PodCastle Miniature 29: Birthday Wish

By Tina Connolly.
Read by Grammar Girl.

Mrs. Lemons stroked her son’s hair. “Joshua is very mature,” she said. “He’s not like those other ten-year-old boys.”

“Of course,” said Mrs. Dumpling. “My Benji is an angel, too. Benji, stop kicking their cat. Isn’t Joshua’s cake lovely?”

“Yes,” agreed Mrs. Lemons. “We’re so excited for his wish. We’ve talked of nothing else for months. Joshua, stop eating those candles. It will be perfect.”

Rated PG. Contains ten-year-old boys, and thusly some gross-out humor.

This piece won an honorable mention in the Escape Pod flash fiction contest for stories under 300 words.

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10 Responses so far

  1. 1

    Jennifer said,

    April 3, 2009 @ 4:34 pm

    *sigh* Another one that peters out and leaves me feeling annoyed. Lemme guess, Joshua wished to… be able to shove more candles up his nose?

  2. 2

    scatterbrain said,

    April 5, 2009 @ 5:29 pm


  3. 3

    t3h1337idiot said,

    April 5, 2009 @ 8:44 pm

    Is it me, or did the last sentence sound foreshadow something dark?
    Like, world dictator dark…

  4. 4

    Leishalynn said,

    April 6, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

    I loved the tension of it; it was a perfect aside to my hideous Monday. I’ve got a wish for someone, too! 😉

    I’m also happy to hear a Northwest writer any time.

  5. 5

    devora said,

    April 7, 2009 @ 12:55 am

    I agree w/ the meh comment. But what bugged me was the lack of a slight pause before the final sentence. Had that been done, I think the Big Let Down might have been mitigated a tad.

  6. 6

    yicheng said,

    April 7, 2009 @ 9:26 am

    Very lame ending. IMHO, it would have been a lot darker if it *was* world peace, of the ultimate kind.

  7. 7

    carrie said,

    April 7, 2009 @ 7:00 pm

    For a quick little story, this one gave me a big sense of the world it was set in– overbearing parents, tyrannical children, desperate measures in an outwardly calm community. The ending was any better or worse than most flash fiction and overall I found it really fun.

  8. 8

    Linky Stuff : gordsellar.com said,

    April 10, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

    […] by my pal Tina Connolly up at Strange Horizons (“Turning the Apples”) and at Podcastle (“Birthday Wish”). Worth your time, folks, assuming you have any. And hey, my other pal Ian McHugh has a story up at […]

  9. 9

    Becky said,

    April 14, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

    The implications of the last line didn’t hit me until a second or two afterwards. *shudder*

  10. 10

    Dave (aka Nev the Deranged) said,

    April 27, 2009 @ 9:18 pm

    Devora said it in her comment. Timing is everything when telling a joke, and that’s what this was. It could have been a good joke, but the fumbled delivery of the final line failed to sell it. Better luck next time, PodCastle.

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