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My Daughter's Smile

J. Lee Crow leaves his home in Western North Carolina every morning at 6:30, affording witches, psychotic clowns, and paranormal entities time for their impish antics, which often include hiding Mr. Crow's personal items and leaving the refrigerator door slightly ajar.
I carefully prepare her plate. She can be finicky, sometimes. The peas are the tricky part, they can't touch anything. None of her food can touch.
"Thanks, Dad," she says, as I set her dinner in front of her.
"Hey, I thought we had talked about this." I point to the fork beside her plate, bent at a ninety degree angle.
She looks up at me with a devilish smile.
"That was your grandmother's silverware. You know I don't like it when you bend it. Now straighten it back out."
Still smiling, her eyes roll gently back. They remain partially open, exposing only the whites of her eyes. The fork, still lying on the table next to her plate, begins to slowly straighten.
It's tough being a single parent sometimes. Especially when your eight-year-old child has, shall I say, a special gift. I fix my plate and sit down at the table beside her.
"So, how was school today," I ask.
"Ok." But I can tell by the way she looks down, rolling a single pea around on her plate with her fork, that something is up.
"Did something happen?" I ask.
"It's Billy Martin, Dad. He's always picking on me. Today on the playground, he snuck up behind me and pulled my pony tail."
"Well," I smile, "that's the way little boys show they like you. He wouldn't pick on you if he didn't like you."
"Yea, well, I turned around and I put my hand up to his chest--
"You didn't knock him back, did you?" I interrupt. "You know, the way you did me that time?"
"I started to," she says, "but I remembered what you said. I can't do that anymore, especially not at school. I'll get in trouble."
"Yes, you will, and again when you get home."
"I know," she says, rolling her eyes.
"So, what did you do?" I ask.
"I just looked at him mean and turned around and walked away. But then, I saw him, you know, in my head. He was coming up behind me. He was gonna do it again. But, somebody," she looks up at the ceiling with that same devilish smile, her index finger lightly tapping her cheek, "somebody tied his shoelaces together, and he fell on his face."
I almost blow peas out my nose. Yea, it's tough being a single parent sometimes. Maybe after her bedtime, maybe I can sneak a beer.
"Maybe," she says with a smile.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014


I love starting a story and having no idea where it will go, as was the case here. I think the characters themselves actually wrote it. I just let them go where they wanted.

- J. Lee Crow

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