By G. P. Avants
This short story is a scene from Chronolocity: A Fistful of Chronotons. In an attempt to subtly correct the future timeline, Mr. Cross creates training for key historical figures in their impressionable childhood state. We, are privy to an art class where he is helping a young Adolf Hitler manage some of his negative attitude towards criticism.
“Adolf, I like where you are going with this piece, but I do have a question.” Mr. Cross stops
and thoughtfully rubs his chin.
Adolf holds his brush in mid-stroke. The crease in his thick eyebrows says it all.
“You don’t like my flowers?”
“No,” Mr. Cross begins.
“Not at all? Why?”
“Yes, I mean, wait.”
“I am, why?” The eight-year old hardens. He folds his arms and narrows his brow.
“Because—” Mr. Cross begins.
“That is because I am not an artist like others around me.”
The boy vigorously shakes his brush spraying his face with red and green freckles. “Can you
not make up your mind?”
Mr. Cross holds up his hands. He waits for the boy to cease his angry retorts. “You and I need
to both take a break before we say something we will regret.”
Adolf pinches his lips together.
“Can I clear this up?”
“Good, thank you. Yes, I like your painting. I think you have a very original style.”
A peep of a smile breaks up the boy’s frown.
Mr. Cross holds up a long finger. “I have a few suggestions that I think will make your work
truly stand out.”
“So, it is not perfect?”
“Nothing ever is, no matter how hard you try.” Mr. Cross gave a slight grin. “Trust, Adolf, I
have tried many, many times.”
Adolf crosses his arms and scrunches up his face.
Mr. Cross quietly analyzes the dark-haired boy. “Would you call yourself teachable, Adolf?”
That catches the boy off guard. “What do you mean by that?” he frowns.
“It seems to me that you do not like criticism, correct?”
Adolf sets down his brush. He fidgets in his seat. He appears to have real trouble making eye
“That is what I thought.”
“Everyone has their own opinion and it is not mine.”
“You hate the word, “no,” correct?” Mr. Cross drops into a chair next to him.
“What if I told you no is correction, not rejection?”
Appearing to digest this information Adolf sits up straight and appears at a loss for words.
There is a buzz in Mr. Cross’ earpiece. “Excuse me, Adolf.” He waves a finger. “Please keep
painting. Try lighter strokes in your mid ground.” He saunters up the garden path leaving the boy to digest that idea.
If given an opportunity to speak to a historical figure, who would you choose and why?