What’s in this picture?

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This is a recent illustration by Smoke. It might be my favorite picture he’s ever drawn. I’m guessing you might need a little help understanding the story, so here goes. The drawing takes place at Smoke’s best friend’s house, where there is a particularly steep flight of stairs. This staircase is an endless source of fun and fascination. Currently, Smoke and his best friend like to build forts at the landing. They’ve also been known to slide down these stairs on a sleeping bag. This picture features, from left to right, me, Smoke, and Smoke’s best friend shouting “No!”

Me, Smoke, and Smoke's best friend saying "No!"

Me, Smoke, and Smoke’s best friend saying “No!”

Who are we saying “No” to? Of course it’s Stump.

Stump saying "BYE!"

Stump saying “BYE!”

Stump is climbing the stairs because this is the first thing he does every time he enters this house. In fact, before we even the enter the house, he lights up in anticipation of these stairs. What I love most about this picture is that it so perfectly captures our dynamic. Look at all of us with our No’s, how ridiculous we are, how utterly powerless in the face of Stump’s determination. And then there is Stump, cheerfully oblivious, getting ready to surpass us all. His left hand, sword-like, points to the top of what I know is a staircase, but might also be seen as a mountain. Is he leaving us or leading us? Either way, the three of us stand with our arms in a gesture of helplessness, a trio of suckers.

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