Flash: Memory of a Lifetime

Broken Egg With The Yolk And White Oozing Out

Image Courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cheryl hummed happily as she unwrapped a cracker for April. Her baby immediately started working on it with her limited teeth, making a gummy mess.

The weekend had been wonderful, just her and her husband, with the added bonus of the children spending quality time with their uncle. Having breakfast out after picking the kids up was the perfect end to the perfect weekend, giving them time to be a family before jumping back into never-ending chores and work of a two-career household. These were the memories to last a lifetime.

The waitress finished taking Joe’s order and asked “Anything for the child?” she said nodding to Scott sitting neatly in his booster seat.

Cheryl smiled with parental pride at her oldest. “I think he is old enough to order his own breakfast.”

“Okay, little man, what would you like?”

“I want to devour the unborn.” Scott carefully enunciated and spaced words, his volume only slightly less than his normal four-year old tones.

Cheryl looked at the waitress mortified. Her cheeks flushed when she realized most of the diners had heard his request. The nearest two tables stopped eating and turned to stare at her family. No one could have misunderstood what he had said.

When looking for support, she discovered her husband had covered his mouth with his hands. His whole body was shaking and tears were escaping the sides of his eyes. Cheryl shot death towards him, until he calmed enough to remove his hand and translate. With only a slight gasp he said, “Eggs, he want eggs.”

The waitress nodded cautiously before asking the boy, “And how would you like them cooked?”

Proudly Scott said. “Shattered and beaten with the juice flowing forth.”

Joe’s grin widened until he saw his wife’s face. After rearranging his features into a sterner expression, the father relayed, “Scrambled but runny.”

The waitress scratched the order down. With a wince, she asked, “And what would you like to drink, little man?”

“Utter madness.”

Joe’s head tilted as he considered the request. “… aha, Scott, do you mean ‘Udder’?” He  clearly pronounced d’s.

Scott nodded several times. “UD-DER madness.”

Turning to the waitress, Joe let her know, “He wants chocolate milk.”

The woman quickly retreated to the kitchen.

Cheryl hissed at Joe, “Your brother is NEVER to babysit again!”

(words 386 – first published 4/10/2013; republished new blog format 7/3/2016)

Flash: Inside Voice

Shopping Cart Stock Photo

Image courtesy of Suat Eman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Herding cats would be easier, Cheryl thought as she tried to locate Scott while she pulled the grocery cart into the cashier lane. Maybe a leash would help she thought as annoyance got the better of her when she spotted him near the “As Seen On TV” display. She swore she would not be one of those mothers, but between juggling April who had finally outgrown the child seat and the list of errands she needed to get done before meeting with a client tonight — the “ideal mother” was beginning to be overrun by the “practical mother”.

He wasn’t breaking anything. Still, the store clerks already had a couple of messes to clean up from her foray this afternoon. Her line moved. Once the next person started unloading, Cheryl grabbed the moment to quickly retrieve her wayward four-year old.

Scott looked up as she jogged towards him. He shoved the Gentle Genie box back onto the display and tried to look innocent as he stood up. Ignoring the fact the box was now sandwiched between two MagicClean products, Cheryl instructed Scott “Come on, I’m at the checkout.”

Satisfied he was following her, Cheryl returned to the line in time to move forward. She glanced to make certain Scott didn’t get too distracted on the way back and started unloading the cart. Cheryl smiled as he picked up speed. One of his chores was to unload groceries onto the belt; he loved being old enough to help. Cheryl handed him a bag of diapers nearly as big as he was once he arrived.

She tried not to laugh as she watched him maneuver it over his head onto the shelf. While he was busy, she unloaded the glass jars of baby food and the fragile fruits. When he was ready for the next item, she handed her son a plastic jar of peanut butter.

“Yeah! I love peanut butter!” he shouted to the cashier as he put the peanut butter down too firmly. The jar tipped over and rolled a bit as the conveyor belt moved.

“Inside voice,” Cheryl admonished conversationally.

“But Mom!” He said in a stage whisper; his usual volume change after being asked not to shout.

She gave him a Macaroni and Cheese box. “Yes dear.”

“It is a really BIG inside!” He flung his arms wide since words and actions were basically the same for him, and the box escaped his grip.

Cringing slightly, Cheryl watched it sail past the other two people in line before hitting the cement walkway and skidding to a halt at the carpet edge of the woman’s clothing area.

Going to retrieve the bent, but thankfully unbroken box she admitted the boy had a point. The mega department-grocery combination store had a very big inside.

(words 464 – first published 1/30/2013; republished in new blog format 5/1/2016)

Flash: Funner (Part 2)

Opened Dictionary Stock Photo

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Joe was trying to get little April to accept puréed carrots, when his wife said out of the blue, “Yes, I believe funner is a word. Fun, funner, funnest.”

The peanut butter and ginger jelly sandwich was placed where their personal 4-year old tornado named Scott would land as soon as his milk glass was added. She returned to the kitchen to pour the final attraction, and then start assembling their more adult sandwiches. Joe wouldn’t mind a PB and J himself, but Cheryl tried to keep them on a somewhat non-strict diet. Thirties brought a little gut to both of them and she dislike buying clothes just for “upsizing” as she put it.

Scrapping up the carrots that were using osmosis to feed his favorite daughter through her cheeks and bib, Joe tried to place the conversation … it took a moment. Reorienting the food through the more proper channel of her small mouth, he was able to respond, “Nope, I am pretty sure funner is not a word. Did you look it up?”

Delivering the last of the Saturday lunch to the table, Cheryl mouth pursed in consternation as her husband got a point in the debate. “Well, no.” She pulled out her smartphone after sitting down. Booting up, she started navigating through menus looking. “Let’s see, some stuff about funner added to the dictionary in 2010 … Urban slang … oh here is something. Both noun and adjective, but not … drat.”

The arrival of their oldest made her put the smart phone aside, as she saved various glasses from spilling and laid down the requirement of eating at least three apple slices as well as half the sandwich before leaving the table. Joe concentrated on cleaning up the baby, the highchair, the plastic beneath the high chair and finally himself before joining his family at the kitchen table and snatching the phone for himself. Juggling April on one knee, and scrolling through the Google search he found a good article and passed it over to his wife after Scott started counting the Fritos on his plate.

She read through it, taking a bite of her chicken sandwich. Cheryl sipped some black cherry Kool-Aid then returned the phone and said “I believe the circumstances were very informal and therefore the usage stands.”

Joe laughed at loud, thinking back to exactly what he was doing during the “circumstances” of its usage. Glancing at the phone, he confirmed the article he had found boiled down to “Funner should not be used in formal writing, though it’s usage has been accepted for informal writing. For formal English writing, more fun should be used.”

“Agreed. In addition, I will concede we were not writing at the time.”

“Funner … Fun .. Ner … f.u.n.n.e.r.” Cheryl stated and spelled.

Laughter took them both, with April’s baby chortle joining in. Scott looked up from his counting; not understanding the joke, but enjoying the laughter, his high pitch child squeals joining in.

(words 498 – first published 1/2/2013; republished in new blog format 4/3/2016)

Flash: Coffee Urn

Coffee Pot by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Image courtesy of the Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Foundation
Painting entitled: Coffee Pot
Shared under the Creative Commons attribution

Coffee. Warm, wonderful, life-giving coffee.

The silver urn bathed in the late morning sun, alone on the banquet table, steam curling from the lip. The steam barely visible to my unfocused eyes but glorious all the same.

Hot caffeine. The motion of my life’s blood. The function of my synapses.

Throbbing, my head ravaged me for last night. My tongue ached for the Columbia Black to spill over the cotton-parched muscle, burning away … burning away everything. If only there was a mug.

If only I could move my arms.

I twisted my shoulders to see how tight the bindings were.

My dry tongue pressed against whatever was stuck in my mouth preventing me from screaming, adhering to the terrycloth fiber. Blood and sweat-sock duked it out for control of my taste buds. I think the blood is mine; at least one tooth is loose. So much for the extensive orthodontic work my parents paid for during my teenage years.

Bile rose from the flavors but I manage to dry swallow it back down.

Did they, whoever they were, leave the urn as torture? For torture it was to have coffee so close and so far.

(words 196 – first published 3/27/2016)

Flash: It’s Dirty

Goldfish crackers

Image acquired from the Internet Hive Mind, specifically Wikipedia

“When can I put ActionMan down, dad?” The four-year old held the toy over the conveyor belt.

Joe reached across the moving rubber. “Let me just put the bar between mom’s stuff and yours. That let’s the cashier lady know to ring up your ActionMan separate.”

“So I get to pay with it with my money!” His parents had decided he was old enough for his own allowance. Joe and Scott had spent most of the shopping trip picking out the perfect toy to spend his first week’s allowance while Cheryl and April, still relegated to sitting in the cart, did the family groceries. Joe was pretty sure Cheryl had the easier task. Once the bar was down, Scott dropped the toy. He gripped the side of the machine to stand on tippy toe and watch its slow movement down the belt.

After a while he got bored and started looking around at all the impulse items specifically placed at child level in the candy aisle.

“Keep an eye on him,” Cheryl instructed her husband. “He wanders.”

“My son, the explorer.”

“Your son, the destroyer.” She placed the last of the baby food on the belt, after moving the bar and toy back a bit. “Eyes on him.”

Chuckling, Joe watched as his son bent at his knees and carefully studied things on the bottom-most shelf in the squat position small children did so easily. “He isn’t that bad.”

“Karen,” Cheryl addressed the cashier, “what do you think?”

The black lady behind the counter smiled at her realtor while moving the merchandise over the scanner. “We do show a profit on your visits.”

“Well said.” The blond turned back to her husband. “Sweetie, every stocker in the store knows Scott’s name.”

Joe came over to kiss Cheryl on the cheek. “That is because he is an extrovert just like you.”

“Goldfish!” Scott explained.

Both parents turned around to see Scott waving a small carton of Goldfish in the air.

“Do you want that, buddy?” Joe asked, approaching the boy and gently taking the carton out of his hands before he crushed it.

The four-year old nodded vigorously. “Yes!”

“Inside voice.” Cheryl’s automatic response drifted from the front of the line as Scott’s expositions finally crossed the threshold of too loud.

“Yes.” He stage-whispered to his dad.

“Well, let’s look at the price.” Joe knelt down beside the child. “What do the numbers say?”

“One…zero…nine.”

“Okay, do you remember how much money ActionMan is going to cost?”

Scott’s young face scrunched up in thought. “No.”

“It’s okay, I do.” Joe recited the numbers. “That leaves just eighty-nine pennies leftover of your allowance.”

“Which is more than one-nine, right?” Scott looked up eagerly.

“Yes it is more than nineteen, but this is one hundred and nine. That zero is important.” Joe held the carton in front of him, lifting it up and down as though weighing it. “You got a choice buddy. You only have so much money. Do you want ActionMan or the Goldfish?”

“But I’m hungry!”

“And mommy just bought a whole bunch of food. When we get home we will unpack it and then I’m going to start cooking dinner.” Joe stood and picked up the toy from the belt and then knelt again, with the toy in one hand and the food in the other. “Which do you want? We can only get one.”

Scott gazed longingly at one and then the other. Sighing deeply, he pointed at the toy. “I want ActionMan.”

“Good choice buddy.” said Joe, giving a response he decided to give no matter what the choice was. At this point making a choice instead of throwing a tantrum to get both options was a great choice. But overall the engineer in Joe liked the fact his son went for the long choice instead of the immediate result. He passed the carton to his son. “Now put this back since we are not getting it.” He stood up as he watched the tiny learning machine put the food back on the bottom shelf.

Subdued Scott returned to his dad’s side, who gave him the toy. He stood on tiptoe and placed it back on the conveyor and watched until the bar hit the cashier area. His mom pulled out the little coin purse where she was storing his allowance.

“Ready for me to scan this, little man?” Karen asked.

Scott nodded solemnly.

“Listen for the beep.”

Once the scanner made its noise, Scott’s face lit up again. “Was that beep mine?”

“Yes, it was.” Cheryl handed Scott the two bills making up his allowance, while the cashier bagged the toy. “Now you need to pay for it.”

Smiling from ear to ear, he handed over the money.

“Eighty-nine cents is your change.” Karen leaned across the counter, placing the money in the two small outstretched hands.

While trying to get the coins into the money holder, the dime escaped. Scott looked at it a moment.

“Aren’t you going to pick it up?” Joe asked.

“It’s dirty!” Scott declared, before handing the coin purse to his mom and going to get his toy from the bagging area.

Cheryl opened her mouth, then closed it, looking at her husband in consternation.

Joe shrugged. “Which rule do you want?”

Seeing her son engrossed with the toy, Cheryl quickly bent over, picked up the coin, and dropped it into the purse.

“Hygiene wins.” Joe smiled wickedly before adding, “Good choice sweetie.”

“I’ll good choice you.” She whispered back in pretend anger.

“Promise?”

“Tonight, after dinner and laundry … if April doesn’t wake up.”

(words 934 – first published 3/20/2016)