Tag Archives: drawing

Strangers on a Train

As I sat on the train I noticed the people in the seat directly in front of me. She had a big white knitted hat on as protection from the bitter cold of the early Philadelphia morning. His hat was striped and didn’t look nearly as warm. Her head rested on his shoulder and I could see from my vantage point that she was dead asleep. I wondered how long they had been on the train that her slumber could be so deep. Maybe she was just a good sleeper.

I could hear the pages turning in something he read; it sounded more like a book than a newspaper. They have a much louder sound and longer page-turning time. He seemed so relaxed and content on his morning commute. I assumed they knew each other; people need a certain comfort level to rest their head on another’s shoulder. Or maybe that’s just me. Who knows.

My single-ness was a bit painful after seeing two people so comfortable with each other, so relaxed and close. It ate away at me as I looked down at my boots, toes awkwardly pointed inward just the slightest bit, my tights keeping my legs warm and the gray sweater dress that I painstakingly chose this morning in the hope of seeing that guy I have a secret crush on; I can’t help it, I have a thing for sweater vests, what can I say.

I wonder about these two people in front of me. They seem like nice, kind people, a couple I would love to hang out with. They’re about my age, maybe twenty-four or twenty-five at the oldest. While I am dressed for office work, they look like they could be on vacation or possibly going to work in some new trendy company that not only allows jeans, but expects them. I would love to work in a place like that.

The speaker crackles and someone announces Suburban Station, next stop, Suburban Station and he nudges her gently with his shoulder; she looks up. Lines from his coat mark her face and she smiles as her hand wipes the sleep from her eyes. The train hisses and slows, he smiles at her. She gets up, fixes her soft yellow coat, and kisses him on the cheek.

“See you tonight,” he says with a smile. She smiles back and nods, then turns and exits the train.

Artwork by the always lovely and talented Nadia Lavard.

Upcoming Feature!

I’m introducing my upcoming series of flash fiction pieces titled The Melancholy Robot for a reason. I’ve written a bunch of very short stories about a sad robot and asked for volunteers in the artistic community, mostly in the Philadelphia area, but also with a little help from some friends from afar. So far I’ve gotten a good response from people, so I’m excited to tell you that coming on Monday will be the first installment of

If you are an artist who would like to get in on this, please comment here with your email and I will gladly get back to you. Otherwise, I hope everyone enjoys the new short series. Each artist volunteer is given a vss (very short story) about the robot and is given creative freedom to draw, paint, illustrate, or whatever a scene or variety of scenes from the vss. It’s been REALLY fun so far, seeing what people come up with. So obviously, each robot will look different and they could be all kinds of different mediums, but hey, that’s part of what makes it fun!

Stay tuned, readers! Should be a blast. First story is coming on Monday.

-Den

The Wish of the Wooden Man (A Flash Fiction Fantasy)

I sat at my art desk drawing a wooden model man.  I had him posed as if he were frozen, mid-air, while skipping down the road.  One arm flailed towards the heavens, the other reached out as if it would make him land an inch farther, both of his legs stretched as if jumping a hurdle.

That’s when I heard the voice.  “Why?”  It was calm, quiet, mysterious and yet manly.  Almost whispered, with a childlike tone.

I looked around, confused.

“All I want is to be positioned naturally, just once.”

I strained my ears, listening for the source.  It sounded as if it were right in front of me, coming from the wooden man, and yet, it also seemed to come from deep inside of me as well.

“What do you mean?”  I asked, prying more words so as to detect the source.

“You always position me in unnatural poses.  Jumping, dancing, walking, but never how a real person would jump, dance or walk.  Always different from a human.”

It was definitely coming from the wooden man.

“It’s the part you play, my friend,” I said to him, turning the invisible face towards me so I could see if there were any visible changes.

“I just want to look human.  I’m supposed to represent one.  Why make me stand so many ways, and yet none of them make me feel more like you?”

“So what, I should sit you on the couch in front of the tv?  Should I put you to sleep at night, under the covers?”

“You’re mocking me.  All I want is to be like you.  And you mock me.”

I turned him away from me a bit.

“I guess I never thought of you as a sentient being before.  How was I to know this was what you wanted?”

“You should have known.  You should have guessed.”

“Well, I apologize.  How would you like to be posed?  Your wish is granted.  Tell me.”

The wooden statue failed to respond, trying to decide, I assumed.  I picked him up so he knew I was serious.  Finally he responded.

“Sitting in a chair.  That’s what I would like.”

“Should I put you on an actual chair, or just position you as if you were sitting on one.”

“Those chairs are much too big for me.  So I guess just a pretend chair.”

I picked him up and bent his legs, his back, his arms, and granted his wish.