This is my entry for Round 1/Challenge 2 of NYC Midnight’s 2015 Flash Fiction Challenge.
My assigned prompts:
Location: A school detention
Object: A pretzel
Word Count Limit: 1000
Actual Word Count: 999
Synposis: ‘Students in a school for talented children spend time together in detention.’
Writing comedy is quite difficult. I hope that this can be considered somewhat funny and that you enjoy!
It’s Raining Marshmallows
“This is a waste of time,” Sherry grumped.
“I knew you were going to say that,” William whispered.
“Shut up, you don’t really know what people are going to do and say before they do and say it,” she retorted.
“I knew you were going to say that, too.”
“If you can see the future, why not play the lottery to get rich?”
“My family has money. I’m in this school, aren’t I? Besides, I only see the immediate future.”
“Then what am I going to do right now?”
“If I tell you, it will change what you’re going to do. So what’s the point in telling you?”
They stared at each other.
Sherry’s eye’s narrowed.
Suddenly a pencil flew from Sherry’s desk and sped toward William who had already lifted a notebook to protect his face. The pencil ricocheted and hit Lewis.
Sherry ignored Lewis and glared at William. “You have good reflexes.”
“Sure, just keep telling yourself that.”
A book leapt from Sherry’s desk and launched itself at William. He caught it.
William grinned again. “I knew you were going to do that, too.” He glanced at Lewis. “Lewis, you shouldn’t—”
Suddenly, Lewis was holding a donut in one hand.
“You’re not supposed to have food in detention,” Sherry said.
“I’m hungry. Anyway, you’re not supposed to use your powers in detention,” Lewis whined. “But you just did and your stupid pencil hit me.”
Sherry noted the red spot on his cheek and shrugged. “Maybe you should have conjured a pillow to protect your face.”
“I can’t see the immediate future like William,” Lewis pouted. “And I can only conjure food.”
William sighed with boredom. “Isn’t there supposed to be a teacher here?”
“You can tell the future,” Sherry teased as she leaned toward William. “Tell us, William the Magnificent, will a teacher be arriving to properly punish us for our wrongdoings?”
William shook his head. “Trust me, being in here with you for the last five minutes was punishment enough.” He ducked and the donut Lewis had been holding zipped through the space his head had occupied a moment before.
“Hey, that was mine!”
“Ahh, here we go,” William said with satisfaction.
Sherry frowned. “What are you talking about?”
“Why are you talking at all?” asked an authoritative voice from the front of the class. “Is this not detention?”
The three students looked to the front of the class where Miss Johar hadn’t been standing a moment before.
“Wow, you don’t even make a sound when you pop in like that,” William said with admiration.
Miss Johar gestured to the chalkboard behind her. Written in large letters were the words: ‘No talking! No use of abilities! No eating! No sleeping!’
“You three can read, can’t you?”
“Yes, Miss Johar,” they replied in unison.
Miss Johar picked up the donut sitting on her desk. “Where did this come from? No eating in detention!”
“I’m hungry,” Lewis mumbled. He sighed when his donut landed in the trash can with a thud.
“Children, today we’ll be discussing why the three of you are here.”
She looked at the now-silent students. Sherry stared at her, unblinking. William looked bored out of his mind, his usual expression. Lewis was chewing.
“Lewis, no eating in detention.” The boy froze, his eyes on his hands in his lap. “May I see your hands, Lewis?” He revealed his hands, which were full of chocolate candies. “Lewis, where did you get the candies?” He shrugged. “Lewis, did you conjure the candies?” He shrugged again. “No use of abilities in detention, remember?”
“I’m hungry,” he muttered.
Miss Johar disappeared and instantly reappeared beside Lewis’ desk. “Hand them over.”
He sighed and poured the candies into her cupped hands. She returned to her desk in an instant and the candies joined the donut in the trash can. Lewis sighed.
“So, let’s talk about why you’re all here,” Miss Johar said.
Sherry pointed at the chalkboard. Miss Johar harrumphed and erased ‘No talking!’ from the chalkboard. Sherry expelled her breath in a whoosh, as though not speaking required her to hold her breath.
William raised his hand. “Miss Johar, I’d like to protest the ‘No use of abilities!’ portion of your instructions. I don’t use my ability at will, it’s just there. I feel oppressed by that restriction.”
“William, that’s not—”
“A relevant complaint, I know.”
Sherry snorted. “You didn’t know she was going to say that, you—”
“Just guessed, right.” William rolled his eyes.
Sherry scowled. “You think you’re—”
“So smart,” William mocked.
“What I’m saying!”
Sherry screeched and the apple that Lewis had just conjured flew at William’s head.
“Dammit!” Lewis exclaimed as William ducked.
The apple hit Miss Johar in the gut. Her breath whooshed out just as Sherry’s had done a moment before.
“You’re so busted,” William smirked at Sherry and then cursed just before items began to fly at him from around the classroom.
“Sherry!” Miss Johar’s breathless shout was followed by a clatter as the items that Sherry was levitating toward William’s head ceased all forward motion and dropped to the floor. “I have NEVER—”
“Been so disappointed, we know,” William droned and crawled beneath his desk.
That’s when the marshmallows began to rain softly from the ceiling. One hit Miss Johar on the head and when she looked up, two more hit her right in the face. She spluttered, “Lewis, stop!”
“I’m sorry,” Lewis said from beneath his desk as the marshmallows fell faster. “I’m hungry!” He happily took a bite of the warm, salty pretzel he’d conjured.
Sherry psychically deflected the marshmallows away from herself and laughed as the chalkboard eraser appeared to erase ‘No use of abilities!’ and ‘No eating!’ of its own volition. When she saw William yawn and stretch out on the floor beneath his desk, ‘No sleeping!’ also disappeared from the chalkboard.
Miss Johar shrieked in exasperation and promptly vanished from the room.
I received my feedback from the judges this morning!
And my story scored 13 of 15 possible points… so holy shit, I’m moving on to Round 2!
WHAT THE JUDGE(S) LIKED ABOUT YOUR STORY:
Funny through to the end. I like the banter and the characters, the way they interact. And the ending too — that made me laugh. Well written. Good story!
Wonderful concept, and universal: what child hasn’t sat in a boring class, or worse: detention, conjuring supernatural powers to override their fate? Loved how all the dictates on the blackboard are erased one by one. Each character is very well delineated.
WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK:
No real recommendations here — this story is well paced and the dialogue works very well.
Your synopsis seriously underplays the nature of your tale, which is more along the line of the very popular Young Adult novel, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The teacher is a bit too innocently reasonable, which makes the pupils rather unlikeable in their torment of her.