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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)

TITLE: Going, Going, Gone
By Carla Feagans


“Break it up… break it up, I said!” I shook my head as Ben and Eric tussled on the floor yet again. “How many times do I have to tell you guys to stop fighting?” I could hear the exasperation in my voice and knew I was losing patience fast. I turned my attention away from the towel I was folding so I could focus on the discipline I should have given them at their first offense.

Returning to my mound of laundry after placing the boys in separate corners, I was just finishing the towels and starting on the socks when I heard a crash followed by the tinkling of shattering glass. “Oh, no,” I groaned to myself, afraid to even turn the corner to inspect the damage.

“Ella broke another one of the new glasses!” Eric announced, a note of glee in his voice. He was usually the culprit, so he was basking in his moment of blamelessness.

Asking God for yet another extra helping of patience and strength to get through my morning, I helped Ella clean up the glass. I heard Jack bounding down the stairs, immediately starting in on Kristin. “Ew, what’s that smell?” Jack was asking. “Kristin, did you break wind?’

Kristin was blushing as she denied the charge. “Give me a break! Just leave me alone,” she told her brother. “You don’t have to be mean to everyone just because your girlfriend broke up with you last night,” she smirked.

“Be nice,” I warned, grabbing a second glass from Ella’s reach just as she was about to knock that one off the table too.

Right then, I noticed Eric out of the corner of my eye, climbing up on top of the TV.

“Eric!” I screamed. “How many times have I told you, do NOT climb up there! You are going to break your neck, not to mention the television.” I grabbed Eric with my free arm and placed him firmly on solid ground.

Apparently God must be too busy to hear me this morning. Where’s that darn husband of mine, anyway? I thought. It’s Saturday, this is supposed to be the day I get a break for once. Jason had left right after breakfast to go to the store, but he should have been home by now.

Kristin was tugging at my sleeve, interrupting my daydreams of running away screaming and never looking back. “Mom, did you hear me?” she asked plaintively. “Suze is on the phone, she wants to know if I can go with her to Florida over Spring Break. Please, Mom!” she begged.

“Believe me, I’d love for you to be able to; unfortunately I don’t think that’s going to happen,” I told her. I held up a hand to cut her off from the whine I could see coming. “Now’s not a good time, can we please talk about this later?” Could she not see that I was at a breaking point and maybe just a LITTLE busy right now?

Realizing that Ben was still standing in the corner, actually having listened to me for once, I hurried over to him. “Oh, honey, I’m sorry. You can come back and play now,” I told him sheepishly, reaffirming my conviction that I was definitely in the running for Worst Mom of the Year.

Outside, I heard a car door slam. Finally, Jason was back. About time, I thought, gearing up to blast him with the full force of my anger and frustration at his delayed return. My nerves couldn’t take much more.

Kristin was shrieking with excitement at the front door, but I couldn’t make out what she was saying. Jason opened the door and a chocolate Labrador puppy came bounding in with him. I gasped and dropped the glass I was still holding. “Hon, look, I know we said we would wait on getting a dog, but I couldn’t help myself,” Jason explained in a rush. He ignored the lasers shooting from my eyes. “He’s the perfect dog, from a great breeder, and labs are great with kids! And look how excited the kids are.” His enthusiasm was drowned out by the rushing of blood in my ears. I clenched my teeth to keep the expletives running through my head from breaking through my lips.

“…except for one little thing,” Jason was saying. “Um, …he’s not housebroken.”

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This article has been read 843 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anne Harrell02/13/06
This sounds like my household. I really enjoyed reading this one. Hope you got your break that day!!
Jan Ackerson 02/13/06
I loved the way you worked in so many different meanings of "break," but it didn't sound at all contrived. Very clever.
Brandi Roberts02/13/06
Well-written! I love your usage of beats, and how smoothly your characters "interact". Two things I noticed:

1) You mentioned the towels in the first paragraph, maybe you could find another way of "moving on to the socks" than using "towels" again. It helps for a smoother read.

2) Thoughts should be italicized. When you format a piece with a word processor, then transfer it to the submission area, formatting seems to get lost in the shuffle. My suggestion is to use HTML ( < i > and < / i > with no spaces between the
Other than that, it was a very smooth and enjoyable read! Hopefully one day my household will be that hectic :)
Brandi Roberts02/13/06
Haha, that's what I get for trying to put html in the comment area - to edit: no spaces between the little arrow thingies.
Lynda Schultz 02/14/06
Grounds for divorce, suicide or murder - I'm glad none of those were options! A great read with an unexpected ending that made want to turn to chapter two.

Good job.
Marilyn Schnepp 02/14/06
Your day made mine seem like Dullsville, USA! Great write and an entertaining read...although I was tired out by the time the non-housebroken lab came into the picture. Good job!
Teri Wilson02/14/06
Very clever. I loved all of the different "break" usages. I can't believe someone managed to use "break wind"! Great job.
T. F. Chezum02/16/06
Clever story, I enjoyed it. Glad my house isn't that hectic! Good job.
Karen Heslink02/16/06
I was one of six children. Boy, can I identify! Anyone who has raised children is a candidate for sainthood. A well written desciption of the normal calamity of a house hold filled with children! (and a puppy)
Amy Michelle Wiley 02/17/06
I agree with Jan that you were able to get in all sorts of types of "breaks" without sounding forced or contrived. Well done!
Sally Hanan02/17/06
I see it! Well done.
Maxx did this with a story that was one of the mushiest he's ever written, and it had SPOOF all down the side :)
Virginia Gorg02/17/06
Loved this - especially he's not housebroken. So typical of life these days. Well written and kept my attention.
Shari Armstrong 02/17/06
ROFL!!! Oh how all the mom's can relate! I was doing some of that, "Let your brother go, now" as I was reading it lol.
Anita Neuman02/17/06
Man, I only have 2 kids and I seem to still have days like this. It's a little too realistic for my liking (just kidding!!!) GREAT JOB!
Maxx .02/18/06
toooo funny! Very good! Was laughing all through!
Carla Feagans02/18/06
Thank you Sally for noticing! I was hoping someone would.

I almost called this "Break, Break, Broke" to clue people in a little more - my son thought I should highlight the first letters of the paragraphs but I thought that was a little TOO obvious. Hmm, maybe I should have listened to him, lol.

Thanks so much to everyone for all the great comments. This was so fun to write (and so true of my 5 kid household!) so I'm glad you enjoyed reading it.
Sandra Petersen 02/18/06
What mother of more than two can't relate? And having three girls I can testify that this describes very well the struggle to keep one's patience. By the way, you can't claim Worst Mom of the Year because I think sometimes I can claim that.You kept the actions non-stop which helped to show the reader why Mom may have been pushed to the edge!
Oh, that last line!! This would have been very funny if it didn't smack so much of truth. LOL!! I really enjoyed this! Thanks!!