Tag Archives: writing

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.”


“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 Ice

Being in Antarctica, Dawson Filter was cold. He made a comment about this to Sylvester Denny, who said that he was also cold; but was worried what his friends would think if he mentioned it. Babe Listowel placed his hand on Sylvester Denny’s forearm; and, feeling no difference in temperature between their respective skins, determined that he must also be cold.

“I bet that we would be less cold if were not in Antarctica,” bet Sylvester Denny.

“We should not be cold. We should not be in Antarctica,” reasoned Dawson Filter.

“We would not be in Antarctica if we left” ~ Babe Listowel, 2026.

“We could leave with a boat,” said Twelve-Anne, who was also there.

Babe Listowel instructed the group to close its eyes. After 8 hours, he told them that they could re-open their eyes, revealing a sailboat he had carved out of ice.

The sides of the ship were rough, and the sail was too octagonal to win any beauty pageants. The ship was only twelve seconds old, and was therefore too young to win any lotteries, either. Still, the sea didn’t really have any standards as to which boats were worthy to enter its waters, so the craft was deemed seaworthy.

The Quest Committee boarded the vessel, and adjusted its sail due north, to Murderville.

Dawson Filter rested his head against the halyard and followed an especially blue patch of sky with his eyes. Sylvester Denny set about chasing all the rats off of the ship, and Twelve-Anne worked on her memoir. Babe Listowel bailed out water that must have leaked into the boat. Dawson, Sylvester, and Twelve-Anne broke from their activities to sing some shanties; but Babe Listowel remained unable to find where the water was coming from.

“Is it raining?” he asked the others.

Sylvester Denny checked his barometer.


Science Background for this Portion of the Story:

Ice can melt. When it melts, it becomes water. Water is dangerous, and ought never to be touched. Our heroes are forced to face this reality when their ice-boat begins to melt. Water, when heated to 100 °C, boils and turns into water vapour. This provides one method of escape for our heroes, namely to evaporate the ocean, making the water benign; however, this requires more time and resources than they currently have, which is why they opt to scream for help.

“Aaaah! Help!” our heroes screamed.

Hearing their cry of distress, a group of people dressed as sailors turned their boat to face the crew of the ice boat. The leader held up a resealable bag and a lifesaver.

“We’ll rescue you if you buy these illicit drugs from us.”

“Alright,” Sylvester Denny said.

“Jokes on you. We’re undercover cops,” the leader said, pulling out a badge.

“THAT’S ENTRAPMENT!” Sylvester objected.

“Silence, you degenerate. I’m going to throw you these handcuffs, and you’re going to put them on. That goes for the rest of your crew, too. You’re everything that’s wrong with this ocean.”

A tall woman with a police-officer-ish face threw four pairs of handcuffs that were fastened to a pole with ropes into the ocean. The members of the Quest Committee fastened them onto their own wrists; loose enough to be humane but tight enough that they felt the weight of what they’d done. The officer who’d spoken turned a crank, hoisting them onto the coast-guard ship. A burly, toothless man with custom sunglasses labeled “Luther O’Finn” chained them together at the knee, and threw them into a room labeled “Prison.”

Dawson Filter as He Relates to Chairs

Dawson Filter whistled. He was in Antarctica at the time. Babe Listowel, who had the idea to invade Antarctica in the first place, looked around himself for defending troops. Seeing none, he took out a pen to write down the number of defending troops, and panned the area for civilians to rule. One stood by a table South of the ocean. His name tag read “North Tender.”

“We don’t have chairs, so you’ll have to stand or lie down or sit on something that’s not a chair or kneel or jump or something,” North Tender called out to the group.

“What to you mean ‘we’?” Babe Listowel asked, “There’s only one of you!”

“Then who am I talking to?”

“You’re on our side, then?”

North Tender pointed to Babe’s lack of chairs. “Looks like we’ve got something in common. I’m Tender, by the way; but most of my friends call me North, on account of my first name.”

“I am Babe Listowel, king of Murderville, Nevada. I have come to invade your lands.”

“Nevada…” North Tender thought for a moment, “…I guess that’d be north, wouldn’t it? If you’re planning on living here, you’d better change your name to North Babe. We have certain conventions here.”

The rest of the group introduced themselves, and North Tender called over some of his friends.

“This is North Winnie and North Dallas, and their son Neutral Peter. He born yesterday. People whom I just mentioned, this is other people. I forget most of their names. They’re from up north.”

Everyone took turns making eye contact until they all felt they knew each other adequately.

“Father, do they have any chairs?” Neutral Peter asked North. He could have easily looked up and seen the groups glaring lack of chairs, or stopped being everything wrong with the youth of Antarctica and listened to his elder; but Neutral Peter was only born the previous day, so he can perhaps be excused, although he was 89 in doughnut years. North Dallas took the perhaps and excused his son.

Babe Listowel began to feel the heat of the invasion starting to fade. He took out his pen again, filled it with gasoline, and took out a highlighter. He covered the portion of the lighter that read “high” to deceive the Antarcticans. Holding the highlighter to the pen, he warned them to step back.

“Oh no!” cried North Winnie, “What are we going to do about all this danger?”

“Flee!” two Norths and a Neutral suggested in unison. As they dashed away, they stumbled across a penguin and saw an opportunity. North Tender picked up the penguin and covered the portion that read “guin.”

“Look, Babe, we both have pens; both of us do. We don’t need to fight or something! We can just do something else.”

Dawson Filter let out a clap of agreement.

“See, that one gets it,” North continued, “if we co-operate, we can do something else! Co-can! Co-can! Co-can! Co-can!”

Others joined the chant. Dawson Filter smiled as Babe Listowel threw his highlighter onto the ice. This was what feelings were all about.

Dawson Filter as He Relates to Music

“My, a philosophy shop,” thought Dawson Filter, “I’d better enter that shop.”

He found a door, and walked through the hole he created when he opened it. The walls of the shop were covered with old newspaper articles, most of them from 1999 and 2016. They were mainly missing person articles, with a few human interest stories about alchemy and time travel. A leaf fell from a potted tree as the proprietor stood.

“So,” he said, “do you fancy some philosophy?”

Dawson Filter recognised the voice from when he’d been stuffed in a burlap sack, held prisoner on Ganymede, framed for tax evasion, and trapped inside the universe with a large steel orb; but he couldn’t quite place who the voice belonged to.

“Some philosophy sounds delightful,” Dawson Filter replied.

“Let’s end the charade, Filter!” the proprietor said, ripping off his mask to reveal his true identity as Wayne Rubblefish. He knocked over a stack of books and pointed at Dawson. “We both know that I tend to run around making your life worse, and that’s probably my goal now!”

Dawson Filter remembered the door and how bad he was at conflict.

Wayne Rubblefish ran after him to kick his shins.

“Wait,” he said, “remember those people I stole in 2016 and 1999? I only took them to save them from the fire and Y2K. So that’s quite a reason to keep talking to me.”

Dawson Filter turned around. Wayne Rubblefish was gone, challenging Dawson Filter’s ideas about reality and space, thereby ruining his day.

He found his old cohort Babe Listowel, with whom he decided to talk.

“Hello, Babe Listowel. I recently became sad. Would you like to help me quest for this feeling’s true meaning?”

Babe Listowel nodded his head in confirmation, “Maybe first we should find the meaning of meaning first, though.”

After sitting in deep thought for a few hours, Babe Listowel remembered that the power of music helped him think more clearly. He pulled a guitar from his pocket and began to strum.

“Thinking, thinking,” he sang, “that’s what I’m doing / The thing that I’m doing is thoughtful and in my mind / Look at my mind / Can you see the thinking?”

A small crowd had gathered around him and Dawson Filter. The people of Murderville had forgotten about music. Someone tossed a head of wheat into the guitar.

“Golden, golden,” the admirers said amongst themselves.

Babe Listowel reached the climax of his song.

“All of the other things / That exist that I’m not doing / Must not be thinking / Man, I must be free”

The crowd cheered as the music faded out.

“I sure appreciated THAT music.”

“Woah, how did my mind get so blown?”

“You must agree to be the town’s official rockstar!”

Babe Listowel raised his hand to silence the mob. Someone handed him a microphone; and he cleared throat to speak.

“You will have your king.”

Dawson Filter followed the crowd as it carried his friend to the town hall. It set Babe Listowel on a heavy wooden chair, draping fine silks over the back of the seat. It found a nearby laurel to hang around his neck, after which it hung the laurel around his neck. A tophat was found, and covered with tinfoil. A lady tore a string of rubies from her neck to embed in the crown, which she set atop Babe Listowel’s head. A single cheer, to which all in the room contributed, roared through the halls.

Dawson Filter smiled. Babe Listowel had got them a bit off track from their original goal, but Dawson was positive they could get back on course by nightfall.

Dawson Filter as He Relates to Surveys

Dawson Filter and Sylvester Denny approved of themselves. Some people did not take so kindly to them, however. Their enemies, for example.

They had made several such enemies recently, when they had a group of people complete a survey. The group’s leader felt that the survey was a waste of time, and swore revenge on the two of them.

Still Dawson Filter and Sylvester Denny persisted with their survey. They found other people, who were happy to fill out any survey to take their minds off of their dreary lives.

The other group found people too. They formed the Anti-Survey Coalition Squad, gaining approval from numerous public officials. Their billboards started popping up all over Saskatchewan; and newspapers tended to skew toward affirming the Squad’s message. One newspaper printed the following political cartoon:

"The Real Enemy"

Those willing to fill out the survey grew fewer and fewer. Sylvester and Dawson’s old comrades Babe Listowel and Twelve-Anne Stradivari joined them in a bowling alley to try to find a solution to the survey problem.

“What if we join the Anti-Survey Coalition Squad; and then while attending one of their meetings, point out that ‘Anti’ is an acronym for ‘Approving Notions of The Investigative’?” Babe Listowel suggested.

“Such an idea!” Twelve-Anne exclaimed, “Then the group would be forced to come to terms with the fact that it had been named the ‘Approving Notions of the Investigative Survey Coalition Squad’ the whole time, redefine its primary values, and leave us to do the survey thing that we’ve been doing.”

Dawson Filter threw his bowling ball down the alley. As the last pin fell, so fell the last of his doubts that Babe Listowel’s plan was flawless. Twirling back around to face the group, he expressed his approval with a nod.

Now that all the pins were down, the game was over; and the crew could begin enacting their plan.

The first phase of the plan was joining the Anti-Survey Coalition Squad and pointing out the acronym. They finished this step in an amount of time that was less than 12 years, as the leaders of the Squad were stationed just outside the bowling alley.

The plan had no other phases. It was a just a matter of waiting to see whether the plan worked.

The following is the diary entry of a woman named Rosaline Ingles found loitering by the bowling alley at the time of this story:


Dear Diary,

Today is a day. I know that most people know things like this; but I was just telling you because you are a diary and therefore know nothing. I bet you already forgot that it is a day today. You are pathetic.

Oh, look! There are people! Oh, right, you can’t look, because of reasons that you can’t know. Do my eyes deceive me? The people seem to be talking. Here is a transcript of everything they are saying:

Person 1: (Unintelligible)

Person 2: Hey, (Unintelligible)

Person 3: (Unintelligible) (laughs) (Unintelligible)

Person 2: (Unintelligible)

Person 4: (Unintelligible)

Person 1: The plan worked!

The people are gone, now. All of the people are gone. Every time.

Sylvester Denny, Dawson Filter, Babe Listowel, and Twelve-Anne Stradivari (listed alphabetically by last name) finished the survey a week later. It was disappointing and unnoteworthy. This was especially unfortunate because it was the first survey the Anti-Survey Coalition Squad had chosen to support, turning public opinion against the Squad and even further against surveys. But when fighting public opinion, one would be hard pressed to find a better team than the Quest Committee, the Anti-Survey Coalition Squad, and surveys, particularly when surveys are personified as a walrus-vampire figure with a giant claw.

"The Real Enemy"

Dawson Filter as He Relates to Flamingos

Dawson Filter sat down at a booth in a breakfast and midday snack restaurant. That’s not quite how he would tell the story; he’d likely say something more like: “I sat down at a booth in a breakfast and midday restaurant,” but history is told by the winners. Seeing that he was now sitting, he looked around the restaurant for a waiter.

Context: Dawson Filter was on a quest to discover the ever elusive True Meaning of Feelings when his memories were embezzled by one of his subordinates, Hank the Embezzler. He believes his name to be Wayne Rubblefish; and came to the restaurant because he has cause to think that he is one of its employees. In fact, Sylvester Denny, one of his quest mates, used to work there, recently returning to the establishment after being unable to find Dawson Filter during a lengthy search for the man.

“Waiter,” Dawson Filter called, clicking his fingers together.

Sylvester Denny came to Dawson Filter at once, recognising his voice from the year and a half they’d just spent together.

“Dawson Filter! Fancy meeting you here!” he calpokohnsted.

Dawson Filter said something about his name not being Dawson Filter; but he was wrong, and I refuse to include anything but the facts in this story.

Fact: the name ‘Norway’ originates from the phrase ‘path to the North.’

Sylvester Denny explained Hank the Embezzler’s misdeed to Dawson Filter, and they both laughed it off for ≈2.78 hours, costing Sylvester Denny his newly regained waitering job. They summoned another waiter, this one named Morris, to order what the menu called ‘Foie Gras Flambé,’ so called because the dish consisted of smoked flamingo tenderloin, and ‘flamingos’ sounds quite a bit like ‘flaming goose.’

Fact: the cheese slicer was invented in Norway by Thor Bjørklund in 1925.

Once Morris brought over the meal, Sylvester Denny told Dawson Filter of their quest to discover the True Meaning of Feelings; and set about to devour the roasted bird. Seeing the way the meat broke apart in strings, Sylvester Denny felt an idea fly into his head.

“Say,” he said, “why don’t we string together a whack of people and pull a survey on them? We could be all like ‘what is the True Meaning of of Feelings;’ and they’d be all like, answering our question.”

“It’s sort of odd that we haven’t done that yet; but yes, that is quite the idea.” Dawson Filter said.

Just as Dawson Filter finished saying the thing I just told you he said, a group of people walked into the restaurant. How serendipitous, that Sylvester Denny’s plan required people, and there were people present. Dawson Filter stood.

“Hello, people,” he said, “would you mind completing a brief survey?”

One of the humans looked at its watch. It looked one of the others in the eye for a moment, feigned a smile, and said: “Sure.”

Fact: Norway is thought to be the birthplace of modern skiing.

“What is the True Meaning of Feelings?” Dawson Filter asked.

The person said something to the order of: “I do not know.”

Promptly after this transpired, another thing happened: Dawson Filter and Sylvester Denny left the restaurant. They heard footsteps trailing behind them. The footsteps belonged to the band of humans to whom Dawson Filter had just spoke.

“You wasted our time back there, you question-asker,” the leader snarled, “and time is money. This particular restaurant charges money for its food. We tried to order a nice spread of clams; but we were 50 cents short. Now, I could let the whole incident slide; but now that I’m broke, I don’t think I’ll be able to pay my electric bill anymore. I’ll need to start thinking of some dishes I can serve cold.”

note: the dish to which the person is referring is revenge

Dawson Filter as He Relates to Sheep

Strolling through a valley he stumbled across on his way to something he’d now forgotten, Dawson Filter saw a sheep. It was Tuesday, then.

“Hmm,” he said to himself, “both the singular and plural forms of that animal with all the wool are pronounced ‘sheep.'”

Generally, people know this (excluding the 5.9 billion people in the world who don’t speak English. They aren’t really the target audience of this story.); but the significance of this state of affairs now struck Dawson Filter with a new reality. If number was irrelevant in the use of the word sheep, then was not the absence of sheep still sheep?

Dawson Filter took another step. He saw another sheep.

“Was it a sheep?” he wondered. A few minutes ago he surely would have said “No, that’s my shoe,” but now he wasn’t so sure. The absence of land was sky; the absence of wet, dry. Still, sky could be called ‘not land’; and wet, ‘not dry’. It would be reasonable to assert that the absence of sheep, while called ‘sheep’, could be equally ‘not sheep’. There were three kinds of sheep, then: the ones that truly were ones, singular in their sheepness; the ones that flocked in droves; and the ones hiding in every shadow, dispersed in every breath, the ones of which no one ever spoke.

Now that that was cleared up, Dawson Filter could finally focus on figuring out where he was. By this point, it was Thursday, and where he was was in a bagel shop. There was a person next to him, to whom he decided to talk.

“Hello,” he said, “and what are your thoughts on talking?”

The man turned around. He was Hank the Embezzler, a rascal if there ever was one (There was. See source).

“Well, talking’s alright, I suppose,” he said, “but I personally prefer embezzling company property.”

“Oh,” Dawson Filter said, wishing he had hobbies as clearly defined as this man seemed to.

“Now, you’re probably wondering who you are,” said Hank, “that’s understandable. I did embezzle your memories, after all. Your name is Wayne Rubblefish. You enjoy long walks on the beach and hope.”

Hank the Embezzler handed Dawson Filter a document.

Birth certificate

“Why are you telling this to me now?” Dawson Filter asked.

“It’s a social convention you don’t remember to tell the victim of any crime one might commit the nature of the crime and the victim’s basic personal information.”

Hank the Embezzler left the shop via the door. Dawson Filter, wondering what sort of person he was, ordered a bagel and patted himself down to find his wallet and personal information. According to a licence he found in his wallet, he was able to drive.

But lo! What new evil was this? The licence cited his name as “Dawson Q. Filter”! He threw the wallet to the ground, disgusted by its lie. He couldn’t believe he’d trusted it with his money for so many years.

Still unsure exactly what his place in society was, Dawson Filter began to search for clues that might lead him to his past. Hank the Embezzler said that he enjoyed embezzling company property. There was only one company in the world that considered its employees’ memories company property: Walter’z Breakfast and Midday Snack House.

Seeming to know quite a lot about rocket science, Dawson Filter built a spaceship and left for Saskatchewan, where the snack house stood. After orbiting around Mars several times, he found the joint, which he entered. It was midday. Because of the time difference between the restaurants, it felt like 8:05 in the evening. More importantly it felt like a time for answers.