Three line tales: Howling

For Sonya’s photo prompt.

photo by Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash



They gave him a puzzle to put together out of bits of black and grey, sharp and caustic as the put-downs of his teacher and cold as his father’s disinterest.

He struggled beneath their unflinching gaze and the click click of biros taking notes and the glare and the blare of the noisy light.

At the end of the hour he had made a figure of a boy out of five rectangles and a circle, and scattered all around was the howling debris of his world.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

24 thoughts on “Three line tales: Howling”

      1. I’ve never understood Lego, and especially not Lego where every piece is black or grey. It’s enough to make kids sociopaths.
        The underlying darkness of cold, pushy parents and cruel schooling is there are well though.

  1. Brilliant Jane.
    I was given Lego at every birthday and Christmas, but not the blacks and greys or people of today. I made nothing by money boxes. No wonder I always worked in accounts!

    1. Thanks Di! Yes, we were given Lego, and only ever laid the foundations for houses. Never got beyond the third row of bricks. The tiny lego to make star wars stuff looks even duller.

  2. Poor boy. Yes, this is sad and dark.
    We always say Legos. I never thought of them as black and grey. I think our daughters had some that were bright red and blue. They built houses for little people. They never had that many, so I don’t think they did much with them. They were more interested in creating worlds in their imaginations. 😀

  3. You’ve made effectively stark use of the gray pieces, creating a clinical scene reminding me of when I took a test for entry into primary school. I was the only child in the room, and the proctor was stern. The model boy created would have to be gray, of course. Other than his hair, where is the color for the child’s world?

    1. I find it a bit frightening to be honest, giving children so much black to play with. They should be surrounded by colour, light, music, not bits of black and grey plastic!

  4. Legos for children in the US are brightly colored. My children loved them and still like to make things from them, although the Star Wars ones they favor now have a lot of black and grey.
    What this reminds me of is the “intelligence” tests they give 5 year olds. My younger one was throwing things around at the end. The situation is totally artificial…how can you determine intelligence from that? (K)

    1. They’ve got smaller too, I’m guessing for adults to play with. Most games seem to be for adults these days.
      I had the same experience as you with our second child. They didn’t even wait until she could walk properly before we were advised to take her to the psychologist. Same scenario, ten month old baby given two beaten up metal cups, a wooden bead and a blunt stump of a pencil. She was expected (apparently) to put the objects in the cups. She dropped the uninteresting objects on the floor turned the cups over and played cars with them. She was pronounced not subnormal but a dodgy case to keep an eye on.

      1. My younger daughter’s first grade teacher warned the second grade teacher she was a handful…but luckily that teacher was also eccentric so they got along beautifully. But she had a hard time with most of them., they just didn’t get her.

      2. Second daughters are special. Ours was lucky enough to have a first kindergarten teacher who was an art college teacher reconverted to teaching the 2-3 year olds. They just painted all day. She and my second daughter got on like a house on fire.

  5. The deepest of desires and emotions find a way of expression some way. Wonderfully weaved!

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