“That is a what?”
Sarah looked at me and groaned before I could answer.
“No, listen–” I tried to say.
“How many time? First your so-called ‘microwave marshmallow roaster,’ then your ‘zero gravity sandals.’ What next? A ‘unicorn-shaped cheeseburger-maker?’”
“And I suppose this one also will shoot smoke into my face when you try to demonstrate?”
“And this one will also ooze green slime?”
“No! Just watch!” I placed the small wristband up to her temple and pressed the green button. It vibrated slightly, coughed, and vibrated again.
“This is dumb.” Sarah slapped away my creation. “I don’t even know what you were thinking it would do, but it clearly hasn’t done it.”
“That, apparently, is true,” I muttered.
“Unless of course you were trying to make a half-baked tickling device or wrist massager…
I crumpled the device in my hand. “Actually, it was supposed to make you stop talking.”
Mom greeted me at the door with a hug. “Oh Joey! I’m so glad you came. Now quick, Kate and Eddie are already here.”
I nod and step into the house, setting my picnic bag on the kitchen counter. “I brought the condiments, like you asked.” Quickly I empty the contents of the bag: ketchup, spicy mustard, relish, mayonnaise, ranch…
I look up. I thought Mom was staring at me, but she is staring at the bottle of Ranch dressing I just set down. For a moment, I see a tear in her eye.
*Of course. There hasn’t been a bottle of ranch dressing in this house since Dad died.
“I’m sorry…” I stammer. “I can put it back…”
“No, Joey. He would want us to have it at our family barbecue. It was always our favorite… and how he’d draw little designs on his burger before eating it…”
Mom tears up again and walks out of the room. I follow her outside and place the condiments on the picnic table. My family greets me, and when my uncle Ben arrives with the potato chips, we drift toward the food table to fill our paper plates. Mom’s hand trembles as she reaches for the ranch dressing and instead grabs the ketchup. She squeezes it onto her burger, and then picks up her plate.
But for the briefest moment, I thought I saw the bottle of ranch rise, tip, and squeeze the outline of a heart in the center of Mom’s hamburger patty.
*I cheated on this one and went 10 minutes instead of five, because I wanted to finish the story. But this is where the actual five minutes ended.
I always loved red paired with snowy white. There is something so… soothing… about the furry fabric against my skin, the majestic beard laughing on a belly merry from angel-shaped cookies and pumpkin cheesecake. I’ve always loved opening my stockings and sitting on the lap of whatever 15-year-old junior firefighter is dressed up for the toy drive this particular year.
Something is slightly less soothing when you rub your face and your hand feels like velvet and soft flowing beard and sounds like jolly “Ho-Ho-Ho’s…”
“Oh shut up,” I moaned, pulling my covers over my head.
Fido only barked louder and clawed at my bedroom door.
“Stupid dog.” I stood up and opened the door. The barking stopped. “Come on, let’s take you potty,” I said, reaching for the light switch.
The lights flickered on and glittered on a pair of oversized scissors. I froze. A human-sized Barbie doll stood outside my door, the scissors in one hand and Fido’s severed head the other.
“Really?” I said, putting my hands on my hips. “Again?”
Write Your Own 5-Minute Story and Post it in the Comments!