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So, I'm a Cartoonist

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You walk through the crisp fall air, listening to the fallen leaves crunch beneath your footsteps on your way to school. It is only a short walk through a quaint suburban neighborhood to reach your destination, where you go every day to learn just like any other kid.

On the other side of the street, you see three of your classmates, talking to each other about several drawings. You hear the blonde one saying something about gay sex. You ignore them and keep walking. Soon, you pass two more classmates, a boy and a girl. You can’t remember the boy’s name, it was something silly, and something he had made up himself. Conveniently, he says it right as you walk by.

“Hey there! My name’s Tenko!” he exclaims to no one. You ignore him, too, it’s nothing unusual.

You arrive at school and sit down in your desk. Then you realize something.

When did this classroom look so shitty? You think to yourself. Running your hand along the edge of your desk, it feels rough and uneven. Now that you mention it, every single edge of the classroom is jagged and imperfect. How did you not realize this sooner? The surfaces of the classroom are flat and featureless. No shadows or highlights. All the colors seem bland and boring, like they are only there to fill space.

You focus your attention to the teacher at the front of the room. You swear her face looked completely different a minute ago. And her face from the back of the class… it looks deformed and incomplete. You can only make out two black dots where her eyes should be. Your classmates… when did they all look so similar to each other? You begin to notice more and more details. Objects disappear when you aren't looking, someone’s eyes stray in all different directions for a few seconds, and their hands became deformed and contorted without their owner noticing. Nothing looks real or even plausible anymore. You sit in the middle of a class with these freaks with changing bodies and dead, empty faces. What has changed? Or have things always been like this?

The anxiety becomes too much. You are aware of the inconsistencies. Why does everyone speak like they are following a poorly written script?

… What would happen if you disobeyed the script?

In a state of panic, you stand up and run to the door. As you grab the door knob, it disintegrates into sketchy lines and falls apart as graphite on your fingers. The sketch spreads like a virus. The jagged corners of the walls turn into sketch lines, causing the flat, dull planes of color to erupt and melt onto the floor. You look back at the students. The colors fall off their faces like wax, leaving nothing but a gray sketch of what they once were, and then smearing like wet charcoal. The classroom turns into a sticky gray paste, a smear left by a dirty eraser. You fall into white nothingness.

After a few seconds, you land. Everything is white and blinding, like a fresh sheet of paper. And then he appears.

It’s a short, fat balding man. He wears a beat up, brown fedora and a bright blue T-shirt.

“W-who are you…?” you stutter to him.

“So… I’m a cartoonist.”

“What?” you shiver, “What do you mean? What am I? What happened to my classroom and… and my world?”

“You’re my character,” He responds, “I’ve got tons of them, and they’ve all got minds of their own! Ha ha!”

You hesitate, “Are… are you god?”

This pleases him. “Well, I suppose you could say that. I’m a professional.”

You start to get angry at this pompous man. “You’re a horrible cartoonist!” You yell, “Everything was so wrong. Everything fell apart, it was terrible! If that’s the kind of world you create then you’re no artist, just an amateur!”

He pauses. “I didn’t ask for a critique…” he whispers.

You feel a painful tingle in your leg. You look down to see it fracturing away into a sketch, like every one of your peers. The color on your hands falls off in clumps, like grounded meat. Your face starts to burn from the friction of an eraser and before you can scream, your mouth is gone. Soon you’re nothing but shavings at his feet.

He looks down at your remains. Taking a pencil from behind his ear, he says, “Let’s try that again,” and creates another character.

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