This snap fiction story (what’s that?) was prompted by two little wheels sticking out above the water surface in a park ditch.

All That Vacuuming

Kaesha isn’t like the other kids. She doesn’t like the other kids. She doesn’t like being around them. And she hates it when Dad makes her go out into the park to play.

As she made her way back home that Friday afternoon, she wiped her cheeks where the dried-up tears had become itchy. She looked back one last time and felt a strange kind of satis­faction. Dad wouldn’t be happy. The Ghensen boys wouldn’t be happy. They’d go say thank you to the nice tall man. There’s always a price to pay.

What kind of parent does that anyhow—tell their kid to go play outside and don’t you come back within an hour ’cause Mrs. Morelli has to help out with the vacuuming. Yeah right. Like Kaesha is stupid or something.

Bobby Ghensen was okay, she guessed. Or could be. He’d be just another quiet type if Jack didn’t egg him on like that. God knows who they were trying to impress by being idiots. Smelly idiots at that. No one really liked the Ghensen boys.

The pull wagon is Dad’s way of saying, I’m not so bad. I may not reads books like you do, but I know what a kid needs. Happy birthday Kaesha, and now please take it for a spin outside while Mrs. M. tells me all about the vacuum cleaner.

Bobby had done the throwing. He was younger, but stronger. Jack had just pushed away some kids that tried to help her and led the clapping. Throw-it-in. Throw-it-in. And there it went, not thirty minutes out of the box, and into the ditch. The wagon was a stupid gift but at least it was a gift. Kaesha guessed even stupid gifts can make kids jealous.

Funny thing. After the others had all run away in a laughing panic, this lanky man comes up to her. Says he was on his way home and saw it happen, hold on a second, gets his shoes all wet and dirty and before she knows it—there’s Kaesha’s new pull wagon, back on land again. Don’t worry about it, he says, some kids just haven’t learned yet. But you look kinda smart, so get yourself back home now.

Well what do you know? That one she didn’t see coming. A nice surprise. An oppor­tunity. Kaesha waited for the hour to pass and grabbed the wagon’s handle.

She kind of liked the idea of Dad seeing how it was all wet and muddy and dented and scratched, and her telling, and the ruckus and the mayhem, and Bobby and Jack getting a good telling to. And she liked the idea of taking Dad to thank Mr. M. for helping her get the wagon back out of the ditch again—and his wife for all that vacuuming.

• • •

Father, son, husband, friend and writer by day; asleep by night. Happily pondering the immortality of the crab wherever words are shared.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments