The Iron Writer Challenge #57
John Ingram Walker
An Outside Tire Motorcycle
24 miniature plastic dinosaurs
A Sewing Machine
“Aardonyx, Abelisaurus, Abrictosaurus” Kody began, pointing to a series of seemingly random plastic dinosaurs spread across the floor. “Abrosaurus, Abydosaurus, Acanthopholis, Achelousaurus, Achillobator, Acristavus, Acrocanthosaurus, Acrotholus, Adamantisaurus, Adasaurus, Adeopapposaurus, Aegyptosaurus, Aeolosaurus, Aerosteon, Afrovenator, Agathaumas, Agilisaurus…”
I watched, stunned, as the five year old child continued through his list without missing a beat. Ten minutes ago I’d given him a book with a listing of over three hundred dinosaurs and their pictures. I told him to memorize them and then proceeded to place plastic miniatures of each of them randomly throughout the room. Once I was done I took the book away and asked him to list them in alphabetical order, pointing to the matching toy as he named each one.
“Zhuchengtyrannus, Zuniceratops, Zupaysaurus.” He finished with a proud grin.
I hit my stopwatch. Six minutes and forty seconds. I was speechless. In thirty years of neural psychology I’d never seen anything like it. Of course working with Kody I saw a lot of things I’d never seen before.
For one, Kody had an eiditic memory. Perfect recall. He remembered everything that he had ever seen, felt, heard, or smelled with 100% accuracy. Last week I’d given him fifteen minutes of free time on Google, he followed it up by building a monowheel motorcycle out of a broken sewing machine, the frame of an old schwinn, And the contents of the recycling bin. His ability to process information was astounding. It was also the least interesting of his many talents.
He’d been brought to me as a last resort. Not because of his miraculous memory, but because of one particular and unique problem…
Kody thought he was God. And after three months of examining him and testing his abilities, I wasn’t sure he was wrong.
The thing that made him truly amazing, the reason he’d been brought to a specialist of my caliber, had nothing to do with his memory at all. He’d been put under my constant surveillance so I could observe the effects of his imagination. The real tests came next.
“What’s your favorite dinosaur?” I asked
“The T-rex.” He said. “It’s the coolest one.”
“And what does the T-rex eat?” I asked. The book hadn’t covered this subject, so he had no way of knowing the answer.
He didn’t even hesitate.
“Vegemite.” He said confidently. Glancing at the jar on my table.
‘Here we go.’ I thought, with no small amount of fear. ‘I really wish he would have picked a nicer dinosaur.’
“Actually,” I told him. “That’s not true…”
“Ya huh!” He cut me before I could even begin. “They eat it all the time. They love it so much that they’ll destroy entire neighborhoods just to get one jar. It happened last year in Tokyo. Don’t you read the news?”
‘Probably shouldn’t have chosen dinosaurs.’ ‘I thought with a wince.
“Kody dinosaurs don’t exist anymore.” I told him. ” they’re. All extinct.”
“Wow your dumb.” He laughed. “Tell that to the one coming to get your Vegemite.”
I was able to panic for about three seconds before a gigantic scaly foot crashed through my ceiling and killed me.
Danielle Lee Zwissler
Elsa Mathers watched the man fly down the street on the odd contraption. It made a loud gurgling sound, mimicking that of a Harley and a moped. For some reason, she was intrigued.
She had never been much into bad boys, more so nerds if she were to name a group of men that tripped her trigger; so when she saw him riding on that wheeled motorcycle, she felt flush and excited at the prospect of meeting the man.
He stopped when he saw her, eyes blazing in the afternoon sun. His dark brown hair was curly as she suspected. He took his helmet off and capped it underneath his armpit and held it there by the crook of his elbow.
“Hi,” he said. His voice was gruff, gravely. Elsa bit her bottom lip and watched as he came closer.
“Hi yourself,” she replied.
“I’ve been driving by here every day this week and was hoping to catch your name.”
“I’m Elsa. What’s yours?”
“Jason. Elsa…would you like to go on a picnic with me?”
“I sure would,” Elsa replied, swooning at the chance.
“I’d offer to take you on my…bike, but it’s only built for one.”
Elsa blushed, knowing that her original idea that he was a nerd was spot on. She nodded fast. “I’d like that. I’ll just go get my car and follow you.”
Twenty or so minutes later, Elsa pulled into Jason’s driveway.
“I have to pack a few things first, if you don’t mind.”
“Not at all.”
Jason’s apartment was neat.
“What’s that?” Elsa asked.
“Oh, it’s this awesome paste for sandwiches.”
“Nice,” Elsa replied, not having a clue what that was.
“It gives me energy.”
“Oh.” Elsa grinned.
There were costumes everywhere Elsa looked, and then she noticed the old Singer.
“Tell me you didn’t make these?
Jason looked a little sheepish, but he shrugged his shoulders. “My mom taught me everything I know. I’ve never been popular and I always looked up to the superheroes… Marvel guys mostly. I go to comic cons where good looking women like you throw themselves at the Hero.
Elsa blushed. “You’re kidding?”
“No, I’d like to say I had this suave thing going on all the time, but… it usually only impresses women when I’m wearing one of these.”
He picked up a mask and put it over his eyes.
Elsa bit her lip once more. “I really think you’re hot.”
He grinned and came closer. “Really?”
“Yes. I’ve been watching you this week as well.”
“Well now…” he pulled her into his arms and moved in for a kiss.
A few moments later, they were making out on top of his couch, and a few minutes after that, Elsa felt a tiny prick of pain at her side. She groaned and he moved up quickly, denoting the plastic dinosaur figure.
He made a ‘sorry face’ and sat up.
“I have like 24 of these things at my house…I bought the…”
“Samson collection?” he finished for her.
She grinned. “Yes.”
“Oh,” Elsa said, feeling something else. She grinned. “Hello, Vegamite!”
“What do you think?” the realtor asked.
The house had a defeated look about it. What windows were still intact were filthy and the broken home shuddered and sighed under a particularly strong gust of wind. Stephen waited with uncertainty to see if this was the day it would give up the fight and collapse.
The sigh beside him pulled his gaze to the left.
“Why don’t you take a look around?”
He indicated they should move forward and Stephen hesitated.
“I would rather go alone.”
The realtor narrowed his eyes slightly and nodded.
The steps leading to the front door were broken in several spots. The wraparound porch was dirty and he left his imprint behind as he made his way to the door. The smell was old. It was eerie inside with furniture and toys left as if the last residents had simply picked up and left with only the clothes on their backs as their sole possessions. He entered the room directly to the left and found himself in the sitting room. He counted no less than twenty-five toy dinosaurs – big, small, orange, green – scattered about haphazardly and imagined a young boy playing there.
Daisy print hung above the windows in the kitchen and golden yellow paint decorated the walls lending a welcoming look to the place. He opened cabinets here and there finding evidence of rodents in the lower cabinets. The upper ones held miscellaneous food items including a jar of Vegemite that appeared to be mostly eaten.
The bed in the master room upstairs was still made and he noticed with surprise indents occupied the two pillows on top of the bed. An antique sewing machine sat under the window overlooking the yard and he could see clearly the young mother working there watching her son play in the sunshine. He noticed what looked like a strange one-wheeled motorcycle leaning against the side of the barn in the distance.
He made his way downstairs and gave a last glance around. There was something familiar about this place….
He shook his head and went out to meet the realtor.
“Did you find what you were looking for?” the realtor asked cautiously.
“This place….it’s familiar?” Stephen asked lightly.
The realtor sighed and glanced down.
“This was your home Stephen. Do you remember?” he asked hesitantly.
Stephen staggered back. Rapid images appeared in his head and he realized the boy he imagined was his own baby and the woman who watched from the window his wife. And he realized as the grief shook him and brought him to his knees that he hadn’t been able to save them from the horrible men who had sought possessions but had taken life instead. How long ago?
And he remembered the anguish had driven him to madness. Not a realtor!
“I can’t do this,” he gasped, “Please take me back doctor.”
The doctor nodded slowly and took his arm as they turned away and left the darkness behind.
The Big Thicket
John Ingram Walker
After he had written a book ‘bout his self, my great, great grandfather, Huckleberry Finn, was a-goin’ to skedaddle ‘cause Aunt Sally planned to adopt him and sivilize him, and he couldn’t stand it.
Just as he was about to set out, he heard people talkin’ down at the livery stable. They was braggin’ ‘bout the Texas Big Thicket and how lazy and comfortable it was down there. They said it was the least sivilized place in the whole world. When Huck heard that he didn’t lose no time getting’ there. By and by, he married a gal from Kountze. That ended any chance for getting’ sivilized, and he was mighty proud of it too.
I’m considerable happy about it myself, ‘cause if he hadn’t got married I wouldn’t have been Huck, the Third or known my cousin who writes short stories. The last time I saw my cousin, he warn’t in a good humor. He was bent into a sorrowful shape, because his wife had been feedin’ him Vegemite, a worser smellin’ and tastein’ sandwich slobber than a dead skunk’s guts.
Suddenly, without no warning at all, he up and says, “Huck, I just don’t have the heart to write this story that’s due. My wife’s cookin’ done wore me out with grief. I want you to write the story for me. You owe me. Remember twenty years ago when Bully Braggs put your finger under that sewin’ machine needle, but before he could crank it up I conked him over the head with an outside tire motorcycle. Bully Braggs’ blood gushed out all over Baby Boys’ 24 miniature plastic dinosaurs. Busted up my shoulder too, liftin’ that weird motorcycle. The only thing not busted up was your finger. Well, I’m calling in my tally.”
So that’s how I come to write this here story:
The Big Thicket, dark, dank, and mysterious like, dripping with vines and Spanish moss and crawling with water moccasin and ‘gaters and all sorts of creatures became ‘specially fearsome on Halloween night when ole’ Larry Bob Neches would gather the boys right in the middle of the mighty thicket telling stories that made your heart beat so awful fast, and turn you cold all over.
After givin’ the stories a rest, Lar’ would clear his throat and with an ever so light quiver in his voice, he’d say, ‘Just about the scariest story regards Gunner Shellachumm who thought he’d get a picture of headless fellers chasing though the thickets so he took his camera and settled in by the campfire to wait for the commotion to begin. Well, ole’ Gunner fell asleep and never heard nor seen nothin’. But when he got his camera film developed there was a picture of Gunner sound asleep by the campfire. It’s plumb creepy when you ask yourself, “Who took that picture of Gunner?” It’s ‘special creepy to Gunner. Whenever Gunner sees a camera he jumps up quicker than lightnin’, screamin’ and a runnin’. And that’s the Ft. Knox-gold truth.