In Which I Tell the Truth About My Childhood
One afternoon, I went to sit for my sister. A storm had thrown a yard gnome into a power line, taking out the electricity for miles. Her kids lounged around wishing they’d charged their iPods. I stationed myself in a rocking chair and said, “You kids’re old enough to know the truth about my childhood.”
“When I was nine, we had this dog that liked to steal stuff and bury it. One time he stole an entire laundry basket. About a year later, the neighbor was plantin’ a hydrangea and dug up a pair of your grandpa’s Fruit of the Looms. He was convinced he’d discovered some ancient Indian fabric. He’s still got it in a box wrapped in tissue and takes it out to show company.
That dog liked to play with this one cat. That cat would climb a tree, and the dog would run under. The cat would jump and ride ‘til it fell off. The dog would run around the house while the cat climbed the tree, and everything started again.
My Aunt Jenny would come over with little Jake. I hate babysittin’.
One day, I spread bananas around the cat’s tree.
Aunt Jenny asked, ‘What’re those for?’
‘To feed the monkeys,’ I said.
Aunt Jenny and your grandma were deep in conversation about whether Mrs. O’Ryan had met Ronald Reagan or was standing next to a cardboard cut-out when I put Jake by the tree.
‘Jake’s missin’,’ I announced just as they’d switched topics to puttin’ garbage in the freezer to keep it from smellin’.
‘Weren’t you watchin’ him?’ Your grandma asked.
‘Had to go to the bathroom,’ I explained.
While the women searched the house, I let the dog out. I waited ‘til the cat had taken a ride or two and the dog was makin’ its lap around the house, then hollered, ‘Found him.’
Aunt Jenny got to the tree about the same time as the dog. The cat missed and fell on Aunt Jenny. She screamed and danced ‘round ‘til the cat fell off. She told your grandma she wouldn’t be back ‘til we got rid’a the monkeys.
Your grandma wanted to know how Jake got under the tree. I told her the dog must’ve carried him out by the diaper and that the dog was digging a hole when the cat distracted him. Your grandma boarded up the dog door after that.
The neighbor lady told everybody she saw a baby bear in her yard. Nobody believed her. I mixed together all my mom’s food colors and some syrup. Our dog was blacker’n black when I knocked over that lady’s garbage cans and hid ‘round the corner. Boy did I see her camera flashin’. For months after that she showed pictures of the ‘bear’ rootin’ in her garbage. The sheriff got up a hunt, but they never found nothin’ . . .”
My sister got home about an hour later. As I drove away, I saw the kids heading across the yard with a shovel and a pair of their dad’s underwear.
*A Note From Me: Flash Fiction is a short story, generally 500 words or less. This is a piece I submitted to a contest. It didn’t win anything, but my family and I enjoy it, so I wanted to share it with you. Also, it has slightly over 500 words. I modified it a little for my blog.