Optimism at its finest

(scene opens in dawn-tinged bedroom)

Gamma: (comes running in)
Me: (opens eyes right before impact)
Gamma: I graduated! Today I go to first grade.
Me: (in amused pity) No, honey, the graduation ceremony was early. You have two more days of kindergarten.
Gamma: (face falls in shocked disappointment) But I’m a first grader now!
Me: (gently) You don’t go to first grade until August. You have two more days of kindergarten.
Gamma: (crushed) I was robbed. (slumps out of the room)
Husband: (mumbled into pillow) For someone who had such a hard year, that was a resolute show of spirit.
Me: Now she has all summer to get even more excited.

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Threefold rule

(scene opens in crowded foyer, conversation in progress)

Gamma: I don’t want my toys to become voodoo!
Beta: No, your toys aren’t voodoo, there are dolls called voodoo dolls.
Gamma: But that’s scary! I don’t want voodoo dolls.
Beta: Your dolls don’t become voodoo dolls, they’re something totally different.
Gamma: But they hurt people! If you punch them don’t I get hurt?
Beta: I don’t know how it works actually.
Me: (rubbing forehead) It’s time to go, guys. Let me get my jacket on and I’ll explain sympathetic magic to you on the way to school, okay?
Gamma: Yay! Mommy is teaching us magic!

Scarred, I tell you

(scene opens in echoing Legoland cafe, filled with screaming kids)

Gamma: Mom, who’s that lady with the red hair?
Me: (turns, sees wall covered with portraits of superhero min-figs) That’s Poison Ivy. She and Harley Quinn are girlfriend-girlfriend.
Gamma: Huh. Which on is Batman’s girlfriend?
Me: Catwoman.
Gamma: Oh. Can I have goldfish with my pizza?

Power of a name

(scene opens in toy tossed bedroom)

Me: Enough, Gamma. I’ve been after you all week to pick up.
Gamma: But I did!
Me: (enhancing her calm) You have not. Look, I’ll help.
Gamma: But it is!
Me: (ignoring, pointing to books) Put these on the shelves. (pulls out bin) Put the dolls in here. I’ll collect the dirty laundry.
Gamma: (uncertain) Okay.
Me: (picks up jeans to reveal an Elves Lego min-fig) Here. Put David Bowie in the Lego box.
Gamma: David Bowie? How do you know his name is David Bowie?
Me: That’s the Goblin King. Everyone knows the Goblin King’s name is David Bowie.
Gamma: Thanks mom.

Moar Carrot’s Book Review

In today’s shameless promotions, we’ve got an independent author Leonard Petracci.

For those who are unaware, there is a website called Reddit and within their many forums is a Writing Prompt. People post the theme/scenario and anyone who wishes can submit their flash fiction. Sometimes they become longer, becoming mini-novellas posted under that topic in itty bitty chapters. Occasionally, the Muses take them and a novel is born from a simple prompt.

Personally, I tend to favor the science-fiction prompts as they provide entertaining escapism from the World of Today(tm) and it’s many uncertain political woes. That means you might find more of these Reddit Authors being shamelessly promoted her in the future. Who doesn’t need a good read?

So, onto The Bridge: A Science Fiction Survival Story

It only comes in Kindle format, what with that independent author status and all. For $2.99 I thought I got a good read. The concept (writing prompt) was simple – generation ship heading to a planet and over time the inhabitants lost understanding and knowledge of who they were, where they were going, and even the technology of the ship itself.

I think the main character could have been fleshed out a bit more, as most of the story was from his perspective, but you still got a real sense of his feelings an motivations throughout the story. The culture shifts on the generational ship from spacefaring to….not spacefaring…seem very plausible given the limitations of their environment and what was necessary to keep society alive. Some of it was shockingly cruel, but if it was a question of life and death, what other option would there be?

I have to admit to practically skimming the last few chapters in a desperate race to get to the ending to see how it all played out, so the minute details are lost to me, not that I would give you a detailed summary of how it ended anyway. Take the fact that I sped read it as an indication of how tightly the story had me.

I give this book a “Speculative Anthropology” – which only sounds boring to the non-nerds. I’ll add “With Spaceships” for the rest of you.

Literary Skills

(scene opens in cluttered dining room)

Beta: Mom what are these?
Me: (already through) What do they look like?
Beta: Star Wars books. But what are they for?
Me: Read the whole cover. (watches his eyes skip from the logo to the fine print at the bottom)
Beta: They’re for first grade.
Me: Beta, read the whole thing.
Beta – (long silence) OH! This one is for reading and this is writing. And math.
Me – Can you tell me why the last thing you read on this page was the big white letters, easily taking up 3/5ths of the page? Instead of maybe starting at the top and reading your way down?
Beta – Uh….I don’t know.
Me – (thinking about how much money she’s going to save on not sending kids to college)

I am the law!

(scene opens in kitchen, mother scooping ice cream)

Me: Thank you for bringing in Gamma’s bike, Beta.
Beta: (suspicious) What did she tell you.
Me: Thank you for bringing in Gamma’s bike.
Beta: What do you mean?
Me: (annoyed) I saw you put Gamma’s bike in the garage. Thank you.
Beta: Why are you thanking me?
Me: (throws spoon in the sink) Christ, Beta, you put Gamma’s bike away. Thank you for doing that. Is this where I compliment you for doing something nice without being asked and you use it as a moment to get someone in trouble?
Beta: (crossly) I didn’t do it to be nice, I took her bike away because she went to the park after you said she couldn’t.
Me: (puts ice cream away) You just can’t let an opportunity pass by, can you? You can’t just say “You’re welcome, Mom” when I tell you thank you for something. You just have to rat out the smallest infraction?
Beta: (pouts)
Me: You can get your own ice cream.

Feeling pretty

(scene opens in gloomy early morning dining room)

Me: (clicking laptop, nursing black coffee)
Gamma: (full of life and delight) Mom! Put this in your hair.
Me: (leans down without question, gets purple flower barrette clicked in place)
Gamma: There! Now you’re a real mom!
Me: I wasn’t a real mom before?
Gamma: Real moms wear flowers in their hair.

Mentoring

(scene opens in destroyed dining room)

Me: Alpha, I have something to talk to you about.
Alpha: Yeah?
Me: Remember the hard time you used to have in school? The yelling, the running out of the classroom?
Alpha: You’re going to tell me that Gamma is doing the same thing?
Me: Yeah. For the same reasons. She’s got some kids picking on her. I thought that maybe you could talk to her and give her some advice on how it feels and how it’ll get better and how we’re trying to help.
Alpha: Okay. (leaves)

(short time passes)

Me: (heading downstairs to cluttered basement, finds Alpha) You’re playing Xbox?
Alpha: Yeah. Where else would I be?
Me: I thought you were talking with your sister and trying to help her out by sharing some of your hard earned wisdom.
Alpha: I have to do that now?

Close as I’m going to get today

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen, sandwich fixings crowding the counter)

Me: Okay, Alpha, this is very important.
Alpha: (eyes fastened on the industrial sized jar of pickles) Piiiiicccckkkklllles
Me: Alpha. Do not drink the pickle juice. I can take that juice and put it in that ice cream maker (points to top of the cabinet) and we can have pickle juice slushies.
Alpha: (shocked) But….wait…pick…. I don’t think I want…
Me: Look into your heart, you know it to be true.
Alpha: Slushies. (in wonder) Of pickle juice.
Me: We can make this happen. You and me.
Alpha: (dazed look)

Simple skills

(scene opens in workspace, the floor ankle deep in bolts of fabrics)

Gamma: Mom! Can I have some fabric for making doll clothes?
Me: Sure. (paws through scrap pile for silk bits)
Gamma: Thanks mom! Hey, what are doll clothes.
Me: (pressing seam open in a cloud of steam) For dolls?
Gamma: No, what are they for?
Me: Doll clothes are for dolls to wear. (sits down at the serger)
Gamma: Mom, do you know anything about clothes?
Me: (side eye) Apparently not.