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The Story of Mister Rumple Tuggle

This is my current project, and I'm still working on the ending. This one is curious because it's not a narrative, nothing exactly happens. It's a descriptive piece with what I call "meta-conflict". The conflict isn't contained in the story, it's contained in the interaction between the reader and the story. A literary photograph meant to create unrest and discomfort in the reader.

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In Dreamland, there is a field. Well, to be perfectly accurate, there's a whole lot of different fields. But we're interested in one in particular. In this particular field, the grass grows thick and lush; the green is so sharp you could slit your throat with it. The sky lingers above, not sure if it's the right part of town for a sky to be in, and it shits blue. The clouds are spun from liquid silver which rains down and stains the gold-bricked pavement black.

This is the field we're interested in. In this field, unicorns are known to play, their coats straying from the pure, virginal white and trending towards cotton candy flavored colors, sweet and pure as corn syrup. Between the unicorns' legs field mice frolic, anthropomorphic chatterboxes speaking unaccented Lobjan and exchanging mathematical theorems formulated using LISP. They're extremely smart mice, even if no one cares to understand them.

We don't care about the mice, or the unicorns. I want to avoid distractions like this, so let's please keep focus on our core subject.

In the center of this field- well, the mice would be upset if I called it that. The field can only be described as a complex irregular polygon, and an irregular polygon's center is a complex mathematical construct. But they're mice. I already said we're ignoring them. In the center of this field (and fuck the mice!) there is a cottage. A mud-brick, thatched-roofed cottage painted the color of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" played on the violin by a six year old. A small wisp of smoke rises from the chimney, swapping colors with whatever passes behind it, one moment a vivid pink, the next shit brown and the next the color of a good Brie left in the sun too long. The straw for the thatching isn't straw at all but spun sugar extruded into commercially lucrative shapes. The walls are built brick-by-brick from tan Legos and chocolate bars.

Inside this cottage lives a dwarf of a man named Rumple Tuggle. Rumple Tuggle comes up barely to my waist. He's a round little fellow, with rosy pudgy cheeks and a second chin. Recently he's taken to shaving off the small goatee that he normally wears so that his second chin can show in its full glory. He's very proud of the way it makes his body look well-lived in and rumpled. He lives a a carefree, peaceful life. A life full of roast mutton and sugared sweets. Rumple Tuggle doesn't have a care in the world, you see.

To get a full picture of Mister Tuggle's appearance, you need to be able to envision a good 19th Century suit. A wool suit dyed a cherry-flavored red. That fake red flavoring you'd find in cough syrup, but sweeter. He wears a starched white shirt with a paper collar that tastes like a Little Debbie™ Swiss Roll when you look at it and a top hat made of pure licorice. The black kind, not the red kind that everyone seems to prefer. I'll never understand that- it's the black licorice that's the good shit. The red crap tastes like fucking shoelaces.

Wait- sorry. Back to Mr. Rumple Tuggle. At the moment, Rumple has a kettle on. It's a purple kettle sitting above a purple flame on a purple stove. The burning fairy-wood in the stove is the source of the smoke that I mentioned just a moment ago. The purple is the color of grape flavored gelatin. When you look at the stove, it's hard to tell where it begins and the kettle ends. It all blends together into one indistinguishable mass, but it isn't your kettle, so why do you care anyway? Rumple Tuggle likes the color, and he never has any problem.

Why are you so damn judgmental?

Rumple Tuggle likes many things that you probably don't like. For example, Rumple Tuggle has tripe no less than once a week. Do you know what tripe is? Well, the easiest way to describe it is this- you know hot dogs? You know the old joke, about how hot dogs are made out of the parts of (insert animal here) that you wouldn't want to eat? Well, there are parts that don't make it into the hot dog. Boil those down, and that's tripe. Rumple Tuggle thinks it's delicious, and it's fine if you disagree. Just don't have any.

And I'd recommend staying away from his house on tripe night. It doesn't smell terribly good.

He also likes entertaining. He has guests over every night! He prepares fantastic meals and the smell of all the good food works its way into the very walls of his cottage. If you lick the wallpaper, you can taste last night's feast, all seven courses (unless last night was tripe night- I wouldn't recommend licking the wallpaper at all then). That might sound like fun, but it's really so much work. Rumple Tuggle has to spend almost all his free time preparing for his guests.

Rumple Tuggle likes more than just tripe and entertaining. He likes his cottage, for example. You probably wouldn't, but that's because your head would constantly bounce off the ceiling and shake loose graham cracker crumbs. It's just the right size for Rumple Tuggle.

Speaking of things just the right size for Rumple Tuggle, one of the other things Rumple Tuggle likes is raping young boys. "Don't eye me that way," he explains to any guests that act shocked at his confession. "You see," says Rumple Tuggle, "it's nothing like that nasty, messy, traumatizing rape you see in the _real_ world. I don't do anything like that. Not. At. All." A firm shake of the head always sends his jowls flapping. All of his guests ignore the sweat that leaks out when he does that, which is foolish of them. It tastes like lemon drops.

"In the real world," Rumple Tuggle explains, "you have to hold them in place. You have to force yourself onto them. Physically bend them to your will. Or worse! You have to trick them. Lie to them, make them think it's okay. That it's natural." At this point in his monologue, Rumple Tuggle makes a "tsk" noise and sets a candied apple on the table before each of his guests. "It's a shame, and it's so messy. Fluids mingling- and the crying. I could never deal with that crying. What I do, oh, it's so different." His eyes flicker up into space, and they take on that look of a child staring at a butt-plug the size of a two-liter soda bottle and wondering "What is that?"

What is that indeed! "I rape them in their dreams, and there, it's completely different. Why did you know these humans don't even have a single identity? No coherent sense of self!" He leans forward, his second chin swings a bit as he stops, momentum making it pendulous. "Not at all. Not at all!" Many guests make a show of checking for the door at this point, but Rumple Tuggle isn't put out at all. In fact, as his passionate monologue kicks into gear, he hardly notices. No, now, an erection is starting to creep up between his legs; the throbbing is barely noticeable when contained within his thick woolen pants. This is the only point in the entire evening when a guest might think Rumple Tuggle the slightest bit rude. The rest of the time, you see, he's the most gracious host, providing sweets, sodas, teas, and roast mutton. He always attends to his guests' every need and is attentive to them. A perfect host, except for this brief moment. I think it would be unfair of us to demand perfection from a simple man like Rumple Tuggle.

"Human identity is a strange thing indeed. Sometimes, they define themselves as what they do- but what do children do? They don't have a career! They merely play! They have no anchor to define their identity. They haven't built one yet." Someplace in this rant, his tongue slips out along his lips and his eyes refocus with an intensity that invariably lands on one of the guests. Before the end of the night, that guest will be joining the roast mutton as one of the courses in Rumple Tuggle's fine meals.

"That," he explains conspiratorially, pushing his thick glasses up his round nose, "is why the dreams of human children are such a great place to stage the rape of young boys. Why, so few of them will _ever_ remember it! It didn't really happen to them, it happened to some 'not them' residing in the corners of their subconscious. An ounce of memory for a pound of fun." The chubby dwarf accents this part of his rant with a pirouette. He is remarkably graceful considering his poorly proportioned, rotund body. Still, it takes a lot out of him. At the end of the spin, he stamps his left foot down, apart from his right. Like a bull considering a cow as a mate or an interesting blade of grass as a meal. His eyes can no longer focus, and instead roll around his head like dice until the come up snake-eyes. Lemon-drop flavored sweat cascades down his face and soils his paper collar, causing it to wilt under the assault.

"For those like myself," once again, he adjusts his glasses, trying to fight gravity and the lubrication of his own sweat- that sweet, sweet lemon flavored sweat, "dreams are the only reality. But humans have this entire other realm that exists separate from Dreamland. A fantasy land of poured concrete and molded steel. Electrons and aluminum. They think _that's_ real." Rumple Tuggle pauses for a knowing chortle. "And that's why it's so easy to rape young boys in their sleep. They think it was just a nightmare. They think that it was a dream. It didn't happen to them. Goodness, they don't even have the vocabulary to understand what just happened anyway- they have no way to process it. Images and sensations. They can never put it into words. They can never know exactly what it was, but they know it was something." Finally, as he senses his guests' discomfort, Rumple Tuggle settles back down into a seat and picks up one of his tea cookies (fresh baked with flour made from the bones of those damn talking mice). A bite removes the head of the elf-shaped pastry. Crumbs stick to his fish-like lips. "It haunts them, it lingers. It touches every aspect of their lives from that moment onwards. They recreate it in dreams. They act it out in their strange sexual fantasies. It's incredible. It's not the rape itself that I find enjoyable. You have no idea how pleasurable it can be to check in on them sixteen years later, twenty years later, fifty years later. When you see a boy you raped as a child wearing a gimp mask and dog collar, when you see that boy as a manager, harassing his employees, when you see him flip the bird to that asshole that just cut him off in traffic, work as a televangelist or masturbate to the swimsuit competition on television, you can sit up, and remark: 'I did that! I had a hand in making that. Why, without me, where would he be? Someplace else! That's where."

At this point, Rumple Tuggle always stops and takes a long glance at the children he's called together for tea. Always, each of the young boys eye him expectantly and somewhat confused, like an acolyte awaiting instructions from a priest. "Someday, maybe you'll understand. Someday, your unconscious mind will dredge tonight up and you'll wake up, sheets twisted around you, sweat dripping from every pore and your anus strangely uncomfortable. The taste of lemondrops on your lips. And some little part of you, that bit nestled between waking and sleeping, between the appendix and the large intestine- that little bit will remember what happened here tonight." Rumple Tuggle sighs as he stands, a sad smile on his lips.

I liked this one. I

I liked this one. I wouldn't called it an unstory, just a sketch with an immediate punch perhaps, or maybe the first part of a short story. I didn't see this as offensive, just horribly creepy in a way that made me want to read more — because as the Rumple explains in the end, he's raping the boys in their dreams not for immediate pleasure, but for the long term harm he does to them as adults. This would make a great first chapter or prologue to a larger story, if that's you plan. If not, I still enjoyed it.

-Rikki
www.rikkisimons.com

We'll See

I'm pretty certain we'll see Rumple Tuggle showing up in a longer work at some point.

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Not Responsible

What is your goal?

I have been making the same basic comment over and over, but in your case at least you are aware this isn't actually a 'story', per se.

So, what is your goal here? Do you want to be published? If yes, write a story. About people. In conflict. If not, have fun. But I, for one, will give it a pass. I know that I wasn't able to stay with this past the third paragraph.

Ideas are easy. Stories are hard.

Goals? We don't need goals.

The goal is to offend the reader in this case. And mostly, this one here's an exercise. Tune in next week for an actual story.

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Not Responsible