General Fiction posted April 15, 2021

This work has reached the exceptional level
Elusive tranquiltiy.

A Temporary Peace

by Loren .

"Jason Lee Baldwin, you get yourself in here right this minute," a voice called out over the lawn and up to the tree house where nine-year-old Jason Lee Baldwin was hiding.

He put a finger to his lips. Wide eyed, his eight-year-old brother, Barry Ray, and six-year-old sister, Sherri Lynn, barely moved, watching him.

"You're in a pound of trouble," Barry whispered. "Pa's gonna yank a knot in your butt for sure when he gets home."

"All I did was check for that leak in my bike tire by filling water in the sink," Jason explained.

The back door of their home slammed shut. "Oh, what I'd do for just a moment of peace around here." Their aunt's voice faded into the house as she muttered on, "My sister must be a saint. It's no wonder she asked me to watch those three while she went with her husband on that business trip to Florida. I'll never do it again. Never, never, never."

"I'm tellin'," Sherri whispered to Barry.

"For what?"

"For your saying a naughty word."

"What word?"

"You know and I'm not saying it 'cause then I'll had said it."

Barry looked bewildered and Jason said. "She's talkin' 'bout butt." He looked at Sherri. "Butt's not a naughty word, Sherri Lynn. It's just somethin' we all got."

"You're just saying that to keep Barry out of trouble."

Jason looked at his brother and rolled his eyes. "We got bigger problems than that."

Suddenly they heard their aunt scream from the laundry room. "Barry Ray, how many times have I told you not to bring those frogs of yours into this house?"

"Now you're both in trouble," Sherri said, smugly.

"And Sherri Lynn," their aunt went on, "you keeping your chewed bubble gum in your pockets is positively disgusting."

Sherri blushed and shrugged.

"We gotta think of somethin' to calm her down before Mom and Dad get home next Monday from that meetin'," Jason said. "But what?"

"She did say she'd like a little peace around here." Barry offered.

"Okay," Jason said, hopefully.

"She's always sayin' how peaceful it is at church." Sherri helped out.

"And she likes bubble baths," Barry went on, 'cause the way she smiles when she comes outta the bathroom."

"I heard her say it makes her feel rested," Sherri added.

"Maybe we could talk to Reverend Brown and he'd let Aunt Alice sit in that baptismal tub during one of his sermons..."

"And we could bring some of her bubble bath," Sherri broke in excitedly, "cause it smells so pretty."

Jason shook his head. "I don't know. I think she'd feel kinda funny taking a bath in front of all those church people."

"Then what are we gonna do?"

"We could run away."

"Don't you ever watch TV?" Jason said, grimly. "They'd have people in the house asking all sorts of questions and Aunt Alice would just be upset 'cause things weren't dusted for everybody to see."

"Yeah, then Mom and Dad would have to come home early from the meetin' and we'd really have our butt's in a sling."

Sherri glared at him and he said, "Jason told you, that's not a bad word."

Jason ignored them both. "They might even ask about our doin' our homework."

"I do my homework," Sherri added proudly.

"You're in kindergarten, you draw pictures. You don't do real things like numbers and words."

"Someday I will."

Jason sighed. "So, what are we going to do?"

Sherri brightened. "I know, in Sunday School we learned about God tellin' us to say we're sorry when we do something wrong 'cause when we do, it makes everyone feel better."

"Oh brother, that's about the dumbest idea..."

"No, wait." Jason's eyes widened. "Why Sherri Lynn, I think you're a genius. Momma's always telling us to do things to make God happy and this has gotta make Him happy so it'll make Aunt Alice happy, too." His enthusiasm exited the others

"It'd sure get us out of a jam."

"We'll apologize, help out with the chores. Like sweeping the garage, takin' out the trash, makin' our beds...lots of things."

"I'm old enough to help set the table." Sherri beamed.

"I've got some money. I could ride my bike down to the store to buy some ice cream.


"Yeah, chocolate. She loves chocolate."

And maybe some new bubble bath?

"Yeah, and then be real quite while she takes a bath."

Radiating with their idea, they scrambled down from the tree house.

At the base of the tree, Sherri turned to her brothers. "Soon as Aunt Alice has her bath and finds her peace, I'm tellin'."


"'Bout that naughty word you said."

Her brothers rolled their eyes, setting out -- nonetheless - to bring peace to their Aunt's life. Regardless of just how temporary that peace might end-up proving to be.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by eileen0204 at

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