Last night I tried out Writers at the Improv, a long-running event in Calgary at ConVersion and more recently at When Words Collide, run there by the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association, as a Saskatoon Public Library event, part of my gig as Writer in Residence. When I did it in Regina while writer in residence, I had three teams sign up to compete. Not this time: nobody came to compete, but I did have an audience, in the form of an adult English as a Second Language class. So I just took words from them and wrote a story myself. Which follows (capitalized words are the ones the audience gave me):
The Banana Dragon
The dragon was the colour of an overripe BANANA, hanging in the sky above the castle, yellow and black and smoking.
Lady Chiquita, enjoying her breakfast high atop the central tower, put down her TEACUP and said to Sir Periwinkle, at her side, “Don’t you think you should do something about that beast?”
Sir PerIwinkle, whose mouth had fallen open at the sight of the beast, let out a most un-knightly squeak and said, “Perhaps in a moment, ma’am; I’m afraid the appearance of that thing in the sky has left me in dire need of TOILET PAPER.”
KROK O’DILE,, the barbarian chieftain visiting from the Island of Misspelled Animal Names, leaped to his feet and shouted, “I will defeat the beast, fair lady!”
But Amelia Stimpson, Chiquita’s Lady in Waiting, raised a pale hand and said, “Ma’am, I don’t believe it is ETHICal to slay a yellow dragon; they are, I am certain, an endangered species.”
At that moment, the banana-dragon folded its wings and dove upon the village outside the castle walls, focusing all its attention on a single inn, reducing the ESTABLISHMENT to a heap of smoking ruins in seconds.
Krok O’Dile drew his sword, shouted at Amelia, “There is no hope of RECONCILIATION with a beast such as this!”, and ran from the top of the tower, pounding down the spiral staircase in a jingle of chainmail.
The dragon QUADRUPLEd its efforts, burning three more inns to the ground, while patrons ran screaming into the street, though, fortunately, none of them seemed to be harmed.
“Give me a PEN!” shouted the Royal Scribe, a tiny, wizened, bespectacled man who everyone had forgotten was present. Seizing the proffered quill, he dipped it into his inkwell and scrawled across a blank sheet of parchment, CORONAVIRUS. He blew as hard as he could across that single word, and as though he had ignited FIREWORKS, his breath turned to flaming sparkles that showered down upon the dragon.
Turning to Lady Chiquita, he explained, “It is my special power, the HERITAGE of my family, that the words I write can become powerful reality.” And sure enough, the fireworks-like sparkles falling down upon the dragon turned, in that moment, LITERALLY into a disease that made the dragon sneeze twice and then fly off into the mountains, wheezing as he went.
With “Huzzahs!” all around, the breakfast party on the tower roof returned to their boiled eggs, marmalade, and toast, while Krok O’Dile, having taken a wrong turn as he charged down the stairs to engage the dragon, instead found himself in the LIBRARY, where he immersed himself in a good book and forgot all about battles for a while.