--Desert You

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
This story is definitely original, Alap.

Submitted: May 20, 2015

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Submitted: May 20, 2015

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Once upon a time, there was a boy named Richard, and let me tell you, he was a fearful child. He had a fear of closed spaces. He had a fear of heights. And worst of all, he had a fear of beautiful women. It sucked  that he lived in a cramped room at the top of a tower that belonged to an all-girls boarding school.

You see, his mother was the headmistress of this institution, and she considered herself to be a radical feminist. Not radical as in “totally rad, bruh,” but radical as in “all men must be neutered.” She was the textbook definition of a misandrist, and every night, she wept at the fact she had birthed the pig that was her son. Still, the headmistress held onto the glimmer of hope that her son could one day aid her struggle to topple the patriarchy. Richard was thus raised to be as feminine as possible, but due to his fear of beautiful women, all those attractive babysitters just collapsed him to tears. His mother's logic was that surrounding him with girls would eventually let him build a tolerance, which explained why he lived in an all-girls school.

Isolation and fear drove him mad. The only way to save his sanity was to occupy his mind and forget the world around him. One night, after months of reconnaissance and scheming, he finally decided to search for salvation. He unscrewed the grate on the floor and began to sneak his way through the ventilation system. Girls don’t travel through vents, after all. The map clenched his hand led him to the school library, where he popped out of the wall.

Richard gasped. Before him was a plethora of books, movies, and magazines. No longer would his days be filled with emptiness and sorrow! Unfortunately, he heard the ominous click of high heels on the far side of the room. He was not alone.

For fear of discovery, Rick grabbed the nearest DVD, jumped back into the vents, and crawled the hell out of there. His breath was ragged, but he had succeeded in stealing from the library! He popped the DVD into the player and soon realized he had taken the Pixar movie, Up.

His life changed that day.

This film revolved around the struggle of a man who started out timid, but managed to face the fears that Richard currently held. The man lived in a small house and often found himself in tight spaces, something Richard could never do. The man used balloons to soar through the skies, something Richard could never hope to achieve. The man even befriended a girl who turned out to be horribly beautiful, something Richard admired greatly.

Currently, he was a coward. The movie protagonist was once a coward. Hell, even the lion from “The Wizard of Oz” was the greatest coward of all. But that would change. Richard would overcome his fears and prove to the world he too could become like the hero in Up. He too could strengthen his heart and gain courage like the Cowardly Lion.

This girls school was no place for a budding hero. Up was his fate. From that day forth, in honor of the Cowardly Lion, he gave himself the title of Richard the Lionheart. The boy tucked the Pixar DVD into his jacket and leapt out the window, hurtling toward his destiny.

***

To tell the truth, the whole destiny thing didn’t immediately work out. For starters, Richard lived at the top of a tower, remember? The moment he processed just how far up he was, he fainted. Fortunately, deus ex machina was on his side, and a passing pillow truck cushioned his fall. When he regained consciousness, he began to concoct a plan. In order to live out his favorite movie, he had to to accomplish several things.

First, he needed to join the Boy Scouts. That’s how the Up protagonist began his journey, after all. The practice of sleeping in tents and logs would help him overcome his claustrophobia. Second, he needed to marry an ugly girl who would eventually become into a hot babe. The gradual change would allow him to build a tolerance toward his wife’s beauty. He also needed a talking dog, that was essential to the movie too. At last, Richard needed to overcome his fear of heights by lifting his house toward the sky with balloons.

That was his destiny.

The Boy Scout plan wasn’t too difficult. A year of adventure and wilderness passed, and Richard was already top-ranking scout.

Merit badges, check.

Next, he needed a wife. That didn’t take too much trouble, either. While Richard was hiking through the woods, he encountered the Girl Scouts’ campgrounds. He initially panicked, his fear of beautiful women triggered, but he calmed down once he realized they were all hideous. However, their troop leader was a walking goddess, so he had to steer clear from her. An hour of creeping and eavesdropping passed before he discovered that this gorgeous troop leader was one of the girl scouts’ mother, and coincidentally, the daughter’s name was Ellie.

This was, without a doubt, fate. When the troop returned from their trip, Richard began to court Ellie. She refused to call him “Richard the Lionheart” and instead preferred to address him as something simpler, like “Rick” or “Ricky.” Well, no journey can be completed without making a few sacrifices. He agreed to drop the title, and soon they were happily married. Ellie loved Rick because he never leered at attractive waitresses. Rick loved Ellie because she was ugly. They were the perfect couple.

Unfortunately for him, her hidden beauty soon emerged, and he couldn’t make eye contact with her for a whole month. His beauty tolerance increased, however, and soon his fear of gorgeous women had diminished.

Hot wife, check.

The issue of the talking dog had to be fulfilled next. Sure, science claimed that was impossible, but Rick had no need for science when destiny was on his side. He adopted a young poodle and named him Dug, another Up reference. Dug wasn’t the best student or even a good student; he wasn’t even a human student. Still, that didn’t stop Rick, and eventually, Dug learned to speak English like his master. But why stop there? Another year passed, and the dog was able to craft poetry analyses of Shakespeare and Dickinson.

Talking dog, check.

The only thing left to do was put the balloons and helium tanks he bought to good use, then his destiny would be fulfilled. Unfortunately, his plans would have to come to a halt, as Ellie later announced her pregnancy. Dug congratulated her wholeheartedly, but Rick’s smile wasn’t directed toward his future son. No, he viewed this as another opportunity to live out his favorite movie.

The Ellie in Up had a miscarriage, and one could not escape fate. As Rick patted his wife on the back, diabolical plans formed in his mind; he had a feeling Ellie would be disappointed when her son didn’t make the 9-month journey. His dog, on the other hand, could smell the evil emanating from his master, and he grew suspicious.

One day, while his dear master was at work, Dug snooped around in Rick’s room and found his owner’s diary. He, being a dog of high education, shamelessly opened the book and read its contents. His eyes widened when the sick truth finally came to light: his master was a monster! Without hesitation, he scrambled over to his other owner and revealed Rick’s twisted plan.

“Master Rick is going to kill your baby!” he growled, tossing her the diary.

Dread filled her chest as Ellie learned the truth about her husband. Tears sprung to her eyes. To think her beloved husband was some Up-worshipping creep! Something had to be done to protect her son.

That night, Ellie slipped drugs into her husband’s meal, and within minutes, Rick was knocked out. The weight of a fully grown man proved difficult to carry, so Ellie and Dug tied him up and trapped him inside a barrel. That way, they could just roll the barrel around instead of drag him. The two of them later pushed him to the front lawn, where they began to inflate hundreds of balloons with helium. So he wanted to relive his favorite movie, eh? Oh, he’d relive it alright. They would force him to confront his two greatest fears until he fully regretted his twisted idea.

At last, the final balloon was tied, and the barrel floated steadily toward the sky. Perhaps the schemers shouldn’t have chosen such a breezy day to carry out their plan, because Rick began to drift toward the mountains. The mountaintops were pretty pointy, just saying.

His wife and dog panicked. They didn’t want to kill him, just punish him! The two of them chased after their victim, who unfortunately collided with the sharp rocks. Perilous pops pierced the air as the number of balloons supporting him started to diminish. The barrel fell and became wedged in the mountain. The force of the impact awoke Rick, who found himself literally stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Sweat trickled down his forehead as he squeezed his eyes shut, trying to ignore the fact he was trapped in a dark, cramped container. Claustrophobia was not easy. He peered out a hole and his eyes bugged out at the sight of the drop. Fear of heights was not easy. Both his mind and heart were racing. How did he get here? Who did this to him?

An hour of living through hell passed before Ellie and Dug were within hearing distance. They shouted from below, asking if he was alive.

“Let me out!” he begged, rattling his wooden prison.

Their responses were cruel. It was clear they wouldn’t free him until he listened to each accusation, each derogatory word. Tolerating such bitterness was almost as bad as being stuck in a barrel, and Rick considered falling off the mountain to be a better option than listening to these two rant about his dreams.

More time passed, and they were still going at it. At last, he couldn't stand it anymore.

"I give up! You win," he cried, shaking the barrel in frustration. "I swear I won’t hurt our baby, just please let me down!"

Even from his height, he could see the looks of suspicion flash across their faces. Forgiveness would be impossible, he realized, and he refused to listen to their insults any longer. He rocked back and forth, gradually freeing the barrel from the wedge. He would rather risk death than listen to these two badger him any longer. Ever so slowly, the barrel began to turn, inching closer to the edge of a nasty slope.

Still, second thoughts lingered in the back of his mind. He called back to his family.

“Please… I promise I’ll leave you alone. I’ll even move to another country,” he insisted. “All I ask is that you leave me the one thing I treasure most: the copy of Up that’s guided me all these years.”

Perhaps they’d let him go. Perhaps they’d believe in him. Rick gave them two choices: forgive him and end this nonsense or let him roll himself off the cliff. His wife and dog, conflicted in their feelings, were struggling to find an answer. After what seemed like an eternity, Ellie and Dug looked up and gave him their final answers.

"Never gonna give you Up."

"Never gonna let you down."

"Never gonna run around and—”

Rick rolled.


© Copyright 2020 Chary. All rights reserved.

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