No One Named Tim

As they walked, Prince Chaz complained heartily. The ground was too hard and hurt his feet. The weather was too hot. The sky wasn’t blue, and there were too many foul smells. The old man tried to ignore him, but the constant whine of Chaz’s complaints combined with the blinding light of his teeth made that impossible to do.

The small town had a cobblestone street with two and three-story daub-and-timber buildings hanging closely over it. Now the smells were even worse, the ground even harder, the temperature even hotter, and the sky still was not blue. Villagers gathered and questioned the old man about the sticky white-clothed stranger who didn’t shut up and who blinded everyone with his teeth. The old man had no answers and hurried away, leaving Chaz with the curious crowd. They soon grew tired of him too.

After Chaz complained for the twenty third time about the sky, someone said “Look, doofus. That’s not a stupid blanket covering over the sky. The reason the sky isn’t blue is because a cloud hangs over this valley.”

For the first time Chaz became interested in the villagers. “A cloud?” He looked up and studied it. “But why isn’t it white?”

“Clouds always look dark on the bottom,” said one. “There isn’t as much light underneath.”

“How do I get back onto the cloud?” Chaz asked.

“Back onto the cloud?” they pondered and scratched their heads.

One of the village matrons had a brilliant thought. “Just continue heading uphill,” she said. “You can’t miss it.” She hoped they could get rid of him. The others caught on and encouraged him to keep walking.

Without a thank you, Chaz marched off, hair still perfect and teeth still shining.

The villagers did not see the stranger again, but his visit to Hillvaleham was never forgotten and even passed into legend. In the following years, it would be said the light of the sun came from the stranger’s teeth because he could never shut up. Not until night, when he got tired and went to sleep, did anyone get any rest. But when he snored at night, he would keep people up with his thunder and lightning. They even said the sun got its name from him; it was actually a misspelling of the word “son,” which was the first word of a short phrase they all identified him with.

Up in the cloud kingdom, Chaz’s sudden disappearance caught Princess Joan by surprise.

“Where did he go?” she wondered. No one in the cloud kingdom had ever thought about where things went; they certainly didn’t wonder about the marshmallows, so Prince Chaz’s location was a complete mystery.

She turned toward Eunice. “We must go get him.”

The unicorn let the princess climb on her back; then she spread her wings and leapt into the sky. But unicorns almost never fly to the ground. They prefer hopping from cloud to cloud and staying in magical places. Princess Joan had difficulty getting Eunice to understand what she wanted.

“Down, Eunice,” she pleaded. “We must go down.”

Eunice soon figured out when she flew lower, Princess Joan stopped kicking, and so flew lower still until she eventually glided beneath the cloud. It was not as happy here. The ground below looked dark and dirty. The sky was a ragged gray color.

“The cloud doesn’t look so pretty from down here,” she noted to her unicorn.

Eunice became agitated, and Princess Joan had difficulty coaxing her lower. Finally the unicorn bucked, and before the princess knew what happened, she found herself falling, spinning in the air. One moment she saw Eunice receding into the distance as the unicorn flew back to the clouds, and the next moment she saw the dark earth rushing to meet her.

Princess Joan was not scared in the least. In the kingdom on the cloud, falls never hurt. Falling on the soft billowy ground was like falling into bed, so she was very surprised when she hit the ground with a splash and found herself surrounded by water. The princess didn’t get worried until she couldn’t breathe. This was the first discomfort she had ever felt. She tried to inhale but only got a lungful of liquid. Then her chest started aching and she tried to scream, but the water closed in heavily all about her.

Her last thought was “This place sucks.”