top of page

The Runaways

By: Peggy Crowley Clutz

As the bulldozer rumbled towards me, I wasn’t frightened and knew it would stop in front of me without harm. The debris in the front loader fell out at my feet and the huge machine backed up and quickly disappeared. Totally unnerved I turned around and around but could see no one else, just a pile of different colored letters and symbols. One by one they started moving towards me in a parade – first a bright yellow exclamation mark which seemed to be laughing at me, moving this way and that. I stepped aside as it went on its way toward the woods in the distance. It didn’t take long for a question mark to scurry by and then, almost like a gun went off at the beginning of a race, all the other symbols and letters raced right past me, so close that I could feel a breeze. The pile was now almost down to nothing and being nosy, I walked over to see what was left and there looking up at me was a smiley face which winked and took off to join all the others. The woods were alive with movement since I could see the lower branches of the trees swaying as this crowd blazed a path.

I picked up my backpack and headed towards the woods hoping to catch up and found they had stopped deep inside a clearing surrounding a man in a top hat. He started barking orders and shoving letters and symbols this way and that all the while with a wide grin on his face. After the last comma had been sent off to the left he turned to me and smiled and I recognized him – Mr. Bleaker – my high school English teacher from 1965. He tapped his top hat, smiled at me and said; “Now that’s a runaway sentence.”


Peggy Crowley Clutz escaped the cold of western New York state twice; in 1965 to attend college in Virginia and again in 2004 to move to Smith Mountain Lake, VA. She first started writing childhood memories and now writes poetry and short stories about her surroundings.


bottom of page