Posted by: lordkyler | November 2, 2013

Tom Fool

This is another story idea that just occurred to me. As if I don’t have enough already. I was working night shift, during which I have time to think to myself. I was reflecting on the whole system of life debts, or whatever you call them. The concept is that a person saves someone else’s life, and then that person owes them their life. In some stories/cultures, that means the saved person must act as their savior’s servant, at least until they are released or the debt is repaid.

So my idea was: what if a jerk is the one doing the life saving, and then subsequently decides to gain power by making everyone owe him their lives? And so I came up with this idea after a little consideration and development.

Tom Fool is a very Terry Pratchettesque idea, although I doubt I’ll be able to render it nearly as skillfully as he does. It takes place in some fictional eastern european country. Something like Drusselstein from Phineas and Ferb.

An unscrupulous fellow is hunting with the mayor, trying to manipulate him into making a certain decision. An accident occurs where the jerk is able to save the mayor, who then owes him his life. Our antagonist quickly realizes the value of such an arrangement, and begins to make plans to save the life of the whole village. (Even if he has to secretly engineer the disaster he’ll save them from himself.)

After a few humorously failed attempts, he manages to create and subsequently save the village from catastrophe. Everyone, that is, except Tom Fool, the village idiot, who was out of town at the time.

Village idiot is a bit of a misnomer. Tom is a little slow and uneducated, but he is basically the only person in the village with any common sense. Everyone other than him and the antagonist is going to have that special brand of logical idiocy and pseudo-cleverness found in humorous folk tales. You know, the kind that figures that the best way to keep the fox out of the chicken coop is to kill all the chickens.

Our villain then spends the rest of the book trying to endanger and save Tom’s life, but failing due to Tom finding a way out on his own. Eventually he gets in over his head and arranges with some of their enemies to stage an invasion. They predictably betray him and soon pose an actual threat to the village. Tom then manages to rescue them from the invaders, thereby stealing everyone’s life debt from the bad guy, and becoming a hero of sorts. He uses his own influence only to make the bad guy take his job as village idiot and to get a chance at the girl he has a crush on. The end.

If this works well, there are two sequels I’d like to make purely based on the titles I thought up. The first book is called Tom Fool. The second would be Fool’s Gold, where he unexpectedly comes into a large fortune, and the third would be Fool’s Errand, wherein he has to undertake an epic quest to retrieve some sort of MacGuffin and spoof classic quest tropes.

After I finish with the second Lithra book, I plan on writing a lot of short stories, and this will likely be one of them. If I do so, I’ll publish at least part of if for you here. In the meantime, I’ll close with a snippet I thought of:

[The villain has started a fire, and the panicked villagers run to Wise Old Mama Yama for advice.]

Villagers: Mama! Wise Old Mama Yama!

Mama Yama: Yes, my children?

Villagers: There is a fire! We must stop it before it burns our houses down! What should we do?

Mama Yama: (considers) Well, I have heard… You must fight fire with fire.

Villagers: Of course! Quick, start more fires! Soon, they will be so busy fighting amongst themselves that they will leave us alone!

[They do so]

Tom: Wait, what about the well?

Villagers: My sainted stars, he’s right! Quick, we must destroy the well or else the fires will have a common enemy!

Fin.

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