Published April 15, 2013
For this week’s inspiration Monday I thought I try one of those writing exercises and challenges you see. This one was to have the protagonist trapped underground and they have to get back to the surface. I decided it would be fun take a whimsical and comical approach and so I came up with the following:
Johnny Fell down a Well
One fine day Johnny and Fritz were taking a walking through a field. Fritz of course being a psychic cat in a purple top hat and Johnny was well let’s just call him a hapless owner? Friend? Companion? Purveyor of treats and litter box cleaning services? It’s all subjective I suppose.
Now where were we, ah yes Johnny and Fritz were enjoying the fine day when they came across a fairy ring in the centre of a field which you’d have to a be a fool to walk though. But alas so busy was Johnny discussing the relationship Non-Newtonian physics had with custard that he wasn’t paying any attention to where he was going.
The old rotting boards broke under his weight sending Johnny tumbling down to the bottom of the well.
“Ahh Fritz? I think I fell down a well.”
“Can you see any way out?”
“Um no it’s dark? Yup it definitely too dark to see anything.”
“Try turning on the lights in your glasses.”
“Oh ya, that’s done it, thanks Fritz. Wait I can see a small crack I think I can fit through it” Alas if only Johnny had noticed one of the many exit signs or turned around and seen the ladder that would been the end of our story but of course he didn’t and instead began his quest for freedom through a series of bizarre challenges of increasing complexity.
“The hole didn’t lead out. I seem to be in some strange cavern filled with large crystal formations. I’ve got my rock hammer so I could probably take a few samples to determine their composition.”
“Any sign of a way out?”
“Oh right, maybe. It’s kind of a maze down here. Hold on let me ask this crystal man.”
“Johnny you still there?”
“Fritz he says he’ll only show me the way out if I gather six crystal spheres hidden in the maze should I do it?”
“Okay thanks Fritz.” Sometime later after Johnny found his way through many long passageways and crystal walkways he returned to the gem miser. Who upon receiving the crystals immediately turned evil and challenged Johnny to a dance off. But fortunately Johnny was a master of Disco Fu and easily defeated the gem miser.
“Hey Fritz good news I’m out of the crystal maze. But I accidently broke this big crystal sound machine and that kind of caused a dam to collapse and now water is pouring in from above and the path ahead is flooded.”
“No problem Johnny you’ll just have to swim through the underground lake till you get to the other side.”
“Are you sure? I can only hold my breath for 123 seconds.”
“I wouldn’t worry there will be plenty of air pockets where you can catch your breath at.”
“Oh and don’t forget to active your flipper shoes. There is also the small possibility of some kind of prehistoric fish down there but I that almost never happens.”
“Got it Fritz. Hold breath and swim for freedom. See you soon.” After an icy swim through caverns filled with convenient air pockets and glowing coral, poor Johnny ended up having to swim for his life chased by a large fish that was well bigger than a Mini but smaller then a pickup truck. Miraculously Johnny managed to reach the other side of the flooded cavern and escape the fish with only a second to spare. This led him to a long winding track taking him far upwards.
“Fritz I’m scared”
“Why Johnny what’s going on.”
“There are tiny people here. Beardy people. In funny hats”
“What are they doing?”
“Ahhhh Fritz help! One’s coming towards me. He’s got a FISHING ROD!!!”
“Hang on Johnny be brave and try and communicate with them.” A short conversation of gestures and high pitched voices later.
“Fritz it seems that there are two tribes here one that wears red hats and other that wears blue hats and they are on the verge of war.”
“What are they fighting about?”
“Mostly what colour hat is better but they talk of one they call the moron from below who destroyed their dam and emptied the sacred lake that separated the villages.”
“I see. Do they by any chance want you to stop the war by undertaking a series of seemingly arbitrary tasks and errands?”
“Gosh Fritz, how did you know?”
“Lucky guess. Well you had best get to it Johnny.” Many hours later after Johnny had seemingly picked up everything that wasn’t nailed down and combined many of those objects in illogical ways as well as mastering the gnomish arts of digging, fishing, and the fiddle.
“Good news Fritz the war’s been called off.”
“That’s great Johnny.”
“Who would have known that all those trivial errands would lead me to discover the lost golden artefacts needed to open the sacred temple where we would learn the true hat colour?”
“What colour was it?”
“Ya, I’m not keen on it either, I would have chosen purple.”
“Was there a way up in the back of the temple?”
“Right again. I’m now in a workshop I can see sunlight coming from an opening in the ceiling. But I think I need to build some kind of device to get out. There are lots of gears and bits lying around.”
“Now Johnny, we have had a talk about you meddling with devices you don’t understand. Remember the toaster?”
“That wasn’t my fault Fritz. How was I supposed to know that making the toaster smart enough not to burn toast would lead to an appliance bent on world domination and the extermination of the human race.”
“And the death ray?”
“That was just red a light”
“Yes, but most people wouldn’t have built a device labelled death ray.”
“Well what else would Doctor Death have called his invention for a better flashlight?”
“Just don’t Johnny. Find any other way out.”
“You worry too much Fritz. It’ll be fine.” Several hours of hamming, figuring out where to attach gears and pipes later. Johnny boarded the escape device and hit the big red switch.
“Yes Johnny, did you get out? Are you still underground?”
“Umm. Well I did get out, and I’m definitely no longer underground. But”
“I seem to have overshot my target a little.”
“How far did you overshoot?”
“Well. You know that big ball you can see in the sky at night?”
“Yes. I can say with some certainty that I’m the moon. Help?”
Johnny and Fritz will return in “Johnny’s Outer Space Hijinks”