When Charlie was younger, he liked to scribble on the walls of his room. He eventually saw the merit of being able to carry around his artwork and share it with everyone, but for a time Marianne was constantly telling him, “Charlie, we draw on paper not walls.”
“But the walls are boring,” Charlie would say. “They need more pictures.”
“Mommy gets to pick the pictures for the walls,” Marianne said.
“But can’t I pick just one?” Charlie asked.
“Nope, not even Daddy can,” Marianne said. “Just me.”
And it was mostly true. Isaac was only able to pick two pictures for the walls of the house. For a while, Marianne only knew about one of them. Above his desk, Isaac hung a picture of dinosaurs. He and Charlie liked to look at it and tell stories about what the dinosaurs were doing and thinking.
The other was one of Charlie’s scribbles. Isaac wasn’t sure if he’d picked the scribble or if the scribble had picked him. One day, when Charlie had drawn on his walls for a third time, Isaac offered to clean off the drawings while Marianne took Charlie out to talk and weed the garden.
He had finished scrubbing away most of the crayon, when a little scribble that looked like a blue and yellow puppy started to wiggle. It blinked its purple eyes and wagged its tail. Then it hopped up on its three stumpy legs and ran around in a circle on the wall. It was cute and happy, and Isaac didn’t want to scrub it away.
So, he finished scrubbing the rest of the drawings and scratched the puppy on the head. He managed to lead it down the hallway to the patch of wall next to the dinosaur painting. It ran under the picture and popped into the painting.
It ran around and nibbled on leaves and tried to get the dinosaurs to play. When they didn’t move at all, the puppy finally settled down and fell asleep behind a tree. Just its nose was poking out from behind the trunk.
When Charlie and Marianne came back in, Charlie apologized to Isaac for the extra work and offered to help him with a chore. It was a bright sunny day, so Isaac helped Charlie put on some more sunscreen and they went out and washed the car.
After that, when Isaac was home alone, sometimes the puppy would jump out of the dinosaur painting and follow him around the house, trailing along the wall behind him. Isaac would scratch its ears gently and draw shapes on the wall with his finger while the puppy chased it around. Isaac named him Scribbles.
One day, Isaac was packing to travel to another town for more training for work. It was going to be long and boring and too far from home to come back in the evenings. Scribbles came bounding into the room and ran around the wall in loops trying to catch his attention.
“Hi, Scribbles,” Isaac said, pausing to play. “I’m going to miss you too. I don’t even have a picture in my wallet of you.” He looked at his wallet sitting on the dresser. A business card would be just the right size to cover up the puppy.
“Puppy,” he asked, “would you like to come with me on my trip?”
The puppy bounced around on its three legs and wagged its tail. Well, maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn’t. He pulled out a business card from the local nursery. He’d picked it up when he’d bought more potting soil for Marianne.
Isaac turned the card blank side up and pressed it against the wall. The puppy ran around the card, coming close to examine it, running off, and coming in close again. Finally, it ran underneath the card. A few moments later and pop, the puppy was sitting on the card, wagging its tail.
Isaac took the card off the wall. “Are you sure you want to come?” he asked. He walked around with the card for a few minutes and then pressed it against the wall again. The puppy curled up and stayed on the card.
Isaac folded the card into some wax paper to keep it safe. Scribbles came with him on his trip. He scratched its ears during the long boring meeting and let it chase his finger around the little card. In the evenings, he let it off the card to run around the walls and stretch its legs.
Then Scribbles would come back and sit on the wall in front of Isaac, waiting to be put on the card again. Isaac let it off the card in the mornings too, and sometimes at lunch.
When Isaac got home, he let Scribbles off the card. Scribbles ran around the house and dove into the dinosaur painting. Isaac started making dinner for when Marianne and Charlie got home from Charlie’s swimming lessons.
The next day, Scribbles was waiting on the wall when Isaac was gathering his things for work. “I don’t want to wear away your crayon by carrying you in my wallet too often, Scribbles,” he said. Scribbles followed him all the way to the door.
At lunchtime, Isaac went to a copy shop and got a blank business card laminated. That afternoon, he held it against the wall. The puppy jumped on without any problems. Isaac ran his fingers over the card and couldn’t feel the crayon marks. He held it back up to the wall and waited until scribbles popped off the card. His idea worked.
After that, sometimes Scribbles came with Isaac to work. Or to the library. Or the grocery store. Scribbles liked to see new places and never made any noise. So it mostly went well.
One day, Marianne saw Scribbles in his wallet. “Oh, did you laminate one of Charlie’s drawings? That is so sweet. I should do that too! If I pick one, will you get it laminated for me just like that?”
“Of course I will,” Isaac said. “I love Charlie’s drawings. This one’s my favorite.”
“I can see why,” Marianne said. “It looks so happy. Just like Charlie.”