Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Weapons Factory

April 25, 2013

If you’re just joining us, here’s the story so far.

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story. We are in the middle:

 

The Weapons Factory

(Containing specific and impractical details of the rules of war in the Land of No Respect.)

 

After our encounters with the three doctors and the man who thought laughter was a hug, Benjamin Miller continued to tell his tale, we decided that the Land of No Respect was not the place for us.

We had come seeking other people who did not belong here, just like us, who could perhaps give us a clue about how we had arrived here and how we could return home. Instead, we found creatures of more legends and stories. They were born here, and were probably part of stories told by people in our original world, the world with tall buildings and lights on the ceiling of every room. The creatures of the Land of No Respect were probably part of funny stories, stories being told by parents to their children.

Nothing here, the three of us decided, would help us return home. And so we headed back to shore, and only slipped three times on the whipped cream.

But the island’s people and the island’s regulations stood in our way.

When we had arrived at our small boat, we saw the three doctors – Doctor Cuckoo, Doctor Wacky, and Doctor Zany – standing over our small boat, as it sunk into the water. They had put a hole in the bottom of the boat.

“What are you doing?” Cried Ochi.

“You, sir,” said Doctor Zany, “need some Vitamin L.”

“You, sir,” said Doctor Cuckoo, “need your head screwed on straighter.”

“You, sir,” said Doctor Wacky, “need a funny tooth.”

We stood there as our boat sank, not knowing how we would get home.

Ochi was furious with the three doctors. He chased them across the sands for two hours. The doctors evaded him easily, and he slipped on the whipped cream time and time again. Within an hour, he had broken two more bones.

The doctors seemed to tire, and went back home, promising to return the next day.

Then, just as the sun began to sink, Ochi spotted a factory at the bottom of the mountain. Despite our protestations that he must rest, Ochi climbed the mountain and saw that the factory was a weapons factory. It had guns, cannons, dynamite, and thousands of other weapons, each more creative than the previous one.

The next morning, before the sun rose, Ochi went to the street in which the three doctors lived. He climbed the roof of the opposite building, and waited there, with a gun.

An hour later, Doctor Wacky was the first to step out of the house.

Ochi put the doctor within his sights, and pressed the trigger. Doctor Wacky had just then bent down to tie his shoe. The bullet whizzed by his ear, bounced off the wall behind him, bounced off the ground, bounced off two more walls around the building, then kept bouncing off walls, slowly climbing up, until it hit Ochi right in his behind.

At that time, you see, we did not know the complete set of the rules and regulations of the Land of No Respect. There was a rule and regulation precisely for such incidents, and it was this: Any weapon will find a way to act against the person using it.

If you fire a gun, it will ultimately fire upon you. If you blow up dynamite, it will blow up on you. Somehow the laws of nature change in the Land of No Respect, and dynamite will find a way not to explode unless you go to look why your weapon did not fire, and guns will find a way to bounce the bullets back on you, and electricity will only electrify you.

Ochi learned this the hard way. For the following week, he woke up early every day and tried to kill the three doctors with another weapon, always with the same result. The cannon’s ball dropped on his foot. The dynamite made his ears explode. The rocket turned around in mid-air and chased him around the island. The carpet he put over the hole in the ground held when the doctors walked on it. Only when Ochi walked on it, to check what was wrong, did it collapse and Ochi fell into the hole.

With every day that passed, Ochi was more injured and sicker and more broken. Within a week, he was half the man he used to be, his skin charred, his bones broken, his hair had fallen out, and his right foot was twice its original size because of the cannon ball that had fallen on it.

Ochi is not like you, King John the Cute. He isn’t a story, and his body does not bounce back easily. You can take quite a lot of punishment, but not us. Ochi needed rest, but he would not take it. He insisting on chasing the doctors with more weapons that he claimed could not fail.

Within three more days, his body collapsed, and he died. He was unclaimed by Death. Apparently, your Death does not deal with real people. We buried him at the bottom of the mountain.

That is the story of how the three of us outcasts became two outcasts, who were stuck on an island that did not make sense.

“Fascinating,” said King John the Cute. “And I weep for your friend. Please, go on.”

 

(To be continued on Sunday…)

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‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Man Who Thought Laughter Was a Hug

April 23, 2013

If you’re just joining us, here’s the story so far.

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story. We are in the middle:

The Man Who Thought Laughter Was a Hug

(Containing the preposterous tale of a man struck by lightning.)

 

Once we had left the three doctors, continued Benjamin Miller his troubled tale, we explored the town in search of its secrets. Quite soon, we saw a group of men and women standing near an open door, and laughing.

“What’s so funny?” Sylvia asked one of the laughing men.

“It’s my grandfather,” said the man. “He’s dying.”

“That sounds very sad,” Sylvia said. “Why is everyone laughing?”

“You had better ask him,” said the man and pointed inside the house.

Sylvia, Ochi, and I walked into the house. An old man was lying on a bed, and everyone around him was laughing. Even the old man was laughing.

We approached the old man. Sylvia said, “We are strangers in town. We hear that you are dying.”

“Indeed I am.”

“But all your family and friends here, they are laughing.”

“It’s a good thing they are.”

“Why? Could you explain it to us?”

“For that, you will have to hear the story of my life,” said the old man. “Do you have time?”

“We do.”

“Good. So do I,” said the old man. Everyone around him laughed. And then he began to tell his tale.

My name is Happy Gladwell, began the old man. I was born in the big city of Green Is In, not a long walk from Capital City. When I was three years old, a big storm had come to the big city. I happened to be outside when the storm hit, and I couldn’t make it home in time.

As I tried to find shelter from the rain, lightning struck my head right here.

I passed out, and when I woke, the storm was gone.

The town’s doctors examined me and said that I was all right. But I was not all right. One thing had changed in me, and they did not see it. Something in my head has been reversed, and ever since the age of three my brain began to believe that a laugh was a hug.

That way, whenever someone laughed at something I said or did, I felt they were hugging me. Whenever someone hugged me instead of laughing at my joke, I did not care for it.

That is how I spent my childhood. I learned to be funny, and all my friends laughed and laughed at everything I said. I learned to make funny faces, and my little sister laughed and laughed.

Every time my mother would put me to sleep and kiss me goodnight, I made sure to tell her a joke. That way she laughed, and I felt she had hugged me.

Later on, when I grew older, I met a woman, my True Love. As soon as I saw her, I knew that I wanted her to love me for the rest of my life. And so, for every day since, I had made her laugh at one thing or another.

Together we moved to the Land of No Respect, where the funny people belong. Here, we had children. I made faces to my children each and every day, and that way I felt they hugged me and loved me.

This was decades ago. Now, everyone is older. My children are parents and grandparents, and I am old and dying. But old as I am, I want everyone’s love. So here we sit, and each person, at his or her turn, remembers a funny story about something I did or said during my lifetime, and everyone laughs. That way, I can die knowing everyone loves me.

This has been the sad story of my funny life, said Happy Gladwell.

And having said those last words, Happy Gladwell died.

Half the people laughed while half the people cried. Then the half that cried laughed, and the half that laughed, cried. And so they changed, back and forth, crying and laughing, laughing and crying. When they cried, it was funny, because they had just laughed. And when they laughed, it was sad, because they were actually sad.

Ochi, Sylvia, and I gave their condolences to the family, and said that Happy Gladwell seemed to have made many people happy. Then, deep in thought, the three of us left the place.

And now you’ve heard, King John the Cute, the story of how something can be funny and sad at the same time.

 

(To be continued on Thursday…)

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‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Three Doctors

April 21, 2013

If you’re just joining us, here’s the story so far.

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story. We are in the middle:

 

The Three Doctors

(Containing the cuckoo tale of the three doctors.)

 

The three of us, Benjamin Miller told King John the Cute, entered the only town on the island of the Land of No Respect. The town, just like the shore, was paved knee-deep with whipped cream.

The first door on the right said, ‘DOCTOR W.’, the second door on the right said ‘DOCTOR Z.’, and the third door on the right said ‘DOCTOR C.’.

Seeking a doctor to help Ochi’s broken hand, but not knowing which doctor was best, we decided to knock on the first door on the right.

An old man with white hair and a stethoscope opened the door.

“Ah, strangers! We don’t get many of those! Hello! My name is Doctor Wacky!”

I explained Ochi’s condition, and Doctor Wacky asked us to come in. “We must examine your friend,” he said happily.

Doctor Wacky put Ochi on the patient’s bed, and began to examine him. The examination was as follows:

Doctor Wacky slapped Ochi’s cheek and said, “Does that hurt?”

“Ow! Yes!”

Doctor Wacky put two fingers up Ochi’s nostrils and said, “How many fingers do you feel?”

“Two. Why are you doing that?”

Doctor Wacky took two steps away from his patient. “Oh, this is very bad. Very bad. The patient has absolutely no sense of humor.”

“No, he has a broken hand,” said Sylvia.

“A broken hand heals,” said Doctor Wacky. “A sense of humor needs to grow from childhood. His condition is much more serious than that. What he needs is an operation. Hold on.”

Doctor Wacky took out his tools and within five minutes performed an operation on Ochi.

When Doctor Wacky stepped away from his patient, we saw that Ochi now had a big, round red button nose.

“What did you to do him?” Sylvia and I yelled together.

“Look!” Doctor Wacky squeezed Ochi’s new red nose, and a loud honk came out.

“Ah!” Ochi shouted in horror.

I quickly grabbed Ochi, and the three of us ran back out to the street.

“There were no doctors like this in my country,” said Ochi, rubbing his big, red nose.

“That was just one doctor. Come, let us knock on the second door. There is no way that there could be two crazy doctors on one street,” I said.

The three of us knocked on the second door, marked ‘DOCTOR Z.’. Immediately, another white-haired doctor opened the door. “Ho! I heard there were strangers in town! My name is Doctor Zany!”

I explained Ochi’s situation, that he had a broken arm and a strange new red nose. “Come in, come in! I will examine you.”

Doctor Zany put Ochi on his patient’s table, then put his hand in Ochi’s armpit and moved his fingers. “Does this tickle?” he said.

“No.”

“Hmmm… Hmmm…” Doctor Zany put his mouth near Ochi’s left ear and said, “Zzzzz….. zzzzzzz…. Zzzzzzzz… Zzzzzzzz… Does that annoy you?”

“Yes! What kind of examination is this?”

Doctor Zany stepped away. “Oh, this is very very serious. You suffer from a severe deficiency in Vitamin L.”

“Vitamin L?” Sylvia asked.

“That’s the vitamin that supplies laughter to the body.”

“But—But—” I began, “his hand is broken.”

“And laughter is the best medicine,” Doctor Zany said. “Everyone knows that. Hold on, I will take care of him.”

Doctor Zany took out his tool kit, and within four minutes had performed an operation on Ochi. In the end, Doctor Zany stepped away and allowed Ochi and us to look at his handiwork.

Together we saw that Doctor Zany had put Ochi’s left hand on the right side of his body and his right hand on the left side of his body!

“What did you do?” the three of us shouted, flabbergasted.

“Let me ask you this,” Doctor Zany said. “How many pies hit you in the face today?”

“None,” said Ochi.

“None,” said Sylvia.

“None,” I said.

“Well, then,” said Doctor Zany and threw pies in all our faces. “That’s one today. Consider that a free service.”

I grabbed Ochi, and the three of us ran back out to the street.

“This place,” Ochi said, shivering from anger, “is… crazy! It’s crazy! Who are these legends? What are they doing here?”

“It is hard to listen to what you’re saying with your big, red button nose,” said Sylvia, half laughing, despite her frustration. “But this is the most unheardest place I ever heard of! There must be some sort of explanation. Still, now we have to fix your hands as well. Let us try the third doctor. There couldn’t possibly be three crazy doctors in one street, could there?”

The three of us agreed that there couldn’t be three crazy doctors in one small street, and so we knocked on the third door.

The third doctor was called Doctor Cuckoo. He asked us to come in.

“Please don’t examine him,” I told the doctor. “It is clear to anyone what is wrong with him. He has a big, red button nose that honks when you press on it, his right hand is on his left side, his left hand is on his right side, and his right hand – now on the left side – is broken.”

“Yes, yes…” Doctor Cuckoo. “It is quite clear what is wrong with him. A quick operation, and I will fix him.”

“Good,” said Sylvia said.

“Wait!” I shouted. “Please explain everything before you do something. One: You said it is clear what is wrong with him. What do you think is wrong with him?”

“His head isn’t screwed on straight,” said Doctor Cuckoo.

“Uh huh,” I said skeptically. “And what kind of operation were you thinking of doing?”

“I’m going to replace his neck with a big spring, and that way his head can bounce around. Shall I get to it?”

“No!” the three of us shouted together.

“What is wrong with this place?” Ochi said. “Why are the doctors crazy? What is your story?”

“The story is simple,” said Doctor Cuckoo. “This place is funny.”

“I do not understand,” Ochi said.

“This place is funny,” said Doctor Cuckoo.

“I do not understand,” Ochi said.

“This place is funny.”

“I do not understand.”

“This place is funny.”

“I do not understand.”

“This place… Are you listening?”

“Yes.”

“…Is funny.”

Ochi and Sylvia and I thought about it for fifty nine seconds, then looked at each other. Ochi said, “Explain it to me another way.”

“All the people and creatures that are funny,” explained Doctor Cuckoo, “come to live in the Land of No Respect. Anyone who lives here is funny. Anyone who is funny, comes to live here.”

“That is the strangest thing I never heard of,” Sylvia said, and I nodded.

“While you think about it, let me ask you this,” said Doctor Cuckoo. “How many times have you been hit in the face with pie today?”

“One,” Ochi said.

“One,” Sylvia said.

“One,” I said.

“Well, then,” said Doctor Zany and threw pies in all our faces. “That’s two today. Consider that a free service.”

With a face full of pie, I grabbed Ochi, and the three of us ran out to the street.

“This land is zany, wacky, and cuckoo!” said Ochi in anger, wiping whipped cream from his face and throwing it on the ground.

“Calm yourself,” I said, wiping whipped cream from my own face as well. “I believe we should give up on finding a doctor on the island. When we get back to the main land, we will find a doctor that will put you back the way you were.”

“I say we go back now,” said Ochi. “There is nothing here for us. This is just where the weird legends go.”

“Could be. But since we’re here, let us explore a little more. Sylvia, what do you say?”

“Just a little more.”

With Ochi outnumbered, we decided to continue and explore the land.

Ochi took a step, slipped on the whipped cream, and fell on his bottom. “This is going to be a lo-o-o-o-o-o-ng trip,” he said.

Now you know the cuckoo story in which we began to discover the secrets of the Land of No Respect. This was also the last happy story that happened to us on the island.

King John the Cute nodded, eager to hear more.

This has been the wacky story in which King John the Cute learned that doctors don’t always help.

 

(To be continued on Tuesday…)

Like my writing? Try ‘The Emoticon Generation’.

Guest Post at SF Signal: The Zombie Apocalypse Vocabulary

April 20, 2013

SF Signal was kind enough to publish a guest post I wrote about the zombie apocalypse vocabulary. It’s a comedy piece. Enjoy.

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry

April 18, 2013

If you’re just joining us, here’s the story so far.

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story. We are in the middle:

 

 

The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry

(Containing the preposterous tale of the boy who couldn’t cry.)

 

The three of us, said Benjamin Miller, were headed into the town on the island of the Land of No Respect, when we came upon a very sad little boy.

The boy was no older than eight. He appeared healthy and well fed, but his face was sad, and he was busy throwing rocks at the whipped-creamed sands.

I stopped, and said, “Young boy, why are you so sad?”

The young boy looked up at me, and with a sour face, said, “It’s a long story. You don’t want to hear it.”

“I have a little time,” I said. “What happened? What’s your story?”

“It’s like this,” said the boy. “My name is Emil, and I’m a rule breaker! If there is a rule, I break it. My parents always tell me what to do and I always try to do the opposite. I always get into trouble, and that is why they always catch me. And when they catch me, they always tell me to go to the shed and think about what I did.

“Well, I did. I thought about it, and I decided that it was time I broke the rules and regulations of the Land of No Respect!”

“The rules and regulations?” I said. Fred the Farting Ferret, who had allowed us entry to the island, had also spoken of rules and regulations.

“Yes,” Emil continued. “There are only a few rules and regulations to the Land of No Respect, and my Dad had taught me all of them since the day I was born. Rule one: You have to fall down at least five times a day.”

The three of us looked at each other. We had the same puzzled look you have now, King John the Cute.

The boy continued, “Rule two: You have to get pie in your face at least three times a day.”

Once more, the three of us exchanged look.

“It makes sense,” Ochi said. “Perhaps it explains the whipped cream all over.”

“Do you mind?” interrupted the boy. “I’m telling a story!”

We apologized and Emil continued. “Rule three: You have to go to the bathroom twice a day, just because it’s funny.”

I kept a serious face and did not dare to look at Sylvia or at Ochi.

“Rule four: You can only cry if it’s funny.”

“I’m sorry,” Sylvia interrupted. “What was that rule again?”

“Are you deaf?” shouted the boy. “Rule four is ‘You can only cry if it’s funny’. There are a few more rules, but this one is the stupidest rule ever! So last week I decided to break that rule. I pulled my sister’s hair, just so she could insult me. She did, and I was insulted, and I wanted to cry. But I couldn’t, because it wasn’t funny!”

“Ah,” Sylvia nodded, although she did not understand at all. The two of us nodded, as well. But we did not understand it, either.

“Every morning since then, when I woke up,” the boy continued, “I did something that was supposed to make me cry. I went out and kicked a big rock. It hurt me, and I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t, because it wasn’t funny!”

“Ah,” the three of us said together.

“The next day I pulled out my own hairs, and it really hurt. But I still couldn’t cry, because it wasn’t funny!”

“Ah,” we said together again.

“I got my sister to hit me. And she did. But I still couldn’t cry, because it wasn’t funny!”

“Ahhhh…”

“I’ve been doing sad and hurtful things all week, just to make me sad and hurt, so that I could cry. But every time, I couldn’t cry because it wasn’t funny.”

“Benjamin,” Ochi whispered in my right ear. “This land is stranger and more outlandish than I had thought.”

I shushed Ochi, and the boy continued. “I want to cry. I need to cry. I’m sad, don’t you understand? I’m sad!”

“I see your prob—”

“I want to cry and I ca-ha-ha-ha-han’t!” On that last word, the boy began to cry. He could hardly say the last word for crying.

I laughed.

The boy looked at me harshly, “What are you doing?”

“Nothing,” I answered, clamping my mouth shut.

“Why can’t I cry-eye-eye-eye-eye!” The boy cried.

I put a hand over his face to hide his mouth. The boy was unaware that he was crying.

“When do I get to cry-eye-eye-eye-eye! No one lets me cry-eye-eye-eye-eye!”

“Excuse me, little boy,” Ochi said.

“Help me! I need to cry-eye-eye-eye-eye! Why can’t I cry-eye-eye-eye-eye! It’s so sa-a-a-a-a-a-d!”

“Little boy,” Ochi said with insistence. “Have you noticed that you’re crying now?”

The boy looked aside and saw Sylvia and I were giggling. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she said. “I don’t mean to laugh when you’re crying.”

The boy stopped crying immediately. “Well, if you laugh at it, that takes all the fun out of crying!” The boy, no longer appearing sad, began to walk off back into town, “You ruined it for me! Thanks a lot!”

The three of us looked after the boy, as he ran down the path they had come. Suddenly, he slipped on the creamy sand, and fell on his behind.

I was worried for a second. Then I heard the boy shout happily, “That’s two today!”

I laughed again, then Sylvia laughed again, then we looked at Ochi.

“This is a strange and outlandish land, I tell you,” said Ochi. “And my arm hurts.”

Sylvia shrugged. “Strange and outlandish is what we came looking for. Surely, this boy’s story is different from the stories of all other creatures we have met in the Land of All Legends. Come, the town is near. We’ll get you a doctor.”

And so the three of us headed into town.

King John the Cute, this has been the story of our first encounter with the true strangeness of the Land of All Legends. Are you sure you want to hear more?

“Certainly,” said King John the Cute. “Please.”

“All right, then,” said Benjamin Miller. “Continue listening.”

 

(To be continued on Sunday…)

Like my writing? Try ‘The Emoticon Generation’.

 

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Creamy Sands

April 16, 2013

If you’re just joining us, here’s the story so far.

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story. We are in the middle:

 

The Creamy Sands

(Containing the disrespectful tale of a disrespectful entrance into the Land of No Respect.)

 

After a long search, Benjamin Miller continued to tell his tale, the three of us, Sylvia, Ochi and myself, found the Land of No Respect. We were allowed in, since the three of us farted often.

Our ship landed on a strange and creamy-white shore.

“After you,” I told Ochi.

Ochi thanked me, and stepped upon the shore. And just as you did, my king, he took one step, slipped, flipped in the air, and fell on his elbow, breaking his arm.

“Ochi!” I yelled and was about to leap at him.

“Don’t!” Ochi stopped me with a gesture. “The ground is strangely slippery. You will fall!” Ochi felt the ground, and saw that its creamy whiteness stuck to his finger. “This isn’t sand,” he said.

Then, with the creamy sand seeming strangely familiar, he tasted it. “Oh,” he said. “It’s whipped cream!”

“What?” Sylvia was surprised. “Who puts whipped cream on sand?”

“It would make sense,” Ochi said, “that the color we saw when we approached means that the entire island is covered knee-dip with whipped cream. This is a strange and outlandish place.”

“I do not like it,” I said.

“Oh, phooey,” said Sylvia. ‘Oh, phooey,’ was something she said often. “I think it’s a good sign. We came searching for a strange place with strange legends, and we discovered a very strange place. I say we explore the land.”

“I say we find a doctor,” said Ochi. “I am in great pain.”

“I say we do both,” I said. “Let’s begin with exploring the town. Surely, they have doctors.”

And so we headed into town, where three doctors awaited us.

This has been the story of how we did not learn our lesson when stepping onto the sands of the Land of No Respect. In town, things became worse.

 

(To be continued on Thursday…)

Like this book? Try ‘The Emoticon Generation’

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Three Outsiders

April 14, 2013

If you’re just joining us, here’s the story so far.

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story. We are in the middle

 

The Three Outsiders

(Containing the unknown tale of three unknown people from an unknown world.)

 

A caring wolf mother found me, continued Benjamin Miller, and raised me with her wolf cubs. I grew up quickly, and left my new wolf family, thankful, appreciative, and loving. And yet, all through my childhood, I longed to return to my human family and to the world I had come from.

I decided to travel the Land of All Legends back and forth, crissing and crossing, zigging and zagging, until I found something that would help me return to the land of my birth and to my parents.

For thirty years I traveled the land. And at the end of thirty years, I found nothing, absolutely no clue as to how this place could exist, how I could have arrived from another place, and how I could possibly return.

Then, when I was full of despair and self pity, I lay down on the street and waited for Death. A woman found me. She was older than me, and took care of me, and we spoke. She learned my story, and then she told me hers.

She had also come from that other place, from the world where I had been born, that world with the tall buildings and lights on the ceilings of every room. She had come here when she was twelve. One moment she was at school, the next she had been transported to this place, to a place filled with real people and creatures that she had only read about.

She had never found out how she arrived at this place, just as I never did. But it was not at night, and it was not during a dream. It was in the middle of the day, when she was surrounded by her friends. 

Her name was Sylvia Fo, and she had come from a land called Milano. She had come here at the age of twelve, and so she knew more of the world she could not return to. She knew more and remembered more and missed more and needed it more. And she has searched for a way home for more years than I have been in the land.

We decided to continue searching for a way out and for more people like us, people lost to their original world.

For thirty years we combed the land, swept it, raked it, and scrutinized it. And yet, we found nothing. During our searches, we were both cursed by an evil witch, so that we could never die of old age. We could die of other things, but not of old age. We would simply get older and older and older. And therefore you see before you a seven-hundred-year-old man.

In any case, we found nothing but a curse, and once more the two of us fell into despair. We were two people without a story, surrounded by people and animals and creatures each of which had many stories told about them.

Upon our despair, we met a man, a hero, just returned from a quest. His name was Otto the Outstanding, and he had been on a quest to discover a creature called the Original Monster.

(King John the Cute’s ears perked up even more, remembering his own incident with Magno the Magnificent, who, six hundred years after Otto the Outstanding, was also on a quest to find the Original Monster. King John the Cute remembered that Magno the Magnificent had claimed that no one had ever found the Original monster.)

Otto the Outstanding, continued Benjamin Miller, claimed that he had found the Original Monster. But then, for a reason he would not explain, he had let the monster go. However, Otto the Outstanding told us, before he was freed, the Original Monster spoke of another world, a world of tall buildings and a light on the ceiling of every room. The Original Monster had traveled to that world and back many many times.

This is what Otto the Outstanding had told us before he had disappeared. Now our quest was changed. We decided to find the Original Monster. Otto the Outstanding believed the monster should live freely, but nonetheless told us where he had last been seen. We went in that direction, and I had never seen Otto the Outstanding since.

And so we spent the next forty years chasing rumor after rumor, desperately seeking the Original Monster. I do not believe we were ever even close. And yet it had given us hope that it was possible to return home. Still, more than a hundred years have passed since I had arrived at the Land of All Legends, and my parents surely were no longer alive. My world, you see, has no witches and no curses. People do not live to be seven hundred years old there.

Then, after a forty-year search, we were once more filled with despair. Once more, we lay down, crying, holding each other for comfort. And then another man found us. His name was Ochi Moeketsi.

We told him how we do not have a story, that we do not come from here. And then he told us, that he, also, had arrived from another land, a land called Johannesburg. He told us his story about his story-less life. He had been eighteen when he was snatched. He had been lying on the ground outside his house, staring at the clouds in the sky, losing himself in thought, when he had suddenly found himself staring at a very different sky in a very different land, filled with the stories his parents had told him throughout his childhood. Ever since that time, he had searched for an explanation, and a way back to his world.

In those first hundred years, King John the Cute, I have found two people who have been transported from my world. Something was happening, but not often. It was a mystery, but I had never solved it.

In any case, Ochi Moeketsi felt just the way we did: that he did not belong in a land of fairy tales and legends. He had searched for a way back for forty years, and only recently had found a clue. There was an island, he had heard, in the middle of Slapstick Ocean. It was an island filled with stories that did not belong in the Land of No Respect. It was an island filled with people and creatures who were vastly different from all other creatures who lived in the Land of All Legends. It was an island filled with creatures and people and animals who were, like us, different, and did not belong.

That, Ochi Moeketsi said, was where he was heading next.

Together, the three of us began a quest to reach the Land of No Respect, to discover its creatures that did not belong, and to perhaps find another clue that will tell us how to return home.

And that has been the long and harrowing story of how a group of three outsiders came to search for an island of outsiders.

“Hmmm,” King John the Cute said. He had been lost in the story, and felt that something important was being told to him. “Please continue.  I must hear the rest.”

 

(To be continued on Tuesday…)

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‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Mystery of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

April 11, 2013

I’m serializing my fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Here’s the story so far.

And now the fairy tales begin to change:

The Mystery of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

(Containing the strange tale of a fairy tale come to life.)

 

“My name is Benjamin Miller,” began Benjamin Miller, “and I was not born in the Land of All Legends. I was born… somewhere else. I do not remember where. I was too young at the time. There were tall buildings and every room had a bright light on every ceiling and I had a Mickey Mouse pillow.”

“What is a Mickey Mouse pillow?” asked John the Cute.

“I do not know, but here it is.” Benjamin Miller turned and showed a small pillow, fit for a child’s head, near the carved space where he usually sits. “This pillow had been white when I was young, but I have lived for so long, and have seen so much, that by now it is almost black. It used to have a picture on it. Of something cute with had big ears and I loved it. I love it still. But I do not know what the picture represented. I remember very little from those days, you see. But my parents were there… My mother… My father… While here, in the Land of All Legends, they do not exist.

“I was a young child, a mere baby, and my mother would come in every night and read me a story. I remember the book plainly. It had a picture of a beautiful woman with black hair and small dwarves around her. She was holding a poison apple.

“My mother read the story to me, and I remember the name of the story: It was called Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”

“I know Snow White,” said King John the Cute. “She came to my coronation ceremony!”

“Stop! This is my story. You must listen carefully.”

King John the Cute nodded, and Benjamin Miller continued. “Snow White was not real. She was in a book. She was in my mother’s book. And my mother would read to me every day and tell me Snow White’s story, about the king and the stepmother and the seven dwarves.

“Then, one day, I had a dream. Do you know what a dream is? People in my world dreamed all the time, while no one here ever does.”

“I dream,” said King John the Cute.

“You do?” Benjamin Miller was highly surprised. “Were you born here, in the Land of All Legends?”

“Yes. There is no doubt.”

Benjamin Miller considered this, then shook his head. “Well, then, in the Land of All Legends, most creatures do not dream. You are certainly the first I have ever met who does. But in my world, everyone did. One day, I dreamed about Snow White. But, you see, the dream was real, and it was not a dream. Because I began this dream seven hundred years ago, and I have not woken up since. Whatever this Land of All Legends is, it is not a dream.

“I found myself that night in a forest, you see, near Snow White, and I could see, plain as day, how she took a bite out of the apple. Once I learned that it was not a dream, once I learned that everything here was real, once I learned that I could not return home, I realized that what I had seen was not possible. I was only three or four years old, but even then I knew that Snow White could not exist: she was a story. Everything around me was a story. Told by someone else, written in a book by someone else.”

King John the Cute crinkled his forehead. Benjamin Miller continued, “You, King John the Cute, are a story told by someone else, somewhere outside the Land of All Legends. Everyone you know is a story told by someone somewhere. Everyone… Except me. I never belonged. I should not be here. You should not be here. No one should be here. And yet, here I am, unable to escape, a lost boy who does not belong.

“My whole life has been a quest to return home, to my father and mother. And yet I have found myself here in this cave, struck for hundreds of years without hope. Sit back, King John the Cute, for I have only just begun my story.”

This has been Benjamin Miller’s bizarre tale of the little lost boy who came from another world.

 

(To be continued on Sunday…)

The Emoticon Generation by Guy Hasson

The Emoticon Generation

 

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Man in the Mountain

April 9, 2013

I’m serializing my fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Here’s the story so far.

And now the fairy tales begin to change:

The Man in the Mountain

(Containing the powerful tale of the king’s journey into an unknown land.)

 

Here begins the tale of the Land of No Respect and its secrets, as discovered by King John the Cute upon his voyage there.

King John the Cute was on a quest to save the Land of All Legends, a quest that could only be solved if he discovered the hidden secrets of the land. Upon learning that the Land of No Respect was an island about which little was known, upon learning that it held some deep magical powers that could stop kings, he climbed aboard his friend, the cloud Chariot, and was whisked away to the island.

There, in the air, he and Chariot were greeted by Fanny the Farting Pheasant, who made both king and cloud pass the same test King Charming the First had passed ages ago.

Slowly, Chariot descended upon the island. Even from above, it was clear that the island was rather small, and consisted of a town to one side and a large mountain to another. Even from afar, caves could be seen in the mountains.  The sands upon the shore, the town, and even the lower part of the mountain were all colored in a strange, creamy whitish color.

Chariot descended towards the seashore, and came to rest above the sea, only part of him resting atop the creamy sands. There Chariot said he would wait for the king, but that if Chariot was ever needed for a quick rescue, the king would only have to yell, and the Wind will carry his voice to Chariot.

King John the Cute took one step on the shore of the Land of No Respect, slipped, flipped in the air, and fell on his bottom, almost breaking a couple of bones. The creamy sands were not sands at all, but some kind of froth that rested atop the sands.

On a whim, King John the Cute tasted the froth, and learned that it was whipped cream. Although the mystery of why an entire island would be covered by whipped cream plagued him, he came to his feet, and quite carefully began to walk.

A feeling deep inside him told the king that he should head for the mountain, with its caves, and not for the town. Listening to his feeling, the king gingerly walked up the mountain. There, he met a naughty boy, a field of flowers, a weapons factory, and four other strange creatures. Whenever each of these heard who he was and what he wanted, they begged him not to go inside the mountain.

King John the Cute headed into the mountain.

There, hidden deep within the caves, yet somehow in the light of day, King John the Cute saw an old man sitting on a chair carved out of the mountain’s rocks.

“At last!” said the old man. “At last someone from the outside world!”

“Hello, old man,” said King John the Cute. “My name is King John the Cute. I come to—”

“I know who you are and why you are here,” the old man said. “From this vantage point, I can see and hear everything interesting that goes on on this island.” He raised a weakened, trembling finger and pointed.

King John the Cute followed the old man’s trembling finger, and saw that one of the caves looked straight down into the town itself and at the surrounding land, as well. Strange glasses of magnifying effect have been placed in the mountain, allowing the old man to see and hear everything in the town. Each glass magnified another piece of land. And one, King John the Cute saw plainly, covered the path he had followed up the mountain. This is how the old man had known who he was, and this was the reason light filled the caves.

“My name is Benjamin Miller,” said Benjamin Miller. “Welcome to the Land of No Respect. You are clearly a powerful and influential legend on a quest of discovery. Do you know…” he hesitated. “Do you know what this place is?”

“I do not,” said King John the Cute. “I have learned very little coming here. All I know is that this place has strange rules and regulations that are magically enforced.”

“That is true,” said Benjamin Miller. “But that is not what I meant. Do you know what this place is, what everything is?”

King John the Cute did not understand the question.

Benjamin Miller whispered to him, “We are in a story.”

“I do not understand. Do you mean you have a story? I would like to hear it.”

“Oh, I have many stories to tell. But that is not what I meant. King John the Cute, the Land of All Legends is not what you think it is, nor are any of the creatures in it what you think they are. You are all inside a story. You are all inside someone else’s story.”

“Do you mean that I am part of your story? It seems that I am part of your story and you are part of my story.”

“No, no, no!” Benjamin Miller shook with frustration. “You are inside someone else’s story. Someone who isn’t here, in the Land of All Legends.”

“I do not understand.”

“No, why would you?” the old man seemed defeated. “I have been alive for hundreds of years, and no one has ever understood me. Go, go your own way. You cannot rescue me. No one can get me out of the story.”

“Wait, wait. Please. I am here to learn the secrets of the Land of All Legends. I must learn what no one else understands. I want to understand the things you have said.”

The old man sighed. “Very well. I shall try one last time. I will tell you the story of the happiest place in the Land of All Legends: the Land of No Respect. And I will tell you the story of the saddest man in the Land of All Legends: Benjamin Miller. Because it is the same story. Are you listening? Good. Then I shall begin.”

This has been the powerful story of how John the Cute met the saddest man in the happy Land of All Legends, and how that man began to tell his tale.

 

(To be continued on Thursday…)
The Emoticon Generation by Guy Hasson

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‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The King and the Farting Ferret

April 7, 2013

I’m serializing my fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Here’s the story so far.

And now the fairy tales begin to change:

PART 5

THE LAND OF NO RESPECT

The King and the Farting Ferret

(Containing the ridiculous tale of King Charming the First and Fred the Farting Ferret.)

 

Once, in the days following King John the Cute’s visit to the Happily Ever After Home for the Married, King John the Cute came to Minister Vazir and said to him, “In my travels over the Land of all Legends with Chariot, we came over an island. Chariot told me that it is a strange island that no one can enter and even less people leave, and no one knows anything about it. What can you tell me about that island?”

“Indeed,” Minister Vazir nodded. “The facts of the matter are that it is a secret island that few can enter and only one has ever left. Legend says that on that island live only creatures and people that do not get respect in other lands. Creatures that are funny find their way to the Land of No Respect. There they stay until they die. I have heard only one tale of this island.”

“Tell me that tale.”

Once upon a time, began Minister Vazir, during the first days of the reign of King Charming the First, the king set off to the high seas in his royal yacht. King Charming the First was a magnificent king, noble and high-minded. He was the wisest man in the land, the richest, the most charming, and the most important. He sailed the ship with dozens of servants who helped him with his every need.

One day, he saw on the horizon an island. When he asked the yacht’s captain what island was this, the captain did not know.

“Set sail for that island,” ordered King Charming the First.

The yacht set sail for the island. As the island came into clearer view, it was met with a tiny boat. On the tiny boat was a tiny ferret.

The ferret bid the boat to stop, and stop it did.

“My name is Fred the Farting Ferret,” said Fred the Farting Ferret. “Who are you?”

“I am King Charming the First,” said King Charming the First. “I am the king of the Land of All Legends.”

“Very nice to meet you,” said Fred the Farting Ferret, and then he farted. “What do you seek?”

“We seek to go to that island,” King Charming the First pointed at the island.

“That is the Land of No Respect,” said the ferret and farted. “According to our rules and regulations, only those who fart may step upon its shores.”

King Charming the First could not believe his ears. “I am sure I misheard you.”

“That,” the ferret said and farted again, “is the Land of No Respect. Our laws state clearly: You must fart to get in. If you do not fart, you stay out.”

“My young ferret,” King Charming the First was beside himself. “I am the king of this land. I am the king of you. I am the king of this island. I will set foot on it if I wish.”

“Then fart. Our law books say that everybody farts.” said the ferret and farted again.

“My dear, misguided ferret,” King Charming the First’s cheeks were growing redder. “I do not fart. I am respected by all. I am charming. I do not condone unseemly deeds. Everybody may fart, but I do not, regardless of what your law books say. Now move aside and allow us to pass.”

“Fart first,” the ferret said and farted at the same time. “I’m sure you can do it.”

“My foolish, foolish ferret. I do not fart. I have never farted. I do not belch. I have never belched. I do not sneeze. I do not cough. I do not go to the bathroom. I have never done an unseemly deed. I am respect personified. I am as a king should be.”

“Fart for me or stay out,” said the ferret. He waited two seconds, and then he farted.

Now the king’s anger was growing. “My felonious ferret, I have entire armies at my disposal. They will attack you, they will destroy you, they will annihilate you. Unless you do as I say and move aside.”

The ferret considered this, then said, “Only soldiers who fart may get in. Now fart for me, king.”

“I will have you jailed!” the king was beside himself with rage.

“Fart, fart, fart for me, king!” the ferret smiled and farted.

“I will have you hanged!”

“Give me a big, big fart, king!” And to give King Charming an example, he turned around, and let out a big, big fart. “Like this!”

The king was so enraged, that he lost control for the first time in his life. And so, for the first time in his life, he lost control over his bodily functions, including the muscle that had kept all the gas inside his stomach for his entire life.

And suddenly, a fart escaped his behind. All the gas he had kept in his body all his life, all the farts he had not let escape during his lifetime, now escaped him in the biggest and longest fart the world had ever seen. This fart lasted one hour and fifteen minutes.

And when the king looked around, all red and embarrassed, he saw that all his servants and all the ship’s crew were laughing. But they weren’t laughing at him. They suddenly seemed closer, more friendly.

Fred the Farting Ferret also laughed and let the King set foot in the Land of No Respect, a land the philosophy of which is that everybody farts. One by one, all the servants farted for Fred the Farting Ferret, and he let them pass.

A month later, King Charming the First’s yacht returned to its home, but only the king was aboard it. All the rest, he had told whoever asked, had chosen to stay on the island. King Charming the First would also have liked to stay, but he knew he had to leave. The act of leaving had hurt so much, that he promised never to return.

In the years to come, when the king told the tale of the Land of No Respect, he told people that the Land of No Respect is the strangest land in the Land of All Legends. It has its own strange rules and regulations, which are sometimes stronger than the rules of the Land of All Legends. And yet everywhere you go there, you always find a reason to laugh. His crew was laughing so hard that they did not want to leave.

The king even told his friends that when he had left he had told the ferret that from now on the island would be called ‘The Land of Funny Stories’. The ferret had said that it sounded too important and respectful and that they preferred to be called ‘The Land of No Respect’. King Charming the First agreed. Then he said goodbye to the ferret and farted.

“This has been the ridiculous tale,” Minister Vazir said, “of the land of funny stories and of the time King Charming the First learned that even kings fart.”

King John the Cute was in deep thought for a long time after hearing the story. “A strange land with strange rules?” he mumbled to himself. “A secret island… Secrets and mysteries that perhaps have answers we do not know of…?”

Suddenly he straightened. “We must go there! Prepare Chariot! I leave immediately!”

This has been the ridiculous tale of how King John the Cute decided to visit the Land of No Respect.

(To be continued on Tuesday…)

The Emoticon Generation by Guy Hasson

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