Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: End Times (02/27/14)
TITLE: Time Out
By Steve McClure
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“2:37,” his mother replied from the kitchen.
“How much is that?”
Not enough?! But I’ve been sitting here a long time.
“Are you sure?”
“I’m sure. You need to think about things a bit more.”
Oh, that. Well, I needed that truck. Sissy had it too long. She’s little, anyway. All she does is chew an’ slobber on it. Trucks are for boys. I can run it along the floor and make a motor noise – she can’t do that. The boy crossed his arms atop his sand-colored, bushy hair and swayed side to side. …Mommy said God wouldn’t approve of my taking the truck.
“Does God approve of you making me sit here?”
“Yes, he does.”
Humph! I don’t like this chair. It’s hard. There’s nothing to do.
The chair sat in a corner of the foyer, near the front door. Window panels framing the door allowed the boy to view the front yard and court, and the sun shining brightly on this early-spring day. The boy could see birds flitting around in the fresh, new grass. A squirrel was busy digging for something. And…. Michael. Michael’s playing outside!
“Michael’s outside, Mommy!”
“Is it the end, now?”
“I need to go see Michael.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Awww, why not?”
“Why are you in that chair?”
Oh, yeah. That. Well, I wouldn’t be here if Sissy hadn’t cried. It’s all her fault.
“What time is it, Mommy?”
“Isn’t it the end?”
The little boy watched Michael disappear into the backyard of his house. His eyes wandered up to the cloudless, azure sky. I should be out there. Everybody’s having fun but me.
“I’m sorry, Mommy.”
“I’m glad you’re sorry. You can tell Sissy when you get up.”
“I’m hungry, Mommy.”
“You can have a snack later.”
“I’ll give Sissy some.”
“Is it the end?”
The little boy gazed around the foyer. A chandelier hung in the middle. Two landscape pictures hung on either side of the door. Stairs ranged to the upper level…. Ooo, naps happen up there. But I already had my nap. He gazed across the foyer into the dining room. He could just see one side of the glass-doored cabinet filled with fine, breakable dishes. No playing allowed in there. He turned his gaze to the near side of the foyer, into the formal living room with its delicate things. No playing in there, either.
“When will it be the end, Mommy?”
“But it’s already been a couple minutes.”
“Yes, you’re about half-way there.”
Half way?! “That’s too long, Mommy.”
“Just enough for you to think about what you did.”
He stared down the hallway leading to the family room with the kitchen off to the side. A baby dressed in pink with fine blonde hair banded into two tufts atop her head crawled into view, cooing and chasing a small, bright yellow truck that she had just pushed away. There’s Sissy, drooling on my truck. Why can’t she play with something else?
“Mom-my,” he called long and mournfully. “Sissy’s got my tru-ck.”
“By the time you get up she’ll probably be playing with something else.”
Something else?! “What else?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Something.”
My train? …My cars? …My Captain America mask?
The baby caught sight of the boy and squealed, showing a couple of new teeth through an otherwise toothless grin.
“Sissy’s looking at me!”
“Is it the end yet, Mommy?”
More silence. …Footsteps.
Mom appeared at the end of the hall, dish towel in hand. She walked toward the boy.
“Is it the end?” eagerly quizzed the boy.
“It’s the end.”
The boy jumped up and started to run down the hall.
“Wait!” commanded Mom.
The boy stopped in his tracks, expecting a reprimand.
“Why were you sitting in the chair?”
“You told me to.”
“And why did I tell you to?”
He hesitated. “I made Sissy cry?”
“And why was that?”
The boy paused, staring straight ahead. Mom looked down at the boy, patiently awaiting an answer.
Finally, he mumbled, “’Cuz I took my truck.”
“Do you have something to say to Sissy, now?”
Long pause. “I’m sorry, Sissy.”
“That’s good. Go ahead.”
The boy bolted for his now abandoned truck. Mom returned to the kitchen. The baby had turned her attention to a ball….
…The baby started to cry.
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