Flash Fiction: Literacy, Interrupted

Every two weeks writers have the chance to take part in Soliloquies Anthology’s Flash Fiction contest. We publish a new single-word writing prompt as a starting point, and you write a story in 300 words or less. This winning story uses the prompt awkward.

Literacy, Interrupted

It was the same sort of disconcerting feeling that Patty experienced whenever Felix pulled hard on one of her pigtails to offer her some goldfish crackers. The memory was still fresh, since this had happened again during the break after she had finished her juice box.

With her face completely white and the bitter taste of chalk in her mouth, Patty already had enough to worry about by the time the kids in her classroom caught up with what had just happened and started with their mean laughter and taunts. Never underestimate the innate malice of six-year-old children, who are not yet fully socialized and who are eager to climb the pre-school pecking order.

The facts: Patty’s school, as part of its Montessori doctrine, first introduced children to the alphabet by showing them the letters and making the students draw them with their fingers on a flat surface with a film of chalk powder, like a low-tech Etch A Sketch. Patty had been doing well until she decided that shaking the tablet to clear the previous letter was too much work. Instead, she decided to blow over it. To her surprise, most of the chalk dust wound up on her face and inside her mouth.

Coughing to get rid of the chalk taste on her tongue, and with her face fully covered in white powder, she must have looked like a young Marie-Antoinette choking after a large mouthful of cake. At that point, the kids had gathered around to mock her like a band of sans-culottes who resented her squandering the chalk dust. She then felt that familiar pull on her hair and turned around. 

It was Felix, of course, and he was offering her a piece of paper towel to wipe her face.

Author bio
Mamie-Rose Landau is a recent university graduate living in Montreal. She is a fan of all things hypoallergenic and an obnoxious tea connoisseur. Trapped between the worlds of academia and Tumblr arcana, she is quite useless when it comes to practical skills. She enjoys honing her skills as a writer and hopes to one day successfully masquerade as a functional person.