I had been suffering an extended period of brain drought, with an urge to write but without a useful thought of any appeal to me. A bookmarked website, Creative Writing Prompts, offered the following instruction in Number 11. Write a mini story of 300 words or less and include each of the words in one of the following sets:
–Paper clips, principal .lunch box, swing, girl with pink ribbon
–Biology, class card, foreign student, leaf, blood pressure
–Typewriter, filing cabinet, puncher, clerk, carbon paper, janitor
There she was again, the girl with the pink ribbon, from Miss Evar’s first grade classroom. Mr. Jensen, the principal, had seen her outside yesterday during class time, too. Distracted by an intervening phone call, he had then looked again and she wasn’t there. At the moment, she was sitting idly in the swing, head slightly downcast, as though she could swing but didn’t know why.
He walked to the steps near the playground, called out, “Hello, there.”
She made no response, and he spoke again, “Young lady,”
She looked up, and whimpered softly, “Are you talking to me?”
He had been approaching her swing, and now saw the tears filling her eyes. “What is it, dear? Why aren’t you in class?”
“I’m hungry,” she sobbed.
“Didn’t you have lunch?”
“Did you forget your lunch today?”
“Why didn’t you have lunch?”
“It’s yesterday’s lunch.”
“Didn’t you eat lunch yesterday?”
“Why didn’t you eat lunch yesterday”
“Someone took my paper clip.”
“Why did you want a paperclip?”
“To unlock my lunch box like Daddy showed me.”
“Did you ask Miss Evar for another paperclip for your lunchbox?”
“Yes. She said I’d have to wait ‘til after class started.” She broke into tears. There was a tear or two in Mr. Jensen’s eyes as well.
He took her hand and said, “Let’s go tell Miss Evar’s where you are. We’ll check my lunch and see if there is anything you like. Then we’ll find another paperclip and your lunchbox.”
“I guess that’s okay.”