Stones, Rocks, and Pebbles
This week, our writers take inspiration from the little bits of nature: stones, rocks, and pebbles :)
Rock, Paper, Scissors
By: Austina Xu
Rock, paper, scissors, shoot!
Child 1 plays rock; Child 2 plays paper.
Yes! Beat you!
Paper turns screen flashes off, and the two children on it disappear.
K I don’t know about y’all, but how in the world does Paper beat me? Let’s be real, you’re all scrawny and thin. Should probably try to gain some muscle like your bud Cardstock.
First of all, I’m not weak- I’m flexible. Meaning I can cover you and make your existence go completely unnoticed by the world.
Oh so you think you’re all high and mighty huh? Probably just jealous of my rock-hard abs.
Rock flexes aggressively and Paper pushes him away.
Certainly not jealous of that ego.
WHAT DID YOU SAY?!
Hey that wasn’t me, (paper gestures to the left) that was Scissors
Ah yes, at least there’s someone I can easily crush.
Oh please, the most you can do is dent one of my handles- plus, it’s not like you have two built in blades.
The two argue while Paper watches.
Why am I here?
Hey give me that remote.
Screen turns back on, and the two children playing rock- paper- scissors are shown once again. This time Child 1 plays paper and Child 2 plays scissors.
See this is what I like.
What are you, a sadist?
ROCK (To Paper)
Bet you're happy I take care of this moron for you. And you know what to return the favor, you can… i don’t know...allow me to win?
Over my dead body…
Hey I don’t make the rules, I only enforce them. Plus it’s only fair for each one of us to have one character we beat, and one character that beats us. Plain and simple.
I agree with Rock. Party Pooper
Oh for the love of-
The film on the screen continues to play.
Want me to show you another game to play? It’s like a different version of rock, paper, scissors.
Sure, what’s it called.
Gun- gorilla- ninja.
A long pause ensues.
… you gotta be kidding me
Gun, gorilla, ninja? How’s that any better than rock-paper-scissors.
EXACTLY. Look how stupid that kid looks flailing his arms like that!
Agreed, our hand signals are so much easier. And the name’s shorter too- way more convenient.
Yeah, and how does karate beat gun? Like he’s bound to get shot before he can even do some fancy kick.
And I doubt one gun shot is enough to take down a full-grown 350 pound gorilla…
These kids are idiots. We should do something to clear up our names!
A loud shot interrupts the room.
What was that..?
A thud is then heard.
Another thud, this time paired with a primal scream.
PAPER (under his breath)
Starting to regret not taking up Cardstock’s offer to join Staples…
Suddenly a sniper armed with an M24, an Eastern gorilla, and a ninja enter the room.
… please tell me I’m dreaming.
Woah woah woah, are we really just going to let them take over like that? What about all that “clearing our name” stuff you mentioned, Rock?
Bro, are you not seeing what I’m seeing? Look at them!
The gorilla snarls, and the sniper cocks his weapon.
Yep I’m out.
Whatever, they’ll realize rock-paper-scissors is better than any of that ninja- gorilla crap.
The three leave.
Are they gone?
I think so. Yeesh, thank god...
Did you see the size of those scissor blades? And that rock looked angry as hell.
And that paper too.. Gives me the chills every time.
Grunts in agreement.
By: Jasmine Li
There’s no feeling quite like stepping out of my old, creaking doorway, feeling the breeze through my still damp hair, only a minor feeling of rebellion rising in my stomach as I hear my mother shouting in the back of my head about how I was going to get a cold.
I was rudely jolted out of my thoughts as a jagged rock hit me right in my temple.
“What’s going on in that mind of yours? I thought we were out here to relax!”
“I am relaxing.”
“So, what were you thinking about?”
“Suit yourself. I’ll go and wrap myself in a nice blanket while you think about whatever it is you’re thinking about.”
My ever so lovely baby sister and I were here in the middle of the woods, trees towering over us, the creek flowing slowly, only interrupted when one of the two of us threw one of the rocks we were surrounded by into it. It was practically our only source of entertainment. Our parents thought it might be good for the two of us. Go out into the woods with absolutely not a single thing, and talk about. once again, absolutely not a single thing worth talking about. “The vacation that is the stuff of dreams,” they said. Who the heck dreams of this kind of vacation?
“What are you thinking about this time? Your lovely physics equation that you urgently need to get back to?”
“You know that feeling? The feeling that you get from just laying back onto some stupid rocks, hanging out with your stupid brother because your parents forced you on some stupid vacation? Because I am one hundred percent feeling that right now.”
“And what do you want me to do about that?”
“I don’t know, at least try to make this a little bit less than a trainwreck for the both of us? Forget it, I’m going back to the tent.”
Night was falling. The crickets began their chirping.
“Hey, what’s that one?” Her voice was still remarkably high pitched back then. I had brought her out here to tell her about the constellations I so loved to identify.
“Orion’s belt. Want me to tell you the story about him?”
“About the belt?”
“No, idiot, about Orion.” She giggled. I did too.
Maybe ten years ago, if we had been sent on such a vacation, we would be out here, laying across the rocks until our backs ached, pointing up at the darkened night sky, attempting to connect the dots to form “new” constellations. Like that one up there that looks like a sweater, I thought.
I made my way up the creek, to the two tents we had set up in complete silence when we first arrived. I knocked quietly on the rocks nearby to announce my presence.
“What do you want?”
“You know that feeling? When you just washed your hair. Then you run outside and it feels as if it’s freezing to ice? Mom always yelled at us when we did that but it was nice.”
“You can always go and dunk you head in the creek if you want that feeling.”
I look up, worried, only to see her smiling carefully at me. “If you want we could both go and dunk out heads in the creek.”
“Mom would be furious if we did that. Let’s do it.”
I surprised even myself with the laugh that jolted out of me.
By: Luce cada
I make my way through the all too familiar route to my healing spot, the place where I can be at peace but the place that still creates the most chaos inside me. I clench and unclench my hands, running my fingers along the bushes lining the sidewalks.
I finally reach the pond, my breathing steadier than earlier. I look around and there are only adults and teenagers around, and even then there are still so little. I bend down and dip my hand into the cool, clear water, sending ripples into the liquid mirror. My reflection distorts and I sigh. A distorted person is all my parents and teachers and classmates see. Only one person knows who I truly am.
My hands find a flat stone and I stand up again. My feet ground themselves into the pebbles and I steady myself, my stance perfect just as she taught me. I take a deep breath and throw.
One, two, three, four, five skips.
“Find a flat stone,” she told me. It was a spring day, just on the edge of the summer season. I got down on my knees and found a large, circular, flat stone. I smiled up at my sister and she said, “Good, Pebble.”
She held one in her dominant hand, standing in front of me so that I could copy her. She threw her rock and I counted her skips.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight skips.
I miss how she called me Pebble all the time. Now that she’s far away, fighting for a war in another country, I rarely get to hear her call me Pebble again. I wonder when I’ll hear that again.
I look to my right and someone is watching me. When I catch her looking at me, she looks away and starts searching for her own rock. I shake my head and flick my wrist, releasing the rock.
One, two, three, four, five skips.
“Yeah, like that!” she said, grinning at me. “All in the wrist. Move your arm less. Then you’ll get more, just like me!”
I wanted to be just like her. I beamed back and picked up another rock. I waited for her to find that “perfect rock” she always talked about, and we stood in the shallow end, ready to throw.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven skips.
“Hey, you’re pretty good,” the girl calls out to me. I blink, jolted back to reality. She smiles at me and I realize that my skip count was larger than hers. “Who taught you?”
“My sister,” I say carefully. I study her face, unsure as to why she is talking to me. No one ever approaches me. Then again, she doesn’t seem to be from my school.
“You had a good teacher,” she says, throwing another rock. It only skips twice.
I bend down and fish a “perfect rock” out of the water. I hand it to her, saying, “They have to be flat, or else it won’t work.”
“How’d you find that so fast?” She smiled wryly. “You probably just have the golden touch.”
Golden touch, huh?
I walk around her and I place her fingers on the rock, thumb on top, index on the side, middle on the bottom. Then I pick up my own rock, standing in front of her the same way my sister did. “It’s all in the wrist.”
I flick my wrist.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten skips.
She methodically placed my fingers onto the rock and held my wrist. I let my joint go slack and she flicked it for me, the rock skipping so fast I couldn’t count.
“Wow,” I said. My eight-year-old brain couldn’t comprehend what I had just done. Or what she made me do.
“Now, you try it,” she said. “Just practice.”
“We should go here every day,” I exclaimed, my hands feeling for another “perfect rock” in the water.
“Okay, then,” she said, laughing. I looked up at her, ready to skip rocks on my own.
We stood there, balanced. My life was balanced. Everything was fine.
We flicked our wrists, sending the rocks across the water.
One, two, three, four skips.
“Hey, not bad!” I say, smiling at her. “It’s easy, right?”
“Now that you’ve taught me, yes,” she said. She picked up another rock and skipped it, the pebble flying faster than before. “What was your sister’s name?”
I hesitate. “Amari.”
“What’s your name?”
She nods. “Well, both of you are good teachers.”
A faint smile appears on my face. “Thanks.”
I ready myself again, and the girl is next to me, copying my movements. I finally let my smile spread across my face and we flick our wrists again.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven skips.