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Funny Fantasy

I’ll never forget May 2nd, 2019 because that’s when the snake spoke to me. I don’t mean he hissed at me. He actually talked and I could understand him.

I know what you’re thinking - that I’m nuttier than a five pound fruit cake. I’m telling you, you should be thanking me for saving the world, because that’s what ended up happening. 

And it wasn’t just Frank who talked to me.That was the snake’s name, Frank. Weird name for a snake, I know. Other animals in the woods started telling me stuff and that’s what led me to save the Fairy Queen, Bertha. That’s right, Bertha. I know her name should be something like Kaldara or Periwinkle, but it’s Bertha. I don’t know what to tell you.

Let me start from the beginning. I was walking through the woods like I do every morning. I stopped at the big flat rock by the lake, per usual and sat down to relax. So far a completely normal day. Then I heard a voice. 

“Pssst. Hey, Carl.” 

I looked around but I was alone. I looked at my phone, wondering if I had opened some Youtube video by mistake or answered a call. Nothing. I shrugged. I must have imagined it.

I put the phone back in my pocket, closed my eyes and tried to meditate.

“Psssst. Carl! Dude! I’m talking to you!” The voice was back.

My eyes flew open and I jumped off the rock. “Who said that?” I asked, looking  in all directions.

“Down here! Watch out, don’t step on me!” the voice said.

I looked down and saw this snake looking up at me, head lifted up high, beady eyes alert. “Did you say something?” I asked him, feeling completely ridiculous.

“Dude, I’ve been trying to get your attention for weeks.” the snake said.

I stumbled and fell flat on my back in shock. He slithered over to me and peered into my face. “Sorry, man. I didn’t mean to scare you. Are you ok?. He was extremely polite.

“What the hell is happening?” I said, closing my eyes in hopes he would disappear. I slowly opened one eye to peek, but he was still there.

“We need your help.” he said.

I sat up and quickly scanned the ground. “We? There are more talking snakes?”

“Dude, you have got to relax.” he said.

“Relax?” I said. “I’m talking to a cottonmouth snake. I’m a little freaked out here.”

“Actually, I’m a northern water snake. It’s a common mistake,” he corrected me.

“Oh, a northern water snake, excuse me, that’s completely normal then.” 

“There’s no need for sarcasm,” he said, putting his little snake nose up in the air.

“Sorry.” I said. “This doesn’t happen to me every day you know.”

“Let me introduce myself. I’m Frank.” He lifted his tail, pointed it at me and waited. I took it between two fingers and shook it.

“We need your help,” he repeated.

“We?” I asked again.

“All of the world’s creatures” 

“Oh, is that all?” 

“The Fairy Queen has been kidnapped by an evil Gallywog. We need you to save her.” he continued. 

“What’s a Gallywog?” I asked.

“It’s a twelve foot tall creature that’s half goose, half frog and half hamster.” he said.

“That’s three halves.” I said.

“What’s your point?” he said.

“Look,” I said, “You expect me to believe that things like fairies and Wollygags exist?”

“Gallywog.” He corrected me. “Talking snakes are ok, but you can’t get on board with fairies?”

“You’ve got me there,” I said. “But why me?”

“Legend says that the chosen one, a great man among men, will complete the quest and save the Fairy Queen and restore peace to her kingdom and all of nature.” Frank said.

“I’m the chosen one?” I asked, puffing out my chest.

“Well,” he hesitated. “No. But he used to work in your office. Doug from accounting?” 

“That guy?” Are you serious? He’s short, fat and bald and he always made the break room smell like fish when he heated up his lunch.” I said.

“What’s wrong with smelling like fish?” A trout said, poking his head out of the water. 

“Gary, bug off will ya? I’m trying to have a conversation.” Frank said. He rolled his eyes at me. “Anyway, Doug got transferred to New Jersey. So you’ll have to do.” 

“Gee, thanks.” I said. “So what do I need to do to save this Fairy Queen?”

“I'll bring you to see her three daughters. They will send you on your quest.” He slithered away and I jumped to my feet and followed him. I figured, why not? I wasn’t going to be able to meditate at this point, not with Gary the trout staring back at me.

We had barely started when a raccoon popped out from behind a tree. “Hey Frank! What’s going on?”

“I’ve got to get this guy to the fairy princesses so he can go on the quest and save the queen.” Frank told him.

The raccoon looked at me disdainfully. “What happened to Doug?”

“Look Rocky,” I said, “I’m doing you all a favor here.” 

He put his paws on his furry hips.  “Who the hell is Rocky?”

“Well, what’s your name then?” I asked. 

“Tony.” he said. 

“Tony the raccoon. Ok then. Hey, aren’t you supposed to be nocturnal?” I said.

“Don’t believe everything you read, bub.” Tony turned to Frank. “The fate of the world is in this guy’s hands?”

“Well, Doug is in Hoboken. It’s Carl or nothing.” Frank said.

“I have a cousin who lives in Palisades Park down there. He’ll get to see Doug all the time.” Tony shook his head. “Lucky bastard.”

“Can we move this along?” I said. “I have a date tonight.”

“Tony, Tell the others to prepare. Come on Carl, let’s go.” Frank said.

We took off and made our way deep into the woods. We entered a clearing and Frank announced, “We're here.” 

I heard a buzzing and dozens of fairies appeared from nowhere and formed a circle around me.  Three fairies with teeny crowns came forward and hovered in front of my face.

“Carl, these are the Queen’s daughters.” Frank said. “May I present, April, May and...” 

“Let me guess,” I interrupted. “June.” 

The fairies all erupted into fits of laughter. The third fairy flipped her hair and said to me, “Why on earth would a fairy be named June? That’s ridiculous. My name is Barbara.”

“April, May and... Barbara?” I asked. 

“This is who you found to replace Doug?” Barbara said, turning to Frank.

“Hey, I’m just as good as that little twerp. “ I said. Suddenly a tiny fairy flew at my face and poked me in the eye.

“How dare you insult Doug the Daring!” she said as I rubbed my eye and glowered at her.

“Doug the Daring, eh? So what am I, Carl the Courageous?” I asked. 

“No, more like Carl the Crappy Replacement.” May said, and the fairies howled with laughter again.

“No way.” I said. “If I’m going to go on this so-called quest, I need a cool name too.”

“How about Carl the Cowardly? Or Carl the Crazy? ” April suggested to more giggles. 

“I’d have to be crazy to stay here and help you people. I’m out of here.” I turned to go.

“Wait!” Frank slithered in front of me. “How about Carl the Capable?” 

“I’ll take it.” I said. “Now what is this quest anyway.” 

“You must pass three tests to reach the inner sanctum of the Gallywog.” April said.

“Once you have passed all three tests, you must fight the Gallywog and save the queen.” said May.

“After you have done this, you must bring Queen Bertha back here to safety.” Barbara finished.

“Did you say Queen Bertha?” I asked, rubbing a finger in my ear.

“Your quest will not be an easy one. The fate of the world rests on your shoulders.” April said.

“The fate of the world? Isn’t that a bit of an exaggeration?” I said.

“If Queen Bertha is not returned to the throne, she cannot rule over the fairies. Only she can use the royal wand. We will not be able to do our jobs of maintaining nature, the world’s ecosystem will collapse and it will be the end of all life as we know it.” May said. 

“That does sound pretty bad.” I agreed. 

“We will send one of our own to accompany you on your quest.” Barbara said and clapped her tiny hands.

A fairy came out of the circle and bowed in front of me. “Sparkleflight at your service.”

“Sparkleflight! That’s a great fairy name!” I said.

The fairies all laughed and Sparkleflight’s shoulders slumped. “It’s terrible. My parents were hippies.” 

“Silence!” Barbara yelled in her teeny voice and the giggles ceased. “Now Carl, go on your quest.” 

“Only if you call me by my right name.” I said, folding my arms over my chest. 

She rolled her tiny eyes. “Fine, Carl the Capable. Now go!”

“Good luck!” called Frank as Sparkleflight and I headed out of the clearing.

“So, where are we going?” I asked as we sped along.

“Not sure.” she said. “We’ll get some help though. Don’t worry.” No sooner had she said this when a squirrel jumped out in front of us. 

“Sparkleflight!” the squirrel said and looked at me. “You’re not Doug.”

“No, I’m not.” I sighed. 

“Which way should we go, Pedro?” Sparkleflight asked.

“Follow me!” the squirrel replied and we were off again, running at top speed until we reached another clearing.

“This is as far as I can go,”  Pedro the squirrel said and looked at me again. “Good luck, uh, what’s your name?”

“Carl the Capable.” I said. Pedro stared at me for a second and then shrugged and ran off.

“Now what?” I asked Sparkleflight. She was flying around in circles, looking for something. 

“We need to find Hercules.” she said.

“Hercules?” I said. “What is that, a coyote or big bear or something?” 

“No.” I heard a small voice say. “I’m a sparrow.” A tiny bird landed on my shoulder.

I looked at Sparkleflight. “I just assumed he would be big.”

“My preferred pronoun is they,” Hercules said. “I’m gender fluid.”

“Duly noted.” I said.

“Lead the way, Hercules.” Sparkleflight said.

The bird flew up and we climbed the rocks to follow them. When we reached the top, Hercules said,  “There’s the cave. The queen is in there. I hope you succeed in the quest.” They flew away. 

Sparkleflight and I walked over to the cave, which was blocked by a big boulder. “How do we get past this?” I asked her.

“Put your hand on the stone.” she said.

I put my hand on the rock and numbers appeared, a long mathematical problem. I was beginning to see why Doug from accounting was the chosen one. 

“Solve the problem and the rock should roll aside for us.” Sparkleflight said. 

I needed a calculator for this. I reached inside my pocket, but it was empty. “My phone!” I exclaimed, looking around at the ground.”I lost it. Damn, that was the new Iphone twelve! I just got that last week.”

“You don’t need it.” Sparkleflight said.

“Hell I don’t!” I said. “Math is not my strong point. Could you give me a little help here?” 

She shook her head. “It all looks like Totenkook to me.”

“What the heck is Totenkook?” I asked.

She looked at me like I was an idiot. “Troll language.”

“Of course. Troll language.” I turned back to the rock. I didn’t even know where to begin. 

“Hurry up Carl, we are running out of time.” She buzzed about my head.

“Back off, I can’t concentrate with you humming in my ear. This could take all day!” I said.

“Just guess.” Sparkleflight suggested. 

“Ok.” I paused. “What will happen if I get it wrong?”

“The Sword of Doom will swing down and decapitate you,” she said.

“Are you serious?” I yelled, jumping back.

She shrugged. “Just make a guess and duck. What have you got to lose?”

I glared at her and turned back to the rock. Ok, here goes nothing, I thought. I took a long deep breath and yelled, “The answer is, seven hundred and forty-two point six!” I dropped to the ground. To my surprise, the rock rolled away, revealing a long dark corridor within.

“Way to go!” Sparkleflight came forward to give me a high five. I met her hand and sent her flying backwards into a tree.  

“Oops, sorry about that.” I said as she sat and shook her head, dazed. 

“No matter, carry on!” she said, flying into the cave. 

We walked along the corridor, lit only by her fairy lights. Up ahead of us, the ground sharply dropped off. 

“Stay here, “ she ordered and flew ahead of me and quickly returned. “It’s a pretty steep drop. The corridor continues on the other side.” 

“Can I jump it?” I asked. 

“No, too wide.” She said. “You must complete a task.” She led me to the edge and pointed at the ground. “You must take that stick and hit that tiny ball into a little hole in the ground on the other side.”

“Just like golf!” I said.

She looked at me blankly. “What’s golf?” 

“Nevermind.” I said. “Move out of my way, I got this.” 

I’m a great golfer. Last year we had a miniature golf tournament for work. I don’t want to brag, but I came in second out of two hundred employees. But guess who came in first? Good old Doug the Daring.

“I’ll show him, I can make this shot.” I muttered to myself. I set my shoulders, took a deep breath and swung.

We stood still and watched the ball take flight. It barely made it to the other side, rolled right up to the hole, and stopped. I stood there in disbelief.  

“Are you kidding me?” I yelled, my voice reverberating off the cavern walls. The ball teetered from the vibration and fell into the hole.  

Suddenly, a bridge appeared before us and we ran across it to the other side, cheering all the way.

“Ok,” I said. “The fairies said three tasks. What’s next?” 

She pointed at a bunch of oddly shaped rocks on the ground. “You must fit those together to make the key that opens the last door.” 

“Piece of cake. I’m a puzzle champion. I’d like to see Doug the Dummy do this.” I quickly assembled it and presented it to her. “Ta-da!” 

“Impressive.” she said. “Now you must go through that door. I cannot go with you” 

“You mean I have to fight the Wollygag by myself?” I said, slightly panicked.

“Gallywog.” she said.

“Whatever! How do I defeat it? I can’t do this!” I said.

“Dammit, Carl! Pull yourself together. Now go get that Gallywog.” 

I gulped and put the key in the door and entered the cavernous room. Queen Bertha was in a tiny cage but I couldn’t see the Gallywog anywhere. There were giant goose feathers on the ground and an enormous hamster wheel in the corner. I tiptoed around, waiting for the Gallywog to pounce. 

A loud whoosh sounded above my head and it swooped past me, missing my ear by inches. I dropped and rolled. The Gallywog landed in front of me. It was the ugliest thing I’d ever seen, with frog’s legs, goose wings and a hamster head. It looked like some mad scientist’s failed experiment. I stood and faced it.

“Well Doug the Daring, we finally meet.” It croaked. 

“Doug wouldn’t have the guts.” I said. “I’m Carl the Capable.” 

“Oooh, there’s a name that strikes fear into my heart.” the Gallywog taunted me.

“Come and get me.” I said, although I had no idea how I was going to beat this enormous freak of nature.  As it spread its gigantic wings, I started to think that maybe I was in over my head here. 

It went to bite me, but I was too quick and dove out of the way. It turned and hopped towards me, backing me into the corner. I was quickly running out of options.

“You can do it, Doug!” squeaked Bertha.

“It’s Carl!” I yelled at her.

The Gallywog was almost on top of me. Maybe this was the end. Maybe I wasn’t good enough and they did need Doug the Daring. I prepared to meet my doom. 

And then like a flash of lightning, it came to me! I picked up a large stone and tossed it across the cavern. The Gallywog turned its hamster head to the side and headed in that direction. I took off towards the corner, praying this would work.  

The Gallywog stopped and let out a growl. “You won’t get away that easy!” it said, coming back towards me. 

I got behind the hamster wheel and pushed with all my might. It stuck for a moment and then careened towards the beast, squashing it flat. Queen Bertha let out a tiny cheer.

Sparkleflight came flying into the room to congratulate me. “How did you do it?” she asked. 

“I used to have a hamster when I was a kid.” I said. “They’re almost completely blind. I’d like to see Doug the Dufus pull that one off.”

There’s not much to tell after that. We all went back to the fairies and had a big celebration. Even Tony the Racoon was singing my praises. And when I arrived back at my apartment, there was my iphone, as good as new, along with some wildflowers. 

I don’t go back to the forest much anymore, to tell you the truth. That was enough adventure for one lifetime.  

So you see, I saved the world. If you ever see Doug from accounting, make sure you tell him that, ok?

March 26, 2021 02:09

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1 comment

Palak Shah
10:04 Apr 15, 2021

I love the way that you have used the prompt to make such a great story. Keep me posted for new stories. Could you please read my latest story . Thanks :)) ~Palak Shah


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