What was the very first short story you ever wrote? Don’t recall? You’ve never actually written one? But you might like to, now that you’ve gotten all that other stuff out of the way, like college, marriage, babies, career, travel, military, dieting, reunions, and all that sort of thing. . . ?
Would you believe I wrote my first short story in fifth grade? It was assigned by our teacher. Most everybody in class groaned and moaned like she’d told them that play period AND lunch were being cancelled for a week. But I thought it would be fun. And it was. I borrowed a sheaf of lined paper from my Pop’s desk—didn’t tell him; I figured it was for a good cause—along with some pencils and one of those brand-new ball point pens. (That was back in 1946 not quite a year after World War II ended. They were inventing all kinds of stuff back then.)
I sat on the floor in the basement rec room with my writing equipment spread all around. In addition to the paper, pencils, and pens, I’d brought an eraser, paper clips, some carbon paper, a paper weight (my pop’s chunk of petrified wood he kept on his desk except when I borrowed it), a bottle of ink and one of those old-fashioned pens you dipped into the ink every few words, some rubber bands, an empty three-ring notebook, and maybe some other stuff I’ve forgotten about.
Well, you probably don’t know it, but the Muse has a young son who helps kids like me learn to write. And he just sort of sat down beside me and right off started whispering words into my ear. First came the name: Albright’s Revenge. It started out like this:
Pull hard shouted the master or you will get the whip. The master is a garde that whips you if you don’t pull a big piece of rock that was going to be put on the pyramids of Egypt. Albright is a slave boy who was made to be a slave when his town was raided
Once a month Albright saw his father because his father was working on another pyramid. A group of slaves were chained together and had to pull heavy rock all day through the hot sun.
Albright was happy now because he was going to see his father as he passed in another gang of slaves that were chained up.
Albright had a frend named Sam. Sam was colored and his father and mother were dead. Albrights mother was also dead.
His father gave Albright a file to file his chains loose. That night he told Sam that he would file Sams chains loose to and they would get away and free his father and then get a boat to England.
I have a drawer full of short fiction now, but watch for my memoir, Sleeve an’ Me.