Blog Battle – The Reality Bubble Part 1

This is Part 1 of the Blog Battle Entry for January 2022 and the prompt is Park.

The Reality Bubble – Part 1

It was lunchtime in London and it was the kind of warm spring day that warms the heart as well as the skin and makes one feel good to be alive. A man called Alan sat in the park eating his cheese and pickle sandwiches while also slipping a cheeky snack to one of the many friendly squirrels that live there. The sun shone brightly though the trees and Alan was thinking very much about how it was good to be alive. As one does on a day like this. Alan worked at one of the many management consultancies that exist in the city whose sole job is to take large amounts of money from other companies (or the government) that they can’t afford and tell them how to run this is a different way so that the extortionate fees can be earned back.

Normally Alan would be cramped into one of the many tightly packed hot desks while eating his sandwiches but on some days he liked to sit in the park. This was one of those days but unlike the other days, in fact unlike any other day – this was going to be the day that Alan’s reality would end. Not his life, just life that he knew it.

“Hello Alan” Came the voice from a scruffy, not quite homeless looking man next to him.

“Ah! He- Hello.” Alan replied somewhat startled. “How did you get there, I’m sure you weren’t there a moment ago.”

“I’m always here.” The man replied.

“What can I do for you?” Alan asked.

The man started to sit forward. “That’s very nice of you to ask.” The man replied looking at the obviously still startled Alan. “But I’m here to do something for you.”

“What’s that exactly?”

“I want to help you realise your reality.” The man replied.

Alan wasn’t sure what to make of this, he had seen all the spirituality and mindfulness coaches on social media claiming to help others find their own reality and he always dismissed it as hogwash.

“I’m not a spirituality and mindfulness coach on social media media trying to con you or anything this is real.” He continued.

“Alan!” came a shout from up the path. Alan recognised him instantly. Mad Max they called him, it was his boss. “Get back now – don’t start talking to crazies I want you back at work now!”

Alan looked round the man was gone again. Complying he followed Mad Max back to the office with a trail of hungry squirrels in tow. Back at his hot desk Alan tapped away on his laptop. He turned to the person behind him a beautiful brunette woman by the name of Mavis to ask if she knew anything about Gaussian drift in statistical analysis. It wasn’t much of a chat up line and it didn’t work. When Alan turned back the man from park was laying across his desk, his head supported by his arm.

“There’s something you really need to know you know.”

“What’s that?” Alan asked, not really knowing how or why this man was here again or how no one else seemed to be able to see him.

“This isn’t your reality. I’ll even prove it, in less than ten seconds Mad Max will be here again. He’ll always appear when I show up. Even at your home or on holiday or wherever. “

“Alan!” Max came striding over.

“See? I need you to do me a favour, next time this happens tell Max to go away, shout it at him!”

Alan turned nervously “But how can I…?” He started to ask. The man was gone again, so was Max.

Alan being the fairly unremarkable human that he is and doing the sort of unremarkable thing that unremarkable humans do he went home after work and forgot about the strange day that he had been subjected to. Sitting down on his favorite chair in front of the TV to eat a plateful of spaghetti bolognaise with cheese on it with some slices of garlic bread on the side. It was when Alan had a big mouthful of spaghetti covered in tomato sauce with bits of grated cheese that it happened. The man appeared standing in front of him. Alan choked, not sure whether to spit out the spaghetti or to keep munching. He chose the latter.

“Don’t mind me.” The scruffy man said. “I don’t want to disturb you, in fact it’s best you don’t talk right now. I just need to remind you that you need to tell Mad Max to go away.”

Alan frowned still munching, the strands of pasta making their way slowly towards his munching mouth. He wasn’t sure why, but he knew there was something from this man that he had to listen to.

“You’ll need to do it soon as well I’m afraid, there’s not much time to explain. You need to trust me.”

Alan was not sure what to think at this point, Mad Max would be at home surely? He slurped up the last bit of spaghetti and was about to say something when a booming voice suddenly filled the room.

“Alan! What are you doing now? I told you…”

Mad Max ranted on and Alan wasn’t sure what to think about anything anymore, only that Mad Max should not be at his place and where the hell did he just come from?

“Will you please get out!” Alan suddenly shouted at Mad Max, followed by a flurry of other words that will not be written here. Suffice to say Alan, for perhaps the first time in his life verbally expressed his misgivings. In a flash Mad Max was gone.

The scruffy man in front of Alan picked up a slice of garlic bread, crunching into it he held out his hand. “Clarke. Nice to meet you. Thank you for getting rid of him.”
Finishing off the garlic break Clarke slumped into the seat next to Alan.

“I suppose you want me to tell you what’s going on?” Clarke asked Alan.

“That would be good.” Alan replied. “This has been a very strange day.”

“I bet it has.” Clarke replied. “I warn you it’s going to get stranger, but don’t worry. It’s all good.” Clarke winked at Alan, a mysterious grin creeping across his face.

To be continued…

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9 thoughts on “Blog Battle – The Reality Bubble Part 1

  1. Interesting setup here that piques my curiosity – glad I’ll be able to move on to part two right away. I did wonder if the first and second paragraphs could be flipped. The tension starts up in paragraph two, which might give more punch to how the story begins, and then if the first paragraph followed it might seem more ominous by giving us a sense of what he might be about to lose. Nice details – I liked the imagery of a trail of hungry squirrels following Alan!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do like that opening job description, very astute observation on unproductive occupations.
    Ever since first reading Robert Sheckley I’ve been attracted to a seemingly average person pitchforked into an unreal situation. It’ll be fun to read where this is going.
    Keep up the good work Simon.

    Liked by 1 person

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