Harassment in a Heartbeat


Can you smell that? I questioned my husband. More interested in the television screen and suffering from slight industrial deafness, his reply was an inaudible mumble of agreement.

“Those kids are smoking,” I hissed. Without waiting to hear a response, I continued, “The rules are the rules, after all.” I’d had serious misgivings about hosting a party for my daughter Kim, and her young teenage school friends, but she’d convinced me they’d stick to the rules – No smoking, and no bad behaviour, if I allowed the, “gatho,” to go ahead. An hour or two had passed without incident before their voices became more animated, sharper and rising in crescendo. Then I smelt the smoke.

I did want to be able to trust the kids. I didn’t want to be that helicopter parent, hovering like some unwanted apparition at the periphery of the group. How else could kids be themselves? Even so, the responsibility nagged at me, giving me no rest as the evening progressed. I felt compelled to check things out. Surely, just a peek through the curtains to quieten my suspicious conscience would not hurt?

A half dozen or so adolescents were gathered in an undisciplined circle under the street light’s nebulous illumination. A sudden crimson glow burnt bright as I watched one of the boys drag heavily on a cigarette. With my heartbeat hammering in my eardrums, I stormed outside to confront them, just in time to see one of the lads hit Kim squarely, in the middle of her back. 

Completely horrified, I yelled, “Right you, put that out, or get out,” to the boy with the cigarette still hanging from his lips. Then, turning to the boy who had hit Kim in the back, I blurted, “And you can get out, too! You never ever hit a girl or anyone for that matter.”

“It’s alright, Mrs B.” explained another of Kim’s young friends soothingly. “He’s my brother Daniel. He’s with me. It is his way of saying ‘Hello,’ because he can’t speak. He’s got a disability.”

February 2018

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Linking to Sammi’s Prose Challenge write a story that uses the sound of a beating heart for dramatic effect.


27 thoughts on “Harassment in a Heartbeat”

  1. We’d probably let it pass. And after the party, pull the daughter aside and explained that she did not held up her bargain (ie no smoking, no bad behaviour). And decide with her what the consequences will be – it’ll have to sting though to make it stick in her head.


  2. Great story! Loved the change in perception that is wrought near the end… Those moments are so great, when an insight reframes what came before it so completely. You’ve captured it beautifully!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. You had me feeling the story tellers guilt after finding out the boy slapped his sister because of disability communication problems. You also had me wanting to know the outcome. Well done Amanda.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you Chris. It was a first attempt, and fun to write. Miscommunication often presents problem for persons with a disability. We all stuff up sometimes. Even so, this is entirely fictional… 🙂


  4. Well told, Amanda. The events of this story, or similar, are probably familiar to more that a few parents of teenagers and It’s interesting to speculate how different parents would react. Your version gave an enjoyable read. I could easily picture the indignant mother and I really liked the unexpected twist at the end. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am an oldie of 83 years, Amanda. I am with WordPress since July 2011, I joined to publish some of my memories. I like to take pictures and write about things that have been happening in my life. Sometimes I make comments about some health or social issues.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow that is awesome that you are doing that. Well done.I hope my blog is still going in 25 years!! I think you probably have many wisdoms to share with us all.


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