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Emily Waldorf

Okay, here’s my piece on Noah’s prompt. Am I supposed to tag someone to judge?

500 words on the nose.

Lila’s shrew-voice and Conrad’s breaking squeak tumbled in from the next room. I rolled my eyes. Them again.

I looked around at the olive walls stenciled with burnt-orange vines and at the heavy drapes that managed to clash with both colors.

This room sucked away light faster than a cobra swallows his breakfast. First thing I would do when it was legally mine—get rid of those drapes. And the faux foliage. There was so much it looked like a jungle.

Conrad’s creaked and broke as he appeared in the doorway. Lila’s shrilling wasn’t far behind.

“If you would just put them away when you’re done, I wouldn’t have to bother you!”

Lila. Looking for the coffee filters. Of course.

Conrad bumped into a fake tree, bringing dusty leaves down into his tousled hair.

“Who likes the stuff anyway?” He made an elaborate choking noise.


I agreed with Lila for once. I cleared my throat, to let them know that I was here. She shot me a glance full of daggers. “You don’t have to laugh. We all know you despise the ‘family drama’.”

That time I did laugh.

Conrad turned and flashed a grin, clearly viewing me as an ally. This was getting out of hand.

“Look, you two. Do you have to argue about the coffee filters every morning?”

“There she goes again. Little miss Mommy to everybody that’s younger than she is, even if it is only by fifteen minutes.”

Lila was forever reminding me that she was my junior by a quarter-hour.

“I wasn’t being little miss Mommy. I mean, coffee filters are kind of a dumb thing to fight about, don’t you think?”

“How would you know? All you drink is that horrible vinegar stuff.” She turned suddenly on Conrad and mimicked my voice. “When this house is legally hers, she’ll make us all give up our ‘poor health choices.”

Conrad held his stomach and groaned. “We’ll never get anything for breakfast but oatmeal with Stevia on it!”

“Oh, cut it out.” I turned to Lila and tried to keep the frustration out of my voice. “I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: if you want to ruin your health, that’s your business.”

“Watch, she’ll say that right up until all the legal stuff is done and it’s all her house.”

It wasn’t my fault they’d left the house in my name.

I set my jaw.

“Lena’s mad. Lena’s ma—ad.”

I whirled on him. “Quiet!”

His eyes twinkled and he whispered, “Lena’s ma—ad.”

“Will you shut up!” I snarled.

He swallowed his next tease stared at me. His bottom lib started trembling.

“Now look what you did,” piped Lila, wrapping her arms around Conrad and shooting me an accusing glance.

“As if you weren’t just shouting at him for hiding your precious coffee filters!” I turned to Conrad and tried to sound like Mom.

“I still love you, but—”

Conrad burst into tears and ran out of the room.

Your life is not your own so keep your hands off it. ~Sherlock Holmes

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