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David Goldin
February 2008
Gerald the Line
posted:
The kid wandered into the room where the sketch book lay upon on a desk.
The blank pages were tempting, and the kid picked up a pen and scribbled his drawing over one page and across the next. Moments later, the pen was dropped and the kid ran off, never giving the picture another thought.
And that is how Gerald came to be.

A hideously deformed, top heavy scrawl of a shape. He appeared to have multiple protuberances, a hernia or two, and fistulas covering what you might call a body. He was horrible. He couldn’t stand to look at himself.
Over time, with great effort, he was able to unscrawl himself for long moments.
He could even look quite charming.... but the second he relaxed, even a little,...
 back he would go to his natural hideous shape. Unhappy with his position in life Gerald grumbled and cursed, never putting aside his frustration to look within and perhaps see things differently.
This onerous existance caused him to be in quite a sour mood, he was always angry, sulky and mean. The one thing which gave him a remote feeling of happiness was to tease Sneb. Sneb was the scribble on the opposite page, and it gave Gerald a perverted sense of pleasure to constantly remind Sneb that he was even more twisted and grotesque than himself.
Sneb never seemed to mind. He had no one else to talk to, after all, and being tangled was actually quite comfortable to him. Sneb would tell Gerald of his dreams each morning, but Gerald would interrupt him mid-sentence.... “I’m sorry, were you saying something?”

"Look at yourself, you're pathetic!" Gerald would snap, as Sneb was trying to think of a word that rhymed with Orange.

Sneb enjoyed multiplying by thirds and hyphenating quadrants, which made no sense and drove Gerald insane.
There was a rumor circulating among the pages of the sketchbook.... the artist who spent his days filling it’s pages was going to disassemble the book! None of the drawings knew what this was going to mean.
The rumor turned out to be true. The day came, and each page was carefully separated from the others, placed in a frame, and hung on the wall.
All except Gerald and Sneb.

"Why didn't they hang us up?", wondered Sneb.
" It's your fault! " Gerald hissed. " If I hadn't been next to such an ugly waste of ink I'll bet they would've hung me up too ".  Crushed by such harsh words, Sneb tried to worm himself as far away from Gerald as he could. He slipped off the edge of the desk and  onto the floor, out of sight.
Gerald arched and stretched, trying to make himself look more appealing. One of the pictures on the wall noticed, and yelled to the others, “Hey, look at that freak, he thinks he could be one of us”. Gerald scrunched up to escape the sound of their cruel laughter.
After spending a cold, lonely night without anyone to talk to, Gerald began to miss Sneb. He started to think of how mean he had been, so cruel to his only companion. He began to realize he might never see his friend again.
Suddenly, he was flying through the air, he was going to be on display after all! He was taped upon the wall in the back of the gallery. " Hey handsome", came a voice from the paper on the wall next to him. It was Sneb!  For the first time in his life Gerald felt pure joy!  And in just above a whisper he said, " I'm sorry ".
 He saw how Sneb was a true friend and was never mean to him ever again. Except when Sneb sang show tunes.
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Goldin is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!