General Flash Fiction posted July 15, 2019


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400-word Consequences entry

Billy

by RodG

Consequences Contest Winner 

I was fixing myself a peanut butter & jelly sandwich when Stephanie, my daughter, slammed the mud room door and joined me in the kitchen.  I looked up from the makings.

“Want one of these?” I asked.

“No!”  While glaring at the 12-grain bread I was using, she swiped at a  rogue tear on her flushed cheek.

“I gather the conference with Billy’s teacher did not go well,” I said.  I’d placed my masterpiece on a plate, cut it into quarters, and was about to seat myself at the granite-topped island in the middle of the room.

“No!”  She stood a foot from the door, trembling with fury.

“Join me and tell me all.”

She obeyed and moments later we were elbow-to-elbow.  Tears now spilled freely from her sky-blues.

I let her steal a quarter of my PB&J.

“Well?”

“Mrs. Casper was sympathetic, but—”  Her teeth nibbled a corner.  “—she wouldn’t change her mind.  Billy’s suspended three days for fighting.”

I licked my sticky lips and smiled.

“Dad!” she shouted.  “How can you think that’s funny?”

“Not funny, Steph, just predictable.” 

“Billy didn’t start the fight, remember?” she demanded.  “Today the bully’s parents admitted to Mrs. Casper their son was guilty.  He punched Billy and broke his nose, yet they both get the same punishment.  How unfair is that?”

I stashed my smile.  “Before the conference, you reread the school’s policies— No fighting in class or on school grounds.  A rule’s a rule and that one makes no distinction between victim or antagonist.  Suspension is the penalty.”  

Steph’s jaw fell.   “You think Billy deserves to be punished.”

“Yep.”

She gawked a long moment.  “Why?”

“Ever since you two arrived, he’s carried a chip on his shoulder here at home and apparently in the classroom, too.”

Her cheeks reddened.

“Yes, he sulks, but that’s not a chip.  He’s lonely.  The school’s new and all his friends are back in California.”

“And so is his father.”

Her fists clenched.  “And it’s my fault.  Go ahead and say it, Dad.  You’ve been wanting to since I begged to come home.”

I glared at her.

“Your fault and Jeff’s.  My grandson used to be the cheeriest kid I knew—laughing, whistling.  He doesn’t now.

“You and his dad could have worked it out, but didn’t try.  A lesson not learned, Steph—Divorce has consequences.  Look . . . at . . . Billy!”


 

Writing Prompt
Write a STORY (no poems) of no more than 400 words describing an action or conversation and the CONSEQUENCES that followed. MUST INCLUDE the word LESSON within a sentence anywhere in the story.

Consequences
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