Accountants, Unicorns, and Spelunkers

"You know, if you're too tired, we can save it till tomorrow night," said Charlie.

"No, I want to hear the story!" protested the girl. "I'm not tired yet."

"Alright," said Charlie. "Now, where to begin? Ah yes! Let's start with a little bit about our protagonist -- that means the hero of our story," he added as the girl opened her mouth to interrupt. She closed her mouth again.

"Yes, in the little green world on the dirty, stinky towel, there was a man named . . . um . . . Ashley."

"That's my name," objected the girl, "and it's a girl's name."

"It can be a boy's name, too."

"That's stupid."

"No it's not."

"Yes it is. Ashley is my name."

Charlie sighed. "Does it really matter? Ashley was only his last name, anyway," he acquiesced grudgingly.

"How about Ashley was the name of his magical unicorn?"

"No."

"You're no fun."

"Listen, do you want to hear a story or do you want to tell one?"

"I want to hear one," said Ashley, crossing her arms, "but I want it to be about magical unicorns!"

"We haven't gotten to that part yet."

"Fine." Ashley rolled her eyes.

"Okay, can I start now?"

"I guess."

"Alright, but you have to promise to stop interrupting every ten seconds."

Ashley nodded and snuggled down into her blankets. Ten seconds seemed a reasonable interval between interruptions.

Charlie took a deep breath. "Once upon a time, there was a man named Winston Ashley, who lived in a tiny city in a tiny world that existed on the surface of a dirty, stinky towel. Now Winston was an accountant who --"

"You're an accountant!" cut in Ashley. "Couldn't you at least use a little imagination? And how could a big hero have a job as boring as yours?"

"An accountant is a very important, respectable profession," said Charlie defensively. "And anyway, you're interrupting again."

Ashley rolled her eyes in such an exaggerated manner that Charlie had to do a double-take to make sure she wasn't having a seizure.

"Accountants are boring," complained the girl. "And I waited fifteen seconds before interrupting."

"I wasn't finished yet!" said Charlie. "I was about to say that Winston was a professional spelunker on the side."

"What's that?"

"Someone who explores caves."

"That's cool!"

"Just goes to show you that when you interrupt, you might be cutting off the best part." Charlie gave Ashley a stern look. Ashley clamped her lips together.

"Yes," continued Charlie, "Winston was a spelunker, but he was an accountant too, because he wasn't paid awful well for his spelunking. Now in his city, as we already know, there was always the ever-present threat of being washed. But Winston could never have known that one day he would be the one to save his world from this terrible fate. This is how it started. . . ."

The End

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