In order to get back into Friday Fiction, I thought I would try a short series of letters between an inner-city blerd and a gnome hailing from a Pathfinder-like fantasy realm — or at least someone pretending to be one. I love epistolary fiction, and this makes for a pretty decent exercise in nailing the voices of two markedly different characters. First up, Malcolm Williams writes to his strange new pen pal.
How are you? I’m not really sure how to open a letter since I’ve never written one before. Do I just write like I’m talking to you even though you can’t talk back? Or do I just write about stuff until I run out of things to say? Sorry if this letter is going to be weird and kind of rambling, but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it eventually.
My grandma hooked me up with you as a Christmas present; she says that there was this service that lets people write letters to magical creatures and stuff, and she knew that she had to get it for me. I’m not sure if she could have chose any creature she wanted, but I guess not. If they didn’t pick pen pals to match at random, I’m pretty sure everybody would pick dragons or unicorns or something. I probably would have picked something like a satyr, just because I like the horns, but gnomes are cool too I guess.
So what kind of gnome are you? I don’t think they have TV where you are, but it’s like this thing where you can see plays and stuff in a little box inside your home. Like, a crystal ball that shows people making up stories. Anyway, when I was younger there was this TV show called David the Gnome. He was this little dude that rode around on a fox and gathered leaves and mushrooms to heal animals with. It was pretty cool. It makes me want to be a veterinarian some day, maybe. I don’t think I’ll be working on foxes, though.
Oh yeah, I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Malcolm Williams. I’m 16 years old, and I live in Baltimore, Maryland. It’s a really big city with a lot of people, so I’m sure it’s nothing like where you live in the forest or whatever. Instead of foxes, we ride busses. They’re like, carts that are covered, and you can fit a whole lot of people in them. They go from place to place, picking up people and dropping them off. That’s how I get to school every day, it takes me like an hour and a half both ways.
I’m still in high school, but I’m going to graduate this year. I skipped sixth grade, so I get out of school early. I’m planning to go to college, though, which I guess is like…studying to be a wizard or something. You learn a whole bunch of stuff and after a few years, you go out and do a job that nobody else can do. Sometimes you even make a whole lot of money.
I don’t think I’m going to make money being an animal doctor, though. David the Gnome’s crib was kind of busted, but he and his wife were happy anyway. That doesn’t sound so bad.
Anyway, I’ll be glad to go to college and get away from here. I don’t have a whole lot of friends because I don’t like what a lot of the other kids do. All they want to do is talk about cars and sex and drugs and stuff. And here I am, writing to a little gnome dude on a Friday night. I know there are people like me out there somewhere, and I’m sure to find them in college.
So…I guess that’s it. What do you do in…gnome-land? If you ride foxes and stuff, tell me about your mount. I’m sure it’s really cool.