By Mark Russo
This Story Was an Honorable Mention in Our Contest
An orthographic storm of dynamic ink particles created Noun. Noun, in turn, initiated a sentence with a predicate portfolio driven by the third person singular of the verb “to be.” Although irregular, it endowed Noun with a distinct identity through an array of adjectival modifiers. Then, receiving the masculine appellation of “Dion,” Noun became proper. The predicate grew, and his modifiers increased. Another independent clause was conjoined to compound his sentence, thereby initiating the early stage of Dion’s development.
Dion lived in a town located at the end of a prepositional clause and described by the following adjectives: small, middle class, and comfortable. His identity established, he would often subsequently be recognized as the nominative pronoun “he” or, if the object, “him.” This initial sentence also created a model syntax that would govern future grammatical constructions and facilitate Dion’s development. Such formality secured a life beyond the otherwise conclusive nature of the period that punctuated his first sentence. And, subject to that one last inevitable period encountered by all creations, any intermittent periods would only act as brief hiatuses.
Dion’s parental nouns worked in a forge plant: father-noun as supervisor and mother-noun as bookkeeper. They lived in minimalist style but provided Dion with sufficient punctuation to develop fully.
In the beginning, Dion, cradled in his first paragraph, had no responsibilities beyond eating, sleeping, and observing. He lay passively impacted by sometimes raucous, sometimes colorful, but always glorious parts of speech, e.g., laughter of noun-parents or red, yellow, and blue celestial nouns rotating above, etc. Also, akin to an object, he received stimuli from passive verbs such as the love showered upon him by his mother’s bright brown eyes.
Not all, however, was cozy. At times, alone, wrapped in a nondescript, muted gray, he experienced an indescribable sense of anxiety. But he always rebounded to appear in the next sentence. As sentences grew in length and number, he began to utilize active verbs to engage with the world, which, in turn, created subsequent paragraphs.
Initially, he experimented with intransitive verbs: cry at the top of his lungs, crawl to the ball. Then he developed a knack for transitive verbs: throw the ball against the wall; grab the mobile or call his Maaaa Maaa.
Soon, formative sentences transformed into scenes of adolescence. Paragraphs describing his education flourished. As he became more aware of the mechanical diagrams that determined his life, however, he began, for no apparent grammatical reason, to question the substantive nature of his orthography. He asked himself if there couldn’t be more than groups of letters separated by spatial voids. Nevertheless, although overwhelmed, he shook off such thoughts and did not succumb to depression.
Eventually, Dion became the object in other nouns’ active verb clauses or prepositional phrases. Particular of whom he admitted to his inner circle, he developed a unique voice to parse his relationships: a subdued and charming voice that, set off by quotation marks, always began with a soliloquy and advanced into interactive dialogue. It was, however, this casual, agreeable nature that led to a most challenging and confusing encounter with a female proper noun, Cora, (hereafter often referred to as “she” or “her”).
He was charmed by the adverbial modifiers of her actions: she smiled flirtatiously, gently oscillated her skirt, and profusely exuded the scent of her morning shower. He was obsessed by her sensual adjectives: her flushed cheeks, plump lips. These sensations swelled and overflowed the grammatical limitations of an acceptable paragraph. He followed her in the corridors and sat behind her in study hall. Lost in a jungle of moods, he took shelter in the indicative: the preferred attitude at football games with other nouns of his gender. But, in the end, he failed to escape the Cora-effect. Whenever she passed by, he fell victim to the subjunctive. “If only I could meet her.” Or, he’d create conditional scenarios. “If she’s at the bus stop, I’ll ask her to meet me for a Coke at Johnny’s Grill.”
He decided to take control and, after several paragraphs, he got a date with Cora. He finagled, through a series of actions separated by semicolons, an opportunity to obtain a mobile noun of neuter gender. By transitive use of it, he took Cora to a party at a friend’s house, where the warmth of Cora’s lips made Dion surrender to joyful illiteracy. After that day, the two nouns became one third person plural. Unfortunately, their diagram changed when the high school paragraph ended.
They were accepted to colleges located in states at opposite sides of the country. Adverbial and prepositional phrases were rearranged. Exclamations and listless ellipses filled their days. No longer a plural third person, they had become hyphenated and entered college paragraphs estranged.
Soon communications, once in present progressive tense, slowed to past progressive, and finally ended in the pluperfect, i.e., their love had died. Cora did not return with the flowers. In retaliation, Dion enclosed Cora’s image within parentheses and erased her letters. He redirected his life with paratactic sentences, e.g. he graduated. He became a lawyer. He met Hanna, a nurse.
After a few romantic paragraphs of courtship, Dion and Hanna conjoined. As a result of conscious edits and revisions, they developed a life of easy reading. Nevertheless, Dion continued to struggle with doubt and to find purpose within the context of his sentences. Then in one paragraph, Hanna cured his dyslexia with the announcement of her pregnancy.
A portmanteau, Dianna, was born. Dion had become the proud coauthor of a new story. Modifiers attached to Dianna like butterflies to a flower. Past and future were confused. And as that one last inevitable period encountered by all creations approached, Dion came to understand that he had nothing to fear, that his story would not end. It would be rewritten.