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Five Pages

Author: Tony Baker

The front bicycle tire hits a rut, spraying muddy water and soaking his socks.

He glances back, baseball cap pulled low, sweat dripping off the brim and onto the handlebars.

The three older boys have closed a soccer pitch to a few meters.

A hand pushes him from behind.

The wobble becomes a muddy slide.

His wrist is numb, and his pant leg has been stitched into the gears.

He sucks in a breath and lays back.

Six fists clench.

The beating doesn’t last long.

Five pages of ink-stained paper are ripped from the inner pocket of his coat and torn to shreds.

He doesn’t resist.

A final kick in the ribs, and they are gone.

He limps home. She will wash his clothes and kiss the wounds.

After the shower and sutures, he sits at the little desk beside the bunkbed while she stands a

few feet away preparing dinner.

He writes the words he has not forgotten. Not a single one. Five pages.

Tomorrow, he’ll read it again. Over the intercom during lunch.

God is love; out of his love, he created us in His image.

As the image of God, we create as He created us.

When I write, I feel joy and terror.

Joy because I am acting on my gift of faith.

Terror because perfection is just out of reach.

It’s all been done was an excuse. Now, it’s a reason.

I learned to read when I was six, and by seven, I had written my first short story.

It featured a fox and possibly a rabbit. I wrote it from the balcony of a church in Three Hills.

We returned to my grandfather’s house in Sublimity, Oregon, that same year. Then Laurel,

followed by Beaverton, Oceanside, and Hailey, Idaho.

My grandfather owned 100 acres of deep woods tangled up in blackberry bushes. The two-

story house at the top of the hill contained a fallout shelter with a switchblade knife and fork.

At the bottom of the steep incline was a lake with a cabin next to a two-ton limestone boulder.

In Laurel, we lost our Calico kitten. The neighbors claimed they saw her clinging to the top of a

motor home as it pulled away from the gas station next to the parsonage. Maybe. I suspect

they stole it. The local falcon is also fixed in my side-eye.

My father repaired the house's roof in Beaverton, which was a substitute for rent. A family in

the church took pity on us and let us live in their old Victorian Mansion, which was filled with

secret cubbies that hid first-edition comic books and vinyl records.

By August, we were at the beach. My dad dreamed we would someday have our own home and

pave the driveway with agates. The eight of us hunted the sands and shoals from sunup to early

evening. That house was long in coming and is now gone. A plain concrete driveway.

Write it down. Tear it to shreds. Write it again. Every word. Read it out loud.

Tony Baker, an author with King Ari Press, can always be found:

Facebook: Tony Baker @Tonywrites1974

Instagram: @Tonywrites1974

And X, at, of course, @Tonywrites1974.

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1 Comment

Hezr Hodn
Hezr Hodn
Jun 02


Wow! I loved that FIVE PAGES intro! Made me want to know MORE!!!! I like your unique, imagery/action style, and I thought it effectively conveyed a quiet but strong resolution of the boy, without TELLING.

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