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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Comedy · #2318073
Marcy is in over her head when she volunteers to watch two kids.
"Addie! Addie!" Marcy shouted after the rambunctious three year old. It was amazing such a small human could run so fast that a cheetah wouldn't be able to catch her. How had things ended up like this?

It had been ages since Marcy's sister had any time to herself. Both her niece and nephew were under six years of age. The children had no boundaries and the energy of a small power plant. Holding still wasn't in either of their vocabularies.

Even so, their grandpa hadn't seen them in months. He loved his grandkids. An outing with just the four of them seemed like it'd be perfect.

"There's a new place just opened in the Cold Creek Mall," Marcy said. "It's called Fish Quest, it's an interactive aquarium. Give you the afternoon off."

Marcy's sister, Elise managed eye contact after she propped her eyes open with sticks. The poor woman hadn't slept in days. "Uh-huh," she said. "Good luck with that. Allen doesn't like loud noises or lots of lights. Addie just wants to run everywhere. Okay, here they are. Gonna take a nap. Love ya, Bye!"

Both kids came running out with an over excited whoop. Marcy just managed to grab Addie's leashed backpack before she could run into the road.

Marcy almost fell over as a vice grip of a hug wrapped around her legs. "Aunt Marcy! Aunt Marcy!" Allen said. "I've missed you so much!"

Every time Allen saw his aunt lately, this was what he did. It was hard for Marcy to believe someone could get so emotional. True, Marcy and their grandpa lived out of state but nobody else greeted her this enthusiastically. It made her think of those english dubbed anime she used to watch.

One would think getting the car seats into the car would be the hard part. Nope. As soon as the kids knew that they were about to leave, it became a circus.

Allen insisted on hugging his mom, their dog Musty, his dad, the cats, the gerbils and anything else alive goodbye. It was a scene right out of an old time schmaltzy movie.

His sister, Addie, busied herself with trying to convince her grandpa that she should hold her own leash. "I wanna hold it," Addie insisted.

Her grandpa smiled at Addie like she was the cutest thing since God invented puppies. "No thats silly," he said. "You be a good girl and ride in the car." This statement might as well have been delivered at a comedy club. Addie merely giggled and kept arguing.

An hour later, they were all driving to the mall. By some small miracle, they made it there without a major world war erupting in the back seat.

Addie was too young to understand her big brother's need for space. This led to Allen screeching "Stop tickling me!" He was so loud it made the car windows rattle ominously. Thank goodness they wouldn't be trapped in a moving vehicle for much longer.

By the time Marcy had them all safely inside the megalithic shopping space, her nerves were stained. As they walked to Fish Quest, Marcy wondered how anyone survived parenthood.

The visit to the aquarium went smoothly. Every exhibit had an opportunity to feed an animal. Allen made sure all the fish got fed. Though he made Marcy touch the slimy anchovy to feed to the sturgeon, stingrays and catfish. Allen hated feeling anything wet and slick. That was somebody else's job.

Addie had half the attention span of a goldfish. With most of the exhibits, she stared for half a second before trying to run away in zig zags. If it hadn't been for Marcy's ballroom dance classes, her niece's attempts at bolting would've ripped her arms from their sockets.

Grandpa was proudly snapping pictures of the happy kids. Just enjoying the moment spent with family.

They wound their way through the convoluted path. It amazed Marcy that they could fit a miniature zoo into a space no bigger than a TJ Maxx. Even though they had fun, the dreaded affair was coming; lunchtime.

The food court was a deafening cacophony of young children screeching, parents chiding and teens socializing. It was absolutely packed with nearly nowhere to sit.

A handful of food stalls surrounded the seating area. It was a gourmand's dream. Pretzels, charbroiled meat, Chinese food. All of course which Allen did not want to eat.

It was McFillet or nothing. Fries, chicken nuggets and a toy! Every small child's dream dining experience. That also happened to be any tired adult's nightmare.

The line for McFillet extended almost out Cold Creek Mall's main entrance. Thankfully, grandpa had been riding his mobility scooter so he needn't worry. His legs wouldn't be getting tired.

Addie had been riding on the deck of this transportation device since they left Fish Quest. Her quick fingers pressed the horn button a hundred times a minute.

Allen had been covering his ears to block the incessant beeping. He screamed as he removed one hand from his head and tried to block the button.

Marcy could tell things were escalating. The line had stalled and Allen's mood was fast declining. Their outing was in danger of imminent implosion. It was time for some knee jerk intervention. Marcy deftly yanked the key from the scooter.

Blessed peace that was not meant to last. "I wanna hold hands," Addie begged.

What the heck? It was a sweet thing to ask. Marcy grabbed her niece's hand.

Faster than lightning could hit, Addie leapt from the scooter and started sprinting. As no one was holding the girl's leash, it was certain that this child would be off to terrorize shoppers on her own terms.

Marcy ran after her, but the much larger adult was quickly losing steam.

"Addie! Addie!" She shouted. "I have the keys."

All afternoon, Addie had been trying to snatch everyone's keys. In this moment, her aunt tempting her with the shiny trinket didn't cause any loss of momentum.

It was only with a super human burst of speed that Marcy was able to catch her wayward niece. The sudden deceleration made Addie fall on her diaper padded bottom.

Still trying to be cute Addie declared, "I sit down now." The girl burst into giggles.

A breathless Marcy picked the small escapee up. "Oh no you don't," Marcy said. "We're going back to the table."

Grandpa, failing to see how catching the fastest land mammal alive was an accomplishment, scowled at Marcy. "You have my key," he said.

Still a little dazed from the chase, it took Marcy a while to realize what he wanted. "Oh yeah, right," she said. "I'm sorry."

Later that night Marcy told her sister's husband about the eventful day. His only comment was. "I'm impressed you chased down a toddler in flip flops."

Word count:1140(not including this or the prompt)

Each month three badges will be picked from the GENRE category of all the merit badges. PICK at least ONE of the genres and write a short story in that genre. Only one of the badges will be awarded, but you can use any or all of the three genres if you would like.

Write a short story, fiction or non-fiction. 500 word minimum. No poetry.
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