Flash Fiction Challenge: Mother’s Day

2014 May Day 3 Mothers Day Flash Fiction Prompt copyright K. S. Brooks do not use without attribution
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks – do not use without attribution

The little flower had fallen off one of the cookies. Andrea stood and stared at the flawed little thing. In all other respects, it was the same as the other cookies. It just seemed so much more plain than the others.

It is different. It has given something up – perhaps its dreams or its youth. That cookie is the mother of the others.

She stood mesmerized by the thought. She felt a tug at her blouse.

“Mommy, I hafta go to the bathroom!”

Andrea sighed. “Just a second, sweetie. Miss? I’ll take that one.”

Just then Bruce came strutting around with the cart. “Hey sugar britches, we gotta go. The game will be on in a few minutes.”

As the woman behind the counter lifted the flawed cookie out, it broke. Andrea winced, then some little thing inside her broke, too. Bruce was definitely going to miss the game.

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8 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Mother’s Day”

  1. Andrea sat in the park eating broken sugar cookies out of a brown paper bag. Her daughter, Lulu, was playing in the grass at her feet. The park was filled with families, laughter, and lots of spring flowers. It was a beautiful day.
    She looked at a particularly jagged piece of cookie then popped it into her mouth. There’s a market near her house that sells bags of damaged bakery items for a dollar. They’re simply delicious.
    “Come on, Sweetie. It’s almost time for Mommy’s appointment.” she said, holding out her hand. They smiled at each other, and Andrea tucked a tiny yellow flower behind the child’s ear. They’d been through so much this past year. She wished she had someplace to leave Lulu instead of dragging her to these therapy sessions, but with the emergency protection order against Bruce, Lulu’s father, she really felt safer staying together.
    “Mommy, look,” Lulu said pointing.
    There, not twenty feet away, was Bruce.
    Andrea pulled out her cell phone and activated the emergency alert app.
    “Please, wait,” Bruce pleaded. “I just want to say that I’ve changed. I don’t gamble anymore. I don’t even watch sports.”
    “I’m happy for you Bruce.” She pulled Lulu closer. “The police are on their way.”
    “I’m leaving. I’m sorry. I just wanted to know how you are,” he said.
    As Bruce fled, Andrea thought about broken hearts, broken families, and broken lives. She handed Lulu a piece of cookie and said, “Well, we’re not broken.”

  2. ***FINALIST***

    Before they were even out of the parking lot, Bruce was complaining.

    “God, you’re sappy. I’m gonna miss the kickoff ’cause you had to stand in line for a cookie with Mom on it. A broken cookie with Mom on it.” He laughed as he pulled a beer from the backseat cooler. “Guess that kind’ov fits you though, don’t it, baby cakes? Broken…” He popped the beer open and took a long draw. “You’re one dumb—”

    “Just stop. Please. Polly’ll hear.”

    “Sheesh, excuse me.” He belched, laughed again, then continued, “I’m pretty sure buying broken cookies at full price ain’t too smart.”

    Andrea clenched her teeth. As much as she hated his complaining, hated the drinking and pet names, hated him for even existing, she knew arguing wouldn’t help. Over the past year or so, she’d all but given up, until he started calling Polly sugar britches. Until she noticed how his hands lingered when he touched Polly.

    Andrea caressed the bag with the cookie in it and then causally sat it on the console between them. As she expected, Bruce didn’t hesitate to wolf down the one cookie. The broken cookie with Mom on it.

    When Bruce started to cough, Andrea glanced back at Polly, made sure she was strapped into the car seat. The ride was about to get bumpy. But from now on, Polly would be safe.

    Sugar britches might be dumb, but she had been smart enough to buy a cookie with nuts in it.

  3. “Is that all you care about? The game?!” Andrea’s voice seemed to have a mind of its own and exploded out of her petite body.

    Bruce frowned a bit. “Honey?”

    “Don’t ‘honey’ me. All you’ve been talking about is the game! The game this, the game that – darling don’t forget snacks for the game! Can I at least have one moment for myself to relax and spend as much time as I want in one gosh darn area?! IT’S MOTHER’S DAY FOR PETE’S SAKE!” Andrea’s monologue had gotten the attention of all occupants in hearing range near the bakery. Her hands were shaking and her lip quivered. She had never talked back to Bruce, never complained about his flaws… until now.

    “Thanks for telling me and the whole world how you feel, honey. I’m gonna find a check-out line…” Bruce looks frustrated and turns around heading towards the front of the store.

    Andrea sighed. She still felt eyes on her after Bruce had left the area. However, she shook off the embarrassed feeling and brought her attention back to the broken cookie resting in the woman’s gloved hand.

    “Mommy, what’s the matter?”

    A pause. “Nothing, sweetie.”

    “Ma’am, do you still want this broken cookie or should I get a new one for you?” The woman behind the counter cautiously asks.

    “No,” Andrea replies, “I want the broken one. It’s… different.”

  4. EVERY DAY SHOULD BE (250 words)

    “Yeah Babe?”
    “The Tivo is working, right?”
    “Yeah, why? Want me to record that special about the new Princess?”
    “Well, that’d be nice…but I was also wondering if you would tape the game.”
    “But it’s Notre Dame…you know how I…well, ok. It’s Mother’s Day.”

    Andrea, Bruce and their little princess wheeled the squeaky cart to the restrooms at the front of the Piggly Wiggly.

    “You ok to go by yourself big girl?” Andrea asked after poking her head in the ladies room and noticing no one else was in there. Five year old Debbie darted past her.

    Andrea looked at Bruce sitting on a bench trying to remotely trigger Tivo from his cell phone.

    “Well, I either got the game or a marathon broadcast of ‘Cheers.’ What’s up sweetie. You have that look.”

    “Bruce, I feel lost. I should be the happiest woman in the world. I have a great kid, the best husband ever…”

    “Do I know him?” Bruce joked.

    “Seriously. I think now that Debbie’s starting preschool I could take those classes and finish up my degree. But I feel selfish…”

    Bruce interrupted. “Andrea, we bought our house with the idea that you could open a day care in the cottage. Go for it.”

    Andrea squeezed his hand and kissed his cheek.

    Debbie bolted out of the restroom into her parents’ arms. “Can we go to the park?”

    “Sure,” Bruce said before humming the theme song from ‘Cheers’.

  5. Andrea could feel her temper boiling up, consuming her. She was disgusted at herself for having married an ignorant mortal. Her eyes glowed red, but she batted down the desire to shoot a retaliatory spell at him. That was not the example she wanted to set for her daughter, not that Rachel had exhibited inheriting the power.

    “Ma’am? How about I give you a free cookie?” the girl behind the counter asked.

    “Take the free cookie and let’s go already,” Bruce said and then grunted.

    It could have been ten seconds or ten minutes, Andrea wasn’t certain. She felt, for a moment, as if the years of pent up anger had levitated and spun her around.

    “Mommy, I have to pee right now!” Rachel squealed.

    “Okay, sweetie, I’ll take you.”

    The girl behind the counter pointed towards the restrooms.

    “Thank you,” Andrea said with a sigh.

    When they emerged from the bathroom, Bruce was standing outside, waiting to cross the street.

    “Mommy? Can I pick two cookies for you please?” Rachel’s angelic face brought Andrea comfort.

    “Sure, sweetie, which two do you want?”

    “I would like the green one, and the gingerbread man is for you!”

    “The gingerbread man?” Andrea hated gingerbread.

    Just as Bruce crossed the road, Rachel took the green truck cookie and slammed it into the gingerbread man. Outside, tires screeched on the pavement and a woman screamed. A green semi had pulverized Bruce.

    Andrea looked down at Rachel; she was smiling, and her eyes glowed red. “Happy Mother’s Day, mommy.”

  6. Death of the Buttercups (245 words)

    “Bruce! Don’t start with me.”

    Andrea was headed for destruction. Self-destruction. Total annihilation. She felt the fluid in her veins tremble, bubble. It churned violently. She was a high-tech washing machine about to spill sloppy innards.

    Her husband, as usual, was sunshine and buttercups. “Oh, sugar plum. You’re Andrea. Good ol’ reliable Andrea. You can handle anything.” He patted her bottom, threw a muscular arm around her shaking shoulders.

    “This is the first Mother’s Day without my mom. Please. I’m crumbling here. Like that heart-shaped cookie behind the counter. I need support. Sooner or later, something’s gonna happen.” Andrea fought to keep the tears from flowing like clear lava. Her hazel orbs could be gushers.

    Bruce laughed. “Don’t be silly. It’s not like you’re gonna grow antlers.” He beckoned to their daughter, Abbie, who’d just returned from the staff bathroom. “Let’s just get home. Okay?” Whistling the theme song to Hockey Night in Canada, he picked up the bag of goodies and strode for the door.

    Andrea’s hands clenched. Her eyes flicked. Her teeth extended. “Bruuuuucccccceeee,” she hissed, her eyes turning techno red. “Stop. Right. There.” As Bruce watched in horror, Andrea morphed into a robotic insect, her antennae and wings ablaze with coppery wire streaks. She developed a carapace, and her legs grew thin and segmented. “This is my day. Mother’s Day. You will not take it from me. Ever.”

    Abbie’s eyes were bright with awe. “Mommy! You said you’d never show Daddy your secret!”

  7. ***FINALIST***

    Walking out of the bakery, with her young daughter in hand, Andrea felt broken. That crumbled Mother’s Day cookie she just bought reminded her how screwed up her life had become.

    “Andrea, let’s get a move on it,” Bruce screeched from the sidewalk.

    “Okay, okay. What’s the big deal if we miss a few minutes of the game? ”Picking up her little girl she felt moisture filling her eyes, but she did everything in her power to stop the tears from flowing. She would not cry, she told herself.

    Living with Bruce was no longer making her happy. In fact, at that moment, she couldn’t remember a time her husband had ever made her happy, but she had Chloe to consider, and she knew divorce was hard on children. Still, the thought of living one more day with this man made her stomach turn.

    “What are you waiting for?” Bruce yelled while he climbed into the Volvo. Andrea stood in the middle of the parking lot, not concerned that she was blocking traffic. She put Chloe down and asked her to get into the car.

    “But aren’t you coming?” Shhh, honey. Just do as mommy says and go home with daddy. The child did as she was told and before Bruce had a chance to see her wander away, she had already slipped around the corner feeling freer than she had in years.

  8. ***FINALIST***

    “Ya know what,” Andrea said. “It’s fine. Forget the cookie.”

    The woman had reached into the showcase and her hand hovered over another cookie. “Are you sure?”

    “Yes, absolutely. I don’t need it,” she said. “I don’t need this. I don’t need any of it.”

    “Babe, the game—“

    “Your game can go to hell. And you know what, you can go to hell too.”

    Bruce stepped back, his hands lifted away from the shopping cart. “Hey, what is it? What’s wrong?”

    “My damn cookie broke!” In this one moment, finality washed over Andrea. “I know what you’ve been doing when you’re ‘working’ late.”

    He scanned from the area behind the counter out into the store. The shoppers around them had frozen in place, their eyes locked on him and Andrea. “What are you talking about?”

    “Sally Snowshoes,” she said. “Isn’t that the name you and Bob gave her a while back. She called looking for you the other day. Giggled when I told her you were working late, again.”

    “It isn’t what y—“

    “Don’t give me any more of your bull,” she said. She turned back to the woman behind the counter. “Give me the broken one. It’s still good. Missy, let’s go. You can potty when we get home.” She took the cookie and dropped a five on the counter. She didn’t look back as she walked out of the store.

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