Just Like the Big Guys

Some almost ten years to go I worked at a daycare center, actually the second in a line of three I have subjected myself to as an employee.  There were about five different “classrooms” of kids: babies, toddlers, two preschool and a school-age group.  With all these kiddos and classes, we only had two playgrounds.  So frequently, if the playgrounds were being used, we’d dag our kiddos out to a back section of the parking lot, block it off with cones (not that anyone ever came back that way) and let the kids go crazy with tricycles and chalk and bubbles and stuff.

Back in this area there was a little shed.  To this day, I have no idea what it was or what was in it.  Apparently I suffered from a deplorable lack of curiosity at that time.  Or I was deterred by the series of five (or so) locks on it.  Or, as will become evident, more likely because I was distracted by them.  The mind of a writer is often distracted.  And easily.  All it takes is a strange crack, an overheard snippet of a conversation, a kid trying to do a cartwheel, or a shed with a series of five (or so) locks on it.  And we’re off.  A story starts to form, wrap itself around our brains, develop in the rarely-found empty creases of our minds.

In this case, it was a story about a man who lived in a very safe neighborhood, but still had five locks on his door.  I don’t recall what the man’s name was, but he was old with glasses and a cane, little hair and a cat.  And this is the point of everything.  The cat.  I had good plans for him being a certain color, but he insisted on being solid white.  The most interesting thing about the cat, in my mind, was that its name was Mister.  The old man called the cat Mister because he got a great kick out of taking his cat for walks on a harness and yelling “Hey, Mister!” at the cat and seeing all the men around turn to look at him.

And, that’s as far as the story ever went. It never made it onto paper, not any part of it.  That’s very frequent.  I have hundreds of story ideas or snippets or thoughts and only a fraction of them make it out of my mind.  Mister and the old man with the five (or more) locks on his door never got more of a story than that.

But here’s the kicker.  I download books on my iPod to listen to when I run (because I hate running, but love books).  So, I’m jogging along the other day, listening to the beginning of a Dresden Files book and lo and behold, Harry Dresden has a cat named Mister!  I almost laughed out loud when I heard it.  I would have if I had any breath for laughing.  And I had to think to myself, maybe I’m not published.  Maybe I’m not known.  And maybe I never will be.  But Jim Butcher is published, he’s known, and if nothing else, I happened to have one brilliant idea in common with him!

~ S.D. Bullard

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~ by sdbullard on September 23, 2014.

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