John Marsden Writing Topic #194

Write a story for children in which there’s ‘lots of food and lots of fighting’. (Norman Lindsay)**

N.B. I chose to write a story about children instead of for them for this prompt.

Rehearsal

I hate running the school play.

All the kids were together on stage, sitting at a dining table set with mostly fake but some real food. They were getting restless as we’d been rehearsing all morning and it was nearly lunchtime, so the food, which included the signature Yule Log to bring the Christmas theme home, definitely wasn’t helping.

Mae Thirlby, a rich theatre kid who is unfortunately in my third-grade class, stomped onto centre stage. She demanded that the spotlight be put on her more as she was at the head of the table. All the other kids at the table hated her for trying to take their literal and metaphorical spotlight, as well as for bossing them around all the time. Kate Wilsbe, her best friend/doormat, was her favourite target, but she was ominously glaring at Mae as she spoke and eyeing the food on the table at the same time. Kate’s parents are getting divorced and are using her as a pawn, and Mae has not let up in using her too, so she’s at breaking point.

Mae continued to rant and rave at me until she was stopped in her tracks by the Yule Log hitting her in the head. Kate yelled at her to shut up, the other kids laughed at both the Yule Log and karma being unceremoniously served to her (I had to suppress my own laughter), and started throwing food at her and each other, even the kids hanging above the stage by wires weren’t spared by the unexpected food fight.

I had no choice but to get my whistle out to stop them all and yell at them into obeying, before helping them clean up and resetting the stage with whatever food was left.

Fucking school play! The Christmas holidays can’t come soon enough.

**Reference: Marsden J 1998, Everything I Know About Writing, Pan Macmillan, Australia.