Well I know St. Nicholas hasn’t published since 1941 – the year in which Virginia Woolf filled her pockets and pants and jacket with copies of the magazine that she grew up with and then stepped into the river to drown forever as well as the year that James Joyce slammed a copy of St Nicholas onto the kitchen table, stood up on it and did an Irish jig (a gangly spider-dance version) only to fall off and onto his very last gasp of a good-bye.  I know that much history but I also know the future must be infused with optimism. I’m editing a new St. Nicholas Magazine which will go beyond the death of modernism and turn words into wonder once again for children of all ages. Even 83-year old children will laugh their toothless smiles (smile their toothless laughs?) and happiness will be on the agenda of childhood once again. 

  I’ve been writing this blog where I’ve claimed to be somebody different everyday in order to take stabs at articles that might appear in the new St. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls. I hope to be the new editor. I’m trying to find the old editors and ask them. Action breeds confidence, n’est pas?

  If you have any suggestions of articles you’d like to see please contact me at your latest inconvenience. 

  Today’s story is not for children.

 

Enamored of Idiots

 

     After work, Roswell walked his usually three blocks to the bus. His ears were ringing with the words: idiot, idiot, idiot. His students – ten Koreans in their 20’s – had just learned the word and were using it gratuitously, pronouncing it “I-DE-OAT”. They were studying marketing so Roswell didn’t feel it was his job to correct their pronunciation of that word. He hoped they would get sick of it soon.

     Half a block before the bus-stop Roswell noticed a cairn piled high in the middle of a vacant lot held behind a metal fence. Across the street was the new Woodward’s development that was piling up in perfectly square blocks. Next to this, the cairn seemed like an omen of a memory.  It hadn’t been there in the morning.

    A haggard woman in early old-age approached Roswell and he decided that instead of saying no to a request for change, he’d hot foot it to the bus. The woman, however, was fast.

    “Could you get my wallet? It’s over the fence,” she said and pointed to a black something next to the cairn.

     Roswell gestured to the fence with an upturned hand by way of apology.

     “You’re a climber. You could climb over that fence no problemo.”

      She was right. Roswell loved to climb anything from trees to climbing walls to rock faces. He looked at his shoes and then at the fence. He nodded a yes.

     “Thank-you. Thank-you so much,” she said in a shrill voice. Her lips were held back in a permanent, open grin but her eyes radiated worry. “Everything I have is in there.”

    He climbed the fence and jumped over to the other side with no difficulties. He took a couple steps towards the wallet but when he knelt down he saw that it was nothing but a dead crow. A baby crow. 

    “That’s not my wallet,” the woman yelled and he turned to see her standing right behind him. At what point did this normal commute turn strange, Roswell wondered to himself.

    “But you tried and for that I’m going to reward you with a prediction for your evening. If you make someone laugh today you’ll make them happy if you don’t you’re gonna die.”  

 

               [TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW]

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