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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: This Side of Paradise (not about the book) (07/14/11)

TITLE: Everyone Knows, Elephants Don't Eat People!
By Kathleen Langridge


Caitlin lifted her feet in a marching motion, to keep busy, but her seven-year-old impatience won. “When are we going in?”

Daddy smiled, “When the park opens, Caitlin. Where do you want to go first, this time?”

“She’ll want to see the castle and find Cinderella,” Mother said, her arms crossed over her chest, a look of disdain blotting out the sunny California day.

Caitlin looked to Daddy seeing his smile still in place, but his eyes were no longer happy. Before she could take in the sadness the gates opened and the wonder that is Disneyland welcomed her attention. She grabbed Daddy’s hand and being mindful not to rush, entered her favorite place. “The train Daddy, let’s go on the train and see everything.”

“Rob, I’m going to the club, try to keep her clean, we’ll have lunch at 1. Then back to the hotel, for her nap.”

“Fine Dorothy, fine, see you then.”

“No nap! I am too old for naps!” stomping her foot, Caitlin knew, in that moment, she’d gone too far.

“I don’t think so, only a 3-year-old stomps her feet and make scenes, in public.”

Caitlin knew that, “I am going to make you pay,” look on Mother’s face.

“Caitlin lets hurry and catch the train. See you at lunch, Dorothy.” Not looking at his wife’s face, he strode away, with his daughter in tow. Out of Mother’s sight, Caitlin rushed to get a window seat, Daddy close behind. Twenty minutes later they were back on Main Street, headed for Adventureland.

Approaching the Jungle Ride Caitlin saw so many people in the line she said, “Oh no, Daddy will we get on before we have to meet Mother for lunch?”

“Our line is the short one, over there by the boats, remember we have a ticket that gets us on first. That’s why you are wearing that special gold ribbon on your dress.” As they stepped into their boat and sat at the front, Rob’s cell vibrated, he saw it was Dorothy. “Hello, we are on the Jungle Ride, just ready to leave, I can’t talk. Okay, we’ll see you at the Monorail station at 2. Sorry Caitlin, we have to eat lunch in the park, Mother is meeting friends for a special lunch.”

“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!!!” Caitlin clapped her hands and jumped up, planting a big kiss on Daddy’s cheek.

”Where shall we have lunch?”

“The pink one with the umbrellas by the river, please.”

The Jungle Ride guide said, over the mic, “These folks are having lunch in Frontierland at the River belle Terrace if, our elephants don’t have them first, for lunch.”

Everyone including Daddy laughed and when they stopped Caitlin said, in her most grown-up voice, “Everyone knows, elephants don’t eat people!”

“Caitlin is correct, but the lions and tigers, might.” At this Caitlin moved closer to Daddy as their boat moved out onto the river. No one laughed, but smiles were generous. After the ride, they stopped at the Tiki bar for a refreshing bottle of juice.

“Can we go on the Indiana ride now?”

“Sure if you’re brave enough.”

“I am a big girl now, too big for naps, I won’t be afraid.”

“Yes you are a big girl, but you will need a rest after lunch. Mother said, when she called, maybe a half hour was enough, okay?”

Looking down at her pink Cinderella Crocs Caitlin said, “I need a watch so I will know how long a half hour is, because Mother forgets, sometimes.”

“Okay, my little princess, we’ll see what we can find after lunch.” A few hours later, after Indiana Jones, they enjoyed lunch in Frontierland. Next, Fantasyland, to buy a Cinderella watch, and then they met Mother at the Monorail station.

“Hello Mother, we went on trips, drank juice, and I got a Cinderella watch so I will know when rest time is over. My dress is still clean, see?” Caitlin pirouetted around Mother.

“Yes, Caitlin, I see. I didn’t know you could tell time. I think I’ve missed a lot, Rob, especially my job here. They surprised me at lunch with an offer I can’t refuse. I don’t have to stay this side of paradise anymore. Now Caitlin you can come here every day after school.”


“Oh, I’ve missed so much. Maybe only a 15 minute rest, a change of clothes and then back to the park together,” said Mother who, later that day became, ‘Mommy.’

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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/21/11
This is a sweet story. The Jungle Ride is one of my favorite Disney rides. Your title drew me in because my favorite original character, Wrigley, has been known to say Sleep tight, don't let the elephants bite. I really liked how Mother became Mommy by the end of the day.
Laury Hubrich 07/23/11
It's too bad you told the end instead of the little girl showing us -maybe hugging her mom and saying, "Thanks, Mommy!" instead.

Very cute story:)
Kimberly Russell07/23/11
A sweet story. Do some work on show vs tell. I really liked the progression from Mom to Mommy--has good potential to be expanded. Good job.
Eliza Evans 07/23/11
First of all...I had to look up 'pachyderm'in the dictionary to find your entry. :)

I like Laury and Kathryn's advice.

The phone call dialogue needs to be broken up. The way it is written, it reads like the whole conversation is on the phone.
So you need to hang up, have Daddy kneel down or put his arm around Caitlin (or something like that) and then talk to her directly.

My dress is still clean, see?” Caitlin pirouetted around Mother. Nice!!

Cute story. Keep writing! :)
Noel Mitaxa 07/25/11
You have a great sense of life and energy, and your characters are well-drawn. I caught some of the tension between mother and daughter, but I did not follow its full resolution. But then, as a deprived Aussie, I've never been to Disneyland.
Edy T Johnson 07/25/11
You have good storytelling skills. I forsee you graduating from beginners soon. With the word limit, you covered the ground, bringing the mother back into the family, emotionally. I still am left wondering, however, "what's her problem?" that she was so negative at the beginning. I was anticipating that the parents were on the verge of a split. Was she bored being a stay-at-home mom, and now she's happy because she has a job? That's the only area I see that could benefit with a few more words to explain.