“It’s just a little dirt, Jerry! What’s the big deal?”

“The big deal is that I spent good money planting grass and shrubs and your idiot kid comes along like he owns the place – ”

“Don’t talk about my kid that way or you’ll get what’s coming to you!”

“Oh yeah? What’s coming to me, Harold?”

Billy stood there, wide-eyed, with dirt on the knees of his overalls and a trowel in his hand, as the argument between his father and their landlord escalated into a full-on brawl. The two men threw each other around the narrow side yard beside the duplex they shared in Lexington, knocking over lawn decorations, crashing into the aforementioned shrubs, and generally making a much bigger mess than Billy ever would have made with his little trowel, no matter how big the dinosaur was that he pretended to find.

At last, Billy’s dad got Jerry on the ground, his big hand on the back of Jerry’s head, pushing his face into the turf. Harold groped around with his free hand and found the garden hose. In an instant, it was around Jerry’s neck. As Billy watched, Jerry’s eyes bulged and threatened to pop right out of his head.

Billy looked at his father, and he did not like the madness he saw there. He never forgot the expression on his dad’s face, and he never forgot that everything that happened that day  was because of him.


“Jesus, I was just a kid.”

The couple that had been necking in the back row of the theater paused on their way out, thinking perhaps the man in row C was talking to them, but he wasn’t. He was talking to himself.

Billy still had half a bucket of popcorn on his knee. He’d just spent nearly three hours watching a couple of archaeologists and a mathematician chase and be chased by dinosaurs. The dinosaurs in the movie were bigger and meaner than five-year-old Billy ever could have imagined, but they didn’t scare grown-up Billy half as much as the memories they churned up.

The lights had already come up and, for a moment, Billy was alone. Then the cleaning crew arrived. Time had slowed for Billy and it was as if the crew flitted from place to place at super speed, sweeping and picking up after a full house of theater goers. All this while, inside, Billy stayed very still.

“Is there a problem, sir?”

The spell was broken by a girl. She couldn’t have been more than 16, judging from her metal braces, and she had a thick head of red hair with a baseball cap perched on top like a fascinator, embroidered with the theater chain’s logo.

“What problem?” Billy replied.

“No,” she laughed. There was something so easy and so carefree about that laugh. “I was asking you.”

About Prompt-A-Day: The rules are simple. Every day, I generate a prompt using Story Shack’s awesome writing prompt generator. Then I set a timer for one hour. At the end of the hour, I post what I’ve got. Sometimes it’s decent. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes I fail at the prompt. Sometimes I do okay. I do not edit, unless I find a typo, because I can’t help fixing those. Feel free to join in and post a link to your writing in the comments.