Fiction Tuesday – A Plurality of Views

Today’s blog continues my long-neglected satirical fantasy, In The Land of the Penny Gnomes

“Lawyers?”

Bug nodded. “Yah, kid. Lawyers. They’re actively scanning The Realm to launch injunctions, and saying a name like you know who is a good way to help them pinpoint our location.”

“I’m so confused.”

The Professor reached up and patted Will on the shoulder. “That’s OK, Will, so is everyone else. We are getting a bit ahead of ourselves, though. You wanted to hear about the Narrator.”

“Yes, but so far all you’ve told me is how many different views there are of the Narrator.”

“Yes, Will, but that’s one of the keys in knowing about the Narrator, to understand how little we know about him.”

“So the Narrator is a man?”

“Yes, for the most part we are all agreed on that. Though I must admit the magicians in Boarsblemish and some odd angelic creatures up in the Mountains east of Wizgate do claim there is more than one Narrator, and that the one who spoke to them is a woman.”

“Yah. And don’t believe a thing they say, kid. Those magicians are a tricky lot, and the angelic things are just plain odd.”

Nobody shook his head. “Now, Bug, while their views are not held by the majority of The Realm’s peoples, the idea does have merit. Given the predominate gnomish belief of The Realm’s purpose, their views might best explain our very existence.”

“And that’s one of the reasons why I think the majority of gnomes are mining with a dull axe.” Bug paused for a moment before a sudden realization flashed across his face. “Uh, present company excluded, of course.”

Nobody held up his hand. “Never mind. I know full well what you think of ‘stupid gnomish beliefs.’ You place our understanding of purpose alongside the practice of wearing tall pointy hats in mine tunnels.”

“Yah gotta admit, Doc, that’s a pretty dumb thing to do.”

“Yes, I quite agree on that, at least.”

“Uh, guys? Remember me?” Will was quickly realizing he’d need to be a more active participant in the conversation if he was ever going to find out why the gnomes had taken him out of his bedroom.

“Oh, yes. So sorry, Will. Now, where were we?”

“You said there were some people who believed there was more than one Narrator. And, something about it being key to the gnomes understanding of purpose.”

“Ah, yes. Well it is, you see.”

Will shook his head as he closed his eyes and began to rub his temples. “No, Professor. I don’t see. Will you please tell me?”

“Oh, well I thought it was obvious,” Nobody mumbled. He then tilted his head apologetically and continued, “I do tend to do that, you know. Let me see, how best to explain it?” The old gnome tapped his head for several minutes as Will looked on. The teen’s head was now throbbing in rebellion against the nonsense to which it had been subjected.

Finally, Nobody thrust a finger into the air as his face brightened. “Ah, yes. That’s it! Now, I’ve covered the Elves and magicians so you understand the archetypalist and actualizationalist views?”

“As much as I’m going to, at least.”

“That will be enough. Well we gnomes…”

Most gnomes,” Bug grunted.

“Yes, Bug, most gnomes believe these two views are wrong. Rather, we believe the purpose of The Realm is not to be derived from the imagination of your world, but rather to feed the power of imagination in your world.”

“Power? Like some sort of battery?”

Nobody’s face brightened with delight. “Yes, precisely like a battery. The Realm exists, and because we exist the sparks of our turmoil, successes, and conflicts become the sparks of ideas for your world! Where did you think the sudden sparks of imagination came from to give you television, mobile phones, and…”

“The Internet?”

This slightly derailed Nobody from his manic monologue, but he quickly regrouped with a dismissive flick of his hand. “Yes, I suppose, but I still say it’s impossible.” Despite his dismissal, Will noticed the Professor glancing wistfully at the swirling web before he continued. “Anyway, this is why I believe there must be more than one Narrator. In fact, anyone who draws on the power of Imagination could be a Narrator!1 I believe the transfer of imaginative energy creates a sort of feedback loop, through which the Narrator becomes more directly connected to The Realm.”

“But, Professor, if that’s the case, what purpose can your map serve? All these ‘prophesies’ could be coming from completely different people who just happened to be thinking up a story at some point.”

To Will’s surprise, the Professor nodded in agreement. “That certainly is true, Will! This is why the magicians don’t believe in all this, as they describe it, ‘prophesy nonsense.’ You must understand, though, the prophesies on the map seem to all be springing from one particular Narrator, who always begins his conversations with, ‘Hey, how ya doing?’”

“You’re following the prophesies of a guy whose signature statement isn’t something like, ‘Behold I tell the truth!’ but ‘Hey, how ya doing?’” Will blinked slowly. “Really?”

“Yes, though sometimes the Narrator decides to drop the G from ‘doing.2’”

The pressure in Will’s head was now ready to explode. “Bug, did you bring me anything for a headache?”

“Oops. Sorry, kid. I’ll go get something now.” With that, he left the room once more.

“OK Professor. So you think you’ve tracked one particular Narrator moving across your map there. And, somehow, you think that Narrator said I was going to come and save you in your time of greatest need?”

“Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that — but, yes.”

“Let me see if I can try to understand everything so far. I’m in a place called ‘The Realm,’ which has a purpose no one can agree on. This place is guided by a person called the Narrator, about whom no one can agree. I’m supposed to be the prophet of this Narrator, unfolding his purpose in your darkest hour — which somehow involves lawyers. And I’m supposed to do this despite the fact no one really agrees on what any of this means.”

“Ah, Will, I knew you were an intelligent boy! Well done!”

“This is insane.”

“No, kid, this is imagination. Though I guess I can understand your confusion. Now hold still and I’ll take care of your headache.” Will turned towards Bug’s voice, and had just enough time to notice the large wooden mallet swinging toward his head. Then everything went dark.


  1. Professor Nobody was wrong on this point. Very few people can, in fact, be Narrators. I blame video games. 
  2. The variation helps to keep things fresh, but I’m talking too much. Get back to reading. 
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