Flash Fiction Friday is a weekly roundup of quickly-written fiction, 1000 words or less. Our host is Suzanne Warr and her blog, Tales from the Raven. Go here to read all the entries! Flash Fiction Friday
Today's prompt: In honor of National Ditch New Years Resolutions Day, show someone behaving badly. BONUS if you can tie in Winnie the Pooh, who’s bday is celebrated on the 18th!
by Rebecca Blevins
The evergreen bushes smelled sharp and fresh, like Christmas had a few weeks ago. I watched, shivering and crouched in the snow behind them, trying to keep my fingers warm as the sun went down, turning everything cold and gray. Finally, Billy’s mom pulled out of their driveway to take the twins to baseball practice. After the van disappeared down the street, I stood up and stretched, then picked up the paper bag I'd brought and headed for Billy’s front door.
You see, there’s this girl I know, Kristina. We live a few houses apart, and last summer we just sort of started hanging out. She isn't gross like other girls, and I think she’s really cool. I wanted to do something nice for her birthday last week before New Year’s, but I just couldn't do it in person, so I sent a present in the mail without my name on it.
Somehow Billy knew I was the one who gave Kristina that butterfly necklace. I don’t know how he knew, but he did. As soon as winter break was over he announced to every person in the whole sixth grade that I’d done it. Now Kristina and her friends giggle whenever I show up, and she hasn't said a word to me. Though she is wearing the necklace. Trevor told me. He saw her, and my best friend wouldn't lie. Still, I was super ticked that Billy outed me like that. What a jerk.
I set the bag on the step and took the lighter out of my pocket. I knew that what I was doing would blow my New Year’s taking-the-high-road resolution to smithereens, but this would be worth it. Being a peacemaker was overrated, anyway. Besides, Billy totally asked for this! It’s not like what I was doing was that bad, anyway. The most that would happen would be he’d get a burn mark on his cement doorstep.
I made sure the edges of the bag that I'd tattered last night stuck out just right, in order to catch fire fast, then took out the lighter. I would have loved it if there was real doody in there, but 1) that is just too gross, even for me, and 2) the only place to get it would have been Mr. Richardson’s backyard, and his little yippy-yap dog bites really hard. So I had the brilliant idea to use a holey, grungy Winnie-the-Pooh I'd played with as a kid. It was that really old, moldy-smelling kind with heavy cotton stuffing that kept falling out. Mom kept it for some weird reason. I’d have to play innocent if she ever found out it was gone. She kept so much junk I doubted she’d ever miss it.
I thumbed the lighter and lit a flaming bag of Pooh. Figured it would send the message just fine, and let Billy know someone smart was onto him. (He had so many enemies that I was betting he wouldn’t know it was me.)
I rang the doorbell and ran back behind the bushes. Billy opened the door, saw the flaming bag, and instead of stomping it like he was supposed to, ran back inside. That old stuffing must have been really dry, because the bag practically burst into flames! My heart began thumping really hard and my chest pounded. I was about to scoop some snow to throw on it, when Billy came back with a pitcher of water.
Billy’s eyes grew huge at the size of the Pooh fire. He dumped the pitcher on the bag, and the flames sputtered and almost went out. He ran back in, and came back with another pitcher, and finally the fire died. He kicked the soaking bag into the yard and after hesitantly looking inside it, covered it with the snow and stomped until the whole thing was a smelly, soggy mess. He looked around and made a rude sign, then not seeing anyone in the twilight, went back inside. I was so thankful the bushes hadn't been pruned in a while.
I walked home quickly to try to keep warm, playing with the lighter and smiling at the look that had been on Billy’s face. From the way he wouldn't stomp on the bag, I was sure he’d been given a flaming bag of the real stuff a time or two. I hoped he’d get the message, and think twice before being a jerk to me or anyone else. Then again, Billy wasn't that bright. Maybe I’d have to save up Mr. Richardson’s dog’s presents for a few months and figure something else out.
I grinned as ideas began swirling around. Next January I'd have to choose a resolution I might actually keep.