I’ve been meaning to post more, but my job is taking over my life. This is a short story/fairy tale that was originally part of a play I wrote in college. The play was also called “Little Kid on a Stick” and entwined two fractured narratives that I don’t really feel like talking about and it’s not really important anyway. Here is the story, I hope you enjoy it:
Once upon a time there was a babysitter named Mary. The Babysitter worked hard. Even when she relaxed, she was working hard. She never really had fun, though she knew how to look like she was enjoying herself. The Babysitter was the best at what she did and she knew it. Lives hung in the balance when The Babysitter was on duty. She had to be ready for every contingency.
The little girl that she happened to be watching that night was named Jane. Mary had to know the bedtime routine inside and out (incase Jane tried to pull a fast one). The world depended on her to make it a better place. If she slipped up in any of her tasks, the world would notice. The slightest misstep on her part would have effects so profound. Mary knew this. Mary knew that everyone in the world knew this.
At this point a Girl Scout with an impeccably ironed uniform and extensively decorated sash rang the doorbell, soliciting cookies. She seemed to bring an element of the night into the house with her.
Before Mary could get the soap off of her hands and reach the door, Jane had already ordered three boxes of the delectable Samoan variety, and the Girl Scout wandered off into the fog from which she came. Mary was fuming.
“Jane! You’re not supposed to do that!” Mary fumed.
“Sorry,” said Jane curtly and went back to the television program she was watching in the other room.
“Oh well. It’s not my problem. Your father won’t mind. He likes cookies,” Mary told herself. But she continued to wince. This was a blemish. A black eye on her perfect record. And it consumed her.
At this point, Jane wandered back into the kitchen.
“I’ll help with the dishes!” said Jane.
“That’s OK,” said Mary.
Jane didn’t listen to her. She picked up a hand towel and started drying. Mary could see that Jane was doing a fine job. But she could also see that Jane was straining. It didn’t take an x-ray for Mary to know that Jane was putting undue stress on her metacarpals.
Finally, Mary completely lost it. She bashed Jane’s skull in with a heavy iron skillet that she found in the drain board. Mary hit Jane eleven times and then threw steak knives into the crumpled body. When Mary was done, Jane was lying on the ground in a pool of blood and brains. Mary looked down, saw what she had done, and ran. She ran into the living room crying, and shaking, and wiping the blood off onto her sweater. She hid behind the sofa, listening to the remainder of the happy, educational, sing-a-long television program that Jane had been watching. When there was no more, she listened to the snow at the end of the tape. Soon they would come for her and take her away. She would never get to baby-sit again. She would never be perfect. And it felt…good. Sometimes she’d dreamed about getting away from it all. But it was too much to throw away. She would never be good at something else like she was good at this. An hour passed. Then. The turn of the lock. The creak of the door. Footsteps. Rustling in the kitchen for several more minutes.
Mary felt like she was in an episode of a police detective program. Well, she would have felt that way if she had watched police detective programs. Mary only watched television that was educational. And while she watched television, she would do sit-ups. Or multitask to an unsettling degree. She knew that by hiding behind the sofa she was making it worse. And it felt good to make things worse for once.
Finally, Jane’s father entered the den. “Come out, come out wherever you are!” he said with a surprising playful lilt in his tone. Mary furtively raised herself from the ground, still bloody. “Aw, I see you’ve playing a game of hide and seek.”
“I’m turning myself in,” said Mary.
“Well, I have found you,” said Jane’s father.
“I’m going to the police.”
“Turn yourself in!? Why, you’ve done nothing wrong, my dear girl!”
“But, but, I’ve killed a little girl. I hacked your pretty little daughter to pretty little pieces.”
“No you haven’t. She’s in one pretty, little piece!”
At this point Mary was beginning to feel that maybe she had imagined the whole thing. Maybe the girl was fine. She felt the father’s comforting hand on her shoulder and started to believe him.
“Are you sure?” Mary queried further.
“She’s fine. See?” Mary turned around aghast at what she saw. There was the little girl’s body haphazardly glued back together and impaled on a long skewer. Jane’s father held the skewer, manipulating his new macabre puppet. In a Pretty, Little Girl voice, he said, “See Babysitter? I’m fine. Everyone gets stressed out sometimes. I forgive you.”
By the look on Mary’s face, Jane’s father knew that she didn’t buy it.
Mary’s mind reeled. Now it was certain. She was no longer the best babysitter that ever lived. Even the most incompetent of babysitters knew not to go around bashing in the heads of pretty, little girls.
“Look,” said the father, dropping his dead daughter on the carpet, “You’re the best. This town can’t afford to lose you. If you’ll just go back to doing your job, the whole world will be willing to forget this ever happened.”
“I don’t want to be a babysitter anymore,” said the cold-blooded killer.
“Oh, that’s fine,” Jane’s father replied. “You don’t have to be a babysitter. You can be anything you want to be. How about a childcare giver? Or a mother’s assistant. Or maybe you would like to chaperone the kindergarten class trips to the Spooky Zoo?”
“I don’t know,” said Mary. “I was thinking of maybe going to art school.”
With one quick, sickening slide, he withdrew the skewer from the dead child and pointed it at Mary’s throat. As Mary stared down the face of death, she stood on a tall, metaphorical mountain top, free from the chains that had once held her. THE. END.