Jim the Bunny looked at the table of nametags and was surprised at all the “Robs” he saw. Rob from the coffee shop, Rob from the other coffee shop, Reset Button Rob, it seemed to go on forever. He found his name, on a special name tag with a lanyard instead of adhesive (A good thing for someone who didn’t wear a shirt) where it should be, between Jenna and Joe. Jabberpaw’s had already been taken.
As he put his lanyard on, he looked around the room. A few people had arrived already, including Jabber, who was in the corner talking with chick who was showing off her smartphone. Jabber looked impressed. At the other end of the room were two extremely overdressed people talking almost exclusively about how to spend money, jewelry flowing, like they had just won the lottery. A strange crowd, to say the least.
Jim hopped away and found a peculiar little man and his peculiar little girlfriend. The man introduced himself as Gene.
“So do you know what this is all about?”, Jim asked Gene.
“Not a clue! I just got an invitation two days ago that said to show up here”, Gene replied.
“That seems to be what everyone got”.
The room they were in was quite large, with a bar of multiple heights (to support the strange array of sized people and animals in attendance), and a stage with a podium. That was where the normal elements of the room ended. There were quite a large number of doors around the outside edges of the rooms, and periodically one would open and the person or animal emerge. They’d stare around the room for a few moments, and then wander to the table with the nametags.
Jim supposed they all had a similar experience as he had. They’d received an invitation, and then found a strange door somewhere they’d never seen it before. The one Jim, Jabberpaw, Sylvester, Bob, and the knitting sheep had come through was near Jabber’s cave. It was attached to a tree which Jim swore hadn’t had a door before. But the door was at the end of the map that accompanied the invitation, so Jim and his group entered.
Now he saw the sheep talking with a little girl holding a teddy bear, no doubt asking about the fiber makeup of her inanimate friend. In the corner, a smallish man wearing extremely ‘lifted’ shoes marched up to a smallish T-rex who wore a chef’s hat. This was, to say the least, a weird meeting.
About 30 minutes past the ‘start’ of the party, as listed on the invite, the lights dimmed and the group, as if compelled by some strange force, began to assemble in the chairs laid out before the stage and podium. After they had all sat, a screen lowered from the ceiling of the stage and a short film began to play. It showed a variety of events that had happened to the crowd, as if some disembodied camera had followed them on various days over the past few months. They all sat amazed as they recalled the events.
Finally when the film was done, a spotlight shown on the podium. The camera trained on the podium, projected on the screen, was really the only way to notice the two birds that had landed on the podium’s edge, by the microphone.
“Good evening, My name is Pete, and this is my friend Zak”, one little bird said.
“We’re here tonight to welcome you to a speech by a person that, up until today, none of us knew existed”, the other chimed in.
“He’s just spoken with us, and now we’d like to introduce you to our friend, The Author!”
The birds flew away, and a man walked out from the right of the stage, confidently smiling and moving toward the center.
“Who is this guy?”, Jim said to the person sitting next to him, a guy who smelled of alcohol and wore a flower in his lapel. The man did not answer.
“Do you know who this guys is?”, Jim said to the person on the other side, a pale faced man named Edmund according to his name tag.
“You moron – those birds just said none of us know who he is!”, Edmund replied. Jim sat their quietly, annoyed.
“100 days ago”, the man began, “All of you didn’t exist. Well, except for Jim & Bob – they existed but were tucked away in nearly forgotten folder”.
Jim sat there, confused. He knew he had existed for some time, and so had Sylvester, Jabber, the sheep, and everyone else in the Woods.
“You see, I wrote about all of you, thus taking you out of an imaginary ether of thought and placing you into words on a page, or a screen”.
“This guy is high”, Jim said to Edmund. Edmund just looked annoyed, a bit constipated, and somehow stunningly attractive. It was this last element that freaked Jim out the most.
The man continued.
“Now, after 100 days, I’m calling you all together to meet. Because honestly, I need your help. You see, while I wrote all of your stories, I have no idea what any of it means. Sure, I may have put some lofty thoughts in a few of your stories, or even a preachy message or two in some cases. In others I simply wrote a story or poem that reflected abstract feelings or thoughts. But now as I look out there and see all of you, I realize something – I feel as though we’re all related in some way, but I’ll be damned if I know what that is”.
Jim couldn’t take it anymore. He hopped up to the stage, as quickly as he could, and jumped on the podium.
“Dude – I don’t know what you’re smoking, but all I can see in this room is a mess of odd people and talking animals. I mean – there’s a dinosaur that is asking anyone if they want to come over and grill out later, another dinosaur looking for his socks, and a guy who says some group of super spies are after him. If you created all of us, then it’s your responsibility to put all of this together into something that makes sense!”
The man looked down at Jim, who had knocked the prepared address of the podium as he hopped up, and paused. Then after a slow moment a smile crept to his face.
“Jim, I agree we’re a mess, and I just realized something”.
“What’s that, weirdo?”, Jim said in reply.
“That this whole project, and all of you, only need to exist. You don’t need to do, say, act, or interact in any way. You’ve all served your purpose beautifully over the past 3 months, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful. Thank you”, the man said as he began to walk away. The lights in the room came up to show that the doors were removed, with just empty archways back to respective worlds. The animals and people, from that day on, were free to come and go to each other’s worlds, hindered only by their mind.
“I have no idea what that guy was talking about”, Jim said, to no one in particular. The group was mingling once more, people coming and going through the doors, exploring.
As Jim hopped down, he realized he had something in his pocket. He pulled out a crumpled €5 note.
“Damn, gotta hit the bank before Bunnymart on the way home…”, he muttered as he made his way back toward The Woods.
A Short Story a Day was a daily feature and creative writing project. Shortly a book will be available containing all of these stories, and exclusive behind-the-story entries for each!