Thursday, February 21, 2008

Entry #15

They Call Him…
by Josh Vogt


“They say it’s the last.”

John grimaced at the caretaker’s words.

“They’re right,” he said. “I’ve checked.”

He understood the caretaker’s confused stare. Most people visited the tree in curiosity or reverence. No one embraced it as an old friend, like John had.

“Checked?” the caretaker echoed.

John nodded. “Across the world.”

“That’s a lot of ground to cover.”

“I get around.”

The caretaker pointed at the bundle sagging over John’s hip.

“Lugging that with you?”

John patted the sack. “’Course. Might say it’s a part of me.”

“Whatcha got in there, anyways?”

John unzipped the pouch and allowed a glimpse.

“Sand?” the caretaker asked.

John smiled.

“Do you ever miss them?” he asked.

“Miss what?”

“Forests. Jungles. Orchards.” John sighed. “They used to be everywhere.”

The caretaker shrugged. “We need the space, don’t we?”

A bell sounded in the distance. The caretaker turned to go.

“That’s my shift, Mr. Chapman. Don’t dawdle, else the tour will leave without you.”

John waited until he was alone, debating all the while. Older than the mountains and some of the seas, it had taken him ages to complete his first masterpiece. Was it worth starting over?

He took off his shoes and tested the dirt between his toes. Good soil, at least. That offered some hope.

Opening the pouch again, he drew a handful and flicked the seeds in a golden spray, grey eyes marking where each landed. Then he leaned against the trunk and listened to the sap murmur his name.

27 comments:

Remiman said...

Good job! Let's hope that John "appleseed" Chapman out lives us all. Trees make good neighbors, as do stone fences.
rel

ChristineEldin said...

Nice twist!!!
I love how this ends on a hopeful note. I enjoyed this one.

Beth said...

A world without trees. I don't want to live there! Nicely done.

24crayons said...

I enjoyed the perspective, and while it was sad, it was good too.

DBA Lehane said...

It's wonderful how this photo is drawing out so many different takes themes and takes upon it. Pollution as a caretaker?

The Grocer said...

Enjoyed this too, am just knocked out by all the talent on display.

paisley said...

sometimes i have to think,, that starting over would not be a bad thing... maybe we would appreciate what we had more if it had not been handed to us in such a complete package..

JLB said...

Really beautiful piece - I like the unique perspective on this one.

Missy said...

Clever - Johnny Appleseed! I love it. I envy your skill with dialogue.

Vesper said...

Good story, very well written! It somehow makes me think of the movie "Silent Running", where Bruce Dern takes care of the last forests of Earth on a greenhouse-spaceship...
Chilly thoughts come from your story, but also hope.

Sarah Hina said...

Josh, this was just superb. Such a remarkable perspective, and great dialogue, too. I love the idea of this man starting his new "masterpiece."

Really stunning work! :)

BernardL said...

Adept use of legend and hope.

SzélsőFa said...

This strongly reminds me of a French short film called 'The Man Who Planted Trees'.
I think the 'caretaker' might as well represent mankind, not pollution; at least, this what I think.

pjd said...

Interesting all the different images this brought up for people. For me, it was the Lorax and the Onceler. With the photo as the background, you've completed the picture nicely.

Bernita said...

An interesting, smiling adaptation!

bluesugarpoet said...

"I get around" - love that line. :)I also love how you've brought this familiar tale to life through your well crafted dialog! Nicely done.

Hoodie said...

An optimistic, original take. Refreshing, engaging. Very nicely done.

Aerin said...

I really like the use of dialog in this - it keeps the pace at just the right speed, not too fast, not too slow. Great, creative subject, and well-written, too!

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

I love the refreshing hopefulness intrinsic to this piece. Strong use of dialogue to tell the story and keep it vivid. Very nicely done.

Dottie said...

Very vivid writing and I love the sense of hope your story inspires. Great work.

SzélsőFa said...

Congratulations on the first prize, it is well deserved!!

Precie said...

"We need the space"...

What a trenchant commentary on modern life...on urban sprawl...Congratulations on 1st place! Well done!

~beth ♥ said...

This is an astounding piece! Well deserved first place.

Josh said...

Thanks, everyone! I had a lot of fun writing this and am incredibly grateful for the award. Congratulations to the other placers as well, I had a great time reading through the entires.

jason evans said...

Excellent!!! Great weave of dialog and description anchored by an inventive story. I'm glad John decided to start over.

Congratulations on 1st Place!!

Aine said...

Yikes-- a world without trees?! I'm chuckling at the irony that John is not called "the caretaker."

Thanks for sharing this wonderful story-- and congrats!!

Charmaine said...

Beautiful.

I can't comment as to literary prowess...I can't even spell the word...much less conjugate a verb.

Still...