Back of the Drawer #WEPFF Challenge No. 4 featuring “He Knew It; I Knew It” #amwriting #flashfiction

Surprise, surprise, I waited to the last minute, but here it is. Hope you like it.

He Knew It; I Knew It

No one saw what happened, but I did.

He knows I saw, but he doesn’t care. He knows I have no voice and he knows about my spells. He knows no one would believe me even if they did take the time read my handwritten statement with is childlike lettering.

I can’t help being what I am. I was born this way. I can’t help that sleep doesn’t always come so easy for me. And I can’t help that I was out digging for worms to put in my tank the night Larry turned dangerous.

It had just stopped raining and the ground was soft and sponging. The perfect time to pluck out worms, causing them little harm, and the perfect time to drag a body around. One sweep of the garden hose and the evidence would disappear with all the other mud and leaves that the rain washed away.

I tried to hide myself as he passed by, huffing and straining against the heft of the body. He never would have seen me had I remained behind the bush, but something caught my eye and I could ignore it. I ran out and scooped it up. That’s when he grabbed me by my hair and pulled me to my feet.

Tears ran down my face and my fists clenched in agony. When looked into my eyes and saw my silent scream, he dared to chuckle, but quickly silenced himself. He dropped me to the ground. “No one can hear your scream, stupid mute girl. No one will come to your rescue if I end you right here.”

I curled in the fetal position and protected my jar of worms from the point of his boot. Vomit spewed from my mouth when the blow hit my stomach. He ran for the hose and sprayed the evidence away, dousing me just for fun.

He walked to put the hose away as I rocked in my cradle of protection, hoping this was the end of my pain. Hoping that he’d simply kill me or leave me there to pass out. When I heard birds chirping and sensed a brightness behind my lids, I knew he’d spared me.

I opened my eyes to let the sun burn away my sleepiness. I could hear the morning nurse, Samone, screaming for help as her heavy feet thudded toward me. “Oh Clara. Oh Clara, what are you doing out here? Are you hurt? You’ll catch your death.”

She tossed a blanket over me and rubbed my head. Soon Terence followed and scooped me up. “What happened Miss Samone?”

“I don’t know. Looks like she was collecting worms again.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t on duty last night.” Terence winked at me and slowed his pace as he turned a corner, so as not to bang my head. “I never would have let this happened if I had been.”

Samone was livid. “Don’t know if you could have stopped her. This one is stubborn. Seems the harder I try to keep her safe, the more harm she causes herself.”

Terence placed me down on a cot and two more nurses rushed in to tend to my cleaning and injuries. One of them called out, “Go get her note pad. See if she can tell us what happened.”

Terence began to step out of the room, but I kicked my feet and shook my head. I stared at him, willing him to look my way. He paused a moment, leaning his head as if baffled by my sudden outburst. Then he looked me in the eyes.

I blinked as fast as I could and extended the jar still wrapped in my arms. Terence smiled at me and stepped forward. “It’s okay Clara. I’ll put them in your room.” He slid the jar out of my hand and I exhaled. “Get better so you can take care of these little guys.”

After Terence left, a note pad was shoved into my hands as my soiled clothes were ripped away and warm soapy water washed across my skin. Samone grasped my hand, “Clara, tell us what happened.” Despite her strict rules and military-like marching about, Samone really did care about each and every one of her patients. I hated to see her so worried over me. I was happy to tell her exactly what had happened, but then he walked past the exam room.

He stood there, outside the window, with a broom in his hand pretending to clean the floors. I couldn’t stop myself from reacting. I flinched and kicked my feet again. Samone became agitated with not having the answers she sought. Leaving the other nurses to finish my clean up, she ran out the room and retuned shortly with a needle. It was time for me to calm down whether I want to or not.

After I was calm and fully treated, Samone asked me again what happened. Again he was there, outside the window of my room. Surely his shift was over. Did no one else wonder why the Larry, the night custodian was still hanging around? Under his scrutiny, I couldn’t tell the truth.

I wrote slowly, “I fell on the ground and hit a rock.”

Samone rubbed my head, clearly blinking to hold back tears. “You were collecting worms, weren’t you?”

I shook my head.

“Why, why do that alone in the middle of the night? What if you had an episode and suffocated in the mud?”

I nodded my head, “I couldn’t sleep. I’m sorry.”

After a while, Samone left me to attend to other patients. Larry walked by my room few more times that day before finally heading home. A week went by and Larry was starting to act smug, no doubt thinking no one would ever find out. None of the other nurses or staff could explain why Gail had stopped coming to work, but she was new and they all agreed that this wasn’t the right job for every nurse.

One Saturday afternoon I convinced Terence to play cards with me in the kitchen. We programmed my communication board to say ‘go fish’ and “you got any…”, then all I had to do is hold up the card I wanted. Terence and I had played the game a lot and figured a single suit of cards for me to use as choice options was the best way to go.

As we played, Ron the handy man came through to fix one of the drawers that had gotten stuck at some point during the week. It held all the specialty utensils for grilling, and with family day coming up, we’d surely need those.

Only partially paying attention to my game, I watched Ron out the corner of the eyes as he banged on the drawer trying to loosen it. Finally, the drawer snapped out and fell to the floor with a crash. Then Ron yelp.

“Oh my God!”

Terence was already on his feet, standing in front of me protectively. “What it is Ron?”

“Look what’s in the back of the drawer.”

Terence patted my shoulder and then stepped toward the drawer. Just then Samone and Larry came rushing in from the hallway, each just starting their evening shift. There it was; even with the sparkly new engagement ring missing, the moon shaped birthmark gave it away.

Terence yelled, “I think it’s Gail’s finger. Gail’s finger is in the back of the drawer.”

Samone covered her mouth and gasped. She blinked a few times and then pulled out her cell phone. “I’m calling the cops. I hope no one here has anything to hide.”

Larry stared daggers into the back of my head, but I didn’t bother turning around to look at him. He knew I’d done it; just like I knew he’d done it.

1306 words – He Knew It; I Knew It © Toinette J. Thomas 2017



Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#Question of the Month: a #bloghop to think about. No. 19- “What was your “growing up” moment?”

A little while ago, Michael D’Agostino, of A Life Examined, brought up the idea of a new blog hop called Question of the Month. He thinks blog readers would like to know a little more about us, the bloggers. So we’re all gathering to show you guys who we are by taking part in the Question of the Month blog hop, the first Monday of each month.

Happy New Year Everyone! Let’s jump right in.

This month’s question is: What was your “growing up” moment?

I don’t think I can narrow this down to any one specific moment. Being one of those kids who was always told I was wise beyond my years, I matured early and became a realist shortly after. Here are a few things I think helped me grow up rather quickly.

1) I was too young to really experience the years of my mother being a single parent because she soon got remarried to the man I call Daddy, but she always instilled a since of independence into me and my sister just in case. Still, I have a few post toddler memories of doing things for myself so my mom wouldn’t have to.

2) I went to stay with some cousins when I was about 8 or 9 and remember ironing my own clothes for the first time because I was the youngest and didn’t want anyone to have to wait for me to get dressed. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I did it anyway.

3) The first year my mother, sister, and I lived in Virginia was a tough year in many ways I’d rather not discuss right now, plus my dad was still in Texas finishing up a degree (He went back to school for it). I was either 11 or 12 and I prepared my first Thanksgiving dinner… If I didn’t do it, we would not have had one that year. My sister helped, but it was still a life altering experience for me.

4) During my older sister’s rebellious teen years, my parents often left the house and car keys with me if they had to leave for the night or over the weekend. I couldn’t even drive yet, but it was up to me to see that my big sister didn’t destroy anything. (In retrospect, she really wasn’t that bad; I was just a boring straight edge that my parents trusted more at the time.)

Lastly, at the age of 16, when I found myself trying to mentor a 13-year-old-girl into not having sex just to be liked more by boys, I knew my childhood was over. It was time for me to be an example to other young black women and show them that they didn’t have to be a teen pregnancy statistic if they didn’t want to be.

Sorry, that got a little deep.

Please visit the other participants in this hop and even join in if you’d like. I’m curious to see if others had really deep or easy-going growing up moments.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#Question of the Month: a #bloghop to think about. No. 18- “What does retirement look like for you?”

A little while ago, Michael D’Agostino, of A Life Examined, brought up the idea of a new blog hop called Question of the Month. He thinks blog readers would like to know a little more about us, the bloggers. So we’re all gathering to show you guys who we are by taking part in the Question of the Month blog hop. On the first Monday of each month, we answer the question that gets posted here.

This month’s question is: ““What does retirement look like for you?”

In many ways this is a simple question for me to answer, but then there two different ideas of retirement I hold dear, so…

First, I’d like to retire from a traditional day job and be able to write and or create full-time. I dream of being able to wake up some time after 7:00 am and walk my dog. I’d have a light breakfast and a quick shower before putting on sweatpants and a t-shirt as I sit to write or work on other creative projects. The entirety of my day would be a combination of dog-walking and food breaks as I create. I’d travel and create without the stress of knowing that I have a job to get back to.

Second, I imagine a time when a few smart investments would allow me to have a hobby farm. All the animals on the farm would have jobs to do, whether farm labor or therapy animal, none of them would need to work too hard. I’d bake and make preserves to sell at farmers’ markets and then give the proceeds to whatever cause is most dear to my heart at the moment.

So, not sure if that’s much of a retirement for some, but it’s what I’ve got in mind.

If you’re up for it, please check out my blog tour where hosts get to praise teachers and promote books that have made a difference in their lives.

Please visit the other participants in this hop and even join in if you’d like. I wonder what cool things others have in mind.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords
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#Question of the Month: a #bloghop to think about. No. 17- When was your first kiss?

A little while ago, Michael D’Agostino, of A Life Examined, brought up the idea of a new blog hop called Question of the Month. He thinks blog readers would like to know a little more about us, the bloggers. So we’re all gathering to show you guys who we are by taking part in the Question of the Month blog hop. On the first Monday of each month, we answer the question that gets posted here.

This month’s question is: “When was your first kiss?”

I don’t think the little boy I kissed in daycare when I was two counts. Besides, I didn’t even like boys then. I probably just did it to make him mad… I barely remember it.

However, I do remember kissing a boy when I was either 11 or 12, the exact age is blurry. He was my first real boyfriend. We even went on dates. Our parents dropped us off at the mall in a group of friends and picked us up an hour later (I’m sure they lurked around nearby.). As much as I got in trouble for being too smart for my own good and beating up bullies, it turns out he really was trouble. Needless to say, the relationship didn’t last long. As for the details of the kiss, my lips are sealed.

If you want to know the details, all I can say is, “Gross; we were just kids.”

If you’re up for it, please check out my blog tour where hosts get to praise teachers and promote books that have made a difference in their life.

Please visit the other participants in this hop and even join in if you’d like. I’m curious to see how many others really opened up on this, unlike me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Zootopia #TheToiBoxOfWords #film #review

moviereview
So, in case you don’t know, I’m going it alone with my monthly movie reviews from now on. This is my first solo effort. It’s mostly the same review I’ve been doing with some minor changes. I’d love for you to leave comments or responses to any of the questions I pose. Thanks for sticking with me through this transition.

If anyone is interested in my experience of watching Zootopia, click here to see my notes.

This review will consist of me asking myself 10 questions and answering them to the best of my ability.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia

1. What is this film about?

In an animated world where mammals are the peoples of the world, mammals have evolved. Predators and Prey live together in harmony, mostly. At the center of this utopia is the great metropolis of Zootopia. It’s a city, a jungle, tundra, and more where a bunny has a chance to live out her dream of becoming a police officer. When the country bunny hits the big city, she quickly learns that Zootopia isn’t the Mecca she hoped it would be; plus, there’s a mystery to be solved to which no one believes a bunny can do.

It took me a while to realize that there were no reptile, bird, or other talking animal characters. At least I don’t think so.

2. What did I think of the title, poster, and or trailer?

I’m really disappointed that I missed this in the theater. It just wasn’t in the cards for me. I remember thinking the movie looked cute; plus, I love animals and figured that there was probably some great social lesson to be learned in the end. But if I’m being totally honest, the main reason I wanted to see this was because of the Sloth clip.

3. What did I think of the main character(s) and how the actors performed them?

I thought the voices fit the characters well. I especially thought Bateman, Idris, and Slate fit their characters perfectly. I know there must be a lot that goes into making a voice come alive and match up with an animated image, but for me, it’s hard to judge whether or not they really performed well. I either like the match or I don’t.

4. What did I think of the direction and cinematography?

Again, when it comes to animated movies, I don’t know how much cinematography makes a difference, but in terms of direction, I get it. Someone has to decide if the voices sound right and match up, someone has to make sure what’s going on the background applies but doesn’t detract, etc… I’d say Byron Howard and Rich Moore did a great job conveying so much emotion in such a lighthearted setting.

5. What did I think of the soundtrack and score?

I enjoyed the soundtrack and score. They seem to go together well; songs coming in at the right moments that were built up by the score. I liked the use of popular music and the original song performed by Shakira.

6. What did I like about the story as a whole?

I thought the best part of the story were there not-so-hidden social messages that overflowed in this story. I could see small children missing some of them, but any adult who didn’t pick up on these messages were in denial. Themes of racism, bullying, discrimination, stereotypes, and more filled this story and I truly appreciate that.

7. What did I not like about the story?

Even though I saw it coming, I didn’t like who the villain ended up being. I understand that it was all a part of teaching the lesson that we humans still haven’t learned. Oppression will eventually make some people angry and desperate in dangerous ways. We have to stop keeping people down.

Without giving too much away, I wish the movie had addressed some ways in which the Zootopia community was going to keep other “underdogs” from doing crazy stuff like the  villain did.

8. Would I recommend this movie to others and what would I rate this movie?

Yes, I would totally recommend this film. Even if viewers don’t get the social messages, it’s very entertaining. I did actually LOL a few times.

On a scale of 1 to 5 movie reels, I give this film 5 reels.

MLoveIt

9. Is there anything I would have changed or done differently?

I think I would have tried to include the entire animal kingdom, but who knows; there may be a very good reason Disney didn’t go there with this story.

10. Was there anything in this movie that could be related to me or anything I have written?

I have not yet attempted a tale with talking animals as the main characters, but I’d love to give it a try. In any case, I do often slip in some sort of social message in my writing; sometimes I do it without even realising I’m doing it.

Watch, rent, or buy this movie here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords