Practice for the character Pip
At Age Eleven
Subject matter: Reprieve
Level one: Abstract
Pip never considered himself an ordinary child, what with not having any parents at all and being raised by two men and a small girl. But, somehow Pip knew that it was his duty to be as plain as possible. The boys and girls who read his story must see themselves as him, and if he tells them that he was beautiful or ugly or very stupid or very smart, most children will not feel like they were the ones traversing through space with a madman and an immortal nanny. Pip never wanted to be the boring shipping box to the colorful talking robot inside, or the unfinished clay to the painted figurine. Yet, Pip knew that no matter how much he thought he wanted to be himself, he wanted to help the children who needed him far more. There were things that were hard to give up, though. Some of them were little, like his love for strawberry pastries or his hatred for the color chartreuse. He knew that he was stubborn, and that he simply chose to be honorable. But, Pip didn’t know everything about himself.
More than he was stubborn, Pip was selfless, and then beyond that he was brave.
And like how there were some children who could see all but the very best of themselves, Pip could only see that he was ordinary when he was already far beyond most of you and I.
Level two: Concrete
The Screaming Mary had too many parts. Pip couldn’t really name the whole lot of them. So when he and Miranda found themselves standing in front of the largest, sleepiest woman they had ever seen asking for a replacement for the whatz-its and the cranky-spinny-whoze-maj-hows Pip knew that it was going to take a lot of explaining they couldn’t afford.
Well, explaining they could afford. If all they had to do was explain then he would just sit back and let Miranda jabber off until the sleepy Zs above the mechanic’s head stuttered all the way back to A.
But this wasn’t a situation they could just explain away, and what Pip really couldn’t afford was losing time. Time he wasn’t even meant to squander away, because it didn’t belong to either Miranda or him. Pip wiped at his eyes and carefully settled Screaming Mary’s scraps on the ground. There wasn’t much left after they had carried her and littered the rest on their way to the hut. It was the first building they could find.
Miranda leapt across the counter and just about pummeled the woman with her fists.
“We need bandages. Lot’s of bandages!”
Pip heaved Miranda back. “We’ll need more than just bandages. We’ll need splints. I think.”
“Splints!” Miranda shrieks. “Splints and a thermometer and gauze, and iodine and… and-“
“Wait!” Pip leans in towards Miranda and whispers “What if iodine kills it?”
“No iodine,” Miranda tells the mechanic.
“What’s going on there?” the mechanic scrambled from her chair and peered at the two children. Fearing the worst, she checked for blood and well what else?
“Did one of you children get hurt?”
“Yes, ” said Miranda.
“No,” said Pip.
“What’s going on? Did you two run over a squirrel?” she nodded towards the crumpled Screaming Mary.
“Yes, I mean no. It’s not really an animal. I think. We ran over-“
“A rock!” Pip blurted.
The mechanic’s face turned dark. She fell back into her chair heavily.
“I’ve no time for silly games. I can fix your bike if you want, but I’m not helping you patch up some make-believe creature.”
“But please!” Pip cried out. “We’ve got to save it!”
The mechanic only snored in response.
At his side, Miranda was growing redder and redder. She had her face scrunched up like when she was about to bite something around her. Finally, she threw her share of the Screaming Mary onto the ground.
“Fine!” She stormed out the door and ran in the direction of the forest.
Pip ran after her.
Far away, in a small ditch at the edge of the road, time was spilling everywhere. He had to get there fast, as fast as he can and pick it all back up. Pip squeezed his eyes shut and imagined the little glassy eyed creature he had never seen before, not even in the Encylopedia. He saw it looking up and shivering in fright. He saw himself bend down and try to piece together its broken parts. He hadn’t said it then, but Pip had promised to save it. There was something he must return before it becomes lost. That will come soon, Pip thought, but right now he had to save it all as best as he could, save every second one by one like pennies in a hollow ceramic bank.
(Note: Need to stop building an image of childhood using what I think childhood is. ie toys, robots, sweets. Need to be more organic. lay off the cheap tricks.)
Note: not nanny, more like a lady? an Old Lady.
Note: Not part of story or plot. Pip came out far more timid than I though he was. Probably as a direct result of proximity with fiery Miranda.
Note: concrete can go another layer. Need more descriptions, less rumination.