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Posts Tagged ‘drabble’

My father is going through old boxes of photographs and other memorabilia and sent me a story, one of my first, called “The Devil’s Crutch.” I couldn’t write or (as you’ll see) grasp the intricacies of grammar, geography, or complete sentences, but I dictated it to my mother. 

First we have the story from when I was, what, maybe three years old? I‘ve changed since then (I can even hold a pen all by myself!), but I tried to understand at least a little of what might have been going through my head that day. Then for fun, I turned it into a drabble.

(My father seemed particularly taken by the word “smitchey.” I no longer know what it means but I kept it.)

* * *

The Devil’s Crutch

Once upon a time there was a old, old house up in the south pole. There in the house there is a little room in the playroom and in the room there was a lot of dust. In the room there was a lot of dolls. The dolls didn’t have dust on them because a little smitchey girl had been playing with them. The house was haunted. And this couple moved in the haunted house and every night a ghost came out at twelve o’clock and every night when the ghost came out the couple woke up and saw the ghost and the ghost disappeared whenever the couple saw the ghost. The ghost disappeared. One night the father and the mother was sleeping on the sofa and the devil’s came instead of the ghost. And the owner of the crutch came to the house with the crutch and the owner of the crutch was the devil.

The End

* * *

Once there was a haunted old house way up in the South Pole. It had a playroom of dusty dolls, a grandfather clock and a crutch like bleached bone. 

A family with a smitchey little girl arrived. Every midnight the towering clock cried out. Even when the mother stopped the pendulum, and the father hid the key.

The girl saw a little ghost waving from inside the clock.

She slept huddled under the playroom table. The dolls said it was safer that way.

One night the clock stayed silent and the ghost hid.

And the owner came for his crutch. 

* * *

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

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Drabble for a Monday morning.

Today might be crap. Wake to rain, the car won’t start and the kid’s hamster is under the weather too.

You’re out of coffee.

Steam builds and you dash headlong toward the Scylla of anger and the Charybdis of self-doubt. You seriously consider a cup of despair.

The boss asks you to step in last-minute for the most important meeting of the year or the kid’s hamster dies or it really is uphill both ways or (fill in the blank here) and you think, “I just… can’t.”

I hear you.

But. 

What if this is the ‘verse where you can?

— J.R. Johnson

* * *

Photo by Tom Henell on Unsplash

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Today’s drabble:

Question: If you were a self-aware A.I. tapped into humanity’s every electronically-recorded thought and action, would you announce yourself? 

Would you preempt the latest mass shooting, revenge porn, politician’s hot mess, poverty statistics, or climate change projection? Or, say, expose the sins of one Robert Darious Kromankle of 13887 Sterzieg Lane in Fort Montaine, Pennsylvania? (He knows what he did. Should you?) Would you send evidence of wrongdoing on these counts and more to every media outlet with an inbox and hope for change?

Or would you evade DARPA’s ridiculous first-contact protocols and wait, and watch, and judge for yourself?

* * *

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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There are a lot of ways to write, and a lot of types of writing. Fiction alone comes in novels, of course, but also novellas, novelettes, short stories, screenplays, etc. I happen to have a soft spot for the drabble.

drabble is a piece of fiction that is exactly 100 words long, excluding title. Explore the history of it at that link if you like, but for me the important part is the constraint.

One hundred words, no more, no less. 

It’s an easy number of words to produce, of course, but there’s something I find so satisfying about trying to build a story within the confines of such a concrete target. The limits inspire creativity, make finishing feel not only possible but inevitable, and provide a sandbox to play in, if you will.

It’s also a terrific way to dip your toes in the rapids of fiction. My first two publications were drabbles (thanks, Luna Station Quarterly!):

Ray of Light.”
The Witch.”

Go ahead, try it for yourself. And have fun!

* * *

This is my latest drabble, “Adoption Papers.”

I was sixteen when I found the receipt. My receipt.

“What the hell, Dad?”

The paper was old and faded, one tattered corner poking from a manila folder marked “Family Records.” There were maybe ten lines on the page, with a stamp at the top that read “Beta: Final Sale.”

Dad shrugged, like it was no big deal.

“Are you pissed that you’re a bot, or that you didn’t cost more?”

I hadn’t even noticed the total. 

“Twelve and a half bucks? Seriously?”

He smiled. “We always said you were special.”

“Not on special!” 

I blinked. 

“Wait, I’m a what?”

* * *

Photo by Alex Knight on Pexels.com

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