Wonder at a Stick, fiction by Christian Fitzgerald at Spillwords.com
Annie Spratt

Wonder at a Stick

Wonder at a Stick

written by: Christian Fitzgerald



“Hey Jack, pay attention.”
“What is he doing?”
“Who knows with that kid.”
Jack sat cross-legged on the carpet poking and prodding at a small stick he had brought in from the yard. The cat huddled and purred by his side.
“Hey bud, what did I tell you about dirt and mud and sticks from outside?”
Jack looked up at his father vacantly. “What?”
His father sighed. “What’s the rule about all that dirty outside stuff?”
Jack looked off, up to the ceiling, perhaps beyond it. His father hoped he was thinking about the question.
“Outside stuff is for outside,” Jack finally said.
“That’s right. So what is that stick doing in the house?”
Jack’s eyes brightened. “It broke off the tree when the bird flew away and I wanted to see if—”
His father sighed again. “Look bud, just put it outside please.”
“Ok, dad.”
Jack’s father poured coffee into a tumbler and straightened his tie. He turned to his wife and spoke quietly. “I just worry about him. How’s he going to succeed in life when he’s such a space case?”
Jack’s mother frowned. “He’ll be ok honey, he just gets immersed, you know.” She lifted herself onto her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek. “Have a good day at work.”
On his way out he ruffled Jack’s hair. “Be good, kiddo.”
“Ok dad, you too.”
Jack’s father paused in the entryway, lips caught between a smile and a frown, watching his son wonder at a stick, before closing the door behind him.

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