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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: "Splash" 4-11-13 Deadline (04/04/13)

TITLE: Cynthia
By Christina Banks
04/11/13


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Cynthia ruined everything.

For over half my life, I’ve lived for summers with my dad. We go camping, hiking, fishing, and all that great outdoor stuff. And trust me, after spending most of the year stuck with Mom in the city, I need this guy time.

I arrived at Dad’s place last month, ready for a summer of adventure, but Dad had other plans. No camping trip, but we’ve seen every museum in the city. Doesn’t he know I come to see him to get out of the city? No hiking, instead we’re wandering the malls window shopping. And the worst part, Dad hasn’t taken me fishing one time. It’s all his new girlfriend Cynthia’s fault.

Last night was the worst. Cynthia convinced Dad to take us to a show. At first I thought we’d be catching a movie, but I didn’t recognize the name of the show, Swan something or other. Cynthia said that it would be in a “real” theater. We even had to dress up. I should have refused to go, but Dad said we’d have fun. Who am I to argue with my dad?

I hadn’t realized how low my father had sunk until the curtain came up and a girl danced onto stage. A ballet? We were actually watching a ballet? I glared at my father, but he just sat there with that stupid grin on his face. Beside him, Cynthia looked a bit too pleased with herself.

“You could use a little culture, Mitchell.” She said, patting me on the hand.

That was the last straw. First off, no one calls me Mitchell, except Mom when I’m in trouble. Second, I did not come out here to get culture; I came to have some guy time with my dad. Something had to be done, because my summer was running out.

It was while I was sitting there glowering at the stupid ballerinas dancing to their stupid Swan Lake music that I got an idea. We needed to go to the lake. If I could just get my Dad to do some of the guy things that we enjoy, maybe we could get rid of Cynthia. After all, it worked for the twins in Parent Trap, why couldn’t it work for me?

Dad didn’t want to go to the lake, but he promised we’d got to a pool. I recalculated my plan. A pool would work, I guess. Little did I realize that pool would be in Cynthia’s backyard. She was lounging near the water when we arrived. She’d be soaking in more than the sun when I got through with her.

I dumped my shirt and towel on a chair and raced to the side of water at top speed. I hooked my toes, bent my knees and propelled myself high over the water. Tucking into a tight ball, I closed my eyes and smiled. This was it. My signature Mega Mitch cannonball. I landed perfectly, and when I surfaced Cynthia was already up on her feet with a look of shock on her face.

“Alan, did you see what your son just did?” She whined.

“Don’t pull me into the middle of this.”

She scowled at me. I smiled, mimicked the little finger wave that she was always doing, and then sent a tidal wave of water spraying in her direction. She jumped back, but not in time.

“You don’t want to mess with me.” She threatened.

“Bring it.” I motioned her to join me, knowing full well how prissy she was. All talk, no action.

With a war whoop, Cynthia jumped into the water. It was so unexpected I inhaled the water that shot up my nose. I was still coughing and sputtering as she surfaced and started the most intense barrage of water assaults I have ever endured. She splashed me, sunk me, and dunked me. I was so busy trying to get a breath, I couldn’t counter her attack.

“Dad help!”

“No way, Mitch. You started it, you’re gonna have to man up to the consequences.”

It was too much. “I give up.” I threw my hands in the air. “You win.”

Immediately, the bombardment stopped. Cynthia stood in the water grinning at me.

“Where’d you learn to do that?” I asked as I pawed the water from my eyes.

“My four brothers.”

“Did they teach you to fish, too?”

She nodded.

“Can you bait your own hook?”

“Sure can. Want to go?”

Maybe Cynthia wasn’t so bad after all.


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Member Comments
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Ellen Carr 04/12/13
I really enjoyed your story. Cynthia came up trumps after all. Great humour and no doubt, some realism. Well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/12/13
This is a cute story. You did a nice job of going from resentment to acceptance in only 750 words. The ending didn't feel forced at all which isn't always easy in limited words.

I did wonder about a couple of things. At first he couldn't remember the name of Swan Lake, but then he did say it. I know the time before was before the show, then he said it during the show, which might have worked better if told in present tense instead of past. I also wonder if a boy who was really into boy things would reference Parent Trap. It's possible, that he watched it with Mom, but it did make me hesitate just a bit. Overall though, I really think you did a nice job. I like the characters and the scene in the pool was a divine description. I almost could feel the water splashing off the screen. Nicely done.
lynn gipson 04/14/13
Oh, I really enjoyed this. Especially the way it ended up. Very nice story and made me smile. Great job.
Danielle King 04/14/13
Good for Cynthia. She gave that young Mitch his comeuppance. You did a superb job with Cynthia's character in so few words. Great writing.
Linda Berg04/14/13
You held my attention with this story. It was an accurate portrayal of a child adjusting to the situation you developed with the school year being with mom and the summer with dad.

Great job on developing the characters. I also wondered about the Parent Trap reference for a boy.

Bea Edwards 04/15/13
I really enjoyed your story and the way the villain-ess became a potential ally. Great fun with the timeless lesson not to judge a book by it cover.
Judith Gayle Smith04/15/13
This is FUN! Funny and delightful - I will chuckle over this for a long time.
Myrna Noyes04/15/13
Great first line! It caught my attention and made me want to find out what on earth she'd done! The last line was a perfect partner to it! A change of mind was definitely taking place here! :) Your description of what happened at the pool was well-done and made me smile. Good job!
Michelle Knoll 04/16/13
Loved this, from beginning to end! Mitch certainly learned his lesson, but you did a great job with the ending. I would agree the reference to The Parent Trap is a little different coming from a boy, but I have two boys and they both have watched that movie dozens of times (the original and the newer version). Good job!
CD Swanson 04/17/13
Loved the first line, it pulled me in immediately! The rest was icing on the cake...great job.

God bless~
Sarah Elisabeth 04/18/13
Congrats on your EC, Christina! Great writing, girl
Carolyn Ancell04/18/13
Ohhhhhh! Glorious. A well-deserved win!
Myrna Noyes04/18/13
Hearty CONGRATULATIONS on your E.C. win for this amusing story with its good message! WAY TO WRITE!!
Rita Garcia04/18/13
Great character development with so few words! Fantastic! Congrats on your EC placement! #3 overall!!!!
Alicia Renkema04/18/13
A hearty congrats to you Christina on your "spin of the Parent Trap" and your second place win! God Bless.
Nancy Bucca 04/18/13
Very entertaining. Congrats on winning 3rd!
Yvonne Blake 04/18/13
Congratulations, Stina!
Leola Ogle 04/18/13
Congratulations Christina! Beautifully written! God bless!
Beth LaBuff 04/19/13
I completely enjoyed the unexpected ending. I'm still smiling. Super congrats on your Editor's Choice award.
Judith Gayle Smith04/20/13
Congratulations!
Claudia Thomason 04/22/13
I enjoyed this story for a couple reasons. First, it was just plain fun to read. Second, it is a fairly accurate description of the way a kid feels when his or her dad includes his new girlfriend in their special summer visits. It brought back memories I hadn't thought about in years. Thank goodness for happy endings. Congratulations on your EC.