Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion

Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion

Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream? Do tell!


The boy ripped the page from the stack and wadded it up. He threw his pencil violently across the table. It bounced off the wall and landed with a splash in the kettle of soup, simmering on the wood stove in the kitchen. Then he buried his head in his hands, pulling on his plain brown hair.

“Ernest, keep your pencils out of our dinner,” his mother chastised him as she fished it out of the bean soup with a long handled spoon.

His father just sat back and chuckled at the antics of his only son.

“Damn, Pa, writing stories is tough. Our assignment is to write a fishing story. I just don’t know.”

“A fishing story?” his father repeated, “Hell, boy. I’ve made up more fish stories that I care to remember. Men do that all the time. It shouldn’t be that tough. I believe it runs in the family, an inherited trait, if you will. What have you got so far?”

“I want to write about a boy fishing in a stream for trout. He is unlucky, and doesn’t catch anything for a day or two but he keeps going back to the same stream. Then I want him to catch one, put it in his basket and take it home. Then maybe, I don’t know, maybe his mom can cook it and give it to him for dinner.”

“That sounds like a promising start boy.” His father encouraged. “What do you plan to call this story?”

“I don’t know, Pa. Maybe ‘The Young Boy and the Stream’? But, the story is boring. There is no suspense.”

“If you want my advice son, go bigger.”

“What do you mean Pa?” the boy asked.

“Maybe you could write a story about a doctor. A doctor, like me, fishing at a local pond one weekend afternoon. He catches scores of perch. Then he cleans ‘em and cooks ‘em up over a campfire. He eats fish deep into the night until he can’t eat anymore. How about that for a story? Pretty good, don’t you think?”

The boy shook his head. Pa was never going to understand.

“For Pete’s sake, Ernest,” piped up his mother. “Write about the young boy and the stream if you want to. Write about the pretentious middle aged doctor and the pond if you want to please your father. You could even write about the old man and the sea, if you are so inclined. You’ll figure it out. We’re Hemingway’s after all. We always figure it out. It might just take a little time.”

“OK, Ma.”

“Now, you and your Pa clear off that table and wash up for dinner. This soup is ready for eating.”


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