“5 Hours, 4 Stitches, 3 Hail Marys, 2 Kids, 1 Saturday” by Thomas Angelli
Are you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.
This week, Thomas Angelli has a big weekend.
5 Hours, 4 Stitches, 3 Hail Marys, 2 Kids, 1 Saturday
by Thomas Angelli
To date we’d always had the twins enrolled in all the same sports and activities. But when they turned six they started to express different interests, so Twin B went out for wrestling, which his brother had absolutely no interest in.
His very first match would also be the very first time we had to leave town to compete—a big weekend for us.
We get to Allendale High at 7:30 a.m. By 8:30, there are four schools there, and they’re cranking AC/DC over the PA, so I’m pumped. Three matches at the same time and it’s intense—kids are crying almost everywhere you look.
Hours pass and everyone’s restless and bored. Finally, Twin B’s number is on the board—just shy of 12:30 he’ll hit the mat.
My wife goes to check on Twin A just as our coach is getting Twin B ready. What’s that?—Twin A staggering from under the bleachers with the top of his head gushing blood. By the time I can get down from the bleachers to help him, two strangers are already on it (one is a nurse, the other a doctor), and they tell me to call 911 before I can even process or figure out what the hell is going on. Ends up he was running full speed when a metal corner became a vicious speed bump. He’s hugging his mom and, while crying, looks up at her to plead, “Mommy, I don’t want to die!” and it breaks my heart, even though I can’t help but laugh a bit after hearing it.
Oh yeah—and after my call to 911, I’m trying to film Twin B’s very first wrestling match. I’m doing my best to support both kids, but neither is having a good day.
Twin B loses fifteen to four. The whole time I was recording the match with my phone, I was looking over my right shoulder to keep an eye on his brother.
I try to take a pic of Twin A on the gurney, which is met with a lot of evil looks from EMTs and police. I grab Twin B and his gear, and as I’m about to head out to follow the ambulance to the hospital, I hear the wisest words from another parent: “Boys and blood—they just go together.”
At the hospital, I have to stay in the waiting room because Twin B is freaked out by blood and he didn’t want to venture into the pediatric wing while his brother was getting stitched up. (Those two hours are brutal because I keep seeing an endless parade of bad events—most of them happening to other kids during their various sports and competitions.)
Finally, co-pays are paid and forms are filled out, and I’m able to leave. I try to lighten the mood by bribing Twin A with a treat. I’m hoping he’ll go for a Dairy Queen blizzard, but no—he’s adamant that he wants steak, something he’s never asked for before or even seemed to like. So steak it is. The first place I find in town is pretty swanky, and I can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous it must be that I’m entering a nice restaurant with two family members that have dried-up blood on their clothes, another wearing flip-flops and a wrestling outfit, and the patriarch in a baseball cap and a Rheingold T-shirt. (We wouldn’t have held it against them if they barred us from entering thinking we were the dine-and-dash type.)
THOMAS ANGELLI is a graduate from New Jersey City University. He’s a founding member of both the K.P.M. and the Super Adventure Action Squad. Work, raising a family, and punk music take up a majority of his time. He has yet to use a hashtag, start a blog, or eat at the Olive Garden.
Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Terrible Twosdays flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:
—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should focus on the challenges of parenting. Ideally, stories should be about children aged 0 to 5, but any age (up to early teens) is acceptable. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction.
—Include the child’s age at the time of the story next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission [email protected] paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.
Posted: Mar 22, 2016
Category: Terrible Twosdays | Tags: Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays, flash fiction, fiction, short fiction, seven, GTFTS, Thomas Angelli, 5 Hours 4 Stitches 3 Hail Marys 2 Kids 1 Saturday, age seven
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