A Story About One Specific Fred

“Imagine with me, if you will, a world not entirely different from ours. It exists in the same plane of reality with our world. In fact, physically speaking, our worlds are entirely the same.”

“Get on with it!” a young ruffian shouted — a young ruffian whose name was HARGDOR ‘ZE ROKE ECHT FELLÜEGHER hence forth shortened to Fred because it was very tiring for the author to type out the entire name everytime.

The old man stroked his long, gray beard, because it made him seem very wise indeed. This old man’s name was Fred, hence forth shortened to Fred the Original to avoid confusion to the dear reader (how considerate of the author).

“Patience, child,” Fred the Original said. “Now where was I? Ah yes. Our worlds were the same, put the people were entirely different. Well no, not entirely. You see, there’s us, then there’s also us, but a lot smaller. Like, the size of a dormouse. Otherwise we’re the same. So while they live in the same world, they experience it much…more differently.”

Fred stretched out his arms and yawned loudly. “Old man, you take forever to tell a story. I’m leaving.” And with that, Fred got up and left.

And while Fred was certainly right that Fred the Original had a habit of rambling, it was still very rude of him to leave. So the reader can just imagine Fred the Original’s distraught emotions!

As the reader can probably already guess, the ramblings of Fred the Original, whether or not they are true, will probably have some bearing on the story in the future. And that, friends, is a technique called foreshadowing. But since the author is of the lazy breed, foreshadowing is rather useless since we’re now skipping to the part in the story where Fred is shrunk down to the size of a tiny person. Nevermind how it happened, and nevermind Fred’s epic battle with the Queen of Hearts, it’s all irrelevant now.

And so, Fred awoke to find himself surrounded by tall, green spades. Giant, enormous, grass blades from his front lawn. He wandered through the faux forest, until he encountered a rather curious mushroom. A small opening was carved into the stem of the mushroom, and smoke billowed out of a hole cut into the mushroom hat.

“Hello?” Fred called.

“Eh?” An old man slowly stumbled out of the mushroom, putting the majority of his weight on a walking cane that was actually just a small twig. “Can’t you ruffians see I’m cooking?” By pure coincidence and blatant chance, this old man’s name was also Fred (henceforth known as Fred2)

“Hey, can you tell me how to get larger?” Fred asked.

“No, but I can tell you a story, and take a long time about it,” Fred2 replied.

“Gah, nevermind.”

And so Fred continued through his front lawn. Hours passed, and the sun started receding,  and Fred worried about the night. His cat (not named Fred) always prowled the garden at nights, and brought home dead mice and small people. The thought of his own cat killing him with its sharp bite frightened him.

After several minutes, Fred wandered into a giant, wooden wall. It was his apple tree. I must have covered a few feet by now, he thought to himself. For he knew that his apple tree was moderately far from where he started.

And in this apple tree, was another hole. Not at all small, however, for it was twice as tall and four times as wide. Which actually isn’t saying much.

Fred peered inside, and discovered an entire city full of the small little people. Wooden cottages lined the walls of the tree and extended fairly far up. The cottage windows glowed an ambient yellow since the inside of the tree was dark, and the residents probably lit small lamps. Which is a huge fire hazard if one thought about it.

The author got lazy once again here, but the reader needs only to know that Fred wandered around the tiny city, and met several people named “Fred”. Now, just to clarify before the reader jumps to any conclusions, “Fred” was an extremely rare name among the small people. So the fact that Fred met so many people named Fred in such a short span was a true miracle; even Jesus would be proud. The reader is probably tired of so many Fred jokes, but the author stands firm that Fred is not a joke, and really just accidental coincidences.

So eventually, Fred happened upon a small boy who claimed to know how Fred could return to his original size. This small boy’s name was Stalin, which actually is not a coincidence since the author is fond of Commie names (see: Kruschev’s Anger or Shadowland).

“Come with me to the top!” Stalin exclaimed. And so, with Stalin leading the way, Fred climbed a long flight of wooden stairs carved into the inner tree trunk that eventually led to an opening. The two of them walked out onto a branch high above the dizzying green below. A robin on a nearby branch eyed Fred hungrily, but Stalin maintained that birds don’t commonly eat people.

Stalin pointed towards an apple hanging off the edge of the branch. It had two, small windows and a circular door built into the top.
“That’s where the potion master lives,” Stalin whispered, and walked back inside the tree.

Arms outstretched, Fred balanced across the tree branch, trying not to look down for he was rather scared of heights. He almost slipped once or twice, but it didn’t actually matter if he fell since the branch was pretty thick in comparison. Fred was just paranoid.

Eventually, Fred made his way to the apple house, and jumped inside. An assortment heavy books lined the shelves in a complete circle around the wall of the hollow apple. At the center, stood a large black cauldron, the stereotypical kind that potion masters all own. A worm crawled out from behind the cauldron.

“Eh hem, and who do I owe the pleasure of meeting today?” asked BookWorm.

“I’m Fred. I heard you had a potion that would let me grow back to my original size?”

BookWorm adjusted a large pair of spectacles with its tail. Though he had no eyes or face on either side, the side with the spectacles was obviously the face. “Yes, just a moment please,” BookWorm managed to say despite having no mouth.

He threw several strange colored liquids, mushrooms, and scraps of a few books littering the apple into the cauldron. After a few minutes of tinkering, BookWorm handed Fred a potion.

“Drink this and you’ll return to normal.”

Drinking the potion inside the apple would have been bad form, so Fred walked all the way back outside the tree to drink the potion. Night already fell, but Fred’s potion glowed, lighting the way for him. When he felt he was far from anything easily crushed, he drank the potion. With a strange stretching sound, Fred returned to his original size.

“Ah, I’ve seen you come back,” Fred the Original said immediately. He apparently had not moved at all during the day. “As I was saying, these people were very small…”

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