by Matthew Sanborn Smith
Hervé only lived a month for every word in this story. And you'll say, "Well, that's not very long." And you will be right, because by the time you're done reading this sentence, three years will have already passed. Hervé pissed through his words like they grew on trees. We all do when we're kids. That's not to say he didn't love life. He had his kicks. But when you don't know what they're worth, it's not unusual to really, really, really waste your words in activities that amount to nothing nothing nothing. He began to see people all around him running out of words and there wasn't a lot of epic poetry in the paper they left behind. No novels. A lot of job applications and flyers.
Here he was, just turning eleven when the realization hit him. Life wasn't to be squandered. But what to do? He had no idea, so he pitched in with the dishes. He recycled, visited the elderly. He'd no great vision, instead choosing to help and use every word as wisely as he could. So many throughout history had made their mark young; that was the reality. No screwing around because you'd be lucky if you ever saw forty. At seventeen, Hervé's life was nearly over but he had no way of knowing. He lived like it was, not hiding under a bed, but talking to people, letting them in on the one secret he'd found: Every Word Is Precious.
Two-hundred and sixty words: twenty-one years or so. It went fast didn't it?