A competition entry, inspired by a lifelong love of animation and the thought of what might happen if a real person ended up in such a world.
The alarm clock’s ringing. I slap a hand down to silence it.
What the hell? I’ve smashed it flat! That’s some bad workmanship right there.
Hang on… I don’t have an alarm clock! I use my stereo instead. What’s going on? I sit up.
This isn’t my room!
All the furniture’s still in place, yet it looks so… childish! It’s rounded and blobby, in loud, garish colours. I pop my slippers on and grab my dressing gown from the bedroom door, then check inside my walk-in wardrobe.
I literally jump a foot, seemingly held in mid-air. This wardrobe’s more like a clown’s than mine! White boxer shorts with red hearts and polka dots sit next to hideous two-tone shoes. Shirts with impossibly tight collars, miniscule ties and tweed suits with puke-inducing chequered or tartan patterns hang from the rail. There are even pork pie hats with flowers on the brim.
What the blazes is going on? Is someone playing a prank on me? Maybe it’s that prat Steve Grieves from the rowing club. He’s ex-army, so he’d go in for jokes like this.
The sound is like a telephone’s ring, only spoken.
There it is again. Who’s doing that? I peek out of the bedroom door to see if I can see the speaker, but I can’t.
“Bring bring. C’mon, ya bozo! What are ya waiting for, Christmas?”
The shout seems to be coming from the hall, so I rush downstairs. I pass framed photos of my relatives on the walls, dressed in the same ridiculous clothes as in my wardrobe. The décor around me is the same bright, blobby style as the bedroom.
On the hall table, I see a black cradle telephone with a dial where my cordless phone should be. I gingerly pick up the receiver, but all I hear is a dialling tone, so I put it back.
“Y’see? Ya were too slow. They rang off.”
Jesus! How did I jump as high as the ceiling? It’s as if I’m becoming superhuman!
But it’s no wonder I jumped. The telephone actually has a face; a scowling little face, with the dial where the nose should be and two lips pouting sourly beneath it!
“Did you just talk?” I gasp.
“No, it was Betsy Ross. Of course I talked!” the phone snaps. “What do ya expect ‘phones ta do, bake cookies? Now if ya don’t mind, I was enjoyin’ a nap.”
The eyes shut and the face softens as if the phone is dozing. I prod it to make it talk again, but it doesn’t respond.
Did I just dream that? A talking telephone! It must be a dream, or else I’m high for some reason. What other explanations are there?
The doorbell jolts me back to… could I call it reality? I go and open the door, hoping it’s someone who can help me.
“Telegram for Charles Avery.”
My jaw actually stretches down to the doorstep, then rolls back up again like a window blind!
The uniformed individual handing me a yellow slip of paper isn’t a man, but a large, brown dog!
I take the folded paper from the dog’s paw as if it were a bomb, then slowly unfold and read it.
DON’T PANIC CHUCKY STOP I’M ON MY WAY STOP WILL PICK YOU UP AND EXPLAIN EVERYTHING STOP SELINA SATIN +++
“Any reply, sir?” the canine messenger asks.
“N-no thanks,” I stammer, not looking up.
The dog leaves. As he does so, I can’t help gawking at a panorama of unbelievable sights around me. Next door, a man’s rose bushes sigh with relief as he waters them. Further down the street, a goose chats with a buffalo over the garden fence. A family of rabbits drive by in a car shaped like a carrot.
But of course! I must be inside a… No, it can’t be that. Surely it can’t!
Racing back to the kitchen, I grab a glass tumbler from its usual cupboard (thank God) and head to my liquor cabinet, hoping for a stiff drink to set myself right. There’s no recognisable liquors there anymore, but I decide to try Sapworth’s Sarsaparilla Schnapps. Having poured a large glass, I sit down at the breakfast bar and knock back the drink.
My throat starts to constrict. Beads of sweat prick my forehead and my cheeks swell up. There’s a noise like a train whistle.
A jet of fire gushes out of my mouth and knocks me to the floor!
I’d better answer it, I think as I pick myself up. I doubt it can make matters worse. So I go to the door and open it.
CHING CHING CHING!
My jaw swings open and a waterfall of coins gushes off my tongue. I’ve turned into a living fruit machine!
“Excuse me!” I spluttered.
“No problem, Chucky,” the visitor laughs. “I often have that effect on boys.”
I’ll bet she does! A blonde, wide-eyed and impossibly shapely woman stands on the doorstep, clad in a cocktail dress that seems to be spray-painted on.
“Selina Satin, right?” I ask.
She nods. “Have you guessed where you are, Chucky?”
Super-exaggerated gestures, talking appliances, animals in human clothes… There’s really only one possible explanation.
“I’m inside a cartoon? But how did I get here? Why? And how do I get home?”
“All in good time, sweetie,” Selina purrs. “Reckon you can get dressed, so we can take a ride?”
In two seconds, I’ve put on my least tasteless suit and returned to the doorstep.
“Just try and stop me!”
Selina giggles and then leads me to her shining red sports car, which sits at the end of the drive. Soon we’re on our way.
I’m still not convinced this world is real. But if there are things as good as Selina here, who needs reality anyway?