Back to the Park
One time, a young boy named Ned enjoyed going to the park to see his grandfather, Mr. Wise. Ned was happy; he had not played a chess game with Mr. Wise in quite some time… 6 days. During the last game, Mr. Wise and Ned displayed complicated exchanges on the chess board. Mr. Wise won.
The two set up the pieces and Ned moved first. “Grandpa,” asked Ned, “What was your house like when you were 12?” “Things were much different back then,” said Mr. Wise, “I shared a room with my sister for a while, then we moved into a three-bedroom house before I went to work for the electric company.”
“What did you do for the electric company?” asked Ned; the two began to exchange chess pieces during the early parts of the game. “I helped them run electricity lines all over the state,” said Mr. Wise. “Wow,” said Ned. Ned was commonly impressed with his grandfather. “Were they the lines like we see high up in the air on the sides of the road today?” asked Ned. “Yes,” said his grandfather trying to decide where to move. He had a bishop under attack by a rook.
“These days things are different from how they used to be, in regards to electrical wires,” said Mr. Wise. “How so?” asked Ned. “Well,” said Mr. Wise, “A long time ago the wires were just thick enough to work; were not made with newer alloys; and they most certainly could not withstand the storms that the newer lines can.” “Are the kinds you used still used?” asked Ned. “That is good question,” said Mr. Wise. Both chess players were trying to plot and arrange their pieces defensively to organize a checkmate.
“To answer you adequately,” said Mr. Wise, he was impressed with the current display of the chess board and his grandson’s use of it, “The older lines we ran are still up and working fine in places without devastating or even mildly dangerous weather. When bad weather came over the years, electric companies installed the newer, more durable lines. “Wow,” said Ned, thinking about his pieces and how they were arranged on the chess board. The two continued to exchange pieces without wasting too much time in contemplation.
“You said you moved from one house to another one?” asked Ned. “It was not too big of a deal,” said Mr. Wise, “Our first house was very small. It had a bathroom, a kitchen, and two bedrooms. As my little sister grew older, my mom and dad thought she needed her own room. My father was a plumber. He did a good enough job for a whole year, one time, and we got a good deal on a small 3-bedroom house that actually had an air conditioner.” “The other house did not have one?” asked Ned. “No,” said Mr. Wise. “What did your mom do for work?” asked Ned. “Most women those days stayed at home. She was a nurse’s assistant, however. ‘Dirty jobs pay,’ she used to say,” said Mr. Wise. Ned somehow felt his grandfather. Mr. Wise was a hardworking man for most of his life, even after retiring. He edited/published a hunting periodical.
Ned won the chess game; his mother would be there soon. “Nice game,” said Ned. “Sure, sure,” said Mr. Wise, “I almost had you toward the end.” “I thought I saw what you were up to,” said Ned, “I moved my queen and the knight without too much thought of what you were going to do with your pieces.”
“So, what do you want to do when you grow up?” asked Ned’s grandfather. “I want to be a writer,” said Ned, “I have already started my first book about a man sent to slay a large golden-scaled, man-eating dragon. I am pretty sure that I will have to work for the grocery store or a restaurant to go to college, though.” Ned’s mother was pulling up, and his grandfather was putting away the chess pieces. “It is like that old saying…” said Mr. Wise, “‘Do not quite your day job!'” Ned smiled and gave his grandfather a usual hug. His grandfather waved goodbye . Ned and his mother drove away.
2 thoughts on “Back to the Park, Day 11”
Good way to create the setting for an interesting conversation 🙂
Many times, for short stories, a setting is created with fewer words than it otherwise would be for a story in a novel. Though this seems obvious, it is the common goal of many short story authors to indicate a setting for the audience to see in their mind without too much of a description via actual words. Easier said than done, it is possible to do such a thing with success. In the posts I have presented in the past few weeks, techniques for settings I have used have been less sophisticated than devices I use in more developed short stories spanning over 2,500 words. I like the park settings – I can include traffic, family, animals, pedestrians, weather, and chess games. Thank you for your comment. 🙂