More typewriter stories today as I work on some long-winded thing about princesses and high expectations. Here’s the photo our latest typewriter-story recipient posted:
Anthony’s a high school friend of mine who went on to become a filmmaker. He requested one micro-story for himself and one for his mom, Allison, who fed me lots of snacks while I bummed around at her house all those years ago.
Of course, Allison’s had to have a dog in it.
There once was a little girl named Allison.
Allison had an equally-little dog named Skip. Skip and Allison were always having adventures together: they dug up dinosaur bones in the backyard, and discovered ancient ruins under her mother’s bed (her mom hadn’t thought it was so fun when she found her winter clothes scattered and chewed by the dog). They hiked Mount Everest and flew around the world in a giant slingshot.
But these were always make-believe adventures; they were just playing pretend. And Allison knew the difference.
One afternoon, Allison and Skip snuck into the basement where her father kept his tools. So much down here was unseen, unfound—probably because they weren’t allowed down here. A thin layer of dust coated everything, and billowed up in little clouds when Allison breathed.
Allison and Skip were digging for hidden treasure when she pushed a drawer closed—hard. The whole tool desk shuffled forward, dropping tools and nails and wooden boards. Instead of hitting the ground, it all just… vanished, without a sound.
Curious, Allison looked under the desk, but the tools were gone.
When she turned back, her dog was slipping, sliding away from her like the floor was made of ice.
“Skip!” Allison shouted. She reached for him, but he was too far off; Skip barked one last bark before he vanished into the hole.
“No!” Allison ran after him and soon she, too, was falling, falling into the hole under the desk.
Blackness surrounded her, everywhere, dark and cool and terrifying. She saw Skip’s white form flailing in the distance and swam towards him, through the darkness, through the infinite void. Panting, Allison clutched Skip close to her chest as they seemed to fall, fall, fall, endlessly, forever.
Then, suddenly, there was light again. Sky ballooned around them and then they were in it, the light; they were encompassed by it. Allison and Skip were looking up at the bluest blue sky either of them had ever seen, just as a herd of little white clouds flitted past.
Allison jumped upright and glanced around. They were outside, on the front lawn of their house, surrounded by her dad’s tools, some nails, and a two-by-four. Skip barked and Allison shushed him. How? She wondered. How had they gotten here?
Together they went back inside the house and crept down the stairs to the basement.
There it was: the hole. The black hole under her father’s tool desk. Allison wouldn’t let Skip go anywhere near it again, should he get sucked in.
What was it? She wondered. A portal? A wormhole to her front yard?
Leaving Skip by the stairs, she dragged the desk back over the hole, covering it. In case she ever needed it, Allison thought.
It would be here.
The story isn’t necessarily tailored to the recipient; sometimes certain stories just have to be told at a certain time, and I can’t do anything about it. Other times, the person influences or inspires the story in some way that probably doesn’t make any sense to them–e.g., this one.
Anthony Goes To The Stars
There once was a little boy named Anthony.
Anthony dreamed of the stars. He saw them even when his eyes were closed, saw them flicker and blink behind his eyelids. His parents had gotten him a telescope to fill his curiosity, but it only made his longing for the night sky grow.
With it he saw the galaxies, the planets, the distant gas giants, and they all called to him. Explore! They said. Visit, even if just for a day!
But he didn’t know how. Little boys didn’t fly, he was sure of that. People had visited the moon, once, but that was in a big spaceship.
Anthony didn’t have a spaceship, or a car, or even a bike. Nothing that could fly all the way to the stars—or just to the next town over. He was stuck.
That day the repairmen came to install a new refrigerator. When Anthony saw the box it arrived in, he knew: he had a spaceship, and a lot of work to do.
Anthony pulled out his markers and scissors and tape. He worked all day, and even into the night; his parents told him to go to bed, so he turned off his lamp and worked by flashlight.
By morning, it was done. He snuck out in the early hours and positioned his spaceship out behind the house.
Anthony put on his wetsuit—the closest thing he had to a spacesuit, but it would work—and placed a fishbowl over his head to protect him in the vacuum of space. Then he climbed into the open door of the spaceship.
Inside, the cardboard seat wasn’t very comfortable, but it would do. Anthony adjusted his helmet and began dialing in his destination coordinates. He’d visit Saturn first, then spin off into the asteroid belt. Who knew after that? Adventures were best when planned the least.
When he was ready, Anthony reached out and pulled a lever. Nothing happened. Confused, he leaned out the window and examined the engine compartment.
The drawn-on compartment looked fine. He tried the lever again. Again, nothing.
Anthony sat back in the cardboard seat. His parents would be up soon. They’d find him out here, just sitting in a dumb refrigerator box spaceship. Would they laugh, or be angry at him?
Then, he felt something shake. He opened his eyes, thinking it was the back door swinging open, or his mom yelling to get inside. But no—whatever it was, it was vibrating, as if…
As if it was the spaceship!
Anthony looked out the window, only to see the house’s wood siding flash by—then the roof, and the trees, and then—the sky.
He adjusted his helmet as the spaceship surged upward, high into the cool blackness of space. All around were stars. He held his hands to the window.
Stars! Anthony thought. He had made it to the stars.