All posts by Micah Kipfer

Micah Kipfer sometimes writes things. Case in point: this one.

Dawson Filter as He Relates to Semantics


Felipe, an intern of sorts, ran his finger along the doorknob of his time machine. Promptly after this event transpired, the door opened, and the contents of the time machine were released. The contents of the time machine were the following:

  • Dawson Filter
  • Sylvester Denny
  • Twelve-Anne Stradivari
  • Babe Listowel
  • Felipe
  • Wayne Rubblefish

“Sherlock lives in a cave along this way,” Felipe said, motioning to his left. As the group followed Felipe toward its destination, there seemed to fewer and fewer dwarves along the path.

Wayne Rubblefish made a point of stepping on the backs of Sylvester Denny’s shoes to pass the time while the others took in the scenery.

Franell’s terrain was lumpy; but the lumps were smooth, like malformed ice. The only source of water in sight was a row of irregularly spaced water coolers on the right side of the path; and the red ground smelled of candles. The green ground smelled of lilacs.

Less than an hour later, the group stumbled across the cave they were looking for along the path they were walking without any complications or disruptions. Felipe knocked the door down.

“Sherlock?”

“Is here. Names?”

“Felipe, Dawson, Twelve-Anne, Babe, Sylvester, Wayne.”

“Acceptable. In.”

Bookshelves lined Sherlock Dracula’s cave. On the bookshelves were a few gross copies of the first nine volumes of “Mo’s Guide to Himself” arranged into pi, using his 250 page eulogy, “No Mo’ Mo” for the zeros.

“Four sco’ years ago,” said Dawson Filter, “you published a crossword puzzle with the clue ‘the true meaning of feelings.’ 241 letters. The 132nd was ‘A.’ Then your newspaper company was destroyed, along with most of Canada. We’ve been on a quest for the past two years to find the answer to that clue. Then we found you. Do you happen to remember the True Meaning of Feelings, Sherlock?”

“Sit down,” Sherlock Dracula said, “Yes, I do. ‘A babbling brook, a child golfing, these are feelings. A feeling doesn’t need to rhyme, you know. There is feeling where there is meaning and meani(the letter A)ng wherever you see. True meaning comes with a true desire to inspire feeling, Dawson. A dove, a fawn a rose; I’ve seen it all and feel this’s Meaning.’ Ignore spaces and punctuation.”

Dawson Filter filled in the crossword. He read it over, and it was over. The answer to his quest was nothing but thinly veiled nonsense. It seemed appropriate, though, for nonsense to make one final appearance in this way. It had been the backbone of the quest, saving everyone so many times, guiding them at every stage of their journey. Dawson Filter realised that as nonsense claimed the final word, it was not making a mockery of him or his efforts; but bidding him farewell.

He tried to remember a time before his two year quest. He could recall some details, but with little clarity. In his first year out, Sylvester Denny had shown Dawson Filter that their lives were a work of fiction. At this, the arc of their story,  Dawson had to question what he would be in a few minutes. He hoped for an epilogue, to guarantee that his life and world would go on.

The Illuminati for the Blind would go on to crumble without its Director of Human Relations; and the Quest Committee would settle down in Murderville, Nevada. Using a time machine of his own design, Wayne Rubblefish would continue to oppose the Quest Committee’s mission until he was just an old bloke trying to have some fun on his last day before retirement, all the while aware that the mission’s completion was forever inevitable. He would even form a new world order to frame Dawson Filter for tax evasion. Every member of the Quest Committee, with the exception of Felipe, lived to see Wayne Rubblefish’s Official Government. Not much else happened after that, to my knowledge. Other heros came along, of course. Greater heroes, whose stories deserve more than Dawson Filter’s to be told. But Dawson Filter does not relate to these people. He relates to clams, rock ‘n’ roll, fountains of youth, 1782, self defence, tumours, blindness, beige, emigration, spandex, walruses, november, yaks, barbershops, ¡PAIN!, rain, the system, lighting, bowling, plywood, gloves, bails, tax evasion, rowboats, armchairs, thumbtacks, swords, bandits, projectors, explosions, oregano, whiteboards, rugs, real screwdrivers, lamp posts, taxis, parties, offices, snake-related injuries, game shows, stomach punching, bears, dragons, conferences, orbs of steel, starfish, grapes, dictionaries, money, balloons, sheep, flamingos, surveys, wheat, spoons, paper flowers, generally positive events, music, spaghetti, tents, bridges, chairs, ice, prison, omelets, the elderly, visually impared gangs, iron, sound, semantics, Twelve-Anne Stradivari, Babe Listowel, Felipe, and Sylvester Denny; and I’ve already said pretty much most of what’s to say about them.

The End

Dawson Filter as He Relates to Sound


For two years, Dawson Filter and Sylvester Denny had been in quest to discover the True Meaning of Feelings. For nearly all of that time, they had no idea whatsoever how to find it or where to start looking. They’d endured attack and legal proceeding, dragon and Scottsman. But now they knew exactly who knew the Meaning, and had a time machine to get to him.

But of course, complications.

“What is the meaning of this?” a thin man in a dark green cloak asked them. He must have heard them in the hallway.

“Well, see,” Sylvester Denny pointed to his eyes nervously, “we’re search – looking for the True Meaning stove Feeling; and Wayne Rubblefish – or some of his goons, I guess, stole our time machine. That’s what this is.” He banged on the side of Felipe’s time machine a few times, causing it to shed lavender-scented dust.

“I gave Wayne Rubblefish direct orders not to waste his time meddling in your affairs.”

“I suppose we can leave, then?” Dawson Filter said.

“No, I think it’s best if we call Rubblefish down here now to sort this out.”

The man pulled a pager from his satchel and pressed several buttons on it. After several awkward minutes, Wayne Rubblefish emerged.

“You wanted to speak with me, Xavier X?”

“Yes. I would like you to explain to me what this time machine is doing in this room against my direct orders.”

“Well, you see,” said Wayne, shuffling a deck of cards, “this is a time machine. You only gave me orders to leave these folks alone a month ago; but I brought them here a year before that. It’s just that they’re arriving now.”

“They say they’re leaving.”

“Umbel-”

“I don’t think you kidnapped these individuals. I think you brought them here to conspire against the Illuminati for the Blind.”

Xavier X pulled back his hood, revealing his glassy eyes and bald spot. Wayne Rubblefish pushed Sylvester, Dawson, and Felipe into the time machine and jumped in after them.

“The moon, 1932?” Felipe asked. Dawson Filter nodded, and the machine twitched.

When the door opened, Twelve-Anne Stradivari and Babe Listowel rushed over to greet the time travellers.

“How did it go?” Twelve-Anne asked, “Did you find the Meaning?”

“No, we picked the wrong Sherlock Dracula. We need to find his twin, Sherlock Dracula,” answered Dawson Filter.

Wayne Rubblefish had run out of the machine, and had set to work knocking items off of the Quest Committee’s tables, making sure to pick items at irregular intervals to maximize unsightliness.

“Where is this Sherlock Dracula?” Babe Listowel inquired inquisitively.

“Franell. It’s a dwarf planet, largely uncharted.”

“Oh! That Sherlock Dracula.” Felipe said, “Nice man, bit eccentric. I have Franell’s coordinates for June 27, 2096. That’s when he likes me to visit. Hey, they’re even on the floor. How convenient.”

Twelve-Anne picked up the octagonal piece of paper to which Felipe pointed. 1889127, 1782. June 27, 2096. She tossed the paper to Felipe, who caught it in the back of his hand. Without skipping a beat or skipping, Felipe typed the coordinates into his time machine. The time machine had the habit of making sounds without any regularity, ranging from loud clanking to rhythmic whistling. It gave the impression that the machine was in need of maintenance, although Felipe was never able to stop the sounds with any repairs. This time it purred.

The Quest Committee and Wayne Rubblefish boarded the time machine. Wayne stuck his foot in the door to try to keep it from closing, but only lost his shoe in the attempt. Felipe pressed the button to travel, and the machine gave a sound very much like chuckling.

Dawson Filter as He Relates to Iron


Trapped in Saskatchewan, Dawson Filter and Sylvester Denny saw no option but to build a time machine. The main problem with this was that they didn’t know how. They remembered from spending time in Felipe’s time machine that it had a boxy sort of structure, with some sciency bits in the middle. Dawson Filter used the skills he’d gained studying origami to build a few model boxes on Sherlock Dracula’s porch, but it looked unlikely that they’d get much further than that. To make Dawson Filter feel better about his work, Sylvester Denny took a pen from the curb and wrote “Time Machine” on one of the boxes.

Just as Sylvester finished dotting his i’s, a portal opened by Sherlock’s mailbox. Out ran three visually impaired hoodlums, who kicked Sylvester’s shins, took the box, and ran back into the vortex.

“Seems like the thugs who got us stuck here are unsupportive of us leaving,” Dawson Filter remarked.

“Might as well give up now and never try to leave again,” Sylvester Denny added.

Dawson Filter began to recreate a diagram he thought he remembered from Felipe’s bulletin board, but before his 34th mark on the paper, the portal opened again, and a dentist with severe astigmatism lit the diagram on fire.

“Go to the iron store and get some iron,” Dawson Filter said to Sylvester, having an idea.

Paper was light, and easily disposable. Quickly disposable. If Dawson and Sylvester could force Wayne Rubblefish’s agents of destruction to stay longer, they should be able to run through the vortex themselves, quite likely removing them from Saskatchewan. Iron was reportedly heavy, and consequently difficult to lift. Difficult tasks take greater amounts of time than facile tasks.

When Sylvester Denny returned from the iron store, Dawson Filter took out the fire the dentist had left on his diagram; and began to weld the iron into a cube. Sylvester took out his pen to label the cube a time machine, and once again the vortex swirled at the end of Sherlock’s driveway.

“Ack! Terror because the people have come to take our time machine!” Sylvester Denny winked at Dawson to let him know that he was acting.

As four men struggled with the box, Dawson and Sylvester ran through the portal.

On the other side was a shockingly empty room. It had no furniture or dust. It did have air, but it wasn’t all that visible. It didn’t even have doors. After a few minutes of nothing, the portal closed behind them, revealing that the room was the end of a hallway. Walking down the hallway, they passed a door marked “Dry Storage,” and another marked “Moist Storage.” They stopped at one marked “Prisoners,” hoping to ask for directions. Behind the door was one Felipe, an intern of sorts, strapped to the bottom of a chair.

“Felipe!” Dawson Filter exclaimed, “You look very upside down today.”

“They hid inside m’time machine, Dawson. They took me here and now I am here, Dawson.”

Dawson Filter surveyed the room; and after seeing that Felipe’s time machine was not present, made an oral note of this. Sylvester Denny unstrapped Felipe, who, in his freedom, stood up.

“My time machine is dry;” Felipe said, “Now where would a dry thing be stored in a place like this?”

Sylvester suddenly remembered a door that he used to walk by as he was looking for Felipe.

“Inside of a room that says dry storage on the door!”

The trio ran into the hallway and kicked down the door Sylvester Denny mentioned. Indeed, there was a room behind it. Indeed, there was a time machine in the room. And not only in word but also in deed, the trio entered said time machine.

Dawson Filter as He Relates to Visually Impaired Gangs


“Give a man a time machine, and he’ll embark on a quest. Teach a man to catch a time machine, and the first man’s day gets distinctly worse,” Wayne Rubblefish said to his pupils. He’d grown bored of meeting up with Dawson Filter and his band of merry travellers to intimidate them directly, in favour of training others to take action.

Wayne Rubblefish was Director of Human Relations for the Illuminati for the Blind, a secret and largely evil society. Until recently, he had been wholly obedient to the Head of the group, Xavier X. But Xavier and Wayne’s values differed. Xavier X felt that the society’s mission would be best fulfilled by establishing a totalitarian government to the far reaches of the galaxy, with himself as Emperor. Conversely, Wayne said that the group should focus its efforts more on the torment of individuals. In fact, Wayne Rubblefish did support the idea of a totalitarian government; but felt that he would be a better leader for it, and also wanted to be its leader. He felt a duty to thwart Dawson Filter from discovering the True Meaning of Feelings before establishing the new order, though; because that was what an older version of himself had told him one day in April. Besides, devoting the Illuminati for the Blind’s activities to this insignificant mission would give him time to plan his government. But Xavier X became impatient and told Wayne to discontinue the anti-Filter (Contamination, as it was sometimes called) project. Officially, he did; but he was secretly training a small team to find the Quest Committee’s time machine and thwart Dawson Filter and co. indefinitely.

Dawson Filter and co. also had a plan. Using the power of reading, Dawson Filter had determined that the author of the crossword puzzle that started his quest was named Sherlock Dracula.

No relation. source

Felipe, an intern of sorts, had kept and index of everyone in the world when he saved them from a pancontinental fire. There were two people named Sherlock Dracula. Twins. One had an unlisted address, the other’s was listed as “351 Watson Dr. Fallacy, SK.” Felipe, Dawson Filter, and Sylvester Denny boarded Felipe’s time machine. Sylvester set the coordinates for Fallacy, Saskatchewan, 12 October 2026. Felipe pressed a button and travelled.

In 2026, after walking out of the machine, the trio was surrounded by a gang of visually impaired thugs.

“It’s them,” said an elderly woman with one eye.

“We’re here to entrap you,” a legally blind former undercover police officer snarled.

Sylvester Denny darted between two hooligans who appeared to be fully blind. Now that the society members were all on guard, Dawson Filter and Felipe dashed between the two most feeble-looking ones. The thinner one grabbed Felipe’s leg, but in doing so, broke his own arm and relented. On the ground, the thug, blind and broken, called out:

“Go on! Go to Mr. Dracula’s house! We have your time machine. Good luck getting out of Saskatchewan without a time machine.”

The trio looked at one another. The woman with one eye slid into the machine. They were so close to Sherlock Dracula, and it would really spoil the moment to have to come back to Fallacy some other time.

“I can stay with the time machine,” Felipe said, “you go on, I’ll come back for you.”

So sooner had Dawson Filter and Sylvester Denny turned around to walk to Watson Drive than Felipe sprinted through the crowd and hopped back in the time machine, hardly closing the door before the machine shuddered and disappeared.

. . .

Dawson Filter rang the doorbell.

“Dracula residence, Sherlock speaking,” a voice called through the door.

“Hello, we’re Dawson Filter and Sylv-“

“Excellent name, come in.”

Sherlock’s house smelled exactly like the sort of house that would belong to someone in his late 80’s, although Sherlock was clearly 59.63. Potpourri lined the windowsills, and aloe vera plants were strewn across the floor.

“Did you ever write crossword puzzles?” asked Dawson Filter.

“No, you must be thinking of my brother. He lives on Franell, now. It’s a dwarf planet he discovered in the mid-reaches of the galaxy. But don’t tell him it’s a dwarf planet.”

“Okay, thanks for your time.”

Dawson Filter and Sylvester Denny stepped out onto Sherlock’s porch to wait for Felipe. After a week, it became clear that problems had happened

Dawson Filter as He Relates to the Elderly


Dawson Filter looked around the room that he’d just entered. The first place he looked was at a calendar, since he’d come to the room by time machine, and had an imperfect biological clock.

“October 14, 1932,” the calendar said. Dawson Filter initially thought it was lying; talking calendar technology was only invented in 2021, after all. Then he remembered time travel, and it made sense for the calendar to be then.

The second place he looked was at the person in the room, whom he identified as his friend Felipe, an intern of sorts.

“Hello,” he said to the aforementioned person, “where are we?”

“On the Earth Moon, Dawson,” Felipe replied, “on the Earth Moon.”

Felipe had aged. Grey hair grew from his scalp, and his nose had turned downward slightly. Seeing Dawson Filter’s eyes move along the edge of his hairline, Felipe decided to answer as many of the questions in Dawson’s head as possible.

“Do you remember the apocalypse, Dawson? When that arsonist Makayla Pundit burned down that forest and every single fire hazard in the world burst into flames as a result? I saved everyone. Did it in four seconds, by some counts. I counted twelve years. That’s still over 400 people a second, so it was a productive twelve years. Then I went on a series of adventures for thirty-five. I set up this place as my base. As a result of these things, I am old.”

Dawson Filter thought about what Felipe said. He thought about his own mission, to discover the True Meaning of Feelings. He’d given Felipe the time machine as part of an internship program; so Felipe could help out around the quest. Felipe had shown great initiative, and Dawson Filter would be more than willing to offer him a full-time position. But Felipe was over qualified.

“I was thinking that maybe we could work together on the feelings quest,” Felipe continued, cutting off Dawson mid-thought, “You and the rest of the Quest Committee can stay at my base. The Luna programme doesn’t start until 1959, so no one’s going to find us. It’ll be just like the good old days, but I’ll have a few more quests under my belt this time. I told some people in the future about your quest, too. And how to build time machines. Theirs aren’t as nice as ours, though; and they haven’t made much progress with the quest, either, except to establish that it has something to do with the way people feel. I can bring your troop here now if you like. It’ll be even easier if they like.”

Dawson Filter nodded, and saw Felipe come back with Sylvester Denny, Twelve-Anne, and Babe Listowel a few seconds before Felipe left.

“Hello, all,” he said.

“Hello, one,” they replied in unison.

“What can I do for you?”

“Not much, what can we do for you?”

“Equally little. Let’s do the quest things.”

Babe Listowel set down a table he’d been carrying to lay out everything the group had gathered. The crossword puzzle, the IFTB’s Guide to Being, Twelve-Anne’s memoirs. Dawson Filter suddenly realized why Felipe had brought them 1932: because 1932 is a leap year, and it’s symbolic of all the leaps the Quest Committee was sure to make. Felipe sure was good at symbolism.

Dawson Filter as He Relates to Omelets


Returning from Antarctica, Dawson Filter walked into a bank. It was a nice bank, plenty of walls, a flower pot on the windowsill. Not every person in the bank was so nice, though. There was a nanny with a “Support Arson” button yelling at her dog, a gold-plated man robbing the bank, a butler who was a real grouch, and a teller in the habit of beating her ferrets. It was the robber who caught Dawson Filter’s attention first.

“You can’t rob in here! You’ll only bring in an atmosphere of negativity,” Dawson Filter objected.

As the man turned around, it became apparent that he was Wayne Rubblefish, Dawson Filter’s long-standing archenemy.

“I was wondering when I’d get your attention,” Mr. Rubblefish said, “this is the fifth bank I’ve robbed, and the first time you bothered to show up.”

Dawson Filter invited Wayne to a nearby gazebo, where they could talk matters out with fewer shady characters watching. They arrived not long after, wet because of the unaforementioned rain.

“You know, Filter,” Wayne Rubblefish said, “the thing about gazebos is they have to be built to exist. But you can’t build an omelette without breaking some eggs. I had a friend in Reno, Greasy-Palmed Paul, he once tried to built a gazebo without hurting anyone’s feelings. But then there was the guy whose house he wanted to build it on, and then there was the police; and in the end, that gazebo never did get built, became ol’ Paul was afraid of making the pig who owned the house and the pigs who owned the city feel a little sadness. You know what I’m saying?”

Dawson Filter shook his head, as Wayne had mispronounced the word ‘sadness’ as ‘pancreas.’

“I’m sayin’ you’re a pig, D. And your quest is an egg. And I’m going to fry myself up a nice bacon omelet.”

Dawson Filter had set out on a quest some time ago to discover the True Meaning of Feelings. It was the clue to a crossword puzzle. The true meaning of feelings. 241 letters. 132nd was A. The newspaper that would have published the answer was destroyed along with a decent portion of North America before Dawson could read it. He tried to think back to the name of the crossword author. Plaid Stevens? No, that wasn’t it. Oh yes, Sherlock Dracula. This would be a good name to investigate as Wayne Rubblefish opposed the quest.

“Of what omelet do you speak?” Dawson Filter asked.

“I have a list of things I intend to do before I die. Ending your quest is next on the list. This is, of course, a dull item, and one with which I’d like very much to get over. After that I plan to establish a new world order, which I shall call ‘the Official Government.’ But alas, I am a man of rigid schedule. I’d like to skip the item that involves interacting with you directly to make your life worse, and get to the stuff with the government and the fun; but that is not the manner in which I roll.”

Wayne Rubblefish took a chain out of his satchel, tied Dawson Filter to the gazebo, and left.

Felipe, an intern of sorts, arrived in the time machine that the Quest Committee had decided to use when any member was in a real jam.

“What are you doing, Felipe?” asked Dawson Filter, “This is hardly a real jam; I could probably break these chains with my bare hands, if not with my mind.”

“No,” Felipe said, “Wayne leaves you to die if I don’t save you.”

Dawson Filter stepped into the machine, and stepped out with a slight headache into a mostly-white room.

Dawson Filter as He Relates to Prison


It was Tuesday, they say, when the Quest Committee came to Rower’s Pokey. Or Sunday, if you trust Mac Dallas. Don’t. They seemed like any other gang when they were booked, tougher than a fresh lander; but this couldn’t have been any more than their second circus. Babe Listowel looked like the ringleader at first, had the hat to pass for one; but they all looked at Dawson “the Marble” Filter when anyone asked them a question. There were two others; Twelve-Anne Stradivari and Sylvester Denny. They both looked like the accountant type.

“What are you in for?” Martin asked.

“Just doing what we needed to to survive,” the Marble said. That was good enough for most everyone.

Sylvester was whitling next to Mac when the ‘nmates started to think they might be different.

“We’re going to (unintelligible) out of here,” Mac said he said.

There was genius in talking to Mac. Every single person in Rower’s Pokey was going to “break out.” But no one else would have said that kind of thing to Mac Dallas. Mac’d tell anyone. Sure, everyone knew about the Quest Committee’s plan; but given that Mac spread it, any of the Marble’s gaggle could deny the plan to the guards.

Rower’s Pokey was built in the base of a freighter; in holds 4-6. The freighter was in the Pacific, which contains too much water. There’s something you need to keep in mind about D. Marble F., though: he happened to have extensive knowledge of oil pipelines in the Pacific. Twelve-Anne’s good with the ears and the hearing, and heard one of the guards, Pike Hammer, say that the slammer’d be passing into British Columbian waters in about a month.

One day, while the ‘nmates were on wall-dusting duty, Babe Listowel (Babel, as Pope called him) slid a note under the captain’s quarters. Apparently there was going to be a glorious flock of fulvous whistling ducks at some cove around the time the freighter was in the B.C. Maybe Babe was telling the truth, but honestly, he’d earned enough of a reputation as a fabulist that I’d bet against it if anyone was willing to take bets against the author that controls truth in this story.

The Marble convinced a guard to give him a shovel. Said it was for his back pain, but everyone knew he had other plans for it.

And they dug. Babe Listowel did most of the grunt work, probably because of his rippling biceps; but Twelve-Anne kept watch and Sylvester hid the hole every night by sleeping over it. Many prisoners were confused about the exact purpose of the hole, but it felt important, and people respected it. Jackel even arranged for some of the other prisoners to dig down through the rest of the hold’s floor to make the hole’s indent less obvious, and to help Sylvester rest better.

Two weeks before Rower’s Pokey was due to be in the duck place, the Marble tapped the bottom of the hole with his fist. The sound resonated through the hold, and he said that was enough digging for now.

And they waited. Until one day, everyone agreed it was Thursday, the Marble said to hit the hole one more time. Babe did, and the Marble told him to hit it ’till it leaked. About five strikes later, and having gained an audience in just about all the guards, the hole sprung. The Quest Committee and everyone else who could swim dove into the opening that day. Swam into an oil pipeline. Through 20 kilometres of oil they swam, and came out the other side, they say. Most of the escapees were found, and brought back to ol’ Rower’s. The four who started the thing thing, though, they were never found. They were legends, they were.