This week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction challenge allowed me to show the part of me that knows mothers can and do put their children first.
The prompt is:
The little flower had fallen off one of the cookies. Andrea stood and stared at the flawed little thing. In all other respects, it was the same as the other cookies. It just seemed so much more plain than the others.
It is different. It has given something up – perhaps its dreams or its youth. That cookie is the mother of the others.
She stood mesmerized by the thought. She felt a tug at her blouse.
“Mommy, I hafta go to the bathroom!”
Andrea sighed. “Just a second, sweetie. Miss? I’ll take that one.”
Just then Bruce came strutting around with the cart. “Hey sugar britches, we gotta go. The game will be on in a few minutes.”
As the woman behind the counter lifted the flawed cookie out, it broke. Andrea winced, then some little thing inside her broke, too. Bruce was definitely going to miss the game.
And my response (250 words):
Before they were even out of the parking lot, Bruce was complaining.
“God, you’re sappy. I’m gonna miss the kickoff ’cause you had to stand in line for a cookie with Mom on it. A broken cookie with Mom on it.” He laughed as he pulled a beer from the backseat cooler. “Guess that kind’ov fits you though, don’t it, baby cakes? Broken…” He popped the beer open and took a long draw. “You’re one dumb—”
“Just stop. Please. Polly’ll hear.”
“Sheesh, excuse me.” He belched, laughed again, then continued, “I’m pretty sure buying broken cookies at full price ain’t too smart.”
Andrea clenched her teeth. As much as she hated his complaining, hated the drinking and pet names, hated him for even existing, she knew arguing wouldn’t help. Over the past year or so, she’d all but given up, until he started calling Polly sugar britches. Until she noticed how his hands lingered when he touched Polly.
Andrea caressed the bag with the cookie in it and then causally sat it on the console between them. As she expected, Bruce didn’t hesitate to wolf down the one cookie. The broken cookie with Mom on it.
When Bruce started to cough, Andrea glanced back at Polly, made sure she was strapped into the car seat. The ride was about to get bumpy. But from now on, Polly would be safe.
Sugar britches might be dumb, but she had been smart enough to buy a cookie with nuts in it.
NOTE: On Wednesday (May 13th) afternoon, IU opens voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.
I’d really really — really — love it if you’d vote for my entry. No login / user account creation is required to vote.