It has been a while since I wrote a short short for Friday Fictioneers.
Today Rochelle’s prompt bugged me.
I itched to do something about it. So I scratched a tale.
It’s a 100 word story with a beginning, a middle and end. Period.

She likes him. She is 8.
She thinks he likes her too, but her friend tells her no, she’s the one he likes.
Every day on the beach, they run, swim, and play children’s games of getting-to-know you.
One day they play tag. She’s it.
Just as she is about to catch him, her friend cuts her off, tackles her.
They fall. She scrambles wanting to hit the aggressor but she is too weak.
A flip-flop slaps her hard.
He watches.
She hears: “You’re ugly and you have cooties!”
Stinging, she runs away enraged, shamed.
Won’t be the first time.

About emmylgant

Cloud watcher and dreamer sometimes wise, often foolish, but I am what I am.
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35 Responses to Cooties

  1. liz young says:

    Poor little girl. One of my daughters was bullied until her sister found out and stopped it.


  2. Margaret says:

    Poor girl. So small and so cruel. Such a shame that these ‘carefree’ years aren’t always so carefree. Childhood dramas realistically portrayed.


  3. rogershipp says:

    ah, playground romances… Been there! Enjoyed your story.


  4. One other thing, I enjoyed reading your story. I think I am lucky. I do not ever remember being bulled in school or observing anyone else being bullied. I must have led a sheltered life. 🙂


  5. When I was between 6-8, every day at recess we played tag with the boys. If the girls caught them we got to kiss them. Seems that made them run faster. 😀


  6. Randstein says:

    On the playground is where we hone our skill at sharpening words and thrusting them through hearts and minds. Such a vivid memory evoked in only 100 words. Well done, Em.


    • emmylgant says:

      Thank you Dan. I sometimes think that the word “playground” is a misnommer! We are looking at little warriors trying to
      survive on a battlefield they can’t figure out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Randstein says:

        That is so true Em! It’s almost the same as lion cubs in mock battle with siblings that in their future will be the difference between victor and vanquished. On that “battleground” of our youth we work out the strategy to be the victor but often taste the bitterness of the vanquished. In this case it makes me a bit sad to say practice makes perfect. It is in our nature I suppose. I was moved by your story as it connected directly with many of my own victories and losses outside during recess from classes.


  7. wildbilbo says:

    Great story – everyone suffers these moments, and you captured it really well here. Funnily enough, I know that whilst I was teased as a child, I don’t remember any specific incidences, but I remember almost all the times when I was horrible to someone else…
    Guilt lasts longer than hurt I guess.
    Well done.


  8. You’re ugly and you have cooties! This is funny and sad at the same time. How many of us as children heard these very words. Nicely done.


  9. storydivamg says:

    So sad. Children can be cruel. When I worked as a daycare teacher, I specifically requested not to teach 8 and 9 year olds, especially the girls. It seems that stage of development is all about learning how to “thrive” socailly–usually by putting others down. You capture the age well in your story.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail


  10. arjaybe says:

    I prefer to believe that he was saying that to the OTHER girl, for being mean.
    So there!



  11. That was so sad! I hope she can get up and brush it off like the sand she has fallen in.


  12. PapaBear says:

    Funny, Emm, as a young boy, I always thought girls were otherworldly creatures to be avoided at all costs…., til I was about 13. That was a young boy’s perspective…, then the world reversed itself and they became wonderful, desirable companions…, til about 16. After that, more romantic notions entered the scene and….., well, we all know what follows that ! Ha !!! I’m rambling again ! 🙂


  13. For a quality romantic poet you write a mean short story!


  14. Maria F. says:

    A story about childhood’s terrors and disappointments. What a nice image too.


  15. Sandra says:

    Grief, with a friend like that, who needs enemies? Such a realistic ring to this tale. It’s good that we grow out of the stage… in most cases. Nice one.


  16. Oh.. I agree with Rochelle.. he’s going to end up liking neither.. but growing up she has to pass that hell called being a teenager, and she will remember this with some fondness because of its innocence.. or she will grow to be a tormentor herself.


  17. Dear Emmy,

    This rings so true for eight-year-olds. Chances are he doesn’t like either of them that way. He’s only eight. 😉 Nicely written.

    Nice to see you back.




  18. Ah, I really felt for her, those barbs of childhood, whether they’re true or not.


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