- A Monstrous Waste Of Time!

Slimebeast's Projects => Slimy Stories => Topic started by: Slimebeast on 12:26:15 AM 02/07/13

Title: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Slimebeast on 12:26:15 AM 02/07/13
Winter break was approaching, and everyone in my class could barely concentrate. Frost had touched the windows, a light powder was still clinging to the grass outside, and the atmosphere of excitement was palpable.

There must have been so many warnings. Everyone kept forgetting the basics of classroom etiquette, as if the looming vacation time was already causing everything we'd learned to melt away like the snow. Kids talked openly before being snapped back to reality by a swat of the Teacher's ruler on her desk. It was a madhouse, and the moment the bell rang, we all knew there would be one giant stampede for the door.

It wasn't until the Teacher, Mrs. Shroeder I think, reminded us of a "very special visitor" that we finally stopped screwing around and paid attention.

Dudley the Dunce. All year, we'd heard about Dudley and how he was coming to our school. We didn't know who he was, what he was going to do, or why we should care - but that was 99% what made him fascinating to us.

Mrs. Shroeder drew a manila envelope from a drawer with the slow, methodical showmanship of a Magician's Assistant. Whatever was in there had to be incredibly important - something amazing. Magical.

"Okay, class, it's time to meet... Dudley the Dunce!" She showed the envelope off to all of us. It was postmarked, worn, and stained with grease or oil. It looked like something that had made a harrowing journey through the Postal System.

Using a pair of scissors - the kind we weren't allowed to use yet - she opened the envelope and parted the opening with her breath. A small puff of dust emerged, which illicited her usual sharp, high-pitched cough.

One of the other kids thrust his hand into the air and, without waiting to be called, asked "Who is he?"

Mrs. Shroeder smiled and reached her hand into the envelope. She then shot us a confused look, as if she'd stuck her hand into something strange. After a moment of concerned mumbling from all of us, she smiled widely and withdrew her hand.

She made a fist, except for her pointer finger which was pointed toward the ceiling.

On her finger resided a tiny, home-made finger puppet. It looked to be constructed of felt or some similar material. It had an oval head, a wide line of thread resembling a smile, and a tiny conical dunce cap. Its fabric body covered Mrs. Shroeder's finger, and it had two little cloth arms that seemed to be held in a shrug by unseen wire within. He wore a little necktie made of beige yarn.

"This is Dudley the Dunce!" she explained, "He's always acting up in class and doesn't study or do his homework. Do you, Dudley?"

She made the finger puppet shake its head "No".

"Teachers all over the world send Dudley from Country to Country. He came here all the way from Germany, where they call him 'Respektlos Dudley'."

She showed the puppet off a bit, bending and wiggling her finger as if Dudley was doing a silly dance.

"Dudley was made by a lady whose son was very sick. He wanted to get letters from everyone around the world. Ever since, Dudley's kept going and going!"

Another child raised their hand, "What happened to the kid?"

"Ah, you see..." Mrs. Shroeder tilted her head and smiled, "He was very sick and it was a very long time ago. Before any of you were even born."

Another hand in the air, "What school did he go to? Was it this one?"

"No, it was very, very far away. It's been gone for a long time, too. I think there was a fire, unfortunately... but I could be wrong."

Mrs. Shroeder took a fishbowl full of slips of paper from beneath the desk and swirled it around.

"I'm going to draw someone's name from this bowl, and whoever I pick will get to take Dudley home! You'll be able to look at letters from the last few children who had him, and then you'll write your own letter to read in front of the class next year!"

Some of the kids were interested, others couldn't care less. I was one of the latter, since I could smell a homework assignment in disguise a mile away. No way was I writing some stupid letter to some stupid kid in dumb, pink Canada. The map was unfurled behind Mrs. Shroeder, and all I could think was that I'd have to talk to someone in that creepy amorphous pink mass with the moose on it.

Mrs. Shroeder reached her finger into the bowl... plunged Dudley in face-first... and slid out a slip of paper using the side of his head.

"Dudley wants to go home wiiiith..." she adjusted her glasses and turned the paper right-side-up.

"Tommy!" she showed the paper to us.

Tommy was my neighbor, and I was just glad it was him and not me. The kids who didn't want the puppet sank into their chairs with relief. The rest sank in with disappointment.

When the bell finally, FINALLY rang, the predicted stampede began. Nothing could dissuade us from hurling our small bodies straight for the exit. Tommy was the only one who couldn't leave, yet - Mrs. Shroeder called after him and brought him back to the scuzzy envelope with the doofy puppet.

He didn't seem like one of the ones who wanted it.

On the bus ride home, Tommy sat by himself and didn't talk to anyone. Kids were throwing things out the windows, getting into fights, all the stuff they could do now that there was no school for a while and, as we saw it, no more repercussions.

One of the bigger kids seized the envelope from Tommy and started rifling through it despite his complaints.

"What's this dumb thing?" the Bully held Dudley by his Dunce Cap, its tiny, empty body seeming rather weak and defenseless.

"Stop it!" Tommy whined, "I have to take care of it!"

The Bully laughed and dangled Dudley out the window as the bus sped along. At any moment, a far-reaching branch could've taken the puppet away.

"Nooo!" Tommy tried to reach for it, but got shoved back.

I seemed to be the only one who noticed what was going on, and since Bus Drivers either blow their top at the slightest thing or don't give a crap at all, I felt like I was the only one who could do anything about it.

"Hey, come on," I tried to reach the Bully's reasonable side, "He doesn't WANT it, he has to keep it because the Teacher said so."

The Bully looked me in the face, about an inch away. He drew his hand, and the puppet, back into the bus and started clearing his throat as if he was going to spit right at me.

When I didn't recoil - more out of having no sense than actual bravery - he just choked the unseen gelatinous horror back down his throat and threw Dudley on the center aisle of the bus. With an off-hand comment about Tommy and I being lovers, the Bully returned to whatever dark, accursed row he had crawled out of.

"Thanks." Tommy scooped the puppet up and shoved it back in the envelope. I could tell that he didn't really want to thank me, but felt it had to be done. He probably would've rather disappeared completely at this point.

Before I could say he was welcome, there was the sudden sound of shattering glass. It was a brief, jarring sound that was unfamiliar to most of us. All we knew was that something, somewhere, had just been broken.

The Bus screeched to a halt on the side of the road, and without a moment's hesitation the Bus Driver was gone.

"Oooohhh!" called a group of kids crowding to one side of the bus.

As I elbowed through, I saw a couple kids running up their driveway as the Bus Driver steadily plodded behind them.

"What happened?"

"They threw rocks at the Bus."

"They're in troooouuble!"

"This is gonna be great!"

One kid at the back of the bus let out a scream. We all turned our attention away from the main show to see what the side attraction could possibly be.

The kid who screamed turned out to be the Bully. He stood up, unsteady on his feet, giving us all a prime view of the bloody, glass-speckled wound in his face. Next to him was the gaping, toothy maw of the broken window.

Not only had the rock broken his window, but it had proceeded straight through to his head.

Within a second, the Bully collapsed back into his seat and everyone was now crowding around him. He was squirming, crying, trying to hold the huge bloody gash while simultaneously appearing too afraid to actually touch it. Glass was wedged so deep into his flesh that what we could see of his skull seemed like it had been sprinkled with glitter.

Nobody helped him, but only because we had no idea what to do. It seemed like forever until the Bus Driver returned, and then another eternal wait before an Ambulance arrived and took the Bully away.

He sobbed and whimpered the whole time, something that other kids were all too ready to exploit. The minute he was gone, everyone was talking about what a wimp he was, and how they would've handled the situation with much more grace and strength.

When Tommy and I got off the Bus later on, we were still talking about what had happened. Neither of us liked this kid, so we went to some pretty dark places. At one point a long overdue face transplant may have been mentioned.

"That's what he gets for messing with you." I noted.

"Yeah, I guess," Tommy didn't seem as sure about Karma as I did, "But he's right, though, this puppet thing is so dumb! I wish it wasn't me."

We said our goodbyes as we each went to our respective homes, and with that the only thing on my mind was my upcoming vacation.

I walked into the living room and dropped my book bag on the floor as hard as I could, which was the norm. I stripped off my shoes and coat and left them in a trail as if I myself had been a snowman who melted en route to the kitchen.

"There he is." Mom noted my arrival as I pulled up a chair and sat at the kitchen table. She was standing at the counter, putting the finishing touches on a cheese sandwich. Which is to say she was putting a slice of cheese between pieces of bread.

"How was your last day?" She inquired, placing the sandwich and a juice box on the table in front of me.

"Okay, I guess."

"Anything interesting?"


I poked the straw into the juice box (after a few tries) and set about "snack time" like a blue collar brute who had to get back on the work site in ten minutes. I wasn't much for conversation or acknowledging anyone around me.

As I was finishing up and looking forward to the cookie or snack cake I was now due, the kitchen phone rang.

Mom lifted the receiver and, in her usual cheerful way, stated that this was the Clarke Residence and that Mrs. Clarke was speaking.

Her expression immediately dropped, and her eyes fixed on me. It was a shocking look for my mother to have... blank, yet somehow terrified. Confused, I rolled this around in my mind for a moment before deciding it was a call about the Bus Bully.

She moved to my side and put her hand on my shoulder.

This was getting very odd.

"Mom?" I asked, only to be immediately shushed.

"I don't understand," she whispered into the phone, "Well I'm sure he's alright. Have you... Yes... No, I know what you're saying, I'll... Yes, we'll come with you."

She hung up the phone quickly and urged me to get dressed again. Fearing what the situation might be, how awful it could be, I did as I was told post haste. I had put on my shoes and barely retrieved my coat as Mom grabbed my hand and whisked me out the front door.

I stood on the front stoop as Mom rushed next door to Tommy's house. Tommy's Mother was already outside by the street, looking frantic. She was only wearing a blouse and panties. She hadn't even gotten dressed, and the sight of the 30-something woman's bare lower half said more about the urgency of the situation than anything.

It wasn't long before another Ambulance came roaring down our street, lights flashing, siren blaring. It slowed to a stop in front of Tommy's house and the two women lead the EMTs in.

Left alone to my own devices, I walked to the Ambulance and looked for someone inside to explain what was going on. No one was there. I stood in the middle of Tommy's yard and just looked this way and that for any adult who might be "in charge". I saw no one.

This was the most confused and frightened I had ever felt. It was as if I was alone on Earth itself, with only the setting sun and flashing red lights to keep the darkness from creeping up on me.

The EMTs wheeled their gurney out of the house as my Mom and Tommy's Mom followed closely. Tommy was on it, covered with a white sheet that was stained red at the middle. His pale, vacant face seemed to stare at me... but as they wheeled him further, I could see that his eyes were simply set on the horizon, staring at nothing... no one.

Tommy's Mother was crying. My Mother was crying. By the time Tommy was loaded into the back of the Ambulance, I was crying, too.

The Ambulance drove off with Tommy and his Mother. The siren blared all the way to the end of the street, but then went quiet as the vehicle just sat still for the briefest moment.

Mom and I watched from the car, still at the end of our driveway, as the Ambulance soon drove off. Visibly just a bit slower than before.

After the funeral, we went to Tommy's house. His Mother had set out food and drinks, but all I wanted at that moment was to get out of the itchy suit that had been forced upon me.

At one point, I snuck away to Tommy's room with intent to take off my jacket and at least loosen the tie around my neck. The room was just as I'd seen it before. It wasn't even cleaned up, and Tommy's own coat was still lying in the middle of the floor.

I spotted the envelope on an end table. There hadn't even been enough time for Tommy to take anything out of it. I could see the lump where Dudley resided within.

When I found my Mom among the group of strangers who had somehow known Tommy or his family, I showed her the envelope.

"Mom," I urged, pulling her away from a conversation, "Someone has to write Tommy's letter or he's gonna get in trouble."

Time passed as Winter vacation slowly disappeared. I'd put the envelope aside, stuffed it into my sock drawer, fully intending to finish Tommy's assignment for him so he wouldn't get a posthumous bad grade.

Eventually, the dread of a new school year fully hit me. I pulled the envelope out of the drawer, studied the German postmark for a while, then finally shook off the procrastination and got to work.

I pulled Dudley out of the envelope and blew the dust off of him. Why was he always dusty? Then I carefully removed all the past letters from the other kids and spread them out on the floor.

Studying the puppet now, I could see his little eyes made of black thread in "X" shapes, and the strange necktie of yarn which seemed to loop around itself at the knot.

I put Dudley the Dunce on my pointer finger and read the letters "with" him. A few of them, from places like Australia and England, were in English. The rest were a complete mystery to me.

"Dudley is incredibly bright," started the British kid, "His low scores are not his fault. It's only that he has such a hard time concentrating. He is very nice and a very good fellow to be around, and I love him very much."

The letter got an eye-roll from me at this point and I skipped the rest of it.

"I like Dudley very much," the Australian proclaimed, "He's really smart no matter what anyone says. I like his clever jokes and his fun personality. I'm really sad to send him away."

Another flattering piece of crap. I didn't finish that one, either. It seemed like everyone thought Dudley was smart and funny and a generally wonderful guy. I could understand writing what you thought the Teacher wanted to hear, but these kids sounded more like secret admirers writing love-letters than regular children who had been assigned a project.

My finger twitched.

Dudley twitched.

I gathered the letters back up and crumpled them into the envelope. Then, grabbing a nearby pen and note pad, I decided to start writing out the utterly pointless "report".


That's as far as I got on the first try. I realized that I had heard Mrs. Shroeder mention a certain minimum word count.


That was a bit better, but I still wasn't feeling it. Finally, I just wrote what I had really been thinking for weeks upon weeks...


My finger twitched again. I looked down at the finger puppet, and, matching the speed and movement of my head, Dudley turned to look back up at me.

I jumped and shook my hand violently, but the puppet would not come loose. It was like being stuck in one of those novelty "Chinese Finger Traps" where the more you pull, the tighter the grip becomes.

Dudley... or rather, the finger he was now attached to... reached over and took the pen from my other hand. The Puppet grasped it with its tiny felt hands, just thumbs and a mitten-like expanse. It began to write.

Despite the fact I had never written with my left hand, the puppet etched out a reasonably legible word.


I looked down in awe at my hand, now seemingly my own again as I wiggled my fingers and waved it about. The pen, like my finger, now seemed trapped in Dudley's unbreakable death grip.

"Get off of meee!" I squealed in terror.

My hand shot back to the page as if I was swatting a fly without my own consent.

"OKEY" was scribbled out on the paper, "BUT REMEMMER"

I shuddered as I watched my hand... something that was supposed to be part of ME and not HIM... proceed to violate my mental commands by tracing out the continuing string of letters.



Just as requested, the next child... wherever he or she lived... received yet another positively glowing letter about a smart, lovable little puppet.

By the way... that dust that was always coming off of him... in the years since this all happened, I've come to realize that it was ash.
Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Slimebeast on 04:51:13 PM 02/07/13
This comes to us from Jonothan of (! :O :O :O

Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Felix Theo Wren on 01:25:03 AM 05/21/13
..I actually bought some swatches of felt and embroidery floss so I could make my own rendition of Dudley.

Not sure I should be doing that, but I always knew my disorganised creative pursuits would be the death of me.. ^.^

[That should tell you how much I enjoyed this piece.  Also, Jonothan's drawing is pretty wicked. :D]
Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Slimebeast on 02:21:32 AM 05/21/13
That's awesome! If you do it, definitely post some pictures. :B

Did you read the sequel? No pressure, was just wondering since it references the "making of" a bit.

Glad you enjoyed the story, thanks for reading. :)
Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Felix Theo Wren on 06:50:35 PM 05/21/13
You are welcome! I think I posted this on your FB page - my name's Natalya on there - but you're like the fucking Stephen King of the Internet. I love it. Did you ever take any courses in creative writing, or are you entirely self-made?

I did read the sequel a while back! It's cool to have a bit more of a back-story, although I also enjoyed the idea of Dudley's origin being rather murky and uncertain - the imagination can be even more disturbing if left to its own devices, although you're likely the last person who'd need to be told that xD

Curious - do you speak Polish, or did you use a translator/have someone translate for you?

And oh, yes. Pictures shall be posted when this little craft-project is done. :D
Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Kraufen on 07:54:17 PM 05/21/13
Huh, Mo, you are magically gathering some form of a fanbase. Goodjob!
Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Slimebeast on 01:35:23 AM 05/22/13
We'll see what happens when I write my next story: "I Hate All My Readers and I Punch Kittens".
Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Felix Theo Wren on 06:31:12 AM 05/27/13
Oh, hey, look who actually followed through on their plan!


After throwing together a mass of soft felt and embroidery floss to make him, I dunked him in some tea for a bit so as to dye him enough to look old and yellowed.  The 'dust'/ash is embossing powder.  I hope you enjoy ^.^
Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Vertex on 12:12:04 PM 05/27/13
Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Slimebeast on 03:33:23 PM 05/27/13


Awsome... *collapse*
Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Felix Theo Wren on 04:53:14 PM 05/27/13

Thank you!  I'm glad to have made an impression, haha.  ^.^ *removes top hat and bows with a graceful sweeping motion*
Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Slimebeast on 05:49:46 PM 05/27/13
*lies there, rotting*
Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Felix Theo Wren on 11:33:06 PM 05/27/13
*plucks out your left eyeball and eats it*

Hmm.. needs Sriracha. :-\
Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Slimebeast on 11:43:29 PM 05/27/13
I can SEE how it might. Zing.
Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Slimebeast on 02:16:31 AM 10/26/13
Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Felix Theo Wren on 05:49:19 AM 11/03/13
Nothing other than a lot of shivery-looking death threats scribbled all over my walls in about sixteen different languages.  He likes my new art markers just about as much as I do, apparently. 
Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: 3dultrasound.Wing on 08:12:32 PM 03/03/16 this based on those flat stanely dolls from school? Cause I remember getting picked, and onenof the letters was just a bunch of profanities and macabre sketches on a lined paper, like something you would find in a schoo, shooters bag. I ended up just writing the words "EAT ME", and sent it back. No one ever noticed...  :lookaround:
Title: Re: Dudley the Dunce
Post by: Slimebeast on 04:15:19 AM 03/05/16
Yep, it's based on Flat Stanley. XD
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