“Yes, yes, but you’ve failed to say how much you charge? Uh huh. Well is there any way you can bring that down? Not at all? Right then, well I suppose you’ll have to do. The last person did a bloody awful job and I won’t be wasting any more money unless you’re actually worth it. Well, you say that, but I want it to come through and mean something. Very well then. Tomorrow 5pm. He’ll let you in.“
Charlie McSonny, 17, was an unfortunately named child in a soon-to-be-fortunate situation. Of course, that suggests that he was not in a fortunate situation. This much is very true. As I carried out my background research, to make sure he was suitable you see (and of course I wouldn’t be writing this if he wasn’t), I had discovered that Charlie had suffered. I have worked with many, but Charlie’s was particularly upsetting. Perhaps I will tell you, one day, but for now I realise that I am spending far too much time on building up emotional attachment to a person you have only a name, age and a supposing of what he will be like based on that telephone conversation with his father I wrote above. Whatever you’ve thought, you’re wrong. There’s a possibility you’re right I suppose, but it’s pretty slim. I’m just going to go ahead and say you’re wrong and if you’re not, well then I might provide my capabilities free of charge for you. I’m that certain.
Still, Charlie was a good candidate. And so I went ahead with my agreement. I shall switch to the dialogue we had now. I hope you like dialogue. There’s a lot of it in the following passages. I think it breaks up the monotony of my narration anyhow.
By the way, I’m Demy, age unknown (just kidding, it’s 28 and a bit), and my name, whilst unusual, is assuredly not unfortunate. I could tell you my surname, but then I’d have to think it up. The last one I gave was Boxton. Now, what’ll really get you is whether or not I’m being intentionally perpendicular or if I really am this mysterious. I don’t do drugs, by the way. I know you might think I’m a bit “oooooh-oooooh, MYSTERIOUS”, but if I told you everything now, we’d have to spend ages before we get to all the good stuff. There’s (bad) sword fighting, romance and royalty. That’s all in the first story too! Now look what I’ve done. I’ve gone on for over four-hundred words and you’re none-the-wiser the situation. Where’s that dialogue too? Ha! I’ll be curious to know how much of this my editor will cut down. [Ed’s note – I think you’re building it quite well so far!]
“Who are you?” That’s Charlie. He’s quite snappy. Understandably.
“I’m Demy.” But you already knew that.
“Riiiight. And what can I do with a name?” Lots of things. Charlie’s creativity does improve, don’t worry.
“Well you can use it when you want to call someone, use it as a fake for when you get caught by the police after doing drugs or what you use when you tell your parents about your tutor without referring to me as ‘the tutor’ so that I sound like an actual, existing person.” Which for all you know I am.
“No-one would believe someone’s called Demy. I don’t. I suppose I should let you in then.” Charlie pulled the door to and gestured for me to come in.
“Thank you.” Oh, it was raining all that time. He didn’t have a porch. My long hair doesn’t like the rain. Yes, this takes place in England. Or Scotland. But it’s definitely England. And before you start getting any ideas, I’m not Mary Poppins. I’ve never even watched the whole film. Oops, distracted…
“My last tutor was rubbish. I didn’t even need them. I don’t need you.” Don’t listen to him. He did need me. He also needed a drink, so he went to get one. This was quite efficient really, as we were to be set-up in the kitchen. See, there was a point to that mundane fact.
“Well I think you do need me. I think by the time I’m through with you, you’ll be begging me to stay.” He did, that’s not for at least a few more entries and he did.
“You’re certainly more confident than my previous tutors.” He looked me up-and-down. I would say it was because he was hormonal that he fixated on my breasts and…well, no, actually, that was probably right. He gets better at least.
“I have the experience to justify it.” About four years’ worth. Success rate of 100%.
“I’m getting the grades I need. I really don’t need you.”
“You really do.” He really did. I absolutely cannot stress this enough.
“Whatever. Can we get started? We’re supposed to go over maths. Even though I’m getting As in it.” He sat down, flicked through a folder of papers without much care for them. Probably because they were all completed. “Can you just look over them and make sure they’re correct?” He handed me the folder.
“Of course, whatever you want.” I flicked through the folder in the same dismissive manner he did. I then threw it behind me.
“Hey! They’re all going to be out of order now.” Oh they most definitely were.
“They were all correct though. You’re very smart.” This sounds patronising. It really wasn’t.
“I know this.” But he was arrogant. “Like I said, you’re not needed.” Tch, there he goes again.
“What do you think I’m doing here, really? As in, I’m 28 (and a bit), should probably have a career and without looking at your work for more than a few seconds in which it would surely have been impossible for any normal person to do, knew it was all correct. Aren’t you the least bit intrigued?” Come on, you’ve got to hand it to me for a bit of build-up.
“I…well, I’m not sure.” He really wasn’t. “Tell me then.” He sipped from his glass.
“I thought you’d never ask!” Honestly, you’ve had a thousand words to ask and you wait for him to do it? Typical. “I’m no ordinary tutor!” I admit, I take extra glee in saying this as excitingly as I do. It doesn’t always work though.
“Am I going to need to phone the police?” Like then. It didn’t work then. That is not a success rate of 100%. It’s more like 63/47.
“No, Charlie. You’re not. Besides, where we’re going, there are no police.” I also like Back to the Future.
“Sorry, what?” I love it when those 63 say that.
“And now we’re in the medieval times.” I’m so good I don’t even need to click, or clap or anything. It just happens. One minute, you’re sitting with a tutee at their kitchen table, the next thing you know you’re both in the middle of a field several hundred years ago, standing up in full armour. Anyhow, while I’ve been telling you this, Charlie had been frantically looking around at his surroundings through the small slit in his metal helmet. He tried to move with the normal amount of energy he would use to do so, but failed to easily. With more assertion, he was able to lift his arms to the amount that he became lop-sided and fell on his back.
“This is a dream. This has to be a dream.” I’ve omitted the swearing to keep this clean, although in his defence his screams were so muffled that it was hard to tell if they were. Of course, you know I’m not normal, so I do hear these things.
“So a few things to understand. This isn’t historically accurate. I’ve just created a scenario where you can experience a like-real environment, but where all the people and locations are fictitious. This also makes it easier for not having to go through the history books and be historically accurate. Creativity is fun like that! By the way, I can do magic. Just so you know.” On reflection, I probably could have mentioned this earlier, maybe between explaining myself and the start of the dialogue, but then this moment would’ve been nowhere near as cool. I’ve had time to work on my timing. And my writing. I was never this good. Okay, sorry, we were just getting crazy and I’ve completely changed the subject.
“I…you…magic??” Charlie was still wrestling with gravity. It’s probably worth noting that even though this environment was entirely fictitious, it still refers to real world machinations, but not real time. Well, real time doesn’t pass as real time while we’re here. There’s a good few things to explain, alright? The thing is, I could explain it now, but this would be really exposition heavy. Why don’t I just wait until the end of the first adventure?
“Do you see why you need me now? Admit it, I’m pretty fantastic.” I really am.
“Why do I have armour on?! Where’s my house?! Who are you?!” All perfectly valid questions given what had just happened.
“Because you’re a knight. In the real world. Demy, your tutor, but this much you know.”
“What??” I think that was a response to all three.
I’m going to skip the next few minutes because it was just him struggling to get up. In the end, I gave him a hand. I’ve had plenty of practice using this sort of heavy armour. Again, you’re just going to have to trust me that I’ll explain this all later. Anyhow, Charlie got his bearings and after a few more moments of obscenities, he looked at me through his eye-slit with a focused look. There was, I suppose, a slight chance he was annoyed about this. I don’t know about you though, but if someone gives me maths homework to do, I instinctively think about all the other things I’d rather be doing. This includes, but I should stress is not limited to: cleaning my flat and making sure my crockery is all cleaned (and depending on the severity of the work, dried too); running up the side of one of the Great Pyramids and last, but by no means least; speed-reading War and Peace (a task which takes the best part of 43 minutes). I know what you’re thinking, so let me address your two issues. Firstly, invisibility is a distinct advantage in not being called out for running up a wonder of the world. Besides, the pictures I’ve taken at the top are more than worth it. Secondly, I find Tolstoy fascinating and am constantly surprised that every time I read it I find something else I’ve missed. Anyhow, I digress.
“So, where are we?” Good question.
“That’s a good question!” Well, it was! It’s not like he asked “Am I in armour?” That would be a stupid question as we’ve quite clearly already clarified this fact.
“Are you going to answer then?” He does like his questions, doesn’t he?
“Yes. We’re in a sort-of-facsimile of 1379 England. That is to say, this land does not take the mass of England circa 1379, but everyone here does speak English.” I like to be able to understand the inhabitants I’ve just made up.
“So, what? Classic or contemporary English?” I told you he was smart.
“Good question, again! Contemporary, but with a few ‘ye’ and ‘thou’ interspersed.” Medieval period bored me at school.
“It’s like a Hollywood film then. What, are we taking down Richard the 3rd? Perhaps we’re beating back some invading French? Oh, I suppose we’re probably fighting off Americans with lasers-guns that shoot chickens!” No, but that definitely does give me an amazing idea for the next time I come here. Although, why not save time and have chickens that fire laser-guns? Such linear thinking.
“Hmm, I don’t think so. Richard the 3rd doesn’t live in this space. More like Penelope the 5th.” I liked her mother more.
“And I have to duel the knight champion to win her trust and affirm her command of Englikeland?” I did punish him for his facetiousness.
“Sure, why not?” Clap. Ha, just kidding! No clap. Okay, so to paint the scenario for you because Charlie carried on speaking while the situation changed. We were then in the middle of a massive circular arena, where hundreds sat round the edge cheering or jeering, as Penelope the 5th looked over from her royal perch. Charlie took a second to take in his new surroundings, before realising the quite hefty weight in his hands was a-
“Broadsword?!” In his defence, he was doing an admirable job keeping it and himself up-right.
“AND, INTRODUCING…THE KNIGHT! CHAMPIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!” That wasn’t me. Actually, it was-
“Janbor?!” It was Janbor. I recognised his shouting.
“Who’s Janbor?” Charlie asked the question you were all wondering about too!
“I’m going to kick your ass!” The knight champion walked a little into the arena and proceeded to wave at the crowd. It was weird though, I didn’t recognise this knight champion. I’m fairly certain I didn’t let any of my creations say kick my a…oh Janbor! You’ve done it again.
“Janbor! Not again!” I don’t think he was paying much attention to me.
“Who is Janbor?! What’s going on? Again?!” Charlie was, quite understandably, getting more agitated. I should say, in these few seconds, he had drastically improved his standing-in-armour and sword-holding capabilities.
“Janbor is another tutor. He’s done this to me a few times, coming into my space.” I distinctly remember shaking my head in my hand. My left hand, if you care. “You should probably learn how to wave that around. I think you might need to fight this champion person.” Even though his eyes were barely visible, I could make out the death-glare he just sent my way. I would criticise, but it wasn’t like I was going to be fighting.
“So if that’s another tutor, does that mean…”
“Yup!” I guess I could explain what he was supposing and I confirmed, but I’m fairly certain you’ve reached the same conclusion that he had.
The audience’s ferocity increased as the two knights got closer. Penelope (the 5th) stood from her ivory throne (remember, this is not real, so no elephants died. I wouldn’t allow that at all!) and looked over the railings that fronted her perch. She embraced the audience, as they did her, before announcing the start of the fight. Now, what followed was most definitely priceless. It’s why I’m going to describe it for you. The two knights met each other in the middle, wobbling on their way. They said nothing, which was probably for the best in what followed. Oh, okay, I’ll get on with it. Nothing like killing my attempts at suspense, you know.
They sucked. I mean, they were awful! What did you think was going to happen?! Charlie was barely able to cut the air in front of him without falling over whilst the knight was struggling to even remove their sword from the sheath on their back due to its weight. For a good minute, they clumsily circled each other without landing a shot. I tell a lie, Charlie accidentally dropped his sword forward before regaining control and managing to tap the knight on their armour. Of course, as this was my creation, the crowd were absolutely loving it. Penelope wore a massive smile too, the smug cow. Nothing at all compared to her mother. Rubbish. Anyhow, blargedly-blah, a further minute had passed and the knight had finally removed the sword from their back and now engaged Charlie in a pathetic display of swordsmanship. Even I could do better and I haven’t handled a sword in four months! Still, they fought each other in a manner similar to a baby trying to take its first steps – admirably, with a hell of a lot of effort, but hilariously minimal success.
The next great revelation came from a mistake. Well, a further mistake. A mistake more than the ones I was currently witnessing. The knight, in an attempted lunge (nowhere near target, I should add. They should’ve turned left first. Basic sword fighting stuff this) managed to fall forward onto the ground with such a force that her helmet came off. I say her as if that breaks the surprise. It’d have been the following sentence if I hadn’t have said that. The girlish face would’ve probably given it away too (in case you’re seeing the televised adaption of this, in which case there may or may not be narrative delivered by yours truly).
You know how I said that Charlie was a bit hormonal? Blimey. Instantly smitten. Long, shimmering golden hair unravelled once she picked herself up. A face so pretty it could almost rival my own. This isn’t the first time Janbor has brought another pupil into my world, mind. Two reasons I believe he does this. The first is that my creations are generally much better than his. The second is that he unquestionably fancies the knickers off of me. If I’m being brutally honest, I like him too. This may or may not have something to do with the fact we’re engaged. Still, Charlie dropped his sword and ran to the girl, who had now got back up without her sword, to make sure she was alright. She smiled and he responded in kind, before she put her force behind her and ran to knock him over. This succeeded. He fell backwards and she fell straight on top of him, face-to-face. I think it’s safe to say the duel was over. Also, it was my creation, so I damn well knew it was. Penelope (whore!) calmed the crowd. “You fight valiantly and justify my throne! My thanks to you, brave knights!” The advantage of it being my creation is that I can make some idiots complete idiots. Penelope the 5th, dear readers.
“Err, hi.” Said Charlie. “I’m Charlie.” Said Charlie.
“Umm, hello.” Said the girl. “I’m Karen.” Said Karen.
“You knocked me over!” Said Charlie.
“Yes. Sorry about that. I umm, sort of ran out of sword .” Said Karen. Can you feel my boredom? Just so you’re completely aware. This is my writing after all; you’d think they’d be a bit original and maybe start talking like normal individuals before flirting. But no.
“Right, we’re done here!” And like that, we were back in Charlie’s kitchen.
“Why’d you do that?!” He says, while looking at his maths. Then again, I was beginning to forget about those papers. “I was beginning to enjoy that!” Uh huh. I do wonder why.
“Good. That was the point.” Despite my recent paragraph-long cynicism, this was the aim of the exercise. “So, same time next week?”
“What?!” Charlie slammed his math-sheets-filled-folder onto the table. Before you wonder why, magic. That or continuity errors. I can’t be bothered to explain. You fill in that void.
“Time’s up, I’m afraid.” Well, I wasn’t actually afraid.
“I have so many questions to ask!” I’m sure he did.
“I’m sure you do. They, unfortunately, will have to wait for next week.” Or whenever I get round to writing the next chapter, considering this is where this one ends. That’s enough adventuring for one day, don’t you think?
[This is the first in the short series of Demy. You can read the second here.]