"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

2/27/09

Friday Fiction: "Hurricane Elliot"

Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Friday, hosted this week by Beth at Laughing at the Days. Be sure to stop by her blog for links to some wonderful fiction. And don't be afraid to post your own - just link up in the gadget at the bottom of her post!
Today, my wonderful, energetic firstborn, Andrew, turns eight years old. (Happy Birthday, buddy!) In honor of this momentous occasion, I have selected the story below. Though it is not a true story, the main character is definitely based on my son. This was only my second entry in the Faithwriters' Writing Challenge, and came in second in the beginners' level for the topic, which was "walk." I hope you enjoy it!


HURRICANE ELLIOT

"Inside voice, please!" Melody Winford looked disapprovingly at her 5-year-old son Elliot. "You'll wake daddy."

"OK," Elliot whispered as he sprinted across the living room, jumped over the fire truck he'd left on the floor, and bounded up the stairs to his room two steps at a time.

"And walk, Elliot, walk!"

Melody sighed and slumped down in her easy chair. What a workout that kid gave her. They say children his age, especially boys, are full of energy, but Elliot's pep dribbled out his pores. If she had a brick for every time someone said "I wish I had his energy," she could build the Tower of Babel in her back yard. She always told the "Elliot energy seekers" they were welcome to his energy --as long as they didn't give it back to him.

Now there was humor with a slice of truth in it. Melody loved her son more than she could ever express, but why did he have to be so high-strung, so loud, so hyper? If only he didn't fiddle nonstop, wasn't in perpetual motion 24/7, wasn't...

CRASH

"Melody!" her husband Greg said groggily from the bedroom. "Is everything all right?"

"Checking," she answered, whispering a short prayer under her breath, as she sprinted up the stairs toward Elliot's room.

She looked into Elliot's bedroom to find at least five dozen books sprawled about the floor, his bookcase flat on the ground. Elliot - either oblivious to what had happened, or having dismissed it seconds ago - was sitting on his beanbag chair in the corner, flipping through, of all things, Go, Dog, Go.

Spouting out a quick "thank you, Lord," Melody walked through the book minefield and put the bookcase back in place, making a mental note to have Greg come up and anchor it to the wall later that day.

"Everything's fine, Greg," she shouted down the stairs, "Go back to sleep, dear."

As she started putting the books back, Elliot looked up from his reading.

"Sorry, mommy."

"It's OK, honey. You just need to be careful."

"I know," he said as he began picking up the books and helping put them back on the shelves.

*******

"Elliot! Greg! Dinner!"

Elliot bounced (literally) out of his room and down the hallway to the top of the stairs.

"Elliot the kangaroo is ready for dinner," the boy giggled. "Boing, boing, b-"

A series of bumps, thumps and screams came from Elliot's direction. The older Winfords ran for the stairs, where they found Elliot sprawled across the landing, his arms and legs every which way.

"I'll call 911," Greg said breathlessly as he sprinted for the phone.

"Elliot, are you OK, honey?" She cradled her son's head in her lap.

"I didn't walk, mommy."

********

"Wow, TWO casts!" Elliot looked down with pride at his wrapped up left lower leg and right lower arm. "Too cool!"

As Greg wheeled him down the hospital corridor in his wheelchair, Elliot asked everyone who passed by to sign his casts. Though stopping every three feet was getting old, Greg and Melody were glad the fall hadn't broken their son's spirit, and resigned to humoring him.

"My! What happened to you, young man?" a woman with salt and pepper hair and a matronly look asked.

"I didn't listen to mommy when she told me to walk," he said sheepishly. "Wanna sign my cast?"

She tittered, "Certainly. What is your name, young man?"

"Elliot. E-L-L-I-O-T. What's your name?

"Mrs. Grayson," the woman said.

"Do you listen to your mommy, Mrs. Grayson? You should, you know."

"Yes, Elliot, in fact, I do. Even when I don't want to, I try to do just what my mother told me," Mrs. Grayson replied.

"Now Elliot, it was delightful talking with you, and I hope you feel better soon, but I have an appointment to get to, and I need to run."

"Thank you! But--Mrs. Grayson?"

"Yes, Elliot?"

"Walk, Mrs. Grayson - walk!"

**

Thanks for reading! Be sure to stop by Beth's blog for more great fiction!

14 comments:

  1. SMILE...got to love his enthusiasm!

    Thanks for sharing this...

    and "Happy Birthday, Andrew!"

    Vonnie

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  2. "Now is not a time for play, now is a time for SLEEP! Go, Dogs, Go!" My son LOVED that book, and we often emphasized that sentence above after the 2nd time of reading it to him each night. LOL. Ahhh, their energy is draining, but I so miss those days! Loved reading about and remembering the fleeting days of boyhood, Jo.

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  3. Heh heh... I figured out a long time ago that I had just as much energy as my kids when they were young, but that it was like putting a gallon of gasoline in a small Honda versus putting the same amount of gasoline in a large SUV. It's the same amount of energy, it just doesn't go nearly as far. :)

    I wonder how my Mom handled having THREE of us boys each only a year apart.

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  4. I can remember Kristyn being so full of that kind of energy. Wowza! Fantastic story!

    Also, thank you so much for your sweet comment and words of wisdom At the Well today. With God all things are truly possible!

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  5. Gotta love stories about energetic boys! Happy Birthday, Andrew!

    Funny coincidence, my brother once had two casts at once - both arms. He fell from the top of a really large slide at recess in third grade. Ouch! Didn't slow him down much. Course, he was never very energetic in the first place. :*)

    Love,
    Teresa

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  6. Awww, that's sweet. Gotta love the kid...but glad he's got his own mom!

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  7. I loooove Elliot! He's a charmer!

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  8. This is still one of my favorites of yours. I felt like I knew Andrew after reading it. What an exhausting kid! You deserve a big hug for being such a good and loving mom.
    (((Joanne)))!!!

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  9. Heehee! I've never read this one, but what a darling and lovely story. Wow...that is a LOT of energy! lolz. Wishin' Andrew a happy birthday. (and this is a neat story!)

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  10. Wow, Joanne.. That must have been so encouraging, getting second place with your first entry! Your title is so cute! Love it! Your story is a mix of fun and heartwarming"ness".. I'm hoping the part about the broken bones in the fiction part.. And happy birthday to Andrew!

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  11. Great story, Joanne. I raised three sons, so I well know the trouble their feet can get them into before their minds are engaged. Gotta love 'em!

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  12. Lovely story. I have one of those kangaroos in my house. :) He hasn't broken any part of his body yet.

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  13. Cute. Sounds like something that could happen at my house. Love the new blog look. Very you. :)

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