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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Michael K on March 20, 2008

Father and Son Bonding

People ask me what my favorite day of the week is, but I really can't answer that question. To me it seems as though every day passes just like the one before it with nothing to mark its passing - with one exception. And that exception is definitely not my favorite day of the week. So if you will permit me, I will answer instead the question: What is your least favorite day of the week?

Saturdays are strange days, because so many people have so much free time on their hands, and that free time can result in some pretty odd behaviors. Here's how a typical Saturday begins:

All over the countryside fathers get up, look out the window, and think to themselves, Hmm, it is a beautiful day today. Then, upon wandering into the living room, they discover Junior is already ensnared by the Saturday morning cartoons, or perhaps by the new Xbox game he bought last week.

At this point, Father has a choice. He can grunt a "Good morning" to Junior and (without expecting any reply) wander out of the living room again. Or he may decide to engage in a more in-depth conversation. "It's a beautiful day out there," he might say.

At best, Junior replies with a grunt, at worst he simply ignores Father.

But Father presses forward, saying with booming geniality, "I think we should do something together today!"

Now, you need to understand, beneath those genial tones, Father is really thinking: My son hates me, and there's no way he wants to do something with me today. But if I don't try, I'll lose him forever.

Meanwhile, Junior is thinking to himself: Ha ha! Elmer Fudd is such a dweeb! Then, once he realizes that there is another voice (besides the one saying "You wascally wabbit") in the room, his brain backs up, reprocesses the sounds, and he thinks to himself: And speaking of dweebs... Finally Junior says, "You could watch cartoons with me," and Father shudders in dismay.

"I was thinking of something...outdoors," he replies.

From here things go from bad to worse, for Father is now proposing that Junior miss out on his Saturday cartoons (which he can only watch once a week anyway!) in order to go outside and get bitten by mosquitos and black flies.

After haggling over what they're going to do, and how much of the day they're going waste (that's Junior's word, not Father's) doing it, they finally settle on a nice quiet morning amidst the reeds at the edge of the lake, fishing.

With much more grumbling, complaining, whining (again, Junior), they get their gear packed, their waders on, and they arrive at the lake to find a multitude of other fathers and juniors, all of whom are either openly whining or at least rolling their eyes and muttering under their breath.

And that's their idea of father and son bonding, which is all well and good for them, but for those of us - like me - who have a fascination with sharp, shiny objects, and an appetite for half-drowned worms, Saturday is a very treacherous day.

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