Projectile Smurfs

I felt sick to my stomach ever since recess. The boys had been teasing Carrie and throwing her Smurf thermos. Playing keep-away. Danny catapulted it to me.

But dads didn’t usually teach girls to throw or catch in 1982.

I could not catch it.

It broke.

Carrie, sobbing, mad, said I did it on purpose. And ‘boy will there be trouble when you get home. My mom is gonna call your mom.’

The irony being that if I actually could have caught her precious blue thermos—I would have given it back to a crying Carrie.

That afternoon, I hid out of sight to grownups in a little crook made by the breakfront, listening. The phone rang a lot. The first time, my heart pounding, I sussed out it was my grandma from the way my mom talked.

Pain deep in my belly as the phone rang again. Wait, it sounds like her friend. Pam?

I worked on what I would say when the call came. ‘Carrie always gets me confused with the other kids’? Or ‘It couldn’t have been me, I was reading my new Cam Jansen book by the swings’?

The third call, my stomach in my mouth, mom with that super-polite voice she puts on for strangers. This was it. Carrie’s mom was a stranger. I peered around the corner.

It was just the dentist’s office.

Carrie’s mother never called. But I had my answer figured out.

‘I never even touched Carrie’s Smurf thermos.’

It was true.

Susan Hatters Friedman is a psychiatrist. Her recent creative writing can be read in Hobart, JMWW, and 100 Word Story.

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