Assignment #3: Tell a weird story to a child. Suspend your own rationality and start making up a story out of thin air.
A child’s story
Once upon a time in a very small town, an old woman signed up for a dramatic writing class. She had no idea of the challenges she would face.
The first two assignments went fairly well. Nothing to comment on, but the third assignment really stumped her. Her instructor told her — just for fun, make up a story and tell it to a child.
The old woman knew this instruction would be her downfall. The town people knew it too. Everyone knew she would never be able to be close enough, long enough, to tell any child, any where, any story. Children didn’t sit well with the old woman. She was not one to control her urges.
For four days the woman walked and thought. She looked out windows and kept thinking. Every time a story idea came to her, she’d get an uneasy feeling in her gut.
Being from a small town, people knew when the lady got around children, a low growling sound would emerge from her. Some thought she was growling at the little ones because she was mean. A few people knew the truth. The old woman was not growling at children. She was not a mean or hateful woman. In fact she love children; her tummy would rumbled when she got close to children because she craved babies.
Of course eating children is a problem for some, vegetarians mostly. Not everyone thinks it’s a good idea, but then, she thought, they’ve never tasted one.
It was easier to have your choice of babies in a big city, but small towns were different. The old woman found she had to sneak, and could only grab a bite when no one was watching. She still remembers that time at the park with the fat one. Still, most of the mothers keep a good watch out, and don’t provide opportunity for more than a good chomp, sometimes two.
There have been times when the old woman was scolded for chewing on a baby. Once a policeman wag his finger at her when she was caught with baby drippings on her dress, and had forgotten to wipe her mouth.
Most children knew to stay away from her, especially when they heard the growling sound.
The editor of the weekly paper knew the old woman was a good writer. He wanted her to pass the course, and thought if she did, she might one day write stories for the town. He was also, well aware of the old woman’s dilemma, and her struggle to complete her assignment. He thought he could help, so he used his resources and concocted a plan.
The entire town showed up for a special town hall meeting. The Mayor laid out the challenge and in true community fashion, asked the town to help one of their own.
After much back and forth, and some heated debate, a solution was found. Not everybody was happy, but it was agreed, a sacrifice would be made.
The old woman was told to go ahead and write her children’s story. The town would support her. She was to not panic, her cravings would not be a problem.
The woman worked day and night on her assignment, writing and rewriting. Finally she had a story she could tell the children. Truthfully, she was more excited about the moment before she told the story, than for the completion of her assignment.
The morning her assignment was due, she walked proudly around the town, thanking everyone for making it all possible, especially Mrs. Skinner who made the biggest sacrifice of all. Then the children gathered in a circle, and she began,
“Once upon a time, in a small coastal town, an old woman celebrated her birthday. And first thing in morning, before anyone else was awake, before anyone else got in her way, she got to eat a baby…”