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Getting By

“Tommy, where are you?”

Heavy footsteps sounded downstairs, and Tommy looked at the clock — it was nearly five-thirty, and his daddy had told him to come down for dinner at five.

The stairs creaked, and Tommy scrambled to clean up his work area. He managed to slide the paper into a desk drawer, but he couldn’t clear away the supplies in time. And then there was the big red puddle of paint on the carpet — that one would be there for awhile.

Heavy feet pounded down the hallway, and the door to Tommy’s bedroom door flew open.

“Tommy, you need to come downstairs right now. Your grandma and grandpa are waiting –“

Daddy stopped in the doorway and took in the mess. His eyes grew wide when he looked at the desk, and his mouth dropped open when he saw the carpet.

“Did you do this?” he demanded, glaring at Tommy.

The boy stiffened at his desk chair, still holding a paintbrush and crayon. He could feel the paint drying on his face.

There was no use in lying.

“Yes, Daddy. I’m sorry.”

Daddy grunted, almost growled. “You clean this mess up right now, then clean yourself up and get downstairs for dinner.”

“I will, Daddy.” Tommy dropped his eyes to the desk.

“And hurry up!” Daddy stomped out of the bedroom.

Tommy felt terrible. He knew his daddy had been very upset ever since his mommy died. The last thing Tommy wanted to do was make him mad, cause more trouble.

He opened his desk drawer again and pulled out the sheet of paper.

Tommy hoped the family picture he painted would make his daddy happy on Father’s Day.

Published inFlash Fiction

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