1. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

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    As You Know, Bob Syndrome

    Discussion in 'Entertainment' started by Elven Candy, Jan 28, 2017.

    Hey everyone! I had this idea pop into my head while I was at work, and for once I was able to actually write it out! I'm not looking for critique; this is just for ya'll to enjoy, so I hope you enjoy it!


    I was sitting on the front porch with pen and paper in hand when I saw a man running down the walkway. At first, I thought he was the neighbor’s boy coming to take their cow home, and I was enjoying the idea of threatening to eat her the next time she ate my dandelion garden when I noticed the man’s uniform. He was not the neighbor’s boy, but a messenger of the king. I set aside my things and stood to greet him.

    “What do you have for me?” I asked him more hastily than I had intended. Was this the day I became the official royal scribe?

    The messenger was too busy gasping and wheezing to answer my question, and when I thought he was ready to speak, he placed his hands onto his knees and coughed.

    “Do you have a message for me or not?” This time I purposefully sounded angry.

    Still gasping and coughing, he raised his index finger in the recently popular gesture meaning, “Wait.”

    So I waited, impatiently, for him to catch his breath. A decent messenger would know how to pace himself to prevent such a waste of time. My mind was about to go numb when he finally stood up and pulled a piece of paper from his tunic.

    He cleared his throat and read, “His Royal Highness Crown Prince Synonym commands you to come to the palace immediately.”

    I waited for him to continue, but instead he folded the paper and placed it back into his tunic.

    “That’s all?” I asked.

    He simply shrugged and ran off. What a strange request from the prince. No, not a request; this was a demand. I gathered my things as timely as I could and arrived at the palace that evening.

    “I’m here by the request of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Synonym,” I told the guard, and he let me in. Someone had better tell the prince to shorten his title, or soon all the kingdom would be mute from tied tongues.

    I found the prince pacing in the book chamber. Upon entering the chamber, I bowed. “Your Highness, I am here as you requested.”

    He strode over to me and shook my hand with an eagerness I’d never seen in him before. “Ah, yes, my friend and comrade and acquaintance, I am so glad and pleased you’re here.”

    “What troubles you?”

    “Well, as you know, Bob, there’s an illness and disease going around the kingdom that’s causing a lot of hardship and suffering.”

    The illness must truly have him worried, for he usually didn’t make mistakes like calling me by a name that wasn’t mine. But if the illness was so rampant, why hadn’t I heard of it?

    “So,” he continued, “Will you help and assist and aid?”

    “Aid in what?” I asked the question with genuine confusion, but he seemed to take offence. His face turned deep crimson and his nostrils flared enough to make a horse jealous. The tone and volume he spoke with were enough to make me cringe.

    “To find and discover a cure, of course!” he said. “As you know, Bob, this disease and infection is a serious problem! People are rioting and rebelling over it! You will obey and submit and find the cure. Now go!”

    “But I’m not—”

    “Go!”

    When Prince Synonym didn’t repeat himself, he was serious. But how was I to find a cure for the plague? And what was the plague? If I was to “obey and submit” to the prince’s order, I had to find someone who knew those answers. I searched the castle all night for the doctor, but everyone I met simply said:

    “Well, as you know, Bob, the doctor’s gone to help the gardener,” or whomever else had this plague, which I was beginning to understand. Nearly everyone in the castle could only say things the others already knew, and they always called each other Bob. This must be the illness Prince Synonym was speaking of. It was certainly a threat to the kingdom’s sanity.

    When the sun broke over the horizon, I found the doctor. At first, I didn’t recognize her, for her hair was disheveled, her cloak was caked with dirt, and her eyes had such large, dark circles under them one might think she were a beast. But when she looked at me, she smiled, and I knew who it was.

    “You look like you’ve had no sleep for a week,” I said.

    “Oh, has it been a week? I’ve lost track . . .” Her eyes drifted away, along with her mind.

    “Let me help you to your room.” The moment I took her hand, she collapsed. I barely managed to catch her before she hit the ground. “Are you all right?”

    No response. I lifted her up and almost asked again when I noticed she was asleep, so I took her to her room and asked a maid to care for her.

    “As you know, Bob, I’m a maid,” she said.

    “Yes, I know, that’s why I’m asking you.”

    The maid rolled her eyes and stamped her foot. “As you know Bob, I’m not a lady in waiting.”

    She had the illness. I sighed. I couldn’t help but sigh, the day had been so frustrating, but it only agitated her even more.

    “Well, as you know, Bob, I was hired to clean the house,” she said with a huff.

    “Yes, yes, I know. Will you please find the appropriate person to help the doctor? I would be most appreciative.” I offered a silver coin to encourage the answer I wanted.

    A grin took over her face, and she accepted the coin and nodded, then trotted off to follow my request. What I needed now was a good long nap. I scribbled a note for Doctor Critique, asking her to find me when she woke up, and went in search of an empty bedroom. Upon finding one, I fell onto the bed and slept.

    ***​

    It was mid afternoon when I awoke, and beside the bed was a note from the doctor asking me to join her in the infirmary. I headed directly there and glanced around. It was strangely empty for a time worried by plague. The only person in the room besides me was the doctor, who was so focused on a microscope she hadn’t noticed me walk in.

    “Doctor?”

    She looked up and smiled. “Ah, come in, come in! The prince said he’d send for you to help me. What do you think? I haven’t found anything that might be a cure.”

    No, I suppose she hadn’t. That’d make this mission too easy. “Truth be told, I hadn’t even heard about this plague before I arrived here.”

    “Oh, it’s not a plague, goodness no! It’s an illness. You see, it isn’t really contagious, per say, it’s just . . . everyone’s doing it. I call it the As You Know, Bob Syndrome.” She rubbed her chin and looked around. “Ah! Here we are. See here, this is what I believe started it.”

    It was a book, one I’d never seen before. I thought I’d seen every book ever written, but this one was different.

    “Is it safe to open it?” I asked.

    “Yes, yes, I believe so. I’ve opened it and even read the entire thing, and as you can see, I don’t have the illness.”

    My hands shook as I opened it. How ridiculous to be so afraid of a book, but I couldn’t help it. If I ever got trapped into the illness—no, it was unthinkable.

    Once I began reading the book, I couldn’t stop. The imagery, the prose, the plot—it was all so beautiful! And the characters, they were so believable I had a hard time breathing. When at last I reached the end, I flipped to the front to start again, but the doctor snatched it from me.

    “So you see?” she said. “Do you agree with my theory?”

    I shook my head. “No, I’m afraid I don’t. Why do you think this book started such a strange illness?”

    “It was so enthralling and well-written that everyone who reads it desires to speak the same way. They want so badly to speak this way that they can’t break away from trying. That’s the illness, but how do we find a cure?”

    So the illness was a wish to engage others in the way they themselves were engaged? That made sense, in an odd sort of way. Still, if that was the cause of this illness, it made sense that the prince would send for me, for I already had an idea on a cure.

    I took the book and thumbed through it once more. My idea might work, but I needed the doctor to agree. “What we need is to find a better way for people to convey their ideas, perhaps start a group where they can help each other.”

    She cocked her head and furrowed her brow. “But if they could help each other, don’t you think they would?”

    “Not without our help to show them how. They need us to help them learn what works and what doesn’t.”

    “Well . . . I suppose that does make sense. But if we were to start such a group, what would we call it?”

    “Something simple and easy to understand. Perhaps The Writing Workshop?”

    She rubbed her chin and nodded. “Yes, yes, that works. It’s short and to the point. We’ll be the administrators of it, of course, but . . . well, to be honest, I don’t even know your name.”

    “My full name is Writingforums Dottorg, but you may call me Writingforums.”
     

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