#AtoZ2016 : W Is For Wish

Little Tommy knelt beside his bed, to say his bedtime prayers. He did this on his own, his Mom and Dad didn’t tell him to, they didn’t make him. Tommy liked to talk to God, to thank God for his day.

“Dear God. Thank you for today. For all the fun I had playing that jewels game on Mom’s phone. That games a lot of fun.” He nodded, and rested his elbows on his bed. “I know I’m supposed to say thank you for the broccoli casserole Mom fixed for dinner tonight, but do I really have to? ‘Cause, you now. I don’t like broccoli. That stuff tastes nasty.”

Tommy looked up at the ceiling of his room, “Maybe you could redo broccoli, make it taste better, so all us kids would eat it?” He smiled. “But you don’t have to. You know more than me, I know. And maybe you made broccoli taste like that for a reason.”

He bowed his head once more, “Thank you for my Mom. Even though she has to punish me, and put me in time out sometimes. I know she’s just trying to teach me how to behave better. How to stay out of trouble.” Tommy looked at his ceiling once more, “But it’s so hard to always be good. And so easy to make mistakes. Why is that? I don’t know. I can’t figure it out. Maybe you could ‘splain it to me?” He smiled. “Yeah. I know. I’m only six. Maybe I’m not old enough to figure it out yet.”

He bowed his head again, “Thank you for my Dad. Even though he screams at me sometimes. Mom says it’s ‘cause he works hard all day, and needs a timeout when he gets home.” Tommy frowned, “I don’t understand that. I don’t know what that work thing he does is. And he won’t tell me. And Mom says I’ll find out soon enough, and to not rush it.” Tommy looked up at God again, “It sounds like work’s a bad thing, doesn’t it.” He nodded. “Maybe you didn’t make that.”

Once more, he bowed his head, “And God. Now I make my wish. But I’m smart, God. You know that. You made me that way. So I don’t wish for me.” He nodded, “Nope. I wish for everybody.”

Tommy closed his eyes, “Dear God, I wish people would stop yelling at each other. And stop fighting each other. And stop calling each other names. It’s like they’re trying to hurt each other.” He pressed his hands together. “And that’s wrong. Hurting each other’s bad.”

Tommy looked up toward heaven once more, “People should talk, not yell. They should build things, not fight. They should grow trees, pick up the garbage in the parks, play games together.” He closed his eyes and prayed, “I wish people would do that, God. I wish they’d stop hurting each other.”

He bowed his head once more, “In Jesus name, Amen.”

Then Little Tommy climbed into his bed, and pulled his covers over his head, and dreamed of a world where his wish came true.

It’s April 27th, and the A to Z Challenge for 2016 is in it’s last few days. Only 3 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.


#AtoZ2016 : T Is For Telepathic

On Sunday afternoon, as I mowed the lawn, I saw Tommy sitting on the front porch of his house. His chair was turned to face the wall. He didn’t have anything with him. No book to read, nothing to draw on, no phone to play games on. He sat quietly, and faced the wall.

I stopped the mower, and asked, “What are you doing, Tommy?”

“I can’t talk, Mr. William.”

I knew that tone of voice, “Uh-oh. Trouble.”

He nodded, but never turned from facing the wall. I noticed his mother peek through the window curtains, to make certain he was still there. She noticed me talking with him, and smiled. I waved. “Yeah. Big trouble.”

“What ‘cha in for.”

“Crimes against the broccoli.”

“Broccoli?” I had to admit, I’d have been in trouble if you get in trouble for not eating that. “You’re in jail for not eating broccoli?”

“Well…” He sighed. “Not so much not eating it as what I did with it.”

“Now, this I gotta hear.”

Tommy made a frustrated face at the wall. “See. Mom was gonna make a broccoli and cheese thing.”


“Yeah. For dinner. She told me to get the broccoli out of the fridge.” He spoke to the wall. “Mr. William? I hate broccoli.”

“I know what you mean. I’m not fond of it.” I paused a moment, “But it is good for you.”

“Yeah. I know.” His arms flopped to his sides, his hands hung down, almost reached the floor. “Well. I took the broccoli out of the fridge alright.”


“Yep.” He sighed. “That’s how I wound up here.” Tommy took a deep breath, and stared at the wall for a moment. “I ran out the back door with it, and threw it over the fence.”

“No! You didn’t!”

“Yep.” He nodded. “I did.” He looked dejected. “I was sure Mom would believe me when I told her I couldn’t find it. I pretended I was looking for it, and when she got to the kitchen she asked me where it was.”

“And you told her you didn’t know?”

“Xacly. I told her I couldn’t find it.” Tommy took a deep breath. “Mom looked at me with those mean eyes. You know. The ones Moms get when they know you’re lying?”

“Yep. Big trouble.” I nodded.

“Then she said, “Young man, what did you do with the broccoli?”” Tommy frowned, and stared at the wall a bit. He sighed again.

“Mr. William? It’s true, ain’t it?”

“What’s true?”

“What they say about Moms.”

I had no idea what he was about to say, so I had to ask, “What do they say about Moms?”

“Moms are telepathic.”


“Yep.” He nodded as he stared at the wall. “She said, “You threw my broccoli away, didn’t you!” Then, she put this chair right here, and told me I could sit here, and stare at the wall until bed time.”

“Big trouble indeed.” I nodded.

“Yep.” Tommy nodded. “Well. I’m not supposed to talk to anyone.”

“Then I guess I’ll say ‘bye. And hope your sentence ends soon.”

“Bye, Mr. William. And remember. Never lie to a Mom.”

I tried not to laugh. “I’ll remember that. ‘Cause Moms are telepathic, right?”


Little Tommy spent another two hours staring at that wall before his Mom let him get up.

It’s April 24th, and I’m caught up on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 6 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

#AtoZ2016 : Q Is For Quest

On Thursday afternoon, when I got home from work, Tommy was in his backyard, on his hands and knees, his head at grass level. I watched a few moments as he slowly raked the fingers of one hand through the grass and watched the blades move. When he was done, he moved forward a couple of inches, and watched his fingers pass through the grass once more.

“Hi, Tommy.”

He didn’t look up, but I hear him respond, “Hi, Mr. William!” And he kept watching the grass, and then moving a couple of inches.

“What are you doing this time?”

He still didn’t look up. “I’m on a quest, Mr. William.”

“A quest?”


I watched him drag his hand through the grass, and then move another couple of inches. “I thought a quest involved a journey?”

“Nah!” He kept examining the grass.

“Oh! You’re looking for something!”

“Bingo!” And he kept right on looking, he never looked up once. “Mom hid it real good!”

“What did you Mother hide from you?”

“I can’t tell you.” He moved forward another couple of inches.

“I promise I won’t look for it, it’ll be all yours.”

“Mom told me if I tell anyone what I’m looking for, she’ll make me stop looking, and send me to my room.” He kept slowly searching the grass, for whatever he was hunting. “She said she’d come get it, and then lock it in the safe, and I could never have it.” Then, he moved forward another couple of inches.

“Must be tiny, whatever it is.”

“And the same color as the grass.” His hand slowly passed through the grass, and he watched each blade. He paused, looked at the rest of his backyard. “This is gonna take days.”

I nodded. “That’s a heck of a lot of grass to search through.”

Tommy sighed, “Yep.”

“Is that why you said you’re on a quest?”

“Yep.” Tommy looked back at the ground, and started searching the grass again. “All quests are long, and hard, aren’t they.”

I nodded, “Yep, they sure are.”

I left him to his quest. And to this day, I still don’t know what he was looking for. But I hope he found it.

It’s April 21st, and I’m a still one day behind on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. I expect to catch up on Sunday. Only 9 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

#AtoZ2016 : J Is For Jal-A-Pain-Yo

On Monday night, Tommy was hiding under my wife’s car when I got home. I crouched down, “Tommy? What are you doing under there?”

He quickly shushed me, and waved me away. “Please, Mr. William! Please, pretend you don’t know where I am!”

I stood up, and peeked into the car, through the windshield, “What’s going on, Tommy?”

“Mr. William, Mom’s looking for me. It’s dinner time.”

It occurred to me most 6 year old boys want to eat dinner, not hide from their mothers when it’s dinner time. “So, what’s wrong with that?”

“It’s what she’s fixed, that’s what’s wrong.”

“Oh.” I looked at my watch, pulled my keys out of my pocket, opened the car door, “She fixed something you don’t like?”

“Did she ever!” Tommy’s head peeked out from under the car, and he looked up at me. “Mex-I-Can food.”



“What’s wrong with Mexican food? I like it. It’s quite tasty.”

Tommy nodded as he slid back under the car, “Burritos are great! And I like those sweet corn cakes.”

I nodded, “Yum!”

“But, Mr. William. That’s not what Mom’s made.”


“She made seven layer dip, with chips.”

I closed the car door, and acted like I hadn’t found what I was looking for. “But I like seven layer dip with chips. It’s pretty good stuff.”

There was a pause, and an exasperated sigh from under the car. “But, Mr. William. She made Jal-A-Pain-Yo poppers to go with it.”

It was all I could do to not laugh. “Oh! Now, I get it.”

Tommy’s voice drifted out from under the car, “The call the Jal-A-Pain-Yo poppers for a reason, you know.”

I shook my head, “No, I don’t. Why do they call them Jal-A-Pain-Yo poppers?”

“‘Cause you put one in your mouth, and pop it, and then cry from all the pain you’re in, as your tongue, and mouth, and even your teeth feel like someone set fire to them.”

“Oh.” I nodded. “Well, I won’t give you away.” I shook my head, and headed toward the front door as Tommy’s mom started across her front yard toward my driveway. I nodded at her as she headed toward the car.

“Young man! Come out from under there!”

I can still hear Little Tommy’s voice, “Nooooooo! I don’t want any Jal-A-Pain-Yos!”

It’s April 14th, and I’m a few days behind on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 16 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

#AtoZ2016 : I Is For Illuminate

On Sunday night, just after sunset, I heard Timmy in his backyard screaming, “Illuminate!” Being ever curious, I decided to investigate. I started by peeking out of the window, and watching him. He was running around his backyard with a flashlight. Every so often he stopped, pointed the flashlight at something, screamed, “Illuminate!” and turned the flashlight on. Then, he turned it off, and repeated the whole process.

I watched him shine the flashlight on the swing-set. Then on the tool-shed. Then on the grill.

I decided to visit.

As I approached the fence between our yards, I called out, “Hi, Timmy!”

“Hi, Mr. William!” I heard him on the other side of the fence. “What cha doing outside?”

“I heard you, and was wondering what you’re doing.”

“Oh! Did I disturb you? Was I that loud? I’m sorry!”

“No, no, you didn’t disturb me. But I am curious.”

“About what I’m doing?”


He backed away from the fence so he could see the top of my head better, and I could peek over at him. “I’m pretending I a great wizard. Like Harry Potter.”


He waved the flashlight, and switched it on and off. “This is my magic wand. I point it at something in the dark. Something I want to see in the dark. Then I say the magic word, Illuminate! And my magic wand shows me that thing.”

“Oh. That sounds like fun.”

“It is! Wanna watch! I’ll show you.” He ran to the back gate of his yard, pointed his flashlight at it, and belted out, “Illuminate!” as he turned on the flashlight. He looked back at me. “See? It works!”

I watched Tommy for a bit as he illuminated everything in his backyard, then I wished him a good night, and went back inside.

And I wished I was able to find so much fun in such simple things in life, and wondered where and when I’d lost that ability to see the magic all around me, and the wonder of our world.

I wished I was more like Little Tommy.

It’s April 11th, the 9th day of the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 17 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

#AtoZ2016 : F Is For Fragged

On Thursday night, Little Tommy was stretched out on his family’s front lawn, staring at the clouds and the sky. “Hi, Tommy! Whatcha doing?”

Little Tommy groaned, “Hi, Mr. William.” He slowly raised an arm, and waved a hand, then let it flop back to the ground with a whap. “I’m doing nothing.”

“Nothing?” I smiled, “Isn’t that kinda boring?”

“Yeah,” his voice trailed off, and he took a deep breath. “It is. But it’s Okay.”

“You’re okay being bored?”

He took a deep breath, held up a hand to ask me to wait, sighed again, then, “Yeah. Mr. William. I’m fragged.”

I sat down on the grass to keep from falling over from laughter. “Fragged?”

“Yeah, Mr. William.” He kept staring at the sky, “It’s been a long day.”


“I made a fort in the backyard, out of cardboard boxes.” He took a deep breath, “I pulled all kinds of weeds out of Mom’s flower bed,” his hand pointed to the front of his house. “Mom drug me grocery shopping.” He groaned, “Mr. William. I thought she’d never finish.”

I nodded, and nodded, as he talked.

“She made me put my clean clothes in my drawers when she folded them.” He took another deep breath. “Then, she made me check the yard for dog poopies.” He let his arm flop to the ground again. “Mr. William. I’m fragged.”

I tried not to laugh. “It’s OK, Tommy. The day’s almost over.” I pointed at the sun, getting closer to the horizon. “And then you can eat dinner, and crash for the day.”

“I wish!” He raised an arm, and shook his hand, “But Mom’s told me I have to help with the dishes. Then write the alphabet. All 26 letters!” His arm flopped to the ground again. “It’s true, isn’t it, Mr. William.” He sighed. “There’s no rest for the fragged.”

“Well. You have had a rough day, haven’t you.” I waved at him. “Enjoy being bored while you can, Tommy.”

“Oh, but I am, Mr. William! I am!”

I went inside, wondering where he’d learned to use the word fragged so well.

It’s April 7th, the sixth day of the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 20 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

#AtoZ2016 : E Is For Echo

When I got home from work Wednesday night, six year old Tommy was in his family’s backyard, screaming as loudly as he could, “HELLO!”

“Well, hello, Tommy!” I answered back.

He glared at me, put a finger over his lips, and as loudly as he could ordered, “SHHHH!”

I stood beside the fence to his backyard, looking shocked, I’m certain. Not every day a six year old demands a grown up shut up. But Tommy certainly had.

“I can’t hear anything when you talk to me!”

He noticed my befuddled look, sighed, put his hands on his hips, and marched to the fence. “I’m listening to me.”

“By screaming?”

“No, silly.” He put his fingertips to his temples, and rubbed them. I’d learned that meant he was thinking hard. “I’m listening to…” I could feel the frustration in him as he tried to figure out what to say, “What did Dad call it?”

And it clicked in my brain cells. “Echos?”

“YES!” Tommy leaped with excitement. “Echos!” He grinned, “I’m seeing which way I have to scream to hear myself.” He pointed to the back yard. “I stand in the middle, I look in a direction, and I scream hello. And if I hear myself scream hello again, that way echos.”

“Any luck so far?”

“Not really.” Tommy frowned. “I think I found one echo, but I’m having to test it again, to make sure.” He waved at me, “Now, I’m going to go back to hunting echos.” He headed back to the middle of his backyard, “Goodnight, Mr. William!”

I watched for a minute as Little Tommy stood in the middle of his back yard, looked in a direction and screamed, “HELLO!” as loudly as he could, then listened for an echo. Then he looked in another direction, and screamed again.

And I remembered a time, so very long ago, when I stood in a park one day, and screamed, “Hello!” myself, to hear my own echo.

It’s April 6th, the fifth day of the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 21 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

#AtoZ2016 : D Is For Don’t

On Tuesday, when I got home from work, Little Tommy was waiting for me. “Mr. William, can I ask you something?”

I liked the boy, so I nodded, “Sure. Ask away.”

“Why do parents and teachers and babysitters, and aunts, and uncles, and grandparents, and everybody that’s a grownup, always tell me the things they don’t want me to do?”

I stood there, struck dumb by a six year old, with no clue what to say, “What do you mean.”

“Well, Mom said, this morning, ‘Don’t give the teacher a hard time.’ And Dad always says things like, ‘Don’t interrupt your mother,’ and ‘don’t forget to use soap.’” He stood, hands on hips, “It’s like they think I don’t know these things.”

I had to think for a moment, and Tommy noticed, “I can see the smoke leaking out of your ears where your brain cells are working so hard.”

I cracked up, “Yes, I’m thinking pretty hard right now.”

“I can tell,” he smiled. “It’s Okay. I asked a hard question, didn’t I.”

I nodded, as I wondered how to explain to a six year old why adults always tell you what you should do, and what you shouldn’t do, and fill your life with the word, don’t. “It’s something we grownups do. We remind ourselves of the things we don’t want to forget to do. And of the things we don’t want to do, because we know what happens when we forget.”

“So, grownups always hear don’t?”

“Yes, we do.” I nodded, “I hear don’t all the time. And I say it to myself all the time.”

He frowned, “I’m going to have to think about this growing up thing. It doesn’t sound so fun.”

“Oh, but there are good don’ts, Tommy. Like, don’t forget her birthday. And don’t forget your anniversary.”

Tommy rubbed his temples with his fingertips. “Now, Tommy, I can see the smoke coming from your ears.”

He laughed, and his hands went back to his hips. “Yeah. I’m going to have to think hard about that don’t thing.” He giggled, and then said, “Tommy, don’t forget to think about that don’t thing.”

It’s April 5th, the forth day of the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 22 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

#AtoZ2016 : C Is For Chocolate

On Monday, I got home from work, and Tommy was riding his ugly toy Chevy in his family’s front yard. I parked, and he said, “Hi, Mr. William!”

“Hi, Tommy! Out for a ride?”

“Just doing my daily check on the yard.” He waved his arm over the lawn, “I gotta make sure no dogs went and pooped in it.” He held up a small shovel, and a plastic bag. “Mom’s orders.”

“Oh,” I laughed, “You get pooper scooper duty.”

Tommy nodded. “But I haven’t found any yet, so that’s good!”

“Almost done?”

“Yeah. Just from here to the fence, and I’m done.” He put everything down in the seat next to him, and started driving toward the back fence.

As he did, I heard his mom, “Tommy! When you’re done, you get your dessert!”

Tommy gunned it, and was done in nothing flat. “All clear, Mom!”

I called out, “Dessert?”

Tommy backed his car up. “I can’t talk now! My chocolate chips are ready!”

“Chocolate chips?”

He laughed as he drove his car toward his front porch. “Yep! To heck with cookies! The chocolate chips are the best part!”

His Mom met him at the front door, handed him a bottle of hand sanitizer, which he used oceans of on his hands. Then she handed him a small paper cup, filled with chocolate chips. “Thank you!” Tommy bowed politely to his Mom, then sat down on his front porch, and at his chips, one chocolate chip at a time.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a six year old any happier.

It’s April 4th, the third day of the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 23 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

#AtoZ2016 : B Is For Brain Dead

I loved talking with Tommy, the neighbors six year old. He had his own perspective on the world, and it was not tainted by what other people thought.

One time, we talked about cars and trucks, because he was driving his battery powered car around his backyard, and the topic came up.

“Cool looking car, Tommy.”

He stopped driving, and sat in the seat a moment. “Nah.”


He pointed at the hood. “It’s a Chevy.”


“Chevy’s aren’t cool.”

I wondered what he meant. “I own a Chevy, you know.”

“I know.” He waved his hands, like he was swatting at flies, but no flies were around. “But you have to own a car, so you can get places. That’s OK.”

I was curious, “What’s wrong with Chevys?”

“They’re look ugly.” He pointed at his toy car. “Like this one.”


“Yeah. Especially the fronts.” He got up, walked to the front of his car, pointed at the grill, “that big gold thing in the middle. The way the holes are cut out around it. And the lights.” He looked at me, put his hands on his hips, “Ugly.”

“A lot of people think they look good.”

Tommy was certain of what he said. “Nope. They’re ugly.”

I’m pretty sure I looked completely lost, so he started to explain. “They make them look like people want them to look. Bulky. Like trucks, and vans, and those tall station wagons.”

“Sport Utility Vehicles?”

“Yeah. Those.” Tommy shook his head. “And they deliberately make trucks and those other things ugly.”

“They do?”

“Yeah. ‘Cause that makes people think they’re tougher.” He put his hands on his temples, and scrunched his eyes, like he always did when he was thinking hard, “Daddy says it makes them look more manly.” He shook his head, “Whatever that means.”

“It means they look big, and strong, and tough. Like they can take it.”

“Yeah. It means they make them ugly.” Tommy proudly declared. “Like those big fat men on the Lowlympics that pick up the big weights.” His hands found their way back to his hips. “Ugly.”

“Well,” I began to explain. “They sure sell plenty of them if they’re ugly.”

“Of course they sell lots of them.” Tommy grinned, like he was going to tell me a secret. “It’s ’cause people are brain dead.”

“What?” I hadn’t seen that one coming. A six year old calling people brain dead.

“Yep. Brain dead.”

“Why do you say that?”

He laughed so hard he fell over on the grass, “‘Cause they’ll buy what the TV commercials tell them to buy, silly!”

“And the TV commercials tell them to buy ugly cars and trucks?”

“Yep.” He sat up, “Daddy calls it abvertiesning. Or something like that. He said it tells brain dead people what to buy, so they don’t have to think about it for themselves.”

Oh, the things Little Tommy had to say about life. I never will forget his understanding of the world.

It’s April 2nd, the second day of the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 24 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.