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A Spark of Inspiration

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Fresh out of college, Lance Gusta was thrilled when he received a job at an online art company called “Art is Muny.” It’s an art company owned by a man named Mr. Muny. Mr. Muny saw one of Lance’s cartoons called, “When Dolphins Fly” and fell in love with it. Lance’s cartoon was posted on the website for public downloading and it became a hit. Lance’s job started getting much more work filled and stress filled as his cartoon was becoming more and more famous. Mr. Muny kept giving deadlines to Lance to draw his cartoons by. This stressed Lance out a lot, but Lance loved what he did so much that he just kept making more and more cartoons. His life became making the cartoons for Mr. Muny. He stopped answering his cell phone and talking to his friends because of the amount of work he had to do. He only checked emails from his boss Mr. Muny.

After a year of making cartoons for Mr. Muny, Lance’s cartoons were the most downloaded on the “Art is Muny” website. One day Lance received an email from Mr. Muny. Mr. Muny wanted to have Lance make a huge cartoon for being with the company for a year to put on the website. Mr. Muny wanted Lance to make the finale to his cartoon so Lance could start making different cartoons for the company. Lance had an idea of what he wanted to do for the finale. He wanted to have his main character Larry the Dolphin finally conquer the evil Hugo Stingray. Larry is a magic dolphin who can fly as well as swim. He is always trying to stop the evil Hugo Stingray who is a 200 foot-long stingray that can also fly, swim and breath lightning. Lance wanted to make the finale really epic so he started looking around the art studio in his basement of his apartment that he had set up. He needed an idea for the new evil minion he wanted to give Hugo Stingray for Larry to fight before Larry would fight Hugo himself. Lance took a glance at all the posters he had up in his studio. He saw posters of some of Banksy’s work that he had put up when he first put together the art studio. He also saw some cartoons that he taped up on the wall from the newspaper that he thought would give him some ideas. Lance was just not getting any inspiration to do his work. He decided he was going to take a nap and get back to work later. When he went to take the nap it was twelve noon. Lance woke up to the sound of his cell phone going off. He looked at the number calling him. Lance did not recognize the number but he decided to pick it up anyway. Lance picked up the phone and answered it. “Hello,” Lance said in a half-awake voice.

“Hello Lance!” said the voice on the other end of the phone. Lance recognized the voice. It was Mr. Muny. Lance instantly cleared his throat and then responded.

“Hello Mr. Muny, how are you?” He said in a more awake voice.

“I’m fine Lance,” said Mr. Muny, “I’m just calling to check up on your finale cartoon for ‘When Dolphins Fly.’ How is it coming along?”

“It’s getting there, I’m almost finished.” Lance lied.

“Oh splendid! I’m going to need it earlier than the first deadline I gave you Lance. I’m going to need it by tomorrow morning at nine. Is that all right Lance?”

“Yes that’s fine Mr. Muny. I’ll have it done by then. Thank you for calling!” Lance said as he hung up the phone. Lance looked at the small digital clock he had put on the table in the corner and saw that it was already two o’clock in the afternoon. Then he noticed something under the clock. It was his sketchbook from high school when he first started making the “When Dolphins Fly” cartoon. He took it over to his desk where he did most of his drawing and started looking through it. As he was looking through he thought, “Wow these sketches are pretty good!” As he thought that, the pages in the book started turning extremely fast and a cold wind started stirring through the studio. All of Lance’s notebooks and art supplies were blowing everywhere. Water started filling the room from everywhere. Lance had no idea what was happening and he was scared. Lance’s whole art studio was becoming submerged in the water. Lance took his last breath and started swimming toward the small window in the top corner of his basement wall. He grabbed a knife that he used to sharpen his pencils that had sank to the floor and bashed open the window. He dropped the knife and started swimming out the window. When he was out of the studio, there was just more and more water. Lance started swimming towards where he thought there would be air. He kept swimming and swimming but he was just too deep underwater. He was losing his breath and decided to give up. What a weird way to die Lance thought. Suddenly Lance saw a dark figure swimming toward him but he blacked-out before he made out what it was.

When Lance awoke, he was on something warm. He picked it up with his hands. It was beach sand. Lance opened his eyes and saw that he was sitting on a cartoon looking beach, one that he recognized. He looked towards his right and saw what appeared to be a dolphin standing on its tail like they were legs. He recognized the dolphin. “Hey I drew you!” Lance shouted. “You’re Larry the Dolphin!” The Dolphin turned around.

“Are you Lance Gusta?” asked Larry. Lance nodded. “Then yes you are my creator.” Lance noticed that Larry did not look like the Larry in the cartoons that were posted online. This Larry, Lance thought, must be the sketch of him that Lance drew in high school. “In the corner over there it says, ‘By: Lance Gusta.’” said Larry.

“Oh yes it does!” Lance said as he looked at his high school handwriting in the corner of the beach. “Larry, where am I?” asked Lance.

“You are in Ocean Town” said Larry. Lance remembered that Ocean Town was what he first called the cartoon in high school.

“How did I get here and how do I get out? asked Lance.

“I don’t know.” said Larry, “you drew it, maybe you can draw yourself out.” Lance instantly reached into his pocket to grab a pencil. What he pulled out was a broken pencil in three parts.

“Do you have any tape and something to sharpen a pencil with?” asked Lance.

“Yeah back at my house, but it is overtaken by Hugo Stingray’s evil minions the Mega Manta Rays” said Larry. Lance remembered that Mega Manta Rays were little rays that spit out electric bolts to hurt people. Lance had never used them in one of the comics for Mr. Muny.

“Do you think we could sneak in a window or something and just grab the tape and knife and get out?” suggested Lance.

“We could try.” said Larry.

Lance went up onto Larry’s back and they flew toward Larry’s house. Larry flew up to a window on the small shack-looking house and Lance stealthily went through the window. He tip-toed through the house, avoiding the Mega Manta Rays and not making any noise. He went into Larry’s kitchen and grabbed some cartoon tape and a cartoon knife and was making his way out when he encountered a Mega Manta Ray. It was about to shoot Lance, but Lance punched it squared in the face. Big lettering came out of his fist that read “BAM!” Lance thought it was so cool. He finished off the Mega Manta Ray with a big kick and a big “K.O.!” came out of his foot. Lance then snuck out of the house on Larry’s back and they went back to the beach where they first met. Lance taped up the pencil and sharpened it. He drew a door and wrote the words: Lance’s House on the door. He gave Larry a big hug. “Goodbye Larry!” Lance said to Larry.

“Goodbye!” said Larry. Lance opened the door and went back into his little art studio. As soon as he shut the door, it disappeared. He went and sat down at his desk to finish up his cartoon that was due in seven hours. At least now he had an idea for the evil minion he would give to Hugo Stingray. As he was leaving his house to go to work the next morning, he looked in the small mirror near the door to go outside and saw how long his hair had grown, the bags under his eyes and the small dark beard that was new to his face and thought, “I need to take a break from reality more often!” and then was on his way.

Lance’s finale cartoon was a huge success, and Mr. Muny loved the new Mega Manta Rays that Lance had added to the last cartoon. Lance now writes plenty of different cartoons, and always looks back on why he started making the cartoons in the first place to get his ideas.





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