Toms Yarrel

From The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Excerpt by Jemmiah
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"HIC!"

"Padawan Yarrel." Mace assumed his most menacing expression, eyes glaring thunderously down upon the padawan whose own eyes seemed to cross involuntarily from time to time, "Inform me of how old you are."

Toms giggled.

"I'm seven, Master Windy." He chirruped happily.

"Seven."

"Yesssir!" Toms threw him a salute.

"Can you tell me what you've got in that glass there?" Mace asked archly, indicating the receptacle around which Toms grubby little hands were clutching.

"Air, sir."

"Air?" echoed Mace.

"Yes, Master Windy." Toms laughed. "Air 'air!"

"And why is there air in that glass?" Mace continued relentlessly in his cross-examination.

"Coz all the wine is gone, Master Windy!" Toms sighed, hiccuping again just a little bit. "All gone."

Mace nodded, eyes narrowing as Toms swayed backwards and forwards on his feet like a reed in a gale.

"And where has it gone?" he asked, with a questioning wave of his hands.

Toms snickered for a moment, then pointed down his throat. "I swallowed it, Master Wundi!"

"The name is Master Windu." Mace began to bristle.

"That's what I - hic - said. Master Wendy!"

"Padawan Yarrel, why did you swallow the wine?" Mace persisted, folding his arms.

"Because the alternative was - hic - unpleasant." Toms managed to say, swaying some more. "How else was I s'posed to drink it, Master Wendle?"

"I wasn't questioning the method, I was questioning the reason." Mace replied to the tiresome boy. "Padawan, why did you drink the wine?"

"It was the will of the force, Master Wanda." Toms batted his eyelids. "It told me to drink it."

Mace lowered himself down to Toms level and crouched on his haunches.

"I think someone is telling lies." He chastised the boy.

"Yeah? Shame on you! You shouldn't be fibbing, Master Woodu. It's bad!"

"Eh?" Mace's jaw hung open for a moment in surprise. "Not me! You!"

"Tut tut." Toms screwed up his face in an effort to remember what the Corellian master had said. "You're a council member. Fibbing is of the darkside."

"The truth, padawan." Mace growled ominously.

"The truth?" Toms squinted up at the dark, scowling eyes. "You want me to say something truthful?"

"Yes, please." Mace said as patiently as he could.

Sith, this child was just like Dex!

"Okay." Toms stopped himself swaying by holding onto the table cover. "You are the horribleist master in the temple. Was that truthful enough for you?"

This time Toms belched rather loudly.

"You are drunk, padawan!" Mace hissed.

"Am not!"

"Oh yes you are!"

"Oh, no I'm not!"

"Listen, I've spent enough time picking my friends out of the gutters over the years so I think I know a drunk padawan when I see one."

Toms stuck his tongue out.

"Oh, go polish your head." He sniffed.

Mace reeled visibly from the shock.

"What did you say?" he asked, still not believing it.

"I said, go polish your shiny, pointed - hic - head!" Toms grinned, clapping at his own cleverness.

Mace grabbed the boy by the ear.

"Ow! That hurts!" Toms yelped.

"It's just standard correction." Mace said in a level tone. "Tell me, what is the legal age for drinking on Coruscant?"

"I'm Corellian!" Toms pouted.

"What is it, padawan?" Mace repeated.

"I don't know!" Toms began to sulk; wishing his master was around to sort Master Egg head out.
"The correct answer is sixteen. Now, remind me how old you are again?"

Toms tried to squirm away but the pressure on his ear was unrelenting.

"S-seven." He muttered.

"Right. Now, do you see a problem here? Because
I do." Mace let go of the boy's lobe.

"I'm going to tell my master on you." He sniffed, feeling wounded in the extreme. "I am
not drunk, Master Poodu. And we aren't on Coruscant anymore so I can drink as much as I like. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!" he danced happily round in a little circle, spinning like a coin.

Then he passed out.