The Sketch Pad

Back in the 1980s, there was a young man named Steve Leeman. He was a very talented artist who worked for a rising comic book company. Steve was not only very talented, but his passion was to write horror comics.

So one day he had an idea to show some of his latest horror art to the head editors of the company to see if he could create his own line of comics backed by the company. Steve gathered his drawings and went to the editor’s office to request a meeting.

*knock knock*

The Chief editor spoke to the young man, “Yes, who is it?”

Steve nervously replied, ”Hello Sir, it’s Steve. May I come in?”

Chief spoke excitedly, “Steve my boy, come on in! We’ve been waiting to hear your ideas!”

Steve walked into the office and sat down in front of the chief of editing and the co-editors. He was nervous because he’d never been in the room with all the editors of the company before, but at the same time he was excited to pitch his idea. Steve pulled out his sketches and placed them on the table. The chief editor  thumbed through them, looking at the drawings. He finally sighed before speaking.

“You got some very nice work here, but do you think that it would be too scary for the children?” he asked the young man.

“Well sir, that is the whole entire plan! People love to be scared, even children,” Steve said with excitement in his eyes.

As Steve finished explaining, the second editor spoke up in a rude tone, talking down to Steve.

“That’s not what we do here. We’re here to entertain children, not make them have nightmares and wet the bed,” he grumbled.

Steve looked down. “I know we’re here to entertain children and everything else, but wouldn’t it help to do something different and stray off the path a little?”

The second editor replied, “You may be a talented artist, but we’re not going to get on our hands and knees just so you can change what we already have going here,” he huffed.

Steve looked up at the chief. “I’m not telling you to wait on me on hands and knees. I’m just asking if I could do something different and if it doesn’t work, then we can scrap the project altogether,” he begged.

The second editor looked disgusted at Steve. “I say no. People today are afraid of change. If you go changing something now, it could cause mass panic!” he yelled at the young man.

“Well as much as I like the project, my associate is right. If we go changing something now, there could be problems. I hate to do this, but I’m sorry Steve. Your project has been denied,” the chief said with a sigh.

Steve began begging. “But sir, please. I know if we do this, it will be like nothing else anyone has ever done before. Just give it a chance!” he almost cried

Chief sighed again. “As I said, the answer is still no. Now if that’s all, please leave. I’m very busy today and I haven’t got time for anything else right now,” returning to whatever.

The second editor smiled, “Yeah, go on. Leave as he said. We are very busy. we don’t have time for you or any other foolish ideas,” he smirked

This really angered Steve. In a fit of rage, he yelled at them, swearing, cursing, and threatening to work for another company and take his ideas with him. The chief editor had enough. Standing up, he yelled, “You can’t do that Steve. You are under a binding contract. If you draw something on company premises, it is legally our property and we can do with it as we see fit,” he informed Steve.

Steve stormed off slamming the door behind him. He was so angry and so fed up that his ideas were not getting used. He wanted to boycott the company.

So the frustrated Steve did the only thing he knew to calm down and asked to go down to the company’s storage unit. There he would go through old equipment that they didn’t use anymore to find ideas for a cleaner comic idea in which he could use to shove up their corporate asses.

As Steve dug through the past, he came across an old trunk. It was dusty and aged, ravaged by time. It made Steve curious of what was in it so he opened the trunk. He peered inside to survey the contents of the trunk, but all he found was an old sketch pad.

Steve looked down. “Oh my, it’s an old notepad. Well since nobody’s using it, I guess I could take it and use it for some ideas,” he thought

As Steve picked it up, he felt a wave of chills run down his back. He shrugged it off as nothing and chalked it up to being a cold chill. He tucked the notepad under his arm, and went back upstairs to his station.

He noticed this notepad was different from any other. The notepad had a wooden frame holding the pages in place, each with a golden edge. On the wooden frame, there was a carving of a demon-like figure but Steve didn’t care about that. He just saw it as a tool for his work.

As he was sitting at his desk, he looked at the notepad thinking about drawing something like most artists did.

He didn’t have any work to do so he figured he would play around a little bit. Being angry at the editors, he figured he would draw them getting punished by the comic book characters that they loved so much!

Steve said to himself, “Let’s see how they like it when one of their beloved superheroes punish them for their ignorance…” he growled

He started to draw on the sketch pad. The first victim he drew was the chief editor and in it,  he depicted one of the characters called “Super Strong” tossing a car on the chief killing him.

Steve smiled at his work, “I’ll teach you to trash my projects. Who’s trash now?”

He had a good laugh, but it soon turned to dread when he heard the news that came after. The chief editor’s secretary made an announcement that would change Steve’s life forever.

The Secretary called on the intercom, “Attention everyone. I have some sad news. Your boss, our head editor, was killed today when he was at lunch. Apparently, a car crashed through the window of his favorite restaurant killing him instantly.”

Hearing the news, Steve’s stomach dropped. He thought to himself that this had to be nothing but a big coincidence as he looked at the pad on his desk with the drawing of his boss being crushed by a car. He decided it was a coincidence and went back to work.

The very next day, the second editor was promoted to chief, the same editor that was a real a*****e to Steve. He didn’t think it was going to change anything for him, that is until the new chief editor came up to him and started hounding him about a project he was working on.

The new chief spoke to him, “Mr. Leeman, I want you to work overtime tonight. No breaks whatsoever and don’t think about pitching any of your stupid ideas, got that?”

Steve mumbled under his breath. “Yes, you pain in the a*s.”

The new chief smirked, “What was that Leeman? I don’t think I heard you correctly.”

Steve he looked down, “I said yes sir, chief editor sir.”

The new chief put on a wide grin, “That’s what I thought you said. Now get to work you lazy piece of s**t.”

The last words the chief said highly pissed Steve off, but he just took a deep breath and went on with his day. He worked like a dog taking no breaks and hardly any bathroom trips until everything was done.

When he’d finally finished each drawing and commentary, he got up to present them to the new editor.

*knock knock*

The new chief growled under his breath, “Yes, what is it? I’m very busy.”

Steve smiled, “Yes sir, it’s me. I finally finished the work you asked for.”

The New chief rolled his eyes, “Yes, come in.”

Steve walked into the office that had once belonged to the old chief and sat down. That’s when he noticed the secretary crawling out from under the new chief’s desk. She got up, wiped off her mouth, and buttoned up her blouse. Before she walked out, she asked Steve if she could get him anything. He kindly declined and looked at the new editor with disgust in his eyes. “Did I come here at a bad time sir?” he asked.

The chief smiled looking at the woman. “No Mr. Leeman. My secretary and I were just finishing our discussion,” the chief editor said with a straight face not taking his eyes off of Steve.

He grabbed the stack of papers that Steve had placed on the table and started thumbing through them. He looked at each page pondering, deciding what was good and what wasn’t. When he was through, he took Steve’s hard work and crumpled the paper. Without hesitation, he threw them in the trash.

Steve was shocked and at the same time pissed off. He’d worked like hell on those but they were tossed in the trash like they were nothing. He became really steamed when he heard the chief editor say, “That was garbage. Go back and do it again, maybe I will consider letting you take a break this time. Go on, leave now and don’t waste any more of my time with that garbage.”

Steve grit his teeth and calmly said to the editor, “But sir, I worked so hard on that. You can’t just toss my work in a trash like that.”

“Who the hell do you think you are Mr. Leeman? I’m chief editor, not you! If I say it’s trash, it is f*****g trash so get back to work you piece of s**t artist!” the chief yelled with rage.

Steve stormed out slamming the door behind him almost shattering the glass in the door. He was very pissed off and wouldn’t tolerate the chiefs attitude much longer. In order to relieve stress, Steve did the one thing that he did best and that was to draw his anger out.

Grabbing the sketch pad, he started to draw the chief editor getting electrocuted by a lightning bolt from one of the other superheroes named Quick Thunder. When he was finished, his stress subsided and he was able to go back to finish the work that he was given.

Finally finished with the second drawings, he went to go present them to the chief editor once again. Steve reached his office hearing a loud scream coming from the secretary. At first, he thought it was just the chief editor getting a little bit too friendly with the secretary. That’s when he saw her running out of his office screaming, crying, and calling for an ambulance.

Steve rushed over to the secretary to comfort her. He tried to calm her down so he could understand what had happened.

Steve spoke to her softly, “Lucy calm down and slowly tell me what happened,” he looked at her with worry.

She took slow, deep breaths and calmed down a little so she could tell Steve what happened.

Lucy spoke carefully, “Well, I was going into his office to finish our little conversation from before. He reached over to plug in his lamp because it was getting a little dark in his office. When he did, a jolt of electricity shocked him and he stopped breathing”

After she told Steve this, he started to get worried. Thoughts raced through his mind. “He couldn’t have died by electrocution,” he thought to himself.

The ambulance came and carted off the chief editor. Lucy and Steve were questioned by the police in an attempt to find out what happened. It would eventually be written off as an accident, but Steve knew better. Her knew it wasn’t an accident. The deaths of the two editors were connected to him and that sketch pad that he found.

When the police were finally finished questioning the two, Steve rushed back to his desk to test out his theory. He had to know if it was only a coincidence or the sketch pad made it happen.

He started out slowly and simply by drawing something non-threatening such as an employee bringing in donuts for everybody. When he’d finished, sure enough a fellow employee came in with free donuts everybody!

The employee cheered saying, “Hey everybody! I got free donuts! Apparently someone ordered too much and everyone got a free box. I picked up a whole bunch of boxes full of donuts for everyone!”

Witnessing this, Steve couldn’t believe his eyes. Whatever he drew on the pad came true. It was a miracle. He suddenly had an idea. Maybe the sketch pad could be his gateway to fortune, and possibly make it possible for him to write the horror comics that he wanted.

Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. The more he drew on the pad, the more that happened. He finally made it to the ranks of co-editor through hard work and of course the sketch pad. It killed off those who were dicks to him and rewarding those who were good to him.

That’s when the power of the sketch pad made him power hungry. He thought he was God.

Every time he drew a picture on the pad, he became hungrier and hungrier until he had turned into someone that his colleagues hated. Turning down ideas, and treating them the way the other editors had treated him.

Steve was happy but he’d soon find out happiness comes with a price. Everything was going according to plan for Steve and he finally got what he wanted, an Empire. It was all thanks to the sketch pad he depended on.

One day, he was at a lunch meeting with a big comic book company. They wanted to buy out a big comic book company which turned out to be his. It was a company called Heroes Book Incorporated and they were trying to convince Steve to sell.

The company representatives spoke with Steve, “Mr. Leeman, we want to offer you 20 million dollars for your company.”

Steve shook his head, “My company is not for sale, especially to vultures like you.”

The representatives pleaded, “Please Mr. Leeman, be reasonable. We are offering you a lot of money for this place.”

Steve responded, “I said no. If you can’t take no for an answer, then get the hell out of my f*****g office.”

The company rep begged him, “Please Mr. Leeman be reasonable we are offering you a generous opportunity here!”

Steve sighed, “For the last time, I’m not selling my comic book company. I worked too hard to build this Empire and I will be damned if I sell Marvelous Comics to you!”

The company rep replied, “Very well Mr. Leeman, we will take our leave now.”

The company rep left Steve’s office, but he was very angry that they wanted to buy his precious company Marvelous Comics. He took out the sketch pad and noticed that he only had one piece of paper left. He started to draw one of the comic book characters throwing a boulder at the company holders car killing them instantly.

Surely enough, when he’d finished his drawing that afternoon, the news reported the incident. A huge boulder rolled off a cliff crushing the two people in their car to death. The reporter showed the scene of the accident, a car crushed beyond belief with shards of glass scattered everywhere. Blood-soaked the inside of what was left of the car, and the bodies were completely mutilated. Steve saw this on the news and smiled.

He laughed loudly, “Hahaha they deserved what they got after trying to take away my company. I would rather burn in hell than sell the  company I worked so f*****g hard for. I’ll never give up Marvelous Comics and it’s all thanks to the sketch pad of mine!”

Steve reached in his desk to pull out the sketch pad, but it wasn’t there anymore. It had disappeared without a trace.

The notebook that Steve relied on was gone. “Wait, where is it? It’s not here. Where did it go? I’m nothing without that pad!” he panicked.

Steve looked high and low for it, but it was nowhere to be found at all. He finally gave up and realized he didn’t need the pad. He could mold his company the way he wanted without it. That is until one day, he made a horrible mistake by p*****g off the wrong person. One of his employees dropped by his office to see him. His name was John and he was new to Marvelous Comics. He went to Steve’s office and knocked on the door.

*knock knock*

Steve looked at the door. “Yes, come in John.”

John asked, “You wanted to see me Mr. Leeman?”

He replied, “Yes my boy. Come on in. I would like to talk to you about your art work.”

John sat down and Steve started to talk to him. He told him that his artwork was good, but it wasn’t scary enough and he would have to try harder. Otherwise, he would be let go even though John just started working there. John tried to tell Steve that he was trying his best to meet the criteria of his commands.

John begged him, “I’m trying as hard as I can Mr. Leeman. I can only do so much!”

Steve yelled at the top of his lungs, “Well try harder dammit! I’m trying to run a business here not a charity so either work harder or get the f**k out!”

John replied, “Can you please be reasonable? I will work as hard as I can. I just need a little more time please sir,” he begged the man.

Steve got fed up and told him to get out or he was fired. He growled, “I told you piss for brains. If you don’t get out, you are done here active immediately!”

John turned around and slammed the door behind him leaving a pissed-off Steve in his office alone. Moments after the meeting took place, Steve was relaxing in his chair with not a care in the world until he felt a tightening in his chest. He was having a heart attack. He managed to make it to his door and open it to call out to his secretary. He managed to ask her to call an ambulance before he collapsed on the ground.

By the time the paramedics got there, it was too late. Steve died right there on the spot. The paramedics covered up his body and wheeled him off in front of a crowd of people. Right there in the crowd, was John and he was smiling. Clutched in his hands, was a wooden handled sketch pad with golden trimmed paper…

The End

~ This fictional story was dedicated to the memory of the late, great Stan “The Man” Lee RIP ~

  • Jason Bird

    Really amazing loved it