Monday, February 1, 2016

Short Stories & Such 22: Career Day

The Writer’s Digest Prompt for ‘Career Day’ was written back in August 21, 2012. I decided to make some changes and keep the perspective on the father and what he’s going through as a parent. I hope you enjoy this first post of the month! If you’re interested in reading the comments, you can check out the website



Okay. I can do this. Take a deep breath and walk inside your son’s classroom for Career Day.

There’s the doorknob.

Why can’t I just turn the darn thing?  

Okay, okay. Take another deep breath. You can do this public speaking thing.

Ignore the sweat already making its way down your back. I hate how it trickles into my…. shake it off. Shake it off.


“Good morning.”

“Uh, good morning.”

“I’m the principal, Mrs. Malarkey. Did you get lost looking for the room? Our school’s designed in a strange way.”

“No, no. I’m getting my bearings before I go inside.”

“Oh, I see.” She smiled. “You’re here to talk at your child’s school for Career Day.”

“Yes, I’m trying to… remember my lines.”

“I see.” She smiled again. Dimples and crooked teeth. “Who’s your son?”

“Matthew. Matthew Starke.”

“Oh, yes. He told us yesterday you were coming. I’m glad you did. Well, don’t take too long. Students tend to get excited on these days.” She turned the doorknob and walked into the office. She held the door ajar, and said, “Good luck.”


I agreed to talk to the class because Matthew was set on having all his friends meet the person who helped design the new super-duper roller coaster ride at PhunLand. The only thing is, I lost my job. Yesterday. And… I haven’t told him yet.


After signing in and sticking the visitor pass on my vest, I head down the corridor.

I’ve walked these halls before. Come on. Come on. 

There’s the room.

My eyes close and my Adam’s apple gets stuck in my throat.

Here goes…



“Hi, Matt.”

He waved from his seat. The biggest grin on his face.

“Good morning, Mr. Starke,” the teacher greeted me, then, turned her attention to the students. “Class, this is Matthew’s father, Mr. Starke.”


They all bellowed.

My palms stuck to my pants pockets as the teacher guided me to the front of the classroom.

I watched my son’s eyes sparkle from across the room and gulping, I began…

“You know kids the most important job is being a parent. A job is second to that role in life. Sometimes, you give everything you’ve got into a career and then, poof!” I snapped my fingers. “It’s gone. Just like that. Then, you have to look for another job… hopefully in the same profession…”

“Mr. Starke… um…” the teacher cleared her throat. “Maybe we can have the students ask some questions?”

“Oh, sure.”


The questions poured in and I spit out the answers like a slot machine or was it more like a punching bag?

But, there sat Matthew, upright. Everyone smiling and enjoying my drawing of the latest roller coaster project I am working on. I couldn’t spoil it for him. Being a parent teaches you that. I’ll have to wait a few days for his glory to wear down to tell him the truth.




P.S. Just wanted to let all of you who have been following my poetry exploits that I was not chosen as the winner to the Jupiter Artland Writing Contest, but being a runner up was a feat itself. Thank you for reading!



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