Other stories for this prompt

Fancy dress at Tom's party was optional, but all the children wore something wacky. First prize was for the circus ringmaster with a home made whip, big black curly moustache, top hat and black suit. Fortunately, the whip was made from wool, as Sam kept lashing out at the girls in their sequinned lace dresses and black slashed leggings. For some reason, urban fairies were popular this year.

My son Jake was very angry when he got home. His outfit, the blue bull, was not chosen for any prizes.

I was trying to prepare for the next day, we were...

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Dear Mom,
Do you remember this picture? I do. I remember a lot about those days, when we were a family. Yesterday, I recreated this exact image with my daughter. Tess turned five on Tuesday. She's so excited to start school next month. I'm only scared that other kids will ask her about her family. I don't want to tell her that most of her family didn't want her. I don't want to tell her that Grandma and Grandpa wanted her to disappear.

I have no idea if this letter will make you love my daughter but I want you...

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"What the hell kind of superhero costume is that?!" My dad was yelling so loud I could hear him from my room. When the blue cow suit had appeared, I'd been so excited. My brother Eddie hadn't gotten his disguise until he was twelve. Mom's quiet reply made me feel a little less anxious but it didn't seem to have much effect on Dad.

"Kendall, I'm sure it's something he'll grow into. Eight is awfully young for his powers so there's plenty of time-"

"Grow into? Who's going to take a blue cow with fangs seriously? I can see the...

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If I had a camera every time he did something like that, I'd be winning contests. Funniest Kids, Giggling with the Stars, stuff like that.
Henry bought me the camera when the baby was six days old. He was supposed to be picking up the Chinese take-out (I loved those pancakes back then), but he stopped by the camera store. Not Wal-Mart or some big box store. No, Henry spent the extra forty-seven minutes to go to some specialty place.
I was painfully post-partum, couldn't sit without that donut, and he was buying an SLR. Like I was going to...

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Smile for the camera

He was of an age when he knew he didn't want snatches of reality - no, no, reality was already all around him, he'd had more than enough reality.

He wanted a false joy, the kind of happiness only captured in an instamatic, the image that would was all at once meaningless and meaningful.

In later life he'd write for hours on end about the false smiles that don't reach the eyes, about what those expressions really mean, what's really going on beneath the surface, the realities that can be extracted from the falsehoods.

But -...

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Dressed as a blue cow-like demon, the boy started taking pictures of the wall. The camera was heavy in his small ungloved hands. When he pressed the red button on the top an audible click could be heard and helped persuade him to take as many pictures as quickly as possible to hear that sound in rapid succession.

The camera was his fathers, an old one, one that was locked up until the recent garage sell his mother had. When she got to the box labeled 'Dave's' she sat on it and cried. It was a welcomed moment and she...

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"I'm a monster," said my son, dangling my old Nikon camera behind his back.

"I can see that," I said. "What's your special monster power?"

"Scary faces!" he said. "I can make a scary face that makes you make a scaredy face!"

I instantly put on a poker face. "I'd like to see you try."

He puckered his face for a few seconds, then went, "Graaahh," and screwed up his eyes and stuck out his tongue.

"Eeeeeeee!!" I cried, opening my eyes and mouth as wide as I could.

As smoothly as a three-year-old can, he pulled out the camera...

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The wizened beast crawled across the savannah, dragging the old cart with dilapidated wheels. The grassland swayed, tickling his nostrils. He made his way to the coffee table after pulling his head out of the carpet.
"Daddy, you can't stand yet! You are supposed to be pulling my wagon!"

"Daddy needs his coffee, son." The man scratched his stubble and his backside, retaining the mannerisms of his cattle form. The child scampered around the couch, catching the beast at its watering hole.

"Alright, back on the trail. Where was I heading?"

"Oregon trail. You have dysentery."

"So to the toilet...

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"Sweetie, Daddy is trying to work, OK? One more picture and then you go play with your dolls, OK? You can do a fashion show and take pictures of them. Wouldn't that be fun?"

*click* *click* *click*

"OK, that's enough now. Honey? HEY, HONEY! Can you come get Penny? I need to finish this report! Honey?"

"She can't hear you."

"Why not? Where's Mommy, sweetheart? Is she outside?"

"The woman is in my capture device."

"What? Your... Penny, what's wrong? Why are you looking like that? Where's Mommy?"

"The woman is in my capture device. Along with the pre-reproductive...

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"Surprise!" The lights flickered on, and the balloons flew up to the ceiling. I jumped back, startled. A surprise birthday party! My grin reached both my ears.

"Oh boy! Thanks, guys!" I ran up and hugged my dad.

"That's alright, my boy. Look, there's your presents! Go open them, kid." I disengaged and rushed over to the pile of gifts. I ripped them open, tearing the wrapping paper into tiny shreds. The first one I opened was the best.

It was a dinosaur costume set of pyjamas. I immediately rushed to my bedroom and put them on, and ran back...

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About the prompt

Originally displayed on:
June 28, 2011


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