The Naughty Step. Short fiction by Julia Wood

July 1st
So. There it is. Leicester is having an extended Lockdown. Am I pleased? No. Of course I am not. I am in petulant child mode. In fact, I am in a stamping my feet and lying on the floor kicking my legs and screaming mode, like children in supermarkets do when their parents drag them past the Haribos, voice wailing, arms flailing, reaching for the thing they want and are not allowed to have, the thing that is just in front of them, yet out of their reach.
I am sticking out my bottom lip so far it could be used as a shelf to balance drinks on. Drinks. I don’t even want to think about drinks because when I do an image comes into my head, of the rest of the country clinking glasses and laughing whilst we in Leicester who are exiled from Lexit sit miserable in our houses like the unpopular kid not invited to the party; the bad child who must be punished because yes, Leicester is the proverbial bad child, stuck on the naughty step.
You see, disappointment on a scale like this has turned us back into children. It’s not fair! It’s not fair! Everyone else is going to the pub, so why can’t we? I’d say that Leicester people right now, have a Cinderella Complex. We want to go to the ruddy ball! In the shoes we’ve bought on Ebay ready for One Bloody Big Saturday. I feel like I did when I was ten, and a certain nasty girl had a party and for some reason decided to invite everybody except me.
Immature? Quite possibly.
It’s like those car journeys as a child that seemed to go on forever because time when you are a child, stretches out to infinity. ‘Are we nearly there?’ I’d ask, over and over. ‘Are we nearly there?’
And just when we thought we had arrived at our destination there would be a hold-up, tail-backs slowing the journey to the pace of a pensioner with a Zimmer frame.
But that’s the question we’ve all been asking: when will Lockdown end? Are we nearly there yet? Will we ever be there?
It’s not fair. I’m going to lock myself in my bedroom, play ‘Ghost Town’ by The Specials, and yell at my teddy bear.


Julia Wood is an author of several novels, and short stories, published in anthologies. She is also a performer and has her own You Tube Channel. Check out Julia’s Novelty Bloomers here:

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