Friday, September 10, 2010

My latest illustrated story: Shack In the Middle Of the Forest


Anthony Martino

September 5, 2010

This book was illustrated with Earth Friendly Art Supplies.

Page 1.

Far away from the city, there is a house, well not really a house but more like a cabin or a shack. It sits on 25 acres which is a small part of a larger forest, which unbeknownst to its inhabitants is unfortunately threatened with construction development on all sides.

Page 2.

Inside the shack lives an old man with his dog Banjo.
The old man’s face is a little wrinkled and his back is a little bent over.
He has a long beard, a pointy nose and a nasty attitude to boot. Some say he’s lived in the forest all his life which I would say is close to one hundred years. He has no friends or family except for his dog Banjo.

Every morning, the old man drinks his tea while Banjo sits and waits with his leash in his mouth hoping the old man will take him for a walk. The old man walks Banjo because he feels somewhat obligated; the truth of the matter is the old man does not like to wander off into the forest because he finds the air heavy with moisture and fuzzy with haze. Plus in the old man’s own words, “The forest’s inhabitants are nothing but a nuisance!”

Page 3.

Most mornings, the old man and Banjo begin their walk down the brown wooden path that leads from their shack into the woods. The old man always checks the door knob before he leaves to make sure the door is locked. He’s afraid that an unwelcomed guest such as a raccoon could sneak in looking for food.

Page 4

“Speak of the Devil!” the old man says.
“There is PunkaDu the spoiled raccoon feasting on my garbage and then he poos everywhere!”

Page 5.

In the distance, a grey mother wolf can be seen with her cub. “This is odd, wolves typically hang around in packs like some sort of street gang usually up to no good,” says the old man to himself.

Page 6.

To the old man’s right, he runs into the white tail dear twins. In fact the forest is actually named “White Tail Deer Park.” The old man has no use for the deers. In his opinion they do nothing but stare. “Take a picture it will last longer!” the old man screams out to the deers.

Page 7

A little further up the old man and Banjo run into two grizzly bears. Banjo likes the grizzlies, with their big heads and long fur they kind of look like big bushy dogs. But the old man will have none of it. He holds on to Banjo tightly as the old man slowly walks past the bears. The old man thinks to himself, “Those damn grizzlies with their keen sense of personal space and pride, think they own the gosh darn forest. I’m walkin here! I’m walkin here!” shouts the old man as he walks past the grizzly bears.

Page 8.

Suddenly they run into a Big Brown Buffalo, this startles the old man. He has not seen a buffalo in many years. The buffalo reminds the old man of his childhood, he remembers herds of buffalos blackened the flat lands of the forest and when they moved it sounded like distant thunder. “Funny the old man thinks to himself, I never stopped to ask myself what happened to all the buffalo.”

Page 9.

To the old man’s surprise, in a quick instant he finds himself flying through the air because he has just tripped over a pile of broken sticks. As the old man flies through the air, he notices that the broken sticks belong to natures self proclaimed engineer, the beaver. “Not only are you North America’s biggest rodent, but you’re also North America’s biggest jerk!” shouts the old man in anger.

Page 10.

Banjo likes to take a water break by the river. As Banjo leans over to lap up some fresh water, the old man is startled by the Salmon who jump out of the water as they swim upstream. The male salmon come back to the river where they were born once a year in order to fertilize the females. This will then allow the females to lay their eggs underneath the river’s gravel.
“Darn perverts,” the old man mutters to himself.

Page 11.

At this point, the old man and Banjo begin walking back toward their home. This is usually where the old man sees, who he likes to call, “the crazy Indian Chief”. The old man calls him this because the Indian always seems to be talking to himself and when he is not talking to himself you can see him talking to the sky, the river, the plants or the animals. From the distance the old man could hear the Indian muttering the following, “Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds and whose breath gives life to the entire world. I thank you for this wonderful forest and all its creatures.”

“Crazy Indian,” the old man thinks to himself.

Page 12.

As the old man and Banjo approach the end of their walk, a mischievious owl swoops down mistaking the old man’s bald head for a delicious meal. From a distance the old man`s head with his protruding ears looked like a hairless guinea pig to the owl. Startled, the old man quickly waves his fist in the air scaring the owl away.

Page 13.

Tired but feeling somewhat satisfied from their long walk, the old man and Banjo arrive home.

Page 14.

The old man figures that his little buddy (or should I say his only buddy) Banjo is probably hungry after their long walk, so he fills Banjo`s food dish with sheep tripe dog food. Apparently it smells terrible but tastes delicious.

As he is feeding Banjo the old man is interrupted by a knock on the door.
“Who on earth would come to my house?” wonders the old man.

Page 15.

As the old man opens the door, there is a man standing there wearing a hard hat and holding a contract in his hand. “Hello Sir, I work for a company called Extinction. We would like to make some changes around this forest in order to make it more habitable for people. We’ll need to do some building to make this happen but cannot begin building what we will call White Deer Tail Community Park until we get your signature on the dotted line of this contract,” explains the man with the hard hat.

The old man takes a moment to think about it and then asks, “So if I sign your contract can you confirm the following for me:

The racoon will stop eating my garbage?
The wolves will stop roaming the forest like some type of street gang?
The white tail deer will stop spying on me?
The grizzly bears will stop acting like they own the forest?
The beaver will stop leaving piles of sticks everywhere?
The Salmon will stop behaving like a bunch of perverts? I want a respectable forest!
And those darn owls will stop pecking at my bald head?”

The man looks at the old man straight in the eyes and says, “Good Sir, you’ll have no more of nature’s interruptions. Plus we’ll even throw in a signing bonus; instead of this little shack you live in, we’ll build you a great big house.”

“Great! Where do I sign?” says the old man.

Page 16.

With the sound of the birds singing outside the window, the old man decides to lay down for a nap.

Page 17.

Just as quickly as the old man lay down to sleep, he was awakened by sounds he had never heard in the forest before. It sounded like, traffic jams, city ambience, jet engines and loud machinery. “But wait, here in the forest?” the old man asks himself.

Totally frazzled by all the noise, the old man called out for his dog Banjo. “Banjo! Banjo! Where are you?” shouted the old man.

Page 18.

The old man could not find Banjo in the house, so he opened the front door still shouting out Banjo’s name.

But what the old man saw next left him in complete shock.

Page 19.

The Indian Chief was standing in front of the old man’s house and behind him the entire forest was gone. There were no more trees, shrubs, or flowers. No more animals roaming the land, fish in the water or birds in the sky.
There was no more green, brown, blue, yellow or red. Just shades of grey.
None of this was familiar to the old man, except for the Indian Chief who stood there with a tear in his eye.
The old man has always ignored the Indian Chief, but this time he asked him, “What has happened?”

The Indian Chief answered, “Before there was a great forest which included all its inhabitants from the little flower to the birds in the sky, from the ground we walk on and the air that breathes life into you old man and every other living thing, but suddenly a great plague swept the land, the plague is called greed. It came so quickly and it had the letters E-X-T-I-N-C-T-I-O-N written all over its army of bull dowsers, feller bunchers and chainsaws. It destroyed every living thing in its path.”
The Indian continued, “It did not discriminate and took no mercy on any living thing.”

After hearing this, the old man had a huge lump in his throat and he could barely put the words together when he asked the Indian Chief, “Did you see my dog Banjo?”

“As I said, old man it took no mercy on any living thing in its path,” replied the Indian as a tear trickled down his cheek.

Page 20

“Oh my God, what have I done!” thought the old man. “I...I...I didn’t know!
I had the power to stop this but instead I let it happen. They are all gone...even my little Banjo,” cried the old man.

Page 21.

The old man then let out a scream so loud that it shook both heaven and earth!

Page 22

The old man’s scream was so loud, that he awoke himself from his dream.
He could smell the green grass from his window and he could hear the birds singing outside.
And like he does every morning, his little buddy Banjo sits by his bed with his leash in his mouth hoping the old man will take him out for a walk in the forest.

Page 23

Suddenly much to Banjo’s surprise, the old man leapt to his feet, picking Banjo up in his arms shouting, “I LOVE YOU BANJO!” as he gave Banjo the biggest kiss.

“The old man has finally lost his mind,” Banjo thought to himself.

Page 24

This morning, the old man thought he would do something a little different on his walk with his dog Banjo. He stopped to smell the fresh air, enjoy the cool river breeze as it blew across his skin and he marvelled at the beautifully coloured leaves in the trees. He even said hello to all the animals but I think the biggest surprise of all was that he sat to talk to the Indian Chief for a while.

And the Indian Chief shared a story with the old man that went something like this:

Honor the sacred.
Honor the Earth, our Mother.
Honor the Elders.
Honor all with whom we
share the Earth:
Four-leggeds, two-leggeds,
winged ones,
swimmers, crawlers,
plant and rock people.
Walk in balance and beauty.

And on this day, the old man made a promise to the Indian Chief, that as long as he’s alive, he will never sign over the shack in the middle of the forest to anyone.

The End

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


-Teens send and receive an average 50 text messages a day, reports the Pew Internet.

-Asian (28%) and Hispanic (22%) parents are most likely to sleep in the same room as their children, compared to 15% of Black and 8% of White parents, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

-(this applies to Americans)63% of school lunches served to students are free or purchased at reduced prices, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

-One in three teens has a driver's license at 16, finds the Federal Highway Administration. Ten years ago it was one in two.

-27% of children visiting the ER with dog-bite related injuries were bitten by their own dog, says

Friday, September 3, 2010

Today's Five Facts About Marketing to Women.

-12% of women have interrupted a workout to read/reply to Facebook or Twitter, says Women's Health.

-Women are more likely than men to use Facebook to manage their social lives (41% vs. 34%), says ExactTarget.

-Two in three moms (62%) have purchased back-to-school clothing for their child because it reminds them of something they wore at their kid's age, according to Parents magazine and Lands' End.

-52% of moms take more than 300 photos over the summer, says Rayovac.

-74% of women age 35-60 first turn to the Internet to diagnose medical ailments, compared to 44% of men the same age, says Flexcin International