• “Michelle, wake up!”

    Oh no. Please no. What does she want now?


    It’s 7am. It’s a Saturday. My 11 year old sister is jumping on my bed. Its official, the world hates me.

    “C’mon Sheeelllliiee!”

    Have I mentioned how much I hate that nickname? In my opinion, it should be Michelle or nothing. Preferably Michelle.

    Maybe if I lie really still she’ll go away before she breaks my bed. Or my foot.

    “Wake UUUUP!!”

    Or not.


    Oh I give up. Anything to make that hyperactive blonde midget go away. I haul my arm out from under my nice, warm duvet, and tick off the points on my fingers as I speak.

    “Becka. One, quit with the Shelly, two, stop jumping on my bed, and three, GET OUT OF MY ROOM!”

    “But Shellllllllliiiiiiiieeeeeeee, you said you’d take me to the spring carnival today!!” Suddenly I remember.

    The carnival.



    I drop my arm and groan.

    “Okay. Fine. I’m getting up.”

    This is not going to be a good day.


    On the top floor of a large house, a girl sleeps in her large, four-poster bed. Moonlight streams through the gap in the curtains covering a large open window, casting a soft glow on her sleeping form. At the foot of her bed is a small grey cat, curled up asleep near its mistress.


    “Four child tickets?” Stupid ticket person. Why do they always think I’m a midget? I call kids midgets because they’re so small. No offence to dwarfs.

    “No. I’m eighteen. One concession and three child tickets please.” Yes, you heard right. Three child tickets. It seemed that before leaving on their week-long conference trip, my parental units had neglected to inform me that not only did I have to escort my hyperactive little sister around, but also her identical twin friends, Kit and Aly.

    We receive our tickets and make our way through the ticket barrier, and within a minute they’re crazy. I swear, nothing is more stressful than attempting to control three eleven year-olds at a carnival. Trust me.


    The girl continues to sleep until, still in the thrall of her dream, begins to toss and turn fitfully, disturbing the sleeping feline in the process. The cat, dumped on the floor, meows its displeasure and vacates the room through the large window, its sleek form silhouetted against the far wall as it leaves.


    “Wow. It’s so high. How high does this thing go again Shelly?” That’s Aly, who can be described in one lovely hyphenated word: motor-mouth.

    I groan, at the irritating nickname and the question. Like I need any more reminders of the increasing distance between my feet and the oh-so-safe ground below me.

    “I don’t know, and I have no idea how you three midgets managed to con me into this.”

    “Because you’re Becka’s big sister, and your mum said we were allowed three rides each?” Kit is smart, for a midget, but sometimes I really hate her logic. We are almost at the top of the Giant Drop, a very self-explanatory ride, and right now I want to kill the person who invented it.

    “Uhhh, Michelle?” Whoa. Aly used my full name. That’s like a world first.

    “Aly, we’ve stopped because we got to the top of the ride.”

    “That’s not what I was going to ask…”


    “What’s that noise?”

    “What’s which noise?” The words hardly leave my mouth when I hear it. It’s the type of noise you hear in movies where the main character is suspended by a fraying rope over a large cliff. A very large cliff. The slow creak of overstrained cords that are slowly snappi-


    Wait, wait, wait.

    Hold the story.

    There is absolutely no way anybody could possibly end a story like that. No way at all.

    No, Really.

    Nobody is going to like it if I kill off three children, especially not my shrink. It would also make an absolutely stupid storyline – some kids go to a carnival and get killed when a ride breaks. Who would want to read about that?

    So, it seems I am in need of a new ending.

    Let’s see…well, I can’t have the ending as someone fixing the cable, letting the ride resume its normal course and ending without further incident. Why? Because that’s incredibly anti-climatic, that’s why. Not to mention more than slightly pathetic.

    Furthermore, ending the story with the some mysterious stranger telekinetically stopping the ride’s descent, or the kids suddenly sprouting wings and flying away, would have to be two of the most clichéd, lame conclusions to short story disasters, and just plain unoriginal to boot, so they can join my other two endings in my recycling bin.

    So, my story no longer has an ending.


    Now, what do I have left to make a half-way decent story out of…? Four kids standing around at a carnival doing nothing remotely interesting that anyone would like to read about?

    Oh dear, I’ve done it again.

    Think about it - Carnivals have got to be one of the most overused settings for short stories, except for perhaps schools and camps, of course. That aside, there can only be a grand total of about three possible storylines stemming from a carnival – someone getting kidnapped, something blowing up or breaking, and freaky carnival decorations coming to life. All of which are dumb, tacky, and more than slightly pathetic. Therefore I can’t have my story at a carnival, which also means that the first part of the story is obsolete.

    Oh Joy.

    Another problem. What to do with the other part? I can’t have her wake up, especially not to the sight of her younger sister jumping on her bed, because that’s the type of lame, stereotypical, post-modernistic ending that the Goosebumps series loved to exploit. Not to mention that type of ending is incredibly annoying to the reader. However, I can’t leave her asleep, because any two-part story that has one part featuring someone asleep usually means that the other part is a dream that said person is experiencing, and therefore not real.

    Sometimes I hate logic. So into my bin goes the sleeping girl.

    Ah crap, now I don’t even have a storyline.

    Well that’s just great.