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Short Stories - Big Help

In my last semester of undergrad, I took a Short Stories & Poetry class to experience something other than my regular business classes (and as an easy way to get an A on the way out). I ended up loving the course, and more so loving reading and writing two new genres to which I’d never given much thought. As I’ve found in my first two years of law school, both short stories and poems provide an excellent way to get in my pleasure reading fix when I only have a few free minutes minutes during finals, or when I’m pretty tired of reading and writing from my regular school responsibilities. The short story below was the result of my seeing a certain State Farm commercial a few too many times, only for some reason I set it in the 1950’s. I hope you enjoy it, and if you’re looking for a quick way to get in some pleasure reading as a busy student, I definitely suggest you give short stories and poetry a try!

6 callers ahead of us, Jimmy!

“Here comes little birdy Buckman!” the children scream. “You got a girl’s name, Buckman. Does that mean you’re a girl? Ha-ha! Better run home to the nest before we beat you up again, Robinette!”

Robinette. Of all the middle names in the whole world, I got Robinette. It could have been Thor. Or Augustus. Or Blaine. Yeah, Blaine. ‘James Blaine Buckman’, the crowd would chant while the girls swooned.

The static, 1950’s commentator reads the news on the black and white television in seven-year-old Jimmy Buckman’s head: “James Blaine Buckman scores the winning touchdown for the Archmere Academy Auks after the prestigious prep-academy qualified for the NFL championship, beating the Green Bay Packers 107-106. The crowd lifts Jimmy on its shoulders and parades him about before allowing him to sit in the stands and smooch every pretty girl in attendance. Scratch that, Jimmy is smooching every pretty girl ever. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, even Mary Wilford, despite the fact that she went to the boy-girl party with that disgusting scum Fred Meyers.”

The television in Jimmy’s head cuts to commercial, forcing Jimmy’s mind back to real life—an ugly, cramped apartment and a T-bone covering a swollen, purple eye.

Grandma Finnegan’s wrinkles wiggle in front of me while she shouts about how tough the boys my age in Ireland are. “Any of ‘em could beat Fred Meyers silly with one hand! One hand! And give one of ‘em a stick, by golly, and Freddy’d need an emergency car!” I don’t like her stories. I don’t like her wrinkles. And it’s her fault for wanting to call me Robinette. If it weren’t for such a stupid middle name I would have probably been invited to Fred’s pool party and maybe actually even would be his best friend. But no, I have to sit in my room and play trains with Valerie who doesn’t even know how to play trains right because she never lets the cow drive the train. Yeah, Valerie, I know cows don’t drive trains but maybe sometimes they do when no one is looking.

Grandma Finnegan makes me finish my milk before I’m allowed to leave the table, except for right then a big, red, enemy plane crashes through the kitchen window and squashes her right there! “Save me, James!” she shouts from underneath the burning wreckage.

“Not until you’ve finished all your milk,” I say as I yank the pilot from the cockpit and slam him on the table so hard that mom’s owl-clock hoots and falls off the kitchen wall. “Who are you working for?” I shout right in his face. He starts yelling gibberish and I realize that he doesn’t speak American. “Not gonna say, eh? Alright, then. Sick ‘em, Roy!” Roy scampers into the kitchen, except for now he’s an actual tiger and not just a cat that is orange. Roy sniffs his victim and then gets to work scratchin’ the dickens out of the pilot’s feet while I pull on the leather jacket mom just got me at Sears and jump into the plane’s cockpit. I can hear the air-raid siren, but I drown it out by shouting the Pledge of Allegiance while I take the plane into the sky.

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