Monday, July 2, 2012


This week’s prompt was a starter sentence:  We need to talk about Kevin.  The genre was open, and the word max was 1,300.  Please enjoy my little tale.


We need to talk about Kevin.

Here we go again.  A couple of weeks ago, it was the Crossing Guard.  Apparently, our boy, Kevin, had flicked a lit cigarette on her shoe and spit at her on his way to the school yard.  Last week, it was the Manager at the local grocer.  Apparently, our boy, Kevin, had taken a bottle of soda he hadn’t paid for and in between sips, had poured it all over several counters of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Today, it is Ray and Mandy, the couple who moved into the corner house two days ago.  Apparently, our boy Kevin, had ventured onto their patio and placed their cat, Ginger, firmly on the same grill where they were preparing their burgers for dinner.  They informed us that they had originally planned to contact the police, but felt a sit-down with Kevin’s parents might suffice.  My husband, Cliff, and I assured them it would.  Our boy, Kevin.  What to do.

When Kevin first joined our family at the age of 6, we noticed his strength of character.  The child never allowed himself to be bullied; however, his reactions to personally unpleasant stimuli were only that--reactions.  He never presented as the aggressor in any situation, nor initiated any confrontations with other children or adults--until now.  It would appear our boy, Kevin, has begun his journey on a darker path than even we imagined.

Cliff and I find it fascinating how the innate personalities of two children in the same household can be so inherently different.  His sister, who is no longer with us, is a perfect illustration of this aberration.  When we took Carmella in, she was already ten years old.  The reason we agreed to forego receiving an infant was that we wanted the child to be well educated, and have her basic ideals and morals already in place.  I cannot begin to tell you that when it came to this child, my husband and I were sorely disappointed.

Carmella was quite an uninspired creature.  She had no desire to expand her scholastic endeavors, and no ambition whatsoever with regard to obtaining the necessary skills to provide for herself once she reached the appropriate stage in her life.  She was a complete failure, socially, in the elementary school environment.  Even children with the mentality of a doormat were able to coerce Carmella into performing whatever activity their demented little minds concocted.  She couldn’t make a decision, however inconsequential, even something as basic as whether to have vanilla or chocolate ice cream on her cone.  Conundrums of that sort would bring tears to her eyes and a tremor to her hands.

We could not continue to harbor such as she; however, it is not as if we could return her or even exchange her for another.  We had to put her down.  We had no other choice.  We did, though, move to another city since the neighbors most likely would inquire as to her whereabouts.  That would have been annoying, at best, and we chose to avoid having to invent relatives elsewhere Carmella was sent to reside with.  One lie always necessitates another, and we have better ways to spend our time than trying to keep track of deceitful details shared.

The problems we are having with our boy, Kevin, truly took us by surprise.  Having a strong and unshakable character and sense of morality is one thing; however, being bent on destruction of others’ property and actual living beings is quite another matter entirely.  Cliff and I have discussed the child at great length, and both agree that since Kevin has now reached the age of eleven, and his apparent fondness for causing harm continues to escalate, this situation is not on a path to a positive resolution.

My husband and I visited Kevin’s school and discussed his behavior with several of his teachers, as well as with the Principal, since he has continually shown a disturbed manner when in close proximity to his classmates, as well as those students in lower grades.  He has leveled very detailed, very graphic threats to them and their families; although, there have been no assaults of a physical nature to date.  Several conferences appeared to have reduced the incidents significantly, until the event with the Crossing Guard occurred.  Rumors abound that our boy, Kevin, faces some type of suspension, or possible expulsion.  While private school is certainly an affordable solution for my husband and I, the Principal informed us records of behavior, as well as grades, would be transmitted to the new institution.  Unfortunately, that deems that option completely unacceptable.

I went to speak personally to the grocery store Manager, Mr. Bob Jenson, who hadn’t been as forthcoming on the telephone as I would have preferred.  It was our understanding that our boy’s offense had been limited to the dissemination of some type of soda over their fruit and vegetable displays.  On my arrival, Mr. Jenson was most impolite, raising his voice to an uncomfortable level with me, and rambling on how Kevin had battered several toddlers while they sat in the carts waiting for their mothers to make selections from the shelves.  I was informed that no one in my household would be permitted entry to that particular market and I was advised that my husband and I would most likely be receiving communication from the attorneys of the mothers whose children had been assaulted.  I wrote a check to the store to cover the cost of the damaged food items, as well as a sizeable one directly to Mr. Jenson to cover his emotional distress.  We still are not welcome to shop at that location, but the potential lawsuits seem to have evaporated.

This latest occurrence with Ray and Mandy has brought my husband and I to our wits end.  There is no predicting how far our boy, Kevin, might go when unsupervised.  Since the cat was not killed in a late night attempt at cruel vandalism by person or persons unknown, but in broad daylight in their very presence, our new neighbors made it a point to impress upon us how strong their fear of our boy had become.  Mandy had taken me aside and informed me quietly of her pregnancy.  She had learned of it that morning, and that prompted their grilling out that evening on the patio.  She stated several people had warned her about our boy being dangerous, but she had attributed those remarks to petty and vindictive neighbors.  Having witnessed our boy’s alarming deed firsthand however, convinced her of their veracity, and she stated that no member of our family would be welcome anywhere near any member of hers--current or future.

Cliff has begun sending his resume to out-of-town firms and I have listed our home with several local realtors.  Our boy, Kevin, as his sister, Carmella, before him, cannot be returned, so he will have to be put down as well.  We will be a childless couple in a new home in a new town--no explanations necessary.  That really does make the relocation a much smoother process.

We would like a family though.  Perhaps next time, we’ll try to get a human child from the orphanage downtown instead of purchasing a ready-to-raise one from a kit.  The glitches are unforeseeable and the warrantees have always expired by the time you realize what you’ve been burdened with.  No recourse save dismantling them and setting them out at the curb in twist-tie bags.  Ladies in my Bridge Club say there’s plenty of human kids of all ages available since many were left parentless after the last great battle of ‘44.  Does anyone know if glitches could potentially occur with them too?  I don’t believe they have a money-back guarantee there either…


  1. Chilling, disturbing, and thought-provoking. This had an oddly realistic feel to it, I had to remind myself I was reading fiction. Thanks for another great story!

    1. Chilling and disturbing? How can I ever thank you! I wanted it to slowly creep up on the reader, gathering chills along the way. I'm glad it came across as realistic. I tried to write it in the most casual, matter-of-fact fashion so that it would almost seem 'normal'. Looks like it worked. Thanks again so much for your comments, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  2. WOW. The ending is fantastic!! I loved the twist. The details are so vivid and I must agree with cmstewart, the story was VERY believable. The restrained violence is what gave this story its great chilling air. Your restraint is something I would love to emulate!

    1. Thanks so much for your comments. I did try very hard to deliver this in quite the casual, matter-of-fact style and evidently, it paid off. It takes great effort on my part not to spill stuff right away, but to sneak details in a bit at a time. Walking away from a story periodically really helps me with that.