It was okay when Danny was little. Dad called them tantrums. Mom called them meltdowns. There were no teachers yet to call them distractions or disturbances or disruptions. Or the other words. Impediment. Intrusion. Instigator. Disorder. Disorder. Disorder. If it happened on a Saturday, Mom would simply “go and have a little chat” with Mrs. Druitt or Mrs. Caputo or Mrs. Marx. Then by Monday, Mattie would come over with his wiffle ball and big red bat, or Caleb would come over with a frog for our pond, or Keith would come over with Ranger at the end of a short leash. And for an hour or until dinner or until Wednesday there would be sliding into home or soaked sneakers or fetch. Maybe running through the sprinkler and Nilla Wafers and Matchbox crash-ups. Then maybe a lost car. A sore arm. A broken car. A call home. A car—a real one—in our driveway by 3:17. Or Mrs. Druitt in curlers. Or that Mrs. Baumgartner over the fence asking what was wrong or could she help or boys will be boys, am I right? And always Danny sitting starry-eyed on the back porch or the front porch or the couch. In the middle of his room or the middle of his bed in the middle of the afternoon, asking for an ice cream because someone had left, or the sprinkler got broke, or could Mrs. Caputo send Caleb over tomorrow because he was so sorry about the frog.
Tina Tocco’s flash fiction has appeared in Harpur Palate, Passages North,
Potomac Review, The Portland Review, Italian Americana, Clockhouse
Review, Border Crossing, Voices in Italian Americana, The Citron Review,
Rathalla Review, Fiction Fix, and other publications. In 2013, Tina was a
finalist in CALYX’s Flash Fiction Contest. Her poetry has been published
in Inkwell, The Westchester Review, The Summerset Review, and the
anthology Wild Dreams: The Best of Italian Americana (Fordham University
Press). Tina earned her MFA in creative writing from Manhattanville
College, where she was editor-in-chief of Inkwell.
Read our interview with Tina here.