A Collection of Writings, Freestyle Poetry, Thoughts, Comics, etc. From My Mind.
(Such as it is…)
By Paul David Graham
Every now, and then, a story will pop into my mind that ends before it becomes a novel. Not even enough to call it a novelette. I don’t want to throw them away because my mind did give birth to them. So, I store them in a special place on a hard drive. Yesterday, I decided to dust them off, edit them, and publish them in this book. My short stories and thoughts are a bit eclectic, so, hopefully, some of them will appeal to you.
I’ve included other bits of fun too.
As always, the characters, their names and events, in this book are fictitious (except for the baseball story, which really happened) and are not meant to describe or portray anyone either living or dead. Any resemblance to someone you know – whether living or dead – is purely coincidental and not intentional.
Copyright © 2020 Paul David Graham
No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without written permission of the author.
The Tattooed Boy
There was a small town in Kansas, I think, back in the 1800′s called Charity. It was a town like any other with people like any other people in any other town of the time. The town had one church, one school, one general store, one courthouse, one hotel and one jail which was almost always empty, except on some Friday nights when someone got a little too drunk at the saloon/hotel.
One day, a young stranger came to town looking for work. Now, a stranger in this town always gave rise to curiosity because so few strangers ever came through this out of the way place. The fact that he was a stranger would have been curious enough, but this boy was tattooed from head to foot. The most curious part was that the tattoos were not the usual picture of this, or picture of that, but words and sentences in some strange foreign language.
A few of the townspeople were afraid of this tattooed boy, others just wary of anyone new, but everyone was curious. The young boy appeared to be about 15. He was six feet tall with blue eyes and sandy blonde hair. Apart from the tattoos, he looked like any ordinary young man.
He managed to get a few odd jobs chopping wood and helping farmers mend their fences. In return, they gave him food and a place to sleep. He treated everyone with great respect, almost with reverence. Unfortunately, this respect was not always reciprocated by some of the townspeople. Some of his employers treated him shabbily. Many of the kids would taunt him and call him names, pointing at his tattoos and making fun of them.
He bore all of this in silence and treated his tormentors with a respect they did not deserve. This attitude made many of the children of the town give up their unkind reverie because as you know it isn’t fun to tease someone if you don’t get the reaction you are seeking. Some of the adults, on the other hand, were incensed by his attitude and began to ask themselves things like: “What is he hiding?” What crimes must he have committed to be tattooed like that?” Do you think he is an escaped prisoner?”
They decided to confront the boy at a town meeting to be presided over by the town council. This council consisted of the Sheriff, the Mayor, the Minister, and the town Librarian, who also taught in the one room schoolhouse.
All town meetings were held in the church, for it was the only building big enough to hold all of the town’s people. They called the boy up front.
“Don’t be afraid, young man,” said the Preacher, “we just want to ask you a few questions. Just answer them honestly and you’ll be fine.”
“Yes, sir,” the boy replied.
"“For the benefit of everyone here, what is your name?” inquired the Mayor.
“They call me Jonathan, sir.” the boy said.
“Well, Jonathan, we have all been very curious about something ever since you came to this town, but until now we felt it a bit rude to ask.”
“That’s OK sir, you can ask me anything you like. I don’t mind”, Jonathan said politely.
“It’s about your tattoos. They appear to be written in some kind of foreign language,” began the Preacher.
“I don’t understand,” Jonathan replied.
“Your tattoos, boy. They make no sense to us. What language is that?” scowled the Sheriff.
“But I thought you knew,” answered the boy.
“Listen son. We can only put up with a little of this nonsense,” growled the Sheriff. “Are you going to tell us what these words are? And what they mean?”
“Aramaic,” said a voice from the back of the church.
Everyone turned to see who could have said that and noticed a man short sleeves and overalls standing in the doorway. He had the same kinds of strange tattoos on every inch of his exposed skin. There was a lot of hushed talk as he approached the front of the room.
“Pa!” shouted Jonathan.
“You’ll have to forgive my son, he’s never been away from home before,” the stranger explained, giving Jonathan a hug.
“Did you say, Aramaic?” asked the Preacher.
“Yes, the ancient language of the bible. The language of Jesus’ time.”
“Well, I’ll be,” the Mayor commented to no one.
“As I was saying, please forgive my son’s confusion. You see, he’s never seen people like you before.”
“Now, just what do you mean by, ‘people like us?’” the Sheriff said in a surly tone.
“I mean no offense. You see, he has never met people who don’t have these tattoos. He thinks you all are perfect, guiltless people, because in our village we wear our sins on the outside for everyone to see; Tattooed on our skins - not hidden inside like you do.”
“What a horrible thing to do to people!” cried the Mayor.
“Perhaps, but we find that by wearing our sins on our skins for all to see, everyone you meet knows that you are like they are. They realize that no one is better than anyone else is. How can you point out someone else’s faults when you have so many of your own? Naturally, when Jonathan saw that none of you wore tattoos he mistakenly believed you to be sinless. Come, Jonathan, let’s go home.”
The whole town sat open mouthed while the boy and his father left the church.
So, before you say anything bad about anybody: First, be thankful that you do not have to wear your sins on your skin.
The Moral: Never judge a book by its cover.
Here Is A Real, (and True Life), Baseball Story:
With two runners on base and one strike against her, Sara Tucholsky of Western Oregon University did something she had never been able to do before: She hit a home run over the center field fence.
As she ran her victory lap, she missed first base and had to turn back to tag it. Quickly changing direction she headed for 2nd base again, but she collapsed with a knee injury before she got there. She managed to crawl back to first base, tagged it again to be safe, but could go no further. Her teammates went out to help her, but the first base coach said she would be called out if any of them tried.
They were told she could have a pinch runner called in, but then her home run would only count as a single. The first baseman for the opposing team, Mallory Holtman (the career home run hitter in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference) asked the umpire if she and her teammates could help her without any penalty. The umpire said there weren’t any rules against an opposing team member helping, and the three run homer would still count if they did.
In spite of the fact that this would take their own team out of the playoffs (they would lose the game) Mallory Holtman and shortstop Liz Wallace put their arms under Tucholsky’s legs and she put her arms around their shoulders. The three rounded the bases stopping only long enough for Tucholsky to tag each base with her good leg.
“In the end, it isn’t about winning and losing so much,” Ms. Holtman said. “It was about this girl. She hit it over the fence and was in pain, and she deserved the home run.”
Instead of being angry about losing the championship, Coach Gary Frederick, a 14 year veteran for the Central Washington team the two girls were on, called it, “An unbelievable act of sportsmanship.”
This actually happened. It isn’t made up. You can Google it. Makes you wonder though… If this had been all boys, would they have done the same thing? Or how about a pro ball team like the San Diego Padres?