Be careful how you answer!

Prompt: The frown on her face and the wrinkles on her forehead told me I was in big trouble.

I let the screen door slam behind me and hollered, "Hi Mom, I'm home."

"Up here," she answered.

"Two, four, six, eight," I counted the stairs as I took them two at a time.

Mom was standing at the top of the stairs with her hands on her hips. The frown on her face and the wrinkles on her forehead told me I was in big trouble.

"James Joshua Johnston," she said slowly between clenched teeth. "Do you have any idea what I found in your room today?"

Now, how's a kid supposed to answer that? I had several things in mind, but if none of them were the thing she had found, I could be in much worse trouble than I apparently was already.

"No, ma'am," I said, hanging my head in what I thought might be the appropriate response for a repentant child.

"Think, young man," she said, "Think hard."

I was thinking - so hard that my thoughts were whirling around in my head like a tornado. My palms began to sweat and I felt my throat closing up. Had she found my stash of fireworks? The cigarette I'd swiped from Dad in case I ever got up the nerve to try smoking? The almost naked picture of a movie star?

"Uhhhh," I stalled.

"Ants! That's what I found, Joshua, ants!" she yelled. "How many times do I have to tell you not to take food into your bedroom?"

Ants? She had found ants? I couldn't help it, I started laughing. Just a snicker at first, but the more I tried to hold it in the bigger it got until it burst past my lips right in my mom's face.

I was grounded for the rest of the week, but I didn't mind a bit!

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(Copyright © 2010, 2011 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

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