When Will I Ever Learn

Write an argument—the worst dispute your character has ever been in, at least in his or her opinion—without using a single exclamation point or all-caps word. It’s an exercise in discipline: Keep the fire contained, brimming at the surface but never boiling over. Oh, and make sure you mention a pair of pliers and a spectator.

My room again. Man, this just sucks. How many times have I been sent here so far this summer and how many times will I be sent again? No one knows, except my mom. Yeah, my mom.

I know I’ve told you about her before, but I just have to tell you again. She’s got to be the most controlling person on the planet. No really, she is. “Callie, you shouldn’t chew gum. It isn’t lady-like.” “Callie, you can’t wear make-up. Only loose girls wear make-up.” “Callie, cell phones are for emergencies, not for chatting.” Callie, Callie, Callie. That’s all I ever hear.

And when she’s not telling me how to act or feel or think, she’s grounding me to my room for breaking some kind of rule. You’d think I was a criminal instead of just an average 13-year-old.

So, what got me here this time? You are just not going to believe it. I swear, you aren’t.

I was out in the yard fixing my bike. How innocent is that? My little brother, Kyle, was hanging around me – bothering me like usual. He is about as annoying as my mom is controlling if that tells you anything.

Anyway, I was fixing my bike and I asked him to hand me a wrench. He reaches into the toolbox and hands me a pair of pliers. Gawd. How stupid can a kid be? I threw the pliers over my shoulder as I reached for the wrench out of the toolbox.


I whipped my head around and….crap. Yep, you guessed it. I threw just a little too hard and that stupid pair of pliers went right threw the basement window. It took no time at all for my mom to be out on the front porch and even less time for her to determine, that once again, I was in big trouble.

I tried to explain. It was an accident. But my stupid brother had to open his big trap. He started to whine about how I threw the pliers at him. In my loudest voice, and in no uncertain terms, I told my mom that I had not thrown anything at him. Then I made a fatal mistake. I told her that I wish I had. When am I going to learn to keep my mouth shut?

Mom began her tirade. I tiraded right back. My brother was snickering and I turned on him and said, “This isn’t a spectator sport idiot.”

And that was pretty much the end. I’m here in my room fuming. Kyle is out in the hall giggling. And my mom is sure that she has the worst daughter in all of Idaho.

Teri B. Clark
Copyright 2009

Forever Young

“He was going to make them right with a couple of pills or an injection, and people took him by the arm on his way to the sickroom. Flattering, but dangerous.”
Now, he takes your arm. Who is this doctor? Reveal him in scene.

“Good morning doctor! I’ve been waiting so long for this day. You can’t imagine how excited I am,” gushed Bernice.

Bernice was nearing seventy years old and didn’t want to believe that she was getting older. She had always been beautiful with her dancing green eyes and wisp-like figure. But in recent years, age had taken its toll. Her once tall and straight body was now just a bit stooped and her soft skin had taken on a leathery appearance. That, however, was all going to change because of Dr. Ballard.

Dr. Ballard smiled and said, “Good morning, Bernice. I can see those years melting off you already!”

Bernice blushed. She wouldn’t admit this to anyone, but she thought Dr. Ballard was the most handsome man she had ever met. If only……

Dr. Ballard interrupted her thoughts. “Are you ready to get started?” he said with a smile. Bernice nodded her head vigorously.

“Then take my arm, Bernice, and we’ll head down to my room of magic. When I’m done, not only will you look 30 years old, but you’ll look 30 years old forever.”

“Oh, thank you, Dr. Ballard. I just can’t thank you enough.”

Bernice took the proffered arm and headed down the hall to what she was sure was going to be the best day of her life – or at least the first day of the best year of the rest of her life.

Dr. Ballard smiled, but this smile didn’t quite meet his eyes. He was thinking about turning Bernice into a beautiful young woman. Just as he had done to all the others. His heart began to beat a little faster. His breath came a bit quicker. He knew that the moment was coming – that moment when Bernice would know the truth but would be helpless to do anything about it.

“After you, Bernice,” he said as he flung open the double doors. There, lining the walls were fourteen women, all of whom appeared to be in their thirties. Although smiling, their eyes stared unseeing. Death hung in the air.

“Oh my God. He’s going to kill me,” Bernice thought as she struggled to get free. The last thing she heard him say, with a maniacal laugh was, “Forever thirty, Bernice. Forever thirty.” Then the needle jabbed into her chest and the world turned dark.

The Mistake

Writer's Digest prompt:

The phone rings and a low voice groans—“Why me?”
You hang up.
Twenty minutes later, it rings again. “You made a mistake.”
The dial tone throbs as the phone hangs from its cord, limp.

(My response)

How many times do I have to hang up on her before she gets the picture? Big, framed, and matted with the words, “The end.” It’s like she’s never read a kid’s book and seen those words before.

Of course, this wasn’t a fairy tale and it certainly didn’t have a fairy tale ending.

Why me? I should ask that question, too. Why? Probably the sultry eyes and that low cut tank. Maybe the classy voice and the gorgeous smile. Whatever “it” was, it vanished with the reality of what was behind the eyes and the smile.

Here I am a writer, and I can’t think of the right word. Shrew? Battle-ax? No, not quite. Well, whatever the word, I’m through.

And she has the nerve to call me and say that I’ve made a mistake? Well, she is technically right. I DID make a mistake – going out with her in the first place. Being taken in by the persona hook, line, and sinker. That was my mistake. Leaving, on the other hand, that was no mistake. No, that was the smartest thing I had done in months.

In fact, leaving definitely calls for a celebration. Pizza, a cold one, and the Monday night football game – with my feet on the coffee table, I might add. Yes, this was going to be a great night.

Who’s walking up the front steps? Andy next door hoping to catch the game on the big screen? Maybe Josh is home from school a day early. That would be great. I head on over to the door with a big smile that fades immediately.

My last conscious thought was, “I’m looking down the barrel of my last mistake.”

© 2009 Teri B Clark