Below is a short story I wrote in October of 2011, for a writing contest in my state. I didn’t win, nor did I even place to get a small prize, the judges gave my story an 8 out of 10, but I enjoy my tale even if it didn’t win. It is actually my first short story I can say I’ve written, since most of my stories are so long that they rarely get finished. I have written a few other short stories since this one, and in time I will post them here.
Read below about Flap Jack, if you wish. It’s a whimsical children’s tale. Flap Jack came to me one day as I was day dreaming in my Human Development class (instructor was mumbling something about her family life, unrelated to the class lol). Below is the result of that daydream, originally posted on my 3rd blog, Tales and Insights, that is merging into this one:
A story I wrote in October, 2011
Flap jack is a kind old man, a not so subtle old man, who loves to dance about the streets of his beloved town of Rosenberg. He dances around the streets with his cherry oak cane and top hat. He wears a top hat sometimes, but mostly holds it in one hand while he dances, and wears a black tailored suit of tweed. Happy as can be is he, nothing can disturb Flap Jack. His coat tails love to dance with the wind, making a nice flapping noise as he does his peasant jig.
The locals of the town of Rosenberg think this absurd little man is a drunk by the way he jumps and snaps his heels together up and down the town streets, singing aloud off key to his favorite tune. The tune he made up himself:
“Oh, flap, flap in the wind goes my tails. I’ve no care in this whole world, nothing but me and my tails.”
The tune makes no sense, not even to him, but he loves to dance free, hop, skip, and sing this tune of nonsense all through the day anyway.
What many don’t know about Flap Jack is his love for teaching the children. He has a teaching degree of English, one he never uses, but oh how he’d love to teach the children one day. He is sixty-three years old yet no work history is there to be seen on his resume. There is nothing but an empty slate of carefree space. He spent his years carefree, happy as can be – skipping, jumping, flipping, hopping – all the day long, spreading his joy of life to the children that he meets and greets.
One day as he was passing by the local High School and noticed there was a sign on the front window of the administration office that read: In Need of a Replacement Freshman English Teacher At Once!
Flap Jack shouted out in excitement “HOORAY, HOORAY, I’LL BE TEACHING TODAY” he then hopped, skipped, and jigged in a circle, clicking his heels together and making his coat tails go FLAP, FLAP, FLAP, causing the citizens walking pass to stare, but old Flap Jack did not care.
He entered the administration office at once, creating a burst of surprised gasps, for everyone knew seemingly crazy Flap Jack, but they did not know he’d be here today.
He removes his top hat, his brown head shining in the florescent light. He smiles, his goatee nice and trimmed, and says in the calmest voice he could muster, “I am here for the teaching job posted on that window. Please, may I speak to the principle?”
The secretary, wide-eyed and dumbstruck, pointed to the door behind her, the one that read in big letters: PRINCIPLE’S OFFICE.
Flap Jack jumped up, does a little peasant jig, making his coat tails go FLAP, FLAP, FLAP, and shouted a loud cheerfully, “Thank you!” and off he went to the principles office, hopping and skipping the couple feet.
The principle’s office door swung open in a hurry as Flap Jack approached it.
“Who is making all this ruckus? People are trying to do their work. Who is disrupting?” the principle whispered with a thin lipped expression and a furrowed brow.
The principle is not a friendly man; he is a man that is pretty bland. He rarely speaks above a whisper and requires others to do the same. His wear is of a dull tan faded suit. Not quite the kind of suit Flap Jack is wearing, for Flap Jack’s suit looks new.
“IT IS I, FLAP JACK, AND I AM HERE FOR THE TEACHING JOB!” he shouts excitedly. Calm is not a word Flap Jack knows when he is as happy as he is now.
“Keep your voice down,” The principle sternly whispers. “This is a place of business. Business does not mean shouting. You must be quiet on these grounds.”
Flap Jack steps back and clenches his chest as if he has been struck in the heart.
“Oh, my dear sir, I did not know this was a place for such silence. I’ll be sure to keep my voice down, but I warn you. It is impossible for me to when I am as happy as can be,” he said calmly. “BUT MY QUIETNESS LASTS ONLY SO LONG, FOR I AM HAPPY ALL DAY LONG!”
Mr. Principle lets out a groan and wipes his face with his hand. “Fine,” he whispers in his whispering way. “Be as happy as can be somewhere else. No one here will use the tone of voice as you. So be gone you loud mouth buffoon.”
Once the words ‘loud mouth buffoon’ were uttered Flap Jack entered a laughing fit. A high pitch laugh does Flap Jack have, a laugh that made Mr. Principle red faced.
“Stop I say, stop. Stop with your high pitch of annoying laughter,” but Mr. Principle made an uh-oh. He shouted these words instead of whispering. He quickly covered his mouth as if to hide his mistake.
Flap Jack stops laughing. He gazes wide-eyed at Mr. Principle. “You shouted. You broke your own rule. For breaking that sacred rule, please do give me a chance at the teaching job,” says he with clasped hands before his chest.
Mr. Principle squints his eyes and stomps his foot while holding back the shout he wants to let out.
“Fine,” he manages to whisper. “You are hired. You begin tomorrow morning at eight o’clock on the dot, don’t you dare be late. The room is in FA 128.”
“HOORAY, HOORAY, THAT MADE MY DAY! I AM SO HAPPY I’LL BE TEACHING, YAY!” he does a little peasant jig, making his coat tails go FLAP, FLAP, FLAP as he makes his way out of the building.
That next morning, at eight o’clock on the dot, he entered the room FA 128, with a skip and a hop.
There he was surprised to see, the most solemn faces he ever did see. Oh how this made him feel so bad, seeing these children so sad.
“OH, MY DEAR CHILDREN, WHAT MAKES YOU SO SAD? ARE YOU NOT TO BE GLAD TO LEARN?”
The children stare at him with mouths agape, for he did what they were not to do. He shouted at the top of his lungs!
“Mr. Flap Jack sir,” whispers a young blond girl with curls in the front row. “We are not to shout. This is a place of learning, and learning does not involve shouting.”
Flap Jack laughs his high pitch laugh, causing the windows to shutter.
“My dear children, this is a place of laughter and fun. This place has no room for silence and tears. Learning does not begin, until there‘s laughter and fun within!” with these words he knocks off the papers that were on the teacher’s desk. As he dances around the room, doing his famous peasant jig, he announces, “No grades are there to be found in this class. Knowledge has no percent, for it is endless. There will be nothing but music and laughter for now on in this class!”
The children let out a quiet hooray, but Flap Jack did not like that. He encouraged them to shout it louder by letting out an earth shaking HOORAY, and the students immediately followed suit.
So, for three days fun, music, and laughter did last. Three days of learning through a musical stomp and a laughing tune. The students learned their P’s and Q’s even if there was no paperwork or tests to be found.
The children’s laughter spread through the school. In those short days the whole school was in a happy loud laughter and dance, joining in with Flap Jack’s peasant dance.
Everyone was happy, screaming, singing, dancing in their joy. Everyone except Mr. Principle, he still remained a whispering grump.
“Flap Jack, you are fired,” he tells Flap Jack on the fourth day, first thing in the morning as he was entering the office.
“Oh, but why so? I made the school as happy as can be. The children enjoy their learning now. Oh, why would you get rid of me?” says Flap Jack with tears in his eyes. They were his calmest words yet.
Mr. Principle did not budge. He crossed his arms and glared, saying in his well known whisper, “this is a place of business. Business does not mean shouting. You must be quiet on these grounds.”
Flap Jack left the office with his shoulders sagging, his coat tails no longer flapping; but now dragging upon the ground. Will Flap Jack now forever frown?
The children were in an up roar after they heard of the firing of Flap Jack. They screamed “NO, NO, NO, WE WANT HIM BACK. WE WILL NOT LEARN UNTIL HE’S BACK.”
The students went on strike, refusing to go back to their classrooms until Flap Jack was back. Even the teachers did not stop this. On the second day of the strike every one of the teachers in the school marched to the principles office and demanded for Flap Jack to be hired again.
The anger of the teachers helped Mr. Principle to realize his mistake. He now realizes how much better the school really is with Flap Jack around. With this realization, he agreed to get Flap Jack back. He went out at once to find him.
Mr. Principle went to the City Park, and there he found Flap Jack, sad as can be, sitting upon a park bench. He is bent hunched over, his tails almost touching the ground. He has a droopy frown of sadness that could be felt all throughout town.
Mr. Principle sat down beside Flap Jack and said pleadingly, “Flap Jack, please come back to school. You are hired again. Please bring your laughter and joy back to the school. It is a wreck without you. I was wrong, you were right. Oh please say you’ll be back. Teach me the knack of being as happy as you Flap Jack.”
Flap Jack instinctively beamed a smile that lit up the whole town. He popped up and began to do his hip, skip, peasant dance, making his coat tails go FLAP, FLAP, FLAP.
“MR. PRINCIPLE, IT IS SO EASY TO BE AS HAPPY AS ME. JUST JUMP UP, CLICK YOUR HEELS, AND DANCE, DANCE, THE FLAP JACK DANCE WITH ME. LIKE THIS, YOU SEE?”
So he demonstrates for the principle. He jumps up, hops, skips, and clicks his heels together singing all the while:
“Oh, flap, flap in the wind goes my tails. I’ve no care in this whole world, nothing but me and me tails.”
The principle laughed a joyful laugh, one of rustic sounding for lack of use, but the longer he laughed the clearer it became. And as he sang, danced, hopped, and skipped with Flap Jack, his laugh was as high and loud and clear has his. He and Flap Jack danced the peasant jig all the day and night long.
The next morning they arrived at school full of laughter and cheer. The students and faculty are as happy as can be to see them arriving full of pleasantry.
Since that day the school was no longer dull and quiet, it was full of laughter and cheer, just like ol’ Flap Jack.
[A very rough sketch of Flap Jack:]