A Short Story: I Couldn’t Help It
By Author Donna Jean McDunn
For all of you out there who have been around children, I have decided to introduce you to a little boy I created. My question for you though: Is he really only fiction? You read the story and then decide for yourself.
He looked up and saw Mommy coming toward him. “Oh, oh,” He looked down at the mud puddle he was sitting in.
“Shawn Francis Quinn. What are you doing? I told you not to get dirty while I dressed for work.”
She sounded really mad. “I’m just playing.” He wiped his hands on the front of his shirt. It left streaks of mud behind. He gazed up at her. “I couldn’t help it.”
Mommy’s face turned a pretty shade of red. “Shawn, go inside the porch and wait for me there. I’ll run in and get your bath water ready. I’ll be right back to help you—so just wait there and try not to touch anything.”
Shawn watched her go inside the house, but he didn’t want another bath and he didn’t want Mommy to go to work anyway. He kicked the muddy water.
Walking slowly toward the house and stepping in as much of the soft sticky mud as he could while he listened to the neat squish-squish sound of his shoes. He liked squishy mud and he liked that sound, it made him giggle and he almost forgot why he was going inside, but then he remembered and scowled.
He opened the door, leaving a cool mud handprint on the handle. He plopped down on the rug and pulled one shoe off, tossing it to the side. Chunks of wet mud and dirty water splattered on the floor and wall. He watched, fascinated as the icky stuff slid down the yellow wall.
He stood up, leaving the other shoe on and pulled his shirt over his head and yanked. The muddy shirt came off suddenly and he stumbled against the windowsill, knocking Mommy’s flowerpot onto the floor, all of its contents spilled out.
Shawn picked up the cracked pot and stuffed the plant back inside of it with as much dirt as he could. It looked a little funny when he held it up, but he put it back on the windowsill anyway. He tried sweeping the rest of the dirt under the rug with his wet shirt, but it just smeared it around and then everywhere he stepped, he saw his foot print of his toes and the bumpy bottom of his one remaining shoe.
Mommy would be returning soon to take him to his bath. He plunked down on the floor again and tried pulling his shoe off. It was stuck, so he kicked with all his might—the shoe flew into the air just as Mommy stood in the doorway. It bounced off the ceiling, flinging mud and dirty water everywhere and landed with a thud on her chest.
Her eyes were wide with surprise and she just stood there looking down at the muddy goop on her white shirt.
Shawn tried not to laugh, but she looked so funny all covered with mud—he couldn’t help it. The laughter started in his tummy and bubbled up into his mouth. It burst out onto his lips.
Mommy glared at him, but then her face changed. The corners of her eyes crinkled up and her lips began to twitch. She laughed so hard she had to sit down on the floor. Shawn had never seen her laugh so much. She pulled him onto her lap for a hug.
Shawn looked up into her laughing face. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it.”
“I know buddy.” Mommy kissed the end of his muddy nose. “I couldn’t help it either.”
So what do you think? Is this fiction?
Well yes, but I couldn’t find the picture I wanted of my grandsons after they “accidentally” played in the mud.
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