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by Dylan Ritch about a month ago in Short Story · updated about a month ago
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The Carpenter's Tools Series

Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

I've been told I'm a hammer. I have a flat face, a prong in my back, and a handle to hold so I'm a hammer. But I'm not a good one cause I have doubt and once you do that you aren't a good hammer anymore.

I’ve done the job. I’ve plunged nails into two-by-fours over and over until two-by-fours became homes. It's a good job. a glorious purpose, and I know that. I do. I just don't feel anything when the Carpenter grabs my handle. The droning sound of my face colliding with the head of the nail is just monotonous noise. I don't get that euphoric feeling the other hammers exchange stories about. They get aggressive whenever I mention this.

"Don't feel anything? What's the matter with you? You'd have to be dead to not feel anything when the Carpenter calls on you."

I learned to stop mentioning it.

I could hammer for the rest of my life if I had to. It’s not that I don’t have the ability. Like I said I've done it so many times before. It would be an easy life, a safe life. But when I think about doing that I feel a part of myself, some deep vital part of me, start to slowly die. Like it's falling asleep and when it finally does I'll never see it again.

"Screwdriver, what do you feel when the Carpenter calls on you?"

"Me? Oh, hmm, well doll, I guess I feel proud. I only feel that afterwards though if I'm being real with you. I won't lie it's kinds of painful when you're in the middle of it. I know you hammers are kinda dull on the face so you don't feel the impact when you hammering but my head gets twisted every time the Carpenter turns me. It's a fight against me and the screw. I always win, duh, but it hurts like you wouldn't believe."

"Have you ever thought about being something else?" I ask.

Screwdriver's laugh is like a burst of air being shot out of a cannon. She's noramlly like that but this time has extra oomph behind it.

"Like what?" she asks.

"I don't know. Something else," I say.

I'm really not sure what I mean. The thought of being anything else is so weird and unnatural it's hard to imagine. But it also makes something in me, that part I don't want to go to sleep, stir and start to wake up.

Screwdriver gets quiet for a bit.

"I wouldn't go around saying this, but I guess yeah, when I'm in the middle of turning the screw and it's wedged in so tight I feel my head's gonna bend. It sometimes helps when I imagine I'm doing something else. Maybe something less aggressive like Tape Measure. I've always thought that would be nice."

We left the conversation at that. Our visit in the toolbag as the Carpenter took us to the next job was coming to an end.

I've wondered if I'm broken. I’ve seen it happen to others when their flat face gets chipped or their prongs get bent. It doesn’t happen often but it’s definitely possible. If I am a broken hammer, I don’t know how to feel about it. Broken hammers don’t get yelled at for being broken. It’s not your fault if you’re broken. Someone or something had to break you. But if you’re broken and you can tell you’re broken, then you know you're worthless and that's worse than feeling nothing.

I don’t want to be broken but I can’t think of another reason for this incessant apathy.

I laugh at the idea that maybe I’m a screwdriver. I’ve been friends with a screwdriver for a while. Their life doesn’t seem so bad even with the painful part. At least I'd feel something while fighting the screw. They seem happy with what they do and what the carpenter does with them. Please don’t take this as being ungrateful. I know the good that comes with hammering and I'm truly honored the carpenter allowed me an existence. I've seen the happiness that's come from our buildings. I just wish I could keep some of that happiness for myself.

That's selfish. I'm sorry. Forget I said anything.

Short Story

About the author

Dylan Ritch

Dylan Ritch is a fiction writer whose stories reflect the human experience using genres such as Fantasy, Horror, and Sci-Fi. Ritch's stories strive to be equal part thought-provoking and entertaining. Enjoy and happy reading!

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (10)

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  • Laura Pruettabout a month ago

    I enjoyed the concept of using the tools in a carpenter's bag to reflect the feelings of many humans in their daily lives. Good job!

  • Annelise Lordsabout a month ago

    I love this. It's funny and entertaining.

  • Annelise Lordsabout a month ago

    Why does a screwdriver have to be a female? Don't answer that. I just get the drift.

  • Annelise Lordsabout a month ago

    'Screwdriver gets quiet for a bit.' Lol, love this. But a drill will put youout of the nail wall business.

  • Belinda Woodabout a month ago

    This gave me empathy for a hammer. Amazing! I loved reading this, it was powerful and compelling!

  • Rebekah Theresa Robertsabout a month ago

    I loved reading this creative and compelling piece. Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work!

  • NoEyesabout a month ago

    Really loved reading this! As a newcomer to Vocal, I'm nothing short of inspired to make my own piece from reading this! Keep writing dude!

  • Stephen Greenabout a month ago

    I appreciate this thought provoking piece. I think it resonates with me because I grew up in a community that was so very insistent that I had a purpose and I had to fulfill that purpose, but I had no true understanding of what that purpose was so I always felt out of place. This stirs up feelings and thoughts in those regards. Maybe things aren't that complicated. May be they are more...

  • Jennifer Trueabout a month ago

    I enjoyed this story. Thank you for sharing. :)

  • Dylan Ritch (Author)about a month ago

    Thank you all for the reads and the tip I received! More from this collection is coming by mid-July!

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