Baby Blues

After an extreme evening of fun you wake up feeling groggy and fall over. The ground greets you much quicker than usual. You waddle over to a low-lying mirror and see that you’re a baby, but remember everything. You parent’s voice is lilting up the stairs. What do you attempt to tell them? How did this happen?

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146 thoughts on “Baby Blues

  1. asclepius

    The world is coming into focus again. Last night is just a bunch of hazy still-frames. We were all laughing. And drinking. A lot. Or it least it must have been. Because I have no recollection beyond that.

    I try to stand, but the best I can do is roll over onto my stomach. There is a gentle music playing above my head. And some distant voices. The voices are strange, yet there is an odd sense of familiarity to them. Almost the way my parents once sounded.

    I tilt my head up and I see wooden bars. Am I in jail? But looking beyond the wooden bars I see a mirror. And in the mirror a baby stares back at me. As I open my mouth to scream, no words come out. Only a wailing cry.

    Suddenly I am walking. Or trying to. In fact, I am being held up by my armpits as I move my legs. I again hear my mother’s voice. I always loved that voice. So gentle and reassuring. I feel a warm sensation in my heart as I smile.

    I blink and my mother is gone. Instead I now see Janet’s face. But she is young again. And she is smiling at me. The way she used to smile so long ago. She brings her face close to mine and I feel the palpitations I once felt whenever I saw her.

    But now she is older. Her hair is grey and her smile is gone. Her eyes are closed as she lies in bed. It is a hospital bed and I am holding her hand. The doctor’s voice is saying something but I am not listening. I feel the tightness in my throat as I hold back my tears. I have to be strong. She can’t see me cry.

    And now it is back to last night. But it’s not last night, it’s now. And no one is laughing. They all stand over me with concerned looks on their faces. There is a bright light behind them. I hear the word “clear” and my body convulses. As the brightness slowly takes over, I think one more time of Janet. And I smile.

  2. Kerry Charlton

    ELVA ADELE, A TRIBUTE

    Frost images made patterns of angels and snow flakes on the window next to my bed. Across the room I felt the warmth from a steam radiator When I swung my feet off the edge of the mattress they refused to touch the floor. ‘I must be delusional,’ I thought. ‘Never should have accepted Henry’s offer of a margarita last night’

    And then Mother’s voice drifted up the staircase. “Kerry don’t get out of bed. you still have a fever.” ‘I am dead,’ I thought. ‘Mother’s been gone for twenty six years.’ But when she entered the room, I knew I had gone back. She looked as the photo on my office wall. I stood next to her as a child of three. The photo was taken on our staircase in Philadelphia in 1939. She was a gorgeous, petite woman in her prime.

    I tried my best to talk to her but baby words came out, “I not sick mommy.”

    “We’ll see honey, open your mouth.”

    I felt a thermometer slip under my tongue. Her dainty hand felt my forehead and I started t cry. She kissed me tenderly on my cheek.

    “You’ve been sick all winter, I’ll be so glad when it’s spring.”

    Reading the glass thermometer, I noticed her blue eyes had lost the cloudiness of age and they sparkled in the early light. Ninety nine,” she said. “You’re almost well, I’m going to fix your favorite breakfast.”

    I tried to form the words but they would’t come out. “Spit-in-the eye,” she whispered. I smiled back, she blew me a kiss and walked toward my door.

    “Get under the covers and stay warm. I’ll be back in a jiffy.”

    Under my pillow a small black lamb plush toy snuggled. ‘I do remember it,’I thought. ,One night I had fallen out of bed and let out a boisterous yell. Mother had rushed to me to see what had befallen me. She cuddled me and said, I’ll be right back.” When she returned she nested the black lamb next to me.

    “I was saving this for Easter but I want you to have it now.”

    All I could manage was, I luv Mommie.”

    Later that same day, we sat by an afternoon fire, I crawled up in her lap. Straddled across my tiny knees

    lay a picture book, ‘Tales Of Peter Rabbit.’ She started to read,

    ‘Don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden, your father had an accident there, he was put into a pie by Mrs. McGregor.’

    I continued to marvel at all the time she spent with me on a cold winter;s day in Philadelphia. When day was over she tucked me in tightly and started to sing softly,

    ‘Bye baby bunting

    Daddy’s gone a hunting

    Gone to get a rabbit skin

    To wrap the baby Bunting in.’

    1. jmcody

      Just logged in after the Thanksgiving hubbub finally died down, and what a sweet surprise to find your story on top, Kerry. I am assuming this is an actual scene from your childhood. If so, what a wonderful, warm memory. Your affection for your mother is woven into every line of this, and I enjoyed reading it as much as you must have enjoyed writing it. You also made me nostalgic for the days when my own kids were little. I only hope their memories of me are half as sparkling as this one.

    2. Reaper

      Kerry, you have this habit of getting the tears going over the last few weeks. Another wonderful tale that warms the heart and speaks perfectly of nostalgia. I am glad you posted this, not only because it is wonderful but also because I was worried I might have to go to Texas and check on you. There is an amazing poetic flow to this. The only sentence that pulled me out for a second was Mother had rushed to me to see what had befallen me. The double me made me skip back for a second. One of those things I only mention because before and after I was so deeply in this.

    3. lionetravail

      This was beautiful and sweet, and feels eminently real, even with the deja vu episode thrown in. It has a wonderfully languid pace to it, and that is not any easy accomplishment to manage: perfectly paced to reflect the love, deep emotion, and nostalgia.

  3. Wolfgang Poe

    Rock-A-Bye Baby – A Jonathan Walker Story (part one)

    THUD!

    “Ow!” I can’t remember the last time I actually fell outta the bed. Keeping my eyes clinched closed, I waited. Damn. That hurt. Oh well, Johnny-Boy, ya ain’t as young as you useta be.

    The sheets all seemed to be tangled around me, so I pushed up from the floor and thought about what kind of coffee was going to be blessing me this morning. Cracking open one eye I looked down and saw it wasn’t a sheet, but my own shirt…and four little baby fingers sticking out the end.

    “WHAT THA…” squeeked a little baby voice…MY voice….

    “WHAT THA…” Even louder and higher pitched this time. Both eyes fully open as I became a little baby tornado tearing away at my clothes in a moment of blind panic. And let me tell you, if baby wants out, he GETS out…don’t look at me like that.

    Walking…ok…toddling over to the mirror, I see an adorable 2 year old looking back at me, tousled blonde hair, pouty lips and my own big baby reds that were anything but calm. Gripping the sides of the mirror hard enough that the wood creaked, I fought to control my panic and control myself. Ripples of magic swirled around and caused papers to rustle, but after a minute, I had it under control. Ok, don’t panic. Think Johnny. How did this happen? What do you remember? Who am I gonna kill?
    As I start to think about last night, I begin to piece together scenes from Mikey’s birthday party last night. My just turned 16 year old apprentice wanted a party with all our supernatural friends …

    (Last week)
    “Friends?” I asked warily. “I’m not sure about that kiddo”

    “Aww…Johnny. What could go wrong?” He said, giving me the full puppydog eye treatment.

    “Well,” I relented. I suppose if we keep it small, it’d be ok.”

    Stupid me.

    (Last night)
    The noise, at least that’s what I call so called “music” these days, was thundering outta the darkness at The Crypt, the hottest underground club in Birmingham. It was closed for a “private party” last night, and I was NOT looking forward to the bill for that, but it’s what Mikey wangled out of me as his “small party” morphed into the writhing throng that was making the darkness look that cave scene from The Matrix Revolutions.

    My god. There was everything here. Vampires, half demons, a few ghosts, I even spotted a minor angel over in the corner. Pretty much everyone that Mikey knew that I had not put in a box over the past couple of years.

    I just shook my head and nursed my pitcher of Hell Juice, and knew I’d regret it in the morning.

    (Now)
    BOY, did I regret it. And just then I heard a voice that was gonna regret it even more,

    “Whiskey?” A voice drifted up the stairs. “You up?”

    Mikey. He would know what happened. He would be able to help me fix it. He MIGHT not wind up in the hospital.

    Soft footsteps came up the stairs. Paused outside my door, and the door pushed open slowly. A brown eye peeked around the corner, spotted me, and went wide. “Whiskey?” Mikey said.

    (546 words – after some ruthless pruning – part two coming soon)

    1. jmcody

      I’m not entirely sure what is going on here, but it is a good start to a longer story. I take it from your title that the MC is a recurring character for you, and you seem to have some significant backstory underlying this Also, your MC’s voice seems pretty distinct. Just one word of advice: Careful about your tenses. You drifted between past and present tense a few times in this, which took me out of the story a bit.

      Looking forward to reading the continuation!

      1. Wolfgang Poe

        Thanks for the spotting! When I post one of these, it’s usually just short of raw typing. I only edit spelling and in this case length (it was almost 600 words). Jonathan “Whiskey” Walker is a recurring character on my rather infrequent posts on here and a couple of other places. One of these days he’s actually going to get a book, but I’m horrible about my sticking to it.

    2. lionetravail

      This was interesting, but I found the time frame shifts to be a bit disjointed. It might just have been me, and overall fatigue, but I would imagine that you could work this into a better flow which would match the interesting mythology you conjured up in this 🙂

    3. Alice MadMillinery

      Wonderful concept you have going on here. I only have a little bit of advice to add here to take this from a great concept to a wonderful full series. As the other’s mentioned, be careful of tenses and you may wish to look over how you do the time transitions. I suggest saying something along the lines of-
      “I remembered saying ‘Friends?, a party? I’m not so sure, kiddo.'” –
      and-
      ” ‘I suppose if we keep it small, it’d be ok…’
      Boy was I going to eat those words.” –
      in order to have the time transitions be more fluid: to keep the reader from being pulled from your story. My only other advice is that you look over your paragraph discussing the party. You might want to revise that section so that it is more “show” than “tell”, if you understand what I mean. I feel a little bit more action within that paragraph would make this already fanastic piece absolutely brilliant. Keep up the good work!

  4. JR MacBeth

    Her name was Cassandra, and I loved her name almost as much as I loved her. What a beautiful name, like music in my ears! But there was no music to be compared with the angelic sound of her voice. It’s how I discovered my princess. I had taken a new path in the woods, and suddenly heard her singing. I followed as if in a trance, and almost fell to my knees in awe as I beheld her for the first time, the most exquisite woman ever created.

    There was only one problem: She was married. No words can properly describe the anguish that gripped my soul. Was it possible, that I might never have her?

    Perhaps the Almighty can forgive me then for finally going on bended knee to wretched Angula, the witch. Far better to sell my soul, than give in to despair. Either way, was I not damned?

    “Come in, my son. I have been waiting for you.”

    “Waiting? For me?”

    “Of course!”

    “M’dam?”

    “You are here because of love, are you not?”

    “Yes! Please, tell me you will help me. I am desperate.”

    “Of that, I have no doubt. You are Steffan, of good family, and yet you come to me. You know that you commit grave sin by bowing before me, do you not?”

    “I do not care anymore! I must have my Cassandra, and will gladly kneel here begging for your help, and will do anything you require!”

    “And what if I asked for your very soul? Is her temporary heaven worth an eternal hell?”

    “Please M’dam, I am already in hell. In truth, I have no choice.”

    “Very well. I will grant your desire, but first, you must grant mine.”

    “Anything!”

    “Behold the Circle.”

    In the light of the fire I could see a large star, painted on the floor. And indeed, around it was a circle.

    “M’Dam?”

    “Tonight, this Circle will be your test. It will be, for a time, our own Garden of Eden.”

    There was a bright flash, and then, the old crone was gone. In her place stood a radiant creature of incredible beauty.

    “Remove your clothing, and enter the Circle. But before you do, know that your wish will only be granted if you can please me all the night. If you can rise to this challenge, in the morning you will awaken to a new life, full of possibilities.”

    “And Cassandra will me mine?”

    “That will be up to you. If by tomorrow morn, you should choose to leave me, you will one day be given the chance.”

    “One day? Do you promise?”

    “I do. Now come, our time is short, for I will not see you again for many years.”

    Sometimes, I wake up, and think I remember that night. But mostly, I wonder if it was ever real. My thoughts are vague now, and my speech comes to me no more. The witch has sent me back, and I am now a babe again. But imagined, or not, Cassandra is real, of that I am sure. One day, I will find her again, and marry her, and she will be mine, forever.

    1. Reaper

      Interesting writing and definitely intriguing. The most captivating part of this is that it could stay a short story or begin either a tragedy or a bodice ripper. That you got so detailed but managed to keep it so open is amazing.

    2. jmcody

      This was an interesting, well written story that kept me riveted. I loved the fairy tale voice in this, and thought you did a great job of maintaining it throughout. I sense the beginning of an epic journey in this, and would definitely want to know what happens.

    3. lionetravail

      Interesting journey for your MC- I enjoyed the surreal nature of it, all the way through the last paragraph which seemed to only heighten that. Nicely done.

  5. lionetravail

    (I dunno about others, but I’m still finding prompts like this a challenge, because there’s almost no way for a rational story to take place. Every one of these is beginning to feel like an exercise in trope-exploration, as they get more and more specific and fanciful. Still, I tried- not sure exactly how it came out. I did manage to limit to only 598 words, so that’s the up-side here:)

    El Fuente

    After so many weeks at sea, with nothing but wind and wave and continuous motion, landfall was nothing short of miraculous. I gave thanks to Almighty God as my men began shuttling goods and supplies to make a permanent camp in this new, temperate land. Scouts and hunters were dispatched to examine the terrain and find both food and fresh water, and a tent was made ready for me. I spent time walking the shore, getting my legs used to steady terrain rather than a heaving deck. Once pleasantly fatigued, I then went back to our landing site to update my journal.

    I had gotten perhaps an hour of work done before I was interrupted. “Capitan?” my first mate called.

    “Si, Ernesto?” I said.

    “Scouts have returned with small local citrons and edible roots and greens, and the hunters have fresh game; it’s already dressed and on the fire.”

    “Excellente! And have the men already begun their distillations?” I said with a smile.

    Ernesto laughed. “Si, Capitan, they have.”

    “Then we will celebrate our safe arrival with ship stores of wine knowing that they will replenish themselves,” I said. “What about water?”

    “As your maps predicted, Capitan: there is a river perhaps a league south along the coast which empties into the ocean.”

    “It leads inland?” I said, coming to my feet with excitement.

    “To a set of low hills, the scouts saw, with waterfalls, Capitan.”

    “Madre de Dios,” I breathed. “‘El Fuente’, dare I hope, Ernesto?”

    “There will be clear skies and a full moon tonight Capitan- we can take a party after we have eaten,” my first mate said, knowing my mind already.

    And we did. We followed the river, drinking, laughing, singing in the moonlight almost like we were children rather than intrepid explorers. It was almost festive, what with the scents of a fresh, untrammeled land in our nostrils, the taste of strong, sweet wine on our tongues, and the twin satisfactions of being the first in a new place and etching our names in history as we claimed new territory for Spain. And for me, personally, possibly finding El Fuente at long last.

    When I awoke after a long night of walking, drink, and wonder, I felt odd: not the morning after too-much-wine oddness, but instead a feeling of being too small, and too comfortable. I struggled to sit, but could not. I rolled to the side and tried to use a very small hand to push myself upright, but i was too weak; instead, I fell, with a thump to a wooden floor.

    “Madre de Dios!” I said, only it came out more indistinct than I had intended.

    Then I heard a voice from downstairs. Wait… downstairs? We were on land, in tents, and then I suddenly realized that I recognized the voice: my mother!

    “Juanito?” she called, and I heard her feet running up the stairs. She came in, and saw me on the floor, and let out a small scream. “Oh, my little Ponce!” She scooped me up, concern writ plain upon her face, and she checked me all over. When she saw I was unharmed, and not crying, she held me close and sang to me a lullaby I could remember her singing to me all through my childhood.

    I had found ‘El Fuente’, and it, in turn, had helped me find something I had lost long ago. I breathed in the sweet smell of my mother’s perfume and closed my eyes. Before I fell asleep in her arms, I wondered, idly, what quest I would embrace this time.

    1. cosivantutte

      Sounds like Ponce de Leon found the Fountain of Youth, unless I’m misreading it. 🙂 This was a wonderful take on a challenging prompt. I wonder what his next quest will be too.

      And, you’re right. Some of these prompts can be very challenging. But that makes it all the more gratifying when you do pound and scratch a rational story out of it.

      It amazes me every week how many different stories can come out of one prompt. Some off the wall silly. Others heartfelt and sad. And still others insanely intense. I tip my hat to all of the writers on here and I give them all a big box of Kudos bars. 😀

      1. lionetravail

        You are bang-on correct, Cosi 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and commenting, and I agree with you- there are so many great ideas and stories being shared on this site!

    2. Nicki EagerReader

      Nice save, lionetravail 😉 – I also find these kind of rather specific promps challenging (this one didn’t spark anything inside me either up to now). Dialogue and description were well balanced, and their was a swagger to your narration that fit the MC well. Plus, I learned a little Spanish. 🙂 Thumbs up.

    3. Reaper

      Love the story. I’m impressed at how you can craft stories in your more realistic style on some of these. I actually felt this prompt was really open, but I think the limitation comes because it associates to a more restrictive prompt a bit back. It is actually very different but my mind went to that one and wondered why another so similar so soon. It wasn’t until after I posted that I realized how different they actually are.

    4. jmcody

      I hear you on the fanciful and overly specific prompts, Lionetravail. So many of the prompts lately seem to demand fantasy. Also, my own personal peeve is that so many of them start with the MC waking up in bed and finding that something fantastical has happened. The waking up in bed always seems like a weak start to me.

      At the same time, as others have said, I am always astounded at the range of stories that come out of these prompts. I think the prompt is just a starting place — a seed that will grow into whatever it will. Kerry’s story above is a great example of how the prompt can be used as a jumping off place. At the end of Kerry’s story, which turned into a touching memoir, the prompt hardly seemed to matter at all.

      I am grateful to our hosts here for providing such a fun and helpful place to explore our writing. The prompts can be an invaluable tool, even when they are annoying. Unfortunately this one has not inspired me yet, but hey, I still have a day and a half… 🙂

      Loved your turn at historical fiction here. “Oh, my little Ponce!” made me laugh for some reason. This was a very game effort, imaginative, and as usual, nearly flawless in its execution.

  6. rle

    Well, after a brief turkey induced coma, I thought I’d throw out my effort for the week. I’m not sure about this one, but I though, eh…what the heck.
    ————————————————–

    His name was Willard Wilson but everybody called him Willie. On this particular morning, Willie should have been racked with shame and guilt, but he wasn’t. Instead, he just lay there silently, wrapped in a diaper full of his own piss, staring at the ceiling. He knew mom would come in soon and clean him up; she always did. In fact, mother was always there to take care of Willie. She fed him, bathed him, kept him warm, combed his hair, everything.

    Willie loved being cared for. He hated the thought that someday he’d grow up and have to do grown up things. Doing grown up things looked a lot to Willie like they might suck. He sure hoped he wouldn’t have a baby of his own when he got big. Granted, feeding a baby might be fun, playing with a baby might be entertaining, and watching a baby peacefully sleep knowing that you had a hand in creating that little life would be awesome. Cleaning up a babies piss and shit though, didn’t seem like much fun at all.

    Eventually, Willie’s mother came in, her face still trying to shed the funk of early morning. He couldn’t help but notice the dark circles that hung loosely under her eyes. She looked so tired yet managed a sincere smile as she knelt down and kissed him on the forehead. Willie appreciated her affection but wished she’d just get on with changing his wet diaper.

    He couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for her as she strained to pull the saturated cloth from beneath him. He wished he could just stand up and piss in the toilet like a man, and even more he wished he’d already had his morning bowel movement. At least then, mom would only have to change him this once before lunch. Unfortunately, as was often the case, Willie knew in a short while, his belly would grumble and he’d fill his fresh duds with the rich pungent byproduct of last nights supper. He’d then whimper and groan, which had become a universal signal his mother knew all to well. She’d soon return with the same warm smile and dutifully clean him up again, all the while, doing everything in her power not to vomit. No, Willie didn’t think he wanted a baby of his own.

    ***

    There was a photo on Willie’s nightstand. It had been there for as long as he could recollect. It was a 5X7 that had been carefully mounted in a cheap dime store frame. It was a picture of a man, a woman, and a little girl about thirteen. They were sitting on a boulder in the middle of a freshly manicured lawn. They were smiling. They looked happy.

    Willie spent a lot of his time studying their faces and although they looked vaguely familiar, at the same time they appeared to be total strangers. It seemed odd that someone would display a photo in his room of people he didn’t even know.

    One morning, Willie heard his mothers soft footfalls coming from the kitchen bringing him breakfast. He hoped it was oatmeal. Oatmeal was Willies favorite. Much to his surprise, when she walked in, it wasn’t his mother at all. It was the little girl from the photo. She looked alive and vibrant. There were no dark circles under her eyes. She approached with a bowl of steaming oatmeal and sat on the edge of his bed. She knelt down and kissed him on the forehead. “I love you daddy,” she smiled.

    Willie returned her smile and for a brief fleeting moment of lucidity, he remembered everything.

    1. Nicki EagerReader

      A very moving story, rle, with touching descriptions and just enough (but not too many) hints to guide the reader down the right emotional road. The only two things I wasn’t quite certain of was why “Willie should have been racked with shame and guilt”, or why he recognizes his mother but coudldn’t remember his daughter (and wife?).
      Otherwise simply an inspired take on the prompt- great job!

    2. jmcody

      rle, you and I are often on the same wavelength. I haven’t written anything yet but was thinking of something along these lines. You went beyond anything I had in mind though, so I may not even bother! 🙂

      I appreciated the way you crafted this — In the beginning the language was slightly off and overly aware for a baby, but then it all made sense after the reveal. You painted a very accurate portrait of dementia. You brought back memories of my grandmother, who, near the end of her life, couldn’t remember much of anything that happened after 1940. She would often talk about visiting her mother who had been dead for nearly half a century. Also, she always thought I was my mother. We do resemble each other, but not so much that anyone would confuse us. She also had those “moments of lucidity” that you mentioned, where she would suddenly realize that she was losing her mind. That was the saddest part.

      So you can see that I really related to this, and I think you nailed it. Wonderful job.

    3. lionetravail

      Well done, RLE— this was very poignant for all the reasons that JMCody pointed out. Very nicely and touchingly done… I loved the segue from incontinent baby to aged adult. Great work.

  7. Pete

    On the night after Thanksgiving Jim Bob had gone to Clyde’s to meet up with Ricky and Gizzard Thomas. The venture to the bar was not unusual, as the three men gathered at the bar on most nights, after fishing or working. But just like their town, the men often griped about how their watering hole was becoming all too cluttered. They moaned about the updates and changes, how the wood paneling had been stripped to the brick and the old billiard lamps replaced with modern industrial fixtures. And the drinks had become just a bit too colorful for old Jim Bob’s taste.

    Clyde’s had been crowded that Friday evening, with everyone in for the holiday, coming out to make merry with friends and family. Walking in, Jim Bob had sneered at the group occupying his regular table, all gelled up and fresh faced and smirking with arrogancet. Hearing a familiar call, he looked up to find Ricky and Gizzard Thomas waving him back to a booth near the pool table.

    They groveled through greetings, the conversation stiff and careful until the right combination of liquor found their bloodstreams. On the third round Jim Bob had looked around and sighed.

    “This place is changing,” he said, his tone funereal. Ricky and Gizzard nodded in agreement, the grunts and slurping being the only dialogue between the three as they remembered better times. Ricky nodded towards a couple at the bar where, two girls, both with perfectly whitened smiles, leaned in close. They were happy and playful and worst of all, confident.

    Jim Bob turned away in disgust, although if he were being honest he’d snatch up a chance at either of them before they could say, “I just love how dirty your hat is.”

    “Never thought I’d see it, not here,” he groaned, then drained his glass.

    But nothing should’ve surprised them. After all, they’d seen a black president get elected and even reelected. Now the big shot was doing whatever he wanted with the illegals and gay marriage. The whole country was in the shitter, on that much could agree. Ricky motioned for another round, taking out a cigarette before remembering the new policy.

    The smoking rule sparked a discussion on government, then veered off towards sports, but there were so many blacks in the game that they couldn’t stomach it, so the direction then hurled into religion, and how society had shunned God. Thoroughly lubricated, the courage coursed through Jim Bob’s body, seeping from his as though noodled out of the blackened pores of his skin by the liquor and company. He hadn’t been to church in five years, but still, he was a God fearing man, unlike those terrorists. God Damn them all.

    The remarks at the table became less veiled and more vengeful. It wasn’t long before they were back to the two girls. What the bar needed was some David Allen Coe. Coe would take care of all of this real quick. So Jim Bob rose, shuffled towards the bar and leaned over the counter, his breaths were hot and wet with rancor and liquor.

    “What do you need, JB?” Terrell the Bartender asked flatly.

    “Change, for the juke box.”

    “We’ve got a DJ tonight, JB.” Terrell nodded, keeping an eye on the old red neck. He knew JB and his brethren were mostly harmless, but he’d been a bartender long enough to feel it coming, and the night had a feel to it.

    “A what?”

    After a whisper, both girls burst into simultaneous laughter. When they touched noses, Jim Bob let out a head shaking sigh and then muttered something about wishing to God that things were different. Only he used a word that hit the bar like an anvil. It wasn’t that nobody in that bar had used such language, but the bar was changing with the times. The girls looked him up and down, the white one with anger and malice in her eyes but the black one with a deep, thoughtful stare. Then she set down her drink and smiled wryly. “Be careful what you wish for…”

    Jim Bob only stared. But Terrell was done with JB and his ilk. He quickly motioned to a bouncer, who graciously thanked the bartender for the opportunity to get physical. Jim Bob didn’t leave quietly, pointing at the girls as he was dragged through the door and yelling like Preston Brooks at a senate meeting. “That right there is everything wrong with this country. Right there.”

    The girls waved. Terrell gave them a drink on the house.

    The next morning, Jim Bob woke up in his trailer with a hangover. His hands smelled of Catfish and his head throbbed like a bitch. But it wasn’t until he opened his eyes that all of that was forgotten.

    His hands were small. Freakishly small like that of a baby. But it wasn’t the size that made him jump. He tried to sit up and wipe it off his skin, his heart quickening as he made clumsy swipes with dark chubby hands. Shit, he thought, and noticed that all of his thoughts were together. He still felt like himself, same hangover and seeing the faded confederate flag over his window, same bedroom. He tried to speak but only managed a gurgle.

    Down the hall his mother and stepfather were bitching about cigarettes. But Jim Bob had much more serious issues than his mother’s mood. Jim Bob wobbled to the mirror only to find a black baby. And that wasn’t all. The horror show continued as the groggy redneck reached down, between his legs—where the unsubstantial basis of his fears derived…

    The scream was heard throughout the trailer park. Because as inexperienced as Jim Bob was to draw such conclusions, he found that he was in fact, a girl. All he could do was cry. Wail and scream like the baby that he’d become. He couldn’t speak, or even begin to make sense of how, somehow, overnight, he’d morphed into his three biggest fears. Jim Bob was black, female, and being that he still liked women—gay.

    But Jim Bob would have her whole life to figure it out.

    1. Reaper

      This was some attention getting writing. You managed to walk a fine line of making me go back and forth feeling sorry for your MC and yet completely disliking him. The fact that you made his opinions kind of opinions and didn’t reveal the depth of them until the end helped with that.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        A good tight rope walk through disdain for life in general. Very realistic but unlikable MC. I’ve known so many of the same type, it’s hard not to pity them, but mostly they don’t know any better, not that it is a viable excuse.

    2. lionetravail

      I loved this, Pete! Had poetic justice in it- it’s a lovely conceit, that people sometimes get exactly what they deserve. Nice, nice job with this take 🙂

  8. tydra

    oh well, nothing special this time. this is really, really not my first choice of topic to write about lol ;P

    Word count: 573

    ———————–
    I don’t like babies. I can’t stand those little buggers.

    They smell, they stink, they are dirty, they are loud and annoying, they cry for everything and nothing, they are expensive, they are unreasonable, and they steal your freedom.

    They just do my head in. As soon as one of my mom’s friends comes over with one of those “bags of fun” I squirm and quickly flee the room. Especially when my mom says stuff like: “Aaawww isn’t she the cutest little thing!” Really! What’s so cute about that pile of blubber? And that look my mom gives me when she says those words makes my stomach turn. Like I am next, and she can’t wait for me to finally pop one of those life anchors myself.

    So having this background knowledge about me, you won’t believe my astronomical shock when I woke up one morning after the most awesome party ever, lying on my back, turned my head to the side and stared into a baby face in the mirror on the wall. My own face! I recognized those fat rosy cheeks from countless pictures my mom was forcing onto me from when I was little. I raised my arm and the tiny fist slammed uncoordinated into my face; and the image in the mirror followed my movements exactly. What the hell was going on?! I tried to lift my upper body to stand up, but it just wouldn’t budge. Great, all those gym hours working on my abdominal muscles gone to waste.

    My feet started to air pedal frustrated, and my arms were flapping up and down like I was trying to make a snow angel on my bed sheet. It’s only when I felt hot tears rising to my eyes and I heard an unnaturally high squeal coming from I can only assume was my teeth-less mouth, I quickly tried to stop myself from developing further hysteria.

    I was in the middle of the laborious process of rolling myself onto my stomach when I heard footsteps coming from the doorway. A second later my mom stepped into the room, or a much younger version of her anyway.

    “Aaawww my little pumpkin, did you call for mommy?” She said in that insufferable baby talk voice.

    I tried to speak up, tell her what’s going on, tell her what happened to me, most importantly tell her to just please stop using that baby voice on me, but all that came out of me were indistinguishable noises closer to a sea lion cub than a human being.

    I started to huff and puff, slamming those tiny useless fists into the soft matrass, burying my face in the white linen. I was trapped! In my own body! As a BABY!

    My mom made soothing noises and picked me up in her arms to rock me gently. Those tears I had tried to hold in came shooting back and streamed down my plump cheeks, drenching her dress where she held me.

    So there we are. I have to endure all of those baby procedures now, while remembering how much I hate all of that. My own personal hell. Well, I am going to be trapped in this state of inertia for another nine months. Because I know exactly that’s when I am going to start talking. And I am going to have a hell of a story to tell my mom once those gates open.

    1. Reaper

      For it not being your favorite subject this is written well. That seething about babies came out perfectly. I loved that you mentioned the baby talk. I have this huge thing against it so I really felt you there. The imagery in this was well delivered as well.

    2. lionetravail

      I agree with Reaper- I think this was strong writing, very compelling, and makes me want to know more about how this happened, and what the MC has to say in 9 months 🙂

      Great fun!

  9. cosivantutte

    Hello, my bevy of radiant beauties.

    I know I needn’t introduce myself, but I will do it all the same. I know how much you love the sound of my voice and rightly so. My voice is uncommonly beautiful. I am Elegiac Sundown, elven archer extraordinaire. I am the unsung hero of the Paladinian War. I am the one who sent the Golden Hammer back to its maker, although that little horoforin, Kwabo, insists on claiming credit. Oh, yes, my darlings. His lies sadden me too.

    I am currently unconscious, rendered so by taking naught but a sip of dwarvish moonshine. Wretched stuff. I had no idea that it would have such an effect on me. But, fear not! I shall awake soon. I will render that dwarf into bloodied pulp. Won’t that be satisfying? It makes me smile just thinking of it.

    ***

    I open my eyes to a cruel world of blinding white. I scrunch up my face and rub my eyes with my fists. Alas, each rub irritates me beyond imagining. I want to thrash my legs and scream and wail in a most undignified manner. I crush such wants into dust and lower my hands.

    I take in my surroundings. I lie flat on my back in a square room. Unfamiliar. White walls surround me. Unfamiliar. A rogue breeze blows through the open window, setting the thin linen curtains all aflutter. Unfamiliar! I am no longer in the Quabbler’s Squint inn. So, where am I?

    Somewhere outside the room, house slippers shuffle on the wooden floor. They are heading this way. I jump up to my feet. Only to fall flat on my face.

    I lay still, utterly mortified. How I wish you all were here to comfort me in my time of need. For, at this moment, I need comfort. I need it so much I sniffle. Sniffle! Oh, the horrors of such weak behavior. Must fight back the tears. I will not cry.

    I rise to my feet with more caution. I reach full height much sooner than usual. Perhaps it is a side effect of that horrid moonshine, but my body doesn’t feel right. I feel short and stubby and fat. Don’t weep, my lovebirds. I am an elf. Elves don’t become fat. I must be suffering from that human condition – a hangover. The leaders of my fellowship, Strike and Stride, complained of it every time they drank to excess. The dwarves – Olion, Hereen, and Quash, enjoyed their hangovers, which never surprised me. The two horoforins – Kwabo and Rawla – were too young to drink anything stronger than boiled rice milk.

    The door is there – straight ahead of me. I will leave and rejoin my group. I march…No. In this body, I cannot march at all. Instead, I wobble and waddle and fall and rise and fall. I gulp down another urge to scream.

    The shuffled footsteps are coming closer to my room. Whoever it may be, they will not catch me lying around like a soused gate troll. I rise to my feet with a bitter determination. I don’t know the reasons for my capture, but I will make my captor taste the sting of my arrows.

    I reach behind my back with great difficulty and feel nothing. My bow – not there. My quiver – not there! I glance around and catch sight of a mirror behind me.

    I fall hard on my bottom. My reflection! No. No. No. No! That chubby baby…A million times no! That cannot be me!

    I stand.

    The reflection stands.

    I move my hands in the fifth rhythmic meditation pattern, a most difficult pattern to master.

    The reflection performs it along with me.

    It cannot be me! But alas, my fragrant little daisies, it is me. I simply can’t hold it in any longer. I scream tearful sobs.

    The door behind me opens. “Aww. Poor wittle snookums.” The air rushes past my face as my captor picks me up. I look my captor in the face. It is Farul Naheed, the oppressor of the fifty-five worlds. Farul Naheed, the creator and owner of the Golden Hammer of Preil. Farul Naheed, my most hated enemy.

    I say, “I shall kill you!” Alas, that is not what comes out of my mouth. “floshing aba ma!”

    Farul smiles at me. “I’ve always wanted a child. Unfortunately, a good man is so hard to find. So, I decided to do this the easy way. A little bit of blackmail and the bartender was only too happy to sprinkle a small dash of daisied pepper salt in your drink.”

    I shake my fists at her. “goolot unoo blonk coo.” I will not translate those words, for they would deeply scandalize your innocent ears.

    She strokes my hair, which just fires my ire further. “Oh, don’t worry, Elegiac. You won’t be an only child. Your fellowship friends will be happy to have a new sibling.”

    1. Nicki EagerReader

      This was wonderful, cosivantutte, it pulled the corners of my mouth up to my ears. “Don’t worry, you won’t be an only child.” That sounds like a pramful of entertainment… Good job!

      1. cosivantutte

        Thanks! I thought about making the main character RDJ, but I decided that it would be funnier if this brand of crazy happened to a Lord of the Rings type of elf.

    2. Reaper

      This reads like D&D meets the muppet babies. Loved the voice and could see an amazing children’s novel developing from this. This is the kind of thing I would read to random children on the street if their parents didn’t always call the cops when I try that.

    3. lionetravail

      I love it, Cosivantutte! It’s got the same feel for me as when I started watching Tiny Toons, the kid versions of all the old favorites like Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, etc.

      It also makes me feel incredibly pun-ish… sounds like Farul Naheed just wanted to play with him elf.

      BWAHAHAHAHAH.

      Seriously though, nice job on the story!

  10. madeindetroit

    MAGIC DUST

    I knew the second I opened my eyes I was in serious trouble. Beside the fact my head throbbed from too much alcohol, I was buried under a mountain of blankets that threatened to suffocate me unless I found a way out—and fast.

    I slithered on my belly with both arms extended and reached toward the edge of the mattress.

    Since I arrived home from college for Thanksgiving break, my old bed felt like it shrank two sizes. I’d grown two inches and packed on almost fifteen pounds—the “Freshman Fifteen” my mother teased.

    Despite the cocoon of darkness I found myself in, a kaleidoscope of red and blue danced behind my eyes. My lungs screamed for fresh air and this mattress stretched on forever. I got on my hands and knees and crawled like a spider.

    Thud!

    Dazed from the plunge to the floor, I stared at the ceiling until the room stopped spinning. I heard footsteps on the stairs. “Michael, are you alright up there?”

    I sat up and rubbed my head.

    The door opened and I heard my mother scream, “Henry! Get up here now! There’s a baby up here and Michael’s gone!

    I heard the word baby.

    I stood up and waddled over to a mirror mounted on the closet door. “Holy shit,” I yelled as I stared at the reflection of a buck naked toddler. “The curse actually worked.”

    My mother bent down and looked me in the mirror. Her lips quivered. “Michael…is…is this really you?”

    My father appeared in the doorway. “Edith is everything all—“what the?”—
    “It’s me, mother.”

    She cupped my chubby cheeks in her hands. “How could this have happened?”

    “A girl put a curse on me.”

    “Did you hear that Henry, a girl put a curse on…Mikey. Who? What’s her name?”

    “Mikey?” I said. “You haven’t called me that since I was a—“

    My father spoke. “What’s this about a curse, son?”

    “I met this girl at a party last night…Haven…Maven….Raven! That’s her name. Her name is Raven Black. Anyway, she works at a place downtown and claimed to be a witch with some kind of magical powers—“

    “Henry, isn’t he just the cutest little thing?

    “He certainly is…Edie.”

    My mother’s cheeks flushed red. “Why Henry, you haven’t called me that since Mikey was a—“

    “I had too much to drink and made a crude remark.” I said.

    “What did you say?” my father asked.

    “I told her if she had magical powers she could…make my pants disappear.”

    My mother’s eyes rolled in her head. “I thought I taught you to respect women.”

    I looked down at the floor. “Then she reached in her pocket and pulled out a packet of what she called ‘magic dust.’ She threw it on me and mumbled something about ‘the curse of the child’ and stormed away.”

    “Well,” my father said, “whatever it was it worked.”

    “Henry, remember how young we were when Mikey was this age?”

    “I sure do, Edie. Seems like an eternity ago. You had some body on you.”

    My mother giggled. “Oh, Henry, I sure did.”

    “And I had hair.” My father rubbed his smooth skull with a hand.

    I suddenly remembered. “She gave me a business card. It’s in my pants pocket. It’s got her phone number on it.”

    My mother reached in the pocket of my jeans hanging by a hook on the door and plucked out a glittery black card. “What does the card say, mother?”

    After she read the card, she handled it to my father. “Henry, you don’t suppose… Raven Black…could…with us?”

    As he read it, my father rubbed his chin. “Hmmm,” he mumbled, “I‘m sure she’s got something that could…well, you know what I mean.”

    “No,” I said, “you two can’t be serious—“

    “We’ll take a drive downtown after Thanksgiving,” my mother said.

    “No…no…please,” I screamed, “you can’t leave me like this. My face just cleared up!”

    “Henry, do we still have Mikey’s crib in the attic?”

    “Yes we do, doll face. We kept the playpen, stroller, and three boxes of clothes.”

    “Oh, Henry, you haven’t called me that since…high school.”

    1. Nicki EagerReader

      Great take, madeindetroit- and horribly realistic. Can’t you just imagine your parents thinking along the same lines? Ditto cosivantutte about “my face just cleared up”… 😀

      1. madeindetroit

        It’s strange how other characters just seem to take over.
        These things never end as you intend but I guess that’s all part of the fun.

        Thanks for reading and commenting, Nicki.

    2. Reaper

      Awesome take on this. Somehow my mind never really went to everything else being the same, so nice job on that as well. This had me smiling all the way through. Never trust a witch with a pornstar name, and never mock them either. A lesson we all learn too late.

      1. madeindetroit

        Thanks Reaper.
        Wow. A witch with a porn star name.
        How many stories we could create with those two prompts!
        I agree. you’re playing with fire if you do…Or something magical.

    3. lionetravail

      This is just, literally, perfect. What a brilliant take on the prompt, MID! This was a real treat- sorry it took me a while to get around to it, because it had everything it needed: humor, a surprise twist with the parents’ reaction (and dad’s possible re-emerging randiness)… wonderful work here.

  11. jhowe

    Operation Mini Vole was active and in full swing with the agent in place and all support personnel standing by. The agent, one Thomas Versailles, toddled across the room and into the arms of the doting Islamic State commander at the makeshift air base on the coast of North Africa.

    “General, can we perhaps send the baby to the nursery?” The visiting ambassador from Yemen sweated profusely in the stifling heat. “We have much to discuss.”

    “Nonsense Khalid, young Ali here has been missing for weeks. I’m lucky to have him back.”

    “But general, the plans are at the critical state.”

    “I assure you Khalid, you have my undivided attention.”

    “But sir…”

    The general pulled a silenced hand gun from a shoulder holster and shot the ambassador in the head. “Any other questions gentlemen?” The remaining men stood silent.

    Thomas squirmed in the general’s arms trying to move away from the horrendous breath of the foul man. Just a week ago he had been asleep in his own bed when the knock on his door came. It was essential that he be prepared for the transformation within the hour. Upon arrival at the lab the young son of the terrorist Saif al-Adel had been prepped and he waited under the aid of a strong sedative. After a short period of electrode installations and chemical transfusions the process was ready. The transmutation between the baby and the agent was performed flawlessly.

    When Thomas awoke from the procedure he felt renewed and content. As he began to move he recalled the mission and looked at his tiny hands. One of the doctors picked him up and carried him to an awaiting high chair where a nurse fed him creamed spinach and apricots. “Do you have anything more disgusting to feed me?” He said, spitting the green slime onto his bib.

    “How about the apricots?” the nurse said.

    “They’re not bad, but remember who has to change my diaper later.”

    “Thomas please,” said the director. “We have much to do.”

    “Yes sir, I’ll be ready.”

    The next part of the operation was the trickiest. Thomas had to be returned to the terrorist leader and make the man believe he was his son who had miraculously turned up after the violent kidnapping three weeks ago. He then had to endear himself to the general so he could remain in his company until the plans were revealed. With much planning and effort this was accomplished.

    “And when does the container arrive?” said the general.

    “Tomorrow at noon; aboard the Majestic Star”

    “Have you arranged to have it armed?”

    “We have secured the talents of Henrik Von Loosen from the Düsseldorf Nuclear facility in Germany.”

    “Will he cooperate fully?”

    “That has been arranged.”

    “And the target?” the general said.

    “It has not changed. The missile is programmed to reach London on Monday at the peak of their working day.”

    Thomas cooed, bounced on the general’s lap and reached for a pencil on the table while listening intently to every word. The mythical cobalt device that disappeared from France in 1971 had finally been located. He laid his head on the general’s shoulder and pretended to sleep. “Summon the nurse maid,” the general said. “Ali is ready for a nap.”

    The veiled maid carried Thomas away. Once out of the room she hurried down a hall and through a side door where a cleric in white robes waited. “Get me to a radio,” Thomas said.

    “It will take a little time. How much do we have?” The disguised cleric said.

    “Nine, ten hours at the most.”

    “I’ll have you there in eight.”

    “Make it seven and you may not have to change my diaper.”

    “You got it.”

    1. Nicki EagerReader

      A suspenseful take, jhowe- you had me hooked until the last line. Laughed myself into stitches about “Henrik von Loosen from the Düsseldorf Nuclear facility”. Well written, as always. Wondeful job.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        jhowe, your brain must move in four directions at the same time. You could write movie scripts like Dr,. Strangelove, make love and eat breakfast and still have enough grey cells to read the Wall Street Journal.

    2. lionetravail

      Very well done, Jhowe- I felt a bit of confusion in the beginning with the rapid perspective shifts, but this was a brilliantly done take on this… not an accident, but a premeditated change to infant form. Very action-y, and the diaper jokes along the way had the feel of the very best of a modern “A team” story line.

      Great choice with this 🙂

  12. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

    Magic Dance

    My story last week was really dark, so I’m not doing horror this week. Hope you enjoy!

    I woke this morning to my baby crying like crazy. Yeah, I know, it’s the joys of being a new parent. People constantly chastise me for complaining about it when I could have avoided it in the first place, but really, had I known what I know now about raising children, I probably would have paid to have my walnuts snipped. Probably.

    Having only slept two hours since her last hissy fit, I groggily shuffle down the hallway. The cold floor made my feet feel numb, but I had a thick robe wrapped around my body, so that was all right. When I arrive at her room, I open the door and peer in.

    “What’s wrong, kiddo?” I say, and cringe. I sound like my old man. She continues to cry, an answer I expected.

    I walk across the pink room barely lit by the early morning sun. A ring of stuffed animals hangs from a device above her crib, and I cock my head to the side so I don’t bump against it. She stops crying when I look down.

    To my surprise, her bed is full of letter blocks. She had piled them at the head and the foot, and spelled something out across the center. It said, “Need these items.”

    “What the hell?”

    She quickly and quite diligently pushed the blocks aside and formed new words, “Dad, hurry.”

    I must be dreaming, but for some reason I feel like it’s the right thing to do. I hesitantly agree. “Okay.”

    She shuffles the blocks and writes, “Slime.”

    “Slime?”

    She simply stares at me. Perhaps it’s me just being a cynical adult, but I swear her face has that look of don’t be stupid. My daughter, however, is obviously no ordinary baby. I acquiesce.

    I run through the house, down the stairs, and gather some of the slime cultivating under the sink. We have a slight leak down there that my wife asked me to fix weeks ago. I put a small amount of the sludge in a Ziploc bag. Good thing I didn’t fix it, I rationalize even though I know I still need to fix it. I can feel her glare burning through the back of my skull.

    When I return to my daughter with a smile on my face and panting like our sweet terrier, she had already spelled out the next item, “Snails.”

    I set the bag of sludge on the changing table, and head back through the house. I exit through the front door and into the crisp early morning. Everything has a lovely crystalline look to it because the dew had frozen overnight. I look around the ground, and find three glistening snail trails. After finding the culprits, I put those in bags as well and return to my daughter.

    Again, she spelled out another item on her list while I was gone, “Puppy Dog’s Tail.”

    “What the…”

    That look. I swear she takes after her mother. “Okay, okay, but where am I gonna get a tail…”

    Our Jack Russell. I knew it. That was the only way, but I can’t cut his tail off. I look back at her. She looks back at me. I go find the dog.

    After running quietly down the stairs to avoid waking my wife, I find Lambchop laying in his oval bed under the kitchen table. We actually keep it in the living room, but for some reason he likes to carry it into the kitchen and sleep there instead.

    When I approach him, he stands, stretches, and dances around my feet. The mutt is absolutely adorable, but something compels me to pick him up and take him to the kitchen counter. I set him on the cutting board, open the drawer, and pick out one of the small knives. No, I can’t use that one; I need to chop it with the cleaver fast and quick.

    “God, what the fuck am I thinking?”

    I scoop up Lambchop, run back up the stairs—hopefully losing that spare tire I’ve been complaining about for the last 15 years—and get back into my daughter’s room. I hold the dog up, and show her what I found. The dog chuffs and licks the air.

    That look.

    “Oops, sorry.” I tell my girl, and turn the dog around. Lambchop’s little butt wiggles and the tail waggles.

    She gives me the look again as if to say that’s not what she wanted, but it’ll do. I look past her glare and down at the alphabet blocks. They read, “Thunder or Lightning.”

    “Good God, girl.”

    She doesn’t look amused. So, I leave the room, run back down the stairs—wondering if a heart attack is imminent—and jog over to the kitchen again. I pass through the door and into the garage. A nauseating stench of gasoline and oil is heavy in the air. I walk to the shelf were we keep all the old shit we don’t want but are too sentimental to get rid of. I rummage around until I find my old bass drum, and heave it off the shelf. I can’t find the sticks, but my hands will do.

    I quickly return to the room, and by quickly I mean gulping deep breaths of sweet sweet air as I fight to get the heavy drum up to the second floor. I throw the straps over my shoulders and start quickly banging on the sides. It kind of sounds like thunder, I think.

    My daughter then begins to waves her arms happily in the air with a toothless grin. She claps. She wiggles. The dog dances, wiggling and waggling, too. I start getting into it a bit. Then something frightening catches the corner of my eye. I’m probably white as a ghost as I look toward the door.

    There stands my wife. Her hair had frizzed in several directions, a menagerie of freakish twirls and twines. She forgot to take her mascara off before bed, so she looks kind of like a raccoon, but not at all. More like a banshee come to collect the soul of the man banging on the drums. The left side of her face has indentations from the folds in the pillow, and her eyes have bags bigger than the infinite space of Marry Poppins’ clutch. She doesn’t look the least bit amused.

    She admonishes, “What the hell are you doing, Kurt. It’s barely six in the morning.”

    “I was just, uh… it was for Carmen.”

    She gives me her look.

    “…but your daughter was…” I say, and glance down at her. She’s got her look.

    Those looks. It’s at this very moment I realize I’m in some serious trouble. No one told me being a husband and a father was going to be like this. Damn.

    1. cosivantutte

      This whole story put me in a good mood. Especially since he did not chop off the dog’s tail. 😀 I was worried about that.

      These two paragraphs made me laugh out loud:

      “My daughter then begins to waves her arms happily in the air with a toothless grin. She claps. She wiggles. The dog dances, wiggling and waggling, too. I start getting into it a bit. Then something frightening catches the corner of my eye. I’m probably white as a ghost as I look toward the door.

      There stands my wife. Her hair had frizzed in several directions, a menagerie of freakish twirls and twines. She forgot to take her mascara off before bed, so she looks kind of like a raccoon, but not at all. More like a banshee come to collect the soul of the man banging on the drums. The left side of her face has indentations from the folds in the pillow, and her eyes have bags bigger than the infinite space of Marry Poppins’ clutch. She doesn’t look the least bit amused.”

      The description is so perfect and vivid. 😀

    2. Nicki EagerReader

      Great story, Jay! I’m ot sure I entire get it but as it took me until “puppy dog’s tail” to twig what was going on I’ll put that down to my sluggish brain. I enjoyed your MC a lot (not all daddies are RDJ and take stairs with ease) and I echo cosivantutte with regard to the dog. Somehow reminded me of Mr Bean packing his suitcase and wondering whether to downsize Teddy in order to fit him in…
      Nice job.

      1. madeindetroit

        I loved the take on the messaging blocks and parenting. The descriptions are vivid and funny (especially the one about the wife). Love your writing your serial from the last prompt.
        You also have an awesome website.
        Looking forward to reading more of your writing!

    3. jmcody

      Wow, Jay, I really like this side of you! The voice was great and thoroughly entertaining. I’m not sure if you have decided to stretch yourself, or if this is just a side you haven’t shown us yet, but either way, I hope to see more of this from you. Great job!

    4. lionetravail

      This is awesome, Jay! I really want to know more with this story! This is very engrossing, and easy to see happening in the mind’s eye, like it would be on a screen. It’s a great teaser for a much longer story or movie if you know where this story would go. It’s precious, and precocious, and just begs for a much longer exploration of it.

  13. Manwe38

    Did He think this was funny?

    I mean, seriously…was this His idea of a joke?

    I stared up with eyes that couldn’t seem to focus and shook a chubby fist at the distant ceiling. Yes, I had asked for help. Yes, I had prayed for strength. Yes, I had been open to receive, as the Book said I should…but what I had gotten was way over the line.

    “Are you kidding?” I tried to say, but the words wouldn’t come. My tongue, once renowed by women across town, now was as limp as an unplugged conveyer-belt. The brain still worked, but the lines had been cut. My arms and legs weren’t much better; nor was my chest.

    Why? I know the Book says adultery can also be in the heart, but I didn’t kiss her, or even flirt…or did I? Yes, we are friends, and I know I can be playful, but making me into a baby again? Come on.

    Boom. The ground shook, a gentle vibration that filled my tiny form with its silent wave. I squinted, trying to mature two oversized globes that had yet to learn how to see any distance, but the door remained an earthy-brown blur. Hmmm, could it be…

    Boom. Ah, so that’s it. Footsteps. Someone was coming.

    As I rocked back on my heels and prepared to crawl, it occurred to me that G-d had a very strange sense of humor indeed. Last night, I asked Him to take the urge to cheat on my wife away from me, to grant me anew the strength to hold on to my vows, and he turned me into a baby instead.

    I guess a six-month old body can’t cheat. Problem is, it can’t do much else, either, except eat and poop.

    The door handle clicked, and a swoosh filled my ears. As a strange being came into focus, I glanced up, hoping for answer. Please G-d, tell me it’s a dream. I won’t ever think of cheating again, I promise. She and I are just friends; I’ve thought of doing more, but I’d never act on it. You know that, yet it seems You don’t care. Just change me back, and I’ll be a model of virtue. Just give me one more chance.

    Please.

    1. Reaper

      Such an intense exploration of so many subjects. The idea of cheating yes, but also where strength comes from and what it means. The delving into the idea of how we try to make deals with God and what it would mean if they were answered. How many of us cast out in a moment of desperation and would be horrified if we were answered by a mind we cannot possibly know? Nicely written and there is a metaphor here as well, a man with the thoughts of a boy. This is a deep thinker and so personal. It speaks to me on that level where I have been looking for strength and answers recently and am sure I am getting them but just don’t know how yet. So while your focus is on one thing it is wide and deep as a story and a lesson. Wonderful.

      1. Manwe38

        Reaper, your feedback is always many-layered and inspiring. I’m glad that my writing has touched you on a personal level; it’s really all that any of us can ask for, that the words and ideas that we put down for others to read will make them think and feel.

        I hope you find the answers you are looking for, and that the process isn’t too painful.

        Happy Thanksgiving!

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Manwe38, I had a thought believe it or not. If you sinned as much by thinking of it, why not pop her one or twice and then ask for strength. What would you have to lose? Crass thought isn’t it?

    2. jmcody

      Sorry, gotta disagree with my good friend Kerry. Don’t do it Manwe. From everything you’ve said, you will hate yourself. It’s not worth it, and I hope all this writing about it will help you get to the root of this problem eventually. Sorry for butting in — I had to say it.

      That aside, nice writing on this, as always. 🙂

    3. lionetravail

      This was brisk, entertaining, and appealing on a lot of levels, Manwe. Sorry to be just catching up now, but it’s been an overwhelming last 2 weeks… and not easing up all that much.

      Nice work with this… it’d be interesting to see where this goes if you choose to extend it: lots left unanswered that could be worth exploring.

  14. Reaper

    Predestined Accountability

    Check it. Last night was legendary. I don’t normally go for cougars but… I got the bitch hammered and went back to her place. She was a God nut and the old school wrathful pictures were not in line with what we did. I mean, I knew going in that she was crazy but I only knew half of it. The things she did blew my mind hole.

    Afterwards she starts chanting Latin at this vengeful Jesus mural. I swear she smiled at me there at the end. Anyway, my vision goes all blurry and I woke up alone. Thank Poseidon, right?

    I rolled out of bed, stumbled, and smacked my head on the floor, figured it’s residual tequila body. I mean, it was a short fall so I must have been on my knees. My legs failed me so I crawled to the wall where there’s a mirror to find, I’m a damn baby. That don’t make sense.

    Then I hear the sweet voice of my mother dancing through the trailer. I smile, watching a runner of drool fall onto the floor. Mom comes and scoops me up. She starts cooing at my bump. She’s telling me I’m her good boy for not crying, what a big man I am. I snuggle into her.

    “Mom, check it. You ain’t gotta worry. Despite the meth you did while pregnant, despite the neglect and the abusive boyfriends I’m successful. I have a nice car, big house, stable seven figure job. Even you overdosing when I was thirteen and leaving me your thug brother didn’t mess me up. I don’t hold it against you. I just wish you didn’t.

    “That’s not how a man measures success. That’s what one of my ‘uncles’ taught me. Last night proves I can do anything. A couple years back I crashed this wedding. The hottest bridesmaid was the high school aged sister. I ruined her for boys her age. A year later I tapped the bride. Despite them hating me and crying to anyone that would listen I hit their mom last night.”

    I try to say all that to the one woman I ever had true feelings for as I drink in the sweat tainted warmth of her loose skinned body. What comes out sounds like me shitting from my mouth. I want to cry but I can’t with mom holding me. Eventually she lays me back in the crib and puts the side up this time.

    I’m in that prison when the ten year old girl climbs through the window. Fear coils in my tiny belly. Mom didn’t understand my words but it seems this girl did.

    “Sometimes a miracle requires sacrifice. My daughters will never know the pain you are so proud of inflicting.”

    The pigtailed psycho pulls a butcher knife, bigger than her, from behind her back. With a clumsy hand she carved me a second scream.

    “So that’s how I got here Pete. Can I meet Jesus? My lawn needs work.”

    1. Manwe38

      Whoa, this was very powerful, Reaper.

      You manage to weave a powerful morality tale without moralizing. That isn’t easy, but you pulled it off well.

      Nicely done!

      1. Reaper

        Thanks Manwe38! I’m happy to hear powerful. I know that I can moralize with the best of them. I’ve found the way I avoid it when writing a story like this is to write every character a step over the line. While I can sympathize with the mother it is an extreme action to take so she is not an angel in comparison to the MC. Just kind of random thoughts from me. Thanks for the comment, I’m glad you enjoyed.

    2. Amyithist

      Reaper, your MC’s voice was classic; unique and surprisingly off-character from what I’m used to with you. Some of what was in here hit home for me… My mother did meth and when I was about 10 or 11 years old…she overdosed in front of me. She’s still alive, but that night haunts me to this day. You captured that need to tout the success to those who did the MC wrong very well.
      But then came the twist. And YOU blew my mind hole! Did NOT see that coming. Poor kid. Never stood a chance. 🙁

      1. Reaper

        Thank Amyithist. I am totally practicing my frat boy voice braw! So I was thinking how different the voice was for me when I wrote it, glad I wasn’t the only one. Wow, I’m sorry you went through that but glad it made an emotional connection, I think. Thank you for that. The mother came out of nowhere because the original take I had left the MC as completely unsympathetic with no explanation as to why he was who was. I really didn’t want the twist to make the cougar into a complete hero, because I mean that’s not really an okay action to take. So when I thought, how do I make this pig a little understandable that idea leapt to mind.

    3. lionetravail

      What a great character voice! This was a racy, fast moving story with an abrupt and shocking end… and the last line saved it as a comedy 🙂

      You had to have real fun writing this one, Reaper!

      1. Reaper

        Thank you lionetravail. I almost struck the last line but decided the voice was too funny not to leave a comedic aspect to it. You say such wonderful things and I definitely had fun with this one.

    4. jmcody

      Actually I think the voice walked a line between frat boy and badass street punk. I had a mental image of someone who looks and acts like Eminem, except maybe a better dresser with his seven figure income (ill-gotten, I can only assume.). So you succeeded in making me despise your MC. The angry, vengeful Jesus mural didn’t strike a chord with me since I’ve never seen Jesus portrayed that way. The Latin definitely added the creepiness you were going for though, and conveyed the Cougar’s tortured and twisted state of mind.

      What I loved about this was how the MC’s actions had the in unintended effect of “saving” the MC from himself. He avoided a lifetime of depravity and went straight to heaven, while the Cougar, who was only trying to save her daughters, will probably have some reckoning to do. The “sometimes a miracle requires sacrifice” line really wrapped up your twist ending with a flourish. This was kind of a mind-bending tale, Reaper. Wow.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Reaper, you scared the living poop out of me.I promise to walk the straight and narrow if you stop writing these tales. . Only kidding, You created evil at a level above most and then explained why. Finally released his soul from misery. All this in such a short story, truly amazing.

  15. Observer Tim

    I wake up Saturday morning after the Apocalypse. I’m fairly sure I put down at least a dozen zombies personally, and think the six of us together used up most of the rum in the bar. I’m wearing clothes and alone in bed (thank the gods), but beyond that I could be anywhere.

    My body feels awkward and out of proportion. My vision is blurry and sounds are distorted. Wherever this is smells nice, like pine trees in the fall, and the warmth of the soft blanket is heavenly. I could just lie here all day.

    Something slowly comes into focus above me. It’s a mobile, like people put in little kid’s bedrooms. There are stars and planets and a woman on a broomstick, all bouncing around and drawing little circles in the air to the accompaniment of faint bells.

    I try to laugh but it comes out more like a burbling noise. I raise my hand and it’s puffy like – well, like it’s never been. I’ve always been a long and lanky girl, more of an athlete than a fashion plate. I wiggle my fingers and they move okay so they’re not swollen, just weird.

    Giant hands reach down from the fuzzy distance and pick me up. A moment later I’m staring into my own face: big green almond-shaped eyes (too big), a pointy little nose (too little), bright pink lips around a too-small mouth and cheekbones so high they need buttressing.

    Somehow it all clicks. I’m a baby! Weirder, I’m my own baby! I’ve never been pregnant, or even… you know, so this is all totally new. Big me kisses me on the forehead; I try to touch it but my arms don’t reach. Definitely a baby.

    She lowers me down and presents me with a bare breast as big as my head. She makes a really inappropriate gesture with her finger, then touches my tongue with it. The sweet-tasting warm milk tells me exactly why I’m here. It seems really weird to my twenty-year old mind, but I start to suck.
    I can feel her heartbeat and the gentle vibration of her humming. It feels like home.

    After my breakfast she gently bounces me up and down until I let out a hiccup. Then she holds me against her snuggly-warm chest, now covered with soft green velvet. It’s too easy to get lost in the simple sensuality of it.

    My reverie is broken by a voice. The language is foreign, but somehow I understand.

    “Lady Umbriel. It is time.”

    “Must it be, Therion? I want to hold her longer.”

    “The convergence will not wait. If we do not send her to Midgard soon she will perish with the rest of us.”

    “Forgive a mother’s selfishness. Take good care of her.”

    She hands me over and the last thing I see is the love on her face and the tears in her eyes.

    I wake up to the sunlight coming into my dorm room. Jenna is still out cold. I look in the mirror and I’m me again, still in my rumpled clothes from last night. My pounding head tells me the zombies eventually won.

    I wonder if that weird dream means anything, or if it’s just my subconscious trying to tell me a story. I trace my pointed ear and smile; I like me, but it’s obvious I’m not like everyone else here. I pick up the phone and call. Mom answers and we catch up, but then it’s time for the big question.

    “Mom, have you ever heard the name Lady Umbriel?”

    The pause speaks volumes. “I think we have to talk.”

    1. Amyithist

      I think there needs to be a continuation of this. There are so many questions. I don’t fully understand what happened here; though, the writing is so beautiful and spot on that I don’t really mind the ambiguity. But I do want to know more! Please, sir, may I have more?
      🙂

    2. Reaper

      The writing on this is breathtaking. The simple story you told had its own meaning. It was so artistic and could speak to a number of things. Then you hit me with the larger story and all that work you did made me crave more as well. I for four want to see more.

    3. lionetravail

      What a treat, OT! It’s a great beginning to a whole new urban fantasy, fused to a zombie apocalypse- I’m with everyone else… can’t wait for more 🙂

  16. Trevor

    Please tell me what you think. Be completely honest!

    Begin Again

    When I woke up that morning, I knew something wasn’t right. I had difficulty just sitting up in bed, even worse than usual. I turned to my side and shrieked as I fell to the ground with a hard thud. Pain shoot through my body like a bullet to the chest. Tears welled up in my eyes and started cascading down my face. But I forced myself to remain silent.

    I tried to get to my feet, but I stumbled and fell back to the white carpet. I tried to stand again, but to no avail. It was like my legs were made of Jell-O. As I laid down on the carpet, I looked down at my legs and gasped. They were short and stubby. I raised my hands to my face and saw that they were much smaller, too. Seeing a full length mirror at the other end of the room, I crawled over as fast as my puny arms and legs could take me. I looked into the glass and gasped at the reflection.

    A baby was staring back at me from the mirror.

    What the hell happened? How did I become a baby? Where am I right now? Just a few hours ago, I was having the time of my life. I was out with some work friends on a Saturday night, hanging out at our favorite nightclub. We were having vodka and playfully flirting with every woman we saw.

    Then, at around midnight, I was about to go out onto the dance floor when I started to feel dizzy. My vision was blurry like a botched photograph. Then, all of a sudden, I collapsed to the floor and blacked out. That was the last thing I did before I woke up as a baby.

    My memories were interrupted by the front door opening. A woman with curly blonde hair stood in the doorway. As soon as she saw me, she gasped in shock and her eye seemed to pop out of her head.

    “Brandon!” Her voice was shrill and filled with panic. She walked over to me in her high heels and picked me up in her soft, tender hands. “Oh, my gosh! Are you OK, baby?” She held me up close to her face. I could smell coffee on her breath. She carried me back over to the crib, placed me down on the soft mattress, and then raised the wall to my crib. Then, she went over to a small toy box in the corner of the room and pulled out a light brown teddy bear. “Here’s Mr. Bear!” The woman squealed as she put the stuffed toy beside me. The fur was warm and silky against my cheek.

    As I stared at the woman’s beautiful face, I realized who she was. She was my mother! I hadn’t visited my mother in almost six years, so I had a hard time recognizing her. She looked so young and full of energy, much like she was when I last saw her. She had always been a great mother, even when I started acting out. Partying every night. Cutting class. Getting into fights at school. No matter what, she always loved me. I don’t think she ever even raised her voice to me.

    After she left the room, I laid down in the crib, Mr. Bear clutched in my arms. There was a mobile hanging over me, the tiny plastic animals gradually spinning around. Suddenly, without any warning, I drifted into a deep sleep. I don’t know how long I slept, but I was woken up by my mother’s gentle whisper.

    “Brandon….wake up, honey. Time to go!” She whispered in a gentle voice. As I slowly woke up, Mom picked me up and carried me over to the dresser by the door. With great speed and skill, she changed me out of my blue footie pajamas and into a green T-shirt, blue jeans, and tiny black sneakers. Once I was ready, she carried me out to the car, strapped me into my car seat, and off we went.

    Turns out Mom was taking me to run errands. It might sound boring, but it turned out to be kind of fun-at least for a baby. First, we went to the grocery store. As we rolled around the store, with me strapped in the shopping cart, I felt a sense of youthful joy. Then, we went to the library, where Mom returned some Dr. Suess books. She had a lengthy gossip session with the librarian, which nearly put me to sleep. Then, it was off to get the car washed.

    “Don’t be scared, Brandon. Mommy’s right here.” Mom said as she turned around in her seat to hold my hand. Her grip was warm and friendly. But since I was a 27-year-old man in an infant’s body, the wash didn’t scare me a bit. Mom was very surprised by my calm demeanor.

    Then, after the car wash, we went home and Mom sat me down in my Baby Bouncer. There were plastic toys hanging above me, but I didn’t bother with them once Mom turned the TV on. We watched some episodes of Sesame Street and Caillou, but I quickly lost interest and started playing with the toys hanging above me. Once Mom noticed my disinterest, she came over to me and started playing Peek-A-Boo with me. I played along, giving her a big smile whenever she uncovered her face. I loved seeing her so happy.

    We spent the rest of the day playing games and having fun together. Then, at around 9:30, after Mom finished feeding me, she carried me back to my room and placed me gently into my crib. “Good night, baby.” She whispered to me as she kissed my forehead, turned on the mobile, and left the room. As I laid alone in the dark, the mobile whirling above my head, I thought back on this wonderful day. I had spent the entire day with my Mom, and even though all the things we’d done were mundane and ordinary, I enjoyed every second of it.

    Then I realized something. My life had been on a downward spiral. All I cared about was drinking, partying, and having fun. I had no ambitions in life and I had no one to count on. But now that I was young again, I had a clean slate. I could relive my life and not make the same mistakes again. I could have the life my mother wanted me to have. Maybe that was why I was like this again. Maybe it was fate giving me another chance at life. A good life. A life of success and happiness.

    Smiling at the future that was in store for me, I pulled Mr. Bear closer to me and fell into another deep, peaceful sleep.

    1. Observer Tim

      This is excellent, Trevor. The voice is perfect, and the introspection wrapped around the ordinary day is done beautifully. I also like the message of hope for the future – let’s hope Brandon can go through with it. 🙂

      My red pencil noticed a few little things: shoot (shot), laid (lay). It’s hard to suddenly drift (this would be well-served by recasting). Also, the second-last paragraph would probably benefit from recasting with longer sentences.

    2. Amyithist

      Trevor, this is good but some of the wording does need a little revamping. I agree with Observer Tim on his suggestions. The story itself was nice; lots of potential here. Every writer needs to remember there is always room for growth; the minute we believe we are done honing are skill, we lose a piece of our craft. This is a great place to come to learn and share and hear from other writers what we ourselves may not be able to see. I hope to see you here again! Great job!

    3. Reaper

      This is really good. The wording mentioned were things I noticed. Over recent weeks you have shot forward with the wording. Your imagery was nice in this as well. The middle of this seems like a story that belongs in an early reader book, I mean that as a compliment, it is something people should read to their children to get them into reading. The first and last bits seem more aimed at an adult audience. My only advice would be to focus in a little on that internal conflict at the beginning to amp that up or to snip some of each off to keep that feel of a complete family story. Just my take though because the story works as is.

    4. lionetravail

      Nice job Trevor! i really do enjoy the narrator’s voice in this story, and see it as a great step in your evolution as a writer. the feel of the story is great, and you’ve cut down on exposition. there’s some detail you could maybe trim (i say maybe because i thinks it’s more a style option) , but i think you used the right amount for this story, as it goes to explain why the MC really enjoyed the experience.

      good one !

  17. Jaqi

    Sooo I have 562 words. Aaaaand its not entirely what the prompt asked for. Sorry for the ridonculousness.

    I opened my eyes halfway. Without my permission, the sun dove right in to my overly sensitive corneas. With a grunt, I rubbed my face, and tried to persuade myself to get out of bed.
    “Auugh. I have so much to do today. I haven’t even bought the turkey.” I thought begrudgingly. I looked at the clock.
    “8:45 a.m. Another fifteen minutes won’t kill me.” I rolled over, facing away from the clock, and hugged my teddy bear tightly. I closed my eyes and inhaled deep – it smelled just like the one from my childhood. The smell of sweat, drool, and a bit of my mom’s perfume permeated my nose lightly.
    “Huh, wonder when I got this. I haven’t seen Mr. Jimblies for twenty years…didn’t mom burn him?…” I furrowed my brows slightly. My thoughts became longer and softer as my body coaxed my mind back to sleep. I kicked my right leg ever so slightly – this was a habit that I broke after I’d gotten married. Or at least, I think I did. Hank, my husband, isn’t even here right now, so what should I care?
    A few drowsy moments passed.
    As a giant, screaming yawn escaped my lips, I fluttered my eyes tiredly and flipped over to check the time.
    “8:56 a.m. Woah, that flew by. Four more minutes all to myself.” I waited, holding my breath.
    “That’s weird. It’s usually right around the time that I get a few miniscule minutes to myself that the kids come bursting in the door. They must be out with Hank or something.”
    I nuzzled into my Dora the Explorer pillow.
    Kunk! Bang! The sound of pans being accidentally hit together wiggled through my ears, sending a painful wave of aches and dizziness through my brain.
    “Great. Breakfast in bed. Better make the sheets ready for soupy pancakes and spilled orange juice.” After I stretched everything from my nose to my fingers to my calves to my toes, I sat up, eyes still closed, swaying slightly as the blood in my feet made its way to my head. Taking a deep breath, I stood up, and took a few steps forward – ow! I bumped my face into something!
    Preparing to see the knotted hair and runny makeup of a good night out, I looked into the eyes that looked back at me in the tiny Barbie doll mirror that hung from my closet door.
    “Wait…what?” These are my eyes, but they were huge in comparison to my body. These are my feet, but they are now small and chubby with barely a remnant of a toenail. These are my arms, but instead of the lean, flab-less appendages I had worked so hard for in my yoga class, now attached to my torso were rolls of what looked like mushy pizza dough.
    “This is new. I’ve never been so hung over that I’ve hallucinated. I guess there’s a first for everything. Oh gosh, I’m basically my mom. Wait, Mom?”
    Donned in a purple lace shirt, gray pants, and her signature curly blonde hair, my mom came in my room and scooped me up.
    “Time for breakfast, sweetie.” She said with a smile.
    I don’t care if this is real. I don’t care if I am dead and in heaven.
    I haven’t seen that smile in twenty-six years. Not since that man took it away from you.

    1. Observer Tim

      Very nice take, Jaqi. I love the way the MC stubbornly refused to believe anything was amiss until she was forced to – that is so human. And you did an excellent job telling the tragic part of the backstory in one sentence.

    2. lionetravail

      This is great stuff, Jaqi. Well-written, a good story, and an excellent take on the prompt. It also has a wonderful last 2 lines, lines which beg more story. Nice job!

  18. Amyithist

    I couldn’t believe I was here again. This had to be a dream… But as the searing pain from the baseboard heater bit into my soft, pudgy skin, I realized it was incredibly real. Without realizing I was doing it, I began to wail. The sound of my own voice reverberating through my tiny body was grating. I hated babies! How the hell did I become one? AGAIN?
    The door to my nursery opened and my mother slinked into the room. She reeked of booze. A lit cigarette dangled carelessly from her withered fingertips and as I watched the cherry ember fall away from the burning paper, I realized what night I’d been brought back to.
    My mother was a pitiful sight; lanky and weathered well beyond her years, she was a mere shell of the woman I’d seen in pictures. Her glassy eyes panned over the room as she sucked back on the cigarette. A plume of toxic smoke filled the air. Geez, thanks, Mom, I thought bitterly. Her eyes landed on me and she frowned deeply. “What the hell’er you bellowin’ about?” She groaned as she stumbled further into the room.
    I tried to articulate the injury to my arm, but all I could manage was a garbled cry. Mom’s face drooped with obligation and disgust as she bent to pick me up. Instead of a loving cradle, she grabbed me by my arm and hoisted me onto the changing table. Again, I wailed in pain as her fingers clamped over my singed flesh. “Oh quit your crying you little shit,” she growled as she forced me on my back.
    After a rather pathetic attempt at changing my diaper, she grabbed me again and nearly tossed me back into the crib. She could barely stand as she warbled back into the hallway, calling for my oldest brother to make her another drink; my oldest brother who I never had the chance to know as a man…because of this night.
    I scrambled to the edge of the bed and reached up. Fuck! I was too short. Frantically, I waddled to the mounds of dirty, mold-laden stuffed animals and began to pile them against the bars. I grabbed my pillow and stuffed it on top. The mountain offered little in the way of stability, but I managed to reach the railing. As I hoisted myself up and over, I toppled to the floor. The fall was a little more painful than I’d imagined in my head.
    Gasping for breath, I turned onto my belly and pulled myself up. My legs were jelly and my head was aching but I managed to wobble over the grimy carpet and into the hallway. The house was derelict and smelled of molding food and cat. I remembered vaguely the life I’d led; the life that came after this horrible night. My first two years were spent in a burn unit. And when I’d reached adulthood, I was hardly human.
    I tried to remember what had happened before I woke up shirtless and covered in my own shit. What had I been doing? Praying…the memory of sitting on the dock beneath the sallow light of a streetlamp suddenly flitted through my mind. I could see myself there; dirty, desolate, and completely smashed. And I was doing something I’d never done as a man. I was crying. Not just crying…but bawling. And I was asking God to help me. “Just give me something! Help me! I can’t live like this anymore!” I rose to unsteady feet, cursing at the sky, challenging a God I wasn’t sure I even believed in…
    I remembered the icy water rushing over me as I tumbled into the bay; no one there to see me. No one there to save me… And as I fell further and further into the murky depths, I knew I was being given that second chance I’d asked for. Determination set in and I started down the hall. I knew I didn’t have a lot of time. As I rounded the corner, the kitchen came into view. I could see my brother. He had to be about 15 years old. I hadn’t remembered a lot about him. As he turned, I felt my heart swell with a torrent of emotion.
    “Darrel,” I cried.
    His eyes darted across the room and as they landed on me, widened. “Tony?” He set the glass of vodka and orange juice down and rushed over to me. “Tony, what the hell?”
    “There’s no time to explain,” I blurted. Thank God I could talk! “We need to get out of here.”
    “Tony, I don’t know what’s going on, but you’re going back to bed…” He scooped me into his arms.
    “NO!” I cried. “You’re going to die tonight, Darrel. Now I don’t know how or even why, but I am here to stop that from happening. There is a fire building in Mom’s room. You try to save her, but you die in the process. Let me tell you something, Darrel; she’s not worth saving. But you are!”
    As if on cue, a stream of smoke started to snake its way through the hallway. The roar of a growing fire broke through the silence swarming over us. Darrel’s eyes widened. “Mama!” He cried.
    “Darrel, she’s already dead!” I grabbed the collar of his shirt with my short fingers and gripped it. “We need to get out of here. Please.”
    Reluctantly, he turned and ran from the house. The cold blast of winter air sliced through my onesie. The house erupted with flames. Darrel held me close as we watched the house burn. I closed my eyes, grateful for the change of events and grateful that I had my big brother there.
    When I opened them again, I realized I was in a bed. The sheets felt like silk against my skin. I stretched out, yawning as I sat up, leaning on one arm. I blinked for a moment, slowly realizing I was a grown man again. Great, I thought, rubbing my eyes. What now?
    I glanced around the room I was in. It was tastefully decorated and smelled…clean! Suddenly a phone jangled to life on a cherry wood nightstand. Nice digs, I thought as I lifted the receiver. “Hello?”
    “Tony, you better be ready to go.” The voice was oddly familiar…and yet I wasn’t sure who I was speaking with.
    “Go where?” I croaked.
    A heavy sigh hissed over the line. “Dude, I may be your brother, but even I can’t save you from Judge Waterbury.”
    “Darrel?” My heart jumped into my throat. He’s alive!
    “Who else would be calling your ass at five o’clock in the morning? Dude, you have a case at 8. Get outta bed now!”
    I smiled as I hung the phone up. Memories of a happy childhood and years at Harvard infiltrated my mind. Darrel and I owned a law firm… Our very own firm… And the most amazing part? Darrel was alive!

    1. Reaper

      You never cease to surprise me in good ways. I was not expecting a happy ending to this, but it was perfect. The idea of success being nice but not the important thing was well placed and well done. Of course the very tragic and depressing situation leading up to it made that last bit shine even more. Beautifully written here Amyithist.

    2. Nicki EagerReader

      A great tale and some amazing imagery, Amyithist! You worked out the mother beautifully; really strong writing there. But if I’m allowed to nitpick I’d suggest you still try and tighten it up a little more (I’m thinking of the “flashback”, where baby Tony remembers how he stood at the docks), and “warbled” in “She could barely stand as she warbled back into the hallway” threw me a little off- I thought that word referred to voices only.
      Overall great entertainment! I wonder what Darrel made of the night his baby-brother talked to him like a prophet from the future? Probably thought he’d inhaled too much of mama’s vodka-O…

    3. JR MacBeth

      Amyithist, I’m guessing some autobiographical inspiration here? The mother, she really came alive for me. You conjure the five senses, and that “home” became real too, in such a depressing way. And you took us to the edge too, wondering if such a tragic history might repeat itself, but then pulled back, and gave us a happy ending. My crystal ball says Amyithist is someone to keep an eye on. Great job!

  19. Cceynowa

    What’s Best for the Children (Part Two)
    See the first part below to make sense of this narrative.

    The last thing I needed was some frat boy shouting for “Jackie” over and over again. I rolled over, trying to block the sound with my pillow, and came face to face with my sister. God, what a night.

    It took me a few moments to register what I was seeing. The girl next to me was definitely my twin sister, but she was like two years old. I sat up, my head spinning with the effort, and pulled myself up on the bars of our crib. Oh. My. God. Not this hell-hole again.

    The nursery was decorated in sailboats and mermaids, the carpet a rich sea green, and the rocking chair remained unused in the far corner. I could smell the orange and jasmine incense mother would burn all the fucking time.

    I thought I was going to be sick. I plopped down on my butt, only to realize I was in serious need of a diaper change. A diaper change. I was a baby. Christine was a baby. Robert, our older brother, was calling for his wife Jackie in a high childlike voice from across the hall.

    What the hell.

    I reached over and pinched Christine’s legs. She kicked, harder than I thought a baby should, and rolled towards the side of the crib. “Cree,” I said. I meant “Chris” but it wouldn’t come out right. I settled on grunting and shaking her. She never was one to wake up easily.

    “Cree!” I shouted louder. Robert had stopped yelling and I could hear mother in the foyer downstairs. She seemed to be talking to herself. Not surprising. God knows she drank enough to be delusional. And the drugs— no telling what was in her system.

    When we were twelve Chris and I had found a stash of marijuana in the pantry. Mom had accused the cook, Abby, of hiding it. Dad had dismissed Abby without allowing her to explain. We had hated Mom for her lie. After Robert ran away, Abby had become our protector, our secret bearer, our friend. Our arguments and accusations to Dad had brought his belt down on our backs. That was the day Chris and I had agreed that as soon as we could, we were leaving and never coming back.

    We’d kept that promise too, included Robert in on it when we’d found him again after we turned eighteen, and yet here we were: babies in our parents’ home. The horror of it made tears well up in my eyes.

    Chris finally woke. It took her a moment to comprehend. When she did though, I saw her own tears forming. Like the babies we were, we clung to each other and cried. The unfairness of it was too much. We’d lived a secret life of hell, hidden behind our parents’ money, once already. Living it again was too much to ask.

    The gunshot from downstairs silenced our cries. Perhaps, I thought hopefully, this time would be different.

    1. Observer Tim

      This is a very interesting reflection-take on part one. I hope, for the sake of the children, that they don’t retain their memories forever. Otherwise when they grow up again they’re going to be pretty screwed up adults.

      Great job, Cceynowa!

    2. Nicki EagerReader

      I agree with lionetravail. The characters definitely had me intruiged, though I’m not quite sure what caused Robert to run away, and how his parents would have been able to keep mum about it (sounds like they are from a well-to-do family, probably with lots of nosy well-to-do neighbors). But maybe I’m just already too deep in the particulars of the story- which shows how quickly you managed to draw me in!

  20. Pete

    A few things. First I kind of cheated. Also the language is kind of rough, at least for me. Oh and it’s maybe 650 words. And there are probably the usual grammatical errors…

    Still there? Okay enjoy.

    It wasn’t the blast of sunshine but rather the crinkling bag of Frito’s that woke John from his heavy slumber. He wiped the crust from his eyes, and then, just like every other morning, his left hand slid down his substantial belly and plunged beneath the exhausted waistband of his boxers and into the dark abyss of his groin.

    Each day began with the shameful ritual. The eyes, the lower regions then the lint removal from the belly button before moving to the nostrils. Once returned to the eyes, then, after gauging the level of hangover approaching, did John let out a yawn and make an effort at rising.

    His mother was downstairs, clinking and clacking and doing a fine job of letting him know that it was time to get up and start the day—a day that would involve daytime television and perhaps retrieving the mail.

    The sizzle of bacon did the trick, and John swung his hairy legs out of his drooping single bed but then fell quick and hard, the braided rug cushioning his head as it hit with a thud.

    He cursed, blinking and moaning as he got back to his feet. But before he could suck in or tuck away, or even gather a breath of preparation, he faced off with himself in the mirror—the same mirror that had been stuck to the wall since 1987. But it was his reflection that made his head spin, from the combination of sudden movement and unguarded thinking. What he saw made him want to cry.

    “Jooooohhhnny…..breakfeaaaasst.” His mother called again but John couldn’t hear a thing but his own heartbeat. In the mirror he saw only a fraction of a man. A big, bulging, hairy grown boy.

    He thought about last night, the night before that, the past fifteen years. About how he told himself he had to be there for his mother—a poor helpless woman during the day but one he left to fend for herself at night, when he took to his stool at Erich’s. The jagged haired bartender with the nose ring slid down a miller draft before he could hit the bar. Sometimes he allowed himself to think that one night, under the right circumstances, well, who knew?

    Another call up the stairs. This one heard by John and it saddened John that he couldn’t have a real conversation with his mother. Thirty eight years old and she still couldn’t spill the beans about his father. He wondered if she even knew who the asshole was.

    Fuck. Where did it go? Time, hope, a real God damned moment of happiness? Wiping his eyes, he cursed himself for being such a pussy. The guys at Erich’s would get a kick out of this, him standing there in his sagging boxing shorts, sobbing to himself on a hopeless Tuesday morning.
    The eggs were getting cold.

    Jesus, all she did was wait on him. Folding his clothes, ignoring the fact they smelled like stale beer and loser. John reeled in a shaky breath and turned away from the pear shaped baby.

    Enough. Fuck this, even if it’s just for one day, John dug out his old running shoes. He laced them up and stood. He shook his gut with both hands. He hit the stairs, each step jolting his head. But he was as determined as he could remember.

    “John?” His mother called from the kitchen. She stopped in the hallway, looking him over.

    “I’m going for a run,” he said, his hand on the wiggly door handle.

    “A run? Johnny don’t be ridiculous, it’s freezing out there.”

    “I know, but want to try to get myself in shape.”

    “Oh, Johnny, come here, have some of these biscuits first. Then you can go on your run,” she said, the word “run” being pushed from puckered lips. Johnny looked at the biscuits, his hand sliding off the handle. His mother took his hat, and then stroked his thinning hair. Obediently, Johnny walked past the wiry Chrismas tree and into the kitchen, where he took his seat at the table and filled his plate.

    “That’s my baby.”

    1. Cceynowa

      Pete, I don’t think you “cheated” at all. The point of the prompt is to get you to write, to use it as you will, and I think you did a splendid job! You brought both your character and his mom to life, giving them depth and personality, a full life history, and a future without any real future all in a short amount of space. There is a lot going on here, and you presented it very nicely. Well done.

    2. jmcody

      I agree with CCey that this was an inspired use of the prompt and not cheating at all. I’m not sure, but I think creative, independent thought is a good thing in a writer… 🙂

      I enjoyed witnessing this buffoon’s moment of clarity and was frustrated by the subsequent realization that it was his mother who was keeping him a big hairy baby. There were some great phrases too “exhausted waistband” and sheets that smelled like “beer and loser” come to mind. Nice job as always, Pete.

    3. Reaper

      I echo the not cheating. Some of my favorite responses are in the spirit and not the letter of the prompt. Being creative means looking at other ways to approach the prompt. If it didn’t then we would end up with a bunch of the same story. Loved the take on a man realizing his faults and the twist into codependency land. Nicely written.

    4. Nicki EagerReader

      This was really thought-provoking and well written, too. You conveyed a fascinating character and for a moment there I believed the MC could turn his life around, I really, really did, but some habits becometoo hard t break I guess. Somehow that mum also freaked me out. You only let her speak a few lines but I already felt I was suffocating in mollycoddled guilt and dependency- amazing!
      Otherwise I didn’t think the language was rough at all (and even if it had been, who cares? As long as it rings true and fits the character), and I don’t think you could possible “cheat” when it comes to prompts- after all they are only jump boards to launch us into the spheres of rampant imagination.

      So long story short: Great job. 🙂

    5. lionetravail

      Well done here, Pete- you’re gaining smoothness and innovation with every story, it seems like. This ‘little’ story has a wonderful grittiness to it… makes me want the title to be “(S)Mother” 🙂

      Great job!

  21. Anyanwu Butler 3

    “Oh God,” I mean to say as I look in the mirror. That’s not what comes out. Gibberish comes out. I didn’t like or understand when I turned into a Robert Downey, Jr., twice, but turning into a baby, really? Could my weird life get any more unearthly?

    “What are you doing on the floor, Joey?” My Dad says as he walks into what I understand is this baby’s room. He’s goddamn Robert Downey, Jr. He picks me up and puts me in the baby’s crib. I quickly scramble out and land on my rear. The thick cotton diaper is a good cushion, so is the carpet.

    “Daddy!” And I raise my arms over my head in the universal baby language for pick me up.

    “Wow, I haven’t heard you say that before. OK, the nanny said you had a long nap this afternoon. You can stay up, for a bit, I guess.”

    He nestles me in his right arm and I grab his nose.

    “Daddy,” I say again.

    “Yep, that’s me. Let’s go back to our dinner guests.”

    He carries me to the dining room and I let him. On the way there, he finds the high chair and carries it in his other hand to the dining room.

    “Joey wanted to join us and he was so cute on the floor, calling me Daddy for the first time that I heard.”

    “He called you Daddy! He’s never called me Mommy,” says the baby’s mom.

    “Mommy!” I’m not able to talk much, as this baby, but this much I can manage.

    “Oh Joey! That’s so great!” My Mom picks me up and twirls me around the room. She holds me on her lap on the couch. She’s got nice breasts. Hey, I may look like a baby, but I’m an adult man, most of the time.

    I’m not following what the adults are talking about, when they are not talking about me, as a baby. But one of the guests says something that gets me to listen.

    “The last movie made about Buster Keaton wasn’t exactly a big success,” says somebody I don’t know.

    “That was 1950, Marissa. And it was a terrible movie. Well, Donald O’Connor was pretty good, he had Buster Keaton teaching him how to be him. The script was really bad, though.”

    “Buster,” I say.

    Everybody claps for me. I try to take a bow, but instead, nearly dive off my mom’s lap. She catches me, first.

    “Just how much do you watch Buster Keaton movies, Bob?”

    “I watch his movies all the time. This guy does too,” he straightens my onesie.

    “Which one is your favorite?”

    “Off the top of my head, ‘Sherlock, Jr.’ Which is your favorite, Joss?”

    Oh, this is Joss Whedon. “’The Navigator,’ I think, or ‘The General.’”

    “Those were his favorite movies, too, according to his autobiography,” says somebody else I don’t know as a baby.

    “So let’s do this. French, are you in?”

    “Absolutely. I’ll need to do it around my television schedule, or get written out of it.”

    “If you need to be written out of it, I’ll make sure it’s temporary, if that’s what you want.”

    “Daddy! Mommy! Buster!” I say, crawl off my mom’s lap and fall over.

    1. jmcody

      I’m not even going to ask why your MC turned into RDJ’s baby, because… Well, why the heck not. Personally I think Edwin must have had something to do with it.

      I love how little Joey Downey was already learning how to work the crowd and upstage his Dad. This was a fun read. Thanks Anyanwu! 🙂

  22. Cceynowa

    What’s Best for the Children
    Word Count: 503

    “Dammit Dave, I thought you knew me better,” Pam’s vexation filled the foyer. She wanted to scream her anger, but she had passed the kids sleeping in their bedrooms on her way downstairs to answer the early morning doorbell. She didn’t want to wake them yet. What would she tell them? She tried to remember exactly what had happened the night before.

    For the first time in over fifty years Dave had drank in excess. The gray skin on his aging neck had wobbled with every gulp of the golden scotch. She had watched him in silence for a while, allowing him to wallow in his pain. Eventually she had joined him and together they had toasted their successful failures: Their children had grown and moved away, disgusted with their parent’s pursuit of wealth. Their friends had stopped being friendly when Pam lost her hair to cancer. The firm had forced Dave to retire to make room for younger blood. Their perfect home was falling into ruins. Their lives wasted attempting to buy happiness.

    As the pendulum clock struck midnight, Dave had drunkenly declared that he would do anything to change the course their lives had taken. Pam had patted his hand and said, “What’s done is done. Let’s not worry with it any longer.”

    He’d grasped her hand, his eyes focused far away, and said urgently, “If there was a way to change, could you do it?”

    “Do what,” she’d asked.

    “Show our children love. To give them a better life.”

    “Maybe.”

    He’d released her hand and told her to go to bed. She’d been too drunk to wonder at his behavior.

    The next morning, when the officer had stood at her door, she had thought she was in a vivid dream. She’d barely covered her smooth skin and high breast with her silken robe as the officer had expressed his regret to bring her the news of her husband’s death. Not until she had read the note the officer had handed her in the sealed envelope found at the crash site, did she realize she was not dreaming.

    After she’d gone to bed, Dave had made a deal with the Devil. For his soul, the Devil would give Pam time to earn the love of her children. Forty years to be precise. Dave’s note explained that he had bargained for her to keep her memories, to help her make better choices. This was her second chance, bought with his damnation.

    From upstairs, she heard Robert, no more than six, calling for his wife. The twins, still in diapers, began to scream. She doubted that the Devil had explained that the children would keep their memories too.

    She went to the lounge, unlocked Dave’s desk and removed his derringer. She knew she couldn’t live any other way than she had her whole life, and that her children would never forgive her or Dave for their choices. Therefore, to give her children the better life Dave had sacrificed for, she pulled the trigger.

    1. jmcody

      Well written, as always and clever, as always, and thought provoking too. I am left wondering what they did that made their children despise them. You gave a general sense of a lack of love and too much focus on acquisition of wealth, but they didn’t come across as terrible people. For some reason I really wanted to know what they should have done differently… But I guess that was Pam’s dilemma too. What would you do differently if you were given a do-over is a very interesting question, and you portrayed it very creatively here. Well done!

    2. Observer Tim

      This is a well-written and thought-provoking tale, Cceynowa. I’m kind of saddened that the mother didn’t even make an attempt to change herself. It is the ultimate expression of despair that she felt any other life than the one she had befor would somehow be better.

    3. Reaper

      I mostly echo jm and Tim here. This is very tragic and sad. It got me thinking along the same lines. The writing was very good. My only wish on that is a style thing. I would have liked to have seen the note written as Brad wrote it rather than exposition. Not a necessary thing at all but it felt like it was lacking the other voice for me.

    4. lionetravail

      Gah! What a horrible ending! Not that it was poorly written, but gah!, I didn’t want that to happen.

      I agree with Reaper… I think you could have put the communication into a letter, or even a voice message, or a dream sequence, or something which would allow you to explore Pam’s emotions and reactions, and potentially set up a greater ‘despair’ picture which would better explain the move to suicide.

      For most people, proof that there actually WAS a devil might be an extremely powerful inducement not to commit the unforgivable sin of suicide… theoretically, any agent of extreme magic/power could have been invoked, but the Devil carries some serious freight of the whole mythology when you invoke him. Or Him. Heh.

  23. Stephen S

    “Childish”

    Brad opened his eyes and smiled, “Oh man that was a night,” he thought to himself as he lay in bed. He could hear his parents downstairs in the kitchen. The smells of breakfast drifted up to him and his smile widened. He rolled out of bed, but as he went to stand, he fell off the side of the bed and onto the floor.

    “What the,” Brad thought as he picked himself up off the floor. He looked back and saw that his bed was taller than him. He wiped at his eyes and looked around the room. Everything was bigger, he walked backwards looking from item to item they where all giant sized.
    He backed into the door of his room and spun around and froze. He was looking at the mirror on the door, but he saw a baby looking back at him. He started to realize he was looking at himself and the reality of what he was seeing hit him and he cried out.

    In the kitchen below, Marg was giving Dan a plate of food when they both heard the cry from above. Marg stared at Dan, and they looked at each other with matching smiles spreading across their faces. Marg set down the plate and started for the stairs with Dan right behind her.

    Brad ran his little hands over his face and his body, he was looking at his budding beer gut that was now just baby fat. When Marg and Dan came in, Brad looked at them and raised his arms to them. Marg unfolded her arms and wrapped them around Brad’s little body. Then she picked him up and sat Brad on his bed, she was smiling, Brad saw his dad standing behind her, he saw he was smiling also. Brad burst into tears again and cried for a few minutes.
    After the fit ended, Brad looked up at his parents and asked between sobs, “Wha, what happened, t, t, to me?”

    Marg hugged him to her and said, “Oh baby don’t you cry, everything is ok.”

    Brad pulled back and looked at them and asked sobbing, “bu, bu, but I, I, am, a, a baby” and let out another burst of tears.

    “No, no honey you’re not a baby you’re about 23 month’s old,” Marg said and hugged him.

    Over her shoulder Dan looked down at Brad and said, “You see son, we did this to you. We made you this way because it will be easier for us.” Brad pulled back from Marg and looked at them both confused.

    Marg said, “Honey, we had to, you where 23 years old, we fed you and clothed you, you had no job, your where not going to school and you spent all your free time partying with your friends. We felt if you where just going to act like a child it would be easier for us if you where a child. Think of it as a second chance, we are.”

    1. Dennis

      Nice story. I knew the parents smiling meant trouble. Good premise. My only small comment is you changed POV from Brad to Marg back to Brad which normally one shouldn’t do in the same scene.

    2. jmcody

      I think this is every parent’s fear realized. Nice job with this imaginative and entertaining take.

      I have just one small piece of a advice: You have a tendency to use commas where periods are called for. Example: “Everything was bigger, he walked backwards looking from item to item they where all giant sized” should be three separate sentences, with periods or maybe even semicolons separating them: “Everything was bigger. He walked backwards looking from item to item. They were all giant sized.” There were a few sentences like this. Sorry to seem nitpicky — thought you should know. Otherwise I enjoyed this very much.

    3. Reaper

      You know, there is creepy that is in your face, then there is creepy that is just so subtle. This falls into the latter and is more never tingling to me because of it. Other than the couple of things mentioned this was written so well. Nice and engaging.

    4. lionetravail

      Wonderfully done 🙂 Though I’d expect mom and dad to uncork the “well, you didn’t turn out so well the first time, so quit your crying before we have to smack your butt more than we did the first time around”.

      Lovely and poetic justice being served.

  24. jhowe

    Brandon woke from his nap and stretched his tiny arms luxuriously, content for the moment until he recalled his predicament. Yesterday, with a hangover from hell, he hadn’t believed it at first, thought he was having a reaction to the tequila overdose from Saturday night at The Rhino. On Sunday, by the time he had experienced two diaper changes and a bath in water that was much too cool it became apparent he really was a baby. A goddamn baby that could barely walk and couldn’t say a freaking word that was intelligible.

    As he lay in his crib he noticed he was ready for yet another changing. Someone was in for a rude awakening he feared. He let out a short burst of a wail that brought a young woman into the nursery. It wasn’t his mother; perhaps a sitter or a nanny? She was quite pretty with a killer body. Yowsa.
    “Is little Brandy up from his nappy?” she said.

    “Gah.”

    “Uh oh, someone needs his dipey changed.” She picked him up. “Holy shit!”

    “Shit,” Brandon said, clear as day.

    “No, no honey. Poopy, I meant poopy.”

    “Shit.”

    “Oh God help me,” she said and laid him on the changing table.

    Strangely, Brandon enjoyed the attention this knockout of a woman gave during the process. The powder at the end was his favorite part. She picked him up and he laid his head into her soft cleavage and snuggled in. “I think someone likes my boobies,” she said.

    “Boobies.”

    “No, no Brandon honey. I’m glad you’re talking but don’t say that.”

    “Boobies boobies boobies.”

    “Oh great. Hey, let’s play with some toys ok? Can you say toys?”

    “Shit.”

    “I’m so screwed,” she said under her breath.

    A few hours later his mother came home with an arm load of bags and packages. She set them down and held out her arms, kneeling. “Come here Brandy. Mommy needs a hug.”

    Brandon toddled over and fell into his mother’s arms. “Did you and Angie have fun today?”

    “Toys,” said Brandon.

    Angie looked at him and smiled as his mother gushed at his new word. Brandon winked at Angie. He wasn’t about to give up that soft cleavage anytime soon.

    1. Pete

      Now that is entertaining! Wow, so much good stuff here. I like how you swept over the whole turning into a baby so we could enjoy the interaction with the Nanny. Love the rough around the edges baby. Still laughing!

    2. Dennis

      This was awesome. I’m glad I was the only one in the office when I read this as I burst out laughing. I love the wink at the end. I definitely like the MC’s approach. Nice writing and under 500 words to boot.

    3. Cceynowa

      This is a fantastic use of the prompt! Great story. The “powder being his favorite part” cracked me up and added a nicely to the overall tone of the piece.

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