The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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My mom used to go to Six Flags in New Jersey all the time on a season pass and try to win animals. At the end of the season, she and her boyfriend would donate all the animals to local children's hospitals (although on rare occasions she would keep one or two).  Her brother thought it would be funny to scare her one night with one since she used to stay out past curfew without getting caught.

Today was one of the rare summer Sundays that Lisa didn’t go out with her boyfriend. 

Normally, they would take the hour-long drive with the windows down, music blasting, and iced tea in the cup holder to Six Flags at least couple times a month. They both had a season pass, so they could go as much as they wanted. 

In addition to the rides, Lisa had a talent for carnival games. She enjoyed the competition with both her boyfriend and the other park guests who swarmed around to watch. The groups screaming on the roller coasters behind them didn’t distract her too much. Little kids would watch with envy as the pair claimed huge stuffed animal after stuffed animal, weekend after weekend. 

The previous weekend she won a gigantic pink bear about 25 inches round and three feet tall. She’d left him leaning against her bookshelf so she could lay there while chatting with her friends on the phone. 

It was one of her last weekends before school started so she went over to her friend’s house for movie night. They’d watched too many romantic comedies, and after driving home, Lisa realized how late it truly was. 

“Well damn,” Lisa thought. “Hopefully, I’m not screwed.” 

She glanced at the clock on her way into the house and carefully closed the door, trying not to let the screen door slam. Creeping up the stairs, and skipping the step that squeaked, she tried her best to get in bed without anyone noticing. 

As the door slowly swung open, she noticed there was a dark figure on the bed. The street lights streamed through the blinds creating shadows on the floor. 

Lisa screamed as loud as she could, “Ahhhhhh, oh my god!” 

Scrambling for the light switch, she kept screaming until she turned around and stopped dead in her tracks. 

The dark figure on her bed had disappeared. In his place was a curious newcomer. 

It was a massive stuffed penguin. In a top hat and a tuxedo. Sitting at the end of her bed. 

“What in the hell was that about?” Her dad yelled, throwing clothes on to check on her. 

“Why are you home so late? It’s two in the damn morning.” 

She could hear her brother, Andy laughing hysterically from his bed in the room next door. 

Original artwork by Kimberly Burton

Revenge of the Stuffed Animals

Flag as Inappropriate
Summer in early 1980s
Bucks County, PA

My mom used to go to Six Flags in New Jersey all the time on a season pass and try to win animals. At the end of the season, she and her boyfriend would donate all the animals to local children's hospitals (although on rare occasions she would keep one or two). Her brother thought it would be funny to scare her one night with one since she used to stay out past curfew without getting caught.

Decade: 1980s
Rating:
Recorded by Kimberly Burton on April 26, 2020
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