him with an otherworldly bliss. Brinderbadden’s soul detached from his body, leaving it and the budderskutch behind.

When the bogie elders found Brinderbadden’s body, they sighed with disappointment, shook their heads in disbelief, and wept for their fallen friend. The budderskutch had claimed yet another bogie with its sticky sweetness.


Brooke Johnson is the esteemed editor of Hogglepot. She blogs about fantasy writing, books, and gaming at brooke-johnson.blogspot.com. She lives in Northwest Arkansas with her husband Aaron and dog K.K.