Monday, July 13, 2009

Fiction: The Last Draftsman

Posted By on Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 8:39 AM

I was the last real draftsman. Now they all do CAD, a lewd acronym for "computer-aided design." I never learned CAD; refused to learn CAD. I know this attitude ruined my life, but I don't care. I've watched CAD remove the soul from buildings, replace flesh-and-blood people with scale figures, and reduce neighborhoods to parking lots. CAD has destroyed much, much more than I ever have. They should throw CAD in jail, instead of me!

I bet this stinking prison cell was done on CAD! Width of shoulders to be greater than width of windows; surfaces to be continuous; click and drag; click and drag. Believe me, this prison cell is NOT conducive to rehabilitation.

The first time I drove a burning vehicle into a shopping mall, I made a couple of minor mistakes. 1.) I lit the fire in the trunk, instead of out front with the heavy, facade-penetrating part of the car. 2.) I used my own car.

I corrected those errors the next time, and then, too, the last time. In all three cases, the targets of my fiery assaults were CAD-designed shopping mall storefronts. Garish, stupid, stucco things built only, and precisely, to corral gaggles of mindless shoppers to their financial doom! Who wouldn't want to drive a flaming car into that?

Why couldn't my boss just let me keep drafting manually? "There's no time for this type of drawing anymore," she said. "It's hard to put these on disc," she said. "How's Planning supposed to red-line these?" she said. So, I was sent out to shopping mall sites where I measured sprinklers and fire escapes. To be perfectly honest, I suppose that experience did make me a better arsonist.

In my last two mall attacks, the fires spread to other stores. I try to be good at whatever I do. I try to improve; that's just how I am. A local paper reported that my third fire damaged fifteen stores. Gay GAP, Christian Book Censors, and Chinese Plastic Shiny! were total losses, which made it a hate-crime. I'll be in here for a while.

My old, oak drafting table is now collecting mold in a musty basement. My former tools - pens, pencils, triangles, compasses, rulers - are thrift store ephemera. My blueprints must be yellowed and brittle. But, my ideas? They haven't changed. Not at all.

For example, the other day I traded a favor for a box of matches. What did I do with the matches? Did I burn my cellmate's disgusting mattress? I did not. Instead, I cut the soles of my shoes into strips, burned the strips into charred ashes, and rolled the ashes into little snakes using thin leaves from the prison yard. In short, I made my own charcoal sticks, and I've been using them to draft the front and side elevations of Notre Dame Cathedral - from memory! - onto my cell wall.

Believe me, architecture isn't what it used to be.