Unusual Side Effect 5/6-5/12

The editors of Writer's Digest provide a weekly Writing Prompt to get your writing going.
Brian
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 927
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:07 am

Unusual Side Effect 5/6-5/12

Postby Brian » Tue May 06, 2008 8:16 am


Brian
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 927
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:07 am

Unusual Side Effect 5/6-5/12

Postby Brian » Tue May 06, 2008 8:16 am

The government has issued a warning that a particular (and common) household item is having an unusual side effect on children. Worse yet, you own this item. You rush home to check on your kids. When you get there, you're shocked to find that your kids have ... . Write this scene.

Please limit your response to 500 words or fewer.

werewolfy
Private E-1
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:50 pm

Re: Unusual Side Effect 5/6-5/12

Postby werewolfy » Tue May 06, 2008 7:03 pm

I watched the evening news as normal while I ran the checkout counter of the small store I worked at. I was not paying much attention except the same package of tuna I was checking out was on the big TV screen at the front of the store.

The report stated that the manufacture of the tuna had recalled one batch of the tuna with a manufacture code of FL154-HGR834. "The batch was made from fish stolen from a research facility where the fish were infused with genetic material from other animals." It then told us unusual side effects were noted on mainly children eating this fish.

Great that was our favorite brand I just took a full case of it home yesterday, I checked the package I was scanning, it was the right code. I told the boss, my dad about the report and tossed the package on his desk. "I have to get home, I have a whole case there. Mikey is sure to be eating supper now I hope he has not got into it. He is playing games on the computer and blocking the phone line again."

I ran to the car and was home in minutes. The kitchen was littered with chewed up packets of tuna the kitchen smelled like a fish cannery. "Mikey get that dam dog under control he has gotten in the cupboards again." I checked the numbers while waiting for him to get into the kitchen. It was the recalled code.

Rufus our Husky must have chewed up all these packets there were hundreds of them. Our summers worth of quick sandwich fixins. Mikey came in holding Rufus's collar. He was kind of bent over. I screamed my head off when Mikey turned to face me, he had a dog face. He had fur on his face matching Rufus along with sharp teeth. His muzzle and the rest of his body was distorted, halfway between human face and a dog. He burped a great tuna breath burp. He stood up on his new modified hind legs and walked awkwardly over to me. "Mom, rhat is rong?"

"You...you...dog...face...change." It was too much the floor jumped up and got me. I didn't remember anything after that until I woke smelling dog. I blinked seeing Rufus and near Rufus Mikey over me licking me awake. I panicked, what now, what did the two of them get into to smell so strong like dog. It smelled like a kennel in the kitchen. I got up to call the ambulance and passed out again when my half paw would not grab the phone right.

I woke hungry, O so hungry. Mikey had his head stuck in Rufus's food bag munching away. I took it from him. "Don't eat that stuff. That is for dogs."

He pointed at his new face, "Mom, rut hoo you shink I am now, you hoo." He handed me a hand full, "Ash you shay hefore, shy it you rike it."

jortiz146
Private E-1
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 6:50 pm

Re: Unusual Side Effect 5/6-5/12

Postby jortiz146 » Tue May 06, 2008 7:20 pm

After seeing the report that children were having a serious side affect to Kruchy peanut butter I realized I had packed each one of my three kids a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that day. While I raced home I tried to think back to what the report said.

"Children who are reported to have eaten Krunchy peanut butter are having serious abdominal troubles. Starting with a small ache the children eventually succumb to a fetal position they are unable to escape. Currently 500 children in the Detros County have been reported ill.”

My youngest daughter, Lucy, had complained of a stomachache last night. I was sleeping so I thought she was just trying to get out of school again. I told her it was nothing and to go back to sleep. If something serious had happened I would be the worst mother in all of history.

When I pulled into my garage I noticed Tim, my husband, was not at home. He is a musician and works nights while I worked in my corporate office on Main Street during the day. We trade the kids in the afternoon. Rushing into the house I prayed and prayed there was a message left to tell me where they were. Nothing was wrong I tried to assure myself. My mother instincts told me otherwise. My prayers answered, there was a note posted to the fridge. "Went to St. Mary's hospital. Lucy complaining of stomach cramps.

I jumped back into my car, turning off the radio. I didn't want to hear the reports. I was nervous enough as it was. When I finally found my husband and two kids I panicked. "Where’s Lucy?" I sobbed. "She going to be alright" my husband assured me. When the doctor came thirty long minutes later he told us Lucy was suffering from the same illness that the radio was talking about. "Why aren't my other kids sick then" I demanded. The doctor explained that at 13 and 15 years old the other two were too old to be afflicted by this sickness.

Lucy remained in the hospital while I stayed with her at night and my husband during the day. The two other children were deemed old enough to stay alone with the crisis at hand. I constantly checked the TV and radio for news of a cure or an answer, anything. I was desperate. My child, my poor sick Lucy could barely talk. I would have gladly taken her place than to see her pale clammy body covered in hospital blankets.

After a week in the hospital a doctor found the answer. There was a compound in the peanut butter and young children did not have the enzyme to digest it. He produced a shot, with tons of help from government money. When Lucy received the shot she slowly started feeling better. We are now at home watching her like a hawk. I will never take my children for granted again.

Wyatt.C.Hilby
Private First Class
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:01 pm

Re: Unusual Side Effect 5/6-5/12

Postby Wyatt.C.Hilby » Tue May 06, 2008 8:45 pm

A Lesson in Procrastination



My kids are like most – the listen, they don’t – they claim they deny…the list goes on.

I told Thomas we should get rid of the stuff we really don’t need – our house is cluttered enough.

I’ll never forget what he said.

“Nooooo – Come on – don’t you think you’re over reacting?”

“Absolutely not!”- I said. “Particularly those things – they’re all over the place and the kids don’t take care of them! - they’re useless!”

Thomas suggested we sleep on it.

“I don’t need to sleep on it Thomas, I already know!”

He looked at me with a hansom eye and a sighing smile.

“Fine, we’ll sleep on it – but for now let’s lock’em in the garage – there’s plenty of space – I doubt the kids will miss them anyway.”

Thom wasn’t biting but he let me do it.

The next day I was at lunch with some of my girlfriends. And of course Thomas hadn’t decided “yet”.

Janine sat across from me, “I know I know I went through the same thing with Mark – I told him the kids have enough crap.”

Lori chimed in, “Me too - besides – did you read that article? – in the Sunday paper? – it was crazy!”

“I did,” I said. “I mentioned it to Thom but he’s just not a quick whip.”

Men! - We all busted up laughing.

I was sitting back at my desk when my secretary, Allan, came in.

“Sharon you better listen to this.” He walked over to the mahogany console I had in my office and turned on the radio.

And then I heard it! The blood rushed out of my body. I could barely breathe!

“Turn it up Allan!”

He did.

“Jesus Christ! - Call my husband - tell him what’s happened - tell him I’m on my way home right now!”

Allan was already dialing Thom.

I grabbed my purse and took off. I was 5 minutes away. I could make it!

I turned on the radio listening for more – some guy from the government was laying out an action plan – God! What was happening!?!

I was furious! We should have got rid of those things when I said to damn it and NOW LOOK! MY CHILDREN!

I pulled up to our house and jumped out of the car.

I ran up to the door. It was already open.

“Brian! Joseph!”- I yelled as loud as possible.

I headed to the door in the kitchen which opened to the garage.

As I approached I could see something had torn it right off its hinges!

My heart was racing. POUNDING!

I grabbed a knife out of a drawer.

I was terrified.

I could hear something. Voices?

My hands were shaking so hard I thought they were going to just snap off.

I slowly walked into the garage.

I SCREAMED! I couldn’t stop! I was too late!

There were my boys! My heart and soul!

With all four TV’s - plugged into a power strip!

Watching.








Wyatt.

bellestory
Private E-1
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:16 am

Re: Unusual Side Effect 5/6-5/12

Postby bellestory » Wed May 07, 2008 3:33 am

Was it worth it?

The news scared me to death! Children were showing adverse behavorial effects to a brand name cereal! A cereal that I had just stocked up on! A cereal my two kids had eaten for breakfast this morning!
I grabbed the phone and called home! No answer! Leaving work was not a good thing to do but, my babies were in trouble! I had to go and I did! Let the boss fire me! Who cares! I hate working saturdays anyway.
Why I did not get a ticket driving sixty in a forty mile an hour zone was unusual to say the least. Hopefully all those cops were checking on their kids too. I screeched into the drive, tripped and skinned both knees when leaping from the car and managed to gain the front door. It was locked!
Impossible. My husband was home and babysitting today. Had he taken the kids to the hospital already?
Grab the phone ! Push speed dial. Breathe! Do not hyperventilate, there is no time! There is also no answer on his cell. It just rings and rings!
Hospital. He has to be there! No cells are allowed to be on in the hospital. Oh my God! My babies. My precious babies have been harmed by this terrible cereal. It's all my fault! they wanted chocko bits and I insisted they have HEALTHY cereal. I am a terrible mother!
"Good morning, Medical South Emergency"
" Where are my kids! Are they okay? Let me talk to my husband" .
" Ma'am I really need for you to calm down."
The person who answered the phone obviously did not have children. What did she mean calm down? I am calm. I am in control. I just want some information!
" Ma'am, please stop screaming. Just take a breath and give me the names of the children you are looking for."
" Freddie and Jason Burke!" I yelled in frustration. " I want to talk to someone who can tell me how they are!"
" I am sorry but we do not have any children, or adults ,by that name here. Perhaps I should send an ambulance there ma'am?"
" I do not need an ambulance I need my children!"
" But......"
I slammed down the phone in frustration.
Now what! Call the police. No, get in the car and go search? No, wait here for some word? Not bloody likely!My babies might be undergoing some transformation this instant! their little personalities could be warped forever. Their little minds destroyed! All because I refused to buy my precious darlings the cereal they asked for. Bad mommy. Bad, bad, bad!
What was that? They are home! "
Boys you are okay! Mommy was so worried! Frank where have you been? How dare you take the boys out without letting me know! Have you lost your idiot mind? Why are you all staring at me? What has happened to my babies? I am so sorry boys. I promise ,from now on we will buy Chocko Bits all the time. Mommy will never , ever, make you eat that icky healthy Twigs and Stems brand again."
" Mother." My ten year old said calmly. "What seems to be wrong with you today? You seem very distraught. We have just been for a nice visit to the museum. Father was very kind and took us there."
" My goodness it was such an interesting experience," eight year old Jason ,chimed in.
I staggered back to the nearest chair an sat down before my knees completely gave way. Who were these kids and what had happened to my boys? My two battling, stone deaf most of the time, bad grade making, taunt the neighbors cat, children? I looked at my husband. He was smiling.
"Frank? Museum? What?" Full sentences seemed to be out of my reach at this point.
" Yes dear ,the boys and I enjoyed a quiet afternoon at the museum and then we stopped by the grocery to stock up on their favorite cereal, Twigs and Stems.

SillyPoet
Private E-1
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 2:31 am

RE: Unusual Side Effect 5/6-5/12

Postby SillyPoet » Wed May 07, 2008 10:38 am

was taking some time out for myself that Saturday; I was giving myself a little shopping spree- alone. I hired a sitter to deal with my unruly kids, then off I went, intent on enjoying the quiet, even if it was just for one afternoon.
 
As I entered the Superstore, I was handed a flyer. I nearly tossed it- until I read the bold words across the top- "Warning: Fruitade Recall". I bought that juice on a regular basis.
 
More curious than alamed, I decided to read further. Only then did I become alarmed.
 
"Fruitade 100% Juice brand juices are being recalled for the experimental toxins used in the growing of the fruit used in this product. A large amount of this toxin might have been introduced in the juicing process, and could cause adverse psychological effects in children. Please send unused portions of this product for a full refund to..."
 
I never finished the flyer. I ran to the car, fearing the worst. Gunning the engine, I tore through the streets, slamming on the brakes when I got into the driveway. Jumping from the car to the house, I threw open the front door, expecting complete chaos.
 
I had three very surprised people looking at me as if I was a few cards short of a deck.
 
My hair looked as if I had been in a wind tunnel as I stood in the doorway, huffing like a racehorse who just finished first place. I looked at my kids, then the sitter before composing myself. Everything seemed okay. Until I noticed the room.
 
The room was completely clean.

My children were definitely affected by the juice- 'Adverse Psychological Effects', indeed! Everything shone,down to the doorknobs and picture frames. I was in awe.
 
"Is this your doing?" I asked the befuddled babysitter, who looked at me like I was a lunatic. She smiled weakly. "Um... No, Ma'am. They decided to do that on their own. They cleaned their bedrooms too."
 
I laughed at her audacity. "They NEVER clean their rooms. They never do ANY chores." Then I went to see if she was just trying to placate me. She wasn't.
 
Their rooms were sparkling; the beds were made, the toys were where they should be, and even the crooked pictures now hung straight. I walked into the living room, dumbfounded. The kids didn't make a peep the entire time I was there. They just sat with the sitter, playing cards quietly. I couldn't help but gawk at them.
 
The sitter took confidence in my silence. "They've been little angels the entire time you were out Ma'am- no fighting or anything. Not like you said on the phone when you hired me." Then, "Are you staying, Ma'am?"
 
I met her grin with one of my own. "No... I'll be back in a few hours. Okay?" I left the house and made a beeline for the bulk food store and bought all the Fruitade juice they had!



(If anyone would kindly comment on what you thought of my post (good or bad), please feel free to email me at: sillypoetry@aol.com. Thank you!)

portable writer
Private E-1
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 10:21 am

RE: Unusual Side Effect 5/6-5/12

Postby portable writer » Wed May 07, 2008 12:04 pm

It was a typical day at work with my mind drifting to the many errands waiting for me at home. Yet I knew that when I got home later, my thoughts would be focused on the work I had left undone at the office. Such is the hectic, endless whirlwind that engulfs my life as a wife and mother of two teens.

And then I get an email from a co-worker telling me that there’s a dangerous product in my cupboard that is being recalled immediately. Seems it causes children to lose all of their hair and their teeth. Yikes! At home are two vain teenage girls, both of them pretty princesses overly proud of their long, luxurious hair. God only knows how miserable life at home would become if these darling daughters lost their hair, not to mention their teeth. In addition, their dad would find it unbearable after having spent a small fortune on braces for them. I had to get home and safeguard my family!

I rush home from work determined to rid my house of the window cleaning product before one of the girls accidentally picks up the bottle. Certainly they would never touch it on purpose, but they might unwittingly brush against it while dropping something in the garbage pail!

As I rush through the front door, I can hear the girls chattering in the bathroom. No doubt they’re busy doing each other’s hair or make-up, I think to myself as I rush to the kitchen to retrieve the offending product.

I’m shocked to find out it’s not there! I frantically search every corner of the cabinet, but it is nowhere to be found. At the point of hysteria, I rush down the hall to the girl’s bathroom, and find the eldest holding the bottle in her hand and spraying the mirror. The youngest has her head in the toilet bowl, making cleaning motions. Apparently they hadn’t heard me come in.

“Ohmygawd! What are you doing?” I scream when I see them. Startled, the oldest drops the window cleaner bottle into the sink and the youngest almost falls into the toilet as she hurries to stand up.

“Mom, this was supposed to be a surprise!” they chorus at the same time. “Mother’s Day is day after tomorrow, and we wanted to clean the house and surprise you.”

I scoop both of them in my arms and hug them, thanking them as I realize this will probably be the last time they ever surprise me by cleaning the house. Finding out the window cleaner is toxic will no doubt cause them to have a lifetime phobia against cleaning. We can only hope that the girls won't loose hair or teeth from their exposure to the cleaner.

Oh well, I shrug wearily, maybe teenage princesses shouldn’t be required to clean. After all, that’s why they have a mom. And this mother's day will be special if only because they tried to surprise me.

JavaScripter19
Private E-1
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 4:12 am

RE: Unusual Side Effect 5/6-5/12

Postby JavaScripter19 » Wed May 07, 2008 2:17 pm

As I rush home, my mind is desparately trying to recall the last few weeks. Have I noticed any of the symptoms noted in the government study? Christy went rollerskating last week but I couldn't remember if she'd fallen or not. Did she have any new bruises? I wracked my brain trying to summon her image from her bath last night. Why couldn't I remember?! I ran the stop light at Mulberry and Main and I tried to remember the last time Joey fell off his skateboard. I just couldn't remember!
Finally in my garage, I notice that Grace's bike isn't on the front lawn. It's in the garage. Didn't she ride it to school today?
Calm down, I tell myself. You're getting all flustered. Get yourself together and think straight. I take a deep breath and slowly open the door to our house.
Two of my kids were sitting at the kitchen table, dutifully finishing their homework.
"Hi, kids," I say, trying to be casual. "What's new?"
Joey and Grace both look up, angelic and smiling.
"Nothing much, mom."
Joey just shrugs.
"So, where's your sister?" I ask.
"In her room. She's been there awhile."
I surreptitiously look at the arms of my kids. No bruises, welts, scars. Nothing. Maybe the government study is right on track after all.
Down the hall, I can hear Christy humming to herself. At four years old, it was not uncommon for me to find her humming or talking to herself. She has a whole neighborhood of imaginary friends and she's always chatting with one or more of her characters. I peeked in her door and my heart nearly stopped. I braced myself in the doorway. It couldn't be true! Even little Christy was affected! Her room was spotless. No dolls on the floor. No clothes kicked under the bed. No toys underfoot. She was sitting on the floor, coloring in her coloring book. Spongebob never looked so good. Not only had she chosen color-appropriate hues, she had stayed inside the lines. I groaned aloud and picked up my baby. In a panic, I inspected her arms and legs and belly. Nothing.
"What's wrong, Mommy?"
My mind was reeling with this new information. The energy-efficient lightbulbs we'd installed just a few weeks ago were making my kids helpful, coordinated and polite!

...We've got to get more of those bulbs.

SaBlonde
Private E-1
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:12 pm

Re: Unusual Side Effect 5/6-5/12

Postby SaBlonde » Wed May 07, 2008 3:29 pm

“Hey lady, you didn’t pay for that newspaper.” I looked at the red-faced, harried clerk like he was insane. I threw the newspaper back onto the counter. It landed on the floor and I left it. I had to get home as fast as possible—impossible of course when you work in New York City. Giving up on a taxi, I ran down the stairs to the subway. All the passengers looked frightened. Everyone was talking about it. It was an ordinary household product. How was it possible for it to have such an unbelievable side effect? There were two important details for me to focus on: 1) It did not happen to everyone, and 2) They had only been in the house one day. My daughter Rachel and her brother Matt were eight and ten years old, respectively. I knew my husband would never make it home before me. Naturally I had left my cell phone on the kitchen table this morning, so I could not even get an update. Well, I’m sure their school would have phoned me by now. Getting through to them was impossible.

I stumbled off the train, snagging my heel in a grate and nearly fell flat on my face. I could see the crowd outside the school from a block away. Everyone was yelling and gesturing at the same time. The stream of students began to exit the school. Frantically, I stood on one foot and then the other. Oh, I see them. Here they come. They seem to be fine. But when I reached my kids, there were multiple Rachel’s and Matt’s coming out the doors in pairs. No, it couldn’t be. Waving the rogue juice boxes in the air, Rachel and Matt laughed and pointed to all their clones falling in line behind them.

Next

Return to Writing Prompts and Challenges

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests