The Iron Writer Challenge #69
The 2014 Iron Writer Championship
A Letter to your older self
A pet Fairy
Note: the acquired savant element is about the syndrome, not Jason Padgett who is mentioned in the linked article and who drew the image above. To read his remarkable story, simply click on the link.
Two My Few Chair Auld Err Shelf
Dani J Caile
Deer auld err shelf,
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Yaws sin seer Lee,
Danielle Lee Zwissler
The little boy lay in the coffin surrounded by stuffed animals and action figures. His favorite conductor’s hat was placed carefully on his head and he wore a Thomas the Train tee-shirt along with blue and white striped jeans.
It was a quick death, finding out only a month before that he had Cancer. Jackson never complained, he always smiled, he loved playing with trains, talking to his imaginary friend, and smashing dandelions on his sister’s nose.
Only one more day until Michael Crawford’s son would be lowered into the ground. What he would do without Jackson?
Michael startled and turned fast. “Jackie?”
“It’s okay, Daddy; I’m okay…I’m with Grandma now.”
Michael’s body shook, and he covered his mouth with his hand as he went toward the coffin where his son was. “But you—”
“Don’t cry, Daddy…Remember your promise.”
Michael sat up, sweat pouring off his face. His son had been dead 27 years. Since then, his wife had passed, and his daughter had moved away. He spent most days locked up in his office, figuring out new algorithms, and reading Jackson’s old school papers.
Later that afternoon, Michael read a letter from Jackson to his future self. It was filled with misspelled words and homonyms, but it was a prized possession to Michael.
“What’re you doing?” Janie, Michael’s fiancé, asked as she walked into the office.
Michael looked up, startled. “Nothing…just work.” Michael put the letter down and stood, stretching. “I’ll be back,” he said, excusing himself to the restroom.
Janie walked over to the desk and picked up the piece of paper. It was a letter. The spelling was horrible; Janie knew that writing wasn’t a strong suit of Michael’s. She loved him and his quirks anyway.
…Glenda is so butiful. She has great hare and a small waste, and brite blue eyes. I love her.
Janie’s eyes watered, angry at Michael’s betrayal. When he walked into the room, she crumbled up the paper and threw it at him. The expression on Michael’s face was that of horror.
“What are you doing?”
“Why did you do that?”
“Answer me; who’s Glenda?”
“Jackson’s pet fairy.”
“My little boy, Jackson…I promised him that I would take care of her, that I would keep her alive for him.” Michael pointed around the room and Janie looked distraught from what the letter said, hand drawn portraits of a pixie were scattered all over the place.
Michael nodded. “It’s why I don’t want you in here.” Tears poured from Michael’s eyes as he unfolded the crumbled up paper.
“I’m so sorry, Michael. I…I didn’t know.”
“Glenda is very special to me,” he said softly, patting his pocket. “I keep her safe in here, next to my heart.”
Janie cried, “I’m so sorry.”
Michael nodded and sat back down at his desk, working on more algorithms.
A few minutes later, Janie came back in with two coffees, and pecked Michael on the cheek before walking toward the door.
“Aren’t you going to join me?”
“But there’s two cups here.”
“For Glenda, Michael. Now I’m taking care of her, too.”
“You’re writing wrongs?”
“Oh, I see what you did there. Wait… ? Which ‘right?'”
“The very Sam one.”
“Don’t you mean ‘same?'”
“Who’s it to?”
“You know whom.”
Wren cringed. He hated being called that. He hissed between clenched teeth.
“Tell it to the horse!”
“That’s not fair.”
“Sure it is. Payment for my long suffering.”
The beastly thing shut up for a moment and thought.
“When did you get so good at this game?”
Sheepishly, Wren glanced up.
“Last week? When you went to the meet?”
“Don’t talk about her like that?”
Sam was frustrated.
“Okay, so maybe I was.”
Yes, at the race.
“Where you went to get your fix?”
A moment passed.
“Fix. Yes, my heroine.”
Sam rolled in the air, holding a belly gorged with flies, guppies, and perogies.
“So you went to the races and met the love of your life, your everything… .”
“Don’t say it.”
Wren plucked the cigar from between Sam’s lips and twisted the embers into his mottled flesh until it became a smoking brown stain. Sam screamed and zipped in loop-d-loops around the room. Rubbing the wound, Sam scowled at Wren.
“Okay, I deserved that one. So what happened?”
“That point when you thought it would be funny to trip me and send me sprawling into her, mustard and hot dogs first?”
But she was too fast. I ended up taking a header over the railing.
“Yeah. I’m lucky I didn’t break my neck.”
“Dude, you wouldn’t have died or anything. That’s why I’m here.”
“Well after a two week stay in the hospital, I woke up with words doing somersaults in my head.”
“Dude! That’s so cool! A little spill and you’re the heir.”
“I’d rather the air. You couldn’t make me fly? You and your stupid word game.”
“I had nothing to do with it, hombre. This is the universe’s own special kind of chaos.”
“Well, now, I don’t need you.”
“Back rubs were always optional. So wait, you’re mad ’cause you think I gave you super powers?’
“What then? We’ve been like bros since you were like this tall!”
Sam sank a few feet, hand flat before him, his wings beating furiously.
“And I fit in an acorn, for Oberon’s sake!”
Both considered his girth and realized a diet of woodland insects and Ding-Dongs may not have been the best choice. Wren sighed.
“What a waist.”
“Come on! That little stunt made your relationship. She spent the next two weeks nursing you to health.”
Wren finished the letter written on ancient parchment and penned in rare ink. He signed his name at the bottom – just as he had addressed it – and sealed the envelop with red wax.
“Wait! What’s-her-face isn’t replacing me, is she?”
“Her name – Di.”
The Intended Length of Ever After
Finding a way to keep alive the
allusion of your illusion
is more difficult than finding a
desert island treasure map X
And if I thought I could see you again
I would hit the ground running
Your death was an extinction level event
And in order to reverse the traumatic stress
that has turned me into a savant that
doesn’t count scattered toothpicks but instead
now sees the world through the lens of sorrow
I perform pocket knife open heart surgery
peeling away my flesh by the layer
In order to somehow discover
where you are now
or the intended length of ever after
and when these fail I lay down a line
of last week’s breadcrumbs
that lead me to the first place I discovered you
To complete the journey
I navigate a yo-yo string tightrope to a
forgotten beneath-the-stairs toy box
and search among Raggedy Andy
with his one remaining eye
a frayed copy of “Kate the Kitten Fairy”
that told of her epic battles with Jack Frost
and her refusal to bow to his icy arrow and bow
and a Bozo the Clown chalk board, on which
your name was written repeatedly in
fading yet determined 6th grade penmanship
to find yesterday’s letter to tomorrow’s me
written on the day after the first day of school
when we first met
Unfolding the papers and smoothing them against my thigh
it all rushed back bringing that day then to right now
And although they all felt that I was too young to know
that you were the one to find
I refused to give in and believe their lie
so I now sit and read my foretold story of us
and each morn I mourn and with a
single tear I tear out each page after it’s read
and implode quietly for these few minutes each day.