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Submitted on
May 14, 2014
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“I lost a finger,” Dolph proclaimed in a manner of startling, distant normality to his father, who had just ghosted by him into the kitchen to find something. His father paused like a clogged clock and spun suddenly on a hinge to see and confirm, and Dolph held up his hand to reveal his organic matter’s metallic replacement. “It’s just the pinky one.”

            His father sluggishly pulled up a chair and printed sentences and fragments streamed from the printing compartment on his patchwork-junk face which Dolph had labored so fiercely to build and jumpstart over three years ago. Dolph reached for the receipt paper as it started to curl over and still it came in waves of questions and random echoing thoughts from his father’s scattered processor. The processor was a work in progress still, and one which Dolph was hesitant to change, because unlike a brain it sometimes sputtered with the ability to withdraw background noise. The result was a mildly comprehensible stream, but because his father seemed shocked it resulted in about fifty-eight repetitions of “Rudolph” where it was less-than-called-for and one-hundred exclamation points and question marks combined breaking through straightforward speech. It was a code to each of them, something they both accepted as a component in their relationship, and Dolph had seen worse from his father on a discussion about the dumpsters—now that was a challenge to debug.

            “Slow down,” Dolph ordered, ripping out the piece of paper just as another line of paper emerged. He speed-read the dialogue, which mostly reflected his father’s concerns for his health and questions and assumptions about what had happened. But Dolph saw no need for concern—after all, he’d already rebuilt the piece of him he lost somewhere in the junkyard. He wondered if the junk man was keeping it as a trophy mounted in miniature beside the heads of his hunting efforts, or if he kept it on a keychain, or if he just left it with the junk. Beside him, there was a crackle-rizzzz and Dolph’s head bobbed upward in response to the sound of a paper jam.

            His father pounded the table with one of his fists—one of his flesh bound, pinkish fists—and slammed the other hand into the side of his head in hopes of relieving the jam. Dolph waved his hand away, removed the paper that had been printed, and clicked open the bottom compartment for his father’s paper.

            “You’re out,” he murmured with a listless sigh, finding that the paper roll was empty save for the darkened glue on the cardboard. He shuffled toward the drawer to the left of the fridge, but his father clapped a hand on his shoulder and kept him seated. Simultaneously he shut the paper compartment and stared at his son through the camera lens perched and wired to the left corner of his reflective face. Some of the chrome, as Dolph noticed, was dingy here or there, rusty in other places…it all depended on where he’d gotten the scrap from to compose a head something like what his father once had. Regardless of its appearance, though, it was functional. His father was with him, no less of a companion to him now than he was, and Dolph had always had a way with looking through wires, clips, and bolts to see what he remembered—the basics, the roots of his thought process, the fringes of his memory. He had a mind filled entirely with billions and billions of gears, so it had been said when he was younger. Once that statement implied that he was a technological genius, now he stared hard with eyes crusted at the edges at his father and heard those words in a different emphasis, a different light, a quieter and truer volume.

            His father reached for his hand and held it tenderly. The pinky finger was an exceptional creation of fluid chrome, an enormous improvement from his first project, fully functional but fresh, and the evidence of trauma rippled along the edges of the knuckle—flushed red in splotches and swollen like a puff pastry, like the lower eyelids of someone who had been sobbing.

            “It’s just the pinky finger,” Dolph repeated. But his father kept Dolph’s hand there, flat over his frigid palm. His other hand seemed to struggle with its place—it twitched and neared Dolph’s finger…but backed away as though touching it were a cardinal sin or death sentence. And Dolph added flatly, “I’ll lose more than that in my lifetime.”

            His father’s weighted head swayed back and forth with more effort than it should have taken him. “Your sockets must be rusty,” Dolph concluded. “Your head’s not swiveling like it should.”

            His father’s shoulders fell and Dolph retracted his freshest work from his father’s hand. The paper was replaced and the sockets were oiled like clockwork, like a formula they followed on a calendar—every two weeks on average he needed paper, and every few months he needed a quick fix, an oil, a modification, a new lens... Now in fine form, his father refused to print anything for the rest of the night, which encouraged Dolph to wonder aloud, “Didn’t you have something else to say? Are you out of ink?”

            But his father only sat slouched on a stool by the backyard slider and observed the failing evening star from the veil of his lens, which buzzed as it zoomed in and out and in and paused, and Dolph wondered what he was investigating, but never asked.

            “Well, you shouldn’t slouch,” Dolph reminded him eventually. “It puts too much stress on your neck. The human head is about three pounds but yours is around six-point-five, and if you don’t keep straight the prop in your neck will come loose.”

            And Dolph retreated to bed, or to his workbench, which was usually what bed meant for him. He stared at the reflective beauty of his pinky finger under the lamp and admired the masterful chrome work, the seamless welding, and the functional wonder that was his genius invention. For once he felt a part of his father’s world, the world of those who were unfortunate enough to have something lopped off for a price they couldn’t pay. Dolph applied antibacterial ointment to the puffy edge of his knuckle and praised himself for the way his finger moved with the others. And when he switched the lamp off and exposed himself to feeling the addition instead of looking at it, his eyes stung and seemed to him to be swelling out of the sockets, and he thought it could have been an effect of trauma, but not the trauma he experienced today. He hated the junk man, and he hated his work, and he wanted so badly to feel like he belonged to his father’s new world, but he never quite could.

Was an exercise for writing workshop, but I had intended to actually do more with it. My mom tells me everything happens for a reason, like my flash drive deleting all my history of evolution as a writer and artist, and I was so upset that I couldn't seem to recall or find any desire to recreate the chapter I lost from 100, the story I was so sure about, and then I had a dream the other night which at first seemed impossible to write about because it had its complications, and now I'm actually quite interested, and I give credit to my mom because maybe this is why my flash drive died. I'll never know.

I've boiled down to working on 100 a sentence at a time, which is what I do when I feel so fucking lost, so I expect and hope to be slowly rebuilding it, but until then there's this, so at least I'm putting out. I hate to disappoint, but I still hope you enjoy, as always.

The exercise was "What I Lost" from LaPlante's text The Making of A Story which is a GREAT guide for evolving your abilities as a writer. I took it and ran and at first I realized I wasn't doing it right on par, because the intention was to write on something simple lost that the character overreacts about, but then I realized that I followed that in a way and just...flipped it. 

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway. :heart: Feedback is always sooooo loved. 
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Daily Deviation

Given 2014-06-17
What I Lost by Moonlightauthor reminds us that not all junk is worthless. ( Featured by IrrevocableFate )
:iconamarantheans:
Amarantheans Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2014
Congratulations on the DD :)
Reply
:iconbruxing:
bruxing Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2014  Student Writer
Thanks a bunch. C:
Reply
:iconamarantheans:
Amarantheans Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2014
You are welcome a bunch. :)
Reply
:iconarico-samaa:
arico-samaa Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, that was good! Long since I came across a glimpse of a world as catching as that on DA.
Reply
:iconbruxing:
bruxing Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014  Student Writer
Oh gosh, thank you so much for that lovely compliment! I really appreciate that! :iconlittleheartsplz: 
Reply
:iconarico-samaa:
arico-samaa Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Reading through your gallery in search of more awesome pieces^_^
Reply
:iconfirelightprincess:
firelightprincess Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist
The relationship here is beautiful!
Reply
:iconbruxing:
bruxing Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Student Writer
Oh, thank you so very much! :heart: It warms my heart that you thought so!
Reply
:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on your well-deserved DD!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconlainloveplz::iconflyingheartsplz: :clap::clap::clap:
I’m very happy for you!!! :iconloveloveplz: :tighthug:
Reply
:iconbruxing:
bruxing Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Student Writer
Oh, thank you so very much, dear! You are too kind! :iconblushplz: 
Reply
:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:iconflyingheartsplz::iconsweethugplz::iconflyingheartsplz:
Reply
:iconhermionie42:
hermionie42 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful work! 
Reply
:iconbruxing:
bruxing Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you so much! :heart:
Reply
:iconthebakingalchemist:
TheBakingAlchemist Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is really well written and it caught me in the first couple sentences I hope to see more this is really amazing.
Reply
:iconbruxing:
bruxing Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Student Writer
Oh wow, thank you so much for your kind words! :iconhappytearsplz: I'm so glad you enjoyed it! 
Reply
:iconmazdi:
Mazdi Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Professional Interface Designer
Such an intriguing, sad concept! I like the old technology coupled with the sci-fi kind of idea. And I enjoy the follow-up chapter, Two Canned, as well!
Reply
:iconbruxing:
bruxing Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you so much! I'm really happy that you enjoyed this piece (and the other)! Your lovely comments are so appreciated! :heart:
Reply
:iconmissdudette:
MissDudette Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014
Love LOVE all the description here. Very lush, if I can say that for such a metallic world. :D

Tattered-Dreams, check this story out!
Reply
:icontattered-dreams:
Tattered-Dreams Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Finally got around to this :) Very different - not my usual thing, but really nicely imagined and written all the same :)
Reply
:iconmissdudette:
MissDudette Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014
Indeed it is. I was thinking that I loved all the description in it.  :)
Reply
:icontattered-dreams:
Tattered-Dreams Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The description was nicely done; imaginative but not over the top.
Reply
:iconmissdudette:
MissDudette Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014
:nod:
Reply
:iconbruxing:
bruxing Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you so very much for your lovely words! I'm ecstatic that the descriptions in this piece were able to captivate you so! :heart: Thanks for visiting, and for reading! I appreciate it! :iconhappytearsplz:
Reply
:iconmissdudette:
MissDudette Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014
:hug: Congrats on the DD!!
Reply
:iconbruxing:
bruxing Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you so much, dear! ; U ; :iconglompplz:
Reply
:iconwho-the-moon-is:
who-the-moon-is Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I enjoyed it -- the descriptions are fantastic, without making themselves the focal point of the piece, and I like that its still a 'day in the life' snippet... it's fascinating.
Reply
:iconbruxing:
bruxing Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Student Writer
Aw, thank you so much for the lovely comment and for reading! I appreciate your feedback; it's always helpful! :heart:
Reply
:iconretro-red:
Retro-Red Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
lol What type of name is Dolph? haha
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:iconbruxing:
bruxing Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you! C:
Reply
:iconharryeagle:
Harryeagle Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014
Interesting and sad. Well done. :)
Reply
:iconbruxing:
bruxing Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you so very much, hun! :heart:
Reply
:icongoldennocturna:
GoldenNocturna Featured By Owner May 14, 2014  Student Writer
Excellent work! It's amazing what can inspire a person! The description was vivid, the dialogue flowed well, and you could feel the emotion. I'm actually curious about what'll happen to Dolph next, and what is up with the junk man, if you plan on continuing this, of course. I'm sorry about your flash drive, though. I lost a flash drive a couple years ago to an infected laptop somebody loaned me. DX
Reply
:iconbruxing:
bruxing Featured By Owner May 16, 2014  Student Writer
Oh, thank you for reading and for your feedback! I'm so glad that you found it so descriptive--I was stuck for a while between wondering if I should add more to it in detail, but that also seemed difficult because Dolph as a character is meant to be stoic...always great to hear that I'm headed in the right direction!
So far I'm actually quite excited about continuing this during the summertime. C: And yes, augh, flash drives! It's a shame that an infected computer corrupted yours. :C Usually they say you can get your files back in one way or another but it requires sending the drive out for $300+ so some guy can pull it apart and extrapolate the data...if I were some rich and mighty person I might, but I'm not and so I can't, haha.
Thanks again m'dear!
Reply
:icongoldennocturna:
GoldenNocturna Featured By Owner May 16, 2014  Student Writer
You're welcome! Man, that's a lot of money for tiny little stick...DX Nowadays, I'm super paranoid about my stuff, so I email it to myself and save it on multiple flash drives. It's a pain in the ass, but if it works...
Reply
:iconbruxing:
bruxing Featured By Owner May 26, 2014  Student Writer
Haha, you, my dear, are very wise. Taking extra pains to save on several locations is probably the only real way to procure your documents. Thinking back to the days when they had those square thingies that you saved things on; seemed so much sturdier than a flash drive. x'D
Reply
:icongoldennocturna:
GoldenNocturna Featured By Owner May 27, 2014  Student Writer
Ah, floppy disks. I remember it taking me until 5th grade to realize what they were for, loti.
Reply
:iconwritingangel2010:
Writingangel2010 Featured By Owner May 14, 2014  Student Writer
This is really good :) 
Reply
:iconbruxing:
bruxing Featured By Owner May 16, 2014  Student Writer
Aw, thank you! Glad you enjoyed. C:
Reply
:iconroses21:
roses21 Featured By Owner May 14, 2014  Student Photographer
so beautful =)
Reply
:iconbruxing:
bruxing Featured By Owner May 16, 2014  Student Writer
Thanks a bunch! I'm glad that I was able to convey beauty. :heart:
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