Once, there was a young man whose name was Erik, and who was deeply, profoundly annoying.
When he had a fruit that went bad, he would throw it at someone else’s house, or their goat, just to watch the splat.
He would find other people who were in the middle of something and say “Hey. Hey. Hey.” until they put it down and said “What?”, and then he would say “Nothing.”
He liked to point out to other people when their clothes were unflattering, or the humidity unfortunate for their hair.
He was roundly disliked in the neighborhood.
One morning, he awoke to an unpleasant sensation in the big toe of his left foot. He tried to scratch it on the sheets, to no avail. He flexed his foot, but the unpleasant feeling persisted. Finally, he pulled off his blanket, and was shocked to see, clinging to his toe by its mandibles, a goblin.
“What are you doing?” cried Erik.
“Mmm chmmmm mm mmm. Mmmm.”
“She said she’s chewing your toe. Duuuuhh,” said a shrill yet scratchy voice in his right ear. Erik whipped his head to the right, to find another goblin squatting on his pillow. It proceeded to poke him, painfully, in the earhole.
There was a crash from the kitchen. Erik leapt out of bed and hobbled to the kitchen, where he found a third goblin carefully selecting each piece of Erik’s crockery and then hurling it to the ground.
“What are you doing?” Erik shrieked.
“Cleaning. Go away,” the goblin retorted.
Erik ran out of his house and banged on his neighbor’s door. His neighbor was underwhelmed to see him.
“You have to help me! I’ve got goblins!”
“Figures,” replied the neighbor, and closed the door.
Erik ran to see the mayor of the town where he lived. The mayor was equally unenthused about Erik’s goblin problem, but it was an election year, and maybe this year Erik could be persuaded not to vote for Butts. “We’ll go to see the wise woman,” said the mayor.
The wise woman looked at the afghan being knitted out of Erik’s hair and said, “Ah, you’ve got goblins. Irritating little critters.”
“How can I get rid of them?” cried Erik.
“Only one way to get rid of goblins,” mused the wise woman. “First you have to take the East Road through the deep forest, through the badlands, up through the Skyscratchers, until you reach the mysterious lands on the other side. There, you must seek out the most secret Fountain of Oobalatah, and bathe in its waters. When you do, the goblins will disappear.”
Erik hesitated, but when the goblins began a farting contest inside his shirt he returned to his home, gathered a few belongings, and promptly set off down the East Road.
The mayor and the wise woman watched him go. As he faded from sight, the mayor asked, “How did you learn about all those mysteries of the distant East, anyway?”
“Oh, I didn’t,” said the wise woman. “But it seemed like a good opportunity to get rid of Erik.”