I Am a Rock

[Flash Fiction Challenge #28]

Stop by Thain in Vain’s blog to read entries from some wonderful writers.  See below for info about this week’s prompt.

flash-fiction-badge52I am a rock.  Not Paul Simon.  Fuck Paul Simon.  What does he know about being a rock?  “A rock can feel no pain?”

Try four billion years of crushing pain.  Try being smushed into bits, compressed and cemented into sedimentary substances and then heated and pressurized into metamorphic rock, and then melted into magma.  Try being shot out of a small funnel in the earth, out into the atmosphere, and dropped back down in waves of lava that smother everything in sight.  Then you wait for a million or so more years as you’re cooled and eroded and you start the whole thing all over again.  Try that, Paul Simon.

Not long ago, relatively speaking, I was a chip off the old block of marble, carved and shaped into David.  Yes, that David.  Michelangelo-freakin’ genius-David.  I felt a weight lift off my shoulders as he chipped and sculpted the veins and curls and rippled muscle, revealing the hidden me.

Now I stand in a Florence art museum where tourists and students pass and admire my gaze.  I hear their whispers and see them nodding.  Yes, I am magnificent now but once, for an insanely long time, I was just a rock.

Today, a young art student is drawing a sketch of me.  He shows up every day, after 1pm, disheveled and reeking of wine, wearing baggy jeans and a white t-shirt.  He reminds me of another young man who visited regularly nearly a century ago.  I later learned his name was Picasso; the docent would talk about his visits and later his fame.

CC BY-SA 3.0 Clayton Tang - Own work
David by Michelangelo in The Gallery of the Accademia di Belle Arti | © CC BY-SA 3.0
Clayton Tang – Own work

Today’s student likes to show me his work after each sketch.  I don’t think there are many Picassos left in the world.  I can’t tell him this, of course.  Although sentient, I am still a rock and rocks don’t talk.  If I could, I would tell him to give up the drink. I know a thing or two about artists.  Drinking never helps.  It makes them smash things – and as a rock, I’m a little traumatized by smashing.

Today the young man starts to cry.  I am grateful to see an older woman approach him.  She sits down and puts an arm around his shoulder.  They are strangers.  A kindness fills the hall.  I can feel it in my cold bones.  She asks him why he is so troubled and he tells her that he will never be an artist.

“But you’re already an artist,” the old woman says, pointing to his sketchbook.  “How can you not be something you already are?”

Of course, she is right.  Other artists turned me into cubes and three-headed monsters.  Then she says, “Think about that marble.  It was once a slab.  Don’t you think it is happy to be drawn or sculpted into anything other than a slab?  This is life.  We create kindness when we pay attention.  We honor the world.”  She smiles, stands, gives me a little nod and walks away.

Now I understand Paul Simon.



Flash Fiction Challenge #28 at Thain in Vain
Prompt:  Your protagonist is an inanimate object granted sentience by a higher power.
Word Count:  499


15 Comments I Am a Rock

  1. Thain in Vain July 15, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Tres impressed! I very mush liked this story! There’s so much going on and I like how you referenced Paul Simon! Great work, Meg! And glad to have you back! TiV

    1. Meg July 17, 2014 at 9:07 am

      Hah! The life of a rock is more complicated than one might think! I had a blast with this prompt, TiV. Thanks, as always, for your kind reading and comments. And now for that six-word story…

  2. MamaMickTerry July 15, 2014 at 9:26 am

    I know why I’m quickly becoming you’re biggest fan. You have such a depth and breadth to the subjects you write about. I loved your take on the prompt and the old lady at the end just made me happy. I know not all stories are meant to be/end happy, but I’m certainly drawn to the ones that are. Awesome, Meg!
    (and now I’m going to check out Thain in Vain!)

    1. Meg July 17, 2014 at 9:08 am

      I much prefer to end on a happy note, if at all possible. Sometimes it doesn’t work but I found a small crack in this story and slipped it in. 😉 Thanks, Michelle. You’re the sweetest, bestest. <3

      1. MamaMickTerry July 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm

        Ah, thanks! I looked for that crack the whole darned story 😉

  3. Mark Baron July 15, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    I am totally with MamaMickTerry – you are fast becoming one of my favorite fictioneers as well!

    1. Meg July 17, 2014 at 9:09 am

      Awww, thanks, Mark! Back at ya. Really appreciate the read and generous comment!

  4. Pingback: Flash Fiction Challenge – Week Twenty-Eight Submissions (28) | Thain in Vain

    1. Meg July 17, 2014 at 9:10 am

      Thank you, Meredith! I did actually post (well, cheated and reblogged) some photos over at Covey. Appreciate your reading and comments, as always, my friend.

      1. Meredith July 17, 2014 at 9:12 am

        Please don’t think that is cheating. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to reblog.

    1. Meg July 23, 2014 at 8:58 am

      Thanks, Mark!

  5. heatherbcosta July 19, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    How can you not love a story that has the line, ‘Fuck Paul Simon’? 🙂

    I really enjoyed this, a unique take on the prompt. Well done!

    1. Meg July 23, 2014 at 8:59 am

      Hah! Thanks, Heather. It really was fun to write.


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