Sunday, August 7, 2011
Our Fellow Jack
Jack was like most boys-- willful, smutty, and charming, hackneyed in thought, dress, expression of opinion and deftly lacking even the slightest ability to experience the world from anyone else's point of view. He was quite charming that way.
He had a peculiar talent for correctly identifying pieces of classical music, played on the local public radio station, as belonging to W. A. Mozart. He could not, nor did he try, to match a concerto, sonata, symphony or overture to a single other composer-- a particular combination of notes was either by Mozart, or it wasn't. Although it is admittedly tempting to exaggerate these sorts of things, our fellow Jack was never wrong.
The boy's parents, Alice and David, despised the word "precocious" and they would not permit its use by anyone seeking to describe, always with the best of intentions, their son. Certainly, propriety dictated that they not directly challenge a friend or teacher or even casual neighborhood acquaintance if a well-meaning person should happen to use the word in reference to Jack, but privately the parents disapproved of the word immensely. Though they were frequently of divided opinion on many a subject, including many facets concerning young Jack's upbringing, on this point they were united.
Instead of the rote, succinct responses favored by teachers of their pupils in those days, Jack's classroom replies were oblique, perplexing and, quite often, wrong. His teachers were, collectively, an odd lot-- a wiry-haired, aging ex-carpenter, an occasional Lutheran minister, an inordinately tall German immigrant with a gentle lisp and an outlandish mustache. They were not unprepared-- just put upon-- perhaps not quite up to the challenge, as indeed most of them felt some mornings upon waking up and realizing that Jack was part of their job that day. After completing primary school, Jack asked each of his teachers, from Kindergarten through grade six, to gather in the courtyard so he could take a photograph of them standing together with the camera David had purchased for him. Only the occasional Lutheran minister accepted the invitation. And Jack took his picture.
(Okay, so, I've given you four paragraphs. By now, you've got a good idea of the style/voice of the piece, how it goes from one idea to the next. I guess this is more of a creative writing assignment than a blog-- but, in the comment section, I want you to continue the story. What becomes of our fellow Jack? If I like what you give me, I might very well steal it ['cuz I'm like that] and turn this into something. Who knows? Stranger things have happened, I'm sure.