Glad you could join us for the next vexing episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…

Elliot V
Photo credit: Lee Daniels

Humiliated and furious, the Holy Man of the Holy Mansion took a howling swipe at Cassandra, slicing her neck with his jagged arm.

Cassandra, jerking back with blinding speed and a grip like an abalone’s, ripped one antenna off the top of his monstrous head.

His bloodthirsty scream of rage rang through the sheltered bay, ricocheting from rock to rock, scattering the Brothers in a fearful flurry.

Elliot, free once more, plunged forward, crashing his now secure shell against the stranger’s shins, bowling him over with a striking blow.

As the beast crumpled in a tangled heap of lanky limbs, Cassandra leaped gracefully to the ground, pulling Elliot with her in a race to reach the only way out before their tormentor had a prayer of capturing them again.

They ran.

They ran into darkness as the sun slipped below the edge of the world and stars gathered to glitter in clustered cliques daring each other to jump.

They ran until suddenly there was nothing beneath them but wind. Wind and an endless fall.

To be continued…

Previously, on Eliot’s Adventures ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Next time . . .

Today’s twofer from April 28, 2016:

Vaughn Mort

Just before Christmas, 1984, the first holiday season of my Child Care career, the second of Cabbage Patch Kids, I started thinking about adopting. I wasn’t too worried, after all, 1983 had been the Year of the Cabbage Patch Christmas Riots. Surely, Coleco had manufactured enough of them this year to meet the growing demand.

Oh, sorry. You didn’t think I meant to adopt a real child, did you?

“Buy your son a doll?” You. Skeptical.
“Sure. How better to practice being a good daddy?” Me

Maybe the reason so many men show so little interest in hands-on baby care is that they absorbed the message that caring for children was “women’s work” when they weren’t allowed to play with dolls.

That wasn’t going to be my son.

The Christmas he was one, Brylan received a baby doll he’d promptly named Jason and loved every bit as much as most little girls love their baby dolls. More than some. (We hadn’t met Hannah yet. She hated baby dolls from infancy. If you put one near her, she’d freak.)

Brylan, on the other hand, was a devoted dad. He fed Jason and bathed him, told him stories and took him to bed. Carried him around at home, took him along when we left the house. For years. But the Christmas he was two, I took it into my head that he needed to experience having a toddler, too.

Coleco hadn’t learned their lesson well. I looked in all the obvious cabbage patches — Toys R Us, Sears, Fedco — but I couldn’t find a little boy Cabbage Patch Kid anywhere. Because of course I had decided Brylan should have one who looked like him.

As Christmas neared, I started looking in less obvious cabbage patches (financially-impaired parent speak for “more expensive stores”) and finally, in a little boutique toy store called The Apple Box, in a touristy bayside mall called Seaport Village, I found Vaughn Mort.

Not Vaughn Mort, but looks almost exactly like him if VM had a tooth. Vaughn Mort now lives in the attic and wishes not to be disturbed. Who am I to impose?

His “adoption fee” was twice that of normal CP Kids.

And right next to him was the most adorable redheaded girl Cabbage Patch Kid.

I don’t know what brain-altering chemical fumes rose from their little vinyl faces, but I thought they might be twins. How could I take one and not the other? When I walked out of The Apple Box, I had adopted Vaughn Mort and his “sister” Glennis Adelle.

They never held as cherished a spot in Brylan’s heart as Jason did. Or as they did in mine. I suspect I really got them for myself. But I only played with them when Brylan and Jason were sleeping, and I always made them sleep in their own cradle when I went to bed.

It’s kind of embarrassing to admit now that I had succumbed to the power of Madison Avenue. But not nearly as embarrassing as leaving McDonald’s without buying anything, and heading for a different Mickey D’s because this particular Golden Arches didn’t have the right Miss Piggy toy in their Happy Meal — the only toy missing from the set Brylan had been collecting one-piece-a-week for weeks.

That was embarrassing.

Have you ever indulged your child — or yourself — in any of the fads that work their magic on the toy market from time to time? It’s a power He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named could only dream of.

#AtoZChallenge A-to-Z Fictioneers: Interested in original fiction? Here’s a list of writers who are writing stories for the 2017 A to Z Challenge. The author’s link will take you to their “A” post. If you know of any other story writers I can share, please drop the link in the comments!


Author: Sue Ranscht

I am a writer. Let me tell you a story...

24 thoughts on “Vicious”

  1. Just gone back to read from the letter K – now fully up to speed and eagerly awaiting the final letters. I started to read it aloud as I read – it would make a great audio book, or animated video.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. Thanks for that, Curtis. I hope the next few letters don’t disappoint. I believe reading what I write out loud is an essential part of writing and editing. I wonder — does any of the ornateness make more sense to you after doing that?


  2. Oh no! Where are Elliot and Cassandra going? The world is a treacherous place for snails that cannot fly. Well, actually the flying is the easy part – it’s the landing that’s hard. 😉

    I remember the fuss over CP kids but I never had one, and I also remember the fuss over the Beanie Baby thing, and I didn’t have one of those until years and years afterward.

    But my son had probably every stinking Spiderman item ever. EVER. lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Douglas Adams said, “The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” That’s all they have to do now — miss!

      I remember the Beanie Baby fad. I gave them to kids who collected them, but I didn’t have one for years either. One day I found a Kiwi Bird Beanie Baby and had to have it! I loved Spiderman comic books as a kid, but my son collected Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters. Oh, and Mask and Venom — do you remember them?


  3. Out of the frying pan into the fire!! Noooooo!
    I LOVE the fact you bought your son a doll and that he was such a good Daddy 🙂 🙂 I think that’s an amazing idea that should be encouraged too. I never liked dolls at all, myself, so when I was little I had cuddly animals and plastic dinosaurs. Having boys, I adored buying all the various sets of dinosaurs and thoroughly enjoyed playing with them too! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, dinosaurs! I had never gotten excited about them as a kid, but when my son was little, he loved them, so of course we learned everything we could about them. My own favorite turned out to be the parasaurolophus — who knew? I had one toddler and five elementary school aged day care kids when the movie Jurassic Park came out, so I read the book out loud while the toddler napped, the Monday – Thursday before the movie opened Friday. After seeing the movie, all the kids agreed the book was better! ❤


      1. We like the triceratops – I was so pleased the day I found a shop that sold cuddly dinosaurs too! Lol! And that’s a lovely compliment to your reading skills too 🙂 x

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think triceratops is an elegant dinosaur. I found a stuffed dinosaur that had a plastic ball inside that apparently rolled back and forth on something like a gangplank with ridges when you tilted it head to tail and back. The sound it made was supposed to be the dinosaur’s growl — or purr. It was pretty convincing. I love reading out loud to kids as a chance to perform. Of course, that means lots of expressiveness and doing voices, but it certainly is easier when the writing is as good as Michael Crichton’s. 🙂 But thanks for giving me some of the credit!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That sounds fabulous! In a big department store here they had a toy triceratops about the size of a small pony that shook its head, swung its tail-it was adorable! And also about £500.00…

            Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember those cabbage patch kids riots…lived in the Bay area at the time so it was a big deal!
    Also, we too were very intent on raising our kids with equal ops aka: unisex rompers and such. How incredible for you to find a guy cabbage patch kid back in the day…much easier to find a guy carebear 🙂
    And oh run Elliot & Cassandra run! Spread your ‘wings’ and fly…great story…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really glad you’re enjoying Elliot’s story! Thanks for being so supportive.

      It’s good to know other parents who believe equal opportunity is the way to raise kids. I believe that’s what leads to mutual respect. Mine had Care Bears, too. He loved the purple ones, but his favorite was Lovealot because he was their leader.


    1. They were in such great demand and limited supply, I can understand putting one up as an incentive to play many, many times, but I think you wouldn’t want too many people to win them — even at the regular price, they were pricey. Did she find any and use them?


  5. Talk about freefall. Hope Elliot and Cassandra find a soft landing. My daughter has 4 Cabbage Patch kids to this day–the first one, Benji from 1983. What a Christmas miracle that was. We didn’t know our friend had managed to snag one until Christmas Eve. The doll, dressed in a baseball uniform, smells of baby powder, like a real baby. No matter how many washing machine baths he has, the smell doesn’t go away. I’ve used that doll as a “character” in my novel No Good Deed coming out July 31, 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The hopeless romantic in me is praying for a happy ending for Elliot and Cassandra. 💞 As for indulging my kids? Or myself? Oh, I’m quite sure I have. But, you know that I have a very bad memory, and nothing seems to come to mind except for a gift I bought my Granddaughter. I was looking for something special for her 13th? birthday. A friend of mine suggested a “Juicy” brand necklace. Apparently they were all the rage that year. It was ridiculously expensive in my opinion for a piece of costume jewelry, but I bought it anyway. It’s probably in the bottom of her drawer somewhere now. Allison, as it turns out, loves to shop at second-hand stores. She also wears a lot of my Mother’s old jewelry. And, she wears it well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me, too, and somehow, a lovers’ leap doesn’t fulfill that hope, — even for a hopeless romantic — does it?

      My grandmother’s jewelry appealed to me more than my mother’s did, except for a few of Mom’s pieces that had been gifts. I can understand your granddaughter’s affinity. I wonder if “Juicy” necklaces will ever show up in second-hand stores.


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