Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day Dream Kingdom

Elliot looked at his to-do list and cringed. There were just too many tasks for which he felt very little enthusiasm. Call so and so, write that report about so and so, talk to so and so about that so and so who needed a report from so and so. It was so mindless, yet, time consuming. Elliot stood up from his cubicle and scanned the rest of the office.

The other meerkats were working steadily with their heads down, dutifully performing the tasks required to earn a paycheck. Elliot saw his opportunity to sneak off to his dream closet. He was pretty sure no one else knew about the closet on the third floor that whisked you away to a magical world obviously reserved for children. It was a silly place but it beat having to work in a rotten beige walled cubicle for 8 hours.

The dream closet, as Elliot took to calling it, was part of a day-care center that used to be on the third floor of the building Elliot now worked. He’d heard rumors that the day care closed because so many children went missing. He could understand it. What child could resist the magic of Glodknoor Castle and the shimmering diamond waterfall near Breadbasketville? These places were sure marvels of a powerful magic that the human world seemed to have misplaced or callously forgotten.

Elliot wondered as he silently crept down the back stairwell why he seemed to be the only one able to enter and leave the dream closet as he pleased. It wasn’t difficult to leave, all one had to do was remember something special about this world and the closet door would appear. Elliot would just think about his loving, doting girlfriend Claire and the next moment he’d be right back at the door, no matter what quest he was on. It was pretty easy. Plus, he was practically a giant in this pretend world and very little actual harm could come to him. Perhaps the children weren’t as big when they went through.

The door to the old daycare opened with a creak and Elliot stepped into the old classroom, still painted with Disney characters and Tom & Jerry. He did his usual double check to make sure no one had seen him and he closed the daycare door behind him. He felt himself getting excited. Even though he was now 27 years old he still could feel that excitement of going on a great vacation with the family or Christmas morning. He walked to the dream closet and steadied himself. The last time he was there the King of Glodknoor Castle had just entered into a land deal with the Baron of Chocolate Mountain by promising the hand of his daughter Princess Marigold to the Baron’s son, Lord Chesterpop. There was a lot of celebrating going on over the whole kingdom. Elliot did not want to leave that last time he was there; it was like candy Mardis-Gras and New Years all mixed together.

He opened the closet door and stepped through into a green field lush with long stemmed flowers and a gentle wind blowing through the thick trees across the valley. It was such a change from the gloomy winter reality he’d just come from. It was peaceful and calm and no one expected anything from him. In fact, he wasn’t sure how the whole Glodknoor Castle economy worked. He assumed it was like Medieval England, but no one seemed to be an unhappy serf.

Elliot started his trek toward Glodknoor Castle when he saw the thick black billowing clouds casting a long shadow over Crater Valley. It was something he’d never seen before in this day dream kingdom. He started walking a bit faster toward the Castle and he realized the smoke was billowing out from the village and buildings surrounding Glodknoor. There were fires burning all around the village and he could hear the screams of the tiny people that inhabited them.  

A small cohort of heavy armored archers appeared on the top wall of Glodknoor Castle with their bows drawn back, arrows ready to fire at Elliot.

“Whoa”, shouted Elliot, “It’s me, Elliot! What happened here?”

The archers did not respond and continued to hold their weapons on Elliot.

“Where is the king”, asked Elliot.

A small, but deep voice near Elliot’s feet called up to him. A small green man in tattered clothes stared up at Elliot.

“The king is dead”, yelled the small voice, “murdered by his own daughter in her grab for power”.
“Princess Marigold did this”, asked Elliot.

He looked down towards his feet and saw that the little man had run off. Elliot looked back up at the archers along the wall, still ready to fire at him.

“I demand to speak with Princess Marigold”, said Elliot.
“You may address me as Queen Marigold”, said a sweet voice through the now parting sea of archers, “I am now the ruler of Glodknoor Castle and all it surveys”.

The archers lowered their bows and Queen Marigold stepped toward the edge of the parapet. She was wearing the poor’s King’s Crown on her head. She was accompanied by Lord Chesterpop and Elliot started to put it all together.

“So, a coup has occurred I take it”, said Elliot.
“A revolution. And with your help, one that will take us into the next world”, said Queen Marigold.
“The next world? You mean my world?”
“Precisely”, said Queen Marigold.

Elliot started to laugh. This was far better than having to sit through another long boring day at his cubicle, wondering about his bills and paycheck and other silly nonsense.

“You laugh at us”, scolded the new Queen.
“I do. You guys are just so adorable and there’s just no way I’d ever let you into my world”, said Elliot.
“I thought you might say that”, said the Queen.

The Queen motioned toward her new royal guards and they began hoisting a giant chain and the ground near the main castle grounds began to open. Small blue oxen began pulling another pulley as something started to rise from under the ground.

“Elliot”, mumbled Claire, “What’s going on here?”

It was Elliot’s girlfriend Claire bound in a giant wooden chair. These little monsters had somehow captured her and were holding her hostage. The Queen started to laugh. Elliot’s cubicle suddenly didn’t seem so bad. 

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