Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Buddy's Buddy

I've always believed that writing is about sharing. And in that spirit, I wanted to give my loyal book readers a little gift - a free short story called Buddy's Buddy, which I wrote when I was 17 in my Creative Writing class at Miami Beach High School. My teacher, Mrs. Ricki Weyhe, liked it so much that she read it outloud in class.  Two years later in a college English class, we had a similar assignment of writing a short story and I revised this one.  My professor Michael Hettich enjoyed the story that he too shared it with the class. (His eyes misted as he reached the end of the story.) It's the kind of story you may want to read to a child before bed or in a park where squirrels run about. Happy holidays and New Year!   

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                Soft puffy white clouds drift north slowly against a bright blue sky. Tall pines shade the earth he stands on. Golden leaves rustle above the moist soil with the cool breezes of fall.  Sun rays penetrate through the branches above, leaving elusive highlights in miniscule strands of grass.
                One of those bright rays of sunlight falls upon a small area of his porcelain-like face, revealing an aura of innocence around him.  His honey-brown eyes and his matching straight hair blend beautifully with Mother Nature’s surroundings.  Buddy, dressed in denim jumpers and old worn out shoes that were once white, stands under one of the towering pines in the woods. Every afternoon, the six-year-old first grader enjoys walking in the forest near his house. This is his way of leaving the world which he feels he is not a part of.
                Today, Buddy is anxious for the clock to hit 2:00 o’clock. He has waited all day for it to move there. Most students wait for the ringing of the bell but Buddy is different. 
             As soon as he sees the clock turn to 2:00, Buddy runs straight to the forest by his house. He likes to sit under one of the shady pines where a path ends.  He enjoys talking to a squirrel that lives in a pine. Buddy stays there each day until sundown.  When the sun sets, the woods become too dark for Buddy to find his way out.
                The sun slowly fades away and the incoming evening breezes grow cool. Buddy gets up, stretches and begins his journey home.
                “I’ll come back tomorrow,’’ he says to himself. “Oh, I can’t wait so I could talk to Murphy the squirrel!”
                The next day, Buddy sits at his desk in school where he gazes at the clock. Finally, the clock hits 2:00 and Buddy sets off for the woods. He runs as fast as he can, passing each of the houses by the pastures.
                At last, Buddy arrives at the beginning of the path at the woods. He starts his walk into the woods and skips down the path. He sings in his mind any words a six-year-old would chant.
                “I am Buddy. Who are you? I am Buddy. How are you?”
                Buddy reaches his destination. At the end of the path stands a large pine that appears to be the size of the Empire State Building to any six-year-old. He stands before it, gazing with his angelic brown eyes .
                “Alright, I’m finally here. Murphy Squirrel, where are you, my little pal?” he says.
                Buddy scoots beside the tree and waits for his friend, Murphy Squirrel. Buddy calls and calls for him but no squirrel is in sight. His hands rest under his frowning face. Then, a small shadow appears.

            “Murphy!” Buddy yells with enthusiasm. Buddy’s smile returns and his sadness disappears. Murphy Squirrel faces him with a grin that reveals little ivory teeth.  Buddy sits with Murphy and enjoys his limited time with him. Buddy brings him a bag of peanuts and almonds. He remembers that Murphy enjoys the taste of the fresh peanuts his mom packs for him in his lunch bag.
                For several hours, they play in the woods. They chase each other and play hide and seek.  After running and enjoying Murphy’s company for some time, Buddy grows tired.  He looks at the sky and notices that it is pitch black.
                “Oh my Gosh! How do I get home? Oh my Gosh!”  says the little boy.
                The only way Buddy would be able to get home was if he had some light. It is too dark for him to see the path which leads near his house.  Murphy Squirrel is unable to help. He has never left his home in the woods.  And that makes Buddy feel really scared. Buddy then walks around with Murphy trying to find his way out but both are unsuccessful.  Buddy then sits on the dirt and cries. His pale white cheeks turn pink and his eyes fill with tears.
                Murphy cheers Buddy up but he still feels lost. As the night cools, Buddy worries more and more. He hears scary howling noises which confuse him. Buddy does not know where they are coming from. In fear, he looks up and sees large white eyes looking back at him.

                “Who are you?” Buddy asks shivering.
                “I am Ollie Owl. Who are you?” asks the owl covered in layers of brown feathers.
                “I am lost and I’m Buddy too.  Can you help me find my way home , Ollie Owl?”

Ollie quickly soars to the sky in hopes of seeing the path. He flies higher and higher and sees a two-story brown wooden house with thick gray smoke pouring out of the chimney. 
Ollie asks Buddy if his house has a chimney and if it is on the outskirts of the woods. Buddy’s eyes widen and his mouth becomes a black hole.
                “Oh Ollie, yeah, that’s my house. Take me home, please."
                 Ollie then grasps Buddy by his shoulders and soars him to heavenly heights.
                “Wow, Ollie. This is beautiful. Hey, there’s my house’’ Buddy says, pointing to the wooden house below.
                Ollie flaps his wings, drops in altitude and swoops down to the front door of Buddy’s house.
                “Thank you Ollie! You’re my new friend,’’ Buddy says, shaking Ollie’s right wing.
                Buddy turns the doorknob and walks in.  He suddenly wakes up in his bed with droplets of sweat all over his face and pillow.
                “Where am I? I want to go back,’’ he says to himself.
                His mom rushes in and hugs and caresses Buddy. In sign language, she asks him what is wrong.
He signs back, “I don’t want to go back to that special school anymore. I want to be with Murphy and Ollie. I could hear with them.”
                After his mom comforts him, Buddy lays himself back to sleep. He still does not want believe it was a dream.
                 “It was real. I could hear Murphy talking to me,’’ he says to himself.

                 But then he realizes that it was a dream since all he could hear were his thoughts and nothing else.
                The following morning, Buddy returns to Springfield’s Safe Haven School for Kids.  In his class, his teacher talks about squirrels and how friendly they look and can be toward humans.  Buddy raises his hand and smiles. He signs to his teacher, “I know. I know!”

               Buddy could always hear Murphy in his thoughts.


  1. Beautiful story Johnny. You have had the talent all along!

  2. Thank you Ed for reading and the nice note :-D

  3. I second uncleed's sentiment. What inspired this when you originally wrote it?

  4. Thanks Terrence! :) The story just came to me and I started putting pen to paper and voila, Buddy's Buddy was born. At the time, I had never been to the woods so I don't know where I summoned that imagery. But I have been lost during my walks in the Blue Hills in Boston in recent years. But no Murphy Squirrel or Ollie Owl to guide me back to the parking lot. :-D

  5. And this, Johnny, is why you're one of my favorites. :)