Tag Archives: children

Fiction: Two Prisoners on the Eve of Battle

“Drink up, lads!” the king yelled. “Tonight we feast, and tomorrow we storm the castle!”

A cheer rose from manly throats eager to dine and drink.

But not from Thomas. He casually wandered away from the roast beeves and the hogsheads of ale.

He went off into the woods, alone. When he came to a little clearing, he sat on the ground and rested against a stout tree.

“There must be more to life than storming castle after castle on the say-so of a mad king,” he muttered.

“Couldn’t agree more,” said an unexpected voice.

Thomas looked up and saw a man emerge from behind a tree. The man was adjusting his lower garments, making it easy to guess what chore of nature he had been tending to.

“Who’s there?” Thomas asked.

“Nobody important. Just the son of the mad king who keeps ordering us to storm castles.”

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Fiction: The Neighbor’s Pet

Viola stood on her back porch and watched her children play on the swing set. She turned her head to the left and looked into Mr. Frappingham’s yard. There, as always, was Rufus. The heavy log chain kept him securely fastened to his house.

Rufus was straining at the end of the chain and doing his best to watch the children play; he could mostly see around an oak tree. Frappingham had given his permission for the kids to visit Rufus occasionally, but the animal needed more attention than he was getting.

Frappingham himself probably did, too, but Viola considered that his problem. The old man could take care of himself; Rufus relied on the kindness and care of humans.


“What, Mom?”

“Get the leash from the closet and go ask Mr. Frappingham if you and Teresa can take Rufus to the park.”

“Okay!” The children ran past her to get the long leash. Soon, they were pounding on Mr. Frappingham’s back door.

“Oh, yes, I’m sure Rufus would enjoy that,” he said. “Go right ahead.” He looked over and waved cheerily at Viola. She waved back, but only to keep the neglectful old fart in a friendly frame of mind.

Bobby hooked the leash to Rufus’s collar and then unhooked the big chain. Rufus began to dance around the children and he almost took flight as they walked the two blocks to the park.

Viola remained outside until she did see Rufus sailing happily over the trees and doing the occasional loop.

She went inside, muttering to herself. “If you’re not going to take proper care of a dragon, you just shouldn’t get one.”

Pen to Paper: Scooby-Doo and the Search for the Truth

Chris Sims has given more thought to Scooby-Doo than ever I and fifty of my closest friends combined have done. And he has discovered some things about the cartoon that have been sitting in plain sight but haven’t previously been noticed much.

I started with Scooby-Doo when Scooby-Doo started in 1969; the show was part of my regular Saturday morning cartoonfest (back when I voluntarily woke up before noon). It didn’t take me long to understand that Daphne would get the gang deeper into trouble, that Shaggy and Scooby would alternate between making a comic stand in the face of danger and running full-tilt from that danger, and that Fred and Velma would put their heads together and think their way to solving the mystery. There was always a con-man behind the curtain who would have gotten away with his nefarious schemes had it not been for those meddling kids. Sims tells us why this works and explores its larger implications.

There’s plenty for writers to think about here. Enjoy.

Fiction: Lost in Transit

“Where … is … my … daughter?” Thomas demanded yet again.

Harmonee, the ticket agent, tried to remain professional despite wanting to yell at the customer at her desk.

“We are still tracking her down, sir. Please have a seat and we will let you know as soon as we find out.”

“I will not sit down! I want to know where your airline’s idiots in Houston sent my daughter!”

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Fiction: Tag

The handsome young man nervously smoothed his silk tie again. He stood outside the 52nd-floor office of an international trading company, peeking through the door’s small window and waiting until his quarry was in position.

Then he opened the door and strode in quietly. The receptionist barely had time to look up before the man crept behind Gundersen, who was in a conversation with the company president. The intruder smacked Gunderson’s back, firmly but not to hurt.

“Tag! You’re it!” the young man shouted before fleeing the office.

It took Gundersen a moment to extricate himself from his boss, his coffee mug, and the office to chase after his assailant. “I’ll get you!” he yelled down the corridor. “You can’t escape!”

Indeed, there was the young man, standing before a closed elevator door. He was prying the door open.

“No!” Gundersen yelled. “You won’t get away from me!”

The other man summoned every erg of energy he possessed into the muscles of his arms and forced the doors open. He flung himself into the dark, dirty abyss and his laugh echoed down after him. Forty-six floors later, it abruptly stopped.

“Damn you!” Gunderson shrieked. “Damn you!” His howls of outrage now filled the tall space the laughter had vacated.

The young man, William Snyder Craftt IV, left behind a burgeoning law practice and his grief-stricken mother and father, who could not possibly have known that their son was one of a handful of endlessly reincarnated souls who had played tag through the ages and preferred dying and being reborn to being “it.”

But then, children are often unthinkingly cruel to their parents.