(The Ballad Of Tobias Hemingway)
(Prologue)


The stewardess kept calling for Tobias Hemingway. "Last chance," she'd say, "last chance to board American Airlines flight 386: Kansas City to New York City." Oh the things Susan Young, stewardess of flight 386, didn't know. But I don't blame her. I didn't know where Tobias Hemingway was either.


The sick florescent light of the local grocery store glared off my skin, dulling it to an unnatural teal hue. I could pass as a zombie or an alien with skin like this. Pulling a face at the man printed on the off-brand cereal box and giving him my best creature-of-the-undead growl, I sighed and looked for interesting shapes in the scuff marks on the tile floor. One of them looked like a two-headed panda. Cute.

An older couple to my left argued as I wandered down the pasta and carpet cleaner aisle. I didn't remember what I was there to buy and they didn't remember what they were arguing over; the one thing the three of us did know was that the gossip mongerers at the senior center would be spreading rumors in twenty minutes flat. That's how long it would take nosey old Edna Carlson, who was stealthily turning up her hearing aide as she hobbled by, to walker herself the half a block there.

I grabbed a bottle of cheap carpet cleaner and a box of store brand spaghetti and went to the check-out counter to pay. Seth Russel was working there — he was a scrawny excuse for a Freshman, even as far as scrawny Freshmen go, and still didn't know how to work the register. By the time he'd figured it out and I'd gotten to pay for the things I probably wasn't there to buy, the quarreling couple was behind me. I smirked at their misfortune as I left the store; they had fallen silent and delegated their fight to the past, but Edna hadn't.

Small towns are a funny thing and mine is no exception. Everyone feels a need to know everything about everyone at all times; you can't take a walk through the park without getting interrogated about it the next day. Even if you're one of the people who tries to ignore things that you have no business in, like me for example, you can't help but notice changes. There isn't much around to change in the first place, so if it does, it's as noticeable as the Pope mooning the congregation during a church service. That's how I noticed the abandoned notes around town; I don't mean that the Pope mooned me, I just mean that they weren't there before.

They were stuck under the windshield wipers of cars, hastily stashed in the newspaper bin at the post office or taped to the window of a downtown business. A few were even thumb tacked onto trees in the park; this was what really got me. Not because I was confused, I was trying really hard to ignore it actually, but because one had been tacked onto my tree — my favorite climbing tree, the one I'd practically lived in during my childhood. It was wounded and that upset me, so in removing the horrid tack I accidentally-on-purpose read the note.

"Greetings possible tree dweller! I hope you don't mind my invasion of your space, but I'm in dire need of a cup of sugar and was wondering if I could borrow one? I'd probably never give it back, being that it would be used in a recipe I have yet to chose and that once made would then be digested by my bile and other digestive fluids, but I doubt you'd want it back then anyway!"

Idiot. Hurting my tree and leaving evidence — quirky and amusing evidence, but evidence none the less. I decided to gather the notes from the rest of the town, before Edna confiscated them, and track this dolt down. My tree and I wanted revenge and an end to monotonous summer boredom; we found only the second, in a boy who went by the name of Tobias Hemingway.


(Author's Note: I'm rewriting this in the moments when I feel like writing, but want to work on something sillier and less intensive than Sorry About Dresden. Unfortunately, that means updates will probably not be consistent or frequent, but they will be coming. The plot is fully outlined and revamped (this time around it's going to be more intertwined with the mythology that inspired the idea), it's just a matter of me being in the mood to write in this style. The next chapter is almost fully written, so it should be up relatively soon.

— A Perfect Sonnet)