The Dream Quest One Writing Contest
Second Prize Winner
R. JEROME MESSER
of Thibodaux, Louisiana
for the following short story:
SPECIAL DAY WUZZEL
There is a place very much like here but different, a time very much like now but not. In that place
and time, there was a girl who may be nine or eight, but not ten. She is a girl like all girls in everywhere and every time,
curious. When there is knocking upon the front door of her home and her parents or brother do not hurry to answer her curiosity
She scampers down the stairs
to the door and stops, through the closed door she hears a voice calling, “Come and play, come and play today are a
special day, come and play.” The voice is sweet and low, it is seeking those to play but the voice was not calling her
or any child. Strange! Hoping to find what was the matter she eased open the door, a crack then wider when she viewed a bright
golden-red Wizen playing on the front lawn. The Wizzel, spinning, bouncing and rolling all about thick green lawn was somewhat
different. To her eye it is and is not just a plain Wizzel like the Wizzel that is seen every ordinary day. The difference
in this Wizzel is not that it is just a tad bigger or smaller, a glimmer brighter or dimmer than other Wizzel’s, it
simply should not be. For today is no ordinary day.
after all, is a ‘day after tomorrow’ and all people, parents, grandparents; even bratty little children know what
a rare day that is. It is day seen only slightly more often than ‘once in a blue moon’ but always less than a
‘month of Sunday’s’. A ‘day after tomorrow’ is seldom as uncommon as a ‘catch you on the
flip-flop’ or the extremely infrequent ‘later dude’.
When the girl saw what she saw she surely screamed and hastily slammed the door. When her courage reappeared
she knew that she must learn if she truly saw what she saw. She cracked open the door, peeked with cautioned eye to see if
the bright golden-red Wizzel was still
there. To her awe and delight it was. With a smile
on her face and joy in her heart she closed the door and ran up the stairs to tell Bro.
“Bro” she utters, (his name is Tommy but she just calls him Bro) “there
is a Wizzel playing on our front lawn.”
(he calls her that cause it is her name) “there can be no Wizzel on the lawn for today is a ‘day after tomorrow’
and Wizzel’s can never appear on special days”.
know the day, I know the rules and I also know I seen what I seen and saw what I saw. There is a Wizzel playing on the lawn
inviting others to join," Jamie asserts stomping her feet.
“Rules cannot be broken.” Bro declares putting on his most severe face.
“Wizzel’s are large and small, they come
in all the colors of the rainbow, they sing, dance or just play but always they are for plain ordinary days. If there was
one playing on our front lawn we would have to send it away.”
Jamie hoist her courage; she banters and plea’s that Bro come with her to the lush green grass
at the front of the home and see for himself what she saw. Just when she thinks all argument is lost Bro submits and together
they scoot down the stairs to the front door. Jamie paused for a moment and took a deep breath prior to opening the large
wooden door; she is anxious but wants Bro to be more so. With the knowledge that she assuredly did see what she seen and saw
what she saw she opens wide the door and beholds nothing but green green grass. There is no Wizzel anywhere.
The large hand of Bro is pushing Jamie in the back
and tugging at her hair. The curious girl, face burning can feel his snicker even before she turns to see the smile on his
face. Jamie tries to speak. He is quicker.
Sister,” he is angry, he only calls her that name when he is mad. “I thought sure you seen what you seen and saw
what you saw but I see nothing for there is nothing I can see. Today is the ‘day after tomorrow’ and no Wizzel
can be seen on such a day.”
Tears swell in her
large brown eyes and are ready to flow; she is trembling with anger and misery, then. The brother and sister hear strange
sounds coming from the back yard and the space between houses. Tommy and Jamie gape at one another together they move toward
where they hear the strange noises and are astonished at what they behold.
Their Mom and Dad, the neighbors from next door and across the street are running barefoot, dressed only
in shorts and small tops. Adults acting not at all like adults are moving yard to yard. Their clothing is stained with grass
and dirt as they frolic loudly with objects yet unseen. They are laughing and shouting and acting foolish. Some men are singing
a silly song and some of the women are playing games like Jamie and the other girls play. They are having fun that they never
have on an ordinary day.
Jamie firmly grasp
Bro’s hand she turns to speak when suddenly several Wizzel’s round the corner.
“See,” she shouts, “I told you there was a Wizzel in our yard.
And now there are more.”
looks at each adult and each Wizzel before he speaks to her. “Jamie, if you look closely you will see no Wizzel in our
yard. If you were older you would know that that which you thought you saw is not that at all. It is far too bright and the
colors shift too fast, the song is mellow but not sweet and they cajole more than prod. These are not Wizzels but Wuzzel’s”.
She is confused when she looks at Bro, “They
asserts Bro, leading her by the hand to join other neighborhood children gathered by the swing in their back yard.
The other children are as amazed and confused, as
Drenda questions. “Why are Wizzel’s here when they should not be and why do they play only with the grown-ups”?
Each of the other children nods in agreement with Linda Drenda’s query.
of you know that today is a special day and no Wizzel can come to play. What you see are Wuzzel’s, they are only for
special days and they have very special ways. Only once in my life have I seen them when I was not much older than you.”
Bro stops talking and looks at each child. “You all know how to play, to frolic in the sun and have fun, when you grow
older the duties of life try to take that away. I am only a few years older than the oldest of you yet I often find that I
had rather study than play.”
is a look of horror on the face of each child; Jamie knows that hers must be the same, as she asks Bro, “What is a Wuzzel”?
Bro sits upon the ground and all the children gather
round, “When I first saw a Wuzzel I was awestruck like you. Never had I seen adults play and have fun; never had I seen
anything that had rather be with grown-ups than with children. I thought only confused thoughts until the day ended and my
tired mother picked me up and carried me into the house. At bed time that night she told me the story.”
“In days of old, not once upon a time, the
spirit of nature that gave life to the world and to people saw that the struggle of life was hard. The force of nature saw
children and adults growing old before their time. The mother force knew this must change. First came the Wizzel for the children,
it was to work the imagination and the inner spirit. The mother force knew that active play makes healthy active children.
Further happy children grow into sociable hard working adults. This was and is good.
All would have been well except the people as they aged found that living took
more and more time and for an adult there was less and less time to play. This is not good. The stress of the people began
to tell upon the individual and society. The mother force knew that this must change. First came all the special days, infrequent
they were, but enough to satisfy. Then the mother force gathered all the dreams; the hopes and desires of lost youth and made
the Wuzzel. On special days the Wuzzel’s selects tired
adults and teaches them again how to play. The stress of everyday living is relived.
Parents act like children. Children learn that parents are just children that
have given away the carefree ways of childhood to accept the mantle of responsibility. Children learn that in their turn they
too will change but only for the betterment of the world. All know that this is good.”
Bro pauses then continues. “When my mother tucked me in that night I slept
well in the knowledge that so long as moms and dads have these special play days children will have love and security every
Tonight our parents
will come to us, exhausted and happy but a little distressed. The stress that has gathered upon them is gone, this good. They
know that for a while they will relate closer to each of you then life will interfere again. They will go their way and you
yours, their distress. They will long again for a special day.
# By R. Jerome Messer
About the author:
year young male - married 42 years - occassionally published - never for money. Vietnam veteran. Offshore oil field worker.