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Awards

 

Distinguished Author & Artist Award, 2014

First Place Award, Great American Song Contest, 2014

Second Place Winner for Poetry

Many Honorary Mentions

Rodney Scribble

Rodney Scribble (c) Jon Duguay

Robert Max Tell Stelmach

Everyone who lived in the town of Scribble was as happy as can be. Why you might ask? The answer is simple. Everyone one was just as fine a scribbler as everyone else, except, perhaps the Mayor who was the best scribbler of all. But Mayor PenNib did have a right to be better than all the rest. He had won awards for his cat scratching. That's what his writing looked like, as if a cat had taken its claws to a piece of paper.

Not one word, not one single letter, written by his Honour Mayor PenNib could be read or understood. That was the secret to his success and the reason he was so famous, not only in the town of Scribbled but the entire country called Illegible.

Yes, everyone in Mayor PenNib's town was entirely happy. That is until the day Rodney Scribble was given his first pencil and paper.

Rodney had been named after his Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather, THE Rodney Scribble, the man the town of Scribble was named after. Rodney's parents had high hopes for their only son.

But the day Rodney was given his first pencil and paper, all hopes that he would scribble his way to fame and fortune were dashed.

"Rodney Scribble could not scribble. Rodney Scribble could only write."

It was a sunny day, the day Rodney's teacher, Miss Scratchette, handed out paper and pencil to her class for the first time.

"Boys and girls," she said, scratching an itch. "Today, we shall learn how to scribble." She walked up to the chalkboard. "Watch very carefully," she said, then screech-screech-screeched the chalk across the board.

The boys cheered and the girls clapped, Miss Scratchette scribbled so beautifully.

"Now class, it’s your turn," she said, "Put pencil to paper and scribble at will."

Miss Scratchette walked around the room. She looked over the shoulders of each of her pupils to check just how good a scribbler he or she was and smiled and scratched with pleasure. On days like this she was proud to be a teacher.

But on this day, she was so proud that when she looked over Rodney's shoulder, she did not notice that he was not scribbling like everyone else.

Rodney was writing the words, "My dog, Spot".

Miss Scratchette walked two desks away before she stopped in the middle of a scratch, then ran back to Rodney's desk.

 

"Rodney Scribble cannot Scribble.

Rodney Scribble can only write,"

She said, half in a whimper half in a scream.

"Call his parents. Call the Mayor,"

She cried. "This kid can write.

I'll never sleep another night."

 

Miss Scratchette's eyes almost popped out of her head as she ran into the hall.

Before the door could slam shut behind her, the principal, Mr. WaterProof Ink stepped into the room.

"What is going on here?" demanded Mr. WaterProof Ink, the scowl on his face indelible.

All eyes turned toward Rodney.

Mr. WaterProof Ink's scowl became more indelible than ever as he walked over to Rodney's side.

"My dear boy," he said, looking Rodney straight in the face, "are you the cause of all this commotion? Well, answer me young lad before I ... " He saw the words, 'My Dog Spot', written in the margin of Rodney's work book. "What's this? What's this? You haven't. You have. Oh, my."

For a moment Mr. WaterProof Ink did not know what to say, but when he did speak, this is what he said:

 

"Rodney Scribble cannot Scribble.

Rodney Scribble can only write,"

She said, half in a whimper half in a scream.

"Call his parents. Call the Mayor,"

She cried. "This kid can write.

I'll never sleep another night."

 

"That's what Miss Scratchette said," piped up the class. "Why won't you sleep?"

"I just won't, and that's that," scowled Mr. WaterProof Ink. Then he ran out into the hall spilling his ink everywhere.

Before the door could slam shut behind him, Rodney's parents stepped into the room.

"What's the problem?" said Scribble Dad.

"Your teacher called us," said Scribble Mum. "Why the fuss?"

Poor Rodney tried to answer but could not say a thing. He slipped his work sheet into his desk; but his father grabbed his hand and looked.

"Worrrrrds?" said Scribble Dad.

"Words?" said Scribble Mum. "Word? You've written words, my son?"

"Scribble is our name," said Scribble Dad. "Scribbling is our fame. Our lives in Scribble Town will never be the same."

"But why?" said Rodney. "I've only written the words we speak."

"Your Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather, THE Rodney Scribble will roll over in his grave and break his pencil," said Scribble Dad.

For a moment no one knew what to say, so the class broke the silence, and this is what they said:

 

"Rodney Scribble cannot Scribble.

Rodney Scribble can only write,"

She said, half in a whimper half in a scream.

"Call his parents. Call the Mayor,"

She cried. "This kid can write.

I'll never sleep another night."

 

"We are his parents," said his parents, then they ran out into the hall, never to return.

Before the door could slam shut behind them, Mayor PenNib stepped into the room.

"Who's the nuisance? Who's the pest? Who's the one who has made the rest of us look so dumb?" growled Mayor PenNib.

"He's the one," said the class, pointing at Rodney Scribble, who at last had bowed his head in shame.

"So, you're the one," scowled Mayor PenNib. "You've caused such a kafuffle that every secretary from here to city hall has bitten off her eraser." He crossed his arms. He lifted his bushy eyebrows so high they touched the rim of his pen nib cap as he said, "Let's see this word you've caused so much mischief with."

Rodney timidly pointed at the words, "My dog Spot."

Mayor PenNib was horrified. "Not one, not two, but three," he said, "three written words, each as easily read as day. We're done. We're finished. We're all destroyed."

"But why?" questioned the class.

"Because," said Mayor PenNib, "because." Then he thought for a long time before saying: "Because:

"Rodney Scribble cannot Scribble.

Rodney Scribble can only write,"

He said half in a whimper half in a scream.

"Call his parents. Call the Mayor,"

He cried. "This kid can write.

I'll never sleep another night."


"You are the Mayor," said the class.

"I know that," he said. "I also know that Rodney's parents have been here and went. But you wouldn't want me to spoil the chorus now would you?"

"No, Sir," they all replied.

Mayor PenNib was so overcome with emotion that he repeated the chorus one more time. But as he did not one word that came out of his mouth make a sound. He was so distraught by this that he ran out into the hall, dropping his pen nib cap.

Before the door could slam shut behind him, Rodney's best friend, Kelly SpeedBall, turned to him and pointed at something she had scribbled in the margin of her workbook. But it was not so much scribble as the words, "My dog, Spot."

Before long, everyone was writing. Rodney became more famous than his Great, great, great, great Grandfather. And when he grew up, he became the Mayor.


Illustrated by Jon Duguy

Available on CD with Audio Book

(c) Robert Stelmach 2009

Max Tell is the pseudonym
 for Robert Stelmach

"Rodney Scribble", previously published in Sounder Magazine, Surrey, BC CANADA, 1989



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