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Fiction Kids

Odin’s mom stopped in front of the big glass door. Squatting down next to him, she placed a hand on his shoulder.

“When we get inside, I will buy you a treat. You are going to sit next to me at a table and eat while I talk with a friend. I brought some play dough for you to play with when you are finished eating,” she explained.

“Okay, Mommy,” Odin said.

She took his hand in hers and pulled the door open. Odin followed her inside and immediately noticed a pungent smell. He sniffed the air, trying to place the familiar aroma. His mom guided him over to a counter, where they had to stand  in a line. Odin decided it smelled like Sunday mornings when Daddy didn’t have to work and could make breakfast for the family. The line moved, and he saw a cash register on the counter, next to a glass case. 

Odin pressed his face against the glass that was protecting rows of muffins, cookies, scones, and other baked goods. He breathed out of his nostrils and watched the glass fog up around his nose.

“Odin, stop!” his mom hissed.

Odin wiped the glass with the palm of his hand, leaving smudges behind, as his mom pulled him closer to her. Finally, it was Mom’s turn to talk to the man on the other side of the counter. Odin watched as the man pushed some buttons on the register screen, then swiped his mom’s credit card. 

A few minutes later, the man handed Mom two paper cups with lids and a ceramic plate with something big and fluffy to eat. Odin could see blueberries dotting the top of the treat.

“This way,” Mom said, guiding him to a table  with four chairs.

Odin pulled out one of the chairs and climbed up. His mom sat next to him. She removed the paper liner from the bottom of the treat and cut it in half. She took one of the halves for herself, and pushed the plate with other half towards Odin.

“This is hot, so take little sips,” she told him, as she slid the smaller paper cup over to him.

Odin picked up the cup and brought it to his lips. All he could taste was whipped cream, at first, but then a warm, sweet liquid flowed into his mouth.

“Yummy!” Odin exclaimed.

He picked up his half of the treat and took a bite. It also tasted sweet, and it crumbled in his hands. The blueberries were soft and squishy. Odin was surprised at the way juice popped out of the berries when he chewed them.

A woman carrying a baby in a car seat, and her own paper cup approached Odin’s mom.

“Hi, we’re finally here,” she said, softly.

“Amy! Hi, I’m so glad you made it,” Mom gushed.

The woman set her cup down on the table, and the baby in the car seat on the floor. Mom hugged her, and they both sat down.

“How are things going?” Odin heard his mom ask, as the other woman leaned down to loosen the straps on the car seat. 

“It’s been a big adjustment, but I think we’re finally figuring things out,” the other lady said.

She pulled the baby out of the car seat and cradled him in her arms.

“This is Augie,” she said, offering the baby to Mom.

Mom took the baby and he promptly started to cry. Odin stared at his tiny, bright red, scrunched up, screaming face and covered his own ears. How could something so little make so much noise?

Mom held the baby up with his head on her shoulder and patted his back. He let out a burp, and began to calm down. Now that he wasn’t making so much noise, Odin noticed the dark, fuzzy hair sticking up all over the baby’s head. He reached up to touch it and was amazed at how soft it felt.

“Gentle, Odin,” Mom reminded him.

She reached down in her purse and pulled out a container of play dough.

“Can you open this for him?” Mom asked her friend.

“Oh, sure,” Amy said.

She popped the top off and handed the container to Odin. He took it from her and set it down next to his plate. Odin took another bite of his crumbling treat before digging the play dough out of the container with his fingers.

It was bright orange play dough. Odin preferred blue, but this was all he had right now. When he’d gotten all the dough out of the container, he picked it up and rolled it into a big ball. Then he set the dough ball on the table and began pounding it with his fist. The table shook with each blow.

“Shh, Odin,” Mom scolded him.

Odin tore off a smaller piece of play dough and rolled it into a snake. He did this again and again until all of the play dough was snakes. He pushed the plate away to make more room, spilling several crumbs on the table in the process. Odin smooshed them with his thumb, then smashed them into the dough.

The tables around them were filling up with people. Odin didn’t like all the loud talking. He couldn’t hear himself think. He wanted to leave.

“Mom,” he whispered, as he tugged at her arm.

“Odin, I’m trying to talk with Amy. We’ll be done soon,” she assured him.

Odin was frustrated that she didn’t listen to him, but there wasn’t much he could do about it, so he went back to his play dough. He tore each of the dough snakes in half and rolled them into tiny balls. The baby was now sleeping in his mom’s arms, and she and her friend were deep in conversation. They were so busy talking that they didn’t notice when Odin dropped a small ball of play dough into his mom’s paper cup. She had taken the lid off earlier to sprinkle sugar in her drink, and had never put it back on.

Odin took the lid off of his own cup, and stared at the contents. It was half full of the light brown liquid. He swished the contents of the cup and could see a chocolate coating on the bottom. Odin picked up a piece of his treat and sprinkled it into his cup. The crumbs floated on top. He pinched off a piece of play dough and dropped that into the cup. The dough bobbed up and down when it hit the liquid.

Mom picked up her cup and brought it to her lips. She was about to take a sip when she saw the bright orange ball floating on top.

“Odin! Why would you do that?! What a waste, now I can’t finish my drink,” she hissed.

Then she turned her head and saw the mess of crumbs squished into play dough. She handed the baby back to her friend, and took a deep breath to compose herself.

“I’m sorry. Odin, we’ve been sitting for a long time. I can see that you are getting bored. Let’s clean up and go to the park,” she suggested.

“Does that work for you? There’s a nice little playground across the street with lots of shade,” Mom told her friend.

Amy nodded, and began to pack up the baby while Mom threw away their garbage. She pulled out a pack of wipes and cleaned the crumbs and gunk from the table. Then she gave Odin a wipe for his face and hands.

“Alright, let’s go to the park,” Mom said, taking Odin’s hand in hers.

Odin stopped to give his mom a tight hug before following her out the door, across the street, and to the playground.

September 22, 2023 18:40

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4 comments

Danie Holland
13:12 Sep 29, 2023

When I first saw this prompt, I thought to myself - self, there is no way. So I avoided it like the plague. I love how effortlessly you nailed this prompt in such a simple way. The descriptions were so detailed and effective you knew right where you were without having to be told. Well done!

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Chelsey B
15:15 Sep 29, 2023

Thank you!

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Sue Schroeder
22:12 Sep 27, 2023

Very human. A nice vignette.

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Mary Bendickson
01:45 Sep 24, 2023

Hard for kids to stay perfect for long. Thanks for liking my Walking to California.

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