Thursday, June 04, 2009

Flash Fiction Challenge

The challenge was to get the words "a wedding cake in the middle of the road" somewhere in the piece.

Tit For Tat

Me and Timmy wanted to take a road trip but we couldn't drive cause I'm ten and he's eight and my mom said it would be six more years fore I could get my license but I don't have six years which is somethin my mom doesn't know cause I ain't told her.

I gotta get out of here now.

And I gotta get Timmy out, too.

The thing is our dad beats us up bad and Mom doesn't stop him. Maybe cause she's too busy doin her work.

I thought about tellin Mrs. Fisher at school, but then she'd have to tell my dad and after that he'd beat me worse. Mrs. Fisher didn't know what Dad did cause he never hit me on my face. That's why nobody knew.

Timmy said we should tell Mom. But what does an eight year old know? And what could she do about it anyways?

See, Dad knocked her for a loop. I didn't know what that meant but I heard her on the phone tell my Aunt Becky, "George knocked me for a loop last night." And then she started cryin.

At school I asked Charlie Dunbar what a loop was. He said his older brother, who was in the Air force, sometimes flew his plane in a loop. I didn't think that was what my mom meant. So I asked Mrs. Fisher.

"Well it can be many things." She showed me in the dictionary but none of the meanings answered my question.

I decided then and there that it didn't matter and I wasn't gonna waste any more time on it. The important thing was he knocked her around. Knocked her for a loop.

So why hadn't she run away herself? For awhile I thought it was because of us, leaving us alone with him and all, but she could've taken us with her. Couldn't she? I think she liked Dad too much to leave. She liked him better than me and Timmy. I figured if we ran away she probably wouldn't miss us. Not notice, maybe.

Whatever her reasons we needed to get out today. Before Dad came home from hanging out with his friends at Smitty's bar which he always did on Saturdays. The thing was he was always drunk like a skunk when he came home. And if we were still there when he banged into the house he'd beat the hell out of us. See. Now what did that mean? Hell was inside us? Hell was supposed to be below and heaven above. How could you beat the hell out of someone? But that was what he always said.

"Get over here Bill. I'm gonna beat the hell out of you."

He always made us come to him for the beatings, never came over to us. Sometimes Timmy would run outside, but when he came back, Dad made him come over and he'd beat the hell out of him.

Dad didn't usually get home on a Saturday until about five so our plan was when Mrs. Crawford came to the door for her pickup we'd yell to Mom through the window that we were goin over to our neighbors to play. But we wouldn't leave right away. Me and Timmy would stick around to hear what Mrs. C. said and then we'd leave and run through the yards and over the fences until we got to the highway where we'd hitch a ride with somebody. How hard could that be?

Earlier, setting things up had been tougher than I thought it was gonna be. We almost fell twice. What a mess that woulda been and not fun neither. We had to take it from the back porch where Mom put them until people made their pickups, carry it around the side of the house and go through some trees so Mom wouldn't see us and then get it out there.

The bell rang and Timmy and me looked at each other. My heart started beatin hard. "Mom, we're goin over to the Fergusson's."

"Okay. Be back for dinner."

"We will."

"We better go," Timmy said.

"Not yet, I told you. We have to hear what Mrs. Crawford says."

I heard Mom leave the kitchen and walk to the front door.

"Hello, Jane. C'mon in."

"What the heck is going on, Alice?"
I already felt like laughin.

"What do you mean?" Mom said.

"Well, there's a wedding cake in the middle of the road out there. I hope that's not the one for my daughter."

It was.

"What are you talking about, Jane?"

Timmy was pullin at my sleeve. I shook him off.

"I'm telling you, there's a beautiful three tiered wedding cake sitting right in the middle of the road."

"Ohmigod," Mom said.

"Now," I said to Timmy.

We ran fast as deer and made it through the yards and over the fences in no time. When we got to the highway we were out of breath but Timmy said,

"Isn't Dad gonna knock Mom for a loop when he finds out she lost that wedding cake sale?"

"Yeah," I said. "I expect he will."


sandra seamans said...

Great story, Sandra. I loved the voice!

r2 said...

I did too. The kid's pov was really well done. I wondered how you were going to get the cake in there. Wonderful story.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Tremendous voice. And it so reminded me of expressions we use with my grandson that make no sense to a kid. It seems like there are more of them everyday with technology intruding.

Dana King said...

The confusion about the expressions really sets the story in the boy's voice. I'd about forgotten the cake requirement until you dropped it in there. Nice surprise, leaving the unifying piece for the end.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Thanks for writing this. I really enjoyed it. You have captured the child's voice and view perfectly.


Paul Brazill said...

yep, great POV and a cruel but funny ending.

MTA said...

Hoping to have all-inclusive because my English is far from excellent ...
J'aime beaucoup, beaucoup. Here we find the world of childhood intact. Beautiful performance, beautiful story, beautiful writing.

Sandra Scoppettone said...

Thanks to all.

Barbara Martin said...

Excellent story.

Shannon said...

Sandra, what a terrific treat to find this story. I remember the NPR challenge many years ago. The stories that came from that phrase were so very different from each other, each one a gem, as is yours.