I know any regular readers of this blog must be getting sick of book reviews by now (I know I am!1), so I decided to write a quick short story for this week’s post. If it seems awkward and stilted, it’s because I’m trying to work on one of my biggest weaknesses when it comes to short stories—descriptive language. It was based on June’s Furious Fiction² prompts, though after it didn’t win, I altered it a little so it reads better. Enjoy!
Picture this: It’s early on Sunday morning—the sky blue and clear, the clouds fluffy and few, the desserts thankfully store bought—a perfect a day as I could imagine for my nephew’s fourth birthday party. Less than three hours later, disaster! The air was thick with pudding, toxic smelling smoke, and the screams of the still panicking clown.
The morning started promisingly enough; Henry put on his overpriced birthday outfit without complaint, little blue ruffles and all, though a button was somehow missing by the time he made his way downstairs. His guests started trickling in around 10:30, and Wendy efficiently herded them into the backyard as quickly as politeness allowed. By eleven, even the latecomers had arrived and the colourful stack of presents on the picnic table outside was opened before any of my nephew’s tiny friends could rip their parents’ careful handiwork.
The usual toys and games were revealed and enjoyed—much to Henry’s delight—and in a fit of magnanimous optimism, I offered to set up the cake and watch the children while Wendy and the other parents had lunch inside. I’d thought the clown my sister had hired would keep the children entertained while the candles were lit and the wrapping paper disposed of. Unfortunately, I attempted to do these tasks rather more efficiently than I should have, and the stack of wrappings and ribbons went up in flames, along with the bright synthetic wig of one Bobo Mojo: Clown.
I sincerely apologise for this nightmare inducing image, shockingly, there’s not many royalty free images of clowns and fires out there, so I made do
Doing what any panicking aunt would do in those circumstances, I tossed the remainder of my punch over Bobo’s face, forgetting how much it had been progressively spiked as the reality of thirteen small children set in. The fireball that then resulted produced a rousing cheer from the horde of gremlins my nephew called friends, and produced the unearthly shrieks from the clown that (along with the alcohol and wig-scented smoke) prompted Wendy’s neighbour to call the fire department.
I think things may have calmed down then, the fire was out (the alcohol seemingly enough to burn whatever adhesive Bono Mojo used clean off, allowing the wig to be stomped vehemently into the mud my ‘punch’ had made of the ground), the children thought the funny man had finally done a new trick, and Wendy was inside and safely removed from the disastrous results of my babysitting. But then the dessert table, straining under the weight of uneaten fruit platters and a small child dressed like a dinosaur, determined to reach the temptation of an unguarded cake, flipped the table on its end and splattered gluten-free pudding across the backyard, blinding the hyperventilating clown and delighting the bloodthirsty, sugar-loving monsters my nephew had befriended.
Wendy and the other parents re-entered the backyard just in time to see two firemen helping an overwrought clown from a pile of booze scented mud, while I licked pudding off my wrist and laughed helplessly at the crowd of cake-splattered four-year-olds.
I guess long story short: sure, Amy, I can babysit your kid, but I don’t think you want me to.
1Deciding to read a book a week and review every book I read in one year was perhaps a tad misguided. Nevertheless, it’s August already, so I may as well finish now
²If you don’t want to follow the link, Furious Fiction is a free writing contest held on the first Friday of every month. If you’re at all interested in writing, I’d recommend it