art by Shothot Designs
Dragon Dreams on Cardboard Wings and Tiny Scraps of Yellow
by Christopher Kastensmidt
Susan sighed as she peeled a sticky note from the yellow paper patchwork pasted on her cubicle wall. Scrawled in thick black lines, the words "Compile CountString class header--2 hours" dictated the next indisputable edict in an endless cycle of programming tasks that filled a full fifty hours of her every week.
But instead of attaching the note to her monitor and starting the job--as she had done a thousand times before--Susan paused to rub it between her fingers: to feel its texture, to look beyond the dark, dooming words and admire the cheerful yellowness underneath. In an unprecedented gesture of spontaneity, she nabbed her company-standard black-handled scissors and cut a sloppy star from the tiny yellow note, which she tacked upon the beige-polyester lining of the cubicle.
Susan stared at the one-inch star for several minutes. Hundreds of its unaltered, rectangular yellow brethren surrounded it, each glaring at her in condemnation of her inaction; but she ignored them all. With a single, circular sweep of her arm she dislodged the lot of them, leaving her ragged star supreme in a spacious beige heaven. Then she began to populate the vacant sky with a montage of stars, clouds and other celestial objects created from paper clips and scraps of paper.
Her own daring shocked her, and for a moment she worried someone might notice. But when she stood to check, she saw everyone around her mired in their own daily routine: typing and sighing and checking the clocks in the corner of their monitors every five minutes, longing for the moment they could happily prance outside to wait in an interminable line of cars.