Otto (250 words)

Otto worked on the streets. He worked for the local council, had done for years. He’d been there nearly forever.

He was responsible for mapping out the streets in the frontier suburb that was pushing into the scrubby bushland. He sketched them, engineered them, made them real.

The suburb, the council, were all about progress. Every mayor made his mark on the streets, and Otto was there to oversee it. If the mayor wanted a street named after his wife’s dead cat, Otto mapped out the cul de sac. If the next mayor wanted a quiet acknowledgement of his mistress, Otto demarcated the one way.

Otto wasn’t the kind of man people actively remembered. Being portly and short, his face was a forgettable round. Otto moved slowly, with a quiet dignity.

Eventually Otto decided that he was finished working on the streets. This neatly coincided with the new mayor’s decision that Otto was finished working on the streets. The shiny new mayor had a grander vision, and this meant a shiny new engineer.

Otto handed in his metal ruler, pocketed his pen. He rolled up his map. The new engineer started on Monday, his rostered days off clearly marked on his calendar.

He unrolled Otto’s map of the streets, 25 years in the making, and laughed. Turning it upside down, the engineer clearly saw the words that Otto’s roads, avenues, and curving lanes made.

“Remember me,” the streets said. The engineer laughed again like a collaborator, settling down to work.

Otto (250 words)

anya

Joined August 2008

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Artist's Description

A response to the Twisted Tales ‘on the streets’ prompt

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