This years challenge was:
Invent, perform, or re-enact, an act of pointless heroism for the
And here's my response:
Like most acts of heroism, the start of it all was domestic. Candy and her boyfriend were out shopping, and had wandered into a gallery full of paintings and pictures, statues and sculptures. Or at least, Dan had wandered in, dragging Candy reluctantly behind him. Art wasn’t really her thing. And so she was lost in her own daydream as Dan droned on about how the thing he was looking at was the most incredible art ever, a masterpiece by the up and coming artist Sidney Sussex. Suddenly Dan snapped and turned on her: “You’re not even listening! You never listen to a word I say! We don’t even have anything in common anyway! Well, that’s it, Candy, it’s over!”. And he stormed out of the gallery without another word.
Candy felt so Magdalene she burst into tears. Dan was so moody nowadays. What she really needed was some big gesture to show him how much she still loved him. While hopefully showing him how much she appreciated his love of art too. She gazed at the wall where he had been looking. There, next to a scrappy montage of bits of cut out paper was the most beautiful painting she had ever seen. It was no wonder Dan had been so awestruck by it. She vowed instantly that whatever it cost, she would buy the painting and take it to Dan, to show him how much she loved him still.
Suddenly, there was a sudden rushing of wind. A small man, dressed in nothing but a loincloth and with wings growing out of his shoulders, dashed into the gallery, shouldered Candy rudely aside, and grabbed the painting from the wall, before running off. Candy was dumbstruck, but there was nothing to do but give chase. She followed him out of the shop door….
… and found herself standing in a gigantic hall. The angel was far ahead of her, and running fast. She made to follow, but a small hairy gentleman blocked her way. “Welcome to the Halls under the Mountain. What is your name, and what do you seek?”
“I’m Miss Tab, and I want the painting that angel stole”, replied Candy.
“Ah” replied the hairy man. “We might be able to help you, but…”
“These are the halls under the mountain. We have the New Hall, which was the first hall to be built, the Clare Hall, made of Clare glass and crystal, the three Trinity halls, where all things are in triplicate, the hall of Kings and Queens…”
“Which is this hall? It’s very big”
“Yes, my dear, this is the Hughes Hall. Anyway, as I was saying, if you wished to go through any of those halls I could help you. But the way you want to go is through that door, and you can only pass that way if you can answer my question. You see, it is the Ridley Hall. And today’s riddle is: Alive without breath, as cold as death, never thirsty ever drinking, all in mail, never clinking. Oh, and here’s a nice cup of tea to help you think”
Candy was suddenly relieved that Dan had forced her to read the Hobbit. Downing her tea in one, she said “A fish! It’s a fish”.
“Why so it is”, said the hairy man, and waved her through the Ridley Hall.
Leaving the Halls, she found herself in a wild wood at night. A wolf howled in the darkness, and suddenly she became aware of hundreds of eyes, all around her. The animals of the forest, thousands of beasts and birds, had surrounded her, watching her.
“Who are you, and why are you here?” said a great grey wolf.
“I am on a quest, to rescue the painting that the angel stole” Candy said, timidly.
The wolf let out a mighty roar. “A quest? Then we must help you. But the elders must not leave the forest. We will send our first born children to help you. Come, Wolfson, Hartson, Robinson, and Boarson!”
Four animals ran across the clearing to Candy’s side. The rest melted into the forest as if they’d never been.
“Don’t mind Dad” said the Wolf. “He’s a bit formal, and always uses the old names. I’m Wesley, and the robin’s William”
“I’m Tom”, said the deer, “and the boar is Wynnifred”.
“Thankyou for your help in my quest” said Candy.
“Don’t worry”, said Wesley. “It’s not far to go to Heaven. But first we must cross the river”
“How will we cross?” asked Candy “Here’s a boat, but there’s nothing to propel it with”
“Don’t worry”, said the deer. “There’s a shed full of gardening tools here. Maybe I can push it along with this rake. Or maybe this would be better…”
“But we don’t have much time” said Wesley. “Girton the boat as fast as possible!”
“What is this place?” asked Candy
“It’s the Pem Brooke” replied William
“And I’m PEM!” cried the river monster, as it leapt towards the boat with an almighty roar “And Pem wants to eat you!”
Everyone shrieked in terror “Quick, go faster! Hoe-more,-Tom!” Tom pushed the boat with the hoe as fast as he could, and they all leapt ashore just before Pem crashed into the boat, smashing it to splinters.
They were at the foot of a long, pearly staircase winding up a grassy slope dotted with chapels and alters. “Heaven’s at the top” whispered Wynnifred. “We call this Church Hill”. As they arrived at the top of the staircase, they beheld a giant locked gate. A door next to it was labled “Peter’s house”. They knocked, and an elderly man came out.
“Is this the way to heaven?” asked Candy
“Yes” said Peter. “Do you have the Caius?”
“No” said Candy
“Then the only way in is for me to take someone’s life. You will have to sell me a soul”
The animals hastily conferred together. Then they turned to Candy, pushing the boar forwards. “You can Sell Wyn if you like. We can’t come all this way and give up”
St Peter smiled. “At least then they’ll be new ham in heaven.” At that, Winifred fainted clean away.
Candy said “I’m not killing anyone! Wes, minister to Winifred!” As Wes opened the first aid kit a key fell out of it. Candy gasped in surprise “Wes’got a key!” The robin swooped down and flew with the key to the pearly gates. “Oh, it Fits, William!”
The doors swung open and the bold adventurers trooped into Heaven. It looked like a tournament was about to commence. On one side were seraphim and cherubim, St Catharine, St Edmund, St John and all the ranks of heaven. On the other were all manner of scientists, including Richard Dawkins, Einstein, and Steven Hawkins. “Can you see Cavandish?” whispered Wes to Candy. But he never heard the answer, because then down came a man in a cloud of smoke and fire, proclaiming “I am Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, Corpus Christi, the Messiah”. A small scientist appeared on the other side “I’m Darwin” he said rather nervously. “I still don’t see what this argument is about”. “Err, me neither” said Jesus, but they didn’t get any further because Candy spotted the angel with the painting, hovering somewhere between them. Burning with determination she put her fear aside and ran over to the angel, and grabbed at the picture…
And heaven melted away around her like smoke, and she found herself back in the art gallery clutching the painting. She walked to the counter, paid, and found Dan skulking outside the shop. “Oh Dan” she said “I’m so sorry. I bought you that painting you liked!”. Dan shook his head in frustration. “Can Tab, you silly thing, you never listen to a word I say. I didn’t like the painting – I wanted the collarge!. You’re dumped.”
And he walked away down the street.