Josh forgot his stage fright as he became immersed in the exchanges between the sorcerer and his frying pan. Absorbed in the rules and tension, he listened closely along with the four unyielding referees who governed the game.
Four minutes elapsed without either side scoring. The current topic was “companions”.
King: “I like the word ‘companion’ more than ‘friend’. ‘Friend’ is very… grade school.”
Pan: “You sneered when you said that.”
King: “What? Friend?”
Pan: “That explains a lot.”
King: “It means I’m an adult and not a child who uses child… words.”
Pan: “That’s not what I meant. (sighs) There isn’t enough paper and crayons in the world for me to explain it to you.”
King: “I know what you meant… It’s just (flustered) the word ‘companion’ is very mature and civilized. Smart people use it.”
Pan: “One day, I hope you meet people who you’d be proud to call your friends. And, you know what they say, opposites attract which means you’ll find people who are good looking, cultured, and have souls.”
King: (ignored most of what Pan’d said) “Souls are overrated. (Chuckles as the audience reacts with a sound of revulsion) Did you hear that? I say such amazing things, sometimes I hate myself.”
Pan: “Everyone hates you, Grant.”
King: “Contain your jealousy, please.”
Pan: “What am I jealous of, exactly? That you’re so rich you have a different outfit to match every ‘companion’ you hang out with?”
King: “As a matter of fact, I do.”
Pan: “Excellent. Then why don’t you read the atmosphere and slip into something more suitable, like a coma.”
King: (pleased with himself that he didn’t hesitate) “Speaking of comas, what’s up with the kid there? Does he speak?”
Pan: “He’s family.”
King: “Who doesn’t speak? Most of the people I’m around have facial expressions aside from anxiety, fear, and panic. What’s the kid’s deal?”
Pan: “He doesn’t have a ‘deal’. He’s an introvert.”
King: “Ah, an emotional cripple.”
Pan: “Did you say ‘an emotional cripple’?”
King: “Do you treasure him as a companion, Pan, or do you use him like a thing. Because right now it looks like you’re using him like thing—like a car to carry you around.”
Pan: “The kid is here for a front row seat to some valuable life lessons. This kid? I treasure him. He’s a treasure of mine for sure.”
King: (sinister) “Some treasures are meant to be buried.”
Pan: (four seconds passed) “As your stage companion, Grant, I offer you this friendly reminder. The trash gets picked up tomorrow. Be ready.”
Point to Pan.
“The next topic—.” With fifty-two seconds left on the game clock, the referee blinked at the new topic card. “Um, is compliments. Mr King, begin.”
King: “Since you’re made of an earthen material, I’m sure you get called things like ‘dumb as a rock’ pretty often, but you shouldn’t let it get to you. Rocks have great qualities. Like being strong and silent. You should try it sometime.”
Pan: “I agree, Rocks are amazing. They can even hold open doors. Somehow I get the feeling you don’t have a lot of experience with that one.”
King: “That’s right. I don’t hold open doors for the others. They hold open doors for me.”
Pan: “Being like a rock has some drawbacks. For one, I can’t have hair like humans. Styling it and changing it all the time looks like fun.”
King: (flipped his hair) “You are missing out.”
Pan: “I love what you’ve done with yours. How do you get it to come out of your ears like that?”
It took a moment for King to realize what Pan said before his face turned red.
The referees’ whistles tweeted at the same instant a deafening buzzer blared.
Face washing white, Grant gasped. “No.” He whipped his head around to see the scoreboard.
Grant King had 11 points. Pan had 23. The game clock read 0:00.
Stillness settled eerily as audience members and venue workers alike held their breath as though unsure whether what they were seeing was real and that, if they were mistaken, rejoicing prematurely might compound the insult of somehow learning that hope was still lost.
Then a man in the nosebleeds screamed, “YOU’RE MY HERO PAN I LOVE YOOOUUUUU!!!!”
As if a switch was flipped, a roar of pure joy drowned out every other sound as the sea of spectators flew to their feet. The cameramen hid grins behind the cameras as they maneuvered their machines to catch the appropriate angles of winners and losers.
Around the world, everyone who’d listened on the radio or watched the event around screens in homes, pubs, and workplaces erupted into shouts and whoops. Strangers clapped each other on the back, hugged, and shook hands. Dancing broke out in the streets.
Inside the event venue, sorcerer Grant King felt the magic surrounding the event convulse and, in an life-changing instant, it sliced through the intricate fabric of his one-of-a-kind world domination spell. His precious spell dispersed into nothing. Into nothing. It was over. He lost. Shaking with rage, he glared at the other podium where the inexpressive teenage boy’s face lit up with a smile as a man and woman—his parents—rushed on stage to embrace him. The frying pan rested entirely on the podium as the family laughed and talked excitedly.
The frying pan.
It took ten minutes for the announcers to bring down the volume of the cheers enough to make appropriate concluding remarks.
As the noise abated, the shocked and embittered sorcerer caught a snatch of conversation from among the grinning family and Pan.
“Hey, who’s hungry?” said the frying pan. “Dinner’s on me.”
Prompt: Frying pan defeats sorcerer and saves the world.
Source: The misinterpretation and miscommunication of a prompt from an online random plot generator.