Sometimes, when I’m feeling anxious or in need of a distraction, I search for a quick writing prompt and just let the words fly with no thought, no planning. Here is the result:
Flash Fiction Writing Prompt #1
A straight-A high school student falls in love with the troll who lives in her locker.
Heavy rain fell at Wicklow High School. Leaves from a shedding Sugar Maple clogged Building Three’s gutter and overpour sheeted the windows. Inside, a warning bell sounded, the halls emptied, and the second period began for all students except one. Mattie stood at her locker. She leaned in so that her forehead pressed against the cool metal.
“I thought we were going to run away together,” she whispered.
The troll who lived in her locker held out his pocked hand.
Mattie grasped tightly, “You promised,” she said.
The faint smell of lingonberry and wet soil wisped as the troll shifted his weight onto Mattie’s Intermediate French book. “I just can’t,” he said.
“But I don’t understand. You said you love me.”
“My family doesn’t approve,” the troll admitted.
She looked hurt, and tears began. “But I’ve got straight A’s this year, and I’ve never been in any trouble. Why wouldn’t they approve of me?”
As the troll searched for the right response, Mattie let go of his hand. She said, “I’ll never give up on us. I’ll go talk to your family, and I won’t leave until they like me.”
She slammed the door of her locker and hurried away. The troll sat there in the mostly dark, thinking of Mattie and the figure she’d cut as she walked up the craggy hill to his family’s cave. He imagined the sweet sound of her voice as she called out for them. He knew they’d like her. Probably with cabbage and carrots.
Before I get too far into this, let me state for the record:
I do not have children, biological or otherwise.
There were a few vague months spent in Mississippi back in the mid-90s which I can’t account for with complete accuracy. But I’m pretty sure that I didn’t give birth during that time.
I say pretty sure because, now that I think about it, I did find a bottle of neonatal vitamins in the back of my car. There was no reason for me to have a bottle of neonatal vitamins. But there was also a circular saw and the torso of a shop mannequin which was zebra striped with spray paint. I don’t suppose there was a reason for those things to be in my car either.
About me having children though, while I have none of my own, I do have three nephews. They should count as mine in a partial sort of way because I 1) bought them a lot of stuff and 2) my behavior held some sway in their overall delinquency. And, after all, isn’t that what parents do to a large extent? Buy their kid lots of stuff and affect their development in either a positive, negative, or combo/biggie sized sort of way?
Ah, yes… I’ll have the number 3 Combo. Value sized. With hang-ups about my body on that Bruised Self-Image and instead of Codependence, I’ll have… let me see… I’ll have Unable to Maintain Intimate Relationships. And can I please add a large order of Controlling Parents resulting in Stubborn Children? Great, thanks…
I love my nephews and couldn’t imagine anything happening to them unless I did it myself. I mean, haven’t we all fantasized about throwing children into the drainage ditch behind Wal-Mart?
My nephews are older now. They could get themselves out of the drainage ditch behind Wal-Mart if I threw them in there. Nephew 1 has two kids of his own. (Side Note to Nephews 2 & 3: I’m not convinced that spreading our genes any further is the best idea. Perhaps we should do everybody a favor and let Nephew 1’s contribution to the population be our apology to the world. May those two precious demon spawn go forth and prosper.)
Even though the three boys aren’t technically my children, I still know what it feels like to be all Mother Bear about them. What I’m trying to say is, I sort of get it. I sort of get parenthood as much as a person who hasn’t actually had children of her own can sort of get it.
Tonight I went out for a drive with my dog.
Yeah, that wasn’t a very smooth segue, was it? All the parents reading this who were already skeptical about giving me the benefit of the doubt about ‘getting’ parenthood are now rolling their eyes and clicking off this page never to return. “Did you see what she wrote? She went out for a drive with her dog? I’ve got three kids, chewed up Cheerios in my hair, and school just started back. But this bitch went out for a drive with her dog. OH, and she sort of gets parenthood…”
So, tonight I went out for a drive. While I was out I saw one of these signs in a neighbor’s front yard:
DRIVE LIKE YOUR KIDS LIVE HERE
The Drive Like Your Kids Live Here website offers some soul-crushing statistics about how many children are injured or mortally wounded per year in motor vehicle accidents.
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children 14 years of age and younger!
Every day in the United States an average of 3 children are killed in motor vehicle accidents!
Every day in the United States an average of 500 children are injured in motor vehicle accidents!
Every day motor vehicles kill more children than any disease!
None of these statistics are laughing matters and I’m not trivializing the importance of the campaign. If anything, I want you to share a laugh with me here, go and buy one of these signs, and put it in your yard asap.
But, I mean… come on! It does leave some room…
When the dog and I got home, I posted a quick ha-ha on Facebook about the sign I saw but, the more I think about it, the more I mean it.
Imagine: Typical Southern Momma Voice:
Drive like YOUR kids live here? Uh-uh… That’s assuming way too much. You best drive like MY kids live here and you KNOW I’m gone whoop your butt if you come tearing by like a bat out of hell.
Drive like your kids live here, my foot. Cos, I’ve seen the way some of y’all raise them little heathens. Don’t be driving like them miscreants is in my neighborhood or you’ll wake up one morning with four flat tires and one of these signs parked where the sun don’t shine. Can I get an amen?
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