Life As A Dream

A door opens. Standing in the doorway is a very large penguin with a bowtie.

"Welcome. I am the rule-stator, follow me." Says the bird.

You do. On the other side of the door is a library-like sitting room. You follow the penguin to the door on the opposite side of the room. He stops you.

"Before you start, I will give you some helpful information that will come of use to you. You will begin at the beginning, and end at the end. The middle is important, so you should savor it while it's still there. There are three sectors: Sector One, Sector Two, and Sector Seven. Sectors Three, Four, Five, and Six are quite delightful, but they really go by too fast to include them. In Sector One, you will be handed a word puzzle, and you must solve it to move on. In Sector Two, you will encounter something that you recognize, and you will have to find a way around it. Sector Seven is a challenge. You will need quick reflexes, a sturdy mind, and the endurance to take the last test."

You wonder why you are doing all of this, so you ask.

"After you brave the Sectors, you will be granted Fabulous Prizes."

"Fabulous Prizes?" you ask.

"Fabulous Prizes."

You are captivated now as to what those prizes might be, so you move on.

"Off you go: the time has come; and may the force be with you."

You wave goodbye to the friendly penguin, and venture into the first Sector. You are handed a slip of paper by a robot. It says: If you can make one, you are in heaven, if you have one, you are close, it can be the difference between the beginning and the end, and it is your greatest asset. Well, you ponder this one. And you ponder it. And ponder it, until it can be pondered no longer. You are about to give up, when you know the answer. A SMILE. No other answer could fit, and as soon as you say it, you fall down a slide.

After about fifteen seconds, the slide ends. You are now in Sector Two. You take a second to view your next obstacle. A huge obelisk is in front of you on it is the inscription In Due Time, We All Get Our Happiness. Since the statue reaches both walls, you realize you must climb. So you do. You reach down into the depths of your being to keep moving yourself upward. At the pinnacle of the monument, you notice the stairs going up the side you were climbing. They weren't there when you started, so you know that they must be your footprints. The next person to climb this tower will have an easier time of it than you did, and it's all because you were brave enough to do it first. You enter the door in front of you in just enough time to duck.

They're flying at you in all directions: Blue Turnips. When they impact your skin, they leave a scar, but do not break the skin. You are ducking and dodging, but you still have a few marks on your extremities. The time you spend with the vegetable projectiles seems interminable, but you finally think you are going to give out. You sit down on the jelly-soft floor, and you start crying. The scars are becoming more common, and you are sure the end is near. You are thinking of a way to end the pain when a funny thing happens. You start singing, and as you do, the Turnips stop. Not only do they stop, but also disappear. You notice the scars becoming lighter and lighter, so you keep on belting out the song. It's the one song that you'd never forget, and it's the one song that saved you when you needed it. When all your scars are gone, a golden door appears. It says One Day You'll Look Back On This And Laugh. And even though you find this a very inopportune time for that distasteful (but true) idiom, you turn the handle and let yourself in. A man in an ugly green polyester leisure suit greets you with a crooked smile.

"You made it! You are the best of the best, and you deserve your reward, go through the door to receive it."

Naturally, you do. You come into a room with a long bar-like counter. The man behind it is in jeans and a T-Shirt. He hands you a box. This is what you have been waiting for: the epitome of your experience. You unwrap the wrappings and take off the top. Inside are two unlikely objects: some breath mints, and a potato. Frowning, you inquire, "Why? Why did I go through those trials for this?"

"I am not the answerer, he quit after the last person asked him that same question. I cannot tell you why, but I can tell you that these are the most fabulous of Fabulous Prizes."

"Some breath mints and a potato?" you ask.

"Indeed."

"But what for?" you insist.

"I believe the breath mints are so you are always prepared, and the potato is yours to do with what you want. If you really want to help, it is the key that turns the lock."

With that, he escorts you to yet another door, gives you a reassuring wink, and then he is gone. You pull the handle, you put your strength into the weight of the door, you take one step, and you are off.