Two stories for children.
By Elysia Baskins
The Bad-Habit Rabbit
Jack is a rabbit full of habits.
Not good, not great, not eating cabbage.
He bites his nails, he talks with food.
He always walks with untied shoes.
His teeth are never, ever brushed,
and when he poos, he doesn’t flush!
He says bad words, he plays bad games,
and with other rabbits, he says bad names!
He chews on pencils at rabbit school
and runs around the rabbit pool.
They ask him, don’t you know the rules?
He thumps his foot. “I’m way too cool!”
“I won’t listen, no matter what.
I’ll always do just what I want!
And what I want—I’m not so sure,
but I won’t do another chore!”
Until one day, it’s time to play
no matter what the grownups say!
Jack runs real fast, his laces stick
He races past, he’s gonna trip!
He falls face-first into the grass.
The other kits all laugh and laugh.
He looks down at his untied shoes
Now he’s got two big boo-boos.
Jack starts to cry, he’s really sad.
“My knees hurt really, really bad!”
His Mom runs right up to his side.
She helps him up and dries his eyes.
He gets a band-aid for each boo-boo
and gets a kiss for each boo-hoo.
That night, when Jack gets into bed,
her words bounce in his rabbit head.
“These rules are here to keep you safe
and stop your knees from getting scrapes.”
Just before he falls asleep,
A new thought makes his heartbeat leap.
“Maybe the rules are worth a shot…
I’ll give it everything I got!”
Jack is a rabbit full of habits.
Instead of pencils, he chews carrots.
His teeth are almost always brushed,
and when he poos, he tries to flush.
Now he ties his shoes with bunny ears
and when he runs, his family cheers.
He says nice words, he plays nice games,
and with other rabbits, he gives nicknames.
He’s careful at the rabbit pool
and nice to kits at rabbit school.
They tell him, you must know the rules.
His ears perk up. “They’re really cool!”
“I’ll do my best, no matter what!
At every single thing I want!
And what I want—I’m not too sure.
But I won’t slip and fall no more!”
My Mom’s Boyfriend
My Mom’s boyfriend drives a horse-drawn carriage. He smells like a barn and lets me ride next to him after work. He carries me around the neighborhood on his shoulders and buys me gummy worms from the corner store.
He lets me eat way more than my Mom says I should.
My Mom’s boyfriend is a musician with long black hair. He wears a T-shirt with a black pool ball on the front. When we go to his mom’s house he lets me eat pieces of raw hamburger meat and play on his drum set in the basement.
I’m only four years old but I’m already a great drummer.
My Mom’s boyfriend is a roofer with red skin. He brings me cheese crackers from the bar whenever he comes over. When we visit, my Mom lets me put coins in the cigarette machine and press the button.
She smokes Marlboros from a red box and Newports from a green one.
The roofer with red skin is my little brother’s dad. I’m five years old when her belly gets big and six years old when my brother comes out from it. I hold him in my arms at the hospital but he doesn’t get to come home yet.
My brother’s dad is never home and my Mom doesn’t like that. One day he throws the TV remote and it hits her in the leg. She has a bruise that looks like the Milky Way. He pushes the air conditioner from the window and my Mom kicks him out.
I’m glad that for a while my Mom doesn’t have a boyfriend.
My Mom’s boyfriend is the guy who installs Comcast cable. He gets us all the good channels for free. When we go to his house he lets me play a South Park game on his computer. When I wake up in the middle of the night and catch him and my Mom looking at naked drawings, my Mom says it’s art.
Maybe she’s right.
My Mom’s boyfriend has a messy room. He lets me sit on his bean bag chair and play Grand Theft Auto. I beat up an old lady and steal her car. When I help clean his room I find a clear plastic bag in his sock drawer. My Mom says it’s OK.
I don’t know if she’s right.
My brother is five years old and wants to know why his dad isn’t her boyfriend. She says things don’t always work out that way. I don’t tell him about the remote control or the air conditioner.
I feel bad that nobody brings him cheese crackers from the bar.
My Mom’s boyfriend is an artist who paints his nails black. His house is on the second floor of an apartment building that always smells like paint thinner. There’s planks of wood where a ceiling should be. It takes forever, but he makes me and my Mom a steak dinner.
I hate mushrooms anyway.
My Mom’s boyfriend has a shiny bald head. He’s an Aries who sells knock-off watches and never leaves a paper trail. One day the FBI calls my Mom and she says she doesn’t know anything. All her passwords have his name in it, but she says he’s not really her boyfriend anyway.
Late one night, my brother spies on them and tells me they’re having S-E-X. I tell him I don’t want to know.
My Mom’s boyfriend is named after a guy from the Bible. He plays the guitar and sings a song from the ’80s in a high-pitched falsetto. One night I come downstairs for a midnight snack and find him humping the stove. My Mom tells me he has schizophrenia.
I move out just before my 18th birthday at the end of May.
My brother is a mason with red skin. He and my Mom smoke Marlboros from a red box, but not Newports from a green one. My Mom stopped going to the bar; she says she isn’t worried about having a boyfriend.
I think I’m ready for her to get married.
Elysia Baskins LPS’20 is an author of both adult and children’s short stories, as well as poetry—usually with a wicked twist. Her work has been published in Philadelphia’s local lit mag, Apiary, and Penn’s feminist magazine The F-Word. When not writing, she enjoys candy, long walks, and taking care of her dog, cat, six chickens, and two poison dart frogs.