A fae, a giant and a gnome walk into a tavern.
In: 5000 Writing Prompts by Bryn Donovan
“What a day…” said Taly and sipped on her Bloody Marie. Tired as she was, her wings had lost most of their glitter.
“You can say that again.”, answered Norbi, who sat to her left.
“How’s work going at the mines?”
“Uh, you know…”, he started, his head supported by his hands, elbows on the counter. “Kinda pointless. As always.”
“Why is that?” She knew the gnome’s complaints too well. He told her every night, but she feigned ignorance because Taly knew he loved to talk about that topic.
“Ever since humans have become so efficient at mining, they have exploited the earth. There’s barely anything left to guard. No one ever shows up anymore. No adventurers. No treasure hunters. No heroes. Just a lot of pointless walking in lonely and dark tunnels.”
“Don’t you miss the old days?”, said Taly with a sprinkle of melancholy in her voice. “People were in awe at the mere mention of our names. They told stories that mattered. We were their world, their gods. Now, most of them don’t even give us a passing thought.”
“Sure was great to be able to walk through solid ground. I hate those tunnels. Make me all claustrophobic.” Norbi drank from his beer. “Now they can’t even tell us apart from dwarves or even goblins!”
“We used to matter, Norbi! Back in the day, I brought diseases and led travelers astray just for fun. Once, I even got a knight to marry me. A fucking knight, Norbi!”
“Those were the days…”
Taly’s wings started to flatter agitated when she kept on venting her frustration. “I’m tired of all this. I can’t stand being only marginally interesting for little girls. Most of ’em just like us because everyone expects them to. I can see it in their eyes. They’d rather have a robot or dinosaur appear.”
“My cousin got that gig.”, she continued. “At night she collects teeth the kids put under their pillow. She had to move overseas for it. It’s sweet… but it’s not the same.”
“I hear you. What has happened to us?”
“We’ve become obsolete. Rendered pointless by the ever progressing technological level and intellectual advance. Mankind has killed their sense of wonder by searching and finding for Reason. To keep themselves distracted from the misery they have found by doing so, the play with our collective corpses. I’ve heard that god fellow isn’t doing much better.”, rumbled a deep groveling voice from the side.
“Hey, Yorm. I haven’t seen you there.”, said Taly, turning to face the giant. “What are you up to these days?”
“I enjoy the loneliness of my mountain and finally get to that pile of books. Some of their philosophers have interesting ideas. Considering their limited understanding and perception of things.”
“But didn’t they make you guys into dumb, flesh-craving monsters?”, asked Taly.
“Yeah. But they are obsessed with Zombies, Vampires, and others to fill that niche. It keeps them away, and that’s all I can ask for.” Yorm smiled. “Finally I can decide who I want to be.”
They fell silent for a moment, the noises of the tavern filling the pause.
“How do you even fit in here?”, asked Norbi
Yorm shrugged. “Magic, I guess?”
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Writing time: 19 minutes
Editing time: 29 minutes
When I first read that prompt, I knew I wanted to make something funnier of it. It sounds like the beginning of a joke, right? Three fundamentally different people entering a bar.
My first thought was to make it a drinking match. Obviously, the fae would have won that. But I didn’t really get far with that idea in my preparation.
So, I looked into some backstory of those mystical creatures and noticed that their popular depictions have changed drastically over the centuries. Why not make it about that?
Everything kinda came together from that point. I took some modern ideas about fairies, gnomes, and giants and mirrored them with what has been. Or I think it would be funny. Okay, not noticing a giant or shrugging of an explanation for his presence there with ‘magic’ after giving his argument at least made me smile while reading.
The tavern has become the backdrop of this after work complaining of those mythological beings. Well, they are not technically walking into the tavern but are already inside. But I figured I can get away with that.
Can I? What do you think? How much freedom do you take while working with a prompt?
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