My grandfather died when I was only 5 years old, and I remember little of him. My only vivid memory is of the day he died. He sat me down at the kitchen table that morning and produced a brown paper bag.
"I have a surprise" he said and opened the bag and pulled out a doughnut.
"That's it, a doughnut?" I inquired, unimpressed
"Shut up! These are no ordinary doughnuts, they're the greatest doughnuts in the world!" he shouted, handing the doughnut to me and removing one for himself.
I ate it, and it was the plainest tasting doughnut I'd ever had. It was sweet, but there was no glaze, jelly, confectionary sugar, nor sprinkles to be found. It was just a fatty cake. I went to school without another word. When I got home I found out he'd wrecked his motorcycle in a tragic high speed police chase. He was 107 years old.
Exactly 30 years later I found myself thinking about that day, turning the events over in my head again and again. I decided to buy a bag of these doughnuts, the "greatest doughnuts in the world" as a way of paying respects to the old wacko. As I walked down the street to the bakery I saw thousands of flyers advertising a carnival that was in town. It seemed a bit much to be stuck to a single streetlight but who am I to judge the advertising style of carnies?
I arrived at the bakery to discover that the "greatest doughnuts in the world" are $60 for a dozen. Ridiculous, simply ridiculous I thought. I walked out of the store and decided to check out the carnival. Not five feet from the entrance was a gypsy in a booth marked "Magical Thingymadoos and Other Crap Gullible Losers Buy." Stifling a laugh, I walked over to see what was being sold. As I approached she shouted my name, which caused me to jump.
"H-how do you know me?! Are you psychic?!" I stuttered.
"No no no, we went to high school together! Remember?" she explained. I found her to be entirely unfamiliar, but I didn't say anything. "Ah well...I've got something you might be interested in! It's a flashlight that will never run out of power! For you, I'll let it go for the low, low price of $90!"
It's rare that I see anything I'd actually find use for at a carnival, and even more so that I'd have the nagging suspicion a gypsy is telling the truth. "I'll take it!" I said, producing a $100 bill from my pocket. She snatched it and showed no intention of giving me change. "Aren't you going to...?" I began.
"NO! There is now a $10 handling fee! Now try it out and leave me alone!" she snapped. Having nothing else to do I clicked the switch on the flashlight, and a blue light began to emerge from it, enveloping me in some sort of magical blue flashlight field. The world grew dark and all I heard was the mad cackle of the gypsy as everything faded.
I awoke several hours later in a daze. The world didn't seem to be itself any longer--the sky seemed insubstantial and unable to decide on a single shade of green for any given spot, the ground beneath me felt hollow, and I watched as what appeared to be a carnivorous clod of moss ate a completely immobile frog in a nearby stream of thick gray water.
I wandered around for what felt like hours, trying to figure out where I was, but I could find no clues. After a bit of stumbling around through various climates that followed no known geographic logic, I emerged from a tropical glacier into a rainy desert and stepped on a particularly ugly rock. It was at this point that I realized it was not a rock, but some old man's head. He leapt from the sand with an angry scowl, causing me to react in a general but un-descriptive way.
"Who do you think you are, traipsing around my lovely garden without a hall pass?! You'll stamp on the flowers!" He shouted almost incoherently, in an accent that people would have if they were old and lived buried up to their necks in sand.
"I apologize for disturbing you, but I'm new to this…wherever this is…there are no flowers here though, this is a desert…I think" I replied unsurely and without confidence.
"Don't you understand sarcasm? You saved my life! If you hadn't stepped on my face, I might have slept peacefully for another hour!" He shouted, a bit more clearly this time.
"Ok I'm getting tired of this, where can I find food in this place?" I blurted out thoughtlessly.
"Fool! To eat, you must pull the magical butter sword from the scone and use it to slay the pizza dragon before eating its flesh!" He proclaimed like someone who knows his proclamations.
"Can't I just eat the scone?" I asked nonchalantly and with a big word that caused readers to pause for a moment.
"Of course you can't just eat the scone!" He replied belligerently. "The scone is ancient and stale, you'd break a tooth! Or worse, you'd find its stale flavor so unappealing that you'd lose your manners and insult the pastry chef!"
"Why can't I just get the pastry chef to make me something?" I asked un-creatively.
"The pastry chef is a giant of a man, ten feet tall with shoulders as broad as three regular pastry chefs! Also, I made him up, now do you want to move the plot along or not?" The old man shouted.
"Fine, fine, just where is this magical scone?" I sighed.
"It's over the river and through the woods, just beside grandma's house! If you need to be guided, just follow that non-metallic golden clay-block pathway which totally isn't a yellow brick road!" After finishing his directions, the old man disappeared in a puff of cocoa powder.
With no small amount of disbelief, I found myself following the similar but legally distinct non-metallic golden clay-block pathway to grandma's house. On the way there, I saw a tall anthropomorphic wolf wearing a tight top and a short skirt.
"Hi there, I've been bad" She said with a wink.
"H..hi…" was all I found myself able to say, I was stunned by her huge…eyes and barely covered…personality. She rolled her eyes seeing my reaction and waved me past.
"You're a loser, so go on through. If you knew how to avoid being stunned by unexpected, scantly-clad women I might have interest in you." She growled.
"Wait, don't make me leave!" I begged, but then a bright flash came from her…eyes and she was suddenly covered in armor and holding a giant axe.
"Go to grandma's house! You have insulted me with your nerdy inability to talk to girls!" She shouted, causing me to run as if I were being chased by a wolf-woman with an axe…which happens to be very quickly.
I had somehow inexplicably lost her following the completely conspicuous non-metallic golden clay-block pathway. The next obstacle was a bridge. Why exactly it's an obstacle I'm not sure, but I was determined to cross unharmed. As I walked over the excessively sturdy concrete and steel bridge, I heard a voice call out to me.
"Hey you!" Called the voice. I looked in the general direction of where I thought it had come from to see a large and possibly magical fish. To no real surprise, the fish began to speak again. "Good, I've got your attention! I have to warn you, this bridge leads to grandma's house!"
"Why would you warn me about that?" I inquired. The fish stared at me for a long moment, then swam away in frustration. I continued my trek across the bridge to find a vast forest, in front of which was a sign reading "the woods".
I continued following the convenient non-metallic golden clay-block pathway through the woods when I was approached by seven garden gnomes. Each had a different colored hat and coat; in order from left to right in the line they were conveniently standing in the colors were red and blue, vermilion and azure, crimson and cobalt, scarlet and cerulean, ruby and sapphire, carmine and indigo, and sanguine and aquamarine.
"Greetings prostitute! We are the seven gnomes, have you seen Powder Ivory? We've been searching for her so we can save her from the toxic pomegranate!" One of them shouted.
"Yes, and we wish to save you money on your vacation expenses!" Chipped in another.
"A pomegranite isn't a variety of apple, you're using the thesaurus wrong!" I shouted. This caused them to talk quietly among themselves for a short while, one of them producing a thesaurus as they debated over which variety of apple to use. Finally, they turned back to me with a result.
"You have a point, next time we'll tell the witch to use a toxic russet." Said the leader of the group. After that, they were on their way, probably to some tower to find out that Powder Ivory is in another tower or that their weapons don't have the proper enchantment level to defeat the final boss.
After a few more hours of walking, I finally saw a little cottage in the woods. I quickly dismissed the idea of it being grandma's house, because it was clearly a cottage. I moved past the little cottage (which was not a house) and continued following the non-metallic golden clay-block pathway until I reached a quaint little house deep in the woods. It wasn't brown at all, it was definitely the color of chocolate. Looking around, it only took me 20 minutes of searching to find the gigantic scone with the buttery sword sticking out of it.
Suddenly, an old woman burst out of the door shouting "What are you doing to my scone?! I'm saving it for when my granddaughter gets married!"
A little girl in a bright red cloak leaned out of the door and shouted "You tell him grandma!"
"I need the sword to slay the pizza dragon" I explained. "I'm hungry and the old man in the desert told me to eat its flesh."
The old lady smiled in a way that was purely disturbing, then laughed and said "What if I told you that I was the pizza dragon?"
"I'd tell you to get a name change, because you're neither pizza nor dragon" I replied flatly.
"True, true" she said in a manner suggesting deep though, then she charged at me with a dagger. I quickly pulled the giraffe net from my back pocket and threw it, catching both grandma and small scarlet cruising cowl. With those standing in my way netted like giraffes, I turned back to the scone and removed the butter sword.
Four hours later, I realized that I didn't know how to get to the dragon's lair and that I'd been walking aimlessly through the woods. Finally, I noticed a large wooden sign that read "dragon's lair" with a large arrow plot-devicedly pointing in the exact direction in which I'd been walking.
I soon reached a tall, snow-capped mountain covered in grass. I attempted to climb the mountain and failed twice before I noticed the convenient elevator. I took it to the top floor and stepped out to see a massive brownish dragon, apparently made entirely of pizza crust. The beast turned and breathed burning hot tomato sauce at me. I dodged, but the sword had melted. Remembering that the laws of physics don't apply inside magical gypsy flashlights, I picked up the melted butter sword as if it were one solid object and threw it at the pizza dragon, hitting the beast in the throat.
The moisture of the melted butter soaked through the pizza dragon's throat, and the weight of its head decapitated the beast. All of its internal flesh consisted of mozzarella cheese. I ate the pizza dragon's head, but I couldn't eat any more pizza after that, so I folded the rest of the corpse and put it inside a pizza box, and then placed the box in a refridgerator that just happened to be nearby.
On the way back, I ignored the curses of grandma and small scarlet crusing cowl and did not free them. I noticed that the seven lawn gnomes had been eaten by a pony, and as I followed the non-metallic golden clay-block pathway I once again came into contact with the tall "bad" she-wolf.
"You again! I should kill you for...um...you're a nerd!" She shouted as she lifted her axe.
"Wait!" I said without use of a more creative term, "My battle with the pizza dragon has given me confidence and taken away my nerdishness! Strange looking, yet attractive wolf lady whose name I never learned, will you go out with me?"
Suddenly, the armor disappeared and the wolf woman was once again in her skimpy outfit. She smiled exuberantly and said "Oh brave knight, I'd love to go out with you!"
Even more suddenly than the last paragraph I was enveloped in a magical blue flashlight field and the world began to fade, provoking my ire. I awoke laying on the cold pavement of the carnival. I immediately stood and accosted the gypsy "I thought you said it never ran out of power?!"
"I also said it was a flashlight! No refunds, friend." She said with a cruel smile.
"I'll friend you, you harpy!" I shouted as I attacked. Unfortunately, the carnival security saw me and I was thrown out. At least I think they threw me out, it's hard to tell with an open parking lot containing a few poorly constructed "rides" and booths selling literal garbage. Fortunately, I'd intended to use the flashlight as a club and thus I was still holding it. I unscrewed the top to ascertain what type of batteries the strange device used, but it exploded as I twisted the top and gave my palm a nasty bruise.
I headed home dejectedly, convinced I'd never set foot in the magical land again. Then I remembered that other than the fact that I met a woman willing to date me, I hated that place. The situation didn't seem as bad with that realization, and on the way home I stopped to get some doughnuts.
Upon arriving home, I ate the entire dozen in a single sitting before going to sleep on the couch. Why? Because they're the greatest doughnuts in the world.