any last words

andrew malcolm's 2007 portfolio

Author's Notes

This story was inspired by Lewis Hyde's Trickster Made this World, and based on my trickster friend – Nick Hutton-Jay – a Raven if I ever met one.

Trickster • made this • Longboard

originally published by, march 2007

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Long ago, when hot days and calm waters left surfer and snowboarder with nothing to do all summer, Raven saw this problem and devised a plan. In the midst of winter he flew to the West Coast, snatched surfer’s board in his beak, and flew back to the east.

Surfer shouted ‘thief’ at him as he flew away. Stuiped Raven, he yelled, what are you going to do with a surfboard in the east, anyway?

Raven then flew up to the mountains and used his beak to drag snowboarder’s hill out from under his board and down to the city.

Stuiped Raven, shouted snowboarder, what good are the hills down there? They’ll just get covered in pavement.

When summer came and surfer and snowboarder were once again bored, Raven went to fetch them. Go away, Raven, they said, we’re still angry with you.

I feel bad about what happened, Raven told them. Come with me and I’ll repay you. They were led to surfer’s board and snowboarder’s hill, already covered in pavement.

What is this, Raven? They asked. Are you rubbing in your little joke?

Quiet, said Raven, and he broke off a piece of his beak, made it into trucks and wheels, and fastened them to the surfboard. Raven made this longboard and gave it to surfer and snowboarder so they could ride until the winter.

Surfer and snowboarder were pleased with their gift. So pleased, in fact, that when winter came, they didn’t bother going to the waves or mountains. Raven’s gift was so convenient that they had grown lazy.

Raven saw this and confronted them.

Your laziness has blinded you, he told them, don’t you know if you spend all your time in the city, never climbing mountains or swimming out to waves, that your knees will grow stiff and rigid and that you’ll never ride again?

Surfer and snowboarder didn’t believe him; they had already forgotten what the mountains and ocean were like and how important they were to riding. Raven wandered the beaches and forest, bored and lonely without riders to talk to and play tricks on.

Distracted, he bumped into a fallen piece of maple, so misshapen by a burl he hardly recognized it as a tree. Looking deep into its strange curves, Raven got an idea. He flew to surfer and snowboarder and snatched their longboard in his beak.

What are you doing? They yelled.

This board is made for water; I’ll bring you back a board designed for longboarding.

Raven flew back to the piece of wood and, with the surfboard as a model, used his beak to carve a new longboard. He attached the wheels and trucks to the new board, then flew it back to surfer and snowboarder.

Snowboarder looked at the rich brown colors of the maple; took a deep whiff of its subtle smells; and was instantly reminded of the powdery glades he used to ride through. Surfer followed the winding grain patterns of the figured wood with his finger; caught the shimmer of tiger stripes across the board; and instantly felt the motion of waves.

Raven made this longboard and gave it to surfer and snowboarder; not just as a tool, but as a reflection of their roots. And this is how Raven brought art to board sports.