Every spring, the tree outside my window is last to bloom. Why should he procrastinate while his peers along my street embrace the season? Does he fear change, holding tightly to the present? What past trauma haunts him? Every fall, he waits almost until the frost to drop his leaves.
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then an illustrated Tin Story certainly exceeds our word limit. Regardless, I’m thrilled to announce that gifted illustrator and cartoonist Jason Viola has agreed to contribute to TinStories.com. Jason will apply his considerable creative skills to translating some of these 50-word stories into artwork.
Jason writes and draws the Herman the Manatee webcomic, as well as minicomics Rabbit Shadows, Who is Amy Amoeba? and Sunward, which was named in Houghton-Mifflin’s Notables List - Best American Comics 2010. His website is ManateePower.com Check him out, and stay tuned for some 1,050-word stories. Thanks, Jay!
After a series of Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V love affairs (and one freeze requiring Ctrl-Alt-Delete), Keith’s last relationship ended in a fatal crash, with no backups to restore. The error logs were beyond his expertise. But he rebooted, and with only slight hesitance, began updating his software, debugging code line by line.
Goodbye, cul-de-sacs. First college, then to the city, he kept moving away, as if adulthood was defined by the distance from her protective embrace. He grew independent before he grew up, learned solitude. One day, he returned in pain and wept in his mother’s arms, comforted and unashamed. Goodbye, childhood.
We tested our limits, life’s choices spread before us. I looted experience with the randomness of youth. John sifted. I didn’t know.
Ten years later, he smiles in a way I’d never seen before, sitting with his 5-year old son explaining the objective and mechanics of eeny-meeny-miny-moe. He found it.
“Carefully architected chaos,” is how John later described his parties, those legendary bacchanalian affairs. I remember walking home across the quiet campus, the smell of sweat and alcohol burning off in the dim warmth of sunrise. John’s eyes, clear through the night, always looked ahead, patiently seeking his maximum happiness.
She prowled the night, thirsty for blood. He shambled, hungry for the brains lacking in his own wounded skull. They “met cute” among headstones and when they kissed her fangs nicked his lip. The metaphor delighted them, but making an undead life together proved challenging. Raising a family was easier.
I imagine that, although distracted by the heat and the spinning-spinning-spinning, a convocation of socks assembles in my drier every week. And, like contestants on a reality TV show, they vote to banish one of their kind from the laundry. That’s clearly the reason for my mismatched wardrobe today, sir.
The police ultimately classified his death a suicide. They found him slumped on the kitchen floor, suffocated, devastated by the divorce. But the investigators didn’t know that his wife had been the family cook. They didn’t know that the oven’s pilot light needed to be manually lit. Neither did he.