Fiction Tuesday – Moving South

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

Will didn’t really know how to read Sills. Granted he’d not known her all that long, but in his eyes she appeared to be an unflappable professional. She had a job to do, and she would do it, personal feelings be damned. While he was certain there was more to her than the mask, he’d not seen underneath it. Before now, that is.

Sills was angry.

“I cannot believe you told the Chancellor of Boarsblemish University we’re all doomed.”

Nobody pouted as the IBI Agent berated him. “Well I really didn’t know it would cause such a panic.”

Sindy, who’d not said a word to her father since his cheerful declaration of doom, literally had steam coming out of her ears. Bug banged his head against the side of their transport, causing a squeak to sound with each impact of his pointy hat against the window. Sills crossed her cloaked arms and sighed.

“Oh, look. A new device!” crowed Nobody as he held up a brass astrolabe. The sight of a red button on one side led him to utter a small squeal of delight. “I wonder what this button does?” 1

“Don’t change the subject!” Sills roared as she snatched the object from his hands. “How in The Realm could you have not thought a proclamation of doom might cause a bit of panic?”

“Well, I do have a limit in my social insights per year, you see…”

Sills pointed an accusatory finger. “Don’t even think about using that as an excuse! This isnt’ a social insight, it’s common sense.”

“That does seem like a rather obvious one to miss, Prof,” chimed in Bug.

Suddenly, the transport made an audible “pop” and everyone but Nobody reverted to their normal appearance. Though Sindy did manage to retain her steam-generating ears.

“We’re through the shield. Eyes open troops, no ambushes on this trip,” spoke an officer from the passenger’s seat.

“The entire city is in a panic, and do you have any idea what your little declaration is going to do to the stock market?”

“Oh dear.”

Sills threw her hands up in the air. “And now he gets it.”

“Yes, I’m relying on our current high trading prices to fund my snacking enterprise.” The elderly gnome reached into his pocket and offered a bag of “Sun Dried Jalapeño and Apple slices” to his annoyed handler.

“Who cares about snacks you daft lunatic!” Sindy had found her voice, causing Bug and Will to move instinctively out of her line of venom. Even Sills leaned away from the angry gnome, slightly.

“Well, it’s going to fund my retirement, so it’s a matter of some personal importance.”

Sindy’s voice became dangerously calm. “What good is a retirement plan, dad, if The Realm is gone?”

“Gone?” Nobody’s face bunched in confusion. “What do you mean? Where’s The Realm going?”

Sindy uttered something of a cross between a squeak and a full-throated growl, but otherwise lost her voice once more. Bug looked at his wife with an expectant nervousness, but relaxed somewhat as she waved for him to explain further.

“Uh, Prof. You kinda said it’s going away with that whole ‘doomed’ thing.”

Nobody opened his eyes in shock. “Goodness me. I did? No, I didn’t mean that at all.”

Will found himself drawn into the conversation almost against his will 2. Steam was beginning to jet from both Sindy’s ears and nostrils and he didn’t want to be anywhere near the gnome when she finally blew. And yet, he felt compelled to know what his absent-minded friend meant.

“Professor, what else could that mean?” the teen ventured.

“Well, it’s true we’re all doomed if we rely on the firewall to protect us. But that’s why I have a plan.”

“You have a plan,” repeated Sills.

Nobody nodded. “Of course. Didn’t I mention that?”

“No, Professor, you did not,” the agent replied.

“Oh my,” breathed Nobody, suddenly showing a bit of nervousness. “I appear to have committed a public relations error.”

Will never remembered what happened after the jet of steam hit him in the face. But the words “daft,” “loon,” and “pizza” came to mind anytime he attempted to recall Sindy’s outburst. Though he was pretty sure pizza had to do with something else entirely.


  1. They’re passing through the Satire Shield again, just in case you weren’t paying attention the first time. 
  2. That pun is entirely unintentional, but awesome nevertheless. 
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