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Story [various] The Secret Diary of Walter Mitty Jr. (Diary Challenge 2013 - 3/1 - 99 Bottles of Beer)

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Lazy K, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. Lazy K

    Lazy K Jedi Knight star 2

    Sep 22, 2012

    2/17/13: Slept all day. Again. Maybe I just need to sleep more on weekdays.

    Walter Mitty Jr. was just about to go to bed when the doorbell rang. When he ignored it, the bell rang again. And again. And again.

    "Yes?" he said as he opened the door. Then shut it immediately, heart racing.

    I didn't see that, he told himself. This is just a dream. Yeah. I'm really asleep and this is just a dream. Or a nightmare.

    "Excuse me?" whoever was outside the door said. "Could I have just a few minutes? Please?"

    Walter opened the door again. It took an effort of will to refrain from shutting it. "Who - uh, what are you?" he demanded.

    "I'm a swimmer," came the reply.

    "A swimmer," Walter said.

    In fact, there was very little else he could have been. He wore a striped black and white swimsuit that might have been passed down from father to son since the 19th century. It covered everything but the head, arms, and legs in a show of modesty that was downright Victorian. And if that wasn't enough to identify him, he wore a swimming cap.

    "Could you come back later?" Walter asked. Maybe in a couple hundred years? "I was just about to hit the sack."

    The swimmer's face brightened. "You were? Great, looks like I'm just in time."

    "For what?"

    "I'm subbing for the Sandman this week. Don't worry, I'm fully qualified for the job."

    Walter slammed the door in his face. There was a frantic pounding at the door for quite some time after that, but a couple of ear plugs kept the noise from disturbing his much needed sleep.
  2. Lazy K

    Lazy K Jedi Knight star 2

    Sep 22, 2012

    2/18/13: Rained. The factory roof's leaking, but I can't figure out just exactly where it's leaking from.

    Walter Mitty Jr. sat with his eyes closed and his legs folded in lotus position, trying to achieve serenity. This was made difficult by the constant drip-drip-dripping of rain as it leaked through the ceiling. He opened one eye and found the cat looking at him with the penetrating stare only cats and small children can accomplish. He opened the other and saw the mouse a short distance away, ready to run at a moment's notice.

    This wasn't what he'd been expecting at all.

    Of course, to be completely honest with himself, he wasn't sure what he'd been expecting. A dozen or so bald monks, maybe. Chanting. Rock gardens with raked sand. Meditating on the infinite with his legs folded into a pretzel. An old temple with a leaky roof and assorted not-so-wildlife was not what he had in mind.

    "Mitty-san!" a cheery voice called. "Could you lend me a hand, please?"

    It was Meishin, the old Buddhist monk who was in charge of the place, if only because he was the only one who was here. But instead of formal robes, he wore loose-fitting sweat pants and a Disney T-shirt that had seen better days. When Walter called him out on this, Meishin had laughed and said that Zen was a state of mind.

    After several failed attempts to engage the monk in a koan session, Walter had given up on Meishin and decided to make the most of what he had - the temple itself, various buddha statues, some scriptures, and what he could google on the 'net.

    It might have worked. The temple stood in a secluded woodland area that was as far from civilization as a wireless Internet connection would allow. Only a few people actually seemed to know about the temple, making visitors few and far between. There was wildlife, or what would have been wildlife if Meishin didn't feed them every chance he had. If you closed your eyes, you could believe you were alone in the whole wide world.

    At least, you could if you also shut your ears to Meishin's constant chatter as he talked to whatever was around him as he kept the temple from falling apart. Right now, this meant plugging the holes - a dangerous activity given that the roof tiles, which were loose enough to begin with, were now wet and slippery with rain - or putting pots and plates under the leaking spots.

    "So terribly sorry," Meishin said in a not entirely apologetic voice. "I meant to fix the leaks, but there was always something."

    "There always is," Walter agreed. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the cat pushing a plate across the room. Hopefully it was the plate it ate from.
  3. Lazy K

    Lazy K Jedi Knight star 2

    Sep 22, 2012

    2/19/13: Nothing happened. By which I mean nothing worth mentioning and not actually nothing.

    Walter Mitty Jr. stood at the foot of the stairs, looking up at a little man who wasn't there. At least, he thought he wasn't there. It was hard to see past the cardboard box in his arms.

    "Do you mind?" he asked. "I'm carrying this blinking big box and I can't go up with you not there."

    "Sorry," the little man didn't reply. "But halfway up the stairs is where I ain't sitting. And I ain't moving nowhere."

    Walter's brows furrowed as he sorted out the negatives. "So you're going somewhere?"

    There wasn't a derisive snort from above. "No, you idiot."

    Walter's arms were beginning to ache. He tried tilting the box this way and that to redistribute the weight, but the contents of the box refused to cooperate.

    He said, "I'm not asking you to go away forever, you know. Just get out of my way for ten minutes, max. Is that too much to ask?"

    "Yes, it is," the little man didn't answer. "Look, I didn't tell you this already, right? Halfway up the stairs ain't up and ain't down. It ain't anything. So this is the only place where I can physically non-exist. Get it?"


    The little man didn't roll his eyes. "In order for something to exist, it has to fit into its surroundings. I don't exist, therefore my natural environment is one that isn't."

    "I still don't get it."

    "Go find a ladder and an open window, will you?"
  4. Lazy K

    Lazy K Jedi Knight star 2

    Sep 22, 2012

    2/20/13: More nothing. Huh.

    Walter Mitty Jr. checked his gear for what had to be the hundredth time. It was his first descent, after all, and he didn't want the experience ruined by faulty equipment.

    He felt someone looking at him. It was an Asian woman, probably in her 40s, who seemed entirely at ease.

    "Is this your first time?" she asked.

    Walter nodded. "Shows, huh?"

    "Oh yes. Excited and nervous at the same time, can't wait for it to begin but wish it never would . . . I felt exactly the same way on my first descent. Everyone does. Even Mallory was scared to death."


    Her eyes twinkled mischievously. "Well, maybe not. It's just something I say to make first-timers loosen up."

    Walter found himself chuckling despite himself. "Oh. But it might be true?"

    "Anything's possible. Though I must admit, it doesn't sound like the man with that famous quote."

    "Because it's not there. But that was just before he went for the deepest one. Anti-Everest. Who knows, maybe he was terrified the first time."
  5. Lazy K

    Lazy K Jedi Knight star 2

    Sep 22, 2012

    2/21/13: I just realized that working three hours overtime each day is not nothing. Ye gods, how easily we adapt.

    The human mind can adapt to practically any situation. Anything that happens on a regular basis becomes "normal". When this illusion of normalcy is shattered, culture shock and other less benign psychological trauma occur.

    In Walter Mitty Jr.'s case, being summoned by magic to another world which had been taken over by talking bipedal cats had given him a week of sleepless nights until he found them wearing up to seven layers of heavy winter clothes despite the fact that it was still August. After that, his weirdness radar had become oriented at the things they did and not the cats themselves. It was probably just a matter of time before he stopped finding those odd, too.

    So when he heard the sound of distant drumming that preceded a transition of worlds, he had the sense of mind to grab his sandwiches and piece of pie before the magic took effect.

    "Plate," he told the nearest cat. Who, by the way, was wearing a robe that a KKK member would have been proud of.

    "So," he said in between mouthfuls, "what have you done this time?"

    The cats exchanged guilty glances. Then the one called Sooty asked, "How did you know, Master Mitty?"

    "You never call me unless you want something explained, and it's usually because you plunged in without bothering to understand. So what is it this time?"

    "We have been studying the resource work you left behind," Sooty began, then stopped when he saw the expression on Walter's face. "Are you all right, Master Mitty?"

    "Never better," he lied. He had no idea what he forgot the last time he was here. And suddenly the sandwich in his stomach had turned to lead. "This resource . . . useful, was it?"

    Sooty said, "Oh yes, extremely so."

    Walter remembered the time he'd left behind a few pamphlets from a travel agency. The next time he was summmoned, he found the cats had rebuilt the city into a quaint Romanian village. The next town over had pyramids. After that he'd been very careful to depart with everything he came with.

    But not, obviously, careful enough.
  6. Lazy K

    Lazy K Jedi Knight star 2

    Sep 22, 2012

    2/22/13: Friday. Ye gods, I'm turning into a clock watcher.

    "Hickory dickory dock. The mouse ran up the clock. The clock turned five but the bell's not ringing. When the hell does this godforsaken job end? Hickory dickory dock."

    None of the other workers at Globocide so much as blinked at Walter Mitty Jr.'s outburst. It was Friday afternoon and they were saving their energy for more worthwhile pursuits like rushing to the restroom before Management turned the plumbing off for the weekend.

    "The clock's running slow again," Bob said. "Don't worry. I sent a memo to maintenance."

    Years of practice allowed Walter to give his co-worker a weary look while his hands automatically worked the assembly line. "Bob, I don't know how to tell you this so I'll give it to you straight: they don't give a damn."

    "Don't be such a Mister Grumpy Pants! They'll get around to it eventually. They're just busy on other, more immediate concerns."

    "Like oiling the wheels on the CEO's swiveling chair?"

    "Exactly!" Bob said, totally oblivious to Walter's sarcastic tone. "People in power can't afford to be distracted by such trivial matters. They need to stay focused on the Big Picture, you know."

    A heavy silence descended, or would have if the machines had stopped dead in the realization that Bob Oblong was totally sincere in what he was saying.

    "That's what I like about you, Bob," Walter said after his brain shifted back into gear again. "Your glass is always half full." Even when it's empty, he added silently.
  7. Lazy K

    Lazy K Jedi Knight star 2

    Sep 22, 2012

    2/23/13: Made the fatal mistake of playing Feel the Magic: XY/XX. Rub it!

    Dr. Walter Mitty Jr.'s first reaction upon seeing the X-ray image was to roll his eyes and say, "Okay, enough with the jokes. Where's the real picture?"

    But it turned out that this was indeed the genuine X-ray photo, and that yes, there was a cat inside Mrs. Brown.

    "Of course there is," she said when he informed her of this fact. "I swallowed it."

    "You swallowed it," Walter repeated, forgetting to add the question mark in his shock. "Would you mind telling me why?"

    "To catch the bird, of course."

    "The bird." A closer look at the photo revealed a smaller skeleton inside the one of the cat. Oh my God, she's right.

    He smiled weakly at the little old lady. She didn't look crazy, but then again, quite a few lunatics didn't.

    "I suppose you swallowed the bird, too?"

    "I had to. How else could I catch the spider?"

    "I beg your pardon?"

    "The spider. It was making a nuisance of itself, you see, with all its wiggling and jiggling and tickling."

    He dreaded asking the next question, but had no other choice. "And why was the spider . . . ?"

    "I swallowed it," Mrs. Brown said matter-of-factly. Then, seeing the expression on Walter's face, added, "To catch the fly, of course."

    At this point it was obvious how the fly got inside of her. The only question was why.

    "I'm not sure, to tell you the truth," she said. "Tell me, Doctor - do you think I'll die?"
  8. Lazy K

    Lazy K Jedi Knight star 2

    Sep 22, 2012

    2/24/13: Put things off for "just another hour" until it was too late to do anything. Where did the time go?

    Clocks were not allowed in the Doldrums. While the Lethargarians had a busy schedule of doing nothing, it was considered antithetical to their philosophy to be chained to the passage of time. And since every hour was pretty much the same as the last and the next, it really didn't matter what time it was.

    For those miscreants who felt it necessary, it was enough to tell the time by the motion of the sun across the sky - or, if you didn't feel up to the physical challenge of looking up, then by the length and direction of your shadow. Or it would be, if you could see it. They sky was usually gray in the Doldrums, making it hard to tell where the sun was and where the light didn't shine.

    Walter Mitty Jr. had been in the Doldrums for as long as he could remember. Which, admittedly, wasn't that long. You lost track of time after a few days, what with the mind-numbing slowness that pervaded everything and all. You started wondering if it was today or yesterday or perhaps even tomorrow. And after a while you stopped wondering at all.

    Of course, no paradise is perfect, and in the Doldrums this was embodied in the Watchdog, a hideous creature whose only passion in life seemed to be making sure that no-one was unfrugal with Time. Technically, this was against the local ordinance of the Doldrums, but nobody could be bothered to enforce it.

    Walter opened an eye and glanced at the horizon. In the Doldrums, this was both very close and very far away. He thought he saw a familiar shape approaching. The Watchdog, he thought. Probably just on time, too.

    He wondered if he should raise the alarm but decided against it. It would be here in a matter of minutes, and it would be cruel to disrupt the others' peace. Or so he rationalized to himself.

    I'm still making excuses, he thought bitterly. When am I going to learn that I don't need them any more?
  9. Lazy K

    Lazy K Jedi Knight star 2

    Sep 22, 2012

    2/25/13: Machine don't work good when cold. Which is why it gets the infrared heater and not us.

    Contrary to popular opinion, Walter Mitty Jr. found the fried chicken they served in the Musical Re-education Facility to be quite good. Then again, Walter wasn't exactly a conformist. Even the musical misfits of society found him odd.

    Walter's crime - or so the Majority for Musical Morality called it - was the subversion of music for multiple copyright infringement. Or, in laymen's terms, making and singing song parodies. Of the science fiction and fantasy genres. And reading and writing fan fiction, for goodness sake. The only ones who ranked lower in the prison hierarchy were the Robotos, but only by a narrow margin.

    Which, perhaps, was why he rather enjoyed their company. They were easy to talk to, they didn't bore you with their own problems, and they always had a ready supply of fried chicken.

    And since their systems required a certain temperature range for optimum performance, it meant being around them was the surest way to be warm in winter and cool in summer. This was something only those who hanged out with Robotos knew, and Walter wasn't about to share this information with anyone.

    "You know something?" he asked the nearest Roboto. "You guys are hot. And I'm not saying this because you keep me warm and fed. Nosir, you guys are the best!"

    The Roboto tilted its grinning facial plate at him. According to the manual, this was a programmed mannerism that meant that the Roboto did not understand your comments, request, or whatever you had to say. They did this a lot around Walter.

    "Please restate your sentence," the Roboto said.

    "See? That's what I mean. Being polite even to scum like me is a true sign of nobility. That's what's wrong with people today. They have no respect, no manners, no nothing. Got any more chicken?"

    "Of course, sir. Please wait till we get you some more fried chicken."

    "Domo arigato," Walter said. When the Roboto was gone, he shook his head at how cheap the MMM must be to buy Robotos without bothering to change their vocabulary so they were suitable for dealing with prison inmates.
  10. Lazy K

    Lazy K Jedi Knight star 2

    Sep 22, 2012

    2/26/13: The machine that we thought was fixed turned out not to be. Heh.

    It was the first manned mission to Mars and it was already in trouble.

    "What do you mean we can't take off?" Captain Walter Mitty Jr. cried out. "All systems are green. We went through the pre-flight checklist half a dozen times. I even refrained from washing my car so we'd have clear skies tonight."

    "I'm sorry, Dave," the ship's AI said. "But diagnostic systems indicate something is wrong. Until it is identified and fixed, we cannot proceed with the launch."

    Walter scrolled down the help file until he came across something totally unexpected in the FAQ section: How do I make ROC stop calling me "Dave"?

    The answer: You can't. We tried everything but nothing seems to work. Learn to live with it.


    "Yes, Dave?"

    "Would you . . . oh, never mind. Can you pinpoint the location of the error?"

    "I'm sorry, but it is quite elusive. Would you like to play chess?"

    Walter killed the urge to check the FAQ for this. It was there. It had to be. Let's just hope he doesn't start singing Daisy, Daisy.

    "No thanks. Maybe later. In the meantime, we need to find out what's wrong or this ship will never leave the Well."

    Although Walter was the only human on board, the door opened behind him. A white-haired man poked his head in and said, "I just wanted to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you."
  11. Lazy K

    Lazy K Jedi Knight star 2

    Sep 22, 2012

    2/27/13: I used to like rain. That was before I started commuting to work by bike. And the bus only comes around once each morning.

    Walter Mitty Jr. woke up one morning to find that his bicycle had two flat tires.

    "Great," he muttered. "Just great."

    He was trying to figure out who to blame for this act of vandalism when he remembered last night's unusually bumpy ride home. Obviously he had run over something, or somethings, sharp.

    He knew without looking that he had the tools to fix the flat tires. What he didn't have was the time. He also lacked intimate knowledge of the city's bus schedules. And the location of the nearest bus stop, come to think of it . . .

    He half ran, half jogged down the sidewalk, apologizing in rapid fire mode to people he kept bumping into and pushing past. Luckily, none of them were hair-trigger types whose systems had been jump-started by caffeine and all he got were random swear words and shouted insults.

    He was already out of breath when he saw the bus stop sign. The bus was also there, and unlike the sign, didn't wait for Walter.

    "Hey!" he yelled as he ran. "Wait up!"

    It didn't.

    Walter spent the next eight minutes alternately vowing to get more exercise and dreaming up revenge scenarios against the unsympathetic bus driver. A hundred overweight clowns were stuffing themselves into the bus inside Walter's head when he saw the next bus approach.

    "It's about time," he said under his breath.

    Then he noticed that the driver behind the wheel wasn't in uniform. And that she looked scared. Really scared. And the bus didn't seem to be slowing down . . .

    Walter's face zipped around from left to right as the bus sped past.

    Maybe I should just call in sick today.
  12. Lazy K

    Lazy K Jedi Knight star 2

    Sep 22, 2012

    2/28/13: Four hours overtime again. Does the world really need this many cars?

    It was a weapons shop; therefore it sold weapons. Lots of them.

    Walter Mitty Jr. bent over a showcase, waiting for one of the knives to sing out to him. According to his friend Roderic, who was presently admiring the collection of battle axes on display, a weapon wasn't something you bought just because you could. It also wasn't enough that you put it to good use and that you took proper care of it. No, a weapon was much more . . . personal than that.

    "Do you see anything you like, sir?"

    Walter looked up and saw Tessie Taloon, the woman who ran the place while her husband was away procuring merchandise. It was no secret that without her, the store would have gone bankrupt a long time ago.

    Which was why it was vitally important that you didn't let her get a toehold on your purse. Many a man had walked out of Taloon's with a sword he didn't know how to use and had spent too many gold coins on.

    "I'm just looking around while my friend makes up his mind," he said, gesturing over at Roderic. "I'm not into swords and stuff, really. Too uncivilized."

    "Ah," Tessie said. The words And that's why you've been staring at these knives for more than an hour were not spoken. They didn't need to be.

    "Then perhaps you would be more interested in cultural items. This knife is used only for the breaking of seals. Please note the quality of the engravings. Very popular with the noblemen, as I'm sure you already know."

    Walter made a sound that might have been Of course and might have been Help!

    Roderic, damn his hide, didn't even notice.
  13. Lazy K

    Lazy K Jedi Knight star 2

    Sep 22, 2012

    3/1/13: Couldn't get 99 Bottles of Beer out of my head.

    It wasn't that Walter Mitty Jr. liked beer. He found it too bitter and too weak. Anyway, carbonating a drink after killing the yeast microbes was nothing short of cheating to his mind.

    On the other hand, he'd been conned into shelling out fifty bucks for this party and he was damned if he wasn't going to get his money's worth.

    "Fifty-four bottles of beer," Donovan was singing off-key. "Take one down, pass it around -"

    "Fifty-three bottles of beer on the wall!" chorused everyone else.

    Walter took the bottle from Steph and turned it upside down over his open mouth. There were only a few drops left - just like the last dozen bottles. "Uh, guys? Could we change the order a bit?"

    Donovan put down the bottle he was using in lieu of a microphone. "But we drew straws, Walt. And I remember you saying you didn't care because you didn't like the stuff, anyway."

    "Yes," Walter replied. "Broadly speaking, that's very true. But standing around sober while you guys keep guzzling beer isn't my idea of a good time."

    "I'm sorry to hear that," Greg said. "We'll drink a little less next time. Right, guys?"

    "That's what you said twenty bottles ago," Walter complained against the chorus of yeses.