In Furiously Happy, a humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest:
“I’ve often thought that people with severe depression have developed such a well for experiencing extreme emotion that they might be able to experience extreme joy in a way that ‘normal people’ also might never understand. And that’s what Furiously Happy is all about.”
Jenny’s readings are standing room only, with fans lining up to have Jenny sign their bottles of Xanax or Prozac as often as they are to have her sign their books. Furiously Happy appeals to Jenny’s core fan base but also transcends it. There are so many people out there struggling with depression and mental illness, either themselves or someone in their family—and in Furiously Happy they will find a member of their tribe offering up an uplifting message (via a taxidermied roadkill raccoon). Let’s Pretend This Never Happened ostensibly was about embracing your own weirdness, but deep down it was about family. Furiously Happy is about depression and mental illness, but deep down it’s about joy—and who doesn’t want a bit more of that?
Whether you suffer from depression, love someone who does, or are just looking for some entertainment, Lawson’s your girl. Her unexpected wisdom, wit, and weirdness are inspiring, endearing, and just plain fun! I can trust that her books will make me laugh out loud while also making me think about common things in an entirely new light!
It all started with the American White Pelican. They’re huge and they’re only in my area in the winter and they don’t want me to get any good photographs of them. So, of course, I’m obsessed with taking photographs of them.
The problem is, all the places I know of where they hang out keep them well shielded from my camera lens, forcing me to shoot through thickets of mangroves and tangles of trees – that is until two weeks ago, when I happened to take a short cut to grab lunch when I had jury duty and discovered a flock of white pelicans in a pond surrounded by condos. I didn’t have my camera, or the time to stalk them, but I promised myself I’d return and get the pictures I so badly wanted.
Fast forward a week, and I set out early with my camera on the way to do some grocery shopping at a store slightly out of my way – but on a direct course leading to a pond full of white pelicans. I’m almost to the pelican pond, what should I see but a Crested Caracara right at the side of the road trying to pull a flattened opossum to a better dining spot.
I know where a nesting pair of these fierce looking birds live, but I got my camera at about the same time that the area opened up to air boaters who decided that buzzing the shore was good entertainment and the birds no longer hang out on the trail like they once did, which makes them another bird I’ve been trying to get a good picture of, but there was a curb and nowhere to pull over and I refuse to do squirrely moves while driving, so I decided to go to the pelican pond real quick and then find a place to park and hike back to the Crested Caracara.
Only – I drive the half-mile to the pond and the pelicans aren’t there. Bummer. So I turn around, find a park, and hike to where the Crested Caracara was. And it was gone, too, although the opossum it was hoping to snack on was still there. This is the type of thing that happens to me quite often, a situation that my husband says is specific to Shannons because they rush into things without thinking them through which I would disagree with (in this case) since I’d been thinking about this excursion for over a week and how was I supposed to know there’d be a bonus bird dangled before my camera lens, PLUS I did stick with my original plan which makes his point moot (again, in this case), but at least he agrees it sucks when this kind of thing happens, so we’re on the same page there.
By this time it’s nine in the morning and since it’s late February in Florida I’m already rather sweaty so I decided to keep walking for a bit along the road, hoping to spot the caracara somewhere else or at least get some exercise but mainly refusing to leave until I’ve captured something interesting with my camera.
And then I see it. The (rather new) high school. And in the pond beside it – a pond which was dug to provide fill dirt for the school and the condo building next to it because the whole area used to be wetland but is now one of the top 10 planned communities in the US and because of this there are manmade ponds every quarter mile or so to keep the whole place from flooding – there, in that pond, I see several white pelicans!
They were on the high school side, and since I didn’t think campus security would appreciate me trespassing for the sake of pictures (and no way would I ever want to return to high school, anyway), I hiked down to the pond on the condo side and used my zoom lens.
And this is a typical Shannon type adventure, where the best laid plans go awry, but out of sheer stubbornness and refusal to give up and maybe a bit of the luck of the Irish (I’m not sure if I’m Irish but my name is so I claim it!), things work out in their own not perfect but better than nothing way. AND, I didn’t even have to confront any giant alligators this time (although, of course, I did see some smaller ones).
Recently, my husband and I were driving over the bridge when I saw what quite possibly may have been the biggest seagull in existence, which brought about the following conversation, and the question – is an eye an eye?
Me: “Holy . . .”
Me: “That.” Pointing. “That’s the biggest seagull I’ve ever seen. I thought it was a pelican at first.”
Husband: “It’s not that . . . wait. Did you say seagull?”
Husband: “There’s no way that was a seagull.”
Me: “Don’t wreck the car over it.” Because now he’s looking in the rearview trying to get another glimpse. “But that was totally a seagull.”
Husband: “That was way too big to be a seagull.”
Me: “But it was. That’s the kind you have to protect your eyes from.”
Husband: “You don’t have to protect your eyes from a bird.”
Me: Looking at him in disbelief. “You’re kidding, right?”
Me: “But you are.”
Husband: “But I’m not.”
Me: “Have you never seen the movie The Birds?”
Husband: “That’s a movie.”
Me: “Doesn’t mean it’s not based on fact.”
Husband: “But it’s not.”
Me: “How can you say that? Have I taught you nothing? Of course, you have to watch your eyes around birds.”
Husband: “Birds don’t eat eyes.”
Me: “What about vultures?”
Husband: “That’s different. Other birds don’t do that sort of thing.”
Me: “Seriously? What about crows?”
Husband: “Crows don’t eat meat.”
Me: “Crows eat meat. Crows totally eat meat. Unless the individual crow is a vegetarian. But crows are carrion feeders.”
Husband: Looks at me and decides not to argue because I know these things.
Me: Smirks because I know these things.
Husband: “But we’re not talking about crows. We’re talking about seagulls. And they don’t eat eyes.”
Me: “They eat fish eyes.”
Husband: “But that’s different.”
Husband: “Because it is.”
Me: “An eye is an eye.”
Husband: “An eye isn’t an eye.”
Me: “I’m pretty sure that it is. By its very definition, an eye is an eye.”
Husband: “There’s too much traffic, I have to concentrate.”
Me: “Fine. But if that thing’s around when we get out of the car, I’m protecting my eyes. One of us has to be able to see to drive home.”
At that point, I almost hoped the world’s largest seagull would follow us to the parking lot so I could see if my husband would protect his eyes or not, but, unfortunately, it didn’t.
AND my husband still claims that worrying about birds going after your eyes is an irrational fear. I shall call his people Team Foolishly Trust The Birds.
My people shall be called Team Hitchcock (it has a better ring to it than Team DuMaurier and to be honest this is one of the instances where the movie was better than the story).
So, a couple of weeks ago we encountered a rather large alligator blocking the trail at the end of a five-mile hike. The hike was a loop, and the trail was bordered by water on either side. We could see our car. But the alligator was an ALLIGATOR, and not the six or seven foot ones you see everywhere in Florida, AND it wasn’t moving, probably because it was too full, because, to be honest, its bulging gut made it look like it had already eaten a hiker.
Plus side, it probably didn’t have room for another hiker in its belly.
Minus side, it was. Not. Moving. The sun was setting. And I figured that if we did turn around and hike the 5 miles back the other way, that it would probably just waddle the hundred or so yards to reach the trail at the other end of the loop to block us that way, too.
You may think that I’m giving a reptile too much credit, but as I told my husband, we had no way to know if it was a regular alligator or an evil genius alligator without first backtracking the 5 miles we’d already hiked to find out. (I won’t tell you the rest of the conversation because there were a great many words said that I shouldn’t type, many bracketing the adjectives we were using to describe said alligator.)
We started creeping behind the alligator, and it raised its head to look at us, which was the first it had moved besides simply opening an eye, and we hightailed it back what we thought was a safe distance to rediscuss our plan of action.
At this point, I was sure we were indeed dealing with the Hannibal Lecter of the reptilian kingdom because it settled back to sleep and who could sleep at a time like this, even though it was probably just faking and laughing, which made me mad, so I took my pack off and walked behind it, and this time it didn’t dare look at me because if it did I was going to shove the bag that I’ve been sweating on for ten years down its throat and prove that a hungry woman is the true king of the jungle. After that, I just had to wait twenty minutes for my husband to work up the nerve to join me, and since he had the car keys….. I waited. Patiently, I promise.
That somewhat roundabout story brings me to my point – hiking is hazardous. We’ve encountered many injured hikers over the years, and have done our best to help patch them up. We’ve taken classes on Wilderness First Aid, read books on ‘survival in the bush’, and have reached a point where we feel comfortable in our ability to safely navigate our way back to civilization in the event of an injury.
But what if the hazard isn’t a broken bone or a sprained joint or a wound of some kind? What if it’s something else you encounter on the trail. Like a giant alligator? Or an overgrown, prehistoric turkey. Because this wasn’t the first time my path had been blocked. Or the first time I’d been made to feel unsafe on while hiking.
Only a month before, I’d taken my camera and gone hiking on my own. Let me begin by saying that there are only certain trails that I’ll hike on my own. One of my requirements is that it is out in the open so you can see far and wide in every direction. But that doesn’t always keep you safe from an attack.
It was a beautiful day in December, sunny and warm in the way that Florida is known for. I was well acquainted with the area, a wetland reserve that receives plenty of traffic by both hikers and wildlife, and was searching, in particular, for the kingfisher who hangs out there and has been (still is) eluding my lens.
Like many trails in the area, there is water on both sides of the path. Unlike other trails, this one zigzags in a series of connecting loops and you can see several miles of the twisty, turning road from about 85% of the path. I was on one of the short stretches where you can’t see everything, heavy camera aimed at a stump in the distance where the kingfisher was taunting me, when I first heard the noise. I’d heard the call before – I was pretty sure in one of the Jurassic Park movies – and it carried the way sound sometimes carries over water, where you can’t determine which direction it’s coming from.
Lowering my camera, I said a few choice words to the uncoperative kingfisher and hurried along the path. Overgrown cattails ceded to the dried husks of outbloomed water hyanthinths, and I could once again see almost the entire trail. And I discovered I was alone.
Not only could I not see any other hikers, a rarity in this area because of its picteresque nature that draws both locals and tourists alike, I also couldn’t see what had made the noise, either. But as I stood there, looking around for the source of the bone chiling cry, it came again. Louder. And I was fairly certain, angrier.
I’d been on the trail over an hour already, and it would take me at least a half hour to get back to the parking lot taking the shortest route back, so I decided to call it a day. I slotted my camera back into my vest harness (told you it was heavy) and quickened my pace towards the exit . . . when the sound came again, this time from behind me.
My skin tightened in that pre-goosebump sensation one has when their adrenal gland hasn’t quite decided how to respond and their entire body is on edge waiting. I spun to face the very loud assailant closing in on me, only to see a Sandhill Crane storming across the trail. Now, don’t get me wrong, they’re very pretty birds. Large and grey with an almost heart-shaped patch of red on their heads. They can also be very aggressive. And although I only saw one, they almost always travel in breeding pairs that mate for life. Then a low flying shadow emerged from over the water, landing on the trail on the other side of me, and the mystery of the single Sandhill Crane was solved.
Both birds proceeded to yell at me with their prehistoric war cries while strutting closer and closer. There was water at my front, water at my back, and dinosaur relatives approaching from each side. (In case you’ve never been on the wrong side of a Sandhill Crane, imagine being penned in by agressive, prehistoric turkeys. And yes, I know that there’s probably a better precursor than a turkey, but if I said velicoraptor you’d assume I was embellishing – though not by much – and if you imagined a rabid turkey on steroids I don’t think a Sandhill Crane would be far off.)
I just barely managed to skirt past the one in front by tiptoeing along the water’s edge, and the duo continued to chase close behind me for the better part of a half mile. And this, people, is why hiking is hazardous. And why you should always be prepared. Even if there are some things out there that you absolutely can’t prepare for. Which, again, is why hiking is hazardous. But so is walking across the parking lot at the grocery store (no lie) so I guess I’ll keep taking my chances.
Jenny Lawson is a blogger who speaks candidly about her struggles with depression. I’ve never seen or read the blog, but I’ve seen reviews of her books on all my favorite bookish platforms, so when this one made my Kindle daily deals I snatched it up.
I can’t possibly express how much I loved this book! This was the first I’ve read by Lawson, and was pleasantly surprised to find myself with an amazing collection of autobiographical essays – some hilarious, some depressing, but all wonderful and ultimately uplifting in their own right. Lawson is endearing and delightful and honest, the kind of person whom I’d happily welcome into my life (except we’d both probably prefer that to happen at great distance and with minimal actual interaction – but that’s okay!).
….And this is supposed to be her least funny book? Sign me up for the others.
Last year I took 2.5 million steps. Well, according to my Pacer app two million, five hundred and thirty-eight thousand, two hundred and twelve to be more exact. And that’s only counting the steps I took with my phone on me. But it’s also counting the steps my phone thinks I take when I’m driving on a really bumpy road, usually on the way to a trailhead, so I’ll call it about even.
I like to walk and it’s one of those things I’m really good at because it’s low risk and I rarely ever fall and even when I do, I do all my own stunts so I’m usually just fine, and since I got a real camera last year instead of just using my cell phone I’ve learned to be a lot more careful. Really I should start carrying it around at home because that’s where most accidents happen because statistically, your house is actually a very dangerous place, and my plan to eradicate anything with a corner or an edge in my home met an early end because of – walls.
But even though walking is something I enjoy, it’s not always something I feel like doing. Half the time I don’t really want to go until I’m on the trail, and even then I’m sometimes grumbly because my body likes to conspire against me and I’m walking with a headache or a backache or knee pain or a wonky hip and really it’s not fair because I’d prefer not to be this way, and I never asked to be hit by a car or to have arthritis and joint problems and a muscle disorder or any of the other little things that occasionally add up and feel like big things, but here’s the actual most important thing – walking always makes me feel better.
The couch is not my friend, and over the years I’ve learned that I’m going to ache regardless of what I do, so why not make the most of it and do what I enjoy doing?
I find nature and fresh air and wildlife restorative. Hiking on a trail gives me something to focus on besides myself. It helps clear some of the fog that sometimes settles around my brain and brings clarity. And even though this part doesn’t really make sense, it takes away my fatigue. That’s not to say that after an eight-mile hike I feel energetic, but the general malaise gets burned away and replaced with a different type of tiredness.
One that lets me know that despite everything, at my core I’m strong and healthy and able.
Those 2.5 steps helped me work out the plots for several novels and short stories. They helped curb angry words and soothed upset feelings. They helped me focus when I got super excited when an acquisitions editor wanted to develop one of my novels into a series. And they helped me recenter when the editor left the publisher and her replacement decided not to proceed with the project and I felt shattered.
On the days when I feel like following my dreams is a waste of time, I make myself walk.
On the days when just getting out of bed feels like an enormous effort and I need something to give me a sense of accomplishment besides just adulting, I leash up the dog and get outside.
When my husband and I start griping at each other because we’re overwhelmed with everything we have to do and there’s never enough time, we make it worse by taking a long hike together – which makes it so much better. We’re blessed to have the opportunity to see so many wonderous things, and they’re all the more special when we get to share the experience.
Even if he does get scared and yell at me when I do my own stunts. If he really wanted to help he’d do something about all those sharp edged walls in the house since they’re the real enemy. 😉
Recently, while on a hike with my husband, we had the following conversation:
Me: “Do you think an owl used to live in that tree?” (Because that’s the kind of thing I think about.)
Husband: “No. I do not.” (He does not think about such things.)
Me: “But, you don’t know for sure. It’s possible, right?” (Because the tree really did look like it should host an owl. It was that kind of tree.)
Husband: “Probably not.” (Obviously, he knows nothing about trees.)
Me: “Maybe it didn’t live there full time. Maybe it just used the tree as like a clubhouse or something.” (At this point, he gives me a look like he thinks I’m weird, but he’s the one who married me, so if either of us is a weirdo, it’s him. Just saying.)
Me: “I was just telling you the other day that I’d like to photograph an owl. So if that’s an owl tree, that would be perfect, right?”
Husband: “I don’t think owls like to be photographed.”
Me: “Are you kidding?!?!? There are a ton of amazing photographs of owls. They’re very photogenic.” (They’re probably a bit narcissistic given their good looks and photogenic qualities and all, but I’d still like to find one.)
Husband: “Well, I don’t think there are any owls here.”
Me: “We never go anywhere nice.”
Husband: “This place is nice.”
Me: “Not if it doesn’t have any owls. Hey, look at that nest.” (Because I had to change the subject fast before I sank into a depression about the lack of owls.) “What do you think lives in that?”
Husband: “It’s pretty big. Probably a buzzard or something.”
Me: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a buzzard nest before.”
Husband: “Doesn’t mean they don’t have them.”
Me: “Doesn’t mean that’s one of them.”
Husband: “Doesn’t mean it’s not.” (Now he’s just being difficult. I suspect he learned this from me.)
Me: “I think I see some feathers in it.”
Husband: “I don’t see anything.”
Me: “Doesn’t mean they’re not there.” (See. This is where he gets it from.)
Husband: “I think you’re wrong.”
Me: “You should have learned by now that I’m never really wrong.” (It’s true. ish. And if I’m not sure I’m right I preface with, “I might be wrong…” which means even if I’m wrong I’m right because I said I could be wrong, but in this instance – like most others where the husband is concerned – I was quite sure I was right.)
Husband: “There are no feathers.”
Me: “We’ll see.” (I zoom in and take a picture.)
My plan to arrange a meeting is in the works. It involves one of the windup rats I bought my dog off of Amazon because he loves to catch lizards but there aren’t as many to catch in the winter which he takes personally, plus, the lizards deserve a break because even though he has such a soft mouth that he can catch the tiniest baby lizards without hurting them, he likes to release them and catch them again and again like a cat. Eventually, they try to hide in the grass and he uses his bear claws to play peekaboo and that is when they meet their fate.
Also, he loves to play and squeak his toys but he doesn’t like to play with people anymore and gets rather offended whenever someone touches them because they’re his and not ours and he puts them in his mouth and he’s never quite sure if our hands are clean enough or not, but I want to play and it’s not fair because my hands are very clean, so I bought the windup rats for him to chase around the house which he enjoyed for two minutes until I touched them to wind them up again. Now he won’t touch them, but I’m pretty sure the owl will like them so I’m going to use them to try and make a new friend. But don’t tell the husband because he thinks it’s a horrible idea and even though I think it’s a good one, I might be wrong……
I totally chose this one for it’s title! 🙂 It’s not the kind of book you read if you’re looking for beautiful prose. You shouldn’t choose this one if you’re looking for deep literary insight. And if you want a very factual, true to life tale, this isn’t for you.
But if you’re looking for a fast paced, funny good time, this book is it!
Three friends attend ZombieCon only to have – you may have guessed it – the Zombie Apocalypse break out at the conference. While fighting for their lives (and the lives of others) these BFFs discover the strength, ingenuity and self-confidence they need to survive. Big on girl power, friendship, and self discovery, with a bit of romance on the side, this book is a perfect, lighthearted summer read!
From Goodreads: June’s whole life has been leading up to this: ZombieCon, the fan convention celebrating all things zombies. She and her two best friends plan on hitting all the panels, photo ops, and meeting the heartthrob lead of their favorite zombie apocalypse show Human Wasteland.
And when they arrive everything seems perfect, though June has to shrug off some weirdness from other fans–people shambling a little too much, and someone actually biting a cast member. Then all hell breaks loose and June and her friends discover the truth: real zombies are taking over the con. Now June must do whatever it takes to survive a horde of actual brain-eating zombies–and save the world. This is a hilarious and heartfelt horror comedy, an ode to zombies, friendship, and girl power that readers are going to love.
From Goodreads: Meet the best teen con artist team around.
Boone McReedy: high school conman, smooth-talking charmer, and the idiot who just got scammed out of $15,000 of his mom’s money.
Darby West: ass-kicker, straight-shooter, and Boone’s ex-girlfriend.
Now, they must team up to save their parents’ business, one con at a time.
That is if they don’t kill each other first.
Of course, they’re only going to scam people who deserve it.
That’s a promise.
Would they lie to you?
As he did in his award-winning debut, DON’T GET CAUGHT, Kurt Dinan brings laughs, twists, and heart to THE SCAM LISTS’ funny world of teen con artists, exes, and outrageous five-dollar bets.
Review: What a fun book! Sometimes you just need to read something lighthearted and enjoyable for sheer amusement, and this story is it! I read Don’t Get Caught by this author last year and thought it was a blast, so I was thrilled to get my hands on this one – and it didn’t disappoint! Engaging characters, an entertaining plot, and an easy read – this one is sure to appeal to even the most YA reluctant readers!
The subject matter might seem a bit risque to some – there is underaged drinking and, of course, scams, but there is a moral to the story and it’s all in good fun. Also, it’s written by an experienced high school teacher – when you consider what many teenage students are exposed to (remembering back to my own HS years) – this pales in comparison. However, if you are a parent with concerns I suggest you read it first.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Scam List is slated for release August 3, 2020!
The Hungry Games first appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Stinkwaves Magazine.
The Hungry Games
By Shannon Hollinger
The experiment has gone horribly wrong. I was going for an exercise that would result in a Mother Teresa-like experience, but somehow ended up in the middle of Jurassic Park instead. Now I have a roomful of savage toddlers ready to tear me to pieces.
This semester I’m taking a social psychology class. I’ve just finished reading about dozens of studies that have proven the altruistic nature of chimps, the willingness of one to help another earn a treat even if it doesn’t result in a reward for themselves. This kindness can be seen across the animal kingdom. Was I really so misguided in thinking that a roomful of preschoolers would be capable of displaying the same behavior? Apparently, I was.
In my hand is a box of popsicles. There’s only enough for everyone if the double sticks inside each package are split and shared. The hand that holds the box trembles under the intense gaze of every pair of eyes in the room. There will be no sharing today, that much is clear. Let the hunger games begin.
Little Timmy Holbrook is closing in on my left. He’s the established biter of the group, our very own Hannibal Lecter. He’d gladly eat his Popsicle with some jelly beans and a bite of his auntie. There’s no reasoning with him. Timmy’s tiny baby teeth gnash together and I know it’s only a matter of seconds before I lose some skin. I toss a packet of popsicles in his direction and he grabs it out of the air with a chubby fist. Timmy retreats to a corner of the nursery, eagerly shredding the paper from his prize.
This causes the rest of them to begin closing in on me. I feel like I’ve fallen into the tiger pit at the zoo. Sally Morgan rushes to the front of the pride. She stares up at me with two huge, baby blue eyes. An evil smirk contorts her round face as her little fists ball up at her sides. Sally is a screamer. The kid has a set of lungs any opera prima donna would envy. Her lips part and I watch in horror as her lungs begin to fill. Sally is priming herself for the wail of the century. My free hand fumbles into the box of popsicles. Sally snatches the package in a flash, leaving a trail of red scratch marks across the back of my hand.
I glance around the room, desperately searching for a way out, but there is no escape from the nightmare I’ve created. The pack of wolves is advancing. Only one member is hanging back. This deviation in behavior draws my attention away from the closer threats at hand. I crane my head to see who the child is who seems to have lost interest in the popsicles, the kid with his back to me as he fiddles behind my desk. My jaw drops in dismay, a lump forms in my throat. It’s Billy Williams-the flusher.
Billy’s pointy ears add to the mischievous expression on his face as he rounds the corner of my desk, my keys dangling from his hand. He looks from me to the bathroom. I follow his eyes and know I’ll never make it in time. Billy’s body is angled, his left leg twitching as he assumes a sprinter’s starting pose. His head slowly swivels back to face me.
“Billy! I’ll trade you.”
For a moment, I think the desperation in my voice promises more enjoyment for him than the sugary snack melting in my hand. My heart races and I fear he’s going to go for the flush, anyway. Then he darts through the throng of his classmates and rips the proffered gift from my hand. The keys land between the scuffed toes of my Nikes.
I bend my knees, lowering myself close enough to reach them, careful to not take my eyes off the hair puller, the hitter, the liar and the curser. My finger loops through the key ring and I straighten just in time to see the toy thrower winding up. Patrick Doyle is standing next to the basket of playground toys, a dump truck raised behind his ear like a quarterback. The florescent lighting glints off the metal toy, the glare holding my attention like I’m hypnotized.
Priscilla, the potty-mouthed princess, seizes the opportunity the distraction has provided. Dashing forward, she filches a package of popsicles out of the box. Priscilla hisses a few foul words in my direction and then retreats with her stolen goods. There are only two Popsicle packets left, but four kids. It’s not too late for them to share.
“Patrick, would you split a popsicle with Blake?”
Patrick looks at Blake and sneers. Blake is a liar. His weapon will be of little use until the parents come to pick their children up at the end of the day. Patrick’s eyes flit between me, the other kids, and the basket of toys, as he realizes launching an attack from where he now stands would enable his classmates to get to the goods before he could reach them. Patrick grabs a front end loader from the basket as backup and stalks forward.
I hear the patter of petite footsteps and turn just in time to stop Tammy in her tracks. Her legs are bunched under her, one arm fully extended. The hair puller is ready to launch.
“Tammy, will you share with Melissa?”
Melissa shifts her focus from me to Tammy. She lifts her hand, stretches her fingers like she’s clawing the air, her digits settling into a fist. Melissa’s knuckles look sharp and dangerous. On my other side, Patrick has closed the distance and has his arm tensed to throw.
“I’ll give you each a popsicle and a dollar.”
Small heads cock to the side, regarding me with suspicious eyes.
Four little hands appear palm up before me. Sighing with relief, I divvy up the treats and give them their money. It’s a small price to pay for escaping unscathed.
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