While I’m between long entries, in order to keep to a posting schedule of at least twice a week, I’ve decided to post some of my flash fiction and engage in a little self-promotion. I wrote it on commission for an e-zine called Pagan Edge, which closed up shop last year. I contributed to a section called “Life’s Wit,” which was meant to be very short stories (600 words or less) centered around the magazine’s theme of the month. So I think it’s alright to re-post those stories, as long as I give credit where due. This one appeared in the May 2011 issue.
“So Tyler chased Kenna around the house with that tyrannosaurus hand puppet until I rescued her and took the puppet away. Then yesterday I heard him tell his aunt he wanted to be a volcano when he grew up,” Deb said laughingly.
“Well, that’s what you get for taking an impressionable five-year old to the Natural History Museum,” Shondra replied.
“You know, I hadn’t been there in years. I forgot how much fun it is.”
“That’s only because you were with your son.”
“I don’t know about that,” Deb said. “I used to go to the Natural History Museum a lot when I was a kid. Now if I go to any museum, it’s the art museum, but I can’t take Tyler. He’s too young and will get bored. It’s weird, isn’t it? Adults go to art museums without kids but adults won’t go to natural history museums unless they have kids with them. Why is that?”
Shondra shrugged. “I’ve got no idea. But you’re right; I haven’t been in years either.”
“Then let’s go Saturday. No kids, just a girl’s day out. Then we’ll see if it’s as much fun without a kid.”
“Yeah, sure, why not?”
That Saturday Deb and Shondra went to the museum as planned. At first both felt a little weird walking through the hall of fossils without any children with them. But soon they forgot their awkwardness as they stared up into the jaws of a large carnivore. They giggled like children at the strange skeletons of some of the weirdest animals that ever lived. They oooed and awed over the rare mineral specimens and fabulous gems in the gem vault. They made a wrong turn into the seashell and mollusk exhibit but were quickly fascinated by the diversity of the shells on display. They went to the planetarium to see a presentation about the history of the universe starting with the Big Bang. They even stopped in the children’s area and played with some of the interactive exhibits.
“I was wrong,” Shondra said as they browsed the gift shop. “That was fun, even without kids. I guess we just forget how to be amazed at how strange and wonderful the world really is.”
“And it shouldn’t take kids to remind us,” Deb said.”
“We should do it again sometime. I’d love to come see the show about the migration of whales.”
“I agree. Although Tyler will probably want to come back with us.”
“That’s fine. The museum is fun with kids too.”
“Are you going to buy a tyrannosaurus hand puppet?” Deb asked.
“I’m not feeling that much like a kid,” she replied with a smile. “But I will buy a triceratops hand puppet for Kenna because I just learned a triceratops can defend itself against a tyrannosaurus, so she should be able to defend herself against her brother.”
Deb laughed. “I’m sure Kenna will love that.”
Shondra picked up a small, plastic, brightly colored duck-billed dinosaur. “And I will buy this and keep it on my desk as a reminder to get out and play and be amazed more often.”
Deb picked up a long-necked sauropod. “Good idea.”