The Troubles of Twysdrns

Quirk and Liam sat facing each other on a dark stage, each wearing an outlandish hat.  Liam wore a large, green, upside-down mushroom, while Quirk carefully balanced a six-legged stuffed animal on his head.

“I don’t understand why people would buy distressed jeans,” Liam said, obviously continuing a previous conversation.  “It seems to me that simply being worn day after day after day would be distressing enough.  If I were my jeans, I’d be reduced to tears after the first few days.”

Quirk tapped his nose.  “It’s the smell,” he whispered to the audience with a wink.

Liam shrugged.  “Perhaps that would do it, perhaps not.  I just think that being worn like that would be incredibly traumatizing.”

“Perhaps it would be…” mused Quirk.  “What were we here to talk about again?”

“It’s sitting on your head, Quirk,” said Liam, amused.  “You ought to know.”

Quirk reached up and removed his hat, examining it closely as if for lice.  “Oh, yes, Twysdrns.  This should prove interesting.”

“So, Quirk…  Why don’t you tell our audience what exactly a Twysdrn is.”

“Why don’t I?  Because even knowing about these fateful creatures is a curse.  No one knows the true effort an enemy would make to destroy one with this sort of knowledge.  Twysdrns are dangerous to know, my friends– very dangerous.”

“Why haven’t you died yet, then?”

“Because I’m special.”

“And why do I get the impression you’ve already told people about Twizzlers?”

“Twysdrns, Liam.  One vowel, six consonants.  If you don’t count the plural suffix.”

“So, for the benefit of our audience, what is a twysdrn?  Is that the right pronunciation?”

“The T is capitalized.”

“How could you hear that?”

“As I said, I’m special.”

“Please, what is a Twysdrn, exactly?”  Liam settled himself in his chair and assumed an attitude of attentive listening.

“That’s classified information,” insisted Quirk.

“No it isn’t.  Please tell us.”

Quirk heaved a long-suffering sigh and acquiesced.  “A Twysdrn looks exactly as you see,” he said, holding up his hat.  It was a long yet chubby animal with six legs and no other discernible features.  To Liam it seemed that the face was in one place one moment and another the next, the features he thought were clear shifting to meaningless knobs and protrusions almost immediately.  Quirk continued.  “Before you tell me to describe it in more detail ‘for our audience’, I’d just like to say that such an act is nearly impossible, and almost any attempt will fail miserably.”

Liam seemed disappointed that his next order had been anticipated, but he recovered fairly quickly.  “Where did you first encounter this… Twysdrn?”

“Oh, this isn’t a real one,” said Quirk.  “The real one is thirteen feet long.”

“I know that– where did you first encounter the Twysdrn as a race?”

“NaNoWriMo YWP forums, of course.  All the weirdest stuff comes from around there.”

Liam turned to face the audience.  “A small explanation is necessary, I believe.  You see–”

“We could just leave them to wonder about all this,” Quirk suggested.

Liam blinked.  “I’d rather not,” he said after a pause.  He turned back to the audience.  “You see, Quirk and I cooperate when it comes to the YWP forums.  It’s a strange sort of relationship, but basically both of us merge into the same persona.  Well…  That’s not exactly true.  Quirk does most of it–”

“Of course,” said Quirk, preening.

“Except for role-playing and other writerly sort of things.”

“Most role-playing,” corrected Quirk.  “There are a few exceptions.”

“But even then, I’m watching over your shoulder to make sure you don’t mess up our image,” said Liam.

“True; I can smell you breathing down my neck.  Negi negi.”  Quirk winked at the audience again.

“Anyway, I take care of the role-playing and heavy writing, and he does the rest of the nonsensical sort of stuff.  In fact, I believe he claims to be an evil genius over there, evil genius second class by now, isn’t it?”

“Yes.  I recently acquired a tuxedo–”

“You mean I did and you’re borrowing it.”

“And that counts as acquiring it.  Anyway, that makes me second-class.  Now all I need is a pocket watch.”

“He takes care of that silly sort of stuff,” Liam continued.  “In one such silly thing, I believe the Twysdrns were born.”

“Yes indeed,” said Quirk proudly.  “I was writing a paragraph about why fantasy has to be relatable even in fantasy’s inherent unrelatability– why main characters and often even villains must be human in order for them to be truly loved by the reader.  Otherwise, the reader loses interest.  If you remember, I questioned you about this in depth.”

“Now I do remember,” said Liam.  “Carry on.”

“As an example I gave the following mock story summary– quotes, please.”  Quirk assumed a doleful face as his quote came up on the screens behind him.

…[If] you get too weird, readers won’t enjoy it that much. Yes, it’s still fantasy if your main character is a six-legged Twysdrn from the planet of Ydrragrsidbr, fighting against Voo the Shrrkhlm for possession of the Great Xgt that will save the world of the loving little Aqrwytzi, but who can really relate to any of these characters? That’s why humans are important in most fantasies– number one, because authors are also a little too proud of their species, but number two because they’re relatable and readers will like them. It’s hard to get to like a Twysdrn.

“Profound, is it not?” asked Quirk after sufficient time had gone by.  “I don’t know why you didn’t steal it for a blog post, Liam.”

“Neither do I,” said Liam.  “You’re right– we’re brilliant.”

“We?” muttered Quirk.

“So the Twysdrn was a perfect example race for an exaggerated fantasy storyline,” said Liam.  “But what happened then to make it worthy of this post?”

“Absolutely nothing,” said Quirk cheerfully.  Liam stared at him until he sighed and said, “Popular vote.  People who read the paragraph liked Twysdrns.”

“So what is the point of bringing them up in this post, then?  I was having a good time speculating in jean emotions.”

“To give Twysdrns greater following.  They’re poor, neglected creatures, constantly hunted across the galaxy by Shrrkhlms, defending weak Aqrwytzi and seeking the Great Xgt.  It would be a terrible thing if they were forgotten.  And they’re quite useful when you need an example fantasy creature.”  As he was speaking, various black-and-white pictures of his hat panned across the screens behind him.  As he finished, the words “Donate today” in orange faded in and out.

Liam cleared his throat.  “Lastly, for all our audience who started reading this eagerly, wondering if it was the beginning of the fourth episode of the Phil Phorce, please tell them whether or not Twysdrns will be making an appearance in the real fourth Phil Phorce episode.”

Quirk took a deep breath, considered his answer a moment, and said decisively, “No.”

“Thank you for that, Quirk.  I can honestly assure you that I won’t forget Twizzlers any time soon.”

The lights faded as a giant, six-legged shadow engulfed Liam’s chair.

Leave a comment


  1. Robyn Hoode

     /  November 25, 2012

    There is only one thing to say to about Twysdrns and this post… Beware the jabberwock. No, seriously, I think I just stumbled onto the next Lewis Carroll (I mean this as a compliment).

    • I thank you, but I also hope I don’t end up as the next Carroll. I liked his stuff, but it wasn’t spectacular except in ridiculousness. Thank you anyway.

      • No… this is the next Terry Pratchett.

      • NO. I was horrified when my style for Fathoming Egression was actually mirroring the third-person-omniscient that Pratchett uses. You’ll remember that that was the number one thing I said I would change in the second draft.

      • I didn’t even noticing that the narrating style was the same, actually. I meant the humor, the creativity, etc. Things like: “Profound, is it not?” asked Quirk after sufficient time had gone by. ”I don’t know why you didn’t steal it for a blog post, Liam.” “Neither do I,” said Liam. ”You’re right– we’re brilliant.”

      • That’s just plain humor. You get the same sort of stuff anywhere you have conceited characters.

      • Well, I still think it’s quite good.

      • That’s good, I suppose. Compared to two professional authors in one day… That’s a record for me.

      • Your style is reminiscent of Stephenie Meyer’s, Lliam the Llama.

  2. Charley R

     /  November 26, 2012

    Ahehehehe, poor Twysdrns! They must feel so unloved, so neglected, in a world of neccessarily relatable characters. We must amend this! DONATE ALL THE MONEY! xD

  3. Twysdrns. Ha! They sound remarkably goofy and bizarre. Almost as bizarre as that plot I dreamed up the other day about a man who gets eaten by his umbrella.

  4. Oh dear… I hope Kysherin (my annoying muse) hasn’t hired a Twysdrn to stalk me lately. I keep having dreams about odd six-legged creatures.

  5. Can Quirk hear apostrophes?

  6. Liam? I seem to have kidnapped your hat, by mistake.

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