Deep Wishes - the marshmallow test

Deep Wishes #Flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about deep wishes. Where is the deep — in the sky, the ground, or outer space? What kind of wishes reside there for whom and why? Go where the prompt leads!

I don’t quite know how deep wishes got me to the marshmallow test which I previously wrote about here, but that’s where I landed. Maybe I was yearning for something sweet.

In the marshmallow test, children were left alone in a room with one enticing marshmallow on a plate in front of them. They were promised a second marshmallow if they didn’t eat the first before the examiner returned. The ways in which different children responded to the task were interesting and used for research into emotional intelligence and later success in life.

I had more altruistic goals in mind for the boy in my story, but in the end, he was more concerned with the present moment than life’s bigger issues. Children (and stories) don’t always turn out as you expect. I hope you enjoy it.

Something Else

His eyes were as round as the cookie. He shuffled on his seat. His fingers twitched. They slow-walked to the plate and he quickly drew them back. His head bent low over the cookie. He inhaled. Deep. Long. No rule against that. He checked for dislodged crumbs. None. He sighed. The door handle rattled. He sat upright, shoved his hands beneath his buttocks and looked at the ceiling.

“You resisted,” said the examiner.

He nodded.

“Not even a crumb?’

He shook his head.

“Then you may have two cookies.”

“May I have something else, please? I don’t like chocolate.”

Thank you blog post

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

43 thoughts on “Deep Wishes #Flashfiction

  1. Kate

    I’ve heard of the marshmallow test. In my version, donuts were used. And in one case there were two people in the room. The objective was to see the dynamics at work – would one of them give in and then try to convince the other to have a donut as well. I liked your story. You forewarned us, the kids will do and say the most unexpected things at times. I loved your ending.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Kate. I haven’t heard of the donut version but I’m sure it would work just as well. I wonder if it’s easier to ‘give in’ when with someone else – not having to take full responsibility/having someone else to blame. 🤔

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      1. Kate

        That’s exactly what happened some of the time. Having two people in the room certainly changes the dynamics of the exercise. Personally, I could leave the marshmallow easy enough; I’d be much more challenged with the cookie. 🙂

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        1. Norah Post author

          That’s funny, Kate. I might go okay now – as long as it was only 15 minutes! But I don’t think I’d have waited as a child. I used to generously share out sweets for other family members then eat them before they had a chance to do so. I didn’t know when to stop. I didn’t have sweets very often, so it didn’t happen very often either. Perhaps that’s a good thing.

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  2. Pingback: Deep Wishes « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

    1. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the story, Patricia. I know a few people who can’t eat or don’t like chocolate. The boy found it easy to resist for that reason. I think the ability to wait is supposed to correlate with higher levels of self-control, persistence and resilience, and therefore success in life. I think other interpretations of the research hasve shown that sometimes how much one has available to them on a daily basis also affects their ability to resist, and their future success.

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    1. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased it resonated with you, Jacqui. You’re not alone in not liking chocolate. While I find it difficult to understand, I know a few people who don’t like chocolate.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Luccia. No, that’s right. He didn’t actually have much to do while he was sitting with the cookie. He didn’t want to eat it so he just explored it a little.

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  3. Charli Mills

    I enjoyed your story, Norah, and laughed as I could picture each struggle to resist. Then to find out the cookies weren’t his choice! I place the marshmallow game all the time. If I finish this project/task/writing, then…

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    1. Norah Post author

      I think it’s good to reward ourselves for small achievements as well as big ones. There’s be no big ones without the small ones. I should try something other than sweets. 🤣

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