Do you do your best reading in 30-second intervals? How pleasant. In that case, I have some micro-fictions for you.
Micro-fictions are exactly what they sound like: tiny bites of stories that give you a glimpse into a world. Just a glimpse! I hope you like this sample of work from my recent journaling.
Chester: Chester is nine-and-three-quarters years old. He lives with his mom and dad and sister in a century home in Halifax. He has a dog named Judy – a golden retriever – and a bearded dragon named Spike. By all accounts he is a regular-seeming boy, and his parents would tend to agree. But Chester is more interesting than these quick facts would let on.
Chester is a thief.
In alphabetical order, this is a list of things Chester has stolen: apples from the grocery store, bananas (also from the grocery store), feathers from a stuffed bird at the Museum of Natural History, gum, marbles, newspapers, purple running shoes, video games.
Nothing major, you understand, but perhaps much more than the average nine-and-three-quarters year old should be hoarding in a child-sized chest of drawers at the back of a closet. Chester doesn’t know why he steals but he is already old enough to suspect this detail will one day be revealed to him after many hours of court-ordered therapy. He’s okay with this, and when he consults Judy on the matter she also seems unconcerned.
Until he is anticlimactically arrested at some point in the future, at least he has video games.
Olive: Olive lives in a house that looks, from a distance, like it’s floating. Perched halfway up a mountain in southern Appalachia, the front half is on stilts and the back half rests wearily on the rock and dirt that were there thousands of years before her. Olive’s front porch overlooks a beautiful valley filled with the most colourful flowers she has ever seen.
Olive is a painter, so it’s her job to capture these colours, these flowers, in a way that could make even a desert-dweller feel like he’s right there with her on her lookout. Her scenes inspire heavy sighs and heavy eyelids, such are their calming effect.
In all Olive’s years and paintings, she succeeded in finding a new colour – a peculiar mix of red and pink she, at the time, thought could only be native to her house’s south-facing vista. She saw it one morning on the horizon, tucked away in a patch of honeysuckle – the devil – and successfully transferred it to her canvas a mere hour later after much blending and smudging.
She named the colour Ned after her late husband. Or, rather, her ex-husband.
Olive likes the world of canvas and paint better than the one of flesh and bone. In her two-dimensional world she can edit. In her three-dimensional one she can merely lie.
Peanut: Peanut is a chihuahua who one day, out of curiosity, left his humans’ house and went for a very long walk. He walked from San Francisco to Miami. The journey took the remainder of his spindly legged life.
It was a nice walk with only the occasional fright or stressor. Peanut met many friendly people and a few trustworthy animals, but for the most part he was a lone wolf. A lone dog. His favourite human was a man named Ernie who drove a very large truck for a living. Ernie, like Peanut, was on a long journey. So when he met Peanut somewhere outside Houston, he knew Peanut was hungry and maybe a little scared. After eyeing each at the doorstep of a gas station convenience store, Ernie scooped up Peanut using his one big, baseball mitt-sized hand.
He took him back to the cabin of his truck and fed him bits of hamburger while Elvis played over the truck stereo. Then they had a nap.
When they woke up, Ernie lowered Peanut onto the cement, walked him to a patch of long brown grass away from traffic, and said goodbye. Ernie drove off and waved until he was out of sight.
Peanut kept moving too. From that day on, any time the dog heard a truck horn blare he suddenly got a craving for hamburger.