My name is Frank, and I am a Fool.
Right now, I am walking down a wooded a path in a city park. I am just strolling down a hill, watching the clouds as I go, on one of those warm and sunny and yet somehow dreary autumn days as one can find in the Ordinary World.
Ordinary enough, anyway, despite the fact that I do not quite remember how I found my way here.
Regardless, there seems nothing nefarious about that uncertainty at the moment, so I continue, wide-eyed and seemingly happy, or at least at ease, placid in my plaid blue shirt buttoned all the way up to the top button, and unseasonably toasty tweed jacket.
A military-surplus shoulder bag is slung jauntily over my shoulder, weighted down with books and swinging precariously back and forth as I jaunt along the path. It is liable to catch someone in the chest and send them flying into the bushes if they tried to pass close by. But no one does. A Fool such as I is given a wide berth.
That is, I am avoided by everyone except a Jack Russell terrier, which I barely notice nipping at the heels of my Stacy Adams oxfords. It is not my dog, and so I try not to pay it much heed, though by rights I ought to trip over it and tumble down the hill.
Now, reaching the edge of the ridge top I almost do stumble. But catch myself. Here the foliage has opened and a large, faceless building clearly and simply marked Library can be seen across the street below. That is as good a destination as any, of course.
As I regain my balance, I see the trail bear off to the left, but my goal, my destination is now in sight, so I scurry through the kudzu-covered hillside, leaving the dog lost in the underbrush as he attempts to follow. I am quickly down through the weeds and back on the sidewalk, not stopping to brush the snagling vines from my legs.
As I cross the busy street and close in on the library door, I find a tall Guard, as faceless as the building, is standing in my way. He is dressed sharply in red like a doorman in an elegant high-rise. This feels a bit intimidating. I will not be able to get around the man without confronting him.
Reaching the far curb, I stop to tie my shoe, undone by the kudzu, and allowing the dog to catch up with me as I stall for time to consider the situation. I pat the dog and also look up at the man in my way.
Eventually, the old Guard stops stroking his mustache and sighs heavily. And then with slow, lumbering movements, he pushes the door open for me. As soon as it is just wide enough for me to squeeze past, I do so.
But as I eagerly brush past the threshold, the Guard grabs me by the arm and hands me a white rose. He cautions.
“It’s a funny thing about all those cold-blooded animals, friend. They don’t eat that much, but when they do it’s always with a smile. A big smile.”
I do not know what to say to that, but I am conscious that I am now staring blankly back at the man in return to this Call to Adventure.
The dog yaps. The guard smiles.
Next, the dog smiles and then the guard yaps.
One of them adds:
“Remember that as you go!”