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Bob Nailor

A New Angle
On an Old Story

Many times when a story comes to mind you really don't know what the final market will be. This was the case of "Sparky" that I put together mentally a long time ago and kept playing with over the years… and I do mean years. I guess my reluctance in putting "Sparky" on paper was due to my ignorance of a possible paying market. I usually attempt to ascertain the "where I will sell" before I write. Still, even after the original was on paper, it was shoved into a file folder and relegated to an unmarked grave in my desk drawer. So, here's the story:

* * * * *


There he goes again, shooting across a galaxy. Sparky just couldn't control himself. Give him a few million miles of open space and off he'd go.

Of course, what would you expect from a young upstart? Sparky was only nearing his 15th century, quite youthful in the scheme of the cosmos.

"Mrs. Way," the ominous voice boomed. "Once again your son has strayed."

She quickly assessed the situation and could see Sparky moving between Alpha Centauri and Epsilon 6.

"I'm sorry, God," she replied. "He's really a very good boy; just a little rambunctious and hyperactive."

"Well, I've been meaning to talk to you about him," the voice said. "We've got to find a way of controlling that rascal."

"I'm open to suggestions." Eons of worry weighed on her words. "For the last few centuries I've tried to keep a reign on his route, but," the remainder of her words were consumed by the silent void of space.

"Last week Miss Saturn complained he flew by her so fast she still hasn't been able to gain control of her ring alignments." God sighed. "Yesterday Nebula 2A6E caught him buzzing the smaller asteroids of Stellar Xarg 216."

Miss Milky Way considered the consequences of Sparky's actions. She remembered what had happened to Regis Comet when he went renegade and kept orbiting recklessly. The stars in her hair bobbled when she shook her head at the memory. That's all Regis Comet was; a memory. The rule was simple. "Live within your assigned orbit."

"Sparky," God called.

The young star stopped dead in his tracks, his excess radiation flaring in a corona around him. Sparky recognized the voice and knew he was in trouble.

"Sparky?" God repeated.

"Yes," young Sparky replied.

"I've got a proposition. Do you see that solar system over there?"

Sparky gazed to where God had gestured and winced. It was Miss Saturn's neighborhood.

"Uh, yes, God? I see it."

"Do you remember it?"

Oh, boy, thought Sparky. I'm in for it now. "If this is about Miss Saturn..." Sparky started then stopped.

"I will take care of her," God said, "but I have a special project for you. That is…" God paused. "If you are willing to accept the responsibility."

"Responsibility?" Sparky asked.

"Extreme responsibility. In fact, Sparky, this is probably the one most important job in the entire universe."

Sparky quickly analyzed the situation. "Doing what?" He knew that was pushy, but still, he was young and could possibly get away with it.

"You won't be able to move," God stated. "For the rest of eternity you'll be stuck in one location. Are you still interested?"

Sparky was sure Miss Saturn was involved in this but couldn't figure out why the punishment was so harsh. Eternity! Unmoving! Then he remembered the horror stories he'd heard about Regis Comet.

"I'll do it," Sparky said.

"That's wonderful, my boy," God said. "I'm sure you'll do an excellent job. On the third planet from the sun, that blue one, my Son will be born tonight for all mankind. I want your light to guide all men who seek Him."

Sparky swelled with pride. That night he let loose all his pent up energy and shone doubly bright on the small manger in Bethlehem, knowing what a great honor had been bestowed upon him.

* * * * *

So there you have it, I told an old, solid theme -- the story of Christ's birth -- and found a new angle. I used the POV of the star to tell the tale. By doing so I was able to weave whimsy and fantasy together with a few realities. I didn't stoop to the age-worn tale of Santa, or a poor child on Christmas, or even a miracle.

After rewriting the story and sprucing it up some more I realized there were actually quite a few markets for it: children, religious, even science fiction or fantasy. I'd originally tossed the children's market aside thinking the story beyond their grasp; my mistake was attempting to be an editor and prejudging – in this case, under-estimating a child's grasp. This story would fit in Children's Highlights or Boys Life. It could even be in Guideposts, Fantasy Magazine, or any one of the many small, general magazines like The Ohioan or Country Today. Even a craft magazine will occasionally print a short-short like this.

When the season is upon you, the Muse will "slap you up along side the head" sometime during the period, letting you see a new angle. Write that story. Hone it. Then send it out in March to all the potential editors. Remember only an ezine can accept a story in November for publication in December. The paper industry needs time; lots of time.

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This site is like a classroom, eexcpt I don't hate it. lol
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