Flash fiction What does your daddy do

What does your daddy do?

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about the safebreaker’s daughter. Who is she, what did she do, and where? Go where the prompt leads you!

Carrot Ranch flash fiction challenge - safebreaker's daughter

In her post, Charli linked to the song The Safebreaker’s Daughter. After taking us on a deep mapping journey around the streets of her home, Charli contemplated what might occur should the safebreaker’s daughter turn up on one of those streets and wrote 99 words to share her thoughts. Please pop over and read if you would like to respond to her challenge as well.

As I have spent most of my life in the classroom, as usual, and not surprisingly, that’s where the prompt took me.

As teachers in public schools, we work with children from many different backgrounds, family configurations and status. The children of parents who ‘earn’ their living by not-so-honest means must also attend school. Unless those parents are the ‘wealthier’ white-collar criminals and seemingly respectable until caught out, many of the children attend public schools. Most teachers, at some time, will have worked with children whose parents engaged in practices outside the law or may have even been incarcerated. Sometimes we know. Sometimes we suspect. Sometimes we have no idea.

It is more than likely that the safebreaker’s daughter would have attended school and at some stage, as most children do, written about her parents and their work as part of her social studies. As we’ve just celebrated Father’s Day here in Australia, I decided to place the safebreaker’s daughter in a class writing about their father’s employment.

What Does Your Daddy Do?

The children drew portraits and wrote profiles of their fathers’ work. Some had accompanied their father to work and related first-hand knowledge of laying bricks, wearing a fireman’s helmet, sitting in the manager’s chair, or distributing medication to patients. Then it was Patsy’s turn. She read:

“My Dad

My dad goes to work at night. He is a cleaner. He works when everyone else is sleeping. He wears black jeans, a black shirt and a black hat. He wears gloves so he doesn’t leave fingerprints where he has cleaned. He usually cleans up banks and jewellery stores.

The end.”

 

My Dad - a childish story

Note: The burglar illustrating Patsy story is an alteration of an Image by Joe Alfaraby from Pixabay.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

 

47 thoughts on “What does your daddy do?

  1. Hugh's Views and News

    I wonder if the child who wrote that story about her father had a wonderful imagination, a great sense of humour (to startle her teacher), or if she was writing the truth, Norah? So many questions, yet it’s a perfect piece of flash fiction that allows the reader to ask the questions and to make up their minds. One of your best.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks so much for your encouragement, Hugh. I like the questions you ask about the child. As teachers, we always have to consider the story behind the stories the children tell. How much is real? How much is fiction? Sometimes it’s better to not know.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. Dayne Sislen, Children's Book Illustrator

    I loved your story. I once sat next to a boy in freshman home room who’s first language was Italian. The teacher asked asked us to fill out a form about our family. The space for father’s occupation was under one inch long. Mario asked me how he should fill it out. I guess you think his father was in the Mafia which would have fit the space perfectly. That was not exactly the case as he described it. He said his father “fixed” things for his friends, and got his friends out of trouble. I asked if he fixed TV’s and other household items. No, he just fixed bad situations when people were in trouble. So we decided on “Trouble Fixer.” I always wondered what the people compiling the statistics thought his father did for a living.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Dayne. “Trouble Fixer” sounds like an interesting profession. I wonder what trouble he fixed, and how. My mind is spinning. 🙂

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      Reply
  3. Charli Mills

    Norah, I hadn’t thought about the delicacy of handling situations with students whose parents might be criminals. It would be hard to have to keep criminal activity secret, too or perhaps a child as the one in your flash doesn’t understand the implications that daddy “clean us” at night!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I’m assuming this child only gets part of the picture. She’s probably not quite sure of all the implications. Or perhaps she is told what she can tell and what she can’t. I don’t remember children revealing anything about parent’s criminal activities. I was usually told by admin. Perhaps that made us more circumspect when discussing such matters with the class. I don’t really remember.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Anne. No, it’s all fiction. The ‘child’s original’ was my writing with the mouse using Word’s drawing tool. 😂 Had I been intent on doing a better job, I would have used invented spellings but it would have taken me a lot longer and I decided I didn’t have the time. 😦 The story was inspired by a particular child I taught (father was a car thief) but there were many others too.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. CJ N8tive's Scenes

    My daddy came home from a dangerous production plant making chemicals for paint. They used powders, liquids,along with heating tanks over 500 degrees. Most of the time his lunch box black was covered in white with his boots. he usually brot home a check to put food and clothing and paying the bills
    He worked when he was able then woke up in the night when they called him*

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  5. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    I love how you manage to combine your interests, talents, experiences, abilities… anther fine flash that could be one of those staff room anecdotes. Funny, but sadly it is almost a wholesome tale, with the student’s dad being incarcerated for mere burglary. Not mere- professional!
    So many students with incarcerated or dead parents because of drugs. Always hoping they break that mold and stay safe.
    Good one Buddy.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, D. Like you, I hope those students make something better of their lives too. We do our best to show them other ways. It can’t be much fun living in fear all the time, but some seem to choose it, or have no choice when it chooses them.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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