Friday Fiction: 100 Word Challenge

Friday Fiction: 100 Word Challenge

Friday Fiction: 100 Word Challenge

A quote: “If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future.” ~~ Winston Churchill

I’ll start with a story …

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A little boy with old eyes. Neighbors were unnerved by his silence, peers taunted him for being interested only in drawing. His teacher took away his sketchpad only once and his mother took him out of school.

The principal, even a truant officer, came to the house to bully her about him. She just shrugged.

“Why do you draw?” she once asked.

“To remember,” he answered.

One day he stopped drawing.

“Is it time?” she asked. Then packed up what she could, sketch books first.

They were over the hill and far enough way when the sky filled with fire.

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Now, it’s your turn.
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. featured image, cropped, Adobe Stock standard license.

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5 Comments
  • Cameron says:

    OK, a bit over 100.

    “Still at it I see,” I said to the boy. I held up a hand to stop his apologies. “It’s fine. I know you just sit here and draw. May I see?”

    He held up the pad and I saw him bite his lip apprehensively as he waited for the storm of disapproval. I handed it back. “Pretty neat. I’m lucky to get a decent stick figure myself.”

    The boy nodded shyly. “Thanks. I really want to be an artist.”

    “You already are.”

    “But mom and dad-”

    “Want what’s best for you, that’s all. But if you want to do this, what’s going to stop you?”

    I got an invitation fifteen years later to his gallery debut. He introduced me as the man who simply told him to become an artist.

  • Fletch says:

    And now for something completely different…

    When I was 11, I took my sketchpad into the hills to draw. Nobody told me how important it was to wear pants. Oh, if only someone had told me…

    The next day my legs were “fire”. Grandmother said it was something called chigger bites. Chiggers, those hell-spawn of Satan, attach themselves to feed upon the living.

    “Kill me, grandmother!” I said. “The pain is too much. I can tolerate no more.”

    “No Johnny, be strong,” grandmother said. “Give the Lanacane time to work. Oh blessed Lanacane, ointment sent by God.”

    I endured the chiggers. I am stronger now. I have become a man!

  • Navig8r says:

    The money for being a child art prodigy wasn’t bad. An off-the-charts IQ didn’t hurt for managing it. In just a few years, he and his whole family would be able to retire if they wanted to. The cult of idle rich who believed he was embedding mystic secret messages in his drawings was a major source of that income, but their annoying demands for quantity were cutting into his play time. Fine. But he would have his revenge when he revealed the crypto key to decode the master message distributed in multiple works over multiple years. “DRINK MORE OVALTINE.”

  • Leigh Kimmel says:

    For as long as I knew him, Joe-Bob was a guy with a head full of ideas. I still remember him as a skinny little kid sitting out in the back of the schoolyard with a notebook, filling the pages with sketches of the machines that swarmed through his dreams.

    By the time we were in high school, he was getting into shop classes, which gave him more opportunities to actually work with machinery. It was pretty obvious he had a knack for tinkering, and if he could just get a decent education, he could go somewhere with it.

    Except for one problem — his dad owned the town machine shop, so the family looked too good on paper for grant aid, and his folks had religious objections to debt. So he got the bright idea of volunteering for the Army and going GI Bill when his hitch was up.

    What looked like a good deal in peacetime suddenly wasn’t so hot when things blew up in the Middle East — but Joe-Bob had already signed the papers, so there wasn’t any choice but shipping out when the time came.

    I still remember those last frantic days before he was to report for Basic, how he filled page after page with sketches and equations, everything he could get enough of a handle on to commit to paper. And like Galois before the fateful duel, he kept cursing again and again that there wasn’t enough time, like he knew he wasn’t coming home again except in a box.

    We were pretty much an Item by then, even if we were both so nerdy that we never did any of the usual boyfriend-girlfriend stuff. So when Joe-Bob handed me the apple crate full of notebooks, I didn’t think twice about promising I’d take care of them, and if something happened to him, I’d make sure to get them to the people who could make something of them.

    As it turned out, he didn’t stop a bullet. He never even got to the front. It was a stupid accident in a routine exercise, a miscommunication that put his HUMVEE in the way of one of those heavy haulers like battle-hardened semis.

    By this time I was in my first year of engineering school — being a girl opens a lot of doors to scholarships — so I put out some feelers, asking some of my professors to take a look at the stuff. At first they got all excited, but as soon as they asked where I got those notebooks, it was like the temperature in the room dropped ten degrees.

    When Joe-Bob handed me the physical notebooks, we assumed that was all we needed to do. Except a notebook full of writing isn’t like a box of tools. It’s both a physical object and something called “intellectual property.”

    If we’d just spent some of that time before he shipped out running down to the county courthouse and getting ourselves hitched, everything would’ve been fine. As his widow, I would’ve been his principal heir, even without a will. But because we were just friends, we were strangers in the eyes of the law, and his estate went to his parents — and that included his intellectual property.

    His folks never did like me, thought I was too smart for my own good and got too many ideas out of the books I read. They’d just as soon bury all those notebooks in the back of the barn, purely to disoblige me. But if I didn’t get their permission and anything came out of something in those notebooks, I could look forward to lawyers and injunctions and worse.

    So the notebooks sit in that apple crate in the back of my apartment, and I wonder what kind of world we’d be living in if only I could’ve done something with them.

  • Dupin says:

    You never knew what he was going to draw.

    When I walked by him, he was head-down, paying me no attention, if he even knew I passed by. Only two lines drawn, so not enough to guess by.

    I trod on home wondering what he’d spotted on such a hazy day. Was he sketching the village with the distant hills for a horizon, sans haze? Was it the daisy, the thistle, or a page full of different flowers, complete with stems and leaves? Would he be there for hours, drawing it all, or something from his imagination?
    You never knew.

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