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Mini Sledgehammer July 2012: Blackbird Wine & Atomic Cheese

This turned out to be the last Mini Sledgehammer Ali will host for a while. It was great to see some of the regulars as well as a couple new faces, and we’re excited to have Kristin take over Mini Sledges!

Congratulations to Elissa Nelson for writing a story with great character development and a nice plot arc.

Enjoy reading!

Character: Park planner
Action: Not buying moose insurance
Setting: At grandma’s house
Prop: Explosives



by Elissa Nelson

“You’re not going to skip the moose insurance, are you?” Jessie’s sister said, concerned.

“Jason said that everyone he works with says no one’s seen a moose on this island since the 30’s.”

“But you’re going to take your car off the island, right?”

“No moose insurance, Rita.”

“But Jessie—“

“Guess how much moose insurance adds to the premium. My car and Jason’s car, with moose insurance the six month premium goes from nine hundred dollars—“

“Nine hundred dollars!”

“For both cars, for six months! From nine hundred to fifteen hundred.”

“Ugh. No moose insurance, then.”

“No moose insurance.” Jessie changes the subject. “Where are Tania and Justin?”

“They’re with grandma and Steve-o for the fourth, of course!”

“Oh right. Steve-o and his explosives, eh?”

“Yep. Grandpa would have a fit, wouldn’t he?”

“You know he would. Give my love to the kids, of course. And grandma, and Steve-o.”

“And mom. Of course. She’ll probably call you later anyway.”

“Yeah, probably. How’s her new career going?”

“Her new career?”

“Park planner, right?”

“Oh. I think that’s more of a hobby, really. Like, they’re looking for a volunteer to do some gardening at Lake Green Park, you know? And it sounds like mom can do what she wants, but of course she’ll have no budget to buy plants or anything…”

“Is she taking cuttings from the yard?”

“We haven’t really talked about it. Anyway, this isn’t the time of year to transplant anything anyway.”

“It’s not?” Jessie says. She doesn’t really care, but she also really has no idea.

“Early spring, or late in the fall,” Rita says impatiently. “How’d you grow up with mom and not know that?”

She didn’t really grow up with mom, as Rita knows. She grew up living with dad, who took off when she and Rita were in college, sent postcards from all over the place for a while, and now they—her, mostly—hear from him every six months or so. She’s seen him every year/year and a half, he’ll stop by from wherever he’s been—living in Mexico for a while, as far as Jessie knows he’s still there—before that he was in New Mexico, before that, Oklahoma, before that Alabama. She visited him in Alabama—that was a weird place. He was doing his art stuff, working as a security guard in some weird little museum. She visited his museum—he showed her the whole thing, it took about forty-five minutes.

She guesses he won’t visit her in Alaska. But you never know with dad. And it’s not like she’ll have the money to get to Mexico.

Also, far as she knows he’s never been to Alaska. So that alone might get him there. There aren’t many places he hasn’t been, at this point. At least that’s what it seems like to her. Also she knows he’ll just be so glad she’s getting the hell out of California, even if she is gonna go back. He’s told her that staying in one place for twenty years, from the time he met their mom until Rita then Jessie went away to college, was maybe the hardest thing he ever did. She knows she has a little bit of that in her, too. He passed it along. Only a little bit, though. She and Jason will spend a couple years in Alaska, then they’ll go home. And yeah, start the family and all that.


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