The Blue Racer

Avatar Author: Bob Liddil I am an author of science fiction, general fiction short stories, poetry, and non-fiction. I have been published in several genres, including fantasy and poetry, as well as non fiction. At one time I published my own c... Read Bio

In the dawn hours of “Lizard Day” at YMCA summer camp, I woke up so psyched I could barely lie still in my bunk. It was three days until my birthday – I would turn 13 on the 4th of July.

Lizard Day was a camp tradition. We kids spent the whole day chasing the very best lizards the pine woods had to offer. Over the past six summers, I had honed my lizarding skills to such a fine edge that I was positive I would capture the rarest and most elusive of all lizards, the blue racer, and win a feather of honor for my cabin-tribe.

I dressed and crept away into the woods to a stand of trees near the pond we swam in. Camp legend told that the racer could be found at sunrise on the 1st day of July. It was true. Within an hour I had my prize.

He was beautiful. He stared at me sadly through the glass, his freedom gone. In that instant, I knew what I had to do.

I had captured my childhood in a jar. I won the game and I knew it. I unscrewed the lid and let him go.

From then on, the legend of the blue racer only grew.

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Comments (8 so far!)

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  1. Avatar Riley

    totally what I would do.. XD nice story!

  2. Avatar Sir Bic


    Reading this piece was like staring into a Norman Rockwell picture. At one time that sort of world really did exist! A world when the wonders of childhood were contained in a glass jar instead of programmed into a computer. When the worst you felt was when you had to let a lizard go free. You felt proud to do the right thing and didn’t insist to have the rights to do wrong.

    Thanks Bob, we all need to go there sometimes.

  3. Avatar Wednesday [PJ] ((LoA))

    Wonderfully poetic… in the last moments of childhood before teenagerdom, childhood is captured and we begin to grow up.
    I wonder if the legend grows because every one who captures it realise what they have captured and does the same.

    I have to say, I would bring it back first. I was always a very competitive child.

  4. Avatar ElshaHawk (LoA)

    I would have had to share it. guess I’m still not very mature.. i would let it go after that, but the thunder and legend and romanticism would have been killed.

  5. Avatar Kihd

    When I lived in North Carolina, my friends and I would do this with anoles. Those things are wicked fast, and it’s nasty when their tail falls off and wriggles around in your hand. I miss those days, Indiana has nothing but lakers and corn.

    I felt a pang in my heart when he “stared at me through the glass, his freedom gone.”. I think I would have let it go, too. Wonderful story!

  6. Avatar Spageti

    I would like the story more if there was more pacing. Right now it reads “There was this, and then this happened, and then I found the frog. And won! I let it go.”

  7. Avatar Spageti

    All is fine up to “It was true. Within an hour I had my prize.”

    Then it gets rushed and has no pacing. The catch deserves telling. The centerpiece of fiction is conflict. A character desires something and getting it is the important part.

    The ending is weirdly rushed. With more of a catch story, understanding the rarity of catching such a frog would warrant legend status. However, the catch story was not told, so the glory and apparent difficult in the act is uncaptured.

    2 stars.

  8. Avatar Tad Winslow

    This is a bigger story. But I appreciate the concise nature in which you present it to us at the end and how that contrasts with the full and vibrant way in which you set up the scene in the beginning. This is a great representation of dual writing styles— no doubt done in order to appease the 1024 character gods ;) but enjoyable to read nonetheless.

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