Mellon Collie and the Infinite Vector Traces

(This is a short story about some of the less-fun work interns tend to encounter.  This is an entirely dramatized and completely personal account, and is in no way meant to reflect poorly on anyone other than myself.  Enjoy.)


The days all kind of blur together anymore.  I think it began about three weeks ago if it ever began at all.  I am no longer certain of anything.

What they tell me is a client had ordered a 10 minute “whiteboard video” for their website.  Typically you just videotape an illustrator drawing, speed it up, and make sure it syncs to the voiceover.  However, the illustrator, they say, would not be able to draw them quick enough.  So, we were using a program that would animate a hand drawing the pictures.  However, all our drawings from the illustrator are pen and paper, and the program only works with vector drawings.  They say.

So we began tracing every curve, every contour, carefully, precisely.  After weeks of draining, creative work this was mindless; even soothing at times.  We began finishing traces slowly at first, then faster and faster.  The sketches kept coming and we kept tracing.  The sense of accomplishment diminishing with each one.

Soon they stopped giving us other work.  I would come in and trace at the beginning of the day and at the end, I would still be tracing.  No matter how many I finished there were always five more in my inbox waiting to be started.   Friends had come and gone, but the traces remained.

Every time I asked how far along we were I would get a different answer.  We were halfway done, we were less than halfway, it seemed as though we were going backwards.  When I closed my eyes at the end of the day I would see only the traces.  I’d color them in but they would never get any more finished.  Lines vanished as I drew.   I’d open my eyes in the morning and my bedroom surroundings would only appear in the white and dimmed grey of the tracing templates.

I became something less than human.  I became tracer.  As humans are only the biological catalysts of the creation of God, I became the catalyst of the creations of this unseen illustrator.  I began to see this illustrator as a deity, I began to worship him; to doubt his existence; to doubt my own.

“This is forever.” I told myself.  “Forever is tracing.”  Even after I die, I was convinced:  There is no Heaven, there is no Hell, there is only tracing.  I’m not sure there was ever a time when I was not tracing.  The memories from before; my family, friends, lovers, they all seemed like imagination, delusions of a tortured soul.  That sounds right.  




“Hey Joe.”




“Sick of those sketches yet?”

“You have no idea.”

“Yeah, sorry.  You guys got ’em done though.  I got a new project I want you to start thinking about, it should be cool.”





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