A pig, a waffle, a box, a chump, a resentment, a caterpillar, a gift, a loom, a cuttlefish, an aurora borealis, a duvet, a chair, a sunken continent, a cup that runneth over, an ancient paradox, a snivel, a bone, a toothless cog, a piecrust, a passionate kiss, an aching thigh, a broken window, a phantom, a cat, a bathtub, a chimney clogged with twigs, a forced laugh, a chewed pencil, a beetroot stain, a vague feeling, a hovercraft, an argument, a dog, an example of jargon, a butterfly, a solecism, a grotesque fiend, a coconut shy, a confident papaya and a thousand other things had gathered together in a restaurant for a celebratory meal.

The waiter came over to their table and shook his head.

“It’s off, I’m afraid,” he told them.

“But that’s nonsense! We haven’t ordered yet!”

The waiter smiled and said, “I didn’t mean the food, I meant the moral. There’s no way you’ll make a decent fable out of this situation. There are far too many characters in the story.”

¶ Don’t multiply fictional protagonists beyond necessity.