Want to keep reading?

You've reached the end of your complimentary access. Subscribe for as little as $4/month.

Subscribe
Aready a Subscriber ? Sign In

A young boy spends his days sitting in an alley, writing

Long ago, far across the open sea, lived a little writer boy. Young Little Writer Boy would march through town, his red notebook at his side and his head held high. A vivid blue pen sat strung tight to the notebook’s side. His ruffled overcoat swishing behind him in the wind, his grey tam pulled low over his head.

The boy walked to the alleyway that he’d so often ventured to and put his back to the stone, garbage-strewn ground in the opening where he could still look out over the shops full of bustling people or hear the hollow ding dings of passing bikes. Little writer boy would study the people waiting in line at shops, then his pen would start to move across the five-by-five-inch paper of his notebook as if it had a mind of its own.

The woman and poodle were really thieves. The old man wrapped in a scarf was a super villain in disguise, thought the boy. His heart would hop in excitement as he wrote, like it was doing hurdles but with no effort at all, as if it were flying over these hurdles. His heart would thump harder as the stories evolved around him, as the stories passed in his mind like an old-fashioned slideshow film.

As the boy sat there, the polished black shoes of a black-suited man stopped inches from where he lay. The man rolled back the cuffs of his suit as if he were getting ready to give somebody a lump above their brow.

Little Writer Boy looked up at him. The man’s red tie was even more vivid than the boy’s pen. His sleek hair shone in spots from the sun, and his black suit shone like obsidian.

MyDream
My Dream

“Can I help you?” asked the little writer.

“Who are you?” asked the man.

The boy hesitated a moment. Then he said, “A writer.”

The man eyed him, creasing his greasy brows. Then he walked away.

The boy walked home still letting his pen run across the paper. He walked up the stairs to his room, closed the door, and sat down in his red, spindly chair, and he wrote.

The following afternoon, the boy marched back to the alley and parked his butt where he could still survey the people of Van Isle.

As he wrote, a woman in high heels walked up to him, stopping inches away from him. This woman wore a green dress with a beige overcoat and an animal-fur scarf. She wore a horrid smile that twitched upward with struggle.

“May I help you?” asked the boy.

“I was merely wondering what a respectable young man like you might be doing in an alleyway on your buttocks,” said the woman.

“Writing.”

The woman couldn’t hold her smile in anymore. “Who are you?”

“I’m a writer.”

“Have you anything that is published?” the woman said, chuckling at the boy’s ambition.

The boy put a finger to his chin. “Published?” he asked. This time the woman gave a terrible, high, belly-shaking laugh. She seemed a lot like Santa Claus (an evil Santa Claus, that is). The people around her began to laugh too.

“Ever read a book, boy?” the woman mocked.

“’Course I have.” He put down his notebook but kept his eyes off the woman.

“Those are published books.”

“Oh.”

“Have you any of those?” she asked.

“I’m not sure.”

“Then how do you know you’re a writer?”

Little writer boy thought a while about this. When he got home, he sat in his spindly chair. His pen did not slide across the paper that night as it did every other night, nor did his heart leap the hurdles.

The little writer boy didn’t go back to the alley the next day. Nor the next, nor the next, but a week later he did go back.

“Who are you?” asked that same woman as she towered over him once more.

“A writer,” the boy answered.

“Have you any published books?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Then how do you know you are a writer?”

“Because I write.”

The woman scowled, then sighed, then went on her way. Satisfied, the boy came back the next day and the next and the next. Many thieves and super villains later, an elderly man in boots came up to him.

“May I help you?” asked the boy.

“Who might you be?” asked the man.

“A writer.”

“Oh,” said the man. “Have you any published books?”

The boy stopped to think about this again. He tapped his forehead with his pen. Finally he looked up at the man’s grizzled face.

“I do,” he said. “As a matter of fact, it is right here.” The boy handed the man his notebook, who read it and gave it back.

“That is no published book,” said the old man.

“It is,” said the boy. “You’ve read it.”

The man squinted at him as if he were standing in a dark room. “What is your name, boy?”

At this the boy smiled. “Little Writer Boy.”

Jonah Christiansen-Barker
Jonah Christiansen-Barker, 13
Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada

Leticia Cheng
Leticia Cheng, 9
San Jose, CA

Join us in saying YES to kids—Support Stone Soup Today!

X