Monday, 6 July 2009

MULTIPLY: United Friends Challenge #159: Night Disturbances

Dio's Challenge

Anybody have the type of dream where you know you are dreaming but you can't wake up? Then you think you woke up but it turns out you didn't? Essentially you are a character in your own dream, you can't escape the dream (except by actually waking up), so you have to work with the constraints and plot your devious little mind came up with. Mine comes up with some Lulu's.

So anyway, this challenge is about writing a story with a self-aware character. That is, at least one of the characters in your story has to realize it is in a story and aware of the constraints of the story. If you want it to argue with you (the author) about the role it is playing, that works too.

To start you off, I am giving you some constraints you have to write into the story:

(1)The story must be no longer than 997½ words.
(2)You must use the following words in the story: apple, aqueduct, ancient, aardvark, xylophone
(3)One of your characters (it doesn't have to be the self-aware one) is a dwarf named Sydney wearing a fir coat and a patch over one eye carrying a serving tray.

The genera is your choice, but prose only – no poetry.

Every time I sink into a nice relaxing sleep he is standing at the door looking at me, waiting for me; if I get my hands on that stupid undersized apology for a human - a dwarf? - I will shove that serving tray he is carrying down his neck.

“You will not do anything of the kind. I hate discrimination, just because of my size. I suppose if I was one of your Swiss gnomes, you would take me home and look after me; just because they are more affluent than I am.”

“Dwarf you do not look like you are poor. Even Swiss gnomes cannot afford a fur coat, and what’s the patch on your eye?”

“First of all I have a name, Sydney, and there you have it. One of your so-called super gnomes was having a fight with an aardvark and I rescued him and this is the thanks I got.”

“Just a moment dwarf, our gnomes do not fight with aardvarks.”

“There, you see, you havn’t got a clue what is going on when you are sleeping. Typical! I do you the favour of rescuing one of your helpless gnomes and that is the thanks for it. Just where do your gnomes put their gold bars, and bank notes. Where??? Huh??? They bury them deep in the ground.”

“What does that have to do with rescuing a gnome from an aardvark.”

“Your gnomes are so stupid that take any hollow they find, even if it is an ants nest and there we have the problem. An aardvark is very partial to a good chew of ants and when he discovers gold in the ants nest, there you are.

“Where are we?

“Luckily we are where we should have been thanks to my intervention. Without me your gnome would look a bit silly at the annual gnome convention in the Bahhofstrasse in Zürich without the gold reserves. What did I get for it? A swollen eye from the ant’s formic acid.That is the last time I help a gnome.”

“Ah, that’s the reason for the eye patch. Dwarf, I mean Sydney, you are talking a bit in riddles. You rescued one of our Swiss gnomes and his gold. Take an apple as a reward.”

“Don’t insult me, an apple?”

“Sorry Sydney, but there is no room in my dreams for a banquet.”

“That’s because you humans are a new invention. Now we dwarves are one of the first, we even go back to the days before the Egyptians built their pyramids and aqueducts.”

“You must be a truly ancient race.”

“Of course we are, we were the first prototype before it was decided to build the bigger version and now look at the mess we are in.”

“You mean the Swiss gnomes were only a copy.”

“A copy? No they were an accident. We were supposed to get the money, but a mistake was made and we had a delivery of xylophones instead.”

“I have never seen a dwarf with a xylophone.”

“Of course not, we do have a certain amount of pride. Do you think we would wander through dreams playing xylophones? You might wake up with the noise and we cannot have that can we?”

“Sydney, I don’t think I want to dream any more.”

“That’s your problem; I decide when I want to go. Do you mind if I take my fur coat off, this dream is getting too hot to handle.”

“What’s the purpose of the fur coat?”

“Well that shows again the stupidity of the human mind. What happens if an Eskimo has a dream about being eaten by a polar bear?”

“We call them nightmares.”

“So an Eskimo is having a nightmare somewhere at the North Cap. He is surrounded by ice and snow and lives in an igloo. Do you really think that nice tight green leggings and a pointed hat and slippers with a frilly t-shirt is the ideal dress for a visit. A dwarf has a fur coat with him at all times. That is why I am wearing it, otherwise I would have to carry it over my arm.”

“What happens if an African has a dream at the equator.”

“We take off the fur coat and wear a raincoat.”

“A raincoat.?”

“It rains every day at the equator and a dwarf must always be prepared.

And now I have to go and deprive someone else of a sound sleep. Nice talking to you, and don’t forget, I will return.”


“Your dreams are not programmes like the television where they are switched on or off. If you knew you were getting a dream before you fell asleep it would not be the same now would it?”

They were his last words and I started snoring

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