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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Inner Person (09/09/10)

TITLE: Concerning Bert's Desertion
By Troy Manning


I can still recall the summer my inner child ran away from home. His mother and I, obviously, were devastated. We saddled horses and headed west as we were certain that young man must have done, even if my right brain wanted to go east. Clearly he had left me in possession of both hemispheres just to throw me off.

Though I was but a shell of myself, I could still ride well. As an outer man, I had retained many of the habits originally instigated by Bert. While my real name is Albert, I will be referring to my exterior and shamelessly forsaken self as Al. On my left here, is our mother Henrietta. She knows all about these things as Henri had to reign in Etta years ago, and she’s been the stronger for it ever since.

We had ridden along several rills and crossed a couple of prairies when we encountered a character introducing himself as Fred. Despite his evident mischievousness, his story contained more than enough misery to elicit one’s sympathies.

Formerly a Wilfred, his stubborn counterpart Will had abandoned him without shelter at the bottom of a ravine. With the desert heat beating upon him, he took refuge in the carcass of a recently deceased tortoise. At first he relished a simplified, leisurely-paced life, but he eventually discovered life in the slow lane could be treacherous. When it wasn’t kit foxes and bobcats batting him around, it might be a golden eagle loitering long enough to spoil his day.

Ignoring my mother’s warning, I let Fred climb aboard my horse. Despite his numerous efforts to become an Alfred and my own longing to be whole, I resisted his advances out of faithfulness to my duplicitous, undeserving Bert.

Things came to a head when he nearly persuaded Etta to mutiny. My mother, tough as she was, shot a sidewinder rattlesnake and shoved him inside it like a sock. We later wondered if it wasn’t him we saw, clutched in the talons of an eagle passing overhead.

“Crafty as he is,” surmised Mother, “I reckon he’s the eagle by now.”

That night I slept surprisingly well, considering the austerity of my dreamworld. Mother said I called out several times for water. “O slake the cursed thirsting of this cavernous sarcophagus!” I exclaimed repeatedly--or so I was told anyway.

We rose before daylight to avoid any morning caravan traffic. We discerned a faint glow in the distance. As we drew nearer we discerned its source to be the embers of an expiring campfire. Beside it lay Bert.

The evidence suggested Bert had fallen asleep roasting marshmallows. I felt pity for him as I realized that was the best he could do, not having any teeth to speak of. Mother, however, showed no such compassion as she shouted Bert to his feet. I stood there aghast as she whupped him good then shoved him down my throat.

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This article has been read 416 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/16/10
This was an entertaining read.
Christina Banks 09/20/10
Very interesting!
Kristin Slavik09/21/10
Fun read, I like the exploration of the inner child.
Theresa Santy 09/22/10
I loved this! It was so far out of the box, so marvelously wacky and on the fringe that I have to call it fabulous!

Inner child was found roasting marshmallows because that was all he could do..what with no teeth etc.-- so funny, but also so fitting for his character as inner child to be self absorbed an not at all concerned that the rest of you is searching for him, and only concerned about his immediate desires.

Simply fabulous.