Contest #209 shortlist ⭐️

37 comments

Funny Fantasy Bedtime

I need a second.


I really had no intention of, you know, returning to this house. So many bad memories here. So much trauma. Is it okay if I just sit for a second? If I remember correctly, they only had the two chairs. Well, technically, they had three chairs. 


And I, an innocent little girl of fifteen, sat in one of the three chairs, and immediately felt as though I was being set upon by the fabric. Certain people recounting my story have said that it was too soft, that first chair, but it wasn’t just that it was soft, it was that I have a sensitivity to very cheap fabric, and this chair was covered in very cheap fabric, because, as we all know, bears do not invest in their furniture. So I sat down, and just--immediately--felt as though my skin was going to crawl off me. I jumped out of that chair and into this other one, which was--It had a kind of brutalist architecture feeling to it. So cold. So unwelcoming to me--a guest. An invited guest? No. But I believe if your house is not a safe space then you should make that clear with a sign on your door in the event that a girl walking through the forest decides she wants to come in. If I had known what would befall me and proceed to haunt me for the rest of my life, I can assure you I would have kept right on walking until I reached that lovely gingerbread house further down the path.


No, no, I walked in here, and sat down on a chair that repulsed me to my very core and then sat in this horrible wooden contraption that was like sitting on the place where a man’s soul should be. Finally, I sat down on a chair that looked like it would be the best fit for me, and what happened? It broke apart. Cheap construction, because, again, bears don’t believe in well-made household necessities.


When that chair broke, a little piece of my childhood broke with it. The impact of me hitting a strange, wooden floor--one that I doubt had been swept for quite some time based on the dust accumulating all over the rest of the house--that feeling has never left me. I still feel aches and pains every time I try to do the simplest thing like run a marathon or put a new roof on my house all by myself, because I won’t pay a contractor, because any podcast will tell you that they’re all murderers. I should have sued for that injury alone, but I didn’t. I did not. Because I do understand that maybe some people, including some people who might wind up on a jury, would feel that if I had never come into the house in the first place, I wouldn’t have sat down on an unstable chair that was not labeled as being dangerous and fallen down causing grievous, lifelong injury to myself.


And you know what I would say to people who say that I have to take some responsibility in all of that?


I would say ‘You are victim blaming.’


Little, tiny, sweet, naive, precious fifteen-year-old girls go wandering through forests all the time. They find empty houses that bears live in all the time. They go into those houses and break things. That’s what children do. Are you saying we should castigate each and every single child that commits breaking and entering? Are you saying we should prohibit children from being alone in the forest without adult supervision? How on earth was I going to bully, I mean, play with, little Gretel if I couldn’t follow her down the path?


Kids are going to act like kids, and we need to make sure that every inch of this kingdom is safe for kids to explore and interact with and sit on and eat.


Yes, I said eat, because--and this part of the story gets mixed up sometimes, but--I did not have the porridge first. Some have said the smell of porridge is what brought me into the house. Not true. I have refined taste buds. Porridge alone would not cause me to walk into a residence thereby taking my own life into my hands. I may have been innocent, but I was not stupid. No, what brought me in here was my belief that Gretel was hiding in here and I wanted to bully, I mean, harmlessly tease her in a sisterly way for this new haircut her stepmother had given her. When I didn’t find her, and, instead, I found these shoddy chairs, and nearly died from a structural collapse, then, yes, I had to eat something to calm my nerves.


Porridge was the only thing available, because bears are not known for their culinary prowess. There were three bowls sitting out on the table.


(By the way, I don’t know if you’ve been watching the local news lately, but apparently three is a symbol often associated with Satanic rituals. Well, six is, and three is divisible by six. I just find that interesting considering how many three’s there were all over this house.)


I tried the first bowl despite my aversion to germs and my many food allergies. It was freezing. Why these bears left in the middle of lunch and didn’t put the food back in the fridge is beyond me, but I assume it’s because they’re barely civilized. Oh, barely. Ha. God, I’m so funny. I do things like that all the time. My husband is always telling me I’m a riot and that I should do stand-up and write a book, but my gosh, who has the time. I’m thirty now, not fifteen. No more wandering through forests and tormenting--I mean, goofing around with Gretel.


So the first bowl is cold. The second bowl? Scalding hot. Don’t ask me how the second bowl managed to stay so warm despite the temperature of the first bowl. It’s probably all the Satanism. Bear voodoo and whatnot. My prized palette was nearly burned off after every bone in my body was nearly broken from the chair falling apart. I grabbed the third bowl just hoping it would contain something that wouldn’t poison me, and, luckily for me, it was just right.


That being said, “just right” is not “delicious” and I only inhaled the small amount of porridge left in the bowl, because I was so famished from stress and the full-on assault I had suffered at the hands of this ghastly house of horrors.


When the porridge was finished, I was exhausted I knew I couldn’t make it back out the door and down the path back to my adorable home that I share with my two parents who are still married and neither one is dead unlike Gretel’s mother, who died because she didn’t love Gretel enough. That’s what we used to say back when I was a child. Whether it’s true or not that parents die if they don’t love their children enough isn’t for me to say, but it’s something other people say, and so it must be at least partly true.


Anyway, both my parents were alive, but I couldn’t get to them without recharging my body and my spirit first. Self-care was important to me even before I was all grown up. I went upstairs and, shocker, what did I find?


Three beds.


Same as the chairs this time. The first bed was nothing but tawdry fabric most likely purchased at some bear market where everything is 20% off and won’t last for more than a year. Ten seconds in that bed and I was already breaking out in hives. The second bed was slightly above a prisoner’s cot in terms of comfort. Later in life, I’d need something unforgiving to soothe the back spasms I started having after I escaped from this place, but at the time, it was nothing that would help induce sleep.


The third bed was suitable enough and I quickly passed out, which was a miracle considering how hot it was in the upstairs bedroom.


(By the way, the child sleeping in the same room as the parents? I’m not saying what I’m thinking, but I’m sure you can guess what I’d be saying if I was saying anything.)


Now, imagine everything I’ve just been through, and there I am, in a strange house, trying to get some sleep to minimize my emotional and physical pain, when I open my eyes, and see three bears standing in front of me.


I thought I was going to be eaten.

I thought I was going to be mauled.

I thought my poor parents, both of whom were, unlike Gretel’s parents, alive, were going to lose their only daughter.


The next thing you know, I had summoned up all my strength, jumped out of bed, run down those rickety stairs right over there (getting more than one splinter in the process, because I loved running through the forest barefoot, what with being a juvenile, angelic fifteen-year-old girl), and dashed straight home where I told the entire story to my father, who ran to get the sheriff so that no other little girl would suffer the same fate I did by wandering into what appeared to be a home that would gladly accept her presence.


And yes, I may have tossed around the word “kidnapped” once or twice. It may not have been exactly true, but it’s how I felt. And my feelings are valid. And children must be protected. And bears are evil. Most of them. The majority of them. And that porridge was unseasoned.


It was all so traumatic.


Of course, the bears weren’t here when the sheriff appeared, which is exactly how innocent creatures act, right? I’m not saying this was all their fault, but I’m saying after I fled, they did the same, and so what does that say about them? If they were so innocent, why would they leave their home and not face the music?


Just asking questions, that’s all I’m doing.


I’ve spent most of my life trying to forget that agonizing day. After I did all those interviews, and spoke with the kingdom’s three most popular magazines, and played myself in the movie version of the story, and authored two books on the whole ordeal, I was ready to put it behind me.


Then, here I was, on my way to market, suddenly lost in the forest, despite how many times I’ve made this journey, because that’s how the forest is, and here you are, a reporter and a photographer, saying something about some tipster informing you that perhaps you might find me near this infamous house on today of all days, the fifteenth anniversary of the tragedy, and lo and behold, you want to interview me, and I’m forced to go back into the veritable torture chamber I had no intention of ever entering again.


Why couldn’t I have gotten lost on that day I was chasing--I mean, following after--Gretel? Why couldn’t I have found any other house? The gingerbread one or the one that has that pig in it who thinks he’s so smart just because he knows you’re supposed to build with brick and not clay and hay. Why did I--an infant of a girl one week away from her sixteenth birthday--have to get lost and find this house?


I hope you’re writing all that down. If not, I wrote it myself and I’ve prepared copies for you back at my home. Well, actually, my husband is copying it all down, but I’m sure he’s done by now, even though he can be a bit of a slowpoke.


Oh, and I made some porridge for you as well.


A little wink-wink of a treat that I was sure you’d appreciate.


Be sure to mention that detail in whatever article you write about this. You want to get all the facts down exactly as they happened.


When you’re talking about something this important, it’s crucial that you get every detail just right.

July 29, 2023 00:20

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37 comments

Linda McClure
05:24 Aug 31, 2023

Love it! Reminds me of Shelly Duvall’s fairy tales 😆https://youtu.be/GyopzraEC6U?si=8cEINUQRHTg6bFoj

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Story Time
16:01 Aug 31, 2023

Thank you!

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Riel Rosehill
11:56 Aug 18, 2023

The voice of her...! You can tell she's an only child before she gets to that part. And she turned out to be a bit of a "Karen" too... I love this twist of the entitled, conspiracy-theorist Goldilocks, it's brilliant. Well deserved shortlisting!

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Story Time
18:57 Aug 18, 2023

Thank you, Riel! Unfortunately I used to be surrounded by this type of personality so I feel like I'm fluent in it.

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09:14 Aug 14, 2023

Narcissism at it’s finest.

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Story Time
17:01 Aug 14, 2023

She's going to block you on Twitter for saying that lol

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Amanda Rye
22:17 Aug 13, 2023

I love this! Goldilocks seems like a drama queen. I can say for sure she reminds me of a few select middle school girls…

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Story Time
02:05 Aug 14, 2023

Glad you liked it Amanda!

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Amanda Rye
00:39 Aug 15, 2023

How could I not? :)

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Kay Smith
19:36 Aug 13, 2023

This was absolutely hysterical! Well written with such a great 'voice!' I enjoyed reading it! Kudos!

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Kelsey H
11:22 Aug 12, 2023

This is amazing, love how manipulative and passive aggressive Goldilocks is. All the snide comments about bears were great, also this; Don’t ask me how the second bowl managed to stay so warm despite the temperature of the first bowl. - ha, good point. Even though she an awful person she is also very entertaining, I love a 'bad' character who's head you can actually enjoy being in. Also enjoyed all the mentions of other fairy tales dropped in. Congrats on the shortlist!

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Story Time
05:29 Aug 13, 2023

Thank you so much, Kelsey!

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15:31 Aug 06, 2023

This is right up my street, quirky and fun with a playful voice. Wow , never knew Goldilocks was such a B! (Bear Hater I mean) Cheers for sharing!

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Story Time
02:34 Aug 07, 2023

Glad you liked it!

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Delbert Griffith
14:55 Aug 06, 2023

Hilarious, and a real shot at the caste system that we all refuse to believe exists, everywhere. Throw in a little stab at truth vs perception and we have a winning tale. Goldilocks represents all that's bad about humanity, and she certainly highlights what it means to be elitist. Wonderful tale, Kevin. Nicely done. Cheers!

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Story Time
02:34 Aug 07, 2023

Thank you so much.

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Michał Przywara
20:35 Aug 04, 2023

Ha! Very funny :) Great voice, as your narrators often have, and an engaging, opinionated view of reality. "some tipster" indeed :) "Gretal" - curious, I've only ever seen it as Gretel before. "three is a symbol often associated with Satanic rituals" :) Won't all the Christian symbolismists be surprised :) A "where are they now" look at a faded fairy tale star, desperately clinging to the outrage that was. Thanks for sharing!

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Story Time
23:43 Aug 04, 2023

I never knew it was Gretel with an "e!" I'll make a change, and thanks for reading!

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Michał Przywara
20:46 Aug 11, 2023

Congrats on the shortlist :)

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Mary Bendickson
16:58 Jul 29, 2023

I don't know, Kevin. Sounds like a fairy tail to me. A tall, tall fairy tail full of faulty fabric and funny falls and furry families and famous fans and...😜😂😁🤪 Another Goldilocks for the shortlist. She is cleaning up this week. Well deserved Congrats 👏👏👏🎉.

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Story Time
02:21 Jul 30, 2023

Glad you enjoyed it!

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Naomi Onyeanakwe
09:38 Jul 29, 2023

I reallyy loved this. It was soo funny and I love that Goldilocks is actually an insufferable asshole. I literally screamed at “After I did all those interviews, and spoke with the kingdom’s three most popular magazines, and played myself in the movie version of the story, and authored two books on the whole ordeal, I was ready to put it behind me.”😭😂😂😂 This was good. Well done and good luck.

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Naomi Onyeanakwe
09:38 Jul 29, 2023

I reallyy loved this. It was soo funny and I love that Goldilocks is actually an insufferable asshole. I literally screamed at “After I did all those interviews, and spoke with the kingdom’s three most popular magazines, and played myself in the movie version of the story, and authored two books on the whole ordeal, I was ready to put it behind me.”😭😂😂😂 This was good. Well done and good luck.

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Story Time
02:21 Jul 30, 2023

Thank you very much!

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Kay-Dian Edwards
13:15 Mar 08, 2024

Absolutely loved the spin on this. I enjoyed every moment.

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19:39 Feb 20, 2024

I noticed a lot of excited run ons but otherwise it was a pretty good short story. Very creative. Also I think you could try less referencing the innocence and fifteen years old parts. Possibly, adding more depth to this story, more background about life after the trauma, about survivorship could entice more readers? Lastly I loved the emotions you shared. Cute story.😁

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Amanda Lieser
14:44 Sep 09, 2023

Hey Kevin, Congratulations on this well deserved shortlist! I’m always happy to see a familiar name up there. This was interesting to me and I didn’t put the pieces together because I didn’t realize who she was in the very beginning. Somehow, I’d pictured her younger in the fairytale. I loved all the witty little remarks you incorporated-my favorite line was: Porridge was the only thing available, because bears are not known for their culinary prowess. Perhaps, because I’d just read your onion piece so my mind was on kitchens. This was a gre...

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Philip Ebuluofor
17:14 Aug 13, 2023

Short story and Shirt Blogs combined wonderfully together. Congrats.

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Story Time
02:06 Aug 14, 2023

What does shirt blogs mean?

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Philip Ebuluofor
15:57 Aug 17, 2023

Computer and Ai at work. Short blog I meant to write there.

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Story Time
18:02 Aug 17, 2023

I still don't know what that means. What blog are you referring to?

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Philip Ebuluofor
17:04 Aug 22, 2023

Blog post that is not up to 1k words.

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Aeris Walker
21:22 Aug 11, 2023

This is excellent. You nailed the delusional, entitled voice of Goldilocks. Why do I get the feeling that her husband has high anxiety and frequently says “yes ma’am” in fear when responding to her demands? Lol. Favorite lines: “When I didn’t find her, and, instead, I found these shoddy chairs, and nearly died from a structural collapse, then, yes, I had to eat something to calm my nerves.”—shoddy chairs and structural collapse—love the wording. “Don’t ask me how the second bowl managed to stay so warm despite the temperature of the fi...

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Story Time
22:13 Aug 11, 2023

Thank you, Aeris. As soon as I knew who she was, it was off to the races. Going to read your story tomorrow while I'm unwinding from the week!

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Marty B
16:46 Aug 11, 2023

Of course Goldi was a prig, who else would steal into an unsuspecting Bear's house and break stuff!? 'Little, tiny, sweet, naive, precious fifteen-year-old girls go wandering through forests all the time.' !! Congrats and well deserved!

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Story Time
17:02 Aug 11, 2023

Thank you so much, Marty!

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14:59 Aug 08, 2023

First of all, is your name actually Kevin Broccoli? Sorry, that was a bit unrelated. 'If they were so innocent, why would they leave their home and not face the music?' It's funny how innocent people (including bears) are always doing the most suspicious and incriminating things. Sorry, that was kind of not relevant either! Love it! The humour was *just right*, the storyline was great, Goldilocks' personality was perfect. (As a character, not as a person of course!) Everyone knows Goldilocks, but no one supposed she was such a... I can't ...

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