Clarissa and the Bread

"Here's the story: A young person walks to the store and along the way finds a coin, picks it up, and remembers something important. Then a car drives by and the person goes home.

Choose a writer that you love and tell this story mimicking their style in 100-200 words. (Averages out to be a single page). Feel free to add more to the story of course, but this template is the minimum. Shouldn't take you longer than an hour. Give yourself permission to be bad at it. "



Clarissa was fond of, among many other things, books.  She was fond of Unicorns and talking bears and fairies and witches (even if she found them a bit scary) and dancing teapots and many a good many things beyond.  Books, however, were the common thread that encircles most of the things she loved.  If she weren't eight years old and instead were, say, an investement banker, she might draw you a Venn diagram demonstrating how the things she held the most dear were contained almost entirely within the enveloping circle labelled "books."  However, Clarissa was, in fact, six years old and not remotely interested in being an investement banker, so there you have it.


Clarissa's father was fond of books as well, but she was concerned that Clarissa's fondness bordered on the excessive.  He felt that she was just a little to involved with her Unicorns and talking bears and fairies and witches for her own good.  He was of a generation that felt that there was nothing more beneficial to children than Fresh Air.  Copious amounts of Fresh Air, salted with a little Honest Work to show one the Value Of A Dollar were his idea of an ideal recipe for a happy, healthy child.  The fact that these things would also result in a quiet child who might be inclined to turn in early and not get underfoot were just side benefits that he seldom mentioned.  


Clarissa's father was also fond of cheese sandwiches on fresh, chewy bread.  As it happened, he had a small, soft wad of cheese from one of those French towns that had too many decorative swirls attached to the letters and it practially begged to be spread on a slice of sourdough and savored by a man who appreciated such fineries (even if he didn't know exactly how one pronounced the decorative swirls on the French letters).  Alas, the last of his bread had been discovered by an enterprising mouse (he called it a mouse for his daughter's sake though he knew better) and  now all he had left were a few, sad crumbs that not even a suspiciously rat-like mouse would see fit to take.


Which is all to say that Clarissa was pulled abruptly from an interesting discussion on humane preparation of toads with an unusually friendly witch by her father's booming voice extolling the brightness of the sun and the mildness of the weather.  She sighed and closed her book.  She knew from experience that when her father summoned this much gusto in describing the out-of-doors, there would be no avoiding whatever task he had in mind for her.  He suggested that she would benefit from a brisk walk through the little park down the street from the townhouse Clarissa and her father shared.  He scratched his beard as if in thought and then suggested, as though it had just come to him, that since she was heading that way anyway, she might as well stop at the bakery since it just happened to be next to the park.  


He handed her a a few coins and, beaming, saw her out the door.  He briefly lecutred her on the value of getting out into the Real World and being among Real People and feeling the Real Breeze on your skin.  That was all good and well, thought Clarissa, but she suspected that she would have been left along with her Unicorns and bears if her father hadn't wanted some Real Bread.  There was nothing to be done but to get it over with, so she set off down the warm, white sidewalk, carefully avoiding the cracks, and dodging around the shadows cast by the other townhomes on her street.


Clarissa resented her father's emphasis of the word "real" whenever he escorted her out the door.  His idea of "real" seemed not just limited, but insultingly patronizing to her.  The more she thought about it, the higher her dudgeon.  Soon she was so caught up in her annoyance that she no longer avoided the shadows and he feet dropped squarely across more than a few cracks in the sidwalk.  So caught up, in fact, that she didn't even see the boy in front of her until she knocked into him, jarring the coins loose from her hands...and his as well.


The sidewalk sparkled with little silver and gold disks spinning out their decaying orbits around unseen planets.  Before even looking up, they both dropped to their knees to pick up their lost coins.  She picked up one, two, three silvers and then a dull grey one that was so cold it almost burned her hand.  She opened her palm to make sure she had the right ones.   She had two Jefferson nickels, a Mercury dime, and...


A dragon?


She looked up at the same time the boy did.  She was so shocked by the coin that his gold-green eyes and strangely pointed ears didn't register.  She just stared, motionless, jaw slightly open.  The boy recovered first.  He snatched the dragon coin from her palm,  stood up suddenly, and dashed across the street.  Clarissa followed his movements without saying a word. 

When the boy reached the other side of the street, a car thundered up the lane in directly in front of him.  If she had been versed in such things, she might have recognized it as an '18 Gaile-Carpat, complete with brass-plated double-boilers and the bronze wyvern-tail above the exhaust, but instead, she continued to stare in equal parts shock and wonderment.  The boy looked back at her, caught her eye, and raised a single finger to his lips in a gesture that marked the only comprehensible aspect of encounter.  The recognition broke the spell and Clarissa found herself able to move once more.  She nodded, gently but distinctly.

Then she blinked.

Then the car was gone.

Clarissa stood up, looked around to see if anyone had noticed anything.  She was disappointed but hardly surprised to see that everyone else had completely failed to notice had just happened.  She checked the coins in her palm, but the only faces that stared back at her were familiar presidents and Gods.  She sighed heavily and opened the heavy double-doors of the bakery, resigning herself to living like this for as long as it took to bring bread to her father and then getting back to the Real World.