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News & Features » November 2017 » “Dexter: Season 2” by Nicole Heinlein

“Dexter: Season 2” by Nicole Heinlein

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, everyone’s favorite serial killer causes a meltdown in the library . . .

Dexter: Season Two
by Nicole Heinlein

Reading is fundamental. It is also free at the public library, making it the activity of choice for mothers of young children everywhere. To a toddler, a library visit is like a trip to a store where you can have everything you want and mommy never says no. Each visit, my son pushes last week’s books through the return slot, and then he darts to the children’s section, where I hold open our big library bag while he peruses the low shelves, stopping to drop in any book that his little heart desires. “Mommy, dis book?” he will ask. “Yes, baby, you can have that book!” I answer.

But today, he decides to take a different, meandering route to get to the children’s section. I waddle behind him, seven months pregnant and terribly overheated. I have selected the library as today’s outing because not only is it an important educational experience, it is air conditioned. I can be smug about my parenting and cool at the same time. He veers right. He is about to go through the DVD section. We never go to that section. This is a library, after all, not a Redbox. We are here for the books and to develop a lifelong love of reading and a thirst for knowledge. I’m a freaking amazing mother.

He stops. He squats down and stares at a shelf. Reaching out a tiny hand, he picks up a DVD. “Dis, mommy?” he asks.

I stare. My angel clutches a copy of Dexter: Season 2.

I feel betrayed. The library has never presented me with this kind of predicament before. This is our yes place. “I’ll just say ‘OK,'” I think, “and slip it out of the bag when we get home.” Just as the word is about to leave my lips, I look up. People are staring.

When it comes to parenting, it doesn’t matter what other people think. Parenting is about making decisions that nurture the relationship between you and your child. It isn’t about a public performance. If you wouldn’t do it at home, don’t do it in public. That’s my philosophy. I’m a freaking thoughtful parent.

Unfortunately, I’ve never really put that philosophy into action. I care. I know I shouldn’t, but part of me cares about what these strangers think of me, and right now, they are waiting to see if that fat cow who is about to have two children in diapers in just two short months is going to make another poor decision and let her sweet little boy check out Dexter: Season 2.

Deep breath. “No sweetie. That is a grown-up movie.” Confusion. He doesn’t understand this concept, after all, the television in our house plays a constant reel of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and I bet he thinks we like it. I need a distraction. I choose something big, kiddy cocaine. “Sweetie pie, let’s go to see the trains in the children’s area.” 

“No. Dis book, Mommy.”

Shit. Trains didn’t work. I’m screwed. 

I pregnantly squat down to his level. “No, sweetie.”

“Why?” He’s getting frantic. The arms start to flap. The eyes fill with tears. Oh no, here it comes. Commence the public tantrum.

He crashes to the floor. “Why, why, why, WHY?!” he questions me, the library staff, the universe. People are staring. That lady in the cardigan is looking at us over her glasses like a cliché library scene from any 1990s sitcom. We are disturbing a homeless guy who is just trying to enjoy his French fries from a brown bag in the comfort of the free air conditioning. A mom with two kids who should know better than to stare is full on staring.

Stop. Stop. The kid is upset. Screw these people. You don’t even know them. “Why!” he scream cries.

“Because,” I ponder. I search for the perfect answer, one that will help him understand. I don’t have it. “Because . . . you haven’t even seen season one yet!”

I remind myself that one cannot reason with the unreasonable. I pry his fingers from the DVD. I pick him up. He kicks and screams. I deposit him in the children’s section. He is lying on the floor, wailing. I am sweating. I’m too pregnant for this shit. I feel eyes upon me as a sit in a too tiny chair. I look up, shrug, and smile.

I am a freaking amazing mother. 


NICOLE HEINLEIN is a former third grade teacher who is now a stay at home mom (because daycare costs for two children roughly equal the salary of a public school teacher). She holds a B.A. in Political Studies from Juniata College and a M.S. in Instruction from Drexel University. She recently started writing and blogs at snoozyhomemaker.com. Nicole is currently working on children’s books that are designed to entertain adults as much as they entertain children. She lives in State College, Pennsylvania with her husband, two sons, cat, and dog.


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 to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Nov 28, 2017

Category: Original Fiction, Terrible Twosdays | Tags: , , , , , , ,