Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Story Time Part Tres: The Great Race

It’s been quite a long time since I told a story. I think I can take a moment to come up with one from my childhood.
Two a.m. The darkness should have kept us in our beds. It should have kept our eyelids closed and our thoughts focused on dreams of roller coaster rides and vats of cotton candy. When the sun rose in the late morning, we would head to the amusement park. Yet this early morning still sheltered the night with its dim moon and pinpricks a higher being had caused to create the starry sky.

One giggle ruined dream time. Two giggles coaxed us out of beds. The third giggle told us the coast was clear.

As well as it should be, since both parents were out of the house. The father worked sixteen-hour shifts at the steel mill. The mother had taken a part-time job at the nursing home to make a few extra dollars on the side. They left the oldest child as the guardian of the younger two children, while she was still young herself. It was cheaper to just assume her monthly allowance had obligated her to whatever task sprung up without having to pay the child extra.

We crept from beds and grabbed flashlights from shelves and drawers. Pools of light flicked on and spotlighted the ceiling as we stood them on their ends everywhere around the living room. We gathered at the center of the carpet: oldest child taking a stationary role, middle child and the youngest child standing on opposite sides.

“BANG,” the oldest child shouted.

Middle and youngest began jogging in slow motion, our arms pumping slowly as if we ran on the bottom of the ocean floor. We chased each other in a circle around the oldest of us who played her role of a stadium commentator for the GREATEST RACE HELD ON EARTH!

We ran, the middle child and the youngest, while never catching strides with the other. We jumped imaginary hurdles or crawled under barbed wire created by the oldest child’s imagination. We threw arms out, hurling air grenades to blow up our competitor, or stuck out foots to trip them up. The middle child was in the lead until the youngest drove a flaming bus over them. Then the youngest was in lead until the middle child threw a shark into her hair. Two hours would pass until tired feet forced the runners to slow, crawl on knees, and then stop as we made shadow puppets on the ceiling.

Who won?

Nobody, of course. This was the GREATEST RACE HELD ON EARTH! A mere two hours would never be long enough to decide a true winner despite that this was the twentieth time we had the race. Flashlights whisked off the counters and tables to point toward dark doorways.

Three yawns congratulated the runners for the race. Two yawns jotted down our next nighttime meeting. One yawn said we would see each other tomorrow for a breakfast of flapjacks and syrup before we would head to the amusement park.

Four a.m. The darkness wrapped over us in beds as the shadows kissed us goodnight.
We were such kooky kids!


  1. Wonderful story; it shows clearly the magic of a child's imaginations. Anything is possible.
    This brings back memories of my childhood and all the things me and my sister would invent; our imaginary world and the way it could keep us occupied was endless.;)

  2. Sweet story. :) You were a fun kidlet.

  3. That was a great story, poetic even. Shark in the hair? Who can run under those conditions?

    You're one of my favorite reads, Michelle, thanks for your efforts!

  4. You are truly entertaining. I can't wait to read more than a page. Great story. Thanks.

  5. Protege: The imagination is the greatest thing humans have above anything else. Who needs video games? ;)

    Hilary: Thanks. I think we were more strange than fun, but...

    Chris: Your welcome, Chris. Well, it was pretty easy to get the shark out. It's the squid you have to watch out for.

    Theresa: Your welcome. I've been posting short lately while finishing my next manuscript. Keeping my fingers crossed for publication.

  6. Great story Michelle. We had the world by the tail at that age. We had freshly shelled peas and slingshots from time to time. Mom never knew what the spots on the ceiling were until we fessed up a couple of months ago.

  7. Oren: Thanks!

    Ooo. I hope you didn't get into too much trouble for those slung peas. We never told our parents any misdeeds, even today, because we know how angry she would still be.


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