through his junior year, Julian DeSantos left Harvard and moved onto a
twenty-acre plot of land in upstate New York.
He gave away his possessions and constructed a simple one-room
cabin. He gave up electricity. He gave up plumbing.
gave up the internet.
said it was the stress: triple major; pressure from his folks. He simply snapped. And his mind snapped, too.
The years passed. Old friends went on to lucrative careers and vacation
homes; pretty boats and second wives.
Julian married Louise, a plain
girl, a simple girl, by town
Together they had four
Julian played in the dirt. He played with his children. He found he had all the time in the world to
do what he wanted.
As he learned to fend for
himself—to repair the tractor; to mend the roof; to raise chickens—he felt
instinct taking over. He remembered all that
was forgotten. The collective memory of
his grandparents and great-grandparents and even those before came rushing back,
happy to have found a home again in Julian.
When he wandered into
town wearing his dirty jeans and torn shirts, the people took pity on him. They tried to press money into his hands;
were angry when he refused it.
“Poor fool,” the banker
said one day, after Julian had passed. “Really
ought to be locked up.”
“He’s harmless,” the
“But for his own good,”
the banker insisted. “The man can’t even
take care of himself, let alone his family.”
The policeman agreed to
look into the matter.
But then the bottom dropped
out of the market. Overnight, houses
lost their value. Portfolios were
worthless. Life savings
The dollar lost all
value: The enlightened masses burned their cash and their stock certificates and,
yes, even their diplomas for fuel and lined up at Julian’s door for his wife’s eggs
“Lucky bastard,” they
said, watching Julian smile as he pulled a stray weed from beneath a strawberry
Labels: fiction Trifecta Writing Challenge