Rebellion Of The Thumbtack
© V. Stamps
The tack was firmly entrenched in the corkboard. While its shiny brass cover looked like new,
it had been there for a long time. It has grown weary of the everyday existence it knew and
longed for more interesting things to experience. It had tried hard to loosen the hold the
corkboard had on it, but its efforts were in vain.
Even as the tack thought on its desires, a hand came forward and plucked it from the board.
It was laid aside on a nearby table. Making a gigantic effort to gain its freedom, it rolled off
the table and almost to the door. It landed in a shadowed spot within the room. Alas freedom
had been so near and yet so far away. The tack could almost smell the outside air.
Could it have done so, it would have wept in sorrow at the near escape.
Apparently the person using the tack had forgotten it and having no longer seen it on the table,
reached instead for another one. At last the person was finished. Another arrived to pick her up.
Ah. It was a cowboy. Oh no. the cowboys booted heel came down upon its sharpened end
trapping it even more firmly than it had been before. At least now it could leave the room where
it had spent its whole life.
Of all the luck! The cowboy dropped off his passenger into their home and began late afternoon
chores. There was something known as dog runs to be hosed down. The dogs seemed so
fierce to the tiny tack. Their droppings were all over in the run. The tack tried to hold its breath
against the odor and hoped the cowboy’s steps were careful. Next came the chicken pen.
The tack would not escape its fate so easily this time.
The cowboy swept aside the messiness, cleaned off the nests in the roosting area and secured
its gates for the night. Dusk fell and the thumbtack saw it happening from its view in the heel of
the cowboys propped up feet, near the window of their comfortable country home. Children
scrambled onto his lap. Sounds of laughter echoed into the home.
Early the next day at dawn the cowboy was up and about, coffee cup in hand with thoughts on
his morning work. There were horse stalls to be mucked out and fresh straw strewn down for
the floors. Oh the humiliation of it all for the tack. It missed its home with the routines and
cleanliness as compared to the current situation. The horses got turned out to pasture.
The sun rose and more business lay in wait.
The cowboy kissed his sweetheart good-by. He climbed into his old pick-up truck for a trip into
town. They passed many Evergreens and Redwoods living in the forest lining the long road
into town. The tack heard from within the forest depth conversations between all that lived within.
It sensed the inhabitants fright at the sound of the trucks passing. It counted the ‘pot holes’ in
the dirt road before reaching an asphalted highway. Now it counted the turning of the trucks tires
until it could no longer keep count.
On the opposite side of the road stood one of the many homeless. The tack could hear the
rumbling of that person’s foodless belly. It could feel the chill of the night he’s just spent
sleeping outside. A backpack, tattered and foul smelling rested upon his back. It held all his
earthly possessions. His thumb was stuck up in the air in a hitchhikers plea for a ride to yet
another destination and a renewed hope that something better lay ahead. The tack hoped the
man would be more successful than he found himself to be.
Town drew near. Warmth filled the air. The trucks motor roared in happy anticipation at having
reached town. Its noise reached into the interior of a small town library. It interrupted the parade
of letters, numbers and words that had fled the books and magazines within. Up and down the
halls they had marched singularly and in groups. They had been visiting and making
conversation amongst themselves. They had jumped with joyful energy onto chairs, tables and
counters. Now, as if the workers had already appeared there to open the doors and get ready for
the library’s patrons, they scattered away to return to their rightful places in the books, each to
their assigned place.
Now the tack could sense the faces, shapes and attitudes of business owners and workers as
they entered their places of work. Some of it troubled the tack. Some of it made it feel glad.
It felt such confusion and missed even more its prior home. Now it was inside the post office.
The cowboy picked up letters and bills and delivered his own outgoing mail. The letters and
numbers inside the envelopes were numerous in that place. They called out hellos to the tack
than settled down among their peers. The cowboy completed his errands and returned home.
The days passed, each much the same as the one before.
A month had gone by. Again the cowboy dropped off his passenger inside the building where
once the thumbtack had lived. “Stay a bit sweetheart and visit me while I fix up this bulletin
board” asked his wife. So he did. Putting a bootleg across his knee where he’d sat on a
folding chair, the cowboy saw the tack in his boot. He dug out a pocketknife from his jeans
and gently removed it. Would he throw the badly burnished tack into the trash? The tack
hoped not. Even now in its disreputable state, it heard its family of tacks calling out
welcomes to it. It wanted to return to them upon the corkboard.
The tack wanted that more than anything now. It had learned the value of its home.
The cowboy wiped at the covering of the tack, brushing it clean against his pants leg.
Standing up, he placed it into the palm of his wife’s hand. “Here! You might need this.”
His wife thought the tack seemed to have a character of its own. She gave it a special place
upon the board. All was well now. The tack was home, hopefully to remain there forever.
There was no place like home...