My very first real memory is of learning that movies and reality were not the same. I was three. Even at that age, I had watched plenty of exciting television and movies. I don’t remember any of it now, but the 1970s was a great time to plop a kid down in front of the television. I’d sit there with my teddy bear shaped bottle and watch as men crashed cars and blew things up and ran and jumped. The world of 1970s television was an interesting place.
This isn’t to say that my parents didn’t take me places. They’d take me to the zoo. Or to the waterfronts. They’d show me the trains. One day they chose to take me on a ferry boat ride. We parked the car on the ferry. Got out and were on a real boat. We went up the stairs to the very top of the boat and looked off the railing as we embarked on our journey.
And then I had an idea. My teddy bear bottle was my favorite thing in the world. My parents knew this. My Dad had picked the bottle up countless times when I dropped it from my stroller. My mom lifted me up past the railing to so that I could see the water and I threw my bottle into the sea below.
“Dad.” I said, “My bottle!” At this point, I fully expected my father to take off his coat and dive into the water to rescue my bottle. But he just looked at the bottle bobbing in the water and then looked at me.
“Go get it!” I said.
“Son, it’s gone. You threw it away.”
“Dive after it!”
“I want my bottle!”
As I watched the bottle disappear, I realized that no, life is not like television.
Words by Jack Cameron
Illustration by Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas
About 15 Minute Stories
It’s good for writers to write every day, but it’s easy for life to get in the way of that. One solution I read about recently was to write a 15 minute piece of short fiction every single day for a month. You may not have time to do NaNoWriMo every month, but if you like writing, you can always find 15 minutes.
So for the month of January, I’ll be writing and posting pieces of very short fiction that I took 15 minutes to write. I’ve asked that my friend, Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas join me by taking 15 minutes to draw an accompanying image for each story. Ossaín is one of the owners of a local zine shop in Tacoma called The Nearsighted Narwhal.