Funny stories in under 500 words.

A Solid Plan

Buddy slams the hallway bathroom door as he slides by. Mama imagines giraffe-like peace.

“I close the bafroom door, Mama. I do.”

“Thanks, Buddy.”

Mama cooks bacon and eggs on the griddle while Sissy practices violin and Buddy laps the downstairs-rooms-loop. Mostly in-tune notes of “Twinkle” and bacon crackling permeate the air.

Because the night before was a late one of swinging on the Southern hanging porch bed, drinking PBRs out of frosty jars, and laugh-crying about the preposterous nature of the universe, Mama is off her game.

She considers certain new knowledge—that giraffes only spend between ten minutes and two hours asleep each day, which they do while standing. How do they stay so calm, even serene? That level of relaxation seems a solid plan.

She considers Buddy’s approaching naptime and wonders, might she too enjoy a sweet ten to 120 minute long giraffe-nap? Her plot thickens: Put on a movie long enough to entertain Sissy, put Buddy in his room, spend forty-five minutes trying to shut her brain down enough for at least some relaxation, and if she is lucky, a little sleep. Even if he only sleeps for an hour--that falls solidly between ten minutes and two hours, well within the established parameters.

An unusual silence leaves a gap between them, jerking her away from strategizing. The meaning of the stillness doesn’t immediately sink in.

“Buddy, where are you?” Halfway through the family room, the very same Spiderman costume she last saw on Buddy lies crumpled on the floor.

“Upstairs,” replies Sissy.

Surprising news considering that prior to this day, he was incapable of climbing even one stair without a fifty-foot radius filling with the sound of pounding feet followed by, “I climb stairs! Yeah, I do!”

Still, she follows Sissy’s clue.

“Buddy? Are you up here?”

“No, Mama. I not.”

“Okay. Are you in my room?” No response. Mama tries the door—it doesn’t budge.

“Open this door right now!”

Feet scamper. Click. More running.

“Okay, I do.”

She pushes the door open.

“Not done!” He crouches in the corner, red-faced, grunting, wearing nothing but his briefs, one solid looking load of shit giving him a pointy tale, two tufts of hair sticking up like devil horns.

As she scoops poop and shakes underwear clean-ish in the toilet with bare hands, she calls out.

“That was a lot of planning—you took off Spidie to protect it from the dirty clothes, snuck upstairs, locked the door, and hid—all to have a peaceful poop. Do you know what might be more peaceful? Using the potty.”


She flies around the corner, almost stepping right on him on his knees, face pressing against the wall, arms drooping down his sides, mouth wide open dripping drool, eyes closed, tiny snores escaping him.

Before her eyes, fur sprouts, horns stretch into ossicones, limbs twist into long, knobby-kneed legs ending in brown hooves.

Time for ten minutes to two hours.

This story was written by Christina Camarena, who is currently an MFA fiction candidate at the University of Nevada and teaches in English and Women's Studies. She has published a short story titled "Baby in a Jar" in the Jabberwock Review.


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