An Ego Trip and a Half by Brandon Scott

For Nick, who apparently knows how to get my attention with story starters.

The day Brandon saved the world.

It was like any other normal day. Well, normal for Brandon. And, thus, not normal at all. Brandon does not have normal days—no, Brandon has “Brandon days.” Which usually contain salty foods, walking, and writing. And, of course, random things happening. Often hilarious only in hindsight.

So, when the dimensional rip sprang open over his bed (which was next to his desk), Brandon did not notice. He was writing, you see. And he had some planned target or another. Something that needed doing. Brandon has a lot of stuff he always needs to do.

So, his eyes—which get tired often—did not move to see the portal open and a woman fall out of it. And then he only looked away from the screen when she tapped him on his shoulder.

“Hello?”

“Ugh, I hate when people interrupt me. What?”

The girl, wearing a gown of white, frowned. “Um, I came to give you your destiny?”

“Oh God, really?” Brandon said. “Now?”

“Yes, it is urgent.”

Brandon kneaded his temples and sighed. “Okay, I guess. This seems contrived though. Can we please have some sort of wish fulfillment story which is not the classic ‘damsel in distress’ trope? I get you’re my love interest and all—or something like that. But come on, how about something else?”

The girl sat cross-legged on Brandon’s bed. A bed which looked nice to Brandon at that moment. Being meta was making him tired.

“You mean ‘me tired’,” Brandon said.

Excuse me?

“You’re writing a story about yourself, where you, as a character, knows that you are yourself…I think. So, it’s making ‘me tired.’”

Well, yeah, but that just makes this even more confusing. How is anyone supposed to follow this when we do word-play and fourth wall shit like that?

“Eh,” Brandon said. “I don’t know. It’s not my problem.”

Yes, it is.

“How so?”

You’re me. Can we please get back on topic?

“Fair enough, sure.”

Thank you. So, Brandon looked over at the woman and gestured out his hand, willing to help—even if a little annoyed with the whole thing. He’d prefer a satirical dystopian adventure, but you get what you get. And the two of them fell into a magical world. Landing on a convenient horse mount and then galloping into the city proper.

“So, what villain am I fighting? And how much of a ruler is he already?”

“Well,” the girl said, “he’s an evil king.”

“Why is he evil?”

The girl shook her head a few times. Like she was not sure what she had just heard. She looked back to him as the horse jostled them along their path.

“Well, he taxes the orphans….”

Brandon facepalmed. “Yep, okay. I figured it was something like that. Give me a minute.”

Without a ritual or form of magical hijinks that would explain how he did it, Brandon Scott reached into the air and plucked down an accountant—who was already up to speed on the tax laws of a fantasy kingdom with elves and magic and dragons.

“Look, I think I know the problem here,” Brandon said. “Nine times out of ten, these sorts of kings just have a terrible understanding of the local economy. And a deep, unresolved issue with orphans, usually because of being one themselves. Sad really.”

“But he’s a decadent hedonist!” the girl protested.

“Not if I talk him out of his base character traits.”

“…okay,” the girl said. “I guess you are the man of prophecy.”

“Yep, however annoying that may be,” Brandon said. “Now, let’s get to the ending already.”

The End.

“Wait, wait, not that soon. Let’s at least make it make sense how I ‘saved the world’? For the person who gave the opening sentence’s sake? He was nice enough to give me an excuse to write absolute insane bullshit.”

Yeah, good point. So, having changed the tax laws to something reasonable for everyone involved, without mucking around too much in political opinions or mirroring real world events, Brandon emerged through the portal, only to find the same portal was widening—which would destroy the world.

So, Brandon closed it and saved the world. The End.

“Much better. Captures the themes in a more robust way. I think we pushed the bounds of what can be accomplished with the right application of surrealism and meta-textual—”

Yeah, not staying around for that. My rants can last awhile. Bye.

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