The Secret Is…
So, you’re reading this because you want to know the secret to happiness. Well, you’ve come to the right place! Because I, my friend, will give you all the knowledge you need to be happy in only 100 words! Sounds great right? You’re probably asking yourself “how much does it cost?” Well, I can tell you that it costs absolutely nothing! You can have the secret to happiness right now for free! All you have to do is keep reading! It’s that simple! Now, listen closely and I’ll tell you everything. Ready? The secret to happiness in 100 words is–
Quick, light breaths, quiet on their own, but quiet loud together, filled the dark cave. Occasionally, there was a cry from a child, but otherwise it was silent but for the breathing. And the fear. The crowd watched the ceiling of the cave, their eyes searching the dark stone for some sign of change. Their fear was tangible. It could be felt, filling every nook and cranny. It could be heard, in the ragged breathing. And it could be seen. It was on the face of everyone there. They could only wait, together but alone, their breath filling the room.
An Adventure in Poorly Timed Conscience Development
“Who would have thought my life would come to this?”
I looked at the morose English gentleman sitting beside me, struggling not to roll my eyes.
“Here, take this.” I handed him a loaded rifle.
He stared at the firearm like he had never seen one before. “So not only am I to die hiding behind a camel,” he said. “But you expect me to shoot this contraption?”
“If you don’t want to die, yes.”
He stared at the gun like this was a difficult decision. I groaned in frustration. These people always chose the worst times to develop consciences.
“What do you have to say for yourself?” My boss looked like he had something hard shoved up his ass in the best of times. Currently, his face was red and beads of sweat dripped down his face. Being angry looked exhausting.
I yawned and shrugged. “Well,” I began. “It’s a bit of a story.”
He inhaled more aggressively than I would have thought possible. “Then you should start telling it. Now.”
I clapped my hands together. “Alright. Well, it all started with a false rumor, a bad haircut, and a lollipop.” I paused. “Sit down. We’ll be here awhile.”
He trotted after me. “You haven’t even heard my plan yet!” he protested.
I rolled my eyes. “I already know it’s stupid.”
“And?” he asked expectantly. “Will you do it?”
“No.” I kept walking, hoping he’d trip or something.
“Jonah,” he whined. “Why are you always like this?”
“Like what?” I dared him to answer.
“Stubborn.” Of course he didn’t even notice my eyes shooting daggers at him. “You never listen to my plans. And they’re good!”
I stopped and turned to face him. “When has one of your plans not ended in us getting arrested or almost dying?”
Failing with Style, Part 1
At the top of his paper was a massive, red, angry F. It was honestly impressive how angry a single letter could appear. Connor knew his project had been shit. He’d finished it in approximately 15 minutes at 3 in the morning while he was as high as a kite. Still, the F seemed a little extreme. He could practically see Mrs. Finley’s gleeful expression as she’d stamped it. Then thickened it with sharpie and underlined, it by the look of it. It was truly a master class in condescending hatred. He turned around and went back into the classroom.
Failing with Style, Part 2
Mrs. Finley was sitting with her arms crossed and her feet up on the desk when he came in.
“Oh, hello, Mr. Rogers.” she said. “Do you have a question?”
He put the paper on her desk. “Yeah, why?”
She shrugged. “It’s an insult to the trees to have a piece of paper with no effort on it.”
“That’s fair.” Connor examined the F. “You went all out this time. Is that glitter?”
She smirked and put a finger to her lips. “Don’t tell anyone. I took it from the preschool supplies.” she said.
Decisions Already Made
“This is a crustacean.” the child said, pointing to a sand covered crab.
Sally couldn’t help but laugh. What was he? Seven? The word crustacean sounded hilarious in his childish lisp.
But she smothered her laugh and nodded seriously. “Really?” she said. “How do you know that?”
“Mamma read me a book about them.” the boy said.
Sally stopped smiling abruptly and had to turn away. She really had no right to be hurt. Of course he didn’t know she was his mother. She’d made her own choice. She couldn’t unmake it now. No matter how much she wanted to.
I’m Not Going Anywhere
“I’m not going anywhere,”
10 years later I still remembered that phrase. My mom’s career was stalled like our manual transmission. I’d been an impressionable five-year-old who quickly learned that her career was more important than me.
10 years of depression, messy relationships, drugs, and general shit later, she sat on my bed while I sobbed. Her phone was off. Her eyes were on me. She held me like I was still the five-year-old she’d left alone to go on auditions. She wiped away my tears. Her face showed the revelation she couldn’t put into words.
“I’m not going anywhere.”