(Stories of exactly 100 words)
"I want to go outside, please."
The other shook her head.
"I want to go outside. Now!"
«No. It's dark out.»
"I can see just fine, thank you. I want to go out."
«No. It's cold out.»
"So I'll wear my fur coat and that ugly sweater you gave me for Christmas. I want to go outside."
«No. It's too late.»
"Tomorrow's Saturday. So I'll miss a few cartoons. Unlock the door."
«You're not going outside.»
"I am old enough to be out by myself, you know."
«Be that as it may, you're not going outside and that's final, Cat.»
The waiting is hard. It's hard to hide the growing panic as minutes tick by without sight of them.
My hands tremble and I clasp them tightly to hide it. My feet urge me to pace, but I force them under my chair. My eyes stray to the window and I drag them back, resolutely, to the television set.
I fight down the urge to stare at the clock. Pay attention to the news. Focus on the drive-by shootings, abductions and murders that make up the headlines.
They're back! They're back!
"You got it? You got my chocolate bar?"
A Quiet Little Corner
The sun was setting as she settled into her favourite corner of the garden. The tang of peppermint, drifting from the herb garden, soothed her spirit, as did the gentle pastels of the darkening sky. She drew her knees up and closed her eyes. A playful zephyr brought the spicy odour of pine. Lilac and lavender teased her nostrils, brought by the same breeze. Rosemary, thyme, sage, wafted past. Somewhere, a dog barked, crickets chirped. An early owl hooted softly.
"Mommy!" a young voice demanded from the house.
She sighed. So much for peace and quiet at bedtime.
Work For An Old Man
He had put off the task of checking the papers as long as possible. Now, it was time. Waiters, cabbies, cleaners, all respectable occupations, but not what he needed. He had no specialized training for most jobs. He was a retired farmer. Was there nothing for him, he wondered?
A small ad caught his attention. He smiled.
"Wanted: Kindly, older gentleman for companionship, direction, games, story-telling and love. Grade Three class looks to adopt grandfather. Teacher says references required. Phone 555-1818."
Photographs of his "grown and flown" children grinned down at him, as the old man picked up the phone.
What Parents Learn
The day started out hot, muggy and got worse as it wore on. Laundry took forever. A quick break for lunch and grocery shopping was next. The children were restless and cranky, noisily wanting every candy and toy on the shelves.
In exasperation, Mom asked the silencing question - "What part of 'no' do you not understand?"
Eventually, bed time arrived. "Time for bed, kids. Jump into the tub."
"Doan wanna," the youngest announced.
Mom stared. "Bath time," she repeated.
"Doan wanna," came the assertion.
"Bath time. Now!" Mom's voice was sharp.
"Mom, what part of 'no' do you not unnerstan?"