Scott the Pretty Great Ventures Out

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

Scott the Pretty Great Ventures Out

If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.” -Henry David Thoreau

(This is a continuation of “Scott the Pretty Great”. That first part can be found –here-, but I doubt that it is required reading.)

Scott whistled to his pet raccoon and the two walked to the other side of the room. Scott turned and walked to the back door. He was pleased to see his creation was following his movements from a distance. It wasn’t every boy that could create a robotic blue robot, let alone one that was so loyal.

Scott again turned to the rest of the warehouse, eager to share his robot with someone. Nothing had changed; all the eight year-olds were still focused solely on their workstations. The arrows on the floor pointed towards the main exit door, least the children should forget their instructions. Scott was feeling rather contrary and he began to exit through the entrance doors. A thrill that can only come through rebellion rushed through him as he continued walking in the opposite direction that the arrows instructed. He wondered what the other children would do and he looked around. Not surprisingly, no one had noticed. The others still toiled to make more car brakes and they had no time to see Scott’s curious act.

Scott waited for his raccoon to catch up. One of the hind legs seemed to be a little bit shorter than the rest, so the robot was forced to compensate. Scott considered going back to the bench and making the needed adjustments, but he couldn’t do it. The idea of turning around and voluntarily sentencing himself to another day of work was more than he could handle. Scott swung the door open, stepped outside, and was quickly joined by the raccoon.

The weather outside was quite pleasant. Climate was one of the great challenges that continued to plague the technological world. They could create perfect children, but they couldn’t guarantee them a perfect day. Most buildings were earthquake and hurricane proof, so structurally and property-wise, the weather and nature was a non-issue. Besides, should snow or rain ever start to fall from the sky, shelters and awnings would protrude over every walkway. Since no one ever veered from the walkways, there was never a need to be more than a foot away from the coverings.

Scott decided that he didn’t want to follow the paved path that was lain out before him. There was a tree that stood tall across from the warehouse. It was accompanied by a small patch of grass that was irresistible to Scott that day. He scooped up the robot in his arms, looked back and forth to see if anyone would stop him, then he ran right for the tree.

Looking up close at the base of the tree, Scott couldn’t help but smile. He put his fingers to the rough bark and felt the bumps and moss push against his hand while his robot pet rolled merrily in the grass. Turning his attention to the top of the tree, Scott marveled at the many branches that shot out. Each branch looked so healthy and alive complete with green leaves that waved to him in the slight breeze.

“Are you going to climb it or just stand there?”

Scott stumbled backward and almost fell on his toy robot. The raccoon saw him falling and skittered off to the side, allowing Scott to fall on the soft grass. He crawled on his hands and knees around the tree and noticed an old man sitting with his back against the bark.

“I didn’t mean to startle you son, but you were frustrating me.”

“What, I, what’re you doing here?”

“They still let a few trees grow here and there”, the elderly man replied. “Somebody’s gotta use them for something other than offsetting all those industrial smokestacks.”

“How do you use a tree?”

The old man sighed. “Son, that may be the most depressing question I’ve ever heard.”

“Sorry”, Scott answered.

“The really depressing part is that I’m not at all surprised that you asked. Guess they don’t think that sort of thing is important enough to program into yer noggin.”

“Actually, I…” Scott started to explain that he didn’t have all the information that other kids did, but he stopped himself. There was a more important topic that he wanted to know about. “Actually I’d appreciate it if you’d explain what you first said.”

“What, about climbing it?” The old man shook his head. “It’s as simple as that son; you grab a limb, pull yourself up, and then keep going as far as you’d like.”

“Then what happens?”

“There’s only way one to find out.” The old man punctuated his point by taking his bony finger and pointing it up the tree. “There’s no better way to do it than to just do it.”

Scott looked back up at the tree. It certainly seemed possible. The branches were close enough together, they all seemed healthy, and there was no one openly discouraging him from trying this activity. Scott looked back at the man who only jerked his head upwards impatiently.

Scott turned to his robot raccoon. The sun through the branches was giving him a new appearance. The parts of the metal and plastic that weren’t shaded by the leaves were reflecting the sun and showing each little screw and splash of paint that Scott had so joyfully added. The last time he had done something just for fun, it had turned out quite well. Why not?

Scott reached his hands above his head, the branch only just out of reach. He jumped, grabbed as firmly as he could, and felt his legs swinging slightly. With the few muscles he had, he managed to pull himself upwards while his feet made contact with the trunk. Half walking, half pulling his body up the tree, Scott felt exhilaration rushing up his body. No one had ever told him how much fun the outdoors could be. He climbed higher and higher until he couldn’t even see the ground through the leaves.

Scott stopped two-thirds up the tree and finally looked out at the world around him. The buildings were ordinary and depressing, but there was so much more to see. The crowds moved in a flow around the streets, cars zoomed to intersections then slammed on their brakes at the last minute. Beyond that, past all the ordinary, was a horizon Scott had only glimpsed before. Past the city, past the everyday business, was a sun shining on mountains and lakes. Scott had explored the outdoors before, but never in this kind of panoramic setting. For he didn’t know how long, Scott simply sat and took it all in.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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