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50. Gary

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Davy couldn’t tell how long he had been in the tunnel. Was it only minutes, hours, or maybe even days? Davy figured that the natural flow of time may not even apply to the inner realm of one’s mind, but Davy also conceded that he didn’t know all that much about the mind anyway, so maybe this idea was nonsense. In any case, it felt like he had been there a long time.

Was he supposed to reach an epiphany here? Maybe if he reached an epiphany, then he would be able to get out. Davy racked his brain for possible epiphanies

“Okay, I’m stuck in a hole,” he said to himself. “Maybe the hole represents something. I’m stuck. Like I was stuck on how to handle the Iron League. Maybe how I get out of here is supposed to show me how to beat them. This is good, I’m getting somewhere. How would I get out of here? I can’t push myself back up, and I can’t go forward any further. Am I supposed to find a non-traditional solution? Think outside the box?”

Davy tried to wrangle his lateral thought process.

“Okay, I just need to reexamine the parameters. Is there some factor I haven’t considered? Is this really stone? Maybe I can actually dig through it.”

Davy scratched at the tunnel wall with his left hand. The tough stone cracked one of his fingernails.

“Okay, that is definitely stone. I cannot dig through that. And also, that hurt.”

Davy struggled to come up with something. He noticed his eyelids getting heavy as his thought process seemed to slow down. He felt like he really needed a nap.

Davy noticed this and started to slightly panic. He knew that suddenly feeling like you are going to fall asleep was not at all a healthy development when you’re stuck upside down in an tight, enclosed space with little oxygen.

Davy wondered if it was possible to die in your own mind, because that would suck. Davy then remembered that he was in his own mind. He should be able to exercise a little more control than this. He wasn’t expecting god-like superpowers over the space around him, but he should at least be able to create some way out of here.

His eyelids continued to grow heavier as he concentrated on getting out of here.

“I will get out,” he said to himself through clenched teeth. “I will get out. I will get out.”

Davy scarcely noticed a slight tug on the tip of his left shoe. He continued to chant to himself. It was getting increasingly difficult to maintain his consciousness.

“I will get out. I will get out.”

The tug grew stronger, now coming from both feet. Davy was pulled upwards, not back through the tunnel, but straight upwards. Davy’s body loosened as the stone walls of the the tunnel slowly appeared to fade from existence.

Davy didn’t notice any of this as he continued to rise. His eyes were shut tight as he continued to chant to himself. The chanting eventually slowed and then finally stopped as Davy fully lost consciousness. The world around Davy had turned pitch-black as he continued to rise.


Davy awoke to the crackling of a fireplace. He opened his eyes and saw he was inside what looked like somebody’s living room. Warm red wallpaper with wood paneling surrounded him on every side. He was lying on a soft brown couch next to a window. Davy looked at the night sky through the window. It was snowing.

Davy sat up and saw the fireplace on the other side of the room. In front of the fireplace was a massive armchair, facing away from him. Davy looked down at the couch he was sitting on and was struck by how large everything in this room was. He wasn’t a short guy at all, but he noticed that even when laying down, there was still a couple of extra feet on the couch that his body didn’t cover.

A deep, almost soothing voice called out to Davy from the armchair. “I’m glad to see you’re okay,” it said.

The armchair began to rotate to have him. The armchair had four short, wooden legs, so it didn’t exactly make sense that it was able to rotate, but Davy wasn’t focusing on that right now. Davy was instead focused on who was sitting in the armchair, greeting him.

It was Gary von Jackolantern.

Or at least, it looked mostly like Davy’s old plush penguin toy. He somehow looked to be about ten feet tall, and had a strangely humanoid body. He was wearing a red smoking jacket and holding a pipe in his right hand that was emitting bubbles. He held a newspaper in his other hand. His legs were crossed, and causal loafers hung from his feet. His head, however, looked exactly like the stuffed penguin head Davy remembered from his childhood.

Gary looked down at Davy with a warm smile. “I know it’s been a long time, Davy, but I just want to say that I’m so proud of who you’ve become.”

“Uh, thanks,” Davy said to the unusually paternal penguin in front of him. “I guess I’m still inside my mind,” he continued.

Gary nodded. “Indeed you are, sport,” he said. “If I understand it right, it seems you might have lost your way.”

“Yeah,” Davy answered. “There is this evil group that likes reference humor that we’re acing trouble defeating. I don’t know what to do.”

Gary rubbed his chin. “That’s okay,” he said. “Everyone loses they’re way sometimes. The important thing is that you don’t give up when things get difficult.”

“Sure, but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing,” Davy said. “I agreed to this mind therapy to help me find the answers within or whatever, but I’m don’t know what I should be looking for.”

Gary leaned forward to Davy. “Well, what have you found so far, son?”

Davy looked up at the penguin in front of him. “Well, that I clearly have some unresolved issues with my father or something,” he stated. “But I don’t think I’ve found much more than that.”

Gary von Jackolantern chuckled. “I think you may be selling yourself short there. If I saw it correctly, you were able to escape from that hole all by yourself using nothing but your own willpower.”

Davy shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said. “I mean, this has all been in my own head. It’s not that big of a deal to escape from my own mind.”

This seemed to amuse Gary. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you there, sport,” he said. “In my experience, I’ve found that one of the most difficult things that a person can break free from is their own head. We have a tendency to hold ourselves down harder than any tangible weights.”

Davy tried to get his thoughts together. “So you’re saying Im holding myself back?” he asked. “Are you saying that I should stop being afraid and believe in myself and stuff?”

Gary folded his newspaper and placed it on an end table next to him. “I think that it’s not my place to tell you what to do, son,” he answered. “But I do want to ask you, why do you think you were chosen for this quest? Why were you chosen to be the Steward of the Endocrine?”

Davy scratched his head. “A prophecy and poor plotting?” he answered hesitantly.

Gary have a hearty laugh. “Davy, you are far more capable than you know,” he said. ” There’s a reason this prophecy chose you. You have a quality that will prove essential in the time to come. I believe that you will find what it is, and once you do, you can prevail over any adversity that comes your way.” Gary stopped to blow to his pipe, sending bubbles out in to the room. “All you need to do is recognize this quality within yourself.”

Davy nodded. “Okay, so I have the power within me already?” he asked. “I just need to believe in myself?” Davy sighed. Steve was going to have a field day with the generic advice he was getting.

Gray have another warm chuckle. “I know what you’re thinking, Davy,” he said. “I know what I’m saying is probably the kind of thing you’ve heard in millions of movies and books before. Some might even call it cliché. But Davy, sometimes it’s the most obvious advice that we tend to forget the easiest. I don’t want anyone calling me insightful or clairvoyant, because none of what I’m saying is new. But I do believe that remembering the power you already possess can sometimes be a considerably underrated notion. Try it out sometime, and let me know how it goes. Maybe we can play catch afterwards.”

Davy figured the penguin may have a point, but he was also feeling ready to go. “Okay, I’ll do that,” he stated. “I have the power, and believe in myself. Got it.”

Gary smiled. “Don’t worry, Davy. It’ll come to you. But I understand your apprehension. You want to get back to your friends.” He pointed to the wooden door to his right. “This door will take you out of here. Follow the path that will appear in front of you and you will wake up soon enough. Who knows, maybe you might find something that will help you with your current situation.”

Davy got off the couch and made his way to the door. “Thanks, Gary,” he said. “It was good to see you again.”

Gary von Jackolantern chuckled. “It was good to see you too Davy,” he replied. “Come back any time. And when your quest is over, I’m looking forward to taking part in your detective adventures with you and your friend Olivia. Tell her hi for me.”

“Sure Gary,” Davy said. He opened the door and saw nothing but blackness in front of him. Davy took a deep breath and stepped into the darkness. Gary and the living room appeared to immediately dissolve around him. As the last traces of the room faded away, Davy heard one faint final line from Gary.

“Never forget, Davy, that I am so proud of you.”

Davy looked around in the darkness. He saw a faint light in the distance.

“This isn’t much of a path,” Davy said to himself, as he began to walk towards the light.

As he got closer, he could make out the faint shape of a building. It looked like the light was coming from a window. As he got closer, Davy saw that it he building was a house. It was three stories, the light coming from a window on the top floor. Davy realized that he had he had seen this place before. And that this wasn’t a house. It was a tent.

Davy saw he was standing in a ghostly version of that campground where he had been beaten by the Iron League of Reference Humor. A spectral moon hung over him in the sky. Davy looked at the tent again. There was a light shining through the translucent canvas. He approached the tent and unzipped the entrance flap. Bright light splashed out of the entrance onto his face. Davy shielded his eyes, but the light was so bright he couldn’t see anything inside. He slowly took a step into the tent.

The world around Davy dematerialized once more, and Davy found himself in an empty white space.

“Great,” Davy muttered. He was really getting tired of seeing so many empty spaces inside his mind.

Some massive black letters appeared in front of Davy. Davy scratched his head as he read the words they formed.


“Huh,” Davy uttered. That didn’t seem reassuring.

Some more letters appeared out of the air, they began forming the same phrase all around him.




Davy groaned. He had just had this pep talk from Gary von Jackolantern telling him how capable he was and now his brain was insisting how incorrectly Davy was going about his quest?

“I’m kind of getting some mixed signals here,” he whined to the words all around him.

The black letters continued to materialize. They filled up the white space more and more until the white was almost gone. Davy was getting really fed up as blackness filled the space around him. He was about to complain very loudly about having to deal with yet another empty space, but all of a sudden, he saw Lady Gut Possum’s face inches away from his own.

“He’s awake,” she said.


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