There's more than dandruff on your shoulders.

Submitted into Contest #155 in response to: Set your story in a kids’ playground, or at a roundabout.... view prompt


Fiction Funny Fantasy

“Where is everyone? This playground is more boring than you are!” Drizelt whined in an attempt to irritate Brongate with the insult and start an argument. Drizelt could think of plenty of things that would be more fun than arguing with him, but with the playground devoid of children, Brongate was the only being available to pester. Brongate, however, had been ignoring Drizelt’s pathetic attempts to start conflict between them for longer than either could remember, and this latest jab was not nearly enough for Brongate to even need a moment to pause and keep his composure.

“We could always go someplace else. It’s not mandatory for you to be at this playground every day, is it?” Brongate stretched out across several of the monkey bars. He was enjoying the brief moment of peace and the sun on his golden exterior.  

“Of course it’s not mandatory,” snapped Drizelt. “And it’s not mandatory for you to stay and irritate me either. I don’t need supervision.” Drizelt found Brongate’s constant presence to be quite a nuisance. He was boring and completely unable to have any fun, which in turn seriously limited his ability to have any real fun.  

He can’t even have any fun while we wait, thought Drizelt as he spun around backwards and back up on the tallest monkey bar. Just lying around there waiting to be a killjoy. He spun himself around forward and back up.  

“You know very well that my supervisory duties of you are mandatory for me whether either of us like it or not.” Brongate answered without bothering to look at Drizelt.

“Hurrumph,” was Drizelt’s only response and he spun around backwards a few more times as fast as he could.  

The monkey bars were unusually high for a modern playground. Most playgrounds nowadays lacked any truly potentially dangerous equipment. Swings were generally the only thing left that could be even mildly dangerous, but most newer playgrounds were built with ground cover made soft by using shredded tires or the like. Kids jumping from the highest point on the swings didn’t even get a bruise. And you could forget hoping for a broken arm or knocked out tooth. It just didn’t happen on new playgrounds full of padding, rounded corners, and squishy ground cover.  

That was why Drizely loved this playground the best and was willing to endure a little boredom waiting for kids to finally show up. It wasn’t any fun alone but when it was full of kids it was the best place on Earth! Drizelt could hardly believe his luck to find this place full of sky high monkey bars, what must be the last working roundabout left, and nothing but hard, sharp gravel covering the ground. Kids flying off a seat on the rocking swing set and hitting the ground where they received bloody gashes or serious breaks were a regular occurrence. The roundabout had absolutely earned its title of “merry-go-round of death” with its unusually smooth turning mechanism that allowed unbelievable speeds and the myriad of injuries that happened when a kid flew off and went skidding and bumping across the gravel. Last week, Drizelt convinced a kid to go so fast that when her friend flew off she rolled all the way to the monkey bars.  

Ahhh, the monkey bars, he thought, my favorite equipment here. No one puts in monkey bars this tall anymore. They were a delightfully dangerous geometric configuration of increasingly higher single bars set together but also independent of one another. When a kid fell from the top bar, the sound of bones snapping was absolutely hysterical! The last time it happened, Drizelt had convinced a kid that he could do ten backflips in a row, but by the fifth backflip, the kid was so dizzy that he lost his grip and plummeted to the hard, jagged gravel below. He broke an arm and a leg! Drizelt stayed at the top of the monkey bars backflipping and laughing hysterically until the ambulance drove away.  

But that was months ago. While the spoils of Drizelt’s victory in convincing a kid to do something dangerous and ultimately injurious were great, they were also disappointingly limited. Sure, there was a thrill in every attempt, every challenge, but there was also boring Brongate there to stymy his every effort. While Drizelt was trying to get a kid to do something wonderfully fun and dangerous, ol’ Brongate was trying to talk sense into the kid and get them to be safe. Then when it looked like Drizelt had convinced them, Brongrate would usually cheat and go to their parent. If the kid was with their mom it was a done deal. Their mom would come running and almost instantly the kid would start climbing down the monkey bar, slowing down the roundabout, or holding tight to the slowing swing. With dads it was fifty fifty if they were going to listen to Brongate the tattletale.

Drizelt had considered paying better attention to the guardians that came with the kids and only taunting the ones who came with their fathers or better yet: teenagers. But Drizelt also enjoyed the challenge. He had to convince a kid quickly that they wanted to do something they shouldn't and that was especially true when kids were accompanied by their mother. Mother’s loved Brongate and were always so relieved to reach their “precious baby” before the unthinkable happened. But whenever Drizelt could get a kid to do something dangerous or naughty before boring Brongate and a meddling mother could intervene, the mayhem and chaos that could result was spectacular!  

Driznelt giggled at the thought and clapped his hands then climbed onto the nearest monkey bar support post and stood up. He then began to hop nimbly from post to post. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, he thought as he hopped around the beams, if I could get a kid to walk around on the top of the monkey bars? The fall would be explosive! He pictured broken bones and flying gravel. 

“I’ll bet you no kid can walk around on these like I can. Are you worried I’m going to fall?” Drizelt smiled a devious smile at Brongage who was still mostly ignoring him.  

“I doubt a child coming to play here would successfully take more than a step or two on the top of the monkey bars, and no, I never worry about you falling.”

Drizelt was surprised at the compliment. He was certain Brongate held a complete dislike for him and here he had as much faith in Drizelt as he had in himself.  

“Why Brongate, you softie! I had no idea you had so much faith in my abilities.” Drizelt said almost feeling warmth toward Brongate which made him shudder and twitch a bit.  

“You misunderstand me,” replied Brongate, eyes still closed. “My job is to keep your mischief from harming others. What happens to you as a result is of no concern to me.”

Instead of being offended, Drizelt was delighted! He threw his head back and laughed loudly.  

“You hope something bad will happen to me? That’s a positively wicked thought! Maybe I'm rubbing off on you!” Embers in his eyes twinkled at the thought.

This was the best conversation he had ever had with Brongate and he grinned a horrible, vicious grin as he imagined the depravity they could accomplish together. At this, Brongate sat up and turned to look at Drizelt who had stopped hopping and was now deep in treacherous thoughts.

“There is no chance in heaven or in hell that you or your ridiculous shenanigans will ever interest me to join in and participate,” began Brongate. Drizelt exchanged his grin for a sullen expression. Brongate moved back into his resting position and once again closed his eyes. “And I never said I wished for tragedy to befall you. I simply stated concern for your welfare was not part of my job description. Though,” Brongate opened his eyes and turned to look at the van that had just pulled to a stop in the parking lot, “if something prevented you from the chicanery you persistently inflict upon others, I would not oppose it.”

Drizelt gave him a slight glare but was too excited at seeing the children spilling out of the doors and running down the sidewalk towards the playground to fully respond to Brongate.

“Oh, oh! Where will they go? Hey! Come to the monkey bars!” Drizelt called, swinging from one now. “This is the perfect time to try walking along the posts while your mother is still getting everything out of the van!” The embers in Drizelt’s eyes now glowed bright with anticipation.

“Try the slide,” Brongate called, “it’s lovely!” He smiled as the first two children reached the playground and ran to climb up to the slide.

“Bah!” Drizelt sneered in disgust. The slide was a short, twisted slide with high sides. It was the playground designers only attempt at safe equipment. There was very little Drizelt could do to convince a kid at the slide to do that was even remotely dangerous. He didn’t bother with kids on the slide unless they were the only option.

He turned his head toward the three remaining children. They weren’t headed to the slide. They were headed to the roundabout!

“Yes!” Drizelt cheered and released the monkey bar. He’d get a head start on still-no-fun Brongate and hopefully get one of those kids to get the “merry-go-round of death” going at an alarming pace before Brongate could convince the kid or his mom to slow it down.  

Brongate sighed and set off towards the roundabout after Drizelt. He was faster and would reach the group of children at almost the same time as Drizelt.

“Get on, I’ll get it going!” Billy yelled to his friend and his little sister. He was happy his best friend, Alex, got to hang out with him today, but wished his mom wasn’t making him play with his little sister, too.  

“Can’t she play with the twins?,” he whined at her.

“You know Katie likes to play with you more. Just be nice,” she told him.

As Billy ran to start the roundabout, he thought about what his mother said and kept the speed slow enough to let Katie hold on securely. Then, he had a thought. If I go really fast, Katie will fall off and go crying to mom and we can be rid of her.  

Billy started to run faster. But she might get hurt. I don’t want her to get hurt.  

Billy slowed down. But if she does get a little hurt or scared, maybe she’ll leave us alone.

Billy started to run faster. But if she gets hurt I might get in trouble.

Billy slowed down. We’re twelve and she’s six. If she can’t keep up she’ll have to play with someone else.

Billy ran as fast as he could. The roundabout creaked and spun faster and faster. Katie screamed and her fingers began to slip. At any moment she would go flying off into the gravel. Alex shut his eyes and held on as tight as he could but suddenly his stomach began to lurch and his extra spicy burrito from lunch seemed to be trying to say it wanted to get off this ride, too. But before each child’s catastrophe could occur, Billy saw his mom running and screaming towards them. Billy knew he better slow down the roundabout.

“Cheater!” Drizelt screamed at a smirking Brongate.

July 18, 2022 14:07

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