by Brian Dolton

Hermann Humpfmeier was not having a good day.

It had been three months, now, since he had had a good day. Three months, since he had been kidnapped from his comfortable place in Frau Fassbinder’s front garden. Since then, he had traveled on twelve different airplanes (freezing in the baggage compartment every time; wrapped up in shirts, or sweaters or – once – unwashed thermal underwear), and visited six countries on two continents.

He missed his home and his friends.

So far as he could tell, Gunter had not yet grown tired of the joke. Once or twice a day, it seemed, Gunter would take Hermann out of his backpack, sit him down in some scenic (or utterly incongruous) spot, and take a picture. Hermann was not sure of the technical details, but apparently there was a way of sending these pictures back to Gunter’s grandmother.

Hermann strongly suspected that Frau Fassbinder was no more amused than he was by the whole affair.

At least he was back in the same continent now. Almost in a neighbouring country, even. He wondered if it meant that he would be home soon.

“Hey, I should take a picture of you with a beautiful blond Norwegian gnome,” Gunter had said when they first landed. Hermann had said nothing (which was not unusual; gnomes were not talkative by nature, and he was a particularly laconic individual. He prided himself on the fact that he had once gone seven years with only a single “hrrmph” of disapproval). The fact that there were no tall, blond, Norwegian gnomes had clearly escaped Gunter’s attention, as had the fact that there were, indeed, hardly any female gnomes at all. Hermann was not bothered about thoughts of female companionship (yet another trait that put him utterly at odds with Gunter). He did, however, miss the comfortable presence of his friends; Ludwig, Wilhelm, and even half-senile old Adolphus.

So now, here he was, sitting on the very tip of the Pulpit, far above the waters of Lysefjord.

And he was utterly, utterly sick of it.

“What a place,” Gunter said. “Two thousand feet, straight down to the fjord. What a view!”

Hermann seethed, inside. He had no particular desire to see any fjord – he would rather have seen Frau Fassbinder’s familiar goldfish pond – but in point of fact, only Gunter could see the view. Hermann, facing the camera, could only ever see Gunter.

Always Gunter. Always that floppy blond hair and the pimply chin. Always that stupid grin, and the camera, and the flash that Gunter hadn’t, it seemed, worked out how to turn off.

He had had enough. It was time for drastic action.

The camera flashed, clicked and buzzed, doing whatever it had to do. Hermann stayed perfectly still, though he suspected that he was not in focus anyway. Then Gunter got up from his knees, tucked the camera into his pocket, and stepped forwards to pick up Hermann.

Hermann only spoke one word. It was a very rude word, at least for a gnome (although gnomes were almost inveterately polite, so it probably was not that rude insofar as Gunter was concerned). But it had the desired effect.

It startled Gunter into jumping backwards.

He lost his footing. For a moment, he scrabbled at the rock, trying to gain a handhold.

He failed, and with a despairing wail, fell. All two thousand feet, down into the waters of the fjord.

Hermann sat on the tip of the rock, finally content. His name and address, he knew, were neatly inscribed upon his base in Frau Fassbinder’s precise handwriting. He would be found. He would be packaged up and sent home, and he would be safely installed once more in the garden, across from Ludwig, overlooking nothing but the goldfish pond and the suburban street beyond.

He smiled. At long last, he was going gnome.

3 Responses to “Gnomesick”

  1. Great Story! Clever and unique.

  2. loved the story — you’ve got a great style. “going gnome” was a little too much for me though.

  3. This is very interesting. I actually enjoy your writing style and your word choice more than anything Smile

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