The One Story

The One Story

A Story by Minyonka

There is One Story of humanity, and all other media simply add to this one story. This is my contribution. Based upon the assertions made in How To Read Literature Like A Professor.


Spindly, pale fingers ran through messy black hair as a frustrated sigh came from the owner. The pen in his hand tapped impatiently against the notebook before him. Seconds ticked by on that old clock his mother had insisted upon keeping, despite how stress-inducing each tick was. The tapping pen wasn't much help and he quickly stopped it, only to begin bouncing his knee in the same rhythm. A piece of eraser was flicked into his notebook and he looked up at his companion.


"You mind?" he asked irritably.


"What are you getting so worked up about, Jim?"


Jim stared at his red-haired partner for his latest English assignment with an expression that could be placed somewhere between annoyance and despair. Why, of all people in his class, did he have to be paired with Ace, the one student who never did any of the work?


"This assignment is due tomorrow."


"So? Dude, it's one story. How hard could it be?"


"Pretty hard if you don't have any inspiration."


"Well," Ace began, "why not just make hints at other stuff?"


"You mean allusions?"


"Don't pull out a vocabulary lesson on me, Jim." The darker-haired young man shook his head slowly and took a deep breath. Just a couple hours, he told himself, and then this would be all over and done with.


"Alright, what do you suggest?" Jim asked.


"Use music. Like, take parts of the lyrics and work a story around that. Or just hint at a couple of artists."


"Why would I just throw artists names around? Besides, what would be the plot?"


"Who needs a plot? Just put some words on paper and see where it goes."


"We're not using music."


"Hey, people are going gaga for Gaga."


"No," Jim answered firmly, earning a shrug from Ace.


"Fine. Your loss. So, what are you going to write it about?"


"I have no idea."


"Then why not take my idea?" Ace asked, leaning back in his chair. Jim's mom would kill him if she saw it. "A bad idea is better than nothing."


"Where does that logic come from?"


"Think about it, man. If you turn in an assignment and get a C, isn't it better than turning in nothing and getting a zero?"


"Then why didn't you do your work in class last year?"


"I did it, I just didn't try very hard. So, I got C's and D's, maybe a fifty-something, but I never got a zero."


Jim stared incredulously at the lanky teen sitting diagonally from him at his kitchen table. If he put so much thought into not failing, why didn't he put any effort into excelling? Silence filled the room as Jim once again returned to the blank paper that taunted him relentlessly. Ace had procured a rubber ball seemingly from nowhere and was tossing it into the air, catching it with almost effortlessly. It was Jim who broke the silence.


"Are you even trying to think of an idea for this story?" he asked. Ace's attention never left the green ball he was tossing and catching repeatedly.


"How about a coming-of-age that takes place on the Mississippi River."


"Huck Finn?"


"I would've given the kid a cooler name, but sure, whatever."


"I mean The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." Ace caught the ball and grinned at his partner.


"You already got a title? Sweet!"


"I'm talking about the book we read last year," Jim answered.


"So, it's already taken?"


"Uh, yeah."


"By who?" Ace asked in all seriousness.


"Mark Twain. Seriously, man, weren't you paying any attention in class last year? How did you pass?"


"Why do you think I sat behind you?" Ace retorted and Jim could only gape at him.


"You can't seriously tell me that you cheated off me the entire semester."


"You can't seriously tell me that you didn't notice." Jim shook his head again, sighing through gritted teeth. Just think of an idea and be done with it, he repeated in his mind.


"Let's just try to think of another idea, one that doesn't come from something else."


"Alright. A family of Baptists goes to the Congo as missionaries?"


"The Poisonwood Bible."


"A girl goes into an all-guy's school to-"


"'She's the Man'," Jim said before Ace could finish.


"How about a kid who wants to find this great treasure and become King of the Pirates. He ate this weird fruit that gives him the ability to stretch any part of his body and he uses that to his advantage in fights. Along the way, he assembles an awesome crew of some of the finest people in their fields: navigator, sniper, doctor, cook, all that good stuff. And then just have the story go through his adventures," Ace suggested, his patience clearly wearing thin. This brought stunned silence from Jim for a moment.


"That actually sounds like a really good idea, but it'd be too long to write and turn in tomorrow."


"Good, because I took that whole thing from a manga I've been reading."


"A what?"


"Japanese comic book. So, you got any bright ideas, Einstein?"


"Not really. I have one idea, but it's kind of a last-ditch effort."


"Great! Let's hear it."


"I was just going to write a story about some girl who spends her time writing stories, maybe throw in a couple of loose ideas for what she could be working on." Ace stared at him for a moment.


"That's your idea?" he asked skeptically.


"Like you said, it's better than nothing."


"Yeah, but… Dude, that's lame."


"Well, it's not like we have anything better," Jim answered defensively.


"We can at least spice this up a little. Like, let's make it about a girl raised by pirates."


"What's with you and this pirate kick?"


"What can I say? I like adventure," Ace answered with a shrug. "So, how 'bout it?"


"A girl raised by pirates," Jim repeated thoughtfully, working the idea over in his mind. "It could be her diary or something."


"Sure. And let's make it when she's about twenty. That way, we can throw in some of the battles she was in as a teenager."


"What should we name her?"


"It's gotta sound old-timey."


"Elizabeth?" Jim suggested, but Ace shook his head.


"Nah. Too common. Catherine?"


"Sounds good to me. Who should be her favorite crew member?"


And so the conversation continued, with Ace and Jim throwing ideas back and forth for a single journal entry of a young woman by the name of Catherine Balding, raised by the infamous Pearly Morgan pirates from the tender age of ten. Jim began scrawling notes on the young woman's life, his page quickly filled with details that made Catherine who she was. When it finally came time to write the young woman's journal entry, two hours had passed without acknowledgment from either Ace or Jim. As the black-haired teen began writing in Catherine's diary, a piece of eraser was flicked onto his paper.


"Can I write some?" Ace asked, earning a slightly perplexed gaze from Jim. "After all, this is a group project." Jim smiled and slid the notebook diagonally to rest in front of his partner.


"Hey, Catherine was your creation. Only natural that you have a hand in writing her story," he answered as Ace picked up his pen and began writing. Jim glanced at the paper with a frown. "No 'dear diary'?"


Ace glanced up and smirked. "What kind of tough pirate chick is going to start anything with 'dear diary'?"


"Good point. Write away." There was a moment of silence between the two, where Ace didn't scribe the words of the character they'd created together and Jim wondered why there was pause.


"Thanks, Jim." The young man being addressed scrunched his eyebrows in confusion. What was Ace thanking him for? Letting him write? It wasn't that big a deal, now that he knew Ace wouldn't sabotage the project. Rather than try to decipher it, he simply grinned and flicked a piece of eraser onto the notebook.


"No problem, Ace."

© 2011 Minyonka

Author's Note

Please let me know what you thought of the story. And if you recognized any literary devices, please, feel free to point them out. I tried to incorporate some subtle ones along with the obvious.

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Added on June 13, 2011
Last Updated on June 13, 2011



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