Scarecrow This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

June 23, 2011
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1- People Person

People called Arthur “the scarecrow”. He didn’t really care because half the time he was too busy staring out a window to notice. When he was little his parents had been very worried, taking him to fancy doctors they couldn’t afford, writing letters with so many stamps they would never arrive. There was really nothing wrong with Arthur, he just didn’t like people. It had come to his attention that he too was a person, but Arthur knew that there was an enormous difference between people, and a person. People were crowds, followers, cookies. A person was one unit, not a silly plural word. Arthur found this very sensible. When he turned 25 years old Arthur went to live in the city. He did this because people never noticed a person, only many of them grouped together.

Arthur lived right above a pizza parlor, a quaint little place, with checkered table clothes and a waitress who chewed gum like it was her only life source. There were 5 small tables, each adorned with plastic silverware, and metal ashtrays that had gum stuck in them instead of cigarettes. The walls were painted bright yellow, and on one of the walls hung a clock that flashed blue at night. There was a small kitchen where Ken, the chef, cooked, and where Hanna the waitress washed the dishes. Arthur liked Hanna quite a bit, with her day glow hair and fake eye lashes. She talked so much that he began to wonder if she was reversed, if when she had nothing to say she talked, and if she did kept silent. If so she was a very shy person. Ken’s real name was Chen, and he had a great big jolly beard on his face. He never washed his hands, and had a tendency to get over excited when customers arrived. Arthur lived in a 3 room apartment, with a bedroom, living room, and huge storage room that contained a bathroom, washing machine, dryer, and all kitchen necessities. He liked it, the rent was low, and he didn’t have to be around many people. It was perfect.

2-Hanna and all her ideas

Hanna believed that the more swears you uttered in your life time, the uglier you became. To hide the fact that her favorite word had started with an F back in high school she covered her face with peach colored paste, and had a huge collection of fake eyelashes. Hanna had grown up in the city, in an all girl’s catholic boarding school. It hadn’t done much to reform her, though had tried in vain. From 10 to 17 Hanna had been sure she was going to be a nun, going as far as looking up different convents in Europe. However in her senior year she met Troy, fell in love, dropped out, ditched him a week later for Mark Antoine, with the sexy accent, and moved into an apartment a block away from the pizza parlor. Now 21 she and Mark Antoine lived happily, though she was planning to end the relationship soon.

Hanna had chosen the pizza parlor because she had gone there when she was little on weekends. The nuns would take them all lined up like ducklings, in matching blue coats with silver buttons, and they would be allowed to eat one piece each. Back then Ken had been a bus boy, a lanky teenager who always tried to get the nuns to talk to him. After 5 years Ken hadn’t remembered her when she showed up asking for a job, but he had given one to her right away. Hanna worked a 7 hour afternoon shift, and then went home to her apartment where Mark Antoine greeted her with a warm macaroni casserole.

Hanna knew Arthur, if knew meant remembering his order and the fact that he lived upstairs. They had had a few conversations, and Hanna had learned what being a person really meant. She found him pleasant; whenever he ordered his cheese and mushroom pizza he stared straight ahead and took small, square bites. He wasn’t like the other men who came in, ready to wink at her when they asked for sausage on their pizza, or kept demanding refills, then her cell phone number. He didn’t bother her, and that’s why she liked him.

3-Who Ken was

When people saw Ken they assumed. At first he didn’t mind, he almost understood. He looked Chinese, and his name was Chen. But nobody ever asked him who he was, or if he was American. The last straw had been in Chinatown. One of his friends had taken him to a restaurant, promising him that Chinese food was excellent, and a real part of this country. Seated at a table in the middle of the restaurant the waiter had started to talk to Ken in Chinese. He stared, dumbfound, as the man talked to him a mile a minute in a language he barely knew. Ken tried to respond in English, but the man gave him a glare. Chen Smith was born in the middle of Minnesota, to a father with Chinese ancestors, and an all American mother. His parents had given him that name because of the jaundice he had had at birth. They found it hilarious. They were extremely racist people, and as soon as he had reached 16, Chen had run away to New York. Once there he changed his name to Ken, and was hired at a small pizza parlor on the bottom floor of a brick building. Nearly 20 years later he hired Hanna, who proved to be humorous addition to the small team of pizza employees, which had previously been only him and the late owner, who had given him the shop.

Chen had thought his dream was fulfilled when the parlor had opened, but now he had barely enough money to pay, and was sinking into the pit of once had a dream. It wasn’t a pleasant place to be. Yet every morning Chen made pizzas, and every day at least two managed to get purchased. He was trying to get by, and so far, it was working. People often asked him where he had learned to make pizzas, and he told them in Minnesota. That shut them up. It also got him some pretty strange looks. They called him the Asian Italian. He didn’t find it funny.

4-When it began

The hour it began Arthur was reading a paperback book and procrastinating. He would have to find a job soon. Hanna was throwing Mark Antoine’s luggage into the street after he ended it, and Chen was inspecting a bell pepper he was almost positive was moldy. The hour it began the sun was about to set, and the clouds breathed easily over the city. And then the sky caught its breath, something was coming. Something was beginning. The birds had often whispered, but they were shallow creatures, gossiping nonstop. The sky hiccuped, and all of a sudden it was filled with… with… with… nothing. There was nothing in the sky; it was a big piece of paper, white, creamy, yet tan and off. No color, no golden hue of dusk, there was no day or night, just a bright white light that reflected off the pavement. People wandered out of their houses to stare at the white sky, felt as though they were drowning in down. Arthur, with his thin burlap curtains closed, didn’t see anything. Hanna rushed into Mark Antoine’s arms then realized what she was doing and pushed him away, still glaring, yet now at the sky instead of him. Ken was wondering if the streetlights were a bit off, but was so into his inspection that he didn’t really notice anything until he threw the pepper into the trash can. When he noticed all the commotion outside, and the white sky he muttered “Save us all,” and proceeded to lock himself into the pantry, leaving the key tightly borrowed in his fist.
5-Commotion is a Human Trait

In the streets people cried out to the lord and whipped out sunglasses to stare at this large canvas. They were on their knees, cars, benches, any place they could. More and more were pouring out of brownstones, buildings, everywhere. Arthur just sat there, rocking in his splintery chair, reading a novel he knew would have to go back to the library at one point. If he noticed anything unusual he didn’t particularly care, and had no wish to go join all the people. Hanna sat crisscross apple sauce on the ground, when a terrifying idea hit her. Arthur- he was going to be terrified petrified when he saw all the people. And poor Arthur, the sky, the sky was no longer a person, it was people.

And what about Ken, he was well on his way to 45, and didn’t do well when faced with a surprise. She had found this out on his 40th birthday when she jumped out of a closet and yelled “HAPPY BIRTHDAY”, while he dropped the pizza he was carrying and the whole entire raw mass splattered at their feet, spraying them with bits of cheese and tomatoes as it went. It hadn’t been a very pleasant sight. Hanna got up, grabbed her faux ‘gator hand bag, and swung it violently as she raced towards the pizza parlor. She barged through the door, bells tinkling overhead then splintering as the impact smashed them together.

“Ken, she cried, “are you okay, are you well, are you surprised?”

“ MMphmmm,” was all she heard.

“Well don’t stay in there too long; come out when you’re ready.”



Hanna lumbered up the rickety stair well to Arthur’s apartment.

“Arthur, open the door, it’s Hanna from the parlor.”

She heard a squeak, a groan, a shuffling of a paper, of feet, and then the door was opened.

“Oh Arthur, have you seen?”

Arthur stared at her with sleepy eyes nestled in tired crevasses.

“What are you talking about Hanna?”

“The sky is white Arthur, the while entire thing is WHITE. Aren’t you scared Arthur, aren’t you?”

“Hanna are you okay, have you lost your mind?”

Hanna pushed past him and threw back the curtains, revealing an intense bright white light, coming from a totally erased sky. Arthur ran over and touched the window pane.
“It’s blank Arthur, TOTALLY BLANK,” Hanna cried

Arthur didn’t say anything for a second, then whispered, “Then we’ll have to fill it Hanna, we’ll have to fill it.”

Hanna stared at him, “Now you are out of your mind, how are we supposed to do that?” she cried indignantly.

Arthur leaned in to her shoulder and whispered a few words; she stared at him, and then slowly walked out of the apartment. Arthur watched her go, and when he couldn’t see her anymore went into his miscellaneous room, where he took a tarp off of a few cans of paint. He chose one with a navy band on the steel bucket, and lugged it down the stairs into the pizza parlor.

“Ken, where are you? I need your help.”

Arthur heard a thump coming from the pantry cupboard and pulled at one of the doors until the slightly rotted wood came loose. Ken was hunched with the bags of flour, a look of utmost disbelieve on his trembling face.

“Come on Ken, we’re gonna fix it. Come on,” Arthur said. Ken slowly got up, and trailed after Arthur as he walked into the street and waited for Hanna.
6-Repair isn’t easy when it’s thousands of feet high.

Hanna came back holding a ladder to her side, a long and stocky red one with two people behind her supporting it as well. It had black rubber steps, and was at least 10 feet high. She set it up right outside of the pizza parlor, and handed Arthur a paint brush she had been gripping in her teeth.

Slowly, very slowly, Arthur climbed up the ladder, he clutched the can and paint brush in one hand, and in the other nothing, a fist that trembled slightly, his only sign of insecurity. When Arthur reached the top he set down the can, and gently peeled back the lid, revealing a swirled mix of placid navy blue paint. He stuck the paint brush into the paint and brought it back up, now dripping with paint, to the sky. People were beginning to circle around now, forming a tight arc around the ladder. They whispered, but now, not calling him a scarecrow, but a weirdo, nut case, freak. Arthur didn’t hear them, didn’t want to, didn’t feel like it. He touched the brush to the sky, and in scrawny cursive printed the word SCARECROW on the sky. On another part he stretched and painted freak, then stranger, then ‘not a people person’.

Arthur filled the sky with words, some good, others bad, all truthful. By the time he was done the sky was a navy blue, and other people were reaching up to paint themselves as well. It was now night, and the street lights turned on, people scurried back to their houses to put their children to bed, and pretend that the canvas was all a dream. Arthur looked around at all the people, and being a person, nearly knocked over the can of paint as he scrambled down the ladder and into the pizza parlor. Hanna walked back to her apartment, and Ken, Ken walked calmly back into the parlor, and began making a pizza.
7- A traditional happy ending that is ridiculous yet perfectly acceptable

The End

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