02 June 2024

My First Story


First story I recall telling happened in 1st Grade. I didn’t plan a tall tale, nor did I intend to entertain anyone, only myself. As mentioned back on Criminal Brief, our teacher, Miss Ruth, who’d been in place since the War of 1812, taught the dangers of gossip and rumors in a Game of Telephone, aka Telegraph aka Game of Whispers.

She paraded us down to the gymnasium, where we took off our shoes. Lining us up alphabetically in a row, she seated us on the floor. Then she explained the plan: Teacher would whisper a short story to Sara Arnett, who would in turn would whisper to Roger Batton beside her, and so on across the row, passing through me, dead center in the middle. Mike Young, seated last, would hear the final iteration. Finally, Sara and he would stand and deliver what they heard, Versions 1,0 and 1.32, so to speak, thus we could grasp how inaccurate rumors were.

bunny and duck

The story took a few minutes to reach me, a tale about a wee bonnie bunny on a bicycle. At that moment, lightning struck and Igor babbled in my ear.

I’ve always been a mad scientist. It dawned on me I could run a double experiment. I related a story to Walter Meyers about an ice-skating ducky with an umbrella. Snap. Story Version 2.1 moved on and on.

Then I panicked. What if the teacher did a trace-back? Had I just sinned, lied in some way? Surely worse than lying, what if they kicked me out of school? Forever? What if no one hired me, would I live on the streets while my classmates ran farms and worked at big name companies?

Then Sara and Mike stood. She repeated Story 1.0, after which Michael rattled off Story version 2.16. Poor Miss Ruth looked dumbfounded. With a slightly stunned expression, she mumbled, “I’ve never had this happen before.” Probably wishing she retired half-a-century earlier, she muttered, “Let’s… Let’s go upstairs.”

Without realizing it, I’d just told my first story.

7 comments:

  1. A clear case of precocious inspiration!

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    1. Hey, thanks, Janice! I suspect my teachers had some theories.

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  2. Ooohhh. I like it! I told stories in elementary school, too. They were all in the Twilight Zone genre, with a twist ending, etc. The only two I can remember were one about a normal town, where everyone's going around doing their thing, and then it all EXPLODES! And it turned out that in a larger universe, someone had just split an atom. The other (which got published in the local school paper) was someone who wakes up in a lab, and a long thing about trying to figure out where / who / how they are - and at the end figures out that he is a newly created android. I think that might have come after watching "Demon With A Glass Hand" on Outer Limits, a shameless rip-off.

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  3. Leigh, why am I not surprised? Bunnies on bikes are just not compelling enough, unless you put a six-shooter in their hands. Of course they would ice-skate! You must have been a treat for all future English teachers - grin. Melodie

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    1. Melodie, I was a joy amongst my teachers. One of my projects blew out the fuses in half of our old school. An experiment with nitric acid gained popularity when upperclassmen realized it could coat their fingertips making it look like they smoked heavily. I discovered rubbing pennies with mercury turned them a bright silver. I gave away dozens to friends who stuffed them in their pockets. Then a teacher found his wedding ring had weirdly turned silvery-grey and another his watch. Turned out mercury has an affinity for gold.

      My brother was responsible for our school banishing neckties, but that's another story. Yes, I was a joy.

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