I’ve joined in with a few fellow writers over at the iFanboy.com forums. (If you’re into comics at all, I highly recommend the iFanboy Pick of the Week podcast, it’s fun stuff.) We’ve each set a mad dash-style goal for the next couple of weeks. Mine is to write a story every day for the next two weeks, minus weekends. It’s crazy! Just crazy enough to work? We’ll find out! This is the exactly the sort of thing I created this blog for.
My first entry was inspired after seeing a few minutes of tonight’s episode of Super Nanny. Looking over it, I should have started way later, and fleshed out a lot more of the various heinous activities of the children and how the parents played a part in that development. I waste a lot of space in the first few hundred words. But a lot of times that’s how things are. Things like that always get trimmed to make room for the stuff that matters.
Anyway, hot off the presses, here is Day 1 of 10. 1,500 ridiculous words.
Nanny Tricia and her camera crew arrived at the Jerris household, 1050 Harris Lane, a little after one in the afternoon in the middle of the hottest summer in fifteen years. The house towered over the tiny yard and street, a massive structure squeezed between the neighboring homes on an otherwise perfectly ordinary street. The Jerris’s kept the house in immaculate condition, even through the blistering draught that had killed most of the grass on the street and bleached the other roofs. The manicured, healthy lawn and perfectly straight shutters didn’t fool the neighbors.
“Every night with the yelling,” Mrs. Shears, 1052 Harris Lane, screeched.
“No, I don’t let our kids play with the Jerris boys,” Mr. Bower, 1048 Harris Lane, said. “Not since Elliot came back with a black eye that one time.”
Before heading up the short sidewalk to the front of the Jerris home, Nanny Tricia reviewed the submission footage. The camerawork was shaky, like usual, shot by Mr. Jerris. Mrs. Jerris, a thin blonde woman with too many implants, shook her head and waved the camera away with a scowl. The camera panned to take in a plush, expensive living room. The area looked a disaster area. Three screaming boys, ages 6, 8, and 9, rampaged amongst a pair of couches reassembled into fortresses. The boys cursed at each other. The nine-year-old hit the six-year-old with what appeared to be a rubber mallet, and the eight-year-old retaliated by tackling the older brother and chomping down on his arm. The scene abruptly changed to a local fast food restaurant. For a moment, the family ate in piece, bent over burgers and chicken strips. Suddenly the youngest boy burst from his seat. The camera swung around to watch Mrs. Jerris chasing the boy across the dining area, but she didn’t catch him before he buried a tiny fist into a complete stranger’s crotch.
“We’ll just edit out the obscenities, obviously,” Tricia’s producer whispers. The sound guy snickers.
The scene stabilized to a view of the beleaguered parents on their couch. Mrs. Jerris looked irritated, as she had the entire tape, but Mr. Jerris, a portly man with a neatly trimmed beard and glasses, pleaded for Nanny Tricia’s help.
“We just don’t know what to do!” he cried.
“Now, if we can get to him actually cry at some point,” Tricia’s producer said, “that would be a fantastic lead in.”
Nanny Tricia cocked her head as more scenes of the boys shouting and fighting at a mall rolled by. “I don’t know,” she said. “Has Marion checked this place out?”
“She says it’s clean.”
Nanny Tricia rapped sharply on the front door as she always did, the camera crew clustered close behind her. The youngest boy answered the door, peering up at the Nanny with squinty eyes she instantly distrusted. She bent over to say hello anyway. He rewarded her by spitting on her cheek and then fleeing into the home.
Tricia wiped away the offending spit with her handkerchief. “Charmed, I’m sure,” she said with a wry smile to the camera. The nanny and her entourage waiting a few moments on the front porch, but no adults appeared in the doorway.
After moving inside, they found the Jerris’s locked in a bathroom. The kids reigned over the rest of the house. The oldest danced atop his parent’s bed, making speeches about the revolution.
Over the next two day, Nanny Tricia tried every time-tested trick in the nanny handbook. She put the boys in time out. She reasoned with them. She scolded and shamed the parents. The parents cleaned up straight away. They stopped insulting the children, pulled them out of so many activities, and cut down on their work hours. Mr. and Mrs. Jerris learned how to be patient, how to explain exactly how they felt and why their sons’ behavior was unacceptable. They learned how to not lower themselves to the same level as their boys.
None of it worked.
Exasperated, Nanny Tricia met with her producer in one of the huge walk-in closets in the master bedroom.
“I think Marion might have been wrong on this one,” Tricia said.
“What, because you can’t fix it?” he replied. “You’re saying there’s no way these kids can’t simply be little bastards?”
She chewed on her lower lip. “You think? I don’t know. Did you see the little one, coming at his brother with the saw? That’s not normal. I’ve been in a lot of houses. That’s not normal.”
“So what are you saying?”
“I’m saying it’s not normal for a six-year-old to charge at his brother with a deadly household tool. And then to mark said target with cutting measurements. He had a freaking ruler drawn on that boy’s forehead, for God’s sake.”
“What do you want to do?”
“The only thing left.”
The Jerris parents, despite their improvements, looked haggard and tired. They sat on their own couch as the boys piled dry kindling around their feet on the Berber carpet. Nanny Tricia and her crew swept into the room. Tricia assumed the largest smile she could.
“How do you boys want to play a game?” she called. “Let’s play!”
The boys gathered around her, granting their parents a temporary respite. They appeared intrigued by the possibilities, but Tricia saw treachery lurking behind their wide eyes. Her eyes flickered to the crew, who nodded. They had her back.
Tricia withdrew chalk from her special bag. The bag had been opened only twice before on the program. Neither episode had been aired. She gestured to the largely empty second dining room, which had hardwood floors and only a little furniture.
“First we need a big area to play in,” she said. “Let’s go in there!”
The boys happily cleared the spare dining room of the few chairs and table it contained, gleefully hurling the chairs as hard as they could against the living room wall. Their parents winced, but stayed put at a gesture from the nanny.
“Wonderful!” Tricia clapped. “Now stand in the center of the room. Close your eyes, there’s good boys.”
Tricia had to work fast. She knew she only had a little time before their instincts took over and they ran amuck again. She stooped and started drawing. Long, straight, solid lines. Sharp corners. A pentagram. Just as she finished, the older boy had grown weary of staying still. He watched the nanny closely for a moment, then pounced.
Tricia spun on him, her eyes flashing red. “Not this time, you brat,” she muttered. The chalk lines on the floor flared brightly, and the boy crashed against the invisible barrier they created. The boy wiped his nose from the floor, glaring at the nanny. The other two boys ferociously tested the barrier, and were rewarded with skinned knees and bloody noses.
Mr. Jerris and his wife stepped up hesitantly. He cleared his throat.
“Now, what is this all about?” he asked.
“Oh, don’t worry,” Tricia reassured them. “It’s a common misconception that protective circles can only be used on demons. Trust me, they work fine on little hellions like this, too.”
“But, but, will they be okay?” Mr. Jerris appeared concerned. His wife, for the first time, looked on in wonder.
“Most likely not, Mr. Jerris,” Tricia said. She turned to the pentagram. Her hands outstretched, she chanted dark oaths and recited spells. Her eyes turned black as she focused the eldritch energies of her witchcraft and bent them to her will. She called out to her ancient, pure brethren, and after a few moments, the edges of the pentagram ignited in flame. Mr. and Mrs. Jerris yelped. Even the sound guy jumped a little. The boys clustered together at the center of the pentagram, fists clenched. Where other kids would have been terrified, they looked angry.
Smoke billowed from the flames, coalescing near the ceiling. Massive leathery wings emerged, followed by a scaly, horned head. Fire burned in its eyes. When the beast smiled, coal smoldered in its throat. The rest of its hideous form remained obscured in the smoke.
“Who…oh, hello, Tricia,” it roared. The draconian maw gaped over the children. “You are having some trouble again, I see.” The eight-year-old took a swipe at the monster, but his fist passed harmlessly through smoke.
“Oh, I already don’t like that one,” the demon growled.
“Just have them back by…” Tricia glanced over at her producer. He held up a few fingers. “Have them back by nine tomorrow.
“A pleasure,” it said. The monstrous head retreated into the thick, grey cloud, and then the entire cloud collapsed atop the three boys. The flames flared high for a second, then were doused. When the smoke finally dissipated, the children were gone.
Mr. Jerris pointed one shaking hand at the empty space in his dining room. “What…what…where did our boys go?”
“Trust me when I say you don’t want to know,” Nanny Tricia said with a smile. “But when they get back, I promise you they’ll be better than ever. Good day, then.”
Nanny Tricia swept from the house, satisfied with another job complete.