Storytime with Larry D. Wilson: Further adventures in the Amazing Sandbox

Published 6:04 pm Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What happened last time: Cousins Aiden and Liam were on a fantasy quest across the enchanted land contained within the Amazing Sandbox. They successfully overcame the first obstacle by crossing a bridge, guarded by Chuck, a Troll-in-Training.

“I saw what you did there,” boomed a deep, laughing, voice. “You may have fooled the troll, but you won’t have it that easy with me.”

“What was that?” asked Aiden, as he looked around the thick forest that engulfed the opposite end of the troll bridge. The voice seemed to be coming from everywhere.

“Sounds like Dolby Surround Sound,” replied Liam, matter-of-factly, “telling us that it won’t be as easy to fool as the troll.”

“I’m thinking you may have already been fooled,” laughed his older cousin. “It sounds more like THX to me.”

“Hah!” exclaimed the voice. “Shows how much you two smarty-pants know. This is “Fantasound’ created by the folks at Disney, way back in the late 1930s for the ‘Flight of the Bumblebee,’ in the movie Fantasia. I’ve got 54 speakers set up in this forest. You are standing right in the middle of the sweet spot. Pretty great, isn’t it?”

With that, a diminutive dragon stepped out from behind a large sycamore tree. It stood about three and a half feet tall, walked on its hind legs, and had a wireless microphone clipped to its lapel (Dragons wear blazers that indicate their specialty -— red for fire-breathing general harassment type stuff, green for forest services, gold for real estate and blue for electronics and appliances).

“What brings you gentlemen to this neck of the woods?” asked the blue-blazered dragon. “And be very careful with your answer, because I am authorized to deal harshly with persona non grata.”

“What’s a persona non grata?” asked Liam.

“Someone I don’t like,” explained the dragon. “A gate crasher, trespasser, interloper.…”

“Then why didn’t you just say that?” interrupted Liam. “It sounds like you are trying to show off with big words.”

“I belong to the Phrase of the Day Club,” explained the dragon. It’s mandatory to use the Phrase of the Day 10 times. This is my first time, today — we don’t get a lot of folks passing by this way, and it just sounds weird saying it to myself.”

“And just what happens to a persona non grata?” questioned Aiden, in an attempt to determine all the options.

“Oh,” sighed the dragon. “I’ve never met one before. Like I said, we don’t get a lot of traffic, out this way. But, I’m guessing it must be pretty harsh stuff – otherwise, what’s the point of having a dragon out here, guarding the trail?”

“We are on a quest,” said Aiden in response the dragon’s original question.

“Cool,” responded the dragon, enthusiastically. “What’s a quest?”

“Mission, expedition, search, journey…” began Liam.

“Now, who’s being a show-off?” interrupted the dragon with a smirk. “Why didn’t you just say ‘trip’? Want to hear something really amazing?” With that, the dragon started blasting Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” throughout the forest. “You know, it is amazing to listen to this while watching ‘The Wizard of Oz’ — but, you have to be careful and start the album just as the MGM lion starts to roar.”

“What’s an album?” questioned Aiden.

“What’s the MGM lion,” asked his younger cousin.

“What’s the late ‘30s?” asked Aiden (since it was his turn, again).

“You two keep asking questions like that and you’re both going to get persona non grata status in no time,” growled the dragon.

Then, as the sensations to his audio senses increased, the dragon sat down in the midst of the sweet spot and rested his back comfortably against the sycamore tree. The dragon’s crimson eyes closed and an entranced looked crossed its face as it took in the intoxicating pleasures of Pink Floyd’s quadriphonic sound.

The boys looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and continued with their quest — unsure if they had just successfully navigated a dragon vocabulary challenge, a lesson in sound reproduction minutia, or if this entire conversation had just been a slight distraction along the way.

Larry Wilson is a mostly lifelong resident of Niles. His optimistic “glass full to overflowing” view of life shapes his writing. His essays stem from experiences, compilations and recollections from friends and family. Wilson touts himself as “a dubiously licensed teller of tall tales, sworn to uphold the precept of ‘It’s my story; that’s the way I’m telling it.’” He can be reached at