The Map of Chad

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Literature Text

“I’m telling you, it works!”
“That is such bullshit,” said Luke.
“What’s bullshit?” asked Hana as she scooted her chair over to them.
Luke picked up the book and showed it to her.
“Chad says he can ‘change the real world’ by writing in this book,” he sneered holding something that looked like everyone else’s textbook, somewhat frayed about the edges and open at the world map page. “Like he’s the fucking Death Note of geography or some—”
“I knew you wouldn’t believe me,” Chad interjected. “That’s why I changed the name of Rafaranda.”
“To what?”
Chad took advantage of Luke’s temporary confusion to snatch back the book.
“Well I...”
“Is that even a real place?” Hana asked again.
“Yes— well, not anymore.”
Luke’s expression changed to fear, which was not a good look for him.
“Don’t tell me you...”
“I named it after myself,” Chad said with a grin.
Hana was still skeptical.
“But Chad is a real life country.”
“No but, it’s been a real life country for like, years. Chad, you didn’t name it after yourself. If anything it would be the other way round.”
“Well look at this then!”
Chad thrust the textbook in her face, one hand clasped protectively around the edge, the other pointing to the four letters of his name scrawled into the heart of Africa in black ballpoint pen. Its original name was scribbled out, though still faintly visible as Rafaranda.
“Okay, so you’ve got a misprinted copy. Big deal.”
“I’ll prove it,” said Chad. “Name any fictitious country you like, and I’ll add it to the world map.”
Hana snickered at him.
“What, like that will make it real?” Chad nodded. “Okay then. Mordor.”
Chad raised his pen.
“Don’t!” said Luke. “That’s full of orcs and shit. Pick a different country.”
“O...kay...” said Hana, Luke’s reaction making her less sure of herself. “How about Madagascar? You know, from the movies.”
“Oh my God, if we actually got talking penguins that would be incredible,” said Chad. And he wasted no time in laying down his pen off the east coast of Africa, to draw a teardrop-shaped blob of land. Luke watched in trepidation as he shaded it in with a pencil and Hana peered over his shoulder to make sure he spelled it correctly.
“Did it work?” said Luke after a lengthy pause.
“I dunno, look it up on your phone.”
“Shit, it’s real!”
Luke had only just begun to take his phone out of his pocket when Hana exclaimed this, staring dumbfounded at the Wikipedia article on her own phone.
“Put your phones away, please,” said Mrs Flett as she strolled past the desk.
“Wait!” Chad called after her. “Can we learn about Madagascar?”
There was a pause.
“In your own time if you wish to study it. But this lesson is about Brazilian slums.”

Hana caught up with them after class.
“...So, what I’m saying is I accidentally made Alaska the 31st state,” said Chad.
“I dunno, I just can’t imagine it being part of Russia,” Luke said as Hana pushed past them.
“Wait!” she said. “I agree with what you said earlier.”
“About what?” said Luke
“That we shouldn’t just create countries because we don’t know what might happen. There could be orcs or, we don’t know. We don’t know what this book is capable of.”
“Methinks we shouldn’t talk about it so loudly in the corridor,” said Chad.

A few minutes later, Chad set the book down on an empty desk in the computer lab.
“Just let me add one more country,” said Luke. “Hana chose the last one, and so—”
“That was just to prove that it worked,” she interjected. “You can’t—”
“Let me have this!” said Luke.
Hana backed down from him, fearing what he might do to the world if she said no.
“So what country will it be then?” asked Chad.
“You know the place where Borat is from...”
“Is niiiice,” Chad quoted.
“No but, what was it called?”
According to Wikipedia, it was called Kazakhstan.
“Make that a real country, I beg of you,” said Luke.
“But that’s really—” Hana began.
“Fucking hilarious?” said Luke. “I think it is. Just don’t put it next to Iraq or shit will go down.”
“Yeah, we probably should be careful not to start any new wars,” Hana said hurriedly.
“Oh and just as another rule,” said Luke, scratching his head. “We probably shouldn’t delete existing countries either. People might have family there. Only add new ones.”
Chad began the border of Kazakhstan at a safe distance from any active war zone, and carved out a sizeable chunk of Russia with his pen, figuring that if any country could stand to lose a bit of land it was Russia.
“That’s not fair, take some from China as well,” said Hana.
And so it was done. The three of them had their fill of laughs while reading online about the thousand-year history of a country that, until a few minutes ago, had not existed. Even Hana laughed a little, in spite of herself.
“Well, I think I’ve made my mark on the world,” Chad said as he nervously slid the book into his rucksack. “I’ll probably just leave it the way it is for a while.”
“Aw really?” said Luke. “You don’t wanna add like, Narnia or something?”
“No, I don’t. I’m really quite happy with the world already.”
“I’m just thinking though,” said Hana. “This book is powerful. If it's used in the right way, it could be a real force for good, when you think about all the...”
Chad’s face was terrible at hiding his guilt.
“Oh God, he’s done something!” said Hana.
“What did you do?” said Luke.
Chad’s face broke out into the biggest grin they’d seen from him today.
“Well, I kind of did erase one country from existence.”
“Which one?” asked Hana.
“Only the CSA.”
“The what?” said Luke.
“Confederate States of America,” said Chad. “No big deal but I did win us the Civil War.”
“Bullshit,” said Luke.
“Total bullshit,” said Hana.
“Here, let me show you the map again...”
This was written in a few hours for a writing prompt on Reddit. (Original thread here:…) I'm rather pleased with how I wrote the dialog. I'm also quite pleased with the response it got.

I actually made the map that appears in this story! You can find it here:…
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