Friday, February 4, 2011

Recess: A Red Dress Club Meme

Today I'm linking up with The Red Dress Club for the following assignment:  write a short piece in which a character told a joke and a character cried. The piece has to be maximum 600 words and must be able to be read aloud in no more than 3 minutes. If you have the time, I strongly recommend you peruse some of the links you find at the Red Dress Club. It's amazing how many talented writers there are out in the blogosphere. Please enjoy my little piece of fiction. Comments and constructive criticism are always welcome. So is praise--I LOVE praise!


            Jeremy took a deep breath to calm himself. He flattened down his wiry dirty blond hair, straightened out his Lego Batman tee shirt, and approached the other boys.
“Can I play too?” he asked. Jeremy held up his Pokemon deck. “I brought my cards with me.”
            Usually Jeremy just looked for interesting rocks on the playground during recess or watched the other kids play. He wasn’t good at sports. No matter how much he practiced at home, he couldn’t catch a ball and he tripped over his own feet when he ran. Lately he noticed some of the boys bringing Pokemon cards to recess. Jeremy had lots of cards and hoped they would let him play.
            “Sure,” said Seth. He was in the third grade too but seemed a little older. The kids at school all liked him. Seth wore tee shirts with the names of rock bands and pictures of skateboards on them. He seemed to be the leader of this group of Pokemon players.
            Jeremy sat down on the pavement with the other boys. “You wanna hear a joke?”
            “Sure,” said Seth.
            “What’s a banana’s favorite gymnastics movie?”
            “A split! Get it?” 
            “That doesn’t make any sense,” said another boy named Ryan. “Wait, do you mean gymnastics move?”
            “Um. I’m not sure. I’ll have to get check my magazine.”
            “You got that joke out of a magazine?”
            “Yeah. Boy’s Life.”
            “Boy’s Life? What is that? Some kind of homo magazine?”
            Jeremy had trouble breathing. He looked from Seth to Ryan not knowing what to say. He didn’t know homo meant. But he could tell from the way Ryan said it that it wasn’t nice. He loved getting his Boy’s Life magazine every month and his favorite part was the joke section.
            “Lay off Ryan,” said Seth. “It’s a magazine for Boy Scouts. Just ignore Ryan. He thinks he’s cooler than everyone else. Let’s play.”
            “It’s okay,” shrugged Jeremy. He was happy to still be able to play with the other boys. Ryan gave him mean looks part of the time, but he didn’t say anything else to him.
            It was the best recess Jeremy had all year. For once it didn’t matter that he was bad at kickball or that he sometimes cried when he fell down. He found something that he liked to do that other kids liked to do. It was worth putting up with a few mean looks from Ryan.
            When the bell rang, the boys gathered up their cards. Jeremy couldn’t hide his excitement and said, “Are we going to play again tomorrow?”
            “Maybe,” said Seth. “Bring your deck.”
            Jeremy smiled as Seth walked into the school until Ryan started talking again. “I can’t believe he’s letting you play with us. Seth must feel sorry for you. If you come back tomorrow don’t tell anymore of those homo jokes,” said Ryan.
            Jeremy felt his face get hot. He had such a great recess and this boy was going to ruin it for him. He wished Seth were still here. Maybe he’d stand up for him again.
“They’re not homo jokes. They’re Cub Scout jokes,” Jeremy said quietly.
“Same thing.”
Jeremy felt a part of his brain melt into anger. He loved Cub Scouts. It was the only place he fit in. He didn’t care if Ryan said bad things about him, but he wouldn’t let him say anything bad about Scouts. Jeremy made a fist, but hesitated. Ryan turned his back and walked away before Jeremy could strike. A tear slid down his cheek and Jeremy quickly wiped it away before anyone could see.

This is a work of fiction that was inspired by the jokes my boys read in Boy's Life magazine and my absolute terror that I feel when I think about the possibility that my sweet, sensitive children might run into a real bully one of these days.